“Mommomomomomomomomomomommmmm…..” Rosie yelled through the house finally stopping in front of her mother who was holding an 8 month old Angelo.
“What?” Marla asked her.
“Look what I found…” she said to her mother holding out a picture of her and Bruno in Las Vegas in 2011.
“Where did you get this?” Marla asked.
“I have to do a timeline for school. Before dad left he gave me a box of pictures…” Rosie told her.
“Did he say you could use these? I don’t know…” Marla responded. “I don’t know what these are from…” she told her daughter flipping through pictures of the two of them with Ryan and the rest of his first band.
“He said that I could use any of them….mom…I like this one…” Rosie handed her a picture of the two of them in Hawaii right before she and Bruno were married.
“That is pretty, mama…” Marla answered. “Do you want me to help you with it?”
“Dad just said to pick the pictures. He was going to do the rest for me.” Rosie told her mother. “But momma…you can help me pick the pictures….” She said to her mother handing her a picture watching Angelo take the picture moving it near his mouth.
“I don’t think you’ll like that, baby….” Marla told him taking the picture away from him setting it on the table. “We’ll pick pictures when you get home from school…okay?”
“Okay. I’m ready for school….” Rosie said picking up her backpack heading for the door.
“Hold on, Rosalia. I have to get the babies.” Marla said to her daughter who sat down near the door waiting for her.
“Mom…they’re old enough. They can stay by themselves.” Rosie told her mother.
“You’re not old enough to stay here by yourself, Rosalia…Come on…” Marla said pushing the door open with her foot holding the twins in their car seats. She was without Bruno for a few days while he went to New York to finish some writing he was doing with a new artist. Rosie sat in the front seat pushing her seatbelt behind her head watching Marla pull out of the driveway.
“Momma…” Rosie started as they neared the street.
“Yeah?” Marla asked keeping her eyes on the road.
“Do you remember when you first loved daddy?” she asked.
“Of course.” She answered half lying. Bruno had told all the stories. She was still repeating them for everyone.
“No, mommy. I mean in your heart. Not when daddy or everyone else said…” she responded.
“Yes.” Marla answered. “It might not have been the times that everyone else tells me about, but I remember. Why are you asking?” Marla asked.
“I think I love a boy.” She told her mother.
“Oh, you do? When do I get to meet him?” Marla asked trying to contain her laugh.
“It’s Leo, mommy. Daisy’s brother.” She told her mother.
“Oh, yeah?” Marla tried to recall which boy Rosie was talking about. If she recalled correctly Leo was her friend’s 10 year old brother. “He’s kind of old for you. Is he a cougar?”
“No, mom! He’s a Lion.” She answered referring to the school’s mascot.
“Oh. I forgot.” Marla replied. “When did you decide you loved him?”
“Yesterday. He gave me a cookie when I was waiting for you to pick me up.” Rosie replied.
“Oh, well. He knows the way to your heart.” Marla laughed as they neared the school.
“I’ll remember it always.” Rosie told her mother as she started to get out of the car. “Bye, mommy. I love you.” She said blowing her mother a kiss. “And you two, too.” She said looking at the babies in the back of the car.
Marla drove the short distance back to the house pulling the babies out of their car seats laying them on the floor handing them toys looking over to the pile of pictures Rosie had left on the table. “You know what, babies? I wish I remembered all of it. But this is what I got.” She told them watching them look at her perplexed. “Okay…go do your baby thing…” she told them handing them toys watching them crawl to each other’s toys as she went to pick up the pictures. She picked a handful up flipping through them quickly before stopping to examine each one in more detail. She picked one up on a beaten up restaurant with a small old woman standing in front of it. She turned over the picture seeing Bruno’s handwriting on the back.Our first date. She flipped to the next one, an empty room with a book in the middle of the floor. Where we first met. She continued flipping through the pictures reliving their lives together. “Oh….” She stopped at the picture of her holding Rosie’s hand with her hair in a messy bun and a long white dress. “I know this one…” she said to herself jumping up from the table. “Stay there…” she told the twins going into a spare bedroom. She pushed a few things aside finding the long flowing dress in the closet in a zipped bag. She unzipped the bag leaning in to smell it. She could swear she smelled Bruno on the dress. His faint cologne and her perfume from the day they were married. She took the picture from her other hand looking at the dress again. “I’m wearing this again….” She said zipping the bag pushing everything back to where it was before. As the bag zipped she heard the babies start to cry. “I’m coming!” she exclaimed running into the room seeing Angelo laying on top of Hope with a toy ripping it out of her hands. “Hey! That’s not nice!” she told him picking him up moving him away from Hope picking her up trying to comfort her through her tears. “Calma, mi amor…” she told her daughter rocking her slowly. “Let’s get you something to eat….” Marla got her daughter to calm down by feeding her peaches and mangos. She fed both the babies putting them down for a nap finding time to do laundry and go back to the pictures reading over his notes. “This is why he doesn’t want her to use them…the notes…” she told herself. As she went through the pictures she heard her phone vibrate. She picked it up seeing a text message from him.
You leave me breathless. The only air I want to breathe is you. Girl, your best is effortless. Oh you’re the one I want to get into. ;)
“Keep that up and you will, Bruno.” She said to herself in response to his text of Boyz II Men lyrics.
About two weeks later Marla walked into the living room carrying a big bag of things that she was taking to a consulting job she was doing. Her head was spinning since the TIA. She wasn’t doing anything but taking care of the children, and even though that was so amazing, she felt like the time they were napping or at school she could be doing something else. For that reason she started independently consulting for small non-profits. She would write home studies, work as a case manager, write grants, almost anything that would keep her busy. She threw the bag on the small bench hearing laughing and music in the living rom. She stepped in the room leaning against the wall seeing the babies in front of Bruno and Rosie who were working on her timeline. She saw Angelo laying on his stomach trying to reach out to get a toy that Hope was holding. As he started to reach she saw him hit Hope in the face making her cry. “Hey, hey…” Marla walked toward the twins taking away the toy.
“Look at your mom taking a stand…” Bruno leaned over talking to her daughter.
“I’m just making sure they don’t get hurt…” Marla said placing the toy on the table then walking behind the two of them. “That’s so nice…I like the colors…” she said dragging her hand along a few of the pictures. “Tell me about them, Rosie…”
“Okay…” she said. “But it’s going to be bad.” Rosie answered with a confused face. She glanced over at the babies who were starting to cry.
“Let dad get them. I want to hear about your timeline…” Marla told her daughter sitting down next to her.
“Okay…see…this is the first one…” Rosie pointed to a picture of her parents in 2010. “That’ when you met..in 2010…and then…” she moved over to the next picture where Marla sat on a bench with Urbana smiling while holding a present in her hand. “And that’s me in there…”
“It is….tell me about the rest…” Marla coached her daughter.
“And this is me walking…” she told her mother pointing to a picture of her messy curls holding her cousin Zach’s hand walking down a hallway.
“You are so pretty, Rosalia..” Marla said reflecting on the pictures. “Oh…and the day we were in Hawaii…” Marla pointed to the wedding picture she had held while Bruno was traveling.
“And momma..this is when I got sick…” Rosie pointed to a picture of a hospital band. “But then you got sick and daddy wrote for you…” next to her hospital bracelet was a picture of the album Bruno wrote after she lost her memory.
“I like that one…” Marla told her daughter looking up at Bruno smiling as he walked up behind them looking at the school project.
“I think it’s perfect, mama…” he said kissing his daughter’s head. “I’ll glue everything and write on it when you go to bed…”
“Okay….” Rosie said getting out of her chair. “I want to take a bath…”
“I’ll be right there, Rosalia..” Marla responded watching her walk toward the bathroom. “Bruno…this is so good.”
“I know…” he said kissing her on the cheek. For some reason she got extra tingly as his lips pulled away.
“I need to help her…” she responded getting out of her chair picking up toys as she walked toward the bathroom. She felt Bruno’s hand touch hers.
“Mar?” he asked following her.
“What?” she asked.
“You are an amazing mother. That’s it.” He smiled kissing her lightly in front of the door where Rosie was.
“Stop! That’s so grosss!” she whinned taking her big pink towel in the bathroom.
“We’ll finish later.” He whispered in her ear making her blush. While she walked away he burst out laughing knowing exactly what he did to her.
“Shhh..you’ll wake up the twins!” she laughed at him.
About 30 minutes later Marla walked into the living room sighing heavily sitting next to Bruno who was flipping through the TV. She laid her head on his shoulder closing her eyes. “I’m so tired.”
“Then let’s go to bed…” he said to her rubbing her shoulders then lifting her off the couch. He held onto her as they walked to the bedroom.
“Bruno?” she asked him turning into him.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“Nothing.” She answered kissing him deeply pressing him against the wall moving her hands to turn off the light.
That’s not nothing, Mar.” he got out between her kisses.