As my hair flies back and my legs pump as fast as they can go, all I'm thinking is 'Your an idiot..Stupid, stupid idiot.' I keep running. I don't care where I'm going, all I wanna do is run. Run away from everything bad in my life. When I can't breathe anymore, I collapse on the ground, in front of restaurant type cafe. I sit there a minute and catch my breath. I hear applause from inside and music. I walk in. There are tables and a stage. It's dark except for the spotlight. I sit at the table in the corner, the farthest away. A guy walks on to the stage. "Alright, give it up one more time for Tony!" The crowd claps and whoos. I see Tony walk to one of the tables and his friends push him and give him high fives while he grins like crazy. This place is just like Bruno's 'kareokee' job. It didn't start off as a job. The owner let him sing inside the restaurant and eventually people started showing up regularly. He brought in so much business because all the people loved him,that the manager decided to pay him. So they were sorta like gigs. I watch as the stage guy introduces the next act. "Alright, our next guy is a newbie, so be easy on him people! Please put your hands together for Bruno Mars!" My heart stopped. Bruno Mars? As in, my Bruno? No...It can't be. Off in the distance, I see curly hair under a fedora. He has a guitar in his hand and a black leather jacket. I squint into the darkness, but when he walks onstage, it's unmistakeably my Bruno. He sits on the stool and strums the guitar. "Hey guys, the song I'm going to sing for you, I wrote awhile ago. It's about someone very close to my heart. She didn't know it at the time, and I didn't have the guts to ever sing it for her. Yeah that's right I'm a sissy, I'll admit it" Laughs from the audience. He smiles. That breathtaking smile. I feel myself turn to jelly. "This is the first time I've ever sung this song publically, so I hope you guys like it." He plays the guitar and sings..
"Once again, you're home alone, tears running from your eyes and I'm on the outside, knowing that you're all I want, but I can't do anything I'm so helpless baby, Everyday same old thing so you're still feeling pain, never had real love before, and it ain't her fault. She knows better but she can't help it, wanna tell her but would that be selfish, how do you heal a heart that can't feel, it's broken, his love is all she knows, all she knows, all she knows, His love is all she knows, all she knows, all she knows."
The audience claps and yells. All I can do is stare at him, singing this beautiful song that he wrote for me, wanting to cry."You've been living this way so long, you don't know the difference, and it's killing me, cause you can have so much more, I'm the one you're looking for, but you close your eyes on me, so you still can't see..Everyday same old thing so you're still feeling pain, never had real love before and it ain't her faultAll she knows is the pain in the corner of an empty home, she's too comfortable, I want her to know it can be better than this, I can't pretend, wish we were more than friends.."
I clench my fists. Why couldn't he have done this 4 months ago? Why couldn't he just tell me how he felt? Why couldn't he have sung this song? Why!? Things would have been so different. But now it's too late. I watch him with a deep sadness in my heart, because I was going to do exactly what he told me. Be happy. And I can't do that when I still love him. I need to move on. He finishes the song and it's a hit. The people are standing up and cheering. He smiles at the audience and than, our eyes lock. He doesn't say my name, or call for me. I just stare for the last time into his beautiful brown eyes. The 'stage guy' walks up and I cast my eyes down. As he talks, I get up and slip out of the door. No more running away. It's time to be a grown up and handle my problems maturally. Starting with Mami. I walk back to the house. I'm getting better at finding my way around. At least running away had some positive in it. As I walk in the front door, she's coming down the stairs with her suitcase. She doesn't look at me, but her face is red. "I love you and I know what I did was wrong, but I'm not going anywhere. It's time that I do something for me, and put myself first. It's time for me to be happy." I tell her. She doesn't respond. She just sighs and covers her mouth. After a minute, she looks at me with tears in her eyes. My heart aches and I wanna hug her and just go with her so she doesn't look at me with such hurt, but I need to stand my ground. I can't be happy in Brooklyn. She grabs my face. "Ya se Mijita." "You do?" I ask her. She nods. "I made a lot of mistakes after tu Papi se muero, I know I wasn't the best mother and I wasn' t there for you. You had to grow up before your time and you swallowed a lot of feelings and emotions, and I knew that one day it was going to catch up to you. No te preocupes de mi, si aqui estas feliz, aqui te quedas...Tu tienes que encontrar la felicidad en tu corazon otra vez." The tears flowed out of my eyes as Mami spoke the words that I've needed to hear for 5 long years. I hug her tight. "Te quiero much Mami, Nunca piensas que te deje por algo tu hiciste" She kisses me over and over. "Te amo mi corazon." She says and kisses me one last time before she heads to the door. As she puts her hand on the knob, she stops. She stares at the floor for a second. Than she turns around and walks up to Ahmity. Ahmity's face gets pale and her eyes dart around in her head. Mami holds her face and says "Mi preciosa hija..." and kisses her on the cheek. "Te amo muchisimo.." Ahmity's eyes flood with tears and she wraps her arms around our mom. They look like twins, both thin with wavy hair and a perfectly tan skin. My heart feels put back together a little, watching the two of them forgive each other and express their love. My broken family is slowly, but surely mending itself, in some form or another. She says her last goodbye to me. "Don't leave me forever" she says. "I won't Mami, I'll visit you as much as I can I promise" "Mas vale" she says and we laugh. She kisses my head and her and Ahm head out the door so she can drive her to the airport. I sigh. A good sigh, for once. I smile. My face muscles aren't used to it. It feels kinda weird. I hear someone behind me. I turn around. Green eyes are looking at me. He looks kinda nervous. I walk up to him. "Hi I'm Lena." I say and stick out my hand. He grins, that gorgeous smile of his. "I'm Brendan, nice to meet you" he says, and shakes my hand. I laugh as he pulls me into his arms. I look up at him as he smoothes my hair. "So do I get a second chance?" I ask him. He looks into my eyes. "Do you even need an answer to that?" he says and leans down to kiss me. So this is what happiness feels like? Hmmm, I like it. It's been too long.
* * * *
"Favorite color?" "Turquoise" "Can't you just say blue?" he asks. I shake my head. "Why not?" "It's not the same color" I say. He rolls his eyes, smirking. "Yours?" I ask. "Blue" he says. He busts out laughing and I push him. "When's your birthday?" "June 18th" he says. "Can I get a year?" I ask. "Can you just ask how old I am?" he says. "Can you just play 21 questions the right way?" I shoot back. He smiles. "No, I can't. I'm 19." he says. "Your turn." "October 29, and I'm 18" I say. "Favorite movie?" he asks. "Don't have one." I say. "Your lying!" he says, his jaw dropping. "No I'm not, I watch too many movies, I don't have a favorite one" I say, laughing. "Your not normal" he says. I push him again and ask "Yours?" "Scarface" he says. I bust out laughing. "What!? It's a classic 'Say hello to my little friend'!" he says, doing the accent. "Favorite food?" "Chinese" he says without hesitation. "Mine too!" I say, excited. "No way! Like oh em gee we can totally be bffs!" he says in a girly voice. I laugh til tears come out. This is the Brendan I met on the plane. "How many siblings do you have?" he asks. "Ahm and my brother Joe" "I only have Adrian" he answers. "How many girlfriends have you had?" I ask, squinting my eyes. "Oooh, you went there" "Yeah I went there.." He laughs. "6" My jaw drops. "What?! Don't try and act all innocent, you've probably had twice as many boyfriends" I give him a look. "That's where your wrong mister" "Oh yeah?" "Yeah!" I yell. He grabs my face and kisses me. I tickle his belly and he pulls away laughing. "Lena, stop throwing yourself at me, I know I'm sexy but gosh have some control!" he says, fixing his shirt. I curl up in a ball, laughing. "Shut up! Who's the one kissing who? Not me buddy, I'm just trying to play an innocent game of 21 questions" I tell him. He wraps his arms around me. "I'm tired of playing that game, I want to play a new game." he says. "And what game would that be?" I ask him. He lays on top of me and kisses me. I run my fingers through his hair and kiss him back. When I suck on his tongue, he groans, than pulls away. "Lena don't do that." he says, a serious look on his face. I laugh. "Why not?" "Cause you're gonna make someone else wanna come out and play" he says. I smile and do it again. He looks at me. "Your not funny Lena." "I'm not trying to be" I say, hiding my smirk. He tickles me. I try to push him off but I'm too weak and he's too strong. "Okay!! I won't do it anymore!" I manage to scream out. "I don't believe you!" he says, and tries to tickle me again. I roll to the other side of the bed. He jumps on top of me and kisses my neck. I laugh and wrap my arms around him. He stares at me, smiling. "What?" I ask him. He shakes his head. "I thought I was never going to see you again." he says. "I just can't believe I'm here with you right now." "Stop.." I say, my face turning red. "Stop what?" "Stop making me feel-- Never mind." I say. "No, feel what?" I shake my head. "Talk to me Lena.." His green eyes plead. "You talk like I'm this amazing girl or something." His jaw drops. "What do you mean like? Lena you are amazing, why do you put yourself down all the time. I hate that." he says, his face red with anger. "Sorry" I say quietly. That damn word again. He rubs his thumb across my lips. "One day, you'll see how beautiful you really are." I don't say anything. I don't believe him but I don't dare say that out loud. I keep thinking of Bruno and how many times he's told me the exact same thing. Dammit! Stop thinking about him. You need to move on Lena. "Babe?" I snap out of it. "Huh?" "You okay?" I nod and smile. "I'm fine." "Come on, you need some fresh air. We've been cooped up in this house all day." He pulls my arm and I pull back in protest. He picks me up by my waist and carries me like a baby. I laugh. "Okay! I'm up" He puts me down. "So where we going?" I ask him. "Where won't we go? It's time you see the real beauty of Miami." He says and smirks. I smirk back and follow him out the door. As we walk down the stairs, Adrian comes running in the house. His shirt has blood on it and he's screaming. His words are uncomprehendable. "What happened bro?!" Brendan yells. Adrian is crying and dripping with sweat. My ears start to ring. I know it's Ahmity. I know something happened to her. I run out the front door and she's laying on the sidewalk, not moving. There's blood pooling around her. I stare at my sister. Everything is going in slow motion. I don't hear anything but my breath in my ears. The paramedics surround her. Brendan is holding Adrian as he's screaming and crying. They take her away and Brendan grabs me. I feel him carry me and put me in the car. Happiness didn't last long now did it? My world is once again a blur...