Bruno watched her open her second floor apartment door. She jiggled the key and welcomed him into the apartment which included a large couch, and a small flat screen TV surrounded by DVDs and CDs. Her small kitchen was adorned with pictures of her family and friends. She had a small white table behind the mocha table with a silver framed picture of Anna and her in Houston. As she led him to her bedroom to put down his suitcase he stopped and picked up the picture.
“You were so gorgeous that day…and you didn’t even know it.” he said.
“Excuse me?” she had already gone into her bedroom. He walked into her room holding the picture.
“You look incredible in this picture…” he stated turning it around showing her.
“I like this one better…” she responded picking up a picture of the two of them in Las Vegas.
“I like that one too, but this one is better.”
“Whatevvveeerrr.” she blushed putting down the picture. He surveyed the room as she turned to put down her frame. Her room was enormous – she had a black four post bed with a teal and orange duvet. The two side tables matched with glass table lamps on either side of the bed. She had pictures on one side and her laptop open to her work e-mail on the other side.
I wanted to wait…but she is on fire. He grabbed her waist turning her into his face. He pressed his lips against his kissing her deeply. She returned the same passion. His hands moved towards her butt as her hands moved toward his back. She pushed him against the wall running her fingers through his hair, kissing his neck back up to his lips. He sucked on her neck wrapping his arms around her moving her toward her bed. She pulled off his jacket and shirt spotting some sweat on his chest. She rubbed her chest against him to take care of it kissing him deeply as they progressed through their make-out session. Before throwing her on the bed he took her t-shirt off to see her green and lack bra. She laughed. “Wait - take off my pants.” He raised an eyebrow at her unzipping her pants. He uncovered a pair of pink boy shorts. She smiled the biggest smile he had ever seen and then bit her lip asking him to take off the rest of her clothes.
”You are too funny. You didn’t need those for me to know that…but they are so damn hot on you.” he spun her around to look at the logo hugging her from behind. He pushed her hair out of the way kissing her neck. She felt him hard against her. She resisted the urge to turn around, take off his pants and finish quickly. She was starting to get hungry…she turned around to face him backing into the bed. Arissa sat on the bed unzipping his pants while he took off her bra. She looked at his body Wow. I can tell he has been working out more. It’s only been a month and a half..but I guess I lost like 10 pounds in a month…she moved her arms toward his neck bringing him closer to her asking him with her eyes to kiss her. He bent down looking at her in a way that made her melt. As distracted by his body as she was before, his eyes and face were just so much more than his arms, his chest, his...everything else…she pulled him down to the bed careful not to have him fall on top of her as he did the last time. He used his arms to prop himself up on top of her kissing her all over. She let out a slight moan as he touched her waist and his legs ran against the inside of her right foot. Bruno ran his fingertips around her the pink underwear sliding them down her legs. With desperation in her eyes she kicked them off as they slid below her knees. He flipped her on top and watched her eyes as she looked at him. “You control it, baby doll. Every last second of it…” she slid down on top of him as they became one. She moved slowly against him as he sucked her neck so hard he could feel her pulse racing. She fell on top of him hearing his heart race. They each collectively let out loud moans as he found the most perfect place to pleasure her.
“Oh my god, Bruno. Oh my godddddd. I love you, I do. I love you.” she screamed. He kissed her deeply as they finished their love making. She laid on top of him with sweat dripping on her shoulder. He wiped it off with his hand then running his fingers through her hair. She kissed him quickly falling over onto the other side of the bed.
He wrapped his arms around her bare skin and kissed her shoulder. “I love you Arissa. I missed you. Thank you for being you.”
She moved around to face him. She ran her fingers along his jaw line slowly kissing him. “I love you too.” He returned the kiss then licking lips returning for another passionate heartfelt kiss. He moved in towards her pressing his warm body against her. She felt a chill as he got ready for round two.
Arissa threw her arms, squinted and realized that she hit something hard. It wasn’t her pillow like usual. It was Bruno. He didn’t move when she hit him. Whoops. He’s so tired. Poor baby. I’ll let him sleep. She kissed his cheek getting out of bed – wearing nothing but her pink underwear and his Thriller shirt.
She danced over to the kitchen where she poured herself a bowl of her favorite cereal. She sat on the couch, clicked on the TV to VH1 to watch the video countdown. Until today it was her little piece of Bruno heaven. She had no idea where he would be on the countdown, but The Lazy Song was going to be on it. She finished her bowl of cereal, put the bowl on the coffee table and laid down on a pillow sitting next to her. She fell asleep. It’s okay to fall asleep. It’s only 9:30 and it’s a Saturday…She felt something move her legs and sit down next to her a few minutes later. She glanced up to see him sit down next to her. Arissa sat up and smiled at him.
“Good morning, beautiful.” he smiled back at her with his curly hair all over the place.
“Good morning, sunshine. “ she said brushing his hair out of his face. She caught the #7 song on the countdown out of the corner of her eye, the new Katy Perry song finishing.
“Oh…I like the one that’s going to be next….” he said to her.
“Which one is that?” the VJ introduced the Lazy Song.
“I love this song.” she laughed. He always said he liked his songs when they came on the radio, TV or he heard it anywhere else. She had forgotten that when it came on.
“It’s the only time I get to see you, except for the two times we skyped for like 5 minutes…” she blabbered.
“Awww…I’m sorry babe. But I’m here now!” he grabbed her and held her as they watched the last few seconds on the video.
She fed him her favorite cereal explaining that it tasted so much better than any other cereal in the world. He wasn’t quite sure if she was right, yet, but he agreed with her. She also told him that they were going out that night to this snazzy place where she knew everyone – from all the bartenders to the bouncer. They had reserved a VIP area and had all the drinks they could ever imagine. Yes. All the drinks he could imagine – was all he could think She was so easy to get in bed when she was drunk…but so am I…
Bruno was video chatting with his sisters while waiting for Arissa to get ready for the night. Her whole group of friends that he had already met – plus some more – were slated to come over in about 30 minutes. Arissa understood that he needed downtime too, so she had planned enough time for him to catch up with family and friends while he was with her. He asked her to talk to his sisters as well. It scared her shitless, but she agreed to talk to them for a few minutes before she ran off to get dressed. Both of the sisters he was talking to loved her. As she was running back and forth between the closet and the bathroom he could hear them both gushing over her.
“She’s so nice, Brunito!”
“And she’s pretty! How did she get her eyes to look like that? Where did she get that necklace? It’s so darn cute!”
He heard a knock at the door, telling them he had to go. He blew them kisses closing the window. Arissa came running out the door yelling “I’m coming! I’m coming! I’ll be there in a second!”
By the time she got to the door her guests were sitting on the couch watching her freak out.
“Bruno let us in…” Eddie told her.
“Darn it. I forget I have someone to do things for me now.” she blushed.
“Entertain them for a bit…I don’t have my shoes on yet…” she said running back to her room.
Anna, Natalia and several other girls Bruno hadn’t met ran back to her room and closed the door.
“What is he like? You’ve totally slept with him, right? And oh my god, his hair…” her friend Nicole started to ramble.
“Amazing, yes, and yes – hand me my shoes so we can go.” she pointed to the black flats buried under a pile of dirty clothes.
“Why flats? You never wear flats…” Yesenia asked her.
“He’s 5’5”, Yesi. I’m 5’3”. I stand up and am almost taller than him. No heels.”
She nodded forgetting he was short.
“Let’s go!” she danced around with them. The door opened. They all saw the boys standing around her kitchen table taking shots.
Ryan handed each of the girls a shot. Arissa started to say “Por arriba, por abajo…” her group joined in and finished the statement taking the shot.
“Let’s go!” she said taking Bruno’s hand almost running outside.
Arissa and her friends piled into three different cars taking the short drive to the bar. She had explained to Bruno that is was a small place, small enough that it got crowded so not many people would notice him. It was a place where people she grew up with went, so she might see some people she knew. It was a chill place where everyone was friendly. He knew she was rambling about this to reassure herself about this. He felt completely safe where he was – with her.
They walked up two flights of stairs to the bar named The Ivy. There was a line- the large group bypassed the line waving at the bouncer named Adam. Arissa and Bruno snuck in the middle of the group. They grabbed the middle VIP table where a note sat. “Thanks for stopping by Risa! We love you always, Scott, Nathan and Steph.”
“Oh, they love you!” Bruno said grabbing the big bottle of vodka to pour for everyone.
“Drinks for everyone?” Bruno asked. “I’m a master…”
“You’re going to have to prove it…” Eddie told him.
“You’re on…” They started mixing drinks and talking.
“He is just too darn cute.” Yesenia told her.
“I know!” Arissa responded grabbing his butt as she talked to her friend. He grabbed her in response making her laugh.
There was no pressure that evening. It was perfect. It was as if they all belonged together. Bruno talked to Eddie and his friends about Eddie’s art and Bruno asked him if perhaps he would do some things for his next album. He innocently flirted with Anna and Nicole. Arissa squeezed him tightly as they both talked in the corner over the loud music. Never once did his marriage proposal in Las Vegas come up. It makes me nervous. Was he serious? Do I ask him about that again? There’s no real ring..there’s nothing there…
“I’ll be right back…I need to go to the restroom…” as he finished telling her a story about one of his trumpet players. He is so darn sweet. He squeezed her hand as she stood up.
“Come with me, Anna?” she asked her friend.
They headed off in another direction. Ryan and Bruno watched their girlfriends fade away in the small bar.
“Arissa….” she felt a tap on her shoulder as she got closer to the inside bar. She wanted to ignore the person because all the people she wanted to be with were outside…but she was always a sucker for attention. She whipped her head around to see Robert. He was wearing an untucked blue button up shirt with jeans and brown boots. His green eyes pierced right through her.
“What are you doing here?” she gave him a dirty look.
“I’m just out…just like you…we live close to each other…” he answered.
“But this isn’t your scene, Robert…” she clenched her fists in frustration.
“Can’t I be at the same place you are, Arissa?” he asked her. “It’s a free country.”
“Not anymore it isn’t…” she responded. Anna started pulling her back outside looking towards where they were sitting. He grabbed her arm in a demanding manner.
“I can’t stand not being with you….it hurts so badly…Arissa. I was going to call you…” he started.
“Arissa…we have to go.” Anna told her. “Now…” Arissa’s phone started to vibrate.
“I have to go…” she started to turn around.
“No. Come home with me…” he still hadn’t let go of her arm. Even though she was tough, he started to push her buttons.
“No. I have guests. They’re visiting from California…” she explained. He let go of her waiting for her to continue her explaination.
“You don’t know anyone in California, Arissa.” he looked at her. Anna got closer to her. Anna looked at one of the bartenders with a pleading helpless look. The girl walked quickly over to Adam who was standing outside with some of his friends.
“How the hell do you know that I don’t know anyone in California? You haven’t spoken, seen me, in how long? Get over it.” she turned around but he grabbed her in the same place squeezing even harder. He started to pull her toward his group of friends who were questioning the encounter. Arissa looked scared. She looked at their friends Rachel and David, his little brother Sam...
Adam came up to them. “What seems to be the problem?”
“There’s no problem, bro. I’m just taking my girlfriend home. She’s had too much to drink tonight.”
“Bro…her boyfriend is right behind you.” Adam pointed at Bruno. Tears started to come down her cheek. Robert let go of her arm in shock of Adam’s response. Arissa rubbed her arm. Holy shit that’s going to leave a mark. Anna hugged her. Bruno didn’t say a word to him as he took her by the hand and led her back outside.
“Whatever, Arissa. You’re a slut. And a dirty one at that.” he yelled at her as they walked away.
“Can we go home?” she asked him as they headed outside.
“I’ll get Ryan. We can go home, Rissy.” Anna told her.
“Ry…I’m going to take these two home…I can come back…do you want to come with or do you want to stay?” Anna walked up to a handful of their group as they returned.
“What the hell happened?” Kyle, one of Ryan’s friends asked.
“My ex is an ass…he was near the restroom…that’s all.” Arissa explained.
Bruno squeezed her tightly as they all reacted. He didn’t say a word about what they had discussed in Las Vegas.
The group that had arrived at Arissa’s house decided that if Bruno and Arissa were going to go home, they were going to go home as well. They all trudged through the late evening crowd out the door. As they headed past those wanting to get into the bar a handful of girls gasped knowing that Bruno was there. He grabbed Arissa tightly to make sure she knew he was there for her. He wasn’t going to let some group of half drunk girls get in his way of protecting his girlfriend.
“Let’s go around the long way….I see him….” Arissa said as they walked toward one of the valet parkers. Robert and his brother started walking toward the group as she started to turn around. Before she could turn around he was standing in front of them.
Arissa felt Bruno tense up. She’d never felt him get tense. He was always so relaxed. She let go of his hand to see what was going to happen. He and Robert stared at each other. Arissa glanced down at his arms and could see his fist clenching. She got close to him and whispered
“Don’t do this Bruno, not for me…”
He raised his fist and punched him in the eye. “Do not ever go near her again. Once was too many times.”
“Baby….” she yelled at him punching him in the cheek.
They walked in front of the other group members toward the cars.
“That hurt my hand, Bruno.”
“You won’t remember the pain of the fist in the morning. You’ll remember the feeling of punching him in the face.” he said kissing her hand.
“Had a dream I was king, woke up still king…I guess…” Kyle said as they walked to the car.
“What was that about?” Anna asked Ryan as they got in the car.
“I don’t know, Anns. But that was serious….”
They were quiet for a few minutes as they got settled in the car.
“So…my boyfriend just punched my ex in the face…..”Arissa announced. “At a bar.” she paused thinking about what she was going to say next. Bruno squeezed her hand giving her support as she started to tell them what happened. “Because he…he…raped me.”
The car came to a complete stop. “What the fuck Arissa?!” Anna turned around after putting the car into park in the middle of the street.
“When? Why the hell didn’t you say anything? Honey! Oh my gosh!”
“You should have kicked him in the nuts, Arissa. A long time ago…” Ryan interjected.
Arissa and Bruno arrived home at 1 am. He sat down on her couch eyeing the seat next to her. She sat down next to him putting her head on his shoulder. She started to sob. He let her cry, again, like he did the last time. This time he started to sing to her. It wasn’t anything she had heard before, but she couldn’t really remember the words, the sound, or the melody because she was still in a complete state of shock. All she knew was that he was there for her, like he said he would be.
He grabbed the accent pillow that was laying at the other end of the couch to rest her head on. He carefully moved her head to the pillow as he moved her head. “Don’t go…” she sighed with her eyes closed.
“I’m not going anywhere, sweetheart…” he said as he got up to turn off the front light she flipped on so they didn’t trip on anything when they walked in.
“Thank you.” she whispered as he came back to her with a blanket to cover them. She lifted her head up to let him wrap his arms around her. He kissed her on the forehead.
“Good night, Arissa.”
“Good Moring, Bruno.”
“Bruno…” Camille pointed to the classic Tiffany’s ring off to the right side of the jewelry case. “Look at this one. I think this one might be the right one…”
“Can we see that one?” he asked the sales person behind the counter.
“Absolutely…” he pulled the ring out carefully placing it on the counter.
“Oh…Bruno, that is so her. It’s simple. But it will sparkle just enough. It’s so pretty.”
“Are you sure that’s the right one, Camille?”
“Unless you want to propose, bring her in here and have her pick exactly the same ring…yes that’s the right ring.”
“We want that one. Can you engrave ‘Good Morning’ in it?” he asked.
“Yes, yes we can.”
“By tonight?” he asked with urgency in his voice.
The salesperson didn’t say a word. “I’ll be right back. I think we can. But I don’t want to say yes…yet.”
Camille and Bruno waited for the salesperson to come back. They could see him and a few others talking, glancing back a handful of times.
“They’re totally talking about who you are, Bruno.” Camille whispered.
“I know. It’s kind of weird. No. It isn’t kind of weird. It’s really weird.”
The salesperson came back with his manager. “Mr. Hernandez, we’ll have this done in 3 hours.”
“Thank you so much. You have no idea how much this means to me.”
“And my sister!” Camille said with a giant smile on her face. Bruno glanced over at his future sister-in-law to see her excitement.
They went to a small restaurant to eat lunch. He went unnoticed, which was amazing. It might have been because it was a Monday. It might have been because where he was. It was incredibly laid back and he enjoyed the peace and quiet. There was something about being around Arissa, her friends and her family that created an incredible sense of peace and quiet for him.
“Here it is…” the same salesperson brought a Tiffany blue box out carefully from his hand. Camille and Bruno both held their breath as he opened the box to see the small diamond poking through the white slit of the box.
“Oh, Bruno…it’s so darn beautiful.” Camille told him.
“Yeah. Just like your sister.” he replied.