"Water?" I ask. Ahmity shakes her head. "The control?" She shakes it again. I look in the direction she's pointing. "The pillow?" She smiles. I grab the pillow and put it behind her back. It's been 2 weeks that she's been home. The doctors said she should be walking and talking within a couple days, but they lied. I sit next to my sister on the couch. She smiles at me and reaches out her hand. I take it and squeeze. I stare at her and even though she's smiling, her eyes are sad. "You're gonna be okay Ahm." I tell her. She looks down and fights back tears. She looks up again and nods her head. The front door opens and her eyes light up. It's Adrian. "Hi baby." He scoops her up in his arms and kisses her over and over. "I love you" he says in her hair. She clears her throat and her face gets concentrated. "I--L-l-l-" She sighs. "L-love y-y-you" She gets it out and I smile. Adrian does too and kisses her all over again. I get up and walk to the stairs. I wave to Ahmity and she waves back. It breaks my heart that we have to communicate like she's a 2 year old. I know it's even harder for her. I go to my room. Brendan is sprawled out on my bed. I lay on top of him. "She said I love you" He scratches my head. "She always says that." I laugh. "I know, it just feels good to hear her voice." He kisses me and plays with my hair. "You need to stop worrying Lena, your getting wrinkles." he says. I push him. "Shut up, I am not." He laughs. "Gray hair too" He let's go of me and curls in a ball cause he already knows I'm gonna hit him. I smack his arm and he pretends to cry like a girl. "I'm not your punching bag!" he says, in a crying voice. I roll my eyes and sit up. He grabs my waist and tries to flip me over his shoulder, but I know better. I wrap my legs around him so I'm not going anywhere. "Oh yeah?" He says. "Yeah!" I say in his face. He lays on top of me and kisses me. I try to push him off, but he's too heavy. I pinch his nipple and he screams. I laugh and stretch out, proud that I got him off of me. He looks at me with a mad face. "I feel violated." He says, rubbing his nipple. I smirk. He's such a goof and I love it. I roll to the edge of the bed and hang my head upside down. He lays next to me and does the same. "Fancy meeting you here" he says. I laugh and than get serious. "What if she never walks?" I ask him. He plays with my fingers. "Babe, don't say that. She's gonna walk, and talk and get back to nagging and annoying me in no time." I hope he's right. It feels empty with Mami and Joe gone. I wish they could've stayed here forever, but Brooklyn is their home, not Miami. They stayed as long as they could. "What time do you go to work?" he asks me. I look at my phone. "Ugh, 10 minutes" He sits up. "Than get up, Let's go!" I don't move. He pulls my arm. "Go to work for me." I tell him. "Okay, I'll just get a long wig and put pillows in the back of my pants and walk around like this." He walks around the bed, shaking his hips. "I do not walk like that, and what do you mean put pillows in the back of your pants!" I sit up, looking at him angry. He laughs. I don't. "How else am I gonna recreate all that ass?" He says and slaps my butt. I smack his arm, hard. "You're such a jerk" He hugs me. "A cute jerk!" "An annoying jerk" I say in his neck. He kisses me. "I like your ass" he whispers. I smack him again. He pecks me on the lips and jumps off the bed. "Enough ass talking, let's go" he says. I roll my eyes and shake my head. Why do I attract guys like this. I walk downstairs and kiss Ahmity. "I'm going to work Mama's, I'll be back soon." She nods and smiles. She mouthes "Have fun" "Oh yeah, loads." I tell her. I blow her a kiss before I leave out the front door. I've been working at a restaurant on the boardwalk for about a month. I hate it, but I need it and it's the only place that would hire me. Brendan said it would be good for me so I can work on my people skills. I hit him, and he told me that's exactly what he's talking about. He drops me off and I reluctantly walk in the restaurant. I look around. Packed like always. I head to the back to punch in. I open the swinging door and smack into someone. "Geez Preeti, watch where you're going" I tell my co-worker. "Sorry, I have to grab this table before Sonia gets it!" She runs. Sonia comes running out the door a second later. "Damn! I'm gonna kill her!" She says, glaring at Preeti. I look at the table she's at, and it's filled with 5 guys. I roll my eyes. The two of them never wanna work until they see boys, and than they fight over who's gonna get their table. I punch in, grab my pad and walk out. Sonia's leaning on the counter, watching the table of guys. Preeti's smiling extra hard and talking in her flirty voice. She turns around and wiggles her eyebrows at me as I walk past her. I laugh and shake my head. "Hi my name's Lena, I'll be your server this morning, Can I start you off with something to drink?" The table I'm waiting on is a young couple, maybe a little older than me and Brendan. The guy is staring at me and the girl is staring at him, clearly not happy. "Uh yeah, can I get a Sprite" he says, not taking his eyes off me. "Okay, and for you ma'm?" I ask her, smiling my fake smile that I hate so much. She looks at me with her lip curled. "An iced tea." "Okay, and are you ready to order or do you still need a few minutes?" I ask. I want to reach out and slap the girl, but I just keep on smiling, waiting for them to answer. "I think were ready---" "We still need a few minutes!" She puts her hand up and cuts him off. "Okay, I'll get your drinks for you" I walk away and clench my fists. I walk in the back. Preeti bursts in with the biggest smile of her life. "He gave me his number!" She squeels. "Which one!? It's probably the one I wanted huh? It is! Isn't it?" Sonia accuses her. Preeti walks away, not saying a word. Those two fight over anything and everything, but they love each other to death. They're inseparable. I get sad watching them sometimes, their closeness reminds me of how me and Bruno used to be. I bring out the Sprite and tea. The guy doesn't look up and the girl has a satisfied smile on her face. I take their order and put it in for the kitchen. The day is pretty much the usual until I see someone walk in with dreads. I smile. "Hey Phred!" I give him a hug. He's with a tall, skinny, very attractive guy. He introduces us. "Lena, this is my guy Kenji, this is the girl I was telling you about." he says to him. I shake his hand. "Oh Brendan's girl, very nice to meet you" Kenji says, smiling. Why are all of Brendan's friends gorgeous? "Uh.. where would you like to sit?" I ask them, changing the subject before my face gets red. Phred walks towards a booth and Kenji follows. "How's your sister?" Phred asks me. I sigh. "She's getting better I guess.." I make an 'i don't know' face. He nods sympathetically. "Have you....um, have you talked to..Bruno, at all?" He asks. My blood freezes. "Uh, noo..No I haven't." Kenji keeps looking back and forth at me and Phred. He nods again. "I think it would do him some good to talk to a good friend, just a thought you know?" he says, staring intently at me. I look at him back, trying to read between the lines. "Does...he want to talk to a good friend?" I ask. He swallows. "Uh, He didn't say it in so much words....Actually he didn't say it at all, but I think it would be good for him to...talk to someone. Particularly a GOOD FRIEND." I narrow my eyes. "And what if this friend goes to talk to him and he doesn't want to ...talk?" I say. Kenji sips water through his straw, eyebrows raised, waiting for Phred's answer. "I don't think anything else will help, he's pretty bad." My heart breaks. Oh no. Kenji looks at me, waiting. It's like he's watching a movie. "That bad that he needs a good friend huh?" I ask. Kenji looks back at Phred. He nods, looking down. My mind gets foggy and I almost forget to take their order. I ask my boss if I can take my break. He angrily says yes. I walk outside and sit on the steps. 'Go and see Bruno' The thought keeps running around in my mind. It's been 2 months since the last time I saw him, singing at the restaurant. I don't know if I can do it. I'm finally doing okay without him. Seeing him will just erase 2 months of progress. And with everything that's happening with my sister, that's the last thing I need. But it's Bruno. We've been through so much in our friendship and he's always been there for me, no matter what. I can't just not see him, knowing he's not doing okay. I throw my head back. 'Why?!' I go back in the restaurant and try to work to the best of my ability, but it's not happening. "What's wrong chica, your not on the ball today." Preeti says. I sigh. "I just have a lot on my mind." I tell her. "Boys?" She asks, with a devilish smile. Everything with her has to do with boys, good or bad. "I don' t wanna talk about it Preeti" I say, walking away. She follows me. "You sure? Cause I'm the expert on relationship advice, ask Sonia." I see Sonia shaking her head, mouthing no to me. I try to hide my smirk. "Really Preeti, I don't want to talk about. It'll just make things worse." I say. "Okay, if your sure. One question though?" "Yeah?" "Who's that hot guy that came in with Phred?" I roll my eyes and walk away. "Ha! He's mine!" I hear Sonia say, and they start bickering, like always. I try to make it through the rest of the day, but my boss Drew tells me to go home. "I'm fine Drew, really." I tell him. "Nope, I don't care what you say. I've never seen you like this so go home, get some rest, spend time with your sister, something, just get out of here." I sigh and punch out. I decide to walk instead of call Brendan to pick me up. I try to imagine how would it be between us if I went to see Bruno. Would it be awkward? Would it be like we never stopped talking? The breeze blows my hair back. Everything in my heart wants to go to L.A., but I know I'm just setting myself up for disaster if I do. But Phred told me this for a reason. I get to the beach, but instead of going in the house, I sit on the sand. What would I tell Brendan? I could tell him I'm going to Brooklyn. Do I really want to lie to him? We've only been together for 2 months. Oh god, I'm really considering this. I feel someone touch my shoulder. I turn my head. Brendan. "Hey, you're out of work already? I thought you got off at 5?" "Drew let me go early." I tell him. He sits down. I sigh quietly. I want to be alone, but I don't tell him that. He puts his arms around me and I feel myself get stiff. He notices and lets me go. "What's wrong?" he asks. I shake my head and try to smile. "Nothing." He looks at me funny. "You sure, you don't look okay." "I'm positive." He stares but doesn't say anything else. After awhile of sitting there in silence, I stand up and brush the sand off of me. We walk back to the house and I go upstairs to my room. A minute later, the door opens and Brendan lays down with me. From under the covers I softly say, "Brendan, I want to be alone." He pulls the blanket down. "What is your deal? Seriously. Talk to me Lena." I don't respond. He scoffs and gets up. "Is it another guy?" I sigh. "No Brendan, I just want to be alone for awhile." He makes a face and walks out, slamming my door. If he gets mad over something like this, what would he do if I went to see Bruno and he found out. I stick my head under my pillow. I shouldn't even be contemplating this. Any thought that has to do with him shouldn't even be crossing my mind. He's not part of my life. So why am I getting out of my bed and packing a suitcase to take to L.A.?
* * * *
It's been almost a week since I've made up my mind to go see Bruno. My suitcase is packed, my ticket is on my dresser and I'm anxiously looking at my phone waiting for 2:00 to come. Brendan is sadly laying on my bed, his arms around my waist. "Don't find another guy in Brooklyn." he says. I wince a little. Lying to him has got to be one of my lowest points. "I won't babe." "Promise?" "Pinky promise." I say and link my pinky with his. 1:34. "I think I should go now." I tell him. His grip around my waist gets tighter and he kisses me from my leg to my lips. He doesn't want to let me go. "Brendan, I have to go, or I'll miss my flight." "That's fine." he says, with a grin on his face. I push him and give him one last kiss before I go downstairs. I feel horrible. But there's no way I can go back now. "Ready?" Adrian asks me. I nod. The drive to the airport is way faster than I expected. He walks me in and gives me a hug. "Give your mom a huge kiss and hug from me and Ahmity, tell your brother I say hi, you know the usual." he says, smiling. I smile back as hard as it is. "I will. I'll miss you guys." I say. He gives me another hug before he walks away. I sit down and put my head in my hands. There's really is no going back now.
The flight is long. I can't sleep, as hard as I try. My stomach is doing all kinds of funny things and my hands won't stop sweating. The guy in the seat in front of me is old and bald. Thank God. I stare out of the plane window at the clouds. I don't know how he's gonna react to me just showing up, at his place, or wherever he lives. I sigh and lean back. All kinds of thoughts of Bruno rejecting me keep running around in my head, but I brush them off. I can't think like that. I let myself get lost in all our memories back when feelings weren't involved and we didn't have grown up problems. Life was good. I fall asleep with a small smile on my face.
The 'small turbulence' that we 'may' experience wakes me up. It's a good thing my seatbelt stayed on, or I would've hit my head on the ceiling. Than as fast as it came, it was gone. One last bump and the plane has landed. We've arrived. I feel like throwing up and my heart won't beat normally. I look around at the airport, lost like always. I find my suitcase and search for the exit. I see my salvation in the form of Phredley Brown, standing by the doors. I run and give him the biggest hug I can squeeze out of me. It feels so good not to be alone. "Glad you decided to come." he says. I press my lips together and nod. "I still don't think he wants to see me." I say quietly. He shakes his head. "Don't think like that, You're the last hope, if you can't help him out right now, I don't think anybody can." Great. No pressure or anything. We get in his car and he asks me "Do you want to go to the hotel first?" I contemplate. Do I look okay? Or should I change? Should I put make up on and do my hair? What the hell is wrong with me? I'm here to talk to Bruno and try and help him. I have a boyfriend. It doesn't matter what I look like. "No, we can go straight to his place." I say. He looks at me, eyebrow raised. "What?!" I say, getting defensive. He shakes his head, smirking. "Nothing, alright, off to Bruno's place...if he still has a place." The last part came out under his breath, but I heard it loud and clear. "What was that?" I ask. "Nothing Lena, nothing." he says calmly. If he still has a place? Why wouldn't he have a place? After a 35 minute drive, Phred pulls up to some apartment buildings. The outside isn't the best, but I've seen worse. I look around, for Bruno's car. I don't see it. Phred presses the buzzer. "Who is it?" His voice comes through the intercom. My body turns to jelly and my hands start to sweat. "It's Phred bro, open up." He opens the door and we walk in. I hold the back of Phred's shirt. We get to his door and he knocks. I hear shuffling and than the door opens. I peek around Phred, but only see the back of Bruno as he's walking away. Phred sighs and walks in, pulling me with him. Bruno sits in a chair facing the window that looks out over the balcony. His hair is curlier than I remember. He has his head resting on his hand. I'm too scared to say anything. "Uh, I brought someone bro, you wanna turn around for a sec." Phred says to him. "Not really." Bruno says. His voice sounds sad, and distant. "Come on man, you gotta snap out of it. This is getting ridiculous." Phred says. "Why don't you get the fuck out than!" Bruno whips around in his chair, his eyes almost red from anger. He looks from Phred to me, and the fire is immediatley put out. He stares at me. I stare back. His eyes turn like a lost puppy and he starts to breathe heavy. It seems like years before he finally says something. "Lena...."