She sat up and covered herself with the blanket and moved her hair behind her ears. “You really mean that Bru?” “Yeah, I mean..I love every single thing about you and when I’m with you I’m the happiest I can be. When I’m not with you your all I think about. And for every song I’ve written in the last few days, you’ve been my inspiration.” She put her hand over her over her mouth and I knew she was smiling under there. I wanted her to say it back so bad. “I know it’s only been a little while since we’ve been together but ever since that day at the beach that we first talked I couldn’t stop thinking about you.” She kept smiling. “I love you too.” I sat up and leaned in for kiss but we were interrupted by her phone ringing. “Damnit sorry babe.” She got up and drug the blanket of off the bed and wrapped it around her body struggling to find her phone. I laughed watching her panic and almost trip over a guitar stand I had on the floor. “Over there crazy.” I said pointing to the window sill. “Hello?..hey girl…yeah it’s a long story.” She sat down at my desk and continued to talk on the phone. I decided I would get up and straighten my room up since we’d be leaving soon.
That was Naomi. Her mom said I can stay over there until things get better at my house. “Phewww” He said acting like he was wiping sweat off of his forehead. “What?” I asked laughing. “I almost thought I was going to have to sneak you in and out everyday since your homeless.” I lightly punched him in the arm. “Shut up punk! I am not homeless!” “Oh you didn’t want to go that route baby doll.” He picked me up from underneath my arms and tossed me on the bed. “Nooo!” I said trying not to laugh. “Oh yeah.” He said as he held me down with his weight. He started to tickle my neck and my armpits and I couldn’t even talk since I was laughing so hard. “Bruno sstooopp!” “What’s the magic word.” “I’m sorry!” he finally stopped and smiled at me. “You are so dumb.” I joked getting off of the bed. He leaned in like he was going to tackle me again and I flinched and stepped backwards. “Two for flinching.” “Ouch Bruno!” He never not had me laughing. I really did love him.
“Have you ever ate here before?” He asked pulling into a parking spot. “Nope.” I said taking off my seat belt. I followed him into the small restaurant and the waitress seated us and brought us both strawberry lemonades that Bruno ordered. “So you excited for your show?” “Hell to the yeah! There’s supposed to be some big names there so I’m praying that something comes out of this.” “Well my fingers are crossed babe.” He just smiled at me. “Are you guys ready to order?” “No I think I need a few more minutes.” I said looking at the menu. “No she doesn’t, bring us both Teryaki Burgers and seasoned fry’s with the special sauce.” “But Bru-” “Trust me babe, I’ve been coming here since I was Elvis.” The waitress looked at Bruno like he was crazy. “I’ll have those right up for you two.” “Thank you” Bruno and I said in unison. “These better be good or I’ll-” “Or you’ll what?” He said interrupting me. “I’m stronger than you think Bruno.” He laughed at me and threw his hands up. “Oh we got a badass over here.”
After we got done eating we talked for almost another hour about just about everything. He told me about Phil and how close they were. I didn’t know that they grew up together and were planning to do their careers as partners, apparently they were as close as me and Omi. He told me a little bit about Ryan too. He was a bit younger than Bruno so I guess he was a little protective over him like a little brother. I told him about how him and Naomi were talking a little bit and that she was really liking him. I asked him about his parents being married, I thought they were since they were both at the graduation but I guess his dad has been living back in Brooklyn where he’s from ever since they divorced last month. I really enjoyed talking to Bruno and getting to know more about his past. I was excited to meet Phil one day too, from what I hear from Bru he is super funny.
You ready to get going? “Yeah I guess.” I smiled at her. “You’re gonna miss me huh.” I said “Yes, ugh. Hurry up and come back already.” I laughed at her as we got up and headed out. “Im gonna miss you too babe but it’s only two weeks.” She looked at me with a side smile. “What?” “Nothing.” She said looking out the window. “Oh no Mrs. ‘You can’t start something and not finish it!’” She laughed and looked back at me turning the radio down. “I was gonna say..you, and your bed are mine when you get back.” Hell yeah. I thought to myself. “Oh is that right?” She turned to her side and rand her hand up and down my thigh. “That is right Mr. Hernandez.” I don’t why she was being such a tease right now but it was not cool. “Really your gonna get me all excited when I can’t even lay a finger on you for two weeks. That messed up!” She laughed and sat back in her seat.
Unfortunately we finally pulled up to Naomi’s. I was really happy to spend time with her these next two weeks, but I was sad that I wasn’t going to be able to see Bruno. He hopped out of the car and grabbed my bag from the backseat as I got out as well. We both met at the front of the car and I was dreading saying goodbye. I don’t know how I was going to handle this for longer periods of time. I can barely handle 2 weeks. “Come heeeeeere.” He said tilting his head to the side. He pulled me in for a hug and returned it squeezing as hard as I could. He rubbed my back as we were locked. “Im gonna miss you.” He said almost at a whisper. “You too Bru.” We let go of each other and he grabbed both of my hands. “I love you Karmin, just remember that.” “I love you too.” I said back. “And I promise I will tell you that everyday for the next two weeks.” I smiled and nodded. “Deal..” He leaned in and grabbed my face and kissed me for a good 10 seconds. “Okay, I gotta go babe.” “Kill em’ out there.” I said mocking him from the day of my surf competition. “This ones for you and me” He said back. I smiled as he got in the car and I waved at him. “Wait!” He said getting back out of the car. “Here take this.” He handed me his yellow and blue checkered shirt of of his body and gave me one more kiss. “Bye babe.” I said watching him get in the car again. He drove off and I blew him a kiss. I was going to miss that boy..
“Hey oh my gosh I missed you!” I said walking into Naomi’s room. “What the fuck is up stranger!” She said plopping onto her bed. “Well besides what I told you on the phone, ALOT!” We both laughed and just caught up on the last almost 2 weeks without eachother. Things between her and Ryan are heating up and its surprising because she’s never been one for relationships. “Oh and look what he got me yesterday!” She jumped up and pulled something out of her Jewelry box. “Oh my God Omi it’s so pretty!” It was a gold necklace with a pair of ballet slippers on the charm. “I know right! I love it!” I smiled and told her to turn around so I could put it on her. “There, it looks great.” “Soooo, tell me about Mr. Love Song.” I laughed at what she called him. “He’s the best. This morning he told me he loved me!” “Oh shit, what did you say?” “I said it back, I really do Omi, he’s the greatest thing Hawaii has given me, besides my diploma, but that’s different.” We laughed and kept talking all night about our boys over our favorite Honey Vanilla Chamomile tea and Hot Cheetos.
“Hey short stuff!” Phil’s mom said to me. “Hey mama Lawrence!” I gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and turned to Phil. “What’s good man!” He said as we shook. “You guys hungry? I cooked.” “Yesss, super hungry!” I said rubbing my stomach. While we walked to the parking lot after getting my luggage I texted Karmin to let her know I made it safely.
‘Hey love, I know your probably asleep but I wanted to let you know I just landed :) I love you’
’Thanks for waking me up! jkjk. I love you too Bru. Have fun :) 14 days Muah’
I loved her text messages. She always added little stuff that made me smile. I locked my phone and put it back in my pocket as we all got into the car. Phil turned up some music so we didn’t really talk much on the way. I looked out the window looking around at the scenery and how different it was. I started to think about California and how much I wanted to be there to make a name for myself. I was so ready for this gig.
“Okay were here!” Phil and I jumped out of the truck and I decided I would just get my bags later. I grabbed a basketball that was sitting on the ground and shot it into the hoop they had in the front yard. “Bro, give it up, you are NOT a baller. You’re a singer that’s it.” He laughed and walked into the house and I just shook my head. He was right though, I wasn’t a sports guy, but I still liked to play every once in a while. I walked in the house right behind him and went straight to the kitchen. These guys were like my second family so I always felt at home. “Go ahead and make your plates, I’m going to finish up some paper work in my office.” Phil and I both made ourselves huge plates and sat down at the table.
“So what’s up?” Phil said shoving a bite of baked beans into his mouth. “Nothin really, doing shows with uncle John like always.” “What’s up with that girl?” “Karmin? She’s good.” He took a sip of his soda and cleared his throat. “Are you going to change Bruno.” He asked. “What do you mean change?” “I mean your not going to kick her to the curb or do her wrong like every other girl just because you can.” “Hell no Phil. I could never do that. I’m different now man.” I said putting my hand on my chest. “She’s changed all that.” “Well, only time will tell my friend.” He said in a corny deep voice. “So we doing ‘Top of the World’ next weekend?” “Yeah I guess, that’s all we have right?” I shook my head. “I want to add something different though, something that will hype the crowd up and make them move a little.” “Well lets get to it then.” We rinsed our dishes and spent the rest of the day rehearsing and coming up with a whole new performance.
“So you want to go out tonight?” Naomi asked me as she flipped threw a magazine. “On a Wednesday Omi?” “Ummmm, yeah. Why not?” “I don’t know, don’t you think it’ll be a little boring?” She closed the magazine and stood up. “THIS is not boring.” She said showing off her body. “You’re too much Naomi.” I said laughing. “I guess we can go, I need to get my mind off of Bruno anyways. Im sure he’s having fun so I need to too.” “Damn right! He’s got you all tied up in a knot. Where is my best friend at!” She said knocking on my head. She was right. I was acting like I was never going to see him again. I needed to get back to the old me that was so outgoing and fun. “I’m right here!” I said raising my arms.
“Ugh what are you wearing?” I asked Naomi as I was holding a dress up to my body in the mirror. “Umm, I have no clue, I’m thinking this. You like?” “Love! here, with these.” I said tossing her a pair of black suede pumps. “You are too good, I swear if it wasn’t acting, fashion could be your thing.” I smiled and looked back at myself in the mirror. “Okay turn around I’m changing.” We always did that. She turned around and changed into her dress and I did the same. “You done?” She asked “Yep.” We turned around and looked at each other and smiled. “Makeup and hair, we gotta be out in 45 minutes!”
It’s been three days that I’ve been in Orlando and it seemed like time was going by so slow. Me and Phil spent countless hours in his garage everyday so far rehearsing to perfection. I was always such a perfectionist when it came to doing shows and Phil was always so easygoing about it. “Okay, I’m taking a piss break, I’ll be right back.” He said tossing his tambourine on a stool. I figured I’d use these few minutes to call Karmin.
“Hellooo?” “Hey babe what are you up to?” “I’m getting ready, me and Naomi are going out tonight.” “On a Wednesday?” I asked sitting back on the couch. “Same thing I said!” She said laughing. “Well I was just calling to remind you I love you and I miss you.” “You too babe, 11 more days.” I thought it was cute how she was counting down. Everyday so far she would randomly text me how many days we had left until I came back home. “Alright babe I’m gonna get back to work. Tell Naomi I said hi and please be safe tonight.” “I will Bru, love you.” “Love you too.”
“Ready to go?” “Yes ma’am.” I answered grabbing my purse. We got into the car and drove for about 15 minutes to another little 18 and over club that we’ve been going to for awhile. As we we’re standing in line a group of girls walked up and waited behind us. “He’s so good in bed, I can’t wait until he comes back from Orlando.” One of the girls said to her friends. I listened in closer to their conversation. “Your talking about Bruno right? The one with the big hair?” “Yeah, we’ve done it like twice already and it’s the best I’ve had so far.”
What the fuck I thought to myself. I swear he’s got some explaining to do.
So many things ran through my mind at that moment. I thought about him saying that he loved me and me giving him my virginity and everything else that we’ve experienced together so far. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I was getting played like a fool. “Kar come on!” Naomi said snapping me out of my thoughts. I played things cool as if nothing was wrong with me when in reality I was furious. “ID please.” “Oh sorry, here you go.” “Thank you, to your right.” The security guard said. “Ready to dance?!” Naomi asked me pulling at my arm. “Yeah um, hey give me a second I have to pee.” I turned around and walked towards the bathroom and took a deep breath as I grabbed my phone out of my purse.
“Hey babe, home already? He answered “Bruno, we need to talk.” “About what?” “About the other girl that’s in your fucking pants.” “Karmin whoa what are you talking about?” I swallowed and closed my eyes and just said it. “I was standing in line at the club and some girl, she had big curly hair and a lip piercing, said that she can’t wait for you to get back and you guys have had sex twice and-” “Karmin, calm down babe, let me explain.” I rolled my eyes and leaned against the counter as I listened.
“Her name is Carla, we kind of used to fuck around but we were never actually in a relationship but this was all before I even met you baby I swear, I promise.” I heard her take a deep breath into phone. “Karmin?” “Then how does she know that you are in Orlando Bru?” “I don’t know… I’m pretty sure she found out from my sister. They talk from time to time but babe I promise you from the bottom of my heart she doesn’t mean shit to me and we aren’t even in contact.” She cleared her throat. “Okay..” I was thrown off by her answer and I felt like she really didn’t believe me. “Baby please don’t act like this.” “Act like what Bruno?! You act like I’m supposed to be okay with the fact that some bitch is out to get some from my boyfriend.” “Okay but I told you that I haven’t done anything or even spoke to her since me and you.” She was silent for a second before she spoke. “Promise me Bru, because I swear if your lying to me-” “Karmin, just shut up and go have a good time tonight because you have nothing to worry about. I love you and I will talk to you when you get home. Be safe baby.” And I hung up.
I kind of smiled at what he said to me. I turned around and looked in the mirror at myself. Karmin, you have nothing to worry about, you have nothing to worry about, you trust him and he loves you. I thought to myself. I fixed myself up and I was going to have a good damn time just like Bruno told me to.
‘Hey babe, TODAY IS THE DAY!’
’It would be better if you were here :(‘
’Well you see me in two days, kill em’ up there!’
‘For sure baby, love you.’
Karmin’s text message woke me out of a deep sleep that I was fighting for all night. I’ve been tossing and turning for hours thinking about me and Phil’s performance tonight. I was so nervous and I kind of just wanted it to hurry up and be over with. But, at the same time I knew we would have fun up there and a few seconds in, my nervousness will be gone like always. “Phil!” I whispered across the room. “Psssst! Phil!” “Hmmm.” He growled not wanting to get up. “Man come on we have to get up, this drive is like 4 hours and I know you’re going to have to stop every 30 minutes for a Slim Jim and some Doritos.” He laughed and sat up as he stretched and yawned. “Okay, okay, okay. I’m up, shit. I shook my head and walked out of the room headed for the bathroom. “Good morning short stuff, you guys all ready for your trip?” “Yes ma’am, more ready than we’ll ever be.” I said to Phil’s mom. “I’m really sorry I can’t make it with you guys but promise me you will take care of my truck like she’s worth a million dollars!” I laughed and yawned at the same time. “Sure thing mama Lawrence.”
“So why can’t you just tell your mom that your sorry and move back in.” Naomi asked as she was filing her nails. “Yeah, I wish it was that easy.” “Just tell her, and then ask if Bruno and can like, I don’t know, come over for dinner or something so they can start off on a better foot.” I finished painting my last nail and closed the bottle of nail polished as I thought to myself. “Genious! She’d love that.” Naomi winked at me and started for the door. “I’ll leave you some privacy.”
I sat against the wall in Naomi’s bed waiting for my mom to answer. It rang about 6 times and right before I was about to hang up she answered. “Hello?” “Mom?” “Hi sweety, how are you?” I was really confused as to why she was being so nice to me like nothing ever happened. “Um, I’m, I’m good. You’re not going to like, yell at me for not calling you or anything, I-I’m confused.” “No, I know where you’ve been, Naomi told me.” I smiled and shook my head.I should’ve known. “Listen mom, I’m really sorry for being a brat about everything, I should have just talked to you.” “You are right about that, and I should have been more of a listener. Your dad got me to realize that it’s time for you to grow up and blah blah blah.” I laughed knowing exactly what my dad had told her. He was so easygoing that you would almost think he was careless, but that was his way of handling things.
My mom and I came to the agreement that I need to respect her more and be more open with her about things and that she needs to accept the fact that I’m old enough to make decisions on my own and learn from them, whether they are good or bad. “So i’ll pick you up in about thirty minutes sweety.” “Okay mom, love ya.”
After about 4, almost 5 hours of driving Phil and I finally made it to Jacksonville. I was way different here, there was so much “city” compared to back home, it was like Florida’s Hollywood, I guess you can say. “Okay Brunz, we have about 2 hours to kill, what should we do?” I sat back in my seat and shrugged my shoulders. “Umm, what is there to do in Jacksonville?” He looked around for a second. “Ahhh, I know, I need a line-up.” “Desperately.” I said joking. “Shut up lookin like ‘Side Show Bob’ over there, I can barely see that mirror with your big ass head in the way.” I gave him the finger as we pulled up to a barber shop seconds away from where we just were.
While waiting for Phil to get his line-up I got all caught up in an old magazine that looked like it could have been 20 years old. I flipped through tons of pictures of a lot of old musicians that happen to mean a lot to me. I came across a picture of Elvis and I laughed a little thinking about my childhood. I looked around and over to Phil and raised my eyebrows. He looked over at me like I was crazy and looked back at himself in the mirror. “Excuse me sir, how much would you charge me for a haircut like this one?” He looked at the magazine and then up to my hair. “I can hook you up for about $18” “Let’s do it” He sat me down in a chair and started up his clippers. “Um, what are you doing Bro?” Phil asked me. “I need a new look, especially for LA. This is not going to get me a record deal.” I said pointing up to my afro.
It took the barber a good 30 minutes to finish up on me. “Okay, all done, what do you think?” I looked at myself in the mirror at all angles and smoothed the side of my hair with one hand. “He likes it.” Phil said shaking his head. “Thanks a lot man.” I said shaking the barbers hand. We paid for our haircuts and made our way back to the car. The wind felt so weird on my head. I was about send Karmin a picture of my haircut and see what she thought about it but instead I just decided to text her.
‘I got a surprise for you..”