I woke up the next morning so refreshed. Last night was the best night of my life. The sex was so much better than our first time. I giggled to myself while looked up and saw a small hole behind the headboard. “We did a pretty good job, huh?” I asked Bruno but to my surprise, he wasn’t next to me. I looked around the room from my spot and sat up. I leaned forwarded to see if he was in the bathroom. He wasn’t. I saw the bedroom door was slightly opened. I guess he was in the living room. I smiled to myself and wrapped myself with the bed sheet that was hanging off the mattress. I got up from the bed and crept over to the living room.
Bruno was sitting on the couch, wearing nothing but his black boxers. I tiptoed behind the couch to surprise him but I felt a bad vibe coming from him. I walked around the couch to sit next to him. He had bloodshot eyes and his eyes were so puffy, I couldn’t tell if he had been crying or it was from the Jack Daniels he was clutching. He was staring at his laptop screen. He didn’t realize I sat down. I put on hand on his shoulder. “Bruno what’s wrong?” I asked. He didn’t respond. I looked at the computer screen which read.
Thank you for rescheduling your flight with Hawaiian Airlines. Please keep this confirmation number handy while boarding: 45892340.
“Bruno?” My tone of voice was high pitch from worry. Bruno sighed. “I couldn’t sleep. Your phone woke me up from vibrating.” He reached over on the coffee table and there I saw my cell phone beside his laptop. “Your father called 17 times. He also texted 4 times. Your mother also tried to reach you too.” I checked my phone and saw the listing of missed calls. “You went through my phone?” I said in disbelief. “How could you invade my privacy like that?” Bruno just took a sip of his Jack Daniels and didn’t answer. I looked at his laptop again. “Bruno what’s going on?” I asked, crossing my arms. He was starting to piss me off after such a great night together.
“Look, so what if my parents called?” I said, getting angry by the second. “I don’t care if they called. It’s none of your business and you had no right to go through my phone. You should’ve just ignored my phone.” He slammed the whiskey on the table. “It is now my business!” Bruno said raising his voice at me. “I am now involved in what happened. He called you a slut! I saw your mom crying and trust me she looked completely crushed!” I leaned back on the sofa while he continued. “You don’t understand! I saw my parents fighting like this every day and when they got a divorce, it was hard on my brother and sisters.” I was about to opened my mouth to speak but Bruno kept going. “My brother and I lived with my dad while my sisters stayed with my mom. You have no idea how difficult it was not having us together as a family. I don’t want that for you! You are an only child so it will be hard, extremely hard for you.”
I got confused. “Bruno, my parents are not getting a divorce!” Bruno shook his head. “He called you that word! Your mom better have a right mind and not take him back!” Bruno wasn’t acting like himself. Then I remembered: he’s drunk. “This is all my fault. This is why I did this for you, for us.” He looked at the computer screen again. “We need to take a break. Before I do something stupid or-,” “Bruno what are you talking about? Nothing is your fault; it just didn’t go as planned.” “I’m leaving Monday afternoon. I have to.” He took another sip of the whiskey. “Where are you going?” I asked quietly. Bruno sighed. “I’m moving my Hawaii trip a few weeks up. I’m leaving on Monday.” I realized it was only Saturday. I was so shocked. “And how were you planning on telling me, Bruno? That you were leaving me so soon?” I sniffled, trying to hold back the tears. “I am doing this for you! Why can’t you understand?” “Because what you are doing is stupid and selfish!” I yelled. I threw the bed sheet that was covering me at him and started picking up my dress and backpack from the living room floor.
I made my way to the bedroom and put on my clothes. I needed to get out of here. “What are you doing?” Bruno asked in the bedroom doorway. He was still holding his fucking Jack Daniels. “Try to guess, Bruno. You don’t want me around, fine. I’ll save you the trouble.” I said, trying to put on the clothes as fast as I can. “How were you planning on breaking the news to me, Bruno?” Bruno shrugged while I continued to change. “We can start over in August when I come back.” Bruno slurred his words. I couldn’t even look at him. “After seeing you like this, and going behind my back and doing what you have done, I don’t know if I want to see you when you come back.” I scrambled to get my Vans on. My hair was still a mess but I figured I’ll just comb it on my way home.
I walked down the hallway about to leave. “Baby, please don’t go. I love you.” Bruno said behind me. I stopped and turned. I finally let go of my tears. “If you had loved me, you would’ve been honest with me. We could’ve talked this through. We could’ve settled this without going through a fight. AND WILL YOU PUT THAT FUCKING BOTTLE DOWN?!” During the whole argument, Bruno kept a hold on his whiskey bottle. It drove me to the edge. Bruno just stared at me. He too was starting to cry. “Please don’t leave.” He whispered. I shook my head and walked towards the door. Behind me Bruno kept begging me and begging me to stay. Then…
“STOP RIGHT THERE YOUNG LADY!” My eyes widen. I turned around with my jaw hanging. “What did you say?” I asked in shock. Bruno stammered. I remember Bruno saying something similar at school. One of the female students cussed out another student during lunch and started to walk away when he yell the same thing at her. My bottom lip trembled. “I know that right now, this is Drunk Bruno speaking and not the Bruno that I know and love.” Bruno looked so ashamed but I just didn’t care anymore. “So I’m sorry, Mr. Hernandez. I thought I was your girlfriend, Bruno, not your fucking student.” I opened the door and slammed it hard behind me. I ran down the apartment hallway crying my eyes out. I needed to get out of here.
In a flash, she was gone. What the fuck did I do?! I let the perfect girl, my soul mate, out of my life like this. Damn I am so stupid! I opened the door to catch her, but she was already gone. I closed the door and hit my fist against it. Last night I made sweet love to her but now she was gone. All this shit was my fault. I turned and saw my bedroom: the messed up sheets, the hole, so many reminders everywhere. I picked up the sheet that was on my sofa. I bunched it up and I smelled her sweet scent on it. I sobbed quietly on it. I walked towards my bedroom and realized I was still holding the Jack Daniels. I pressed my lips together. I was about to take another sip but I just couldn’t anymore. With all my might, I threw the bottle against the door and saw the glass and liquor shatter all over the entryway.
I reached the bus stop in tears. I got on the bus and everyone was staring at me. I made my way to the very back of the bus and continued to quietly sob. I combed my hair and checked my phone again. Bruno left me texts and a voice message but I just clicked ignore. My parents also called again. I sighed and wiped my tears with the back of my hand. I dialed my mom’s number. She may be easier to talk to. “Where are you?!” My mom said through the phone after the first ring. “I’m on my way home.” Is all I said and then hung up.
I reached my house and took a deep breath. I walked up the steps of the porch and reached the door. I walked in and my parents were waiting on the couch in the living room. I held onto my backpack tightly for safety. My dad shot up fast from the sofa. “You better have a good reason why you are just coming home at 2 PM!” “Wow dad, that’s such a wonderful apology.” I replied sarcastically, walking up to my room. “How can I apologize with that huge hickey on your neck?!” My eyes widen. Oh my gosh Bruno gave me a hickey? I looked down at my father. He looked disappointed and very hurt but I didn’t give in.
“Well, you don’t have to worry about Bruno anymore! He’s going back to Hawaii because of you! So thanks for everything!” I yelled at my parents. I felt my tears flowing down my cheeks but I didn’t care. I continued up the stairs. I got to my room and rushed to my mirror. Holy hell he did leave a hickey! A good one! It was above my collarbone the size of a quarter. I didn’t need this as a reminder of what happened. I sat on my bed and started to think about texting Bruno back. I was about to until a knock on my door interrupted my thoughts. It was my mom. “Sweetie, we need to talk.” I moved my hair to block the hickey but my mom wasn’t fooled. She moved my hair to see the evidence. “I see that you had stayed at Bruno’s.” I rolled my eyes. “Mom, please don’t start. I don’t want to talk about it.” My mom put her hand on my knee. “Your father is sorry for what he has said but you just need to see it through his eyes.” “Mom I’m 18, I don’t drink or do drugs; I’m such a good person and y’all have trusted me so much throughout my life. Why can’t he just see that?” My mom didn’t say anything. She just looked down at her hands. “And what dad said really hurt me. I am not a slut. I love Bruno and he needs to understand that. I am growing up and this is me finding my way and preparing myself to separate from you guys. I’m moving out in August either with Katie or Bruno, I don’t know but you and dad needs to learn to let me go.” My mom nodded. “You are right. I was explaining that to your father last night. I am letting you go but your father doesn’t want you to let go so fast and not this way, with Bruno.”
Later that night, I just stayed in my room. I didn’t want to see my father but he came to my door before I was about to go to sleep. He knocked quietly and asked if he can come in. I just looked at him, side eyed. He walked in slowly and sat on my bed. “I’m truly sorry for what I said.” I just looked at him and didn’t respond. “I should’ve never said what I said but I just got so angry and frustrated.” He looked like he wanted to cry but I cut him off before he did. “Don’t apologize to me; you should say this to Bruno. Oh but wait, he’s leaving on Monday!” My dad looked up at me in disbelief. “Are you sure?” He asked. “Yes dad. I-,” “What happened?” Dad asked, with concern. I opened my mouth in hesitation. “Please tell me. If you want me to understand you guys, then please share with me.” My dad was trying. “I don’t want to talk about it now. I’m still upset at him.” My dad nodded. “I understand sweetie. But I’m here if you want to talk.” He left my room. I knew I should’ve explained more to my parents. I sighed and went downstairs where I explained everything, except the sex part. They looked upset on how he treated me. I told them to just let me handle the situation. “We just need some time apart to reflect.” I explained to them.
Sunday I worked all day to make up my hours. Katie was able to visit and have lunch with me during my lunch break. I told her everything with what’s been happening with Bruno and my parents. She of course was so surprised on his behavior. “Have you tried to call him?” Katie asked. I shook my head. “I can’t deal with him right now. He really hurt me by going behind my back that way. I’m hoping he takes it like a punishment and thinks about what he has done. When he comes back next month, then hopefully we can have a fresh start, but I’m not sure if I can take him back.” She just kept smiling. “I’m sorry but even with the make-up, I can still see that hickey.” It was going to be hard to try to forget Bruno when I have his stupid love mark noticeable on my neck.
Monday was here. I went into work an hour before the mall opened. I asked my co-manager, Carla, to give me as many jobs as possible to keep myself from thinking about Bruno. I was in the back of the store putting the clothes on the shelves. I saw a few customers walk in. I guessed the mall was opened now. I shrugged and continued to work. A few minutes had passed when Carla came up to me and cleared her throat nervously. “There’s a guy asking for you.” I looked at the store’s entrance and saw Bruno with Phil, Ari and Eric. I groaned. I can’t believe he came and brought them as back up.
Bruno smiled while walking towards me. “I’ll leave you two alone.” Carla said, backing away. “What are you doing here?” I asked. “I had to say goodbye. I tried to call you all weekend. I needed to see you before I go.” Bruno looked so cute with his puppy eyes. Oh damn him and those eyes! I couldn’t give in; I was still pissed off at him. “Why?! You’re just going to leave me anyway.” I said, crossing my arms. “Or perhaps it would’ve been better if you had scheduled your flight on my day off, which would’ve been nice of you.” Bruno looked down at his feet. “You’re just making it worse by coming here.” I started to cry. Bruno looked at me and he too was starting to cry. “Please baby, don’t be mad at me. Not now and not like this.” He got closer to me, basically face-to-face. I wanted to reach out, hold him, and not let him go, but I couldn’t move.
“I love you so much, so believe me when I say this will be good for us.” Bruno was so close, I could smell his cologne. I shook my head. “You still went behind my back. You were a drunken coward who took a fucking short-cut!” I was raising my voice at him. There weren’t many customers, so I didn’t care. “You just now realized your mistake but it’s too late.” Bruno backed away slowly. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. “First we had a wonderful night then you had to ruin it!” “Look it wasn’t his fault!” Phil chimed in. “Please stay out of this Phil! Bruno I hope when you go back to Hawaii, you’ll think about what you have done to me each and every single day!” I threw the clothes I was holding at him then I ran to the lockers.
I sat in the corner of our back office. I cried in my hand and felt a tap on my shoulder. It was Carla. “Sweetie, are you okay?” She handed me a tissue. I nodded. “Oh, I’ll be okay. I just need a few minutes then I’ll get back to work.” Carla kneeled beside me. “You can leave if you want to. It’ll be fine.” I shook my head. “No I should stay here to keep myself occupied.” She just sadly smiled. “Well, okay, if you are sure.” She then gave me an envelope. Inside was a key and a note. “Bruno told me to give you this.” She left the room and I opened the letter.
If you need to get away from your family or just from life, here is a copy of the key to my apartment. I love you, Bruno.
I frowned. Why would I want to go to an empty apartment? I put the key into my purse and washed my face. I went into the store and Bruno and the guys were gone. I went to pick up the clothes I threw at Bruno but they were already folded neatly on the table. I felt empty inside. I didn’t know what to do or how to act. I walked out of the store and into the mall. I looked around but of course, Bruno wasn’t here. I bit my lip in nervousness. I turned around and Carla was standing there, smiling. She was holding my purse. I smiled back and grabbed it and headed out of the mall.
I ran through the parking lot and took out my phone. I quickly dialed Katie’s phone at work and basically yelled into the mouthpiece “IT’S ON!” “OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! Meet me by my car!” She responded. I continued to run towards the Burger King which was 3 blocks away. I didn’t care if people thought I was a maniac. I dodged incoming cars and quickly crossed the streets. I got to Katie’s car and she ran out of the restaurant, taking out her keys from her pocket. We jumped into her car and sped out of the parking lot. “Ok girl where am I driving you? To the airport?” “No no it’s too early his plane leaves at 4 and it’s barely going to be 10:30.” Katie got on the highway. “Dude, where do you want me to take you? Call Bruno!” “No I want to surprise him!” I said. “Take me to, um.” She was driving towards the airport. “Take me to Bruno’s. Perhaps he needed to go back and get his luggage. Or maybe he decided to stay.” She then got off the highway and did a u-turn.
It was a few minutes after 11 when we got to his apartment. Katie drove up to the curb. I got out quickly and ran up the steps. “I’ll just wait here!” Katie yelled out. I got up to Bruno’s floor and got to his door. I knocked and then realized I had the key. I opened the door and grinned. “Bruno, I’m here!” I called out. No one was there. I closed the door and went all around the apartment. The bed was made, no luggage were around.
“He’s gone.” A deep voice said behind me. I turned and Phil was at the door. “No he can’t be. His plane doesn’t leave until this afternoon.” “Well he was so hurt that he caught the first plane out of LA.” He said, closing the door behind him and walking towards the couch. He sat down and took off his baseball cap. I started to cry. “I came back. I needed to say goodbye. I know I am late but-,” “But nothing!” Phil said, raising his voice at me. “He tried to apologize to you but you wouldn’t give him a chance!” “No Phil, you didn’t know how it was on Saturday. You didn’t see him drunk, being careless and booking flights behind my back, not thinking about how I would feel.” I looked around the apartment, not believing he was gone. “I know how he was, trust me.” Phil said, rubbing his head in frustration. “No you don’t-,” Phil stood up fast and yelled at me. “HE CALLED ME THAT SATURDAY MORNING, DRUNK, THREATENING TO BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR DAD!” I took a few steps back away from him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell at you.” Phil sighed and sat back down. “No, I deserve that.” I didn’t know what else to say. “No you don’t deserve it. And if Bruno knew that I let go of my temper like he did, he would be very pissed at me.” Phil looked disappointed. “There’s something I need to tell you, which I know will make you hate me.” I smiled and sat next to him. “I doubt I can‘t hate you; you are just such a wonderful guy.” Phil shook his head. “You need to hear what I’m about to tell you, then you can judge me for yourself.”
Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
This sound woke me up. It was still dark outside. My eyes were closed but I listened closely to make sure the noise stopped. It did. I held my girl close and fell back to sleep. A few hours later, I heard the noise again and again. The 5th time, I got up and tried to locate where the noise was coming from. It was her cell phone in her backpack. I looked up at my girl, who was sound asleep on the bed. Her bare body was laid comfortable on the bed. I looked at her phone and saw her father called 17 times. Shit, first her father calls her a slut, now he’s hounding her like a criminal. She’s 18 years old for crying out loud.
I stood up and decided to go into the living room with the phone. I saw he left 2 voice messages. I wanted to see for myself what did he want. It didn’t seem like he was apologizing anytime soon. I leaned over the bed and left kisses on her bare back. I glazed my fingertips over her spine. God she was so beautiful. I couldn’t help but smile.
I put on my black boxers and sat on the couch. I opened her first voice message:
“This is your father. Now I know you are with him and I swear you better come home now. Your mother was worried to death when she didn’t see you in your room last night. Get home now before I come after you and your boyfriend!”
I couldn’t believe it. After what happened last night, he didn’t even acknowledged what he had called his own daughter. And threatening her like this wouldn’t be helping his image either. I got up and took out my Jack Daniels from my liquor cabinet. I wanted to prepare myself for the next voice message. I took a couple of gulps then pressed the Voice Mail button:
“That’s it! You are probably in bed with him which is why you haven’t checked your phone! I want to apologize but how can I when you are with him like this! (“Marcus stop it” her mother in the background said) I am taking this to the school board if you don’t come home right away! “
I took more gulps of my whiskey. That asshole! I swear I am going to kick his ass for not only calling my girlfriend, his daughter, a slut, but harassing her like this! She’s 18 years old I mean come on! I took a few more gulps of JD. I didn’t know what to do next. I grabbed my cell from the kitchen counter and called Phil. I took more gulps. Phil answered, but sounded like I woke him up. “Hey Bruno. Is something wrong? It’s barely 6:45 in the morning.” I paced around the living room, clinching the Jack Daniels. “Dude, I swear! Her father is just too much! I need you to give me a ride to her house.” I started to chug the whiskey. I fight better when drunk. “Bruno what are you talking about? It’s too early for this crap.” “No Phil. First, he calls her a slut, now she’s sleeping in my bed and he calls 17 times and the voice mails, he’s threatening me and her and us and-,” “Bruno just shut up ok?!” Phil said, raising his voice. “No matter what, he’s her father. Of course he’s worried. Try to put yourself in his shoes.”
I held tightly to the bottle. “Phil, w-why aren’t you on my side. Come on, it can be two against one.” I was completely out of it. “Bruno you are drunk. Just sit down and calm down a bit.” I looked toward the bedroom and she was still sound asleep. “I need to protect her and keep her safe. I love her, Phil!” I felt a bit dizzy, so I sat on the couch. I put the bottle down on the coffee table. “Bruno, you say you love her. If you love her, you will stay away from her dad.” “Phil I love her. I can’t just let her dad get away with what he did to her.” I heard Phil sigh. “Bruno aren’t you listening to yourself?! Think about it. What will you achieve if you fight him?” “Respect.” I shrugged.
“Bruno just hear me out.” Phil said. “Let’s say you do beat up her dad or what not. You may get arrested. Or her dad will get a restraining order against you and you won’t see her anymore. It may even jeopardize your teaching career.” “Phil I don’t care about my teaching degree. She’s my life. I love her to death and would do anything for her. I mean, she’s 18 years old!” “That’s just it, Bruno. She just turned 18. Right now, she’s spending all her time with you while girls her age are hanging out with their high school friends during the summer.”
I started to feel better and got up. I walked into the hallway slowly, listening to Phil. “If you beat up her dad or do anything against her or her family, everything will not be fine. A young girl like her needs her family. You have four sisters. Imagine if one of them ran away with her boyfriend. You would be angry, disappointed, and miserable. You have said family is everything to you. Don’t take that away from her.” I sighed. Phil was right, but I just didn’t know what to do. I wanted her to know how much she means to me but how can I do that with her overbearing parents? “Phil, I don’t know what to do.” “Bruno, you know what to do. You guys should take a break. Let her enjoy her time with her friends the rest of the summer.” I turned around and walked toward the kitchen. “Phil you’re supposed to be my friend!” I slurred my words. “You want me to just leave my girl.” I turned again and walked towards my bedroom. “Bruno! It’s either that or you take a chance at breaking up her family. You already saw what happened. That’s only the beginning. You do love her, right?”
I opened the bedroom door quietly. She was still sleeping. The morning sun peaked through the window, shinnying down on her sweet, naked body. “I do love her, Phil.” I love her with all my heart. “Then give her a chance to enjoy her last summer as a teenager.” Phil said. “These past few weeks, she’s been living like a woman, especially with you. I recommend moving up your Hawaii trip; the sooner the better. So you won’t be tempted to fight with her parents. It will also give her time to reconcile with her dad without you being in the way.” I leaned against the wall. I usually take Phil’s advice. I always look up to him like my own brother. But this was different. “What about her? I can’t just leave her. She won’t ever forgive me for it.” “Dude, it’s like that saying: If you love something let it go free. If it doesn’t come back, you never had it. If it comes back, love it forever. But if she truly loves you, she’ll be patient and she will understand in the end.”
I knew Phil was right. I needed to do this for her. I chugged some of the whiskey and slowly closed the bedroom door. I went into the living room and turned on my laptop. “Phil, I’m going to do it.” I slowly started to tear up. “But isn’t this running away?” “Yes and no, Bruno. It’s just the way you look at it.” I wiped my eyes with my hand. “Phil I’m going to let you go. I need to do this alone.” I hung up the phone and went on the Hawaiian Airlines website. I looked over my shoulder and looked back at my room. I’m doing this for her, for us. Oh god I hope she understands.