Red and blue is flashing everywhere and it's making me dizzy. The cop car with Bruno in the back pulls off. The other squad car is still parked and the cop steps out to talk to me. "You his girlfriend?" he asks. He's a tall white guy, with spikey blonde hair and blue eyes. He's chewing gum, extremely loud and reminds me of the annoying officers in bad movies. "Yes." I say, hesitantly. He chews his gum again, and he's purposely making me wait to hear what he's gonna say. I roll my eyes in frustration. All I wanna do is go get Bruno. "We'll hold him for the night, since he's intoxicated, you can pick him up in the morning at 6 A.M." he says. All that for that. I sigh. "Okay, thanks." I say and turn to Phred. I lay my head on his chest and he puts his arms around me. "He'll be fine. It's one night and he's drunk. He probably won't even remember it." he tells me. That's not what I'm thinking about. Bruno's life is miserable and it keeps getting worse because of me. First I put him into a depression, than he ends up being broke and almost homeless because of a song that he wrote for ME, and now he's in jail because he punched a guy for ME. I'm ruining his life. "You're not ruining his life Lena!" Phred says. I really got to stop thinking out loud. "I am, as much as you tell me I'm not, I am Phred! He wouldn't be in jail right now if it weren't for me." "He wouldn't be in jail if it weren't for that asshole, not you." "But if it weren't for me, he would've never punched the asshole." I say, almost crying. "Bruno would've gotten into some other kind of trouble during the night regardless. He gets kinda reckless when he drinks." His face makes me think that he didn't mean to say that out loud. "Let's go, I'll take you back to Bruno's." He walks towards the car but starts going sideways. I raise my eyebrows. "Maybe I should drive. You don't look completely sober yet." I say. He makes a face. "I'm fine! I'm not drunk at all!" He reaches for the door handle, but misses. He looks at me. I smirk. "Alright, you can drive. Just this once!" He says. I laugh and come around the car. It's a good thing all this running away I've done the past 8 months has made me good with directions. I manage to find my way back to Bruno's apartment. I help Phred up the stairs and lay him down on Bruno's bed. He curls up with the blanket and is asleep before I even make it out of the room. I lay on the couch, tossing and turning. I know there's no way I'm going to fall asleep. I keep looking at the time. It seems like the clock is going backwards. Around 2 in the morning, Phred gets up and goes in the kitchen. He opens the fridge, squinting from the light. He realizes Bruno doesn't have anything and shuts it. "Lena, why are you awake?" He says, coming to the couch. "I don't know..I can't sleep." I say. He sits down and I give him some of my blanket. He puts his hand to his forehead and shuts his eyes. I smirk. "Stop drinking so much and maybe you won't have that problem." I say. He opens one eye. "Not gonna happen." he says and we laugh. I lean my head against the pillow and sigh. "What?" he asks me. "I'm worried. I hope he's alright." I say. Phred makes a face. "Bruno's not a punk Lena, He's fine." He says, clenching his jaw. I look at him for awhile. "You guys are really close now huh?" I ask. He nods his head, looking off in the distance. "He's like my brother." He says. "What about Brendan?" I ask. He continues to look off into the distance. "Like I said, people change." I furrow my eyebrows. "What changed?" I ask. Phred turns his head. The moon lights up the room and his face. "After that day when him and Bruno got in that fight over you? I saw a side of Brendan I never thought I would see again." he says. I get chills all over. "He's always been a goofy, happy, loving life kinda person for as long as I can remember. Until his mom died. He got real depressed and he wanted to kill himself. I stopped him a couple times." Phred's eyes stare at the moon, twinkling. I can't tell if it's the reflection of the moon,or tears. "It took awhile, but after medication and therapists, he started living his life again. He covered up his feelings with jokes and laughs, until one day he wasn't covering it up anymore. He was truely happy." Oh my god. I start to shake and I feel like crying. I know how he feels. The ugliest, loneliest feeling in the world is to lose a parent. I think of Papi and my eyes start to burn with tears. I had no idea about his mom, and I never told him about Daddy. I guess we really don't know each other as well as I thought we did. "But after the fight, he was walking around saying he was gonna kill himself. I thought it was just because he was mad and he was just venting, but the next day, he was saying the same thing. If you stayed with Bruno, he was going to kill himself." What?! Phred shakes his head. "I talked to him, I didn't like that he was slipping back into his old ways, but he wasn't hearing me." There's so many questions I wanna blurt out, but I hold my tongue and let Phred talk. "Brendan was with this girl for a long time. You could tell how much they loved each other. But when he would get mad, she was always the target. He could be upset about something that had nothing to do with her, but he would come home and it was like he had tunnel vision and zeroed in on her only." My eyes are wide and I can't control my trembling. My sweet, goofy Brendan. I almost don't believe what Phred is saying. He shakes his head again. "He put that girl through hell. I was his best friend, and I would lie to him just to keep her safe from him." He looks at me, pushing back his dreads. "I don't trust him with you." His words scare me. They sound so dark and eery. "Me and Bruno have this...Bond. Music bonded us. When we work together, it's like a hand in a glove. A perfect fit. I never had that with Brendan. We've always been homies, but Bruno....That man's like my brother. I know how much you mean to him. We've had all night conversations about you." He says, laughing. My face gets red. Thank god he can't see it in the dark. "There's no way in hell I'm gonna let you go through what the last girl went through with Brendan. As long as there's music in my heart and soul, that's how long I'll protect you from him. And trust me, that's a long time." he says, and he laughs. I try to smile but I can't. I feel a deep sadness. Ahmity knows this. That's why she wanted me to stay. She saved me. I hug my knees and wrap the blanket around me. "Who told him I was here?" I ask. I don't know if he has the answer, but I want to know how he found out. Phred makes a face. "Kenji!" he says, and puts his hands on his head. "What?!" I yell. "God! That kid...He did it on accident. Brendan was talking about you and he said something about Bruno and you and being in L.A. It was a big mess." he says, looking sorry. I shake my head. Dammit Kenji! "At least the kid can kill it on the bass." he says. "You guys should make a band." I say, changing the subject. I feel empty, and dark, and confused, ugly, and any other depressing feeling you can think of. I need to snap out of it. Phred laughs. "Bruno was just talking about that." "I'm serious! Bruno knows how to play every instrument on this earth! But, a band would be amazing!" He smiles. "That would be an amazing dream." he says. I furrow my eyebrows. "Why does it have to be a dream? Why can't it be reality?" I say. He sighs. "Sometimes, things are better off as dreams than the real thing." I don't respond. "It's just a lot easier said than done." he says. I nod. "It doesn't hurt to try." I tell him. "Right now, my main focus is getting Bruno signed. I'm his musical director, I guess you could say." He smiles, showing off all his teeth. I laugh. I hear the birds chirping. "What time is it?" I ask. "It's almost 5." Wow. We talked a lot longer than I thought. I feel my eyes getting droopy. "Lena, go to sleep." He tells me. I widen them. "No, in a little over an hour we can get Bruno." I say. He laughs. "What?" "Nothing.." He says, still snickering. "What?!" I push him. "You guys are the same, that's all." He says. I look at him funny. "Nu uh." I say. He looks at me. "Yu huh!" He says back. We sound like little kids. "I'm nothing like Bruno, were complete opposites." I say, telling the truth. "Except when it comes to each other." he says. I smile a little. I feel myself drifting off to sleep and as hard as I try, I can't stay awake.
* * * *
I feel someone touching my hair. I open my eyes. Bruno! I jump up and wrap my arms around him. He laughs. "Good morning!" he says. "Bruno I'm so sorry! It's all my fault! I didn't mean to send you to jail! I feel horrible! I'm so sorry!" I ramble on and on. He presses his lips against mine and shuts me up quick. "It's not your fault." he says, burying his face in my hair. I hear him breathe deep. He stays like that for awhile, than kisses me over and over. "All I could do while I was laying there was hear your laugh and smell your hair. I spent too many nights away from you Lena..I can't do that anymore. I'll drive myself crazy." He squeezes me and kisses my neck. My heart beats extra fast and them damn butterflies flutter in my stomach again. "Alright alright alright, enough of this love fest!" Phred says, coming in the living room. I smile and Bruno purposely kisses me again. I push him, embarrassed. "I don't know about you guys, but I'm famished! I'm hungover and I need food." he says. Bruno jumps up and I fly back and land on the couch. "Geez! I get replaced that easy by food!?" I say. He laughs. "Sorry babe, but I need food!" I roll my eyes and he leans down by me. I turn my head. He picks me up and tries to put me over his shoulder. "Okay! Okay!" I scream. He smiles, putting me down. Were all in our same clothes we went out in. Except not looking so fly as we did last night. Phred drives to the first restaruant that's open. Denny's. We sit at a booth and I lean my head on Bruno's shoulder. If I closed my eyes, I would probably fall asleep. He scratches my head. The waitress comes and pulls out her pad of paper. "Hi my name is Lauren, I'm gonna be your server today. Can I start you off with something to drink." I stare at her. I wonder if she hates it as much as I do? I think of my job and how I have to say the same exact thing, hating every minute of it. She's looking at Bruno with this flirty smile on her face. Bruno's not paying attention, he's looking at the menu. "We need a few minutes." I tell her. She smiles and keeps looking at Bruno. "Okay, I'll be back." She takes forever to turn around, but finally walks away. I glare at her, until I can't see her anymore. Phred is looking at me. "What?" I say, and look at the menu. "Put your claws back in Lena. " He says. Bruno looks up, lost. "Huh?" "Nothing." I say and push his head back down to look at the menu. I take a deep breath. He's right. I can't let my jealousy come out like that. I've always been able to control it. She comes back and we order. Bruno doesn't even notice her. I feel his eyes on me. Her smile kinda disappears and mine gets bigger. Phred shakes his head, smirking. She walks away, with a sneer on her face, clearly upset that Bruno didn't even look at her. He puts his arm around my waist and pulls me closer to him. When she brings our food, she slaps the plates down and walks away. I make a face at her. My food doesn't even compare to theirs. I have a small plate of pancakes and eggs. They both have pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, hashbrowns and a biscuit. And they're wolfing it down like it's the last meal they're gonna have. "So how was jail?" Phred teases between bites. Bruno throws a piece of bacon at him. "Ask your mom." He says with a mouthful of food. I bust out laughing at his lame comeback and pancakes fly out. "Ewww!" Phred says, cause it landed on his hand. Bruno starts laughing while Phred wipes his hand. All of a sudden I feel something hit me. I look down and there's eggs in my hair. "Phredley!" I yell. I can't get the eggs out. "Ewwww!" I say, trying to comb my hair with my fingers. Bruno flings hashbrowns at him and Phred throws a piece of pancake at Bruno. Were all laughing til our stomachs hurt. It feels wonderful to laugh and not think, and just be. The waitress comes by to give us our check. Bruno looks at her and raises his eyebrow. When she walks away he moves his head side to side and purses his lips out. "Why does she have attitude?" he says. Phred laughs. "Cause you wouldn't look at her and she was trying to be all over that!" Bruno laughs. "Yeah..." I say. It came out more angry than intended. "Awe, don't tell me you got jealous Lena." he says. My face gets red. "I didn't!" I say, not looking at him. He flips my hair. "You did! I know that look!" he says, with a devilish smirk on his face. "She did." Phred says. "You stay out of this." I tell him, waving a finger at him. "Babe, these girls ain't got nothin on you." he says. That make me smile, whether I want to or not. He snaps his fingers and sings, "Beautiful girls, all over the world, I could be chasing but my time would be wasted, they got nothin on you baby..Nothing on you baby." It sounded amazing. "How do you do that?" I ask him. "Do what?" "Just start singing something and have it come out sounding amazing." He bites his lip. "It just comes to me. Some people have it and some people don't." I shake my head, laughing. "Sing it again." Phred says. Bruno sings it and Phred starts dancing. "Ay! Another number 1!" He says. "Na.." Bruno says. "Bro, sing that and the Billionaire hook at the meeting on Tuesday. I'm telling you, you're guaranteed to get signed." "You're really sure of yourself there, aren't you Preesh?" he says. What? "What did you call him?" I ask. They smile. "If you ain't preeshed than don't ask." Phred says. I roll my eyes. "Whatever." I say. "Anyway, I know what I'm gonna sing." he says. "Which is?" I say. He winks at me. "Not telling." He says. Out the corner of my eye, I see someone charging towards our table. Eric. "You!" he says and smacks Bruno's hat off his head. "Why the fuck were you in jail?!" He yells. I sink a little lower in my seat. "It was just one night." he says, putting his hat back on. "Hey kid." Eric says and kisses the top of my head, than smacks his hat off again. Phred tries hiding his laugh, and he's making me want to laugh with him, so I cover my mouth. "I don't give a shit!" he yells. Bruno throws his head back, annoyed. "You can't be going around getting drunk, punching people and going to jail! How the hell are you gonna make it like that? Nobody wants to sign idiots!" he says. I look up at Eric. He's not fuming, but he looks angry enough. I get the impression he takes this whole record deal thing more seriously than Bruno. "Sit down and stop bitchin! You sound like a chic." Bruno tells him. Eric sits down. "You look like one." he says back. I bust out laughing. "You guys really gotta come up with better comebacks." I tell them. Eric smiles. Bruno pushes my head. "So do you have everything prepared for tommorrow?" Eric asks. "Yeah, I think so." "What songs do you have?" "I only have one." he says. Eric slaps his forehead. "Why?! You need to have at least 3 songs, just in case." he says. "I don't need it. I know this one will get em" he says, smiling. "I'm not even gonna argue with you." Eric says, knowing Bruno's stubborness. We all leave the restaurant and go our seperate ways. When me and Bruno get to his apartment I collapse on the couch while he takes a quick shower. I force myself to take one when he's done. I lay down next to him on his bed. He wraps his arms so tight around me I can't breath. "I'm really sorry." I tell him seriously. He strokes my hair. "Lena, stop. It's not your fault. I told you I would catch a grenade for you, so jail is nothing." He laughs lightly. I don't say anything, I just lay my head on his chest and listen to his heart beat. I feel him keep drifting off to sleep but he twitches and grabs for me. "Bruno, I'm not going anywhere. Get some sleep, you've been up all night." He shakes his head. "I'm fine." he says. He wraps his arm around my waist and before I know it, his breathing gets deep and steady.
* * * *
"Should I wear this?" Bruno asks, holding up a tux. I shake my head. He rummages through his closet. He's nervous. "Just be yourself." I tell him. He puts on a green and blue plaid button up, dark jeans and no hat. He keeps messing with his hair. I walk up to him and mess it up a little. "There." I tell him with a smile. He takes my hand and kisses it. His hand is trembling. "Bruno, calm down. You're gonna do amazing. They'll be losers if they don't sign you." I tell him. He nods. "E makes me more nervous than they do." he says, laughing. "You ready?" Eric asks, coming from the living room. "Let's do this!" They do their handshake that they've been doing since before I met them.
The whole way there, Bruno keeps fidgeting and messing with his hair. I take his hand and squeeze it. He smiles and me and mouths 'thank you'. Eric pulls up and we walk through some big clear doors. I look around. Motown Records is larger than life on the wall. Eric talks to the lady at the desk and she leaves. She come back a minute later and says, "Right this way." She takes us back to a huge room. "He'll be right in." she says and walks out. The room is bigger than Bruno's apartment. We sit down and it's so quiet I'm afraid to talk. Bruno can't sit still. Eric grabs him by the shoulders and shakes him a little. "You good bro?" he asks. Bruno nods. The door opens and a tall guy, wearing a suit walks in. "How you doing Mr. Gordy." Eric says and shakes his hand. Bruno gets up. "It's a pleasure to meet you Mr. Gordy." He smiles and shakes his hand. I freeze and don't move. "And who's this lovely young lady?" He asks. Eric looks at me, widening his eyes, telling me to stand up. I snap out of it. "Hi I'm Lena. It's very nice to meet you Mr. Gordy." I say, smiling and giving him a firm handshake. After awhile of them talking about stuff I don't understand, he says, "Alright, now let's get to the fun stuff." I get excited, looking at Bruno and E and they look excited too. "If you'll follow me Bruno." he gets up. My face falls and so does Eric's. Bruno follows him out the door and me and Eric run up and put our ear to it. We can hear them talking but can't make out what they're saying. After a minute, I hear them getting closer. We run back to our chairs and sit down right as the door opens. "Alrighty, whatever makes my guests comfortable. I wanna hear all you got." he says. Bruno has a smile on his face and winks at me. I wait in anticipation to hear what he's gonna sing. He clears his throat....