“So what is the deal with y’all?” Lola asked her older sister. Yuli, Sarah and Rebecca sat at their parents’ kitchen table getting ready for Julian’s birthday dinner.
“I really don’t know. Gosh. I say I don’t know about this a lot. It’s just so much. Like we both are working on it. We know we need to be together….but it’s like how do I trust this guy? How do I deal with that kind of stuff? And god forbid it happens again…”
“Oh, sissy…” Sarah started. “You need to be with him. You need him like you need air. I think we’ve all known that for a while. A long time. I may have hated on you two last year at this time, but really…”
“She’s right, Isela. Y’all never have your shit together, but when you are together you’re perfect together.” Rebecca agreed.
“No one is perfect…” Isela said looking down at her salad.
“Duh, no one is perfect…” Sarah continued. “But that’s what makes you two work so well. How much have you two been through? And you’re still together. Shit…Nathan would have been outta there at cancer.”
“I know…I know…you’re right. If we can get through all of that then this is just another one of our things. I just wish these things would just stop.”
Isela found herself in the same room with Bruno a week later. He would be done with this in a week and they needed to figure out what they were doing. She needed to know if he was going to be next to her…
“So, when you two left last week I asked you to try to come up with a relationship plan. What are you going to do when you’re done here, Bruno?”
“I’m going to tell her I love her…” he said.
“That’s great to hear, Bruno…but what types of actions will we see?”
“No, really, Isela…I’m going to tell you I love you. And then I just want to be with you. I don’t need anything else. I just want to be able to touch you. And do all the things we used to do.”
“What does that even mean, Bru?” she asked him.
“It means I want to start over again; all over again.”
“I want to date you, Isela. I want to send you roses, I want to kiss you for the first time, I want to leave you notes on your car. I want to write songs about how beautiful you are…”
“So you want to start over again? Like forget everything? Everything that has ever happened?” she was confused. “I want to say I can forget everything…but I don’t know if I can….”
“Can you try?” he asked her.
“I can….but you know it will be hard for me to do.” she responded.
“I just want you to try…” he said.
“Is that something the two of you have agreed on?” Jenny asked,
They both nodded in agreement.
“What are you going to do about your music? Your tour?” she suddenly asked. “No one has told me….” she continued. I think I can ask these things…
“I’m going to stay here until January and make up all the dates I had to cancel…” he explained.
“So you’ll be here…because I need you, Bruno; like I need air.”
Jenny laughed at that statement. “I know you’re being serious, Isela. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Maybe it’s more like I need him like I need Lucky Charms in the morning.”
Bruno followed her out of Jenny’s office after they finished their 1 hour session.
“I love you.” she said kissing him on the cheek leaving for the door.
Isela stare at her computer at work pretending to be working, Maggie, another anchor for the show, came up behind her to see what she was doing. Isela jumped when she caught Emily’s reflection in the computer screen.
“Oh my god! You scared me shitless..” Isela told her.
“”Can we talk?” she asked sitting down in front of Isela.
“Oh…okay…” Isela replied.
“Are you okay, isela?” she asked.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m perfect.” Isela covered up what she was feeling. He was leaving later that afternoon.
“Isela. I wanted to ask you a question about Bruno..”
“Umm…I don’t know if I want to talk about it…” Isela said honestly.
“Okay, fine. We don’t have to talk about it professionally. Personally. We’re friends, right? And I’m worried about you…”
“Worried?” Isela asked.
“Yeah. I just see you walking around like a zombie. And that’s not you. You are usually so animated and fun. You kind of got that way last week. What happened? He’s not really exhausted is he?”
“He’s in rehab. I mean, who doesn’t know that?” she asked.
“Well, I didn’t. I swear.” Maggie responded handing her some Kleenex.
“And it just scares me. I’ve seen him twice, but he’s not who he used to be…” she explained. “He ‘s out tomorrow…”
“Oh sweetie…why didn’t you tell any of us?” she asked. “We would have rallied behind you, held your hand or something…”
“It’s not like he’s just my boyfriend, Maggie. He’s someone I work with on occasion. Girls go crazy for him and boys want to be him. It’s hard to tell when I can say things without someone taking it back to the front of the studio…”
“It’s hard to balance. It really is. We’re all there. There are things that I don’t share with people…even though I put it out there on my show…” Maggie was speaking of her 1 hour Style Network show.
“But you chose to do that..I didn’t choose to tell everyone about it. Or what’s happening. Sure, people ask but that’s when I say I don’t want to talk about it, no comment, blah blah blah…”
“Well, I know that. Just know that we’re here for you. You know that. “
“Thank you.” Isela answered. “Oh god..speaking of this shit…” Isela grabbed her phone that was sitting next to her. “It’s Perez Hilton’s little bitch girl that does the research for him…”
“I wouldn’t answer it…” Maggie told her.
“I have to. They’re good people. I’ll just tell her the truth. It’s not my place to comment on it.” Isela grabbed her phone to answer.
“Isela Ortiz! What the fuck is going on with your boy?” Perez asked her.
“He’s gone for a month..that’s it.” she told him. “I haven’t seen him in a while…”
“Please, bitch. There’s pictures….”
“Where?” she asked.
“Two seconds…they’re e-mailed to you.” A picture of the two of them embracing before she left the last session was on her desktop.
“What do you want me to say? We’re friends. I saw him. End of story…”
“Okay…I understand that.” he told her.
“I’m not going to talk about it. It’s not my story to tell….just word what you’re going to say gently.”
“Okay. That’s fine. But just tell me one thing, are you two together?”
“Ugh. Is that really all you want to know?” she asked him.
“Yeah. Really. You know I don’t talk shit about rehab and stuff. I just want to know if he smashed it.” Isela laughed so hard that she almost stopped breathing.
“Oh please. Good bye Perez. “ she hung up the phone dramatically.
“Isela! You dated him? When?!” Belen asked.
“We dated when I was in school. For like a year and a half.”
“Goodness…” Belen swooned over his GQ photo spread.
“What does the article say?” Isela asked.
“Oh..it’s just about where came from and his inspiration..he talks about his girlfriend a bit…”
“Well good for them. They’re cute together. They could make it.” Isela answered walking out the door.
Three days later Isela opened up the door to her house late in the evening. For some reason, she had been working late and she was tired. Shit. I told him we could do dinner. I don’t even want to do anything. I’m too tired…she thought to herself. I’ll just call him…
She grabbed her phone almost ready to ditch the first date they had planned. We have time…she thought to herself. She heard a knock on the door. Who is that? It’s really late…
“What are you doing….” she started to open the door after seeing it was Bruno. He looked so much better than she had seen him even a few days ago. Wearing a leather jacket, a green shirt and black jeans with boots with his hair messy and curly he was holding a brown bag full of food.
“Thai? I have the firefighters waiting down the street.” he answered.
“Oh Bru…” she smiled hugging him tightly.
He kissed her head wrapping his arms around her tightly. “I’m hungry…” he whispered.
“Come on…come inside…it’s cold.” she told him wrapping her arms around herself. He pulled off his jacket wrapping it around her shoulders as they walked in. Is it wrong that I want to just smell this? She wondered to herself. Bruno pulled three foam containers out from the bag. “What’s the third one?” she asked.
“You’ll have to wait and see.” he answered.
“Give me two seconds…” she went into her room to put on pajamas. Screw it. I’m not impressing him tonight. She came out in sweatpants and a Maroon five t-shirt.
“I like that better then what you had on…” he told her.
“Yeah. I do too, it’s more comfortable. And I’ve been up since 5:30. You’re lucky I even answered the door… “ Isela explained.
“You can’t ignore all this!” he said pointing at himself.
“Oh, I know. I’ve tried.” she took her plate and sat down on the couch clicking on the TV.
“What are we going to watch?” he asked her.
“I don’t know..” she started flipping. By the time they sat down it was 12:30 in the morning.
“That!” he pointed to A&E.
“Hoarders? Are you serious?”
“As a heart attack. I love that shit…” he paused. “They’re more fucked up than I am.” he said as she put on the show. She pushed him reminding him that they were together.
“Don’t say that kind of stuff.” she told him.
They finished eating their food on the couch watching Hoarders. He put the plate on the coffee table as he finished watching her finish eating.
“What?” she asked with her mouth full. “Do I have something in my hair? My teeth?” she made an ugly smile to show him her teeth.
“No, no. Oh my gosh, Isela. No. There’s nothing there.”
“I’m proud of you, Bruno.” she looked at his eyes. They look almost normal… He didn’t respond to her. He just smiled grabbing the food from the table throwing it in the trash. She watched him turning her body to the back of the couch. “B…what’s wrong?” she asked him.
“I just have to make-up all the time I missed with you.” he explained quietly walking back to where she was standing.
“I wouldn’t change anything though…” she told him.
“I wouldn’t either…I’d do it all over again…”
“Shut up! You’re so damn cheesy.”
“What? It’s true.”
“Okay. Whatever…” she said turning off the TV. “Let’s go to bed…” she told him.
She turned off the light wandering into her bedroom. “Are you coming?” she asked him.
“I’m coming…” he said quietly watching her walk into the bedroom. I want to do this right. Is this right?
Isela laid down in her bed turning toward the wall like she always did. I don’t know if this is right. If we’re going to do this…why did I tell him to sleep with me? Is this the right thing? He jumped in the bed next to her smelling her hair as he wrapped his arms around her. At least we didn’t do it…she thought pushing herself into her chest to get as close as she could to him.
Bruno and Isela listened to the radio as they drove home from the grocery store. It had been two months since Bruno left his program. He did a handful of interviews with people, being open and honest about the situation continuing to apologize to his fans and promising to reschedule shows and appearances. They had spent so much time together that it seemed like everything was new and Isela loved being able to go to him the way she had in the past. It was what she was missing – someone to be there for her. Bruno needed someone to be there for him, too. But, most of all he needed someone to understand him. She always knew exactly what to say and what not to say to him. As they came to a stop light Who Says came on. Isela started to belt out the song.
“You don’t even know the words, babe…” he responded over her loud singing.
“I do! I do! Listen to me, damnit!” she responded turning her head toward him licking her lips. “No, you’re right. I know the chorus. And that’s it…nanananananananananannanaaaaa…whoooo saaaayyysssss…..”
“You are perfect, sel. So perfect.” he poked her side while they sat at the light.
“Oh my god. You are crazy.” she told him.
“Crazy for you!” he answered her putting his hand through her hair.
“We’d have pretty Selenas….” she said in a low voice as the song ended.
“We’d have pretty Brunos, too, Isela.”
“But…but…there’s like a zero percent chance….” she went on thinking about the topic pulling into her driveway.
“It doesn’t mean we can’t practice…” he looked at her seductively as she pulled the key out of the ignition.
She raised her eyebrows at his comment. She tried to keep her composure but lost it starting to laugh at his comment.
“Isela! I wasn’t being funny. You want babies, we’ll have babies. Right now. “
“You look at me like that again I think I’ll be pregnant.” she told him grabbing the canvas bag full of groceries. He took two from the trunk walking closely behind her. He hit her butt as she opened the door.
“Stop! I have neighbors!” she laughed at him.
“Well get inside so I can take off your clothes, Isela…” he pushed her some more to get her through the door.
They put down the bags on the counter turning toward each other. “There’s cold stuff in the purple bag…” she said wrapping her arms around him kissing him deeply.
“They’ll be okay…” he pulled away to see lack of any concern on her face. He made a silly face at her taking off her white cardigan leaning in to kiss her again. She took all of it in as he moved down to her neck. She took off his denim jacket running her fingers through his mass of curly hair. He had stopped worrying about after rehab. She adored the curly hair and he loved that she didn’t care that his hair was perfect. She slipped off the short cotton skirt she had on wrapping her legs around him as he started to take off his shirt. She held on to him tightly as he kissed her again. “How are you already cold, Sel?” he whispered to her as he pushed his warm body against hers feeling her goose bumps on her shoulder.
“I don’t know…” she responded in between his kisses.
“Come on. I’ll warm you up quick…” he told her stepping out of his pants taking off her sleeveless shirt. She pushed him onto the couch so he could look at her in her pink and green bra and panties. “You are so damn hot…” he sighed looking up at her. She flipped her hair to really get him going watching his eyes look up and down her body. Shit. I don’t think we’ve played this game in ages…she thought to herself. She threw herself on top of him kissing him deeply. He ran his fingers through her hair reaching her bra unhooking it. He moved his hands along her waist to take off her panties. She responded by slipping off his boxers. She moved down to kiss every part of his body. He watched every second of it. “Do it, Isela…”
What is he doing? She thought to herself. They never did anything after that. Never. She stood walking to pick up her clothes. He got up to follow her toward the clothes. “Leave them there, Sel. Just leave them there…” he said grabbing her from behind.
“What are you doing?” she asked him bluntly.
“We aren’t done yet, baby….” he said kissing her neck pressing himself against her naked body leading her to her bedroom.
“You two were really loud last night….” Yuli said sitting down at the table with a bacon and egg breakfast taco on her plate.
“Consider it payback…” Isela shot back at her sister.
“No. Like we heard y’all when we opened the door…and your clothes were everywhere…” Ben told them.
“Whatcha gonna do, dude?” Bruno asked him. “I’m just that good…” he got up to throw away the foil wrapper from his taco.
“He could probably tell you how to make your girlfriend scream the way I did...” Isela answered sarcastically.
Later that day Isela and Yuli walked down the aisles of Fred Segal. “Yuli…” Isela said picking up a shirt.
“I like that one!” Yuli responded.
Isela paused to think about the shirt looking at the size. “I do too…Bruno wants to have babies…”