The whole day I was more than nervous, even talking with Lena and Mary couldn't calm me down. Bruno's dad will arrive at 6pm and Eric and Jaime come with us picking him up. We're good in time but there still can be ridiculous much traffic at the 8th street. I tap nervous on the steering wheel while the others are making plans who can 'have' their dad on which day and what they're gonna do with him.
"I'm so excited. You know he didn't see us performing for more than 2 years now, Eric?! I can't mess this up..." It's funny to see Bruno like that. He has major respect for his dad. He always says that everything he knows about music he taught him. I know that he'll be proud of him no matter how good he gonna perform. Sometimes I wonder if he really knows how talented he is, playing all these instruments and singing like an angel. And then there's me, not even be able to hold a tone. Oh god what if his dad thinks I don't fit in their musical family. I breath in deeply closing my eyes for a second and when I open them again the car in front of us is much too close. I brake hard and everybody shuts up shocked. Luckily the car stops before we hit the other car.
"I'm sorry guys." I say and start to drive off again. "I didn't pay attention. You okay?"
I see Jaime and Eric in the rear mirror nodding. I don't look over to Bruno but I see from the corner of my eyes he's watching me.
"Are you alright, babe? You're so pale..."
"Yeah I'm good." I response as calmly as possible while I imagine every horrible question his dad could ask me and how I could answer.
"Everything's gonna be fine, okay?! He gonna love you." Jaime says from behind rubbing my shoulder softly. We got very close the last 2 months and I'm happy that it turned this way after the terrible start.
"He so gonna love you. Don't worry. He's... dad! The coolest guy on earth!" Bruno yells and Eric and Jaime agree with him smirking, so that I have to smile too. I adore how much they love each other. They're really like a big dream family.
A couple of minutes after 6 we arrive at the airport and I let everybody go out before I look for a parking lot. It's always difficult here to find one. Bruno wants to stay with me but I tell him that it can take too long and I don't want him to miss his dad's arrival. He kisses me quick and gets out.
Like I expected it takes me about 15 minutes, but luckily the parking lot is close to the terminal. I get out, grab my purse and rush in. Maybe it takes longer to get through security check or his luggage is one of the last then I could make it in time. When I'm inside I search the crowd for them. After a while I can see Bruno's fedora and another one right beside him. I walk towards them and recognize the face instantly from one of the photos Bruno showed me. It's his dad. Shit! Okay now I have no more time to prepare. I breath in deeply and put on a smile.
Bruno sees me just when I'm almost there. "Oh there you are." He smiles even bigger, puts his arm around my shoulder and turn both of us towards his dad. "Dad! This is Caroline."
I hold out my hand and greet him. "Hello Mr Hernandez. I hope you didn't wait too long here for me?!"
He smirks looking at my hand. "Com'on, call me Peter a'right?!" He says and without hesitation he hugs me tight. I hug him back and when we part he keeps his hands on my shoulders smiling big at me. "So you're the crazy woman who decided to take on this kid over there." He laughs and nods at Bruno.
I laugh too. I'm way more relaxed now. He's really nice and funny. "Well he's not THAT bad..." I reply with a smirk.
He laughs even harder and hugs me again. Then he turns to Bruno. "She's good Bru. You better don't mess with her... I like her!"
God these 3 words are really taking a huge load off my mind. I smile like a fool now. We go back to the car and leave. The whole drive they talk and laugh about everything and all at the same time. They didn't see each other for such a long time and although they called they have so much to tell. Alone in Bruno's life happened so much in the last months. I just listen to them and concentrate on driving.
We arrive at Jaime's place, where Peter gonna stay the 2 weeks he'll be in LA. We drop his bags and go eating. Peter wants to invite all of us celebrating the reunion.
Somehow he doesn't ask me any questions. He just says that he's so glad to meet me after all what Bruno as well as Jaime and Eric told him. I blush thinking that they talked about me. I just hope good things...
After eating and having some drinks we call it the day and I drive everyone back to their cribs. Bruno and I go to my flat. He insisted because we didn't stay there together for some weeks now. Since his dad is here even if it's just for some hours he's like a changed man. His mood got a lot better and it's like the stress from the last months is blown away. The way he treats me is different too with more attention and care. If his dad has such an impact I don't mind at all he's staying here for a while.
The next 2 days is quite the same. After work we all meet and eat together. For Sunday, the day after the show, Eric invites us for BBQ. I'm a bit sad that Bruno and I then only have the possibility to spend time one-on-one at Monday because Tuesday morning I'll fly. But I understand that he wanna spend as much time as possible with his dad. I like him a lot. He has a big heart and is so funny, that reminds me of my dad.
"Bruno, you and the guys will be the next, in about 10 minutes. Get ready!" I tell Bruno maybe a bit to harsh. I'm not stressed but they're the last band and then everything is over. The whole show I worked 3 months for, organised everything on my own is over then. I feel relieved but also sad.
"Babe, we know! Chill! Everything went fine and we gonna do the big ending. The house gonna get down!" He yells and all the guys laugh and say Yeah.
I roll my eyes and leave the dressing room going back to the main area. A drink can't be bad now, I think and go to the bar ordering a glass of wine. Jaime steps next to me.
"Gurl it's almost through and it was amazing! You can be proud of you! I did a quick counting and I don't wanna say too much but it looks like you invited the right people. The donations are around 200,000 bucks."
"Really?" I look at her shocked. "That's wonderful."
Then someone coughs lightly behind me and says. "Well I brought some rich friends..." I turn around seeing Kalman.
"Oh hey..." I never liked him even Tony and now Bruno got into the business through him.
"Hey Caroline. It's really nice seeing you again. Long time huh?"
I shrug with my shoulder. "Yeah quite a while." I look at Jaime who looks a bit confused. "Oh sorry. That's Craig Kalman, the president of Atlantic Records and that's Jaime Hernandez, Bruno's sister. They shake hands and Kalman says one of his slimy compliments. I could throw up.
Then a woman steps next to us. "Excuse me, you are Jaime Hernandez the head of Mama Earth, aren't you?" She asks Jaime who nods. "Hi, my name is Jodie Springs I'm from LA times and I just came to write about this event. But when I heard your speech at the beginning I got interested and would like to know more about your foundation. If you don't mind we can make an appointment for an interview the next days."
Jaime smiles from ear to ear, she tried a few times to get LA times to write about her projects but they always declined. Happily she thanks the woman and walks off with her after saying goodbye to Kalman. Great now I'm gonna be alone with this asshole.
I sip on my wine and see the guys walk on stage starting their show. Kalman stays all the time right next to me. After the first song he leans close towards my ear as if it's so loud that he has to do it. I tense up when I feel his breath on my skin and his voice vibrating in my ear.
"You know that you got more beautiful the last time I saw you?"
I glance at him. God he always tried to fling himself at me. It's so disgusting. "Thanks..." I response flatly.
"I heard about you and Tony... honestly I never understood why you stayed so long with him messing around. You deserve much better!"
"Yeah I know! And I found a much better one!" I say grinning happy at him. He freezes a bit. I think he doesn't expect me to be in another relationship again, though he has no idea that I'm with Bruno.
"Oh... do I know him?" He asks curious.
"Kinda..." I nod towards the stage. "It's Bruno." This is fun.
"Bruno? Are you fuckin with me?" His shocked look is prizeless. "He's a fuckin kid!"
"Oh believe me he's more a man than Tony ever will be!"
"Just look at him. He's so talented and... I love him... very much!" I say proudly and take another sip from my glass.
"Oh you do? Just like Tony huh? Why do you always chose broke singers instead of a real man?"
"I don't think that my private life is your business..." I really hate that I have to be nice to him, I'd rather tell him to shut up and throw him out, but he and his friends donated much and he has the power over Bruno's career so what should I do?
"Okay okay. No need to get impolite..." He watches Bruno a bit and after a while he continues. "You're right. He's really good! Maybe I should put him more on stages and not only into studios..."
I turn my head to him. "You really should do! You won't regret it!"
He leans towards my ear again even closer than before and whispers. "If you're visiting me in my house tomorrow night I'll do it..."
I freeze. Is he really asking me to mess with him? I can't believe that! I back up and would love to slap him. But I keep my anger back.
"Com'on don't act like you don't want it too... and if you love him... so very much..." He tries to imitate my words but in a sarcastic way.
I don't know what to do or say. I try to stay calm but when he gets closer to me again, I raise my hands and am about to push him away.
Then suddenly Peter stands beside us and clears his throat loudly. "Hey Caroline, don't you wanna introduce me to your..." He looks up and down at Kalman before finishing his sentence. "...friend."
I'm relieved that he appeared and saved me out of this situation but I wonder what he thinks about me now. I cough lightly and put a strand of my hair behind my ear. "This is Craig Kalman, the president of Atlantic Records."
Before I could introduce him to Kalman they shake hands and he introduces himself. "Oh... nice to meet you Mr Kalman. I'm the dad of this man who's on stage right now... So I heard you got the chance to get him as a producer?!"
Oh I love Peter. He always has the right words.
"Yeah he does a good job in the studio. I can't complain..." Wow he seems to have respect for Peter. That surprises me.
"And soon on stage as well, right?" I forget how uncomfortable I felt only a minute ago and Peter's present gives me confidence.
"We'll see..." He swallows and fixes his tie. He seems a bit embarrassed. He better should be! "So it was nice to meet you Mr Hernandez... and to see you again Caroline... but I have to go talk to some other people too. You know in this business work will haunt you everywhere..."
We nod understandingly and say our goodbye's. I breath out silently after he left.
"You okay?" Peter asks me a bit worried after some seconds.
Shit! He sensed my upset vibe. "Yeah I'm fine..." I response with a smile and look over to Bruno. "He really is good, isn't he?"
He nods. "Yeah he improved so much since the last time I saw him performing... but Caro don't try to change the topic. What was going on between you and Kalman before I showed up?"
"Nothing..." I try to look like I don't know what he's talking about.
"Caroline! You can't fool an old-timer like me... Tell me!"
I sigh. Should I really tell him?
He rubs my shoulder a bit. "Caro, you can trust me! Just talk to me like I'm your dad, okay?! I see that you're upset..."
I sigh again. "Okay, but you have to promise me that you don't tell Bruno!" He nods and I tell him what Kalman said.
"I knew it." He says angry. "These label bosses always think they're like kings and do whatever they want. How I hate them!"
"Me too. But please don't get angry! I got this... I just need to stay calm..."
"But still he always gonna try something like that... I'm so sorry for that!"
I smile. "Peter it's not your fault! Don't say you're sorry! I can live with that... but I never could live with Bruno being dropped because of me. Luckily he can't afford losing him, he just brings him too much money right now..."
"You're really a good strong woman. I'm happy Bruno got someone like you at his side!" He hugs me tightly and long.
"Stop it! You make me cry." I whisper half jokingly half serious in his ear.
We part and look at Bruno again. He's pretty much into performing but watches us a moment. We wave at him with big smiles and he smiles back at us.
We enjoy and dance to the next songs and much too soon they play the last song and go from the stage. Bruno straight comes to us.
Peter immediately hugs him not caring that he's sweating like a pig. "Son you were awesome. I'm so proud of you!"
Bruno smiles happy like a small kid taking in his father's compliments. Then they go backstage for a quick shower. In the meantime the host ends the show and the venue slowly empties. Also Jaime comes back and tells us that the journalist wants to do a whole series of articles about the different charities and organistations Mama Earth supports. She's beyond happy. Beside the thing with Kalman this night was a total success.
Soon the guys come back and we also head out. It's almost 2am and we're all more than tired, so we quickly say goodbye to everyone and 10 minutes later Bruno and I are on our way to Bruno's flat. We reminisce the best parts of the night and listen to Barry White to relax. A comfortable silence arises and I lean back stretching my legs and circling my feet. They hurt a bit from all the running around the last days and always in heels.
Bruno takes a quick look at me but not long because he has to drive. "Yo Caro... I saw my dad hugging you so long and tight and you looked so happy afterwards..." He shots a look at me again. "What was this about?"
Damn! I knew he saw that. Now I really should think fast of a good explanation! But I'm so tired and don't know what I should say so unfortunately I stay silent too long.
"Caro? What's up? What did my dad say to you? Just tell me!" He asks curiously.
"Erm... nothin special... he just said how proud he is of you..."
"Hm that's nice... but I don't believe you! I know when you're lyin..."
"Bruno please I'm tired okay. It's what he said..."
"Yeah, sorry I know you're tired. But you gotta tell me tomorrow, okay?!"
I nod. At least I have some time to think about what I tell him...