The visit with my family went a lot smoother than I had expected. My family was open and accepting of Bruno's "condition" and we all shared laughs and went over old memories together. My mother never failed to bring up another story about my childhood that didn't need to be stated. It irritated me, as it would any daughter, but Bruno would place his hand against my lower back, or maybe grasp my hand discreetly...anything to let me know that it was alright. I needed to learn to relax.
It came time to leave two nights later; but there was one more stop I wanted to make. It was a place I hadn't been since I was 12. And it was closed, of course, at night. But I wanted to introduce Bruno to this part of my life he hadn't experienced although we had been involved with each other for a couple of years now. I parked down the street, in the parking lot of the local bar and we hopped out of the rental Escalade.
"I have something I want to show you...but I need your help." I said, stuffing my hands into my pockets as we walked across the street.
"The cemetary?" He asked curiously, looking up at the fourteen foot tall iron gates meant to keep out hooligans that liked to cause ruckuss and smoke weed late in the evening. It had improved greatly since my last visit.
"I need to get inside." I looked over at him.
Bruno stepped forward to the chain and lock. "Silver." He said before even touching it. He moved over to the iron bars and gripped them tightly. "You do know that being a medium, you could get some real nasty experiences in a place full of dead people, right?"
I nodded confidently. "Yeah...but so far it's only happened when there's a connection between a living person I'm with and the dead. You with your music and your hat...Bella and her child."
"You shouldn't touch anything, just in case. Do you wanna go?" He asked.
"I have to go." I replied. Bruno proceeded to pull the iron bars apart and they bended against his strength wide enough for us to slip through. "I can't see anything, it's so dark. Can you see?"
"Mhm, my vision's crystal clear at night. Where are we going?" He draped his arm around my shoulders as we walked, the leaves crunching underneath the soles of our shoes.
I held onto him tightly. Cemetaries always creeped me out in the daytime, so at night of course I was frightened but with him close to me, I felt safe. Lord knows I would have never accomplished this alone.
"Back by a large statue of Jesus there is a small fountain. Next to it there should be a grave that reads 'Lou Ellen Milton'." I instructed. He stopped walking and looked around in the darkness until he spotted something.
"Found it." He said. It was remarkable, all I saw was surrounding blackness. A lost abyss of nothing, even with the moon shining above us, the trees blocked much of the light. "Hop up." He kneeled down and I jumped onto his back, my arms around his neck as he sped off through the cemetary.
The grave was further than I had assumed, he went over a hill and down a gravel road until we reached the grave. "What's this about babygirl?" He asked, leaning back so I could climb back down off him. I adjusted my jacket before kneeling down to the grave.
"This..." I said, touching the grave inscription lightly, "This is my grandmother." I pressed all over the grave, acting like I was brushing aside stray crumbs of dirt and foliage, but I was hoping to recieve a vision of some sort. I loved my grandmother, she was there for me until I turned 7 and she died of a heart attack. During those beginning years of my life, my mother worked hard and my grandmother was the main one who raised me. After she left; I was forced to grow up and learn how to take care of myself. It wasn't my mother's fault, she had to put food on the table of course.
Alas, I recieved nothing but a breeze.
"When my sister got married, I said I wanted to be in a pretty dress and have a best friend to love too. I was so young...I don't know how I understood the concept of love." I sniffled, "My grandmother bought me a Disney princess dress and put me in it and she said for me not to rush it and that someday a man like my grandfather would come into my life and be my bestfriend and love me forever."
A tear ran down my face unexpectedly and I wiped it away as I continued. "So when I stood next to her in the hospital while she was hooked up to all those machines and dying I begged her to stay so she could meet the boy I was going to love. I just had to make sure she liked him."
I felt Bruno kneel down next to me, and he pulled me into a hug, embracing me close as the tears continued to fall. "But she couldn't talk very well, it hurt her to breathe. So she just took her oxygen mask off and told me she would meet him someday and I could introduce her when it was time for me and him to take our walk with Jesus." I clutched Bruno tighter as the memory was vivid inside of my mind; and that moment made me realize why I hadn't revisited this. I knew I would have an emotional breakdown.
"Then she told me she loved me, and died an hour later."
"Babe..." He whispered, kissing my forehead. "I had no idea." He wiped my tears, holding my face.
"Do you know why I brought you here?" I looked up at him, "Because you're a vampire and I really don't know where you'll be if you meet the true death someday."
He pushed my hair behind my ear. "I think you know the answer to that, sweetheart."
"No." I said abruptly, looking away from the sadness in his expression. I refused to come to terms with that possibility. God could look into Bruno's heart and know his intentions; He would understand his circumstances and protect him from the fiery depths of Hell, wouldn't He? "No, because you didn't ask for this and you're a good person." I took a few breaths before I ran my fingers across the grave. "Dear," That was the nickname we used for her, "This is the man I love with all of my soul. His name is Bru--"
"Peter." He said. "Peter Hernandez; and although I wish we could have met under other circumstances, I hope you know how much I love your granddaughter and how much she has changed my life."
I sighed and I felt as if with the exhalation of my breath, all of my pent up stress and worry disappeared. "Thanks for being here with me tonight." I said as another breeze blew through gently.
"It's nothin babygirl, I was supposed to be here." He stood up, "Wait here." He vamped off and back within seconds, with a hand full of various flowers. "I saw these cast aside on the road a bit earlier. I think they deserve to be with a beautiful woman rather than out there." He placed them in the vase atop the grave.
I giggled softly, wiping the residual wetness from underneath my eyes. "How do you even know she's beautiful, huh?" I teased.
"Simple," Bruno lifted my chin with his fingers as he kissed me, "You had to have gotten it from somewhere."
Even pitch black in a cemetary standing over my grandmother's grave; Bruno still had a way to make me feel warm and bright inside.
"Come on guys, I've got to get this done before I leave tomorrow!" I pleaded with the retarded men who decided they wanted to make me laugh in the middle of my recording session. I should have asked Atlantic to set me up with another production team...but damn it if Phil, Ari, and Bruno weren't the best combination to help me out, I didn't know who else was.
"Seriously." I lifted a brow.
"My bad, that was me that time." Phil pressed the button on the soundboard so I could hear him through my headphones. "You good Rox, go head."
Ari cued the music and I closed my eyes and started to sing the lyrics to my new uptempo pop song I was hoping the label would approve as my single as soon as my tour ended. It was called 'I Don't Dance (I Work)'; and I had written it with help from the boys. I took over most of the production, even though it was supposed to be just them.
As soon as I opened my eyes I saw Bruno and Phil doing the running man and I burst out laughing. "Fuck you, I'm going to another studio!" I called out.
"Maybe you should take a break." Ari suggested kindly. "You've been at it all day producing and writing this thing."
"But I'm leaving tomorrow." I said.
"We'll get it done, don't worry about it." He smiled. I had to admit, we spent a lot of time on this song. I needed it to be perfect...it was the start of my second album and I couldn't let my fans down. I left the booth and went right after Bruno but he zipped across the room using his supernatural speed. I lunged for him again and he zipped across the other side.
So now I went for Phil, who started running around the studio screaming in a majorly exaggerated high pitched voice, waving his hands around. I couldn't even chase him I was laughing so hard. I stopped and sat down on the couch, catching my breath. "I hate you two."
"Note: She said you two." Ari turned around in his chair and pointed to Phil and Bruno.
"At least Ari knows how to behave in a professional setting, you guys act like this around all your clients?" I asked.
"Nope, we just have it out for you." Bruno said with a grin. "Come on, learn to laugh." He vamped over to me in the blink of an eye and pinched my side and vamped away before I could have time to react.
"I have got to say, that is my favorite part of you being a vampire." Phil noted as he picked up the stray wires on the floor that lay askew and began to wrap them up. "But when it comes to the tour, no supernatural shit allowed in pranking!"
My ears perked up, "Tour?" I looked from one Smeeze to the other, "What tour?"
Ari slowly turned back around in his chair to fiddle with the knobs on the soundboard and Phil looked as if he had just swallowed his sneaker. "Um, hello?"
Bruno scratched the back of his head uncomfortably before shoving his hands in his pockets. "I was gonna tell you...at some point..."
"Tell me what?" I demanded. I was thoroughly upset that he hadn't told me he was going on tour! He hadn't even told me that he was starting his career as a performer again!
Suddenly I was swamped with both Phil and Bruno as the ran over to me and shouted, "WE'RE ALL GOING TO TOUR TOGETHER!" They said simoutaneously.
"What?!" I questioned spastically, "What?! What do you mean we're all going to tour together? What?!"
"Got my contract renewed, resigned and it's time for me to go on my second tour. We start it with the last half of yours, and then continue the last half on our own for a couple more months."
"Are you serious?"
"You think we're bad now...just wait until you have the full effect of The Hooligans!" Phil warned.
What could I say? I was thrilled to have him and the rest of his amazingly talented band join me on the last leg of my tour. His 2nd album hit the top of the charts when he "died"; but of course he never had the opportunity to tour that era, so I was happy for him. I knew how much he truly enjoyed performing and I wondered how things would change for him now.
Yet...I was a woman and I had intuition.
Something felt off...about this. Why hadn't he told me sooner?
It was funny how something so little like that could make me a little unsure of what was to come.
"I'll be back."
"You better not be smoking!"
"I said I'll be back!"
Bruno walked downstairs and took out his cellphone, dialing his musical director and close friend, Phredley Brown.
"Yo Preesh, she's about to leave in about ten, you can head on over."
"Took you longer than expected."
"I know, but Phil nearly fucked everything up. No doubt, she definitely is suspicious of something."
"How do you know, was she askin' you about the tour or something?"
"Nah man, you know I can feel her emotions...remember?"
"Right, I forgot about that." He responded. "Well, I'm on my way now."
Lucky for Bruno, he had stellar senses and could hear Roxanne's footsteps before she even reached the bottom floor and came outside. "I told you about that habit, I told you I don't like it and if you don't stop you're gonna fuck up--"
Bruno grasped her and enveloped her into an intense liplock. When he pulled back, he had left her breathless and wide-eyed with surprise. "What do you taste?"
"I didn't smoke, I promise. I just needed to make a call to my sister." He lied. It was for her own good; and she would find out why soon enough.