Arissa woke up in her bed covered in her blanket, a sweater and piles of pillows. She heard Bruno humming in the living room typing on his computer. She made an audible stretching noise hoping to get his attention. She glanced at the clock…:15 in the afternoon. “Ugh…what a mess of a day…” she said sitting up scratching her head with her free arm. He’s not coming in here…damn. She got up, wearing a pink cami and black running shorts. She walked in the bathroom, turned on the faucet and swallowed the pain pills she was prescribed. She caught Bruno looking at her from the doorway.
“You could have told me that you were up….” he responded to her brushing her teeth.
“I tried…you didn’t notice.” she laughed. “I stretched and made monster noises.”
“Oh, damn. Those are so sexy. I hate that I missed them.” he responded with sweet kiss.
She walked out into the kitchen after putting her hair up in ponytail ready to clean up the mess they had left the night before.
“Oh….you didn’t have to clean the kitchen…” she said in shock.
“Oh please. It’s the least I could do. I practically burned your hand and your house down, Rissa. I have a lot more to do to make up for that.” he responded hugging her.
“Thank you…” she said grabbing something from the freezer to warm up for lunch for them.
“Hmm?” she asked looking up from her banana.
“Live with me.” he told her.
“I wasn’t expecting that…” she paused. Why am I feeling this way now? I shouldn’t be freaking out about this. I should be saying yes. I have to say yes. Why wouldn’t I say yes? Yes, yes, yes. Oh my god yes… “But you’re never there, Bruno…”
“Rissy…it’s only a few months. I didn’t say leave here today. After yesterday I realized I have to have you with me. And that’s the closet to you I can be. With you there…”
“It’s not that I don’t want to….” she tried to put her thought together. “This is my home. I would never ask you to move here…but I have to just wrap my head around the thought of it. You know that I think things to death.”
“Do you not think I was scared to death when I moved up to Los Angeles? Arissa, even though my sister was there it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Arissa…I’m not sweeping you away to a far away planet where you can’t see or hear from anyone ever again and I’m not doing it tomorrow.”
“I want you to sweep me away…you have…but it’s still so scary.” she looked at his eyes, so sincere, genuine, looking into her soul. He was trying to find the right words to make everything alright.
“Come home with me. I’ll show you there’s nothing to be scared of.” He responded.
“I can’t…not right now!” she wasn’t sure how to react. She knew he had time to spare her, and she wanted to be with him. “I have a job! I have things I have to do…even tomorrow. I took today and last Friday off, Bruno. I can’t just run away with you.”
“Runaway with me, please….” he pleaded kissing her with a thousand wishes in his head.
Arissa put her suite case down next to his feet as he handed her a copy of his key.
“Welcome home, baby doll.” he opened the door for her taking her heavy suite case that was sitting next to him.
They stopped talking about living together for a few weeks after the tears that fell in Arissa’s apartment. It became abundantly clear, though, after they spent that whole week together that they needed to be together. He knew she would figure it out. And she knew that she was going to have to make the sacrifice. It’s all for love…she thought to herself. And shit, I get to have a swanky fashion PR job…
“Oh it’s so pretty, Bruno!” she walked into the living room that he had shown her on skype so many times that she knew exactly where she wanted to sit, to sleep, to be with him.
“You’re totally taking my spot…you know that right?” he said looking at her as she sat down on the right corner on the large couch. She started laughing at him.
“You’ll live.” she responded.
“I doubt it.” he walked toward her picking her up to move her to the middle of the couch.
“It’s my spot.”
She faked a tear, crossed her arms and harrumphed. “I only wanted to be where you are…” she responded.
“I didn’t say we couldn’t share it…” he said grabbing her to kiss her.
She pulled away from him. “I don’t like sharing though.” She got up trying to get him to follow her, obviously flirting with him.
“I’m pretty sure you’re going to set a record…” he followed her to his bedroom.
“What record is that?” she asked him.
“For the fastest panty drop in the history of this house.” he glanced at his watch. “5 minutes.”
“Let’s make it 4…” she said taking off her red sleeveless shirt slipping off her skinny Joe’s Jeans. “Are you coming?” she teased him. He nodded his head unbuttoning his green shirt throwing the v-neck yellow shirt to the side wrapping his arms around her to kiss her neck, collar bone and back up to her ear. As he continued to kiss her she moved her hands down to take off his black jeans. She felt chills and got tingly as he lightly undid her bra. She backed toward the bed falling on the king sized mattress. Woah. That’s really soft. That’s going to be nice to sleep in. He laid on top of her running his fingers through her blonde hair as she pushed him closer to her. “Oh Bruno, get clossseerr.” He answered her by pushing himself gently inside her, careful not to ruin anything He moved his hands all over her body as she moved herself up to kiss him.
“Bruno!! What the hell are you doing?!” they each heard a loud voice coming from the living room. “Everyone is waiting for you at the studio…you were supposed to be there…. “
“The flight was late…” Arissa looked at one of Bruno’s friends who she hadn’t met yet responding to what she knew he was cursing about.
“Mike…this is Arissa…” Bruno said as he stood up already getting dressed. She was covered in the sheet with obvious red covering her face.
“Well, it’s nice to finally meet you…” Mike responded surprised.
“Yeah. It’s nice to meet you…” she laughed.
“Take care of the sex hair, bro. I’ll tell them you’re running late for….”
“God, like they don’t know I’m getting it on with my fucking fiancé. Come on, Mike.” Bruno threw Arissa her shirt and pants as he started to walk out the bedroom door. She got dressed and walked toward him.
“You scheduled studio time the day I got here?” she asked him. “I mean...I came this week because you weren’t doing things like this…” she looked like she was about to cry.
“Rissy…don’t be upset. Ari scheduled it. I…” he put his hands on her cheek waiting for the tears to come.
“Arissssa! You’re here!” they heard a girl’s voice from the front of the house.
“Oh my god, Bruno. Do you ever lock your door?”
“No…” he laughed.
Bruno’s oldest sister came in the room running to both of them giving them a giant hug.
“I have to go to the studio…take her to your house? I’ll be back for dinner. I promise.” Bruno said kissing both of them on the cheek running out the door.
“What the fuck was that?” Jaime asked.
“Bullshit.” Arissa answered.
Arissa sat on Jaime’s patio on the phone with one of her friends from high school, Melissa, who had moved to Los Angeles with her husband Jordan nearly years earlier. She was studying business at UCLA and he was a computer programmer.
“You know, you can come and stay with us…as long as you need to, Ris. “
“Thank you, Missa, but, I think we’ll get over it. Or, more like, I’ll get over it.”
“What the hell, Rissa? Why should you get over it? He moved you across the fucking country..walked you in your house and then left. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget the fuck. It’s like you’re his live in….”
“Melissa Rodarte! That is not it!” Arissa scolded her friend. Even though they had been friends since 9th grade, Melissa’s thought really caught her off guard every once in a while.
“I just think he was being thoughtless. He’ll figure it out. I’ll huff and puff pretend to blow the house down and then we’ll move on. I mean, am I angry? Heck yes. But is this something I’m going to have to deal with, now and forever?”
“You make a good point there, Arissa. Maybe he just broke you in a little too soon.”
“I won’t deny you that, Miss. I was a bit shocked. But I think I’m over it now. His family is so amazing, and knowing you’re here for me makes it a lot better.”
“And don’t forget Jordan has cute single friends….:” Melissa joked.
“Okay, I think I’m done. We’re on for lunch on Saturday?” Arissa asked.
“Yes. But do I get to see your sexy fiancé?” she asked him.
“No, you won’t. He’s already leaving for Spain.” she responded.
“Break you in soon…huh?”
“I knew it was going to be like this. It wasn’t a surprise, Mel.”
After the evening with Bruno’s sisters she wandered through his house, picking things up, opening drawers and sitting in places to see where the best view of things were. It was a lot bigger than even her parents’ house. And I share this with him…she thought to herself. After taking a shower she grabbed her three sizes too big sweatpants and sleeveless purple Old Navy top slipping into his bed. Shoot. I don’t know which side he sleeps on. He slept on the right side at house…I’ll let him have the right side…She curled up in a little ball with her blanket, turned off the light and fell asleep.
At 3:30 in the morning Bruno walked into the house. He started to slam the door, but then noticed Arissa’s purse on the couch. Oh. Dang. Don’t do that. He thought to himself. And I should probably just put that in a nice place..the floor isn’t the best place for it…wait….her shoes are on the floor. He threw his jacket next to her purse. He turned on the hallway light not to trip on himself as he walked toward the bedroom. He saw her almost in the middle of the bed, in a little curled up ball. Oh, my god. She sleeps like a cat. A cat. But my mom says I sleep like a monkey…hmm. He took off his shoes and clothes next to the bed. And she picked the right side of the bed for me…genius! She suddenly stretched out grabbing a pillow on his side of the bed tightly. He slid in underneath her arm putting his head on the pillow. Her leg wrapped around his. “I’m sorry, Arissa.” he whispered in her ear.
“I know you are.” she answered him.
“Arissa, Grace needs to see you in her office. It’s important…” Kelsey, an assistant at the PR firm Arissa was working at called her in the middle of a massive e-mail conversation about accessories being delivered to a show in New York post-runway show.
“Tell her I’m on my way…” she jumped up from her desk running as fast as she could in her high heels to the office of the director of the firm’s office.
“Sit, sit, Arissa.” Grace asked her politely.
“Hi!” Arissa spoke politely.
“So, Sierra’s sick. I need you to go to Paris and Milan with Nahvia for fashion week.”
“What?! Are you serious?!” she tried to hold herself together.
“Yes. Get your bags packed. I’ll have a car pick both of you up tomorrow morning. I’ll e-mail you the itinerary as I get more details…”
“Can I ask you a question?” Arissa asked.
“Please don’t tell me you can’t go. I have to be in New York.”
“No, I can…but where will I be on the 8th?” she asked. Grace glanced down at the calendar.
“You’ll be in Milan.”
“Oh…that’s good.” she exclaimed.
“Why, what’s the 8th?”
“It’s my fiance’s birthday and he’s in Milan that day.”
“Oh..wait…I didn’t know you were engaged! I never see him…” Grace’s ears suddenly perked up.
“Yeah. I don’t see much of him either….” she said.
“Aww, sweetheart. What does he do? Is he in business? Finance? I bet he’s some kind of millionaire….well he has to be I know where you live!”
“Oh. He’s in the music industry..” Arissa hadn’t opened up to her director yet. A handful of the girls knew they were engaged- she had a few pictures of them on her desk…but otherwise it was a non-issue.
“Well, yes. You’ll be there on the 8th…the Pucci show is in the morning. But after that you’re free, I think..unless Galliano decides to put his collection on display that evening. You’d need to go to that..”
By the time she left the office it was 9 in the evening. I’m going to surprise him. I’m not even going to tell him. I get there late on the 6th. The 7th I’m booked and then…
Arissa moved her way through the crowd at the Dolce and Gabana Spring/Summer 01 floor. She smoozed several key contacts before taking her seat. She was in awe at the show. She had been to quite a few since she started her job in Los Angeles – even catching the tail end of New York Fashion week, but this was more than anything she had ever seen. Cameras were going off and people were screaming out to celebrities as they arrived and took their seats. And then suddenly she heard a familiar soothing laugh behind her. Flashes and “Bruno! This way! Over here!” was all she could hear. He didn’t even tell me he was coming to this! What the hell is going on? Well I certainly can’t ignore him. Her phone buzzed.
Dolce, baby doll, Dolce.
Even though Nahvia and she had shared a long plane ride to Europe, they weren’t the best of friends and she was not one of the few that knew about Bruno.
“Who was that?” she asked.
“It was nothing. I’ll be right back. Don’t get too excited about the show..”
“Good luck trying to get your seat back, Ris…” she yelled as Arissa made her way toward him.
“Phil…” Bruno hit his partner on the side as they took pictures.
“What? That hurt, bro.”
“That girl…with her hair in the bun…black pants and orange top. I swear that could be Arissa.”
“She’s in LA. You just talked to her like two minutes ago…”
“No…that’s her….I know it…” he said through his teeth as they headed toward their 3rd row seats. Is that her? Have I been away from her too long that I’m starting to see things? She’s coming this way. And she has on the ring…I’m going crazy. I’ve only been gone for 3 weeks…
“Excuse me? Can you tell me where Bruno Mars is sitting?” Arissa asked one of the English speaking interns.
“Umm….she frantically went through her list to find his name. “He and his guest should be on the other side…” she pointed over toward the other direction.
“Thank you…” Arissa continued to push her way through to him. He was starting to get closer to his seat…Shit, shit, shit. motherfucker. Screw being polite. She pushed the two girls keeping her away from him without saying excuse me to touch his hand lightly. He better feel that…he didn’t turn around. “Damnit, Bruno.” she said quietly. He turned around hearing his name being called.
The photographers are gone..Who would have said that? It is her. It is her. I can smell her. He grabbed her hand and squeezed it as he kept walking. He didn’t say a thing to her. He pulled her closer to him as he walked toward his seat. “What are you doing here?” he asked her still walking.
“Work….” she answered.
“I like your work…” he said sitting down in his assigned seat.
“Shit! It is her!” Phil looked at Arissa shocked.
‘Yeah, yeah. I know. I can’t sit here..someone else is supposed to sit here. And Nahvia is way in the back where I should be…” she told him.
“No. Sit. I’m Bruno fucking Mars. Whoever was supposed to sit next to me can deal.” He grabbed her hand pulling her into the seat next to him.
“You don’t get this stuff do you?” she asked him.
“I get that you are sitting next to me at a Dolce and Gabana fashion show.” he pulled her arm to get her to sit.
“Let me at least ask who is supposed to sit here…” she pleaded. As she started to walk back to the English speaking intern the lights went off.
“Shit. I guess Italian Arissa has to sit next to Italian Bruno for now..” he laughed pulling her into him. As she sat down next to him, knowing she broke one of the top rules in couture fashion show etiquette, she saw Leighton Meester point toward her seat in dismay with the intern. The intern shrugged and kept walking.
“We are in so much trouble, Bru…” Arissa whispered to him.
“No we’re not. Smile. People are going to know who you are after tonight…” he whispered back pointing to some of the clothes on the runway.
Her phone buzzed.
Are you sitting next to Bruno Mars?
Yeah. Long story. We’ll talk after. What did you think of look 4 and 5?
She continued to text Nahvia throughout the show about the pieces they liked and how to get things into the hands of clients.
“Did you even watch any of the show?” he asked her as the designers made their long walk down the runway.
“I saw every single one.” she told him.
“Now, tell me how tell me how the hell you got to Milan without me knowing…” he said as everyone started standing up to applaud for the show.
“I’m better at keeping secrets than you are..”