“You’re going to do the pre-show? That’s a big deal, Bruno!” Isela told him over the phone.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal…Isela.” he answered her.
“Yes it is! It will be your first appearance….since…”
“Well..I mean..I guess. But it’s just another performance. I’m more excited about the nominations.”
“Okay. Whatever. It’s still a big deal.” she told him rolling her eyes at his modesty.
“Don’t roll your eyes at me, future Mrs. Hernandez…” he joked with her.
“You can make me do a lot of things, but rolling my eyes is one thing that I won’t ever stop.” she told him.
“Okay…Isela. Fine. But I want you to bring me some sushi…that’s really the only reason we’re getting married.”
“You have Ryan for that, sweetie.” she answered.
“Okay..bring both of us sushi.” he said. She heard Ryan yell over the phone.
“Geez. I’ll bring you sushi.” she told him hanging up the phone.
“Isela…” the phone clicked. “I love you.”
“Is she brining us the good stuff?” Ryan asked him.
“Of course she is, bro. “
“Isela, oh my gosh. I want to see the ring!” Nicki yelled walking up to her for an interview.
“Geez. My hand is going to start hurting showing off this bling.” Isela laughed pulling her hand out to show the 4 time Grammy nominee Nicki Minaj.
“It’s like..so you.” she told her.
“Oh, I know. It’s just perfect.”
“When are you going to get married?” she asked.
“We don’t know yet. We’ll figure it out.”
“Girl! Pick a day! I am so invited, right?”
Isela laughed really hard. “Of course!” she told her.
“Okay, okay..let’s get this interview done…” Isela said glancing at the new camera guy Jared.
Isela asked her random questions and talked about her impending performance. After wrapping it up she caught Bruno and Emienem from the corner of her eye. She winked at him to get him to walk over to her.
“Did you just wink at me, Ms. Ortiz?” Em asked her.
“I’ll wink at you any day, Marshall.” she told him. “And you too, Peter.” she finished.
“She’s got the big guns, dude. Using your real name and shit.” Emienem laughed at her.
“It’s her way of flirting with me…” he told them.
“I’m better though.” Isela told him. She paused starting to realize she needed to actually go an interview. She was too busy starting at his brown eyes and naturally curly hair underneath his fedora.
Isela returned Bruno’s full body scan as she walked into his apartment.
“You are a sexy beast.” she told him grabbing his butt as he led her into his kitchen.
“You didn’t have to remind me, Isela. I already knew that.” he responded.
“I just had to remind myself. My boyfriend is like…woah.” she smiled at him.
He wrapped his arms around her kissing her.
“And he’s good at kissing too.” she told him pulling away.
“My girlfriend is a great kisser.” he said pushing her against the counter. She returned his passionate kiss.
“Isela…I don’t want to rush you, baby.” he said pulling away.
“Bruno…I wouldn’t have kissed you like that if I wasn’t ready.” she told him running her fingers through his hair.
“But, you can’t wear heels anymore…” he looked down at her feet which made her three inches taller than usual- now she was slightly taller than he was.
“Does it drive you crazy when I wear these?” she said spinning around in her black high heels.
“It makes me crazy.” he told her running his fingers along her bare arms. She felt a tingle of excitement. It was the first time he had touched her that way. It was so light, but so perfect. She wanted to jump him right there. She leaned in to kiss his neck as he started to run his fingers through her long brown hair. She felt his lips turning into a smile as she moved up to kiss his lips. She pulled away to ask him what he was laughing at.
“What?!” she asked him.
“Nothing, baby. Nothing.” he responded grabbing her waist to pull her in to kiss her again. She moved her hands up to touch his face as they kissed. He moved his hands up her pink tank top touch her body. She’s so warm…I need to take these clothes off.
“Quit flirting with me and have sex with me…” she said grabbing his hand leading him toward the bedroom.
Isela sat in the back of the room to watch Bruno perform, in public, for the first time since rehab. He’s so good. He really doesn’t understand. I still feel bad for being such a bitch then. Had I known where he would be now, after working that hard I would never have done the things I did to him. This is the first time I am truly sorry for everything. All the other times I was just saying it. Now, I know that I am sorry. Maybe it took me a long time. But, I know now. I know that I was the one that messed it up. Not him. I pushed him away.
Isela walked behind Bruno holding his hand lightly. Of course everyone knew they were together, but they weren’t that couple that got gooey whenever they were out in public.
She stopped him as they got near her car. “Bru…” she stopped him as he got close to her. “Why me?”
“What? What are you talking about?” he answered.
“You could have anyone in the world…and you came back to me. Why?” she asked with a tear coming down her cheek. Thank God we’re alone. Why did I ask him this when someone we know could see me all teary?
“I’m sorry for everything.” she said turning around. He ran his fingers through her hair making her turn around.
“I didn’t choose you, Isela. We chose each other. ..I’ve messed up a lot too. You could have left me so many times, so many times…but..”
“But what?” she asked still trying to hold back her tears.
“But you turned around. You could have kept going…”
“No, I couldn’t. I needed you.” she told him.
“And I need you too…” he told her. “Vanessa and I were done by Billionaire, Sel. She just held on to me to make you mad. She loves making people jealous. She loved having what no one else could have…and everything everyone had too. You always had my heart.”
“But you were so happy with her…you could have fought for her like you did with me…”
“There’s not a single thing that she had that you don’t times a gazillion.” She cracked a small smile when he used the word gazillion. “Sure, she slept with some random back-up dancer, but it gave me permission to tell you the truth…” he told her.
“But nothing, Isela. You’re it. You’re everything. I couldn’t do anything without you. I don’t know what I would do if I lost you.” He wiped her tears off her cheek with his thumb kissing her lightly.
“What if…” she started after they finished their kiss.
“You know I hate what ifs…Isela. I won’t answer them. This is where we are. I chose you, you chose me and I love you so much it hurts some days.”
“It hurts?” she asked. He laughed at her winking at her.
“Oh god!” she said shocked. “You are such a perv!” she told him grabbing him tightly. “But not here.”
Isela walked out of the dressing room in a simple white wedding dress. She twirled around to show her sisters.
“I love this one…” she told them.
“But it’s from Banana Republic…” Yuli said quietly.
“That’s why I like it so much. It’s just normal. I don’t want to be over the top. We are getting married on the beach after all. There’s no reason to get all glitzy and glammy..” Isela told her.
“I love it…it’s perfect…” Rebecca responded to the exchange.
“I do too, Becca. It’s just fucking perfect.”
“I do, too…” her stepmother interjected. “I think it will be perfect.”
“You think so, Tasha?” she asked. “What would mom say, Yuli…?”
A few nights earlier
Isela laid down in her bed stretching out to take up the whole bed. Bruno was finally touring. He was so happy. She was happy for him, but still missed him not being there. She knew she was spoiled. After about 45 minutes of tossing and turning she fell asleep.
“Mama! Come on! We’re going to be late….”
“Xavier…I’m coming! We have to get you to abuelita’s house.”
“She’s making pan dulce!” Xavier answered. Isela picked up the 3 year old rubbing his head, kissing it gently carrying him outside to the car.
“Momma…I love you.” Xavier said blowing her a kiss.
“I love you too, mijo. I love you too…” she trailed off getting into the car. After driving for a few minutes she turned into a small Mediterranean house. “I can smell it!” Isela told her son.
“I can too! Andale mommy…I want the cake!”
Isela walked her son into the kitchen.
“Hola, mami. Como esta?”
“Mija, mi amor…” she reached over kissing her grandson and daughter on the cheek.
“Where are you going tonight?” Isela’s mother asked.
“I don’t know…someone said something about some dive bar. The band is supposed to be good.” she shrugged hugging her mother who was wearing a bright maxi dress with her long grayish brown hair in a bun.
“Just be safe, precious.” her mother told him. “You don’t want to get hurt…”
“I won’t get hurt mami. I don’t know why you worry so much. I’m invincible.” Isela turned around dancing out the door.
“Saying your invincible is not good, Isela. When are you going to learn?”
“Learn what? I’m 22, mom. I know I haven’t done things right. I can’t be perfect like Yuliana or Lola. Lower your standards a bit. Geez. I’m going to school. I’m paying for the apartment. Alex takes care of Xavier when I need him. It’s figured out. Now, if you don’t mind I’m going to go get some drinks with Bianca and Giselle.”
“Just be home in the morning to get him. You know I like to go to 6am mass. And I can’t be trying to wake up Xavier to get there…”
“Call Alex if I’m late. He’ll come and get him.” Isela responded slamming the door.
Isela got into the car speeding off into the distance. As she started to make the left turn onto the frontage road….
“Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit.” Isela jolted out of her dream. “What the hell was that?”
“Yes, honey. Yes. She would love it. It’s amazing.” Tasha tried to hold back the tears. “She would be very proud of you and what you have become. She is proud of you.” Tasha finished.
“We want this one..” Isela pointed to her dress speaking to the salesperson.
“Fabulous! We’ll get one out to you as soon as possible, Ms. Ortiz.” the salesgirl answered.