“Come on, Alexis,” Natalie moaned at her younger sister, rolling her eyes. “I’m sure Pres will have some Barbie’s or something you can play with…”
“I don’t play with Barbies anymore,” she replied moodily, sticking her nose up as she walked into her bedroom.
“Alright, well then I’m sure you can do makeovers,” Natalie said as she leaned in the doorway, raising her eyebrow with a smile towards Alexis.
She turned around from in front of her, giving her a small smile, letting Natalie know that she’d gotten her attention. “C’mon, let’s goooo,” she said as she ushered her out the doorway of the house.
Her brothers were over at their friend’s house for the evening, and since it was a Monday, there really wasn’t much Natalie could do with her sister, so she decided to take up Bruno’s offer in bringing her along.
Natalie took her parents’ car, despite the fact that she technically didn’t have her driver’s license yet. But she knew they really wouldn’t care when she was home for two days without either them or her uncle, so she didn’t worry too much on that aspect.
When got to Bruno’s, sure enough, Lex ran off someplace with the girls while Natalie lounged with Bruno in the living room, attempting to work on their homework, but failing miserably.
“This shit makes no sense, I give up,” Natalie said as she slammed her textbook closed, propping her arms up as she laid on the floor.
Bruno let out a sigh, agreeing with her as he rolled over on his back, staring at her from a few feet away.
“I should probably get the twins anyways,” she said lazily, not really wanting to go anywhere. “Since I’m Mom for the next two days,” she added, rolling her eyes.
Bruno simply smiled as he tossed a ball of paper up above his head continuously. “I don’t mind it when your parents are out of town,” he said, his focus still on the paper ball as he threw it above his face.
“Because you’re afraid of them…” Natalie said, raising a suspicious eyebrow at him.
Bruno shook his head, the same smile still on his lips.
“You’re going to have to see them eventuallyyyy,” she said, moving over towards him.
Bruno shook his head again. “I prefer keeping my body parts intact.”
Natalie rolled her eyes, lightly smacking him on the stomach. “Well homecoming is in a couple weeks,” she said as she propped an elbow up on his chest, looking down at his face.
“So, I’m sure they’d love some pictures before the dance,” Natalie replied simply, watching his face.
“We don’t have to go. I don’t like dances much anyways,” he simply stated, shrugging his shoulders.
“You’re such a baby,” Natalie replied with a smile, leaning down to kiss his smirking lips.
”Bruno!” she heard his sister’s voice ring out. “Can you at least try to not get it on right now?” Tiara said, causing Natalie to break contact.
Bruno lifted his right hand towards his sister, flipping his middle finger up. “Go away,” he moaned, a bit annoyed. “It’s not your business, is it?”
“Well it is when you’re in the living room,” she said as she rolled her eyes, making Natalie blush, suddenly embarrassed.
“What do you want?” he asked with the same tone, ignoring her previous comment.
“Let me borrow your car tonight. I need it.”
“No,” Bruno said as he wrinkled his nose, turning his head towards Tiara. “You have a car. Use yours,” He simply stated.
“And you have a bedroom, so you can use that too,” she stated sarcastically back to him before turning her gaze towards Natalie. Her expression softened when she locked eye contact with her, and an apologetic smile came over her face. “I like you Natalie,” she said, nodding her head once. “So I’m sorry for this,” she added before turning back to Bruno, her expression returning to how it was before. “Let me borrow your car or I’ll slip to Mom that Natalie came over,” she said simply.
Bruno let out an annoyed sigh as he closed his eyes for a minute, knowing she wasn’t supposed to be over when his Mom wasn’t home. “Fine,” he said as he dug in his pocket for his keys, throwing them at Tiara. She caught them with a successful looking smile before turning from the room happily.
“You’re mean,” Natalie said as she poked his chest with her finger, smiling at him. “You weren’t even going to use your car tonight I bet.
Bruno shrugged his shoulders, not really saying anything.
“Well, I really should go now,” she said with a small smile, shrugging her own shoulders, looking down at him. She kissed him softly on his lips, lingering for a moment before pulling back, seeing the disappointment on his face when the kiss didn’t last longer.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?” she said as she raised her eyebrow at his still saddened-looking expression, pulling herself up from the ground.
She put her things into her bag and managed to peel Alexis away to get going. “Good night, Bruno,” she laughed at his funny expression when she walked towards his door. “Love you!” She added before closing it behind her.
A shriek ringing woke Natalie up in the middle of the night, causing a small jolt to run through her body at the abrupt noise. She rolled over in her bed, turning to see the digital clock on her bedside. Three in the morning, she thought, wrinkling her face up at the obnoxious ringing of the house phone.
She tried to get up as quickly as she could, but moved far slower than she anticipated. Natalie quickly walked down the hallway to the kitchen reading off the caller ID of the phone.
Savannah? She thought, wondering why her friend would call her so late on a school night. She brought the phone to her ear, not saying anything as she still tried to wake up, letting out a yawn.
“Natalie?” Savannah’s voice softly spoke out. She sounded anxious and nervous, as if not knowing what to expect from Natalie’s side of the connection.
“Why are you calling so late?” Natalie asked in a hushed tone, not wanting to wake up her siblings.
Savannah let out a shaky breath, stumbling on her words for a moment before getting out the right sentence. “I don’t really know what’s going on,” she said honestly, only making Natalie even more confused. “I-ju-just turn on your tv,” she said breathlessly. “It’s everywhere.”
Natalie felt slightly nervous at her words, but she walked over to the dark living room with the phone still to her ear, grabbing the remote. She turned on the television, changing the station to CNN.
A sudden sick feeling took over Natalie’s stomach as she stared at the screen, feeling suddenly nauseas and lightheaded. “Oh my God,” she barely managed to speak out, her body falling into the seat of the sofa.
Natalie stared at the TV, feeling her heart rate quicken at what she watched. “Wh-what’s going on?” she asked anxiously, biting onto her nails suddenly.
Savannah let out a deep sigh. “No one really knows right now,” she said as Natalie hardly listened, her attention mostly focused in on the two buildings of which smoke erupted from. “There were two planes…”
A knot suddenly twisted inside her stomach as the immediate thought of her parents struck her mind. Natalie shook her head, feeling tears burning in the back of her eyes. She brought her hand up to her mouth in shock as a replay of the terrifying event broadcasted in the upper corner.
Her mind swirled with a thousand different thoughts. She heard Savannah talking to her, but Natalie didn’t or at least couldn’t hear what she was saying. She simply brought the phone down from her ear, hanging up silently, her eyes not once leaving the TV.
My parents, she thought, shaking her head. My parents are in New York. Natalie looked back down at the phone after several minutes, dialing out her mother’s cell phone number. She was shaking as it rang, eventually picking up to her voicemail.
No, Natalie panicked, ending the call to try her father’s phone. When he didn’t answer, Natalie felt herself beginning to cry, calling them each five more times, her hands shaking more each time she tried calling.
After a while she just gave up and tried to steady her breathing, telling herself it was going to be alright. You don’t know anything, she told herself. The odds of this happening to them are so small, she thought, trying to reassure herself. You don’t even know if they were going to be at the World Trade Center.
But what if they’re not ok? She suddenly thought, her mind taking a different direction. They didn’t answer their calls. And they’d call me to tell me they were okay… Natalie felt fresh tears fill her eyes again as she turned her face back down to the phone, dialing out a different number.
Bringing it to her ear, she felt her heart quickly beating beneath her chest, feeling like a drum.
“Hello?” He asked in a groggily voice, probably just waking up. “Why so early?” He asked with a yawn.
Natalie tried to hide the fear in her voice. “Did you hear what happened in New York?” She asked, her voice failing on her.
“No,” He replied, sounding more alert.
“It’s everywhere on TV.” Natalie replied, staring at the images of the television set they had in the living room. She heard him shuffle on the other side as he stumbled out of his bed to turn on the TV. “Oh my God,” She heard him say after a few minutes, his voice almost inaudible.
“I’m scared,” Natalie said with a shaky voice, suddenly feeling herself cry. Her mind continuously thought of her parents, terrified for them.
“Hold on Nat,” Bruno said in a hurried voice. “I’m coming over.” He added before hanging up with her.
Natalie held the phone tight in her hands, her knuckles white as she stared at the horrendous images she saw on her screen. That could be my parents, she thought, sitting down on the couch. A few tears fell before she could stop them, causing her to wipe them away quickly. She didn’t want her siblings to wake up, seeing her crying. They couldn’t see their older sister worry; it’d only freak them out.
She didn’t know how long it was until Bruno came, but she kept her eyes glued on the television the entire time, terrified. She felt a body behind the sofa, the TV suddenly turning off. She turned around to see Bruno with a sad look on his face. “Please don’t watch that,” He said, coming over to sit on the couch next to her, wrapping his arms around her body. She leaned into him, her nerves taking over her body as she struggled to breathe normally.
“Bruno, my parents are in New York City right now,” She said with a cracked voice, begging herself not to cry. He rubbed her back with his hands, trying to soothe her shaking body.
“I know,” He whispered, kissing her gently on her head. “Don’t think about it, Nat. You can’t assume the worst.”
“But you don’t understand,” She said, pulling her head back from his chest. “They didn’t answer their calls. What if something’s happened to them?” She said, her vision slightly blurring as tears filled her eyes.
“You can’t think like that,” He said, pulling her in tighter. “Just try not to worry about it,” he whispered softly into her ear.
Natalie shook her head, tears willing falling now. “Bruno, I don’t even know where they were going to be. I don’t know where they were staying or where the offices were. I don’t know anything.”
He held onto her for a few more minutes until the phone started ringing. Getting up with a hurry, Natalie grabbed the phone that sat on a side table.
“Hello?” She said in a hurried manner, pacing over to the kitchen. She saw Bruno still on the sofa, watching her.
“Hey, Natalie.” It was her Uncle Scott on the other side, sounding distraught.
“Oh,” Natalie said at his voice, a little disappointed it wasn’t one of her parents telling her they were alright.
“I assume you’ve heard,” he said with a sigh, his voice sounding nearly as anxious as hers. “I was worried about you. How are you doing?”
“I-I’m scared,” She admitted, feeling her voice crack.
He let out a soft sigh. “I know, I know,” He spoke in a concerned tone. “You’ve got to trust that everything’s going to be alright though,” He said in a calm voice. Natalie heard movement across the house, seeing her brothers walk into the living room over to Bruno. Great, they’re up now. “Can you come home?” Natalie asked, feeling too weak to deal with babysitting any longer.
“I’m just leaving town now, Nat,” Her uncle replied. “I’m hurrying my way back, so it should only be a few hours. Can you manage until then?” Natalie softly nodded her head, knowing he couldn’t see her.
“Yeah, I think I’ll be alright until then.” She hung up with her uncle, propping her elbows up on the counter as she rested her head in her palms.
“What’s the matter?” She heard Jameson ask from across the room. She lifted her head up, glancing over to her little brother who had a concerned look on his face. Forcing herself to give him a reassuring smile, she replied, “It’s nothing, James.” Natalie looked down at the phone again, deciding to dial out her parents’ numbers again.
“Hey, why don’t you two go play some video games or something?” Bruno asked in a soft tone, nodding towards them.
Natalie pushed the send button, hearing the ring.
“But it’s really early,” Jackson replied, sounding confused. “And we’ve got school,” Jameson added, flopping down on the sofa.
The phone continued to ring, no one picking it up.
“I’m not sure about school today…” Bruno said softly, drifting off. “Why don’t you two go back to bed?” He said, the two boys excitedly running back to their room.
No answer. Again.
Natalie put the phone down on the counter, replacing her head back into her hands. She took deep breaths, wishing they’d pick up just so that she could hear their voice. She felt Bruno hug her from behind, turning her around to face him. She simply rested her forehead on his shoulder, trying not to cry.
“I know I always say how much they annoy me,” She softly cracked out. “And how I can’t stand them,” she added, taking a deep breath again, pausing for a few seconds. “But I can’t afford to lose them, Bruno,” she finally said with a small cry, moving her face into his chest as he still hugged her. “I don’t know what I’d do without my parents.”
“Don’t say that, Nat,” Bruno said, touching the back of her head gently as he pulled her closer. “Because you’re not ever going to have to find out what that’s like.”
“I hope not,” she said weakly, gripping the front of his shirt, telling herself to stop crying.
“Shhh,” Bruno softly whispered, trying to calm her too. “All we can do is pray right now,” he said softly, leaning back from Natalie.
She looked up to him, nodding her head. Bruno cupped both of her hands with his, bringing them down between them as he leaned his head in towards hers, facing the ground. Natalie took a few shaky breaths, leaning her forehead against his, closing her eyes as well.
“Just keep praying, Nat,” he spoke softly, giving her hand an extra squeeze. “Just pray…”