Bruno kissed her back, caught off guard by her surprise kiss. The Marla he knew would have
waited to kiss him that way until they were alone, not in a backstage room where people could
freely enter and exit at their own will. He was honestly shocked by her ability to sustain the kiss
through his smoky mouth – he had just had a cigarette after his shot. The smell even bothered
him. She let go of his hair and shirt after catching her breath and then coughed.
“Oh shit. I don’t think I can do that again. That tasted horrible.” She made a grossed out face and
He laughed so hard that he almost rolled off the couch where they were sitting.
“Look at what happens when I try to be spontaneous! I get a mouth full of Bruno smoke! It was
the worst idea ever!” she whined.
“I’m sorry!” he hugged her tightly and kissed her forehead.
“But not my hair! Oh not my hair!” she screamed. She got up from the couch and threw him a
big pack of Big Red.
“You don’t touch me until you put at least one of those in your mouth, Bruno Mars.”
“And what if I don’t?”
“I’m leaving!” she said loudly.
“Then I guess I’ll see you later, Marla.” he started flirting with her. He walked toward her with
the pack of gum in his hand. He whirled it around in his hand, but never pulled out any gum.
“Don’t touch me! You’re so grossss!” she yelled at him.
“But only because I like you, Marla!” he got even closer to her stretching his arms above her
shoulders. She crouched underneath his arms to get away from him. She ran into an open
“Oh my god! Get away from me!” she yelled at him as Phred stared at the encounter.
“Grab her, dude.” Bruno instructed his musical director.
“I’m sorry, Marla. I’ve gotta do it. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m afraid he’s going to
“Damnit.” she whispered as Phred put his arms around her, picked her up and handed her over to
Bruno showed her the gum packet with two empty spaces.
“Nope, Phred. I won this round.” she responded. She grabbed him and kissed him the same way
she had kissed him earlier in the evening, this time – in front of more people than she had ever
wanted to kiss in front of in her life. She felt her face get red as they pulled away from each
“Thank you all! Good nigggght!” Bruno announced as he took her hand and ran out of the room.
“Where are we going?” Marla asked him.
“Ha, nowhere. We’re all going to X like we always do. I didn’t have anything fancy planned.”
Bruno was .lying through his teeth.
“Oh. Okay.” she couldn’t hide the disappointment in his lack of planning anything fabulous that
“Don’t be sad…” he sniffed and gave her a sad face.
“I’m not.” she said taking his hand walking toward the group.
They all ended up at the after party. Bruno danced and showed off for about an hour. Marla and
Fiona mingled with the VIP section. Fiona enjoyed meeting her new friends and told them all
about her endeavors. She invited all of them to her future gallery opening and encouraged them
to come to her art show…in December.
After that hour he came up behind Marla and grabbed her skirt. “Give your keys to Fiona. Come
home with me.”
“What are you talking about?” she wondered out loud. He was slightly buzzed, but still sober and
still completely hers. She didn’t drink after having the seizure the night before. She remembered
the whole evening.
“Please?” he looked at her with his dark brown eyes and fedora falling down on his head. She
took his hat from his head and put it on hers, tilting it sideways.
“You’re not going to tell me what we’re doing, are you?” she asked him.
“Of course not…” he replied taking her hand leading her down the stairs. The lights of the club
were so bright that Marla’s head almost started spinning.
“Can we walk a little faster? My head already hurts.” she asked him in a regular voice. Her
regular voice could hardly be heard over all the music. He heard her, though, grasping her hand
tighter and walking faster. He had to get to her before he lost her that night.
“I don’t know if or who is out there, Marla, but just look down, okay? Cover your eyes with my
hat.” he rubbed her back as they walked toward his car. She nodded and looked down at her feet.
A handful of flashes went off as he held her hand tightly. No one asked any questions that night.
She didn’t look at anyone.
She slid in the car and glanced at the clock. “Dios, it’s 2 in the morning? I have to be at work at
9!” she exclaimed.
“You’ll be fine, Marla.” he told her.
“Bruno! You call me crazy and we’re awake at 2 in the morning on a Tuesday.”
“Welcome to the other side, Marla.”
She yawned as she leaned her head against the car window. “I won’t fall asleep.” she told him.
Bruno held her hand while he drove to his house. Marla fell asleep a few minutes before he
pulled up in his driveway.
“I didn’t fall asleep!” she exclaimed as the car stopped. She glanced at the clock, stressing about
work in the morning – 2:37 AM.
“Oh, yes you did!” he punched her in the shoulder.
“No! I remember everything that was on the radio.”
“Don’t impress me, Marla. Just come inside.”
She followed him inside watching every single step he took. She never had a chance to look at
his butt before. It was pretty darn good looking too.
“Are you looking at my butt, Marley?” he asked her.
“Mhmmm.” she responded. He danced a little as he opened the door.
“I’m looking at yours.” he responded hugging her from behind. She twisted around to face him.
She slipped off her shoes. He took his hat off of her head laying it down on the kitchen counter
so he could run his fingers through her hair. She pulled him so close to her that she could hear
his heart race against her body. He felt her breathe, matching her quick breathes with his. How
was this only the third time they were going to do this? It was like their bodies were so in synch
So perfect, yet this was only the third time. He had to get her upstairs. “I have something to show
you…” he told her.
“What?” she was confused. He said he didn’t have anything planned for the night…or was it the
“Come with me…” he led her to his bedroom filled with red rose petals on his silk sheets and
two lit candles. He didn’t overdo it. He knew it was the perfect amount of cheese. Even one more
rose would have been too much. There was an envelope on the bed. “Open it.”
Kiss me like you did backstage.
She walked back to him with a shy smile on her face. He looked at her with the same dark brown
eyes that had made her melt earlier in the evening. She took a deep breath closed her eyes and let
go in a way she never had before.
Marla’s phone woke her up at 7:15 in the morning.
“Ugh. What a waste.” she turned off her alarm, stepped out of Bruno’s bed and walked toward
the bathroom where she found her pink toothbrush. She found his ihome and ipod sitting next to
the shower. She landed on a playlist that included Beyonce and Nicki Minaj. She wasn’t sure
what to think of it, but she put it in on a low volume and jumped in the shower. She sang to
herself as she towel dried her hair and put on her tinted moisturizer and Peach lip gloss. She
opened the bathroom door to see him on his computer.
“You were watching me. I know it.” Marla told him as she sat down on the bed to greet him.
“If I was watching you, what would you do?”
“I would have danced in the mirror more.” she smiled kissing him good morning.
Next Tuesday Marla sat in the passenger seat of her mother’s Toyota Camry as they drove to the
neurologist for her scheduled doctor’s appointment. It was a long drive – so Marla told her all
about everything after the evening Bruno called her in a panic.
“Mom, he was really concerned. I don’t think he’s just doing this because he can.” Marla’s
mother told her.
“I don’t think he is either, mama. I really like him. I mean, like more than Aaron and we were
going to get married after I finished school.”
“Recueras que Aaron fue horrible.” Marla’s mother responded.
“Yeah, he was a jerk. I can’t believe he hooked up with that stupid hooch. But that’s in the past.
This is hard though. Bruno’s already gone. I don’t even know what to do with myself. He said he
wanted to come to the doctor with me. He knew he couldn’t. He was really bummed.”
“I can’t wait to meet him in two weeks, mija.”
“I hope it’s not a complete disaster, mom.”
Marla completed her EEG complete with all the goop on her head. She sat next to her mother
waiting anxiously for any type of changes in her seizures. Based on the reported changes, the
doctor wanted to review the records right away.
He called them into the office and had her hop onto the exam table. The older Hispanic doctor,
with slicked back dyed black hair reminded her of her uncle. He was always very warm.
“So, tell me about what’s going on, Ms. Gonzales. It’s not normal for us to be seeing each other
in the middle of the year…”
“I know, things have always been so…normal… so. I…” she started getting nervous about
telling him about the first seizure which was even gross to think about. “I think I had one of
those catemenial flare up things we had talked about a few years ago. It happened when I was
with someone. It wasn’t bad, just a little one. That was in March. Everything went back to
normal, a few twitches nothing more than that. Then, I was with the same person maybe a week
“It was a week ago.” her mother interjected.
“Okay, so a week ago. We went out for dinner. It was one of those fancy LA places were
paparazzi go to catch celebrities and their dates. And I guess they wanted to take pictures of my
date and me. My hand was pretty twitchy when we got there, but when we left I guess things got
blue and white and I woke up all sore and my tongue hurt pretty bad.”
“When did you last ovulate, Marla?” he asked her bluntly.
She counted on her fingers. “Last week…”
“I’m not changing any medication. Just be careful with the paparazzi. If you’re still dating that
guy make sure he keeps you away from those lights. Also try to avoid really great sex that same
week just to keep yourself from having those petit mals. If you have them at different times we
might have to reevaluate.” He smiled a grandpa smile at her. It kind of grossed her out, but it was
endearing to think the doctor was thinking of her. There weren’t any changes in your EEG/ It
was just a different reaction. It could happen. Please keep track of your cycle. I will see you in
“Oh….but….nevermind.” She started thinking about that weekend. They had been with each
other several times that weekend. If she was ovulating – and they should have been – nothing
happened that weekend. She was fine. It was perfect. She stopped herself from asking any
questions about it and moved on. “Thank you.”
They sat at Marla’s kitchen table staring at the pregnancy tests that evening. Three days earlier
they had planned to go out the same as they always had. She was his perfect accessory. And
everyone knew it. Tonight, though, he told them all he just wanted to take it easy – sleep. He
needed it. She had been telling him he needed to sleep even before this. He hadn’t had more than
3 days just to be Bruno since February – maybe not even since they had started dating. Marla
preached stress relief and relaxation. It was part of the reason she ran so often and why she did
yoga and pilates. Marla might have asked him to stay at home with her even without this news –
because he needed it – but now she needed it too. He picked each one up and studied them.
“How do these work? Like if I peed on one? What would happen?” he inquired.
“Well, I don’t think it would turn pink, or there would a plus sign, or have two lines, or be
orange, or green….” she looked at each one of them and then remembered her serious side. “It’s
a chemical reaction.”
“Oh….” More silence.
“What…are we going to do?” she finally asked him.
“We still don’t know if these are right….” he said.
“You’re right, I guess. It was only two weeks ago and the only way to be 100% sure is a blood
test. I can’t get that done until Monday at the earliest.” He always seemed to reassure her in some
amazing way. It could be a meeting, a presentation and now a potential life altering
circumstance, he always had the right words. He moved over to the chair next to her. She turned
to face him and sighed heavily. “What do you want for dinner?” she got up to walk to the
kitchen. He watched her every move, noticing that moved a little differently. Maybe a little
slower. “I have stuff for cheese enchiladas and tortilla crusted tilapia with the rice stuff on the
“I want….” he paused to figure out what she wanted. He couldn’t tell. She was blank. He knew
this news was still too much for her. He was going to have to do something to make it better, and
fast. “I want to cook for you….sit down. Watch Chef Brrrunnnno.” He rolled his Rs in most
awkward of ways. She laughed at his attempt.
“What do you mean you’re going to cook?” she asked him. “You never cook. You’re taking me
with you to cook.”
“Sit down, Marla. I’m cooking.”
“Don’t burn down my house, Bruno.” she shook her head walking toward her bar stool to watch
him make them dinner.
She was incredibly impressed with his ability to make her cheese enchiladas. He rolled the
tortillas, mixed the sauce and even made a different special type of rice for them. It may have
taken longer for him to make it, and she might have had to help him, but he did all the dirty work.
He pulled out her hand me down Fiesta ware dishes and set them down on the table. He
poured them glasses of water with crushed ice. “No drinking.” he said as he poured the water.
“Just to be safe.”
“Okay.” she agreed.
They ate their dinner trying to find something non-baby related to talk about. She asked him how
New York was and his quick trip to Canada. He said it was really good – and that he was looking
forward to going to Paris. He was even trying to learn a little bit more French. She commented
on Spanish and French’s similarities and word roots. She went on and on about conjugation and
poetry and how beautiful all languages are in general. She said that one day she wanted to learn
French and Italian. Oh and Portuguese. But German was too ugly of a language. And anything
that didn’t use a Cyrillic alphabet was too over her head. She wasn’t going to learn a new
alphabet - just new ways to arrange the letters. He laughed at the way she thought. I would never
have thought of this. Never in a million years. She thinks of the most off the wall things. But,
maybe they aren’t off the wall. Maybe they are normal things and I’m not normal.
“Marla? When do you think of these things?” he asked her.
“I have a lot of time on my hands because my boyfriend is flying around the world giving 13
year olds their first orgasms. School hasn’t started yet. When school starts I won’t have time to
think about those types of things. ”
“You need to think of those things. They drive me crazy.”