Chapter 34

18/09/2011 17:52

I slowly get up and look out the window. This feeling in my gut I've had many times before, but it's never been this intense. I stare at the closet and the urge to pack my shit and run away is overwhelming. I close my eyes for a second, shaking. I swallow the tears and anger threatening to spill out. There could be a bunch of reasons why he didn't come home. He fell asleep at Phil's? at the label? He was up working all night? As hard as I try to convince myself, I know those aren't possible reasons. I walk out of the room. Phred is sprawled out on the couch, his dreads hanging to the floor and his mouth open. It's 10 something in the morning. I don't wake him up. I sit at the kitchen table, curling my legs under me, staring out the balcony at the cars zooming up and down the street. I don't know how long I sit there, but I feel someone standing next to me. I turn my head and Preesh is looking at me. "Tell me." he says, not bothering to ask me what's wrong. I look up at him, fighting my tears with all I have. "He didn't come home." I say, softly. Phred makes a face, and looks at Bruno's bedroom. He sighs and touches my shoulder. "Hey, don't start thinking the worst, okay? Communication is important, remember that." He says. I nod. "I'm gonna get in the shower." he tells me and heads to the bathroom. I hear the water run and not even a minute after that, I hear the door. My heart beats fast, but I don't turn around. I can smell his cologne from here. I feel his lips on my neck, and he wraps his arms around me. I stay frozen, not knowing if I should return the affection, or be mad. "I love you." He says in my hair. I turn. "Where were you?" I ask, softly. He leans his forehead against mine, staring at my lips, with a concentrated expression. "I needed some time for myself." He says. I furrow my eyebrows. He sighs. "It's better if you don't understand." he says, touching my cheek. I jerk away from him. "I'm the only one that understands, how can you tell me that?" I say. He stares into my eyes for awhile, than turns without saying a word. I watch him walk in his room, and close the door. I feel like a huge question mark slapped me in the face. Phred comes out of the bathroom. "Hey, Chop chop young lady." He tells me. I drag my whole body from the chair and force myself to stand up. No matter how I'm feeling, moping around isn't going to make me feel any better. I quietly open the door to Bruno's bedroom, and walk in. He's curled up under the blanket. I look in the closet, deciding on what to wear. "You know I love you Lena, right?" I stop searching. I blink and say "Yes." "I don't want you to ever doubt that I do, okay?" he says. I swallow. Why is he saying this? I nod, and grab the shirt my hand is on and the first pair of jeans I see. I change as fast as I can, and grab my shoes and leave the room. What's wrong with him? Phred comes out, dressed and his dreads tied up. "Vamos." He says, in Spanish and we both walk out the door. Today he means business. He stops at almost every place we see. Every owner seems to like him. Lucky. Everytime they ask me why am I interested in working at their business, my tongue stops working and I don't talk. It's humiliating. In the car, Phred keeps looking at me. "I'm fine Phredley, I'm just shy and it's hard for me to talk freely with people I don't know." I tell him, before he asks me what's wrong. "Bull Lena, I know your shy but when it comes down to it, when things need to get done, you get them done." He says. I avoid his eyes. "I don't think he did anything, with anybody. He's made mistakes before, but he really loves you and he doesn't try to hurt you intentionally." he says. I look up at him. "Are you sure about that?" I ask. He touches my shoulder. "It's gonna be alright Lena." He says. His voice is convincing, and I'm going to try hard to believe it.

* * * *

Ahmity and Eric are at the apartment when we get back. How quick the tension gets thick is almost unreal. "Hey mama's, Hi Phred." Ahmity says, cheerily. Phred waves, clenching his jaw together hard. "Where's Bruno?" Eric asks. I look at his room. Eric follows my eyes and opens his door. Instead of waking him up, or dragging him out like he usually does, he goes in the room and shuts the door. I make a face. After awhile of sitting, watching t.v. with the biggest awkward silence I've ever experienced in my life, Eric comes out of the room. He kisses Ahmity on the lips, and sits next to her. I see Phred's knuckles turn white as he squeezes the control. "Is Bruno.. sleeping or something?" my sister asks. Eric just nods. I get up and go on the balcony. I stare out across the street. I wish he would talk to me and tell me what's going on. I hate not knowing what he's thinking. After awhile, I hear someone behind me. Eric. He leans against the railing next to me. "You alright kid?" he asks. I shake my head no. "You wanna talk about it?" I shrug my shoulders. He ruffles my hair. "He's just going through changes right now. The label is expecting more from him than he thought, and he's trying to adjust. It's nothing you did." He tells me. "Why couldn't he tell me that?" I ask. For once, Eric doesn't have an answer. "I don't even know kid." he says. "He didn't come home. What else am I supposed to think after what we've put each other through? I'm not going to be happy about it and I'm going to expect the worst, especially since he hasn't talked to me. Me and Bruno talk about EVERYTHING!" I say. Eric nods. "I don't know why I'm not allowed to be happy." I say. Eric puts his arm around my shoulders. "Just think of it as a bunch of tests, that are there to make you stronger." He says. "I don't want to be strong anymore. I'm tired of all that. I think I deserve a break." I tell him. I can feel the tears stinging my eyes. I blink them away. I'm done doing that too. I've done enough crying in my life already. "I know kid, but there's something amazing waiting for you at the end of all this." he says. I don't respond. "He'll talk to you." He says. He kisses the top of my head and walks away. I don't know how long I stay out there, but when I go back inside, everybody's gone. Wonder where Phred went? I plop on the couch and flip through the channels. Nothing intruiging at all to watch. I hear Bruno's door open and his footsteps going to the bathroom. I don't expect him to come sit next to me on the couch when he comes out. He lays his head in my lap. My fingers instinctivly go to his hair. He sighs, deep. "Member the first time you did this?" he says. I clear my throat. "Um, not really." I say. He smiles. "We were at my house, watching a movie." He says. "A scary one?" I ask, as it starts to come back to me. He smiles wider, his dimples showing. "Yeah.." I smirk a little. "Sissy." I say. He snaps his head towards me and bites my stomach. I laugh and push him away. "I wasn't scared, I just couldn't sleep, you scratching my head helped." He tries to explain. I nod, smiling now. "Yeah okay, whatever gets you through the day Bruno." I say. He gets serious. "You know I didn't do anything right?" he says. I twist one of his curls around my finger, concentrating on his dark silky hair. "No." I say, quietly. "Alena." My fingers stop. He sits up and looks in my eyes. I stare back. "Last night Mr. Gordy wanted me to start writing some new songs. He told me to take some time, by myself to think, and draw from inspirations in my life. When I was alone, all I thought about was you." I swallow. I feel something not right in my stomach and my chest hurts. "The words came naturally, I couldn't write them down fast enough." His eyes are glowing, and than they get dull. "When I showed him, he crumpled the paper in my face." His jaw hardens, and I clench my fists. He sighs. He stays quiet for awhile, just thinking. He intertwines our fingers and rubs my hand with his thumb. "He said 'You're songs are great, but they need to be about something else besides Lena' " There it was. I stare blankly at Bruno, my heart feeling heavy. "I sat there all night, not knowing what to do. Music is what I love and have always wanted to do, it makes me happy. And so do you. So when I think about music or writing, you're the only one on my mind. I can't just, switch it off." I stare at his thumb, moving up and down my hand. "I told him that, and I already knew what his answer was gonna be." He says. I know it too. I brace myself as I hear the words out loud. "It's either Lena, or your record deal." He says....................................................