"Fuck the record deal." he says, under his breath. I glare at him. He squeezes my hand. "Lena, please don't look at me like that." he says. I continue to glare. "I can find something else, someone that won't make me choose between what I love to do, and the person I love more than what I love to do." he says. "Like who Bruno?" I say. He shuts his eyes tight, like if he opens them, this will all go away. "I don't know, but I'll find them." he says. I shake my head. "Lena, if you leave, it's not going to make things any better. If I don't think about you all the time now, it's worse when you're gone." he says, almost pleading. "Than what are you supposed to do?!" I say. "What the hell does he want from you, You're still a kid, you're learning and growing." He sighs. "Bruno, you worked your whole life to get this. And you finally got it. I'm just in the way." I tell him. He grabs my face. "Don't ever say that again Lena." He lets his fingers get lost in my hair. "Whatever I do with or in my life, you're a part of it, whether you like it or not. You are NEVER in the way. Your the better part of me. Without you, I would be nowhere. You're the one who's supported me from the start, and you've never stopped. I'll be fuckin damned if this one label tears us apart again. I don't ever want to be without you...EVER." he says. His words hit me hard and kind of put me in a daze. He's right about supporting him. Even though I made fun, I was always the one saying, Bruno's gonna be somebody. "I'm not gonna let you throw it away." I want to cry. He holds my face gently. "I'm not gonna throw you away." he says, and kisses me. I grab his curls and kiss him back. It's so intense that we both run out of air. "I know I say this alot.. but. I love you." I tell him. He smirks. "Yeah, you do say that alot." I push him and he laughs. He buries his face in my hair. "I love you more." he says. I close my eyes and breathe in his cologne smell.
* * * *
It's been a week since we talked. Bruno is never home. I spend all day by myself at the apartment. Phred got a job. I didn't. Ahmity and Eric spend all there time together and I have no friends in L.A., nor do I want to make any. Everyday, I start to pack my stuff, than break down and put it all back. I'm torn. The only reason I stay is because I know how heartbroken he'll be if I leave. I pace the room, contemplating. I don't want to do the running away thing anymore. But telling him that I'm going back to Brooklyn will not work. He won't let me. He'll literally hold me down, or do something like assign someone to watch me so I don't sneak away. He's crazy like that. The only way I'll be able to leave is if he knows I want to, for me. And I've thought about it everyday since we talked, to tell him I'm not happy here, but I can't bring myself to lie to him. I'm stuck and I don't know what to do. I'm constantly on his mind, the way he is on mine. When Bruno's passionate about something, he puts his all into it, and right now, that thing that he's putting his all into and is passionate about is me, and not music. I know if I'm not here, eventually over time he'll have to somehow someway start thinking of other things besides me. And that'll be the only way he won't get dropped from this damn label. I sigh. It's like the whole world is against us being together. Together and be happy anyway. I don't know if that's good or bad. Do we stay together and prove to everyone and everything that we can make it, or do we take that as a sign, and slit up? I hold my head. This is too much for 18 year olds. My phone rings, and it's like he read my mind and knew that he should call in this moment. "Hello?" I say, trying not to sound too sad. "Just making sure you didn't leave me." he says, joking with a hint of seriousness. I glance at my suitcase laying open on the floor. My face turns a little red, like he can see me or something. "I'm still here babe. Don't worry." I tell him, hoping I sound convincing. He sighs. "What's the matter?" I ask him. "Tired." he says. "You been working hard?" I say. "No, I'm tired of.. this. It's not what I expected." He says. "Well no Bruno, you've never done it before, but it's going to take work. You can't just give up." I say. "I know. It's just that, he's got all these rules and he doesn't listen to any of my input." He hesitates. "He treats me like a little kid." He says. I shake my head. Bruno knows what he's talking about when it comes to music, so when people treat him like he doesn't, it doesn't fly. I know he's frustrated. "I'm sorry babe, All I can say is, that it'll get better." I tell him. He doesn't really like those words. "I love you." He says. "I love you more." I say and hang up. A knock on the door makes me jump. I walk up to it and say "Who is it?" "Tis I, Sir Phillip. May I come in Madame Lena?" Phil says, in a british accent. I laugh and open the door. He has a huge grin on his face, and his eyes are twinkling behind his black, square rimmed glasses. "Can I help you Sir Philip?" I say, raising an eyebrow. He bows and kisses my hand, while I roll my eyes. "Bruno's being held prisoner, so I'm here on delivery boy duty." He says. I make a face. "I need.. her." He says, pointing to Bruno's guitar. I stare at his light blue 50's Fender Stratocaster. Even if you didn't know Bruno, it still has him written all over it. I feel funny just handing over the most precious thing he owns. He takes care of that thing more than he does me. And yes, he has admitted that. Phil sees my face and touches my shoulder. "I'm not gonna steal it, I don't even know how to play guitar." He says, smirking and his eyes still twinkling. I still don't feel right. I know him and Bruno are like brothers, but they haven't known each other that long. Phil pulls out his phone and when he looks at the screen, he busts out laughing. I look at him weird. He turns the phone so I can read what he's laughing at. A text from Bruno: "Just snatch it and run for the fuckin hills. I know she's being difficult and not letting you take it." My face gets red, and I walk over and pick it up. I slowly hand it over to Phil. He takes it, in slow motion. He holds it gingerly in his hands and looks around, with his eyebrows furrowed, pretending there are people coming to take the guitar away from him. I bust out laughing and try to kick him. "I know I'm acting crazy, but Bruno loves that thing more than me. If I let something happen to it, no more me." I say. He laughs and puts his arm around my shoulder. "You're a good girlfriend." He walks towards the door, but stops. He's looking at the back of the guitar. "Alena. Is that your real name, or the name of his guitar?" He asks. The smile that I feel spread across my face is uncontrollable. He smirks. "This guitar ain't got nothin on you." he says, and disappears through the door.
* * * *
6 months later
"Hi I'm Lena, I'll be your server today. Can I start you off with something to drink?" I fidget uncomfortablly as the 2 girls, about my age, stare at me. I wait for the question. "Are you Bruno's girlfriend?" One of them finally asks. I smile politely and nod my head. The other one scoffs and I see her make a face. They giggle with each other, and it takes all I have in my not to throw the pitcher of water on the table at their faces. "I'll give you a few more minutes." I say, and walk away quickly. I hate this job. I never wanted to do this again, but after applying at what seemed like a hundred places, this was the only one I could get. Bruno's been with the label for almost 8 months. No, I didn't run away. I decided to be a mature adult and so did he, and work through our problems instead of acting on our first instinct. He's written and recorded song after song after song. None of them have been released. He does covers and entertains at different places that are mostly tourist attractions. But he's done that his whole life. He didn't want to get signed to a record label to do what he's already been doing. He wants to make it, and be known for the wonderful music he knows how to create. He wants to show the world what he can do. He's gone for almost weeks at at time. Right now, he's way on the other side of Los Angeles. He's becoming a mini celebrity in a some parts of L.A. He's got lots of fans, mostly girls. They all found out about me pretty quickly. Some of them are really nice and sweet. But the majority, they like to run their mouths alot. Bruno lets me know everyday that I can trust him. I let him know, it's not him I'm worried about. I know where I stand not only with my boyfriend, but with my best friend. I sigh and walk back over to the table with the 2 haters. "Have you decided?" I ask them. They ask for a glass of water and order a salad. I walk away rolling my eyes. Salads. My stomach growls just thinking about them. I put the order in and look at the clock. Time for my break, thank God. I grab my purse and walk outside. The sun warms my face and I take a deep breath. I hate being locked up in a building all day, dealing with people that have bad breath and even worse attitudes. I pull out my phone and call Ahmity. She answers on the second ring. "Hello?" She sounds all happy and cheery. "What are you doing?" I ask. "Well, I was trying to finish painting the living room, til Eric flicked paint at me. And you know what went down next." she says. I laugh. "Oh jeez, have fun cleaning that shit up." I tell her. She laughs too. "What are you doing, on break?" she asks. "Yeah, thank God, got some haters in the building." I tell her. I can almost see her rolling her eyes. "They all just jealous, not only cause you have him, BUT! you're gorgeous." She says. I smile. "Speaking of the short devil, when is he coming home?" she says. I stifle my laugh and say "In 3 more days. I'm counting them down." "This is the longest you been away from him huh?" she asks. I swallow and hesitate. "No." I say, thinking of that 2 month period last year when I ran away. "Oh, yeah.. Never mind." she says, and I know she feels like a butt. I hear Eric say something in the background. She moves the phone away from her mouth and yells "Shut up, or I'm gonna make you eat it next time!" I smile. I love them. "I gotta go, This fool is bout to get the beat down!" She says. I hear Eric saying something smart and she hangs up, while I laugh. My break ends way quicker than it should and I bust my butt so the day will go by just as fast. I can't wait to get out of here.
When the clock hits 5:30, I punch out and practially run through the doors. I sigh. I hate, hating my job. But it's so hard to find something you actually like to do and call it a job. When I get to the apartments, I stop and stare at them. I've lived here for almost a year. The memories this building has is unreal. I know one day, we'll stop living here. Even though it's small, I consider it mine and Bruno's first home. And it'll always be special in my heart. I walk up the stairs I've walked up well over a thousand times, and open the door. It's changed alot from when I first came. The day I just showed up, and Bruno hated me. It's clean, for one. And it looks more 'homey'. He has real furniture and decorations and pictures on the wall. I smile at my favorite one. Me and Bruno at Disneyworld. He made my life the day he told me we were going. I loved being the kid I am at heart. And him right next to me, doing the same thing. I drop my purse on the couch and walk to our bedroom to change. When I open the door, my heart drops................................