“Can you believe his balls, Sarah? I mean, he showed up at my studio with his girlfriend and expected me to be okay with it. Like really. You aren’t even that famous yet. You have one hit single. Come a year from now no one is probably even going to remember you. Have fun with your 15 minutes…” she hit a punching bag hard as she talked about her day.
“Dude, you’re going to hook up with him again. You know it and he knows it too. It’s fatal.”
“I’m not doing it again. I will not. I swore. Vanessa still swears up and down that we hooked up in 2008. We didn’t. We didn’t. I swear.”
“You keep telling yourself that…” Sarah took a sip of her water bottle and stood up. “But I see it in your eyes. You two were totally doing it when you were quote unquote dating Brian.”
Isela walked into the loud club wearing silver heels and a teal dress. Her hair was hot and her make-up was out of this world. She had no idea what was going to happen that night. It was most likely a mistake to show up.
“Where is Vanessa?” she asked him as she sat down next to him.
“She’s working tonight…”
He nodded and looked at her the way that made her want to take him away with her. Take him away somewhere where no one would see them. Where no one would ever know about what they were doing…but she wasn’t going to do that again. He repeatedly told her that he loved Vanessa and that he would not hurt her. They had somehow resolved their issues to the point of speaking to each other civilly, but it still hurt Isela to see that he was happy and she was still in so much pain.
“What are we doing Bruno?” she asked him.
“We’re dancing tonight…” he grabbed her hand, a drink for both of them and moved his hips. After several dances they were standing so close to each other that she could feel his heart beating. It was beating so fast. I can’t do this anymore. I have to leave.
“Bruno…I am so tired. I need to go…”
“Don’t leavvveee! I haven’t danced with Selly in so long! Please!” he called back to her, demanding that he have her hand.
She spun into his arms, only because of his force. “We cannot do this…” she yelled at him. He kissed her with all the pent up frustration he had.
“You are too drunk to be making these decisions.” She thought about walking off, but instead returned his kiss.
By the end of the night they were walking out of the club arm in arm to his apartment.
“I am just putting you to bed, Bru. That is it.”
“I don’t believe you, Isela…” he trailed off laying his head on the window on the car window as she drove to the familiar apartment.
She sighed as she drove off to a place she knew would lead to trouble. Even though she had absolutely no intention on breaking the promise she had made to herself before leaving the house that night of making any moves on him, it would have been oh so easy. He was ridiculously cute that night – a new fedora, skinny jeans, canvas boat shoes and an old t-shirt that smelled like him –sweet yet smoky. The smoke she could do without, but it was so him that it stuck.
“Bru-get in bed. I’m going to get you medicine.”
“Come with meee Selly. Vanessa’s not coming home tooonight…” he pleaded.
“Absolutely not, Bruno.” she said as she wandered into the bathroom grabbing him three Advil, a granola bar from the kitchen and a bottle of water.
“Thank you…he said as he sat on the couch, not on the bed as she had asked him to. She slipped on her heels because they were hurting her feet and sat down next to him to make sure he finished the granola bar. Why am I taking care of him? Where the hell is Vanessa? He would have been DOA if I wasn’t here tonight.
“I’m going to put your jacket in your room….then I’m going to go…” she said as he watched her walk toward his bedroom. Bruno followed her into the bedroom after he threw away the granola bar wrapper.
“You are going to have a huge hangover, Brunito.” she told him as he laid down.
“Yeah, well it was worth it.” he smiled at her.
She threw his coat at him not sure if she should be flirting with him or angry at him for the feelings he was showing. He told her he didn’t feel this was about her. But then he does this. Screw him. I’m leaving. I cannot do this anymore. Why did I do this tonight? Why?!
And then his door opened. “Why is her fucking car out there, Bruno?” a loud voice yelled.
It was horrible timing because Isela had just bent down to pick up her shoes.
“Vanessa….” he stumbled out of the bed, over clothes almost stepping on his guitar.
“Don’t even….” she yelled at him. Isela stood in the doorway putting on her shoes. “I came here to surprise you, you jerk. And you hooked up with this skanky bitch?”
“I brought him home, Vanessa. That’s all.” Isela tried to explain the situation.
“That’s bullshit, you fucking whore. You’re practically sleeping with half of the European basketball players in the western conference…and now you have to come here and sleep with your ex? I sure as fucking hell hope he didn’t get an STD from your…”
“Vanessa….” Bruno stopped Vanessa’s ranting knowing she had gone too far. Isela wanted to yell at her. She wanted to punch her in the face, she wanted to tell her that she didn’t deserve Bruno. She wanted to tell Bruno that she had made mistakes, that she had learned from them. That she was sorry. But she knew it wasn’t the time or the place. He had her….”that’s enough. We will talk about this in the morning.” he watched Isela slowly walk out the door. “That was too much, Vanessa.”
“She deserves it, Bru.” Vanessa yelled as the door closed.
**several months later**
“Isela! You’re interviewing Bruno Mars about his new video for Grenade this afternoon…have you seen it yet?” Jenny asked.
“No…I guess I probably should sit down and watch it huh?” she told her new co-worker.
Isela, like many in her industry, had jumped over to a new position at a new bigger and better station between May and July. She was a new correspondent at a daily Entertainment TV show. Although the shows were a dime a dozen, she fit in well with the younger, trendy group and was very excited about the growth and learning that would happen.
Jenny and Isela walked into Jenny’s office and opened up Youtube to watch the video.
“You know him right?” Jenny asked.
Isela nodded remembering the last encounter the two had had earlier in the year. It was pleasant, but not what she had wished for. “Yeah, we’re friends….I guess.”
“Then the interview should be good!” Jenny said as she clicked play. Isela had heard the song, but didn’t care too much for it. She felt as though it hit too close to their past. She wasn’t about to ask him who it was about but she knew enough about him to guess. She sat and watched…
“I still love her...” Bruno told his sister.
“Dude, she’s moved on. Did you not hear her talk about that guy Jaric or whatever from the Czech Republic? She told you...”
“But he’s not here now!” he looked down contemplating Isela’s new boyfriend’s fate.
“No matter how many times you answer her texts at 3 in the morning, baby brother, she’s not going to be just yours. I’m sorry.” she tried to tell him that Isela was just using him.
“But I can change it.”
“You’ve been trying to change that since February. It’s October…” she walked toward the kitchen trying not to get frustrated with her brother. The things Isela did to him were horrible. She wanted to yell at Isela for hurting him. But, he continued to play the same games as she did, so they kept going back and forth. They would learn eventually, but it was painful for her, as the oldest sister to see him go through it. He would have to learn.
Later that day, Bruno decided to go talk to her…during the day…when everyone could see them. He was going to stand up for himself. He was going to tell her that he wasn’t going to let go. He had it all prepared in his head. He knew exactly what he was going to say and knew exactly how to respond to her saying that she couldn’t handle what he was doing with his life – music. She thought he was being selfish. He was just being himself and he knew what he was doing. He pulled up to her house and saw her car. She was home. As he gathered his thoughts he saw her running with him. They were so happy – running so fast and so in synch. They stopped across the street – bottles of water in hand to take a break from their strides. He lead over toward her short frame and kissed her. His sweat dripped on her dark brown hair and purple t-shirt. Fuck it. Bruno left.
Isela started to walk away from the desk as the video ended. “Is he here yet?” she asked Jenny.
“Umm…he might be. You might want to ask the interns.” Jenny answered her.
“Thank you. I’ll be back.” Isela was blank. What the hell. Like he wouldn’t think I would know. Come on. This is the biggest load of crap in the world.
She found his room and knocked on the door. “You and me…outside..right now…” she demanded.
Phil gave him a knowing look. They both knew what it was about. They walked downstairs without talking. She led him to a corner where the cameras were stored.
“What the hell was that?” she asked him.
“What was what?” he responded.
“Grenade? Really? Come on, Bruno.” she started to speak sarcastically. “The girl who it’s written about doesn’t know it’s about her. That’s fucking bullshit. Get off your high horse, Peter.” she took a deep breath and collected herself. She shook her head in dismay. “I just can’t believe you would be that blunt about it.”
“Isela…” he touched her the same way he did during the last interview.
“Don’t touch me. Everyone…every single person that we know…every single person that was involved in that relationship knows exactly what that video stands for. I said I was sorry. I know I hurt you. You hurt me, too. “
“It’s just a song, Selly. Isn’t that what you would tell me before?”
“God I hate you so much sometimes, Bruno.”
“I hate you too, Isela.”
“I wasn’t that blind, Bru. I knew some part of our relationship would end up there. But you could have at least said, ‘Hey, by the way…I’m going to put it out there for the whole world to see…’”
He motioned for her to sit down next to him on the curb as hit lit a cigarette. She sat close enough to him to listen but not close enough to smell like smoke. “I’m at work…”
“I know…” he shrugged his head. “It wasn’t until recently that I was able to wrap my head around how to say it all, Selly. There were times when I saw you with him and I was like ‘God, what a bitch. How did I ever date her? But I still love her. I would do anything. I mean anything...’”
“I know you did. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this conversation. I’ve said I was sorry. I’ve said I was sorry in so many different ways and so many times. I just don’t know why you…had to throw our whole relationship in my face like that. I thought we were okay. I thought that we were friends. I thought….I thought…we were done with it all. But, I guess not. It’s going to take me a while to get over this. I really don’t want to talk to you right now, or later today, or tomorrow, or anytime you’re here for the next however long you are promoting whatevertheshit you are promoting this time around... “She got up with her make-up running down her cheek.
“I’m sorry Isela…. “he watched her walk away trying to say something before she stormed off.
Isela didn’t try to impress him as she walked away as she would have earlier in the day. She almost ran. She tried to stay calm. She tried to hold it together. She ran down the hallway as she got closer to her office. Slamming the door she found her phone to find comfort in her sister’s voice.
“Yuliana….he…oh my god, oh my god….” Isela started to cry into the phone.
“Calm down, sister. What happened? What guy is it?”
“Bruno….he…oh my god. I want to kill him. “
“No, no you don’t not after all the things you’ve been through. Whatever he’s done to you you’ll forgive…”
“No…no…no…no…..noooooo. Not this time.” she started to cry even more.
Bruno knocked on Isela’s apartment door to be greeted by her roommate Adelina.
“Hey there, sexy…” she laughed at him giving him a hug.
“How is she?” he asked her.
“She’s okay. The doctor hasn’t called her back yet, though.”
He walked into her bedroom where he found Isela laying in her bed in tears. He jumped in bed with her. “Why are you in bed crying, baby?”
“Because I can.” she turned to him. He took his finger wiping tears off her cheek.
“You still don’t know what those cells are, Isela. They could be anything. It could be chocolate or something.”
She laughed at his attempt at a joke.
“Bruno…it’s not funny. I don’t even know why you’re still here. You should go. Why are you doing this? Why would you even put yourself through this with a girl you’ve only known for 6 months and only dated for 3?”
“Isela….please…” he kissed her on the forehead gently. “Everything is going to be alright.”
“Fucking Grenade….Yuli…Grenade….” Isela told her sister the whole story.
“Oh, sissy…I’m sorry. But, really…would you have known it was about you had he not made the video? Would you have even considered it before? Like honestly?”
“I don’t know…maybe a little..but…I don’t know…” her sister always knew the right thing to say to her.
“It still hurts me a lot. A lot.”
“It should. It was mean. But you know him. It’s something he would do. Forget about him and move on. If you have to be in contact with him just do your job. You’ll be fine.”
“You’re right. I guess you work with people you don’t like too.”
“You’re right. I can’t stand most people…” They both laughed.
“Thank you so much. I love you, Yuli.”
“I love you too. And don’t forget to forgive him.”
“I’ll try.” Isela told her.
Isela drug Bruno passed the group of basketball players, track athletes and random party goers. He stuck out in his fedora and chuck taylor shoes. Everyone else was wearing flip-flops. She held on to him tightly to ensure she didn’t lose the one unique thing at the end of year bash she was attending…with him.
“How the heck did you get him here?” her teammate asked her over the loud dance music as he stood next to her chatting up Adelina’s boyfriend.
“I promised him I’d have sex with him every day for a week.” she told her.
“Well, I guess it could be worse.” Adelina responded giving her nod of approval. “I mean, how many meets did he come to this year?”
“I think a total of 3. And they were before the season even started. He just got busy. I gave it to him, but I’m over it now. And he’s trying to make up for it…but it’s just not….I don’t know…” Isela glanced over at him smiling and laughing and got all gushy. “But he’s just so darn amazing when he is there.” He smiled back at her walking over to her.
“Hi, beautiful girl. You’re amazing.” he said grabbing her waist while kissing her neck.
Several drinks into the festivities Bruno received a phone call. She was sitting on him talking about school and he was listening. Even though it was crowded and she was interrupted by friends and acquaintances she was happy. So happy. And he could tell. He held on to her…until he got a phone call from a friend who said someone had dropped out of a gig down the street. He needed someone to sing for them. Isela stood up as she felt his tone change.
“God Bruno. You’re so dumb. One day. One night. Can’t you just hang out with me for a night? Please….” she whined as they walked out together.
“No. Fuck you, Bruno. Fuck you. We’re done. Don’t call me.”
It would be the last time, until 2011, that they would each be happy.