Arissa settled into the house loving every single minute of his family and their craziness. But, there were so many people around she felt a bit overwhelmed. She was used to being with a family of 5 tops. He could tell she was feeling a little overwhelmed when he found her in their room on her laptop.
“Go for a walk with me?” he asked.
She looked at him with a weird look wondering what he had planned.
“Umm, okay? Give me two seconds…” she said closing the window she was working on standing up next to him. He took her hand gently walking out the back door not being noticed.
“How did they not see us leave?” she asked.
“I’m a master..” he told her. “My parents caught me out past my curfew once…and I did it all the time. Just trust me.”
“What a rebel.” she laughed at him.
“I know…I know…” he bowed graciously. “I’m just that good.”
“Okay…okay Mr. Confident.” she grabbed him holding on to his waist as they walked down the street. He rambled about how he missed being home, the beach, the music, and the food…everything as they made their way down to the beach.
“What is this?” she asked him as they walked toward a blanket and a beach umbrella.
“It’s my favorite place in the world. Sit down…” he instructed her. She sat down on the blanket to see the most stars she had ever seen in her life. Even though she lived in Texas and had seen stars when driving between her home and Houston they looked different in Hawaii. They were brighter and bigger. “Look over there…” he pointed off to the left to show her a shooting star. “Make a wish…”
“How many wishes have you made here?” she asked him.
“One.” he answered.
“No. You’ve made more.” she answered.
“The only one that mattered brought you back to me.” he answered.
“Oh….really?” she asked him turning to face him.
“And when did you make that wish?” she asked him.
“Right after you moved out.” he told her honestly.
“You went home?” she looked at him confused.
“Just for three days….and I came here…because it reminded me of you…and when you go to run in Santa Monica.”
“I’d laugh at you because you’re so darn cheesy, Brunz…but I know you’re being honest. It’s just…I never thought that anyone would feel that way about me.”
“Well, it’s true.” he said leaning into her kissing her with passionate meaning.
“Bruno…” she pulled away thinking about something. “I’m ready now.”
Bruno looked at her trying to figure out if what she said was real or if it was just in the romantic moment. I can’t deal with her saying no again. It really hurts. Do I say no, this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be, again? I was going to ask her tomorrow morning…before I showed her the thing…and now she’s just telling me this right now? She is so unpredictable. He pulled something out of his pocket slowly. She glanced down at him with her curly hair falling in front of her face blocking her view of his hand. He opened a familiar blue box pulling out her ring. “Arissa….will you marry me?”
She didn’t say a word. She just shook her head yes wrapping her arms around him tightly. “Yes Bruno, yes. “ She pulled away with her eyeliner running down her cheeks. “It’s too humid…my make-up runs…” she confessed.
“It’s okay, Ris. You’re runny make-up is what I fell in love with.”
“And your cheesiness is what I fell in love with…” she said pinching his cheeks.
“Look! There’s another one!” she said pointing at the stars. “Make a wish, Bruno!” she told him. “But don’t tell me because then it won’t come true.”
Arissa woke up wearing only his t-shirt. Their legs were wrapped around one another’s and her arms were flat across his chest. She watched her arms go up and down against his beating heart. Okay that’s creepy. I’m going to go get dressed.
“Ris?” she heard from across the bedroom as she started to walk out the bedroom.
“Hmm?” she responded turning around to see him still laying in bed with his eyes on her.
“Don’t leave me. I’m not MVP.” he told her.
“Shut up!” she threw a fallen pillow at him. “You’re lucky, Mr. Mars, because I’m DTS.” she said jumping back into the bed moving his arms to get against the same chest that she had just told herself to stop watching.
“Well, I’m DTF.” he told her running his fingers against her stomach making her giggle.
“Good thing I’m a team player…” she responded turning around to kiss him.
“Eww. That’s gross…first rule of morning DTF is to not do that ever again…” she told him.
“Arissa! Come with us!” Tiara yelled at Arissa while they were sitting outside by the pool. She glanced at Bruno as the girls gave her a pleading look.
“Go!” he pushed her.
“Oucch.” she responded to his push. “That hurt…I’m leaving you.”
“No you’re not. Just go with them…” he pushed her again, lighter this time.
“What are we doing?” she asked.
“Just come with us!” Tiara answered standing with some of her friends.
“Where are we goinnngg?” Arissa cried confused by the events and Bruno’s reaction. After a few minutes of quiet they pulled into the parking lot of a big white building. “No, really...what are we doing?” she asked them.
The girls looked at each other nodding their heads in agreement. “You’re getting married.” Tahiti told her.
“What? No! Really, what is going on?” she asked.
“Just come with us…” Tiara said opening the door to the car grabbing Arissa’s hand. They opened the door slowly to see a room full of her family and friends – her parents, Anna and Ryan, Natalia and Diego, her sister and the guy she was currently hooking up with…and then his family that she had just met the day before. They were all sitting in white chairs covered with deep purple and orange tie backs.
Arissa gasped. “But…”
“We have the dress. And the flowers, and everything else you need for a spontaneous wedding…” Presley told Arissa.
Cami came up to see her sister giving her the biggest hug in the world. “I love you sissy!” she screamed.
“Did you know about this? Why didn’t you tell me?!” she asked her sister.
“We didn’t know until yesterday. There were plane tickets e-mailed to every single one of us with a note saying to be here by 3…it’s 3:45 now…”
“Oh my god, he was going to do this anyway! What a booger.” she smiled.
“Wait , anyway?” Tahiti asked.
“Yeah….he proposed again last night….” she said pointing to her finger.
“My brother….” Jaime sighed as they pulled her towards the back of the building.
Her sister opened the door to the room slowly to see what was behind the door. In unison Cami and Arissa both yelled “Oh my god!” They stared at the same dress that she had jokingly said she wanted to get married in two days after he proposed the first time.
A strapless Amasle dress hung on a dark purple velvet hanger waiting for her.
“Go get dressed Mrs. Hernandez…” her mother said to her.
“But we don’t have the wedding certificate and we didn’t do our vows and…I don’t know what we’re doing after the ceremony…I wanted to plan it…”
“Arissa, do you really think he forgot about the things you’ve told him? The dress, the colors, the people…” Anna asked her.
“Well…he did get everything right…” she sighed touching the boutique of hydrangeas, carnations and deep orange roses.
“Let’s get you married!” Cami exclaimed.
“She’s going to freak out…” Bruno’s best friend Ryan told him while they stood in front of a mirror fixing their suits.
“I know she will. I had already planned on that…” he responded.
“What are you going to say to her when she starts freaking out?” Phil asked.
“I haven’t decided yet.” he told them.
“I’ll be right back…” he told them walking out the back door. He glanced down at a pack of cigarettes sitting on the side of the building. He had put them there just in case he needed them the evening before.
“No, can’t do that. She’ll hate me…” he said to himself. He sat down on the sidewalk looking out at the ocean. I need to talk to her….
Arissa’s hands started to shake as everyone stared to grab at her putting on make-up, painting her nails and straightening her hair. Over all to rush no one noticed her shakiness.
“Can y’all give me a few minutes? Hand me my phone…” she asked.
“Ris, what’s wrong?” Jaime asked her.
“I just need to talk to him…” she said standing up. Everyone backed away slightly shocked by her reaction. She walked out of the back door to sit down on the sidewalk just feet from the beach. She hit the green dial button to talk to her fiancé.
“Brunooo…” she cried into the phone.
“Arissa? What’s wrong?” he asked looking at her from the other side of the building. “You’re crying. Don’t cry, sweetheart. “
“This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be…I wanted to pick the flowers, the colors, the dress, the guests, the reception, the everything…and we don’t even have the certificate….”
“You did pick the flowers and the dress and the guests…you never got rid of those. They were in a box in your closet, baby doll…..”
“But I don’t remember orange…” she told him.
“I couldn’t get the yellow ones…they weren’t in season, Arissa.” he told her. “The florist told my mom that the orange were the closet they could get….and we’ll get the certificate in the morning….” he told her.
“Maybe I’m just nervous. You know I plan everything….” she told him over the phone.
“Don’t be nervous, Arissa. Don’t be scared. Don’t worry about a thing.” he said in a soothing tone. “because this will be perfect.”
“Do you promise?” she asked him gathering her thoughts.
“I wouldn’t promise you anything less, Rissy. Nothing less than perfect -even if the flowers aren’t the right color.”
“Okay. “ she responded.
“Go get dressed, Arissa. Your hair is gorgeous.” he said as he looked at her from a distance.
“I don’t know how you know that, but fine. I’ll go get dressed.” she laughed at him.
“I’ve got my eye on you…” he said seductively hanging up the phone
Arissa turned around to see him sitting at the end of the sidewalk. He made a heart out of his hand at her sticking his tongue out at her. She signed “I love you” to him heading back to the room.
“Are you better, Rissy?” her mom asked.
“Yeah, I’m ready.” she responded sitting down in the chair.
Arissa looked out the window as the girls finished up everything. “Rain on your wedding day is good luck, no?” Arissa asked.
“It’s the best of luck, sweetheart..” Bruno’s mother told her taking her hand helping her stand up in the big white dress. “Okay, Rissy…are you ready to marry my baby?” she asked.
“Like never before…” Arissa answered returning the hug his mother was giving her.
“Aww, yeaaah! I get another sister!” Presley joined the hug.
A knock on the door interrupted the Hernandez house of love.
The door opened with her father peeking in. “Are you ready, sweetheart?” he asked.
Everyone ran out the door as her father came in the room. “When those plane tickets came to us I knew you had said yes. But, if he ever hurts you, you know you can come home. We will get you home faster than your mom can finish a drink…” he told her.
“I know, dad. I know. I know this is right. I know it’s the right time. Before it wasn’t right. I just needed more time to make sure that he was it. I mean, just know that everything was right. And you know what? I think this is the most right I have felt since 5th grade.”
“I can tell, pumpkin. You are the most happy I have ever seen you when you are with him. He makes you laugh. And I know that means a lot to you.”
“Now, let’s not get too sappy…” Arissa told her dad taking his hand to leave the room with him. “And remember right, left, right when we walk down the aisle.” she finished.
“He looks gorgeous…” Anna told Arissa as she and her father made their way to the large group of bridesmaids.
“He always does.” Arissa laughed. “But I can’t wait to see what he is wearing…” she commented.
“It won’t disappoint you, Tahiti told her.
They heard a piano start playing Pachelbell’s Canon in D. The door opened slowly as the girls started to walk down the aisle. She craned her neck to see what the boys were wearing.
“I can’t seeeee….” Arissa whined.
“Be patient, daughter. You’ll see him in few seconds. As their borrowed flower girl, a friend of friend’s baby, stopped at the front of the aisle they heard the piano switch to an unknown piece. It wasn’t something she had heard before. Her father smiled as they started to walk. Bruno’s voice started over the piano. He sang, “Don’t be nervous, everything will be perfect. Everything is right because oh, baby, oh baby, she’s my wife…” He finished the song before she made it to the end of the aisle. He walked slowly to the front meeting his brother and Phil.
“She’s so beautiful…” Eric leaned over to tell his brother.
“I know she is.” he responded. Bruno took her hand from her father’s after her father presented her to the group. Bruno squeezed her right hand tightly to comfort her nerves.
“I don’t know what to do…” she said quietly.
“Just go with it.” he told her.
“We are gathered here, today, to witness the union of two amazing people, who mean more to all of us in this room than anything in this world…” the pastor began. “Bruno and Arissa have come in front of this group today to promise to share their love, sadness, good and bad. They are here today to accept the future and whatever may lie ahead. After searching their hearts and their pasts, they have resolved to be lifelong partners in the journey of life…”
Arissa looked at Bruno at the same time her faced her. She blushed as he smiled at her squeezing her hand again. He mouthed “I love you” as the pastor began to read “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned…Arissa and Bruno have witnessed this love and have, even in this short time, realized that the love they share is mightier than any other. Distance, careers and everything that comes with it have not washed away the love they found on that early Summer day in Texas. It is this new found love that continues to grow and infect their friends and family. They have promised each other that they will share this love with family and friends as husband and wife…” Arissa watched Anna walk up next to the pastor about to speak.
“What is she going to say?” Arissa asked him.
“Just shhhh.” he quieted her squeezing her hand again.
“If you have known Arissa for a long time you know she doesn’t take chances. She is safe. The day she met Bruno she was still that safe person. But something changed as they grew closer to each other. Their relationship gave her permission to take chances and to be the spunky, quirky, outrageous person that Ryan, I and all our friends knew she could be. And, even though I have only known Bruno since May, he has become even more amazing than we all remember him. So, let me thank you Bruno for showing my Rissy pie that there are such things as chances and that you were the safest decision she could have made. Arissa felt herself starting to cry as Anna finished her statement. She took a step down next to Arissa. The hugged each other as Ryan walked toward the same spot.
“Bruno and I have known each other for a long time. We’ve seen each other at our highest of highs and the lowest of lows. When we met Arissa in May Phil asked him if he wanted to really see her again. There was no hesitation in his voice when he said yes handing me the two extra backstage passes to give them. I think I heard Anna and Arissa scream after I walked away from them. Little did I know, we would be seeing a lot more of both of them.” Ryan paused to laugh at what he said. “Arissa, you make him so happy. He has extra swag when you’re with him. I mean, not anymore than me…but you make him who he is today..and we all love you for that. Thank you for becoming part of the family.” Ryan stepped back to the side.
“Thank you…” she told him reaching past Bruno to hug him.
The pastor took his spot back in front of the group. “Arissa and Bruno are prepared to come together as husband and wife. As we have just witnessed, their relationship has had an effect on each and every person in this room. It is important to understand this fact. Every single relationship in this room has played a role in the development of this relationship. As such, we have come here to witness their union but to also bestow our blessings onto them. So, I ask you all to bless, honor, support and encourage the growth of this marriage from today hence forth.”
They heard several different responses as the pastor finished his statement. “Yes! We do! Just hurry up and get it on! Yeah Buddy! Awww, yes!” were all heard.
"As part of the invitation to be here is an covenant that the continuity of our support is not only unbroken, but strengthened by this very moment in time. Strengthened in ways, one, that we pledge here our counsel and love in support of both Arissa and Bruno as they move through their days as partners, that we continue, through action and words, to show them a mirror of themselves, both individually and together, at their best, just as they will do with each other. And two, that witnessing their pledge reminds us of the things that we've devoted our lives to, our partners, our work, our hearts.” The pastor began to introduce their vows. “We have joined together here to unite xxx and xxx in the institution of marriage. This is a sacred rite, an ancient rite. The church may bless it, and the state may recognize it as a legal construct, but these are but symbols what is happening within Arissa and Bruno as their hearts reach across the void to each other, and pledge their devotion. To be real, there must be a consecration of each to the other, and of both to the noblest ends of life…now I turn to the two of you to declare your love to each other in front of all your loved ones. “
Anna handed Arissa piece of worn paper. “Read this…” she told Arissa.
“Bruno..” the pastor paused.
“Okay, okay…” he paused taking Arissa’s hands lightly. “Rissy…” he paused again. He took a deep breath to gather his thoughts. “Without you I cannot do anything. You inspire me, you make me happy, you drive me crazy. You are everything to me. And I promise, I vow, I will hold your hand, run my fingers through your hair, sing you songs until everything is okay and enjoy every last second of the tough times. I will be with you no matter the distance. No matter how hard it is. I am yours, forever. “
“Umm…” she read over the paper quickly to see what she was going to tell him. “I don’t like this…sorry Nat..” she told everyone. “I never thought I would go down this road, Bruno. I never thought I would find that one person in the world who thought I was the best, the worst, the most beautiful, the funniest, the one. I sure didn’t expect that person to be in Houston on the day I went to see Bruno Mars. I really didn’t expect that person to be Bruno Mars. But, god works in mysterious ways. For whatever reason, I took a chance on you. I can’t remember why or what caused me to just go for it. But, it was the best decision I have ever made. You are the best decision I have ever made. You make me laugh, you make me cry, you make me happy, you make me sad. You make me who I am today. And I can’t live without those feelings. Does that sound selfish?” she asked everyone. “I mean, it’s like you make me who I am but I’m not vowing to do anything….” she started to get embarrassed by her inability to get out what she needed to say. Anna handed her the paper back to Arissa. “So, Bruno…I..” she read the bottom on the sheet again to remember what she needed to say. She looked up at him touching his cheek. “I told Anna I had to touch your cheek that day just to make sure you were real.”
“Baby doll, I am as real as they get.” he said to her.
“Bruno…I promise to love you, to cherish you. To be your everything in the same way you are my everything. Through the distance, through the anger, through the sadness, through everything that life may throw at us. I promise to be your wife.” She sighed heavily after finishing her words.
The pastor watched the ring go on his finger. He started again, “These rings are symbols of the couple’s union. They are the bond the couple shares. It is a symbol of holiness, perfect and peace. They are a symbol of your bond and your everlasting love.”
They each took rings. Arissa glanced down to see the rings she had put in the box he found.
“Bruno…” she said after Phil gave her a look telling her to speak. “I love you. That’s all.” she said slipping the ring on his finger.
“Rissy…” Bruno paused playing with the ring in his hand. “I love you, too.” he gently took her hand placing the ring on her finger.
The pastor watched them finish the ring exchange. “You can kiss her now…” he said loudly. Bruno grabbed Arissa tightly looking into her eyes. He saw small tears coming from her eyes.
“Just kiss me already, Peter.” she whispered.
Bruno wrapped his arms around her kissing her like it was their first kiss.
“You made my knees shake…” she said taking his hand to walk out of the room.
“Shoot…it’s still raining…” she sighed heavily looking out the window of the entry way.
“It’ll stop soon, Rissy.” he said walking her outside under the awning. “Look…he pointed over to the street. “There’s a rainbow….” he told her.
“You get everything in Hawaii….shooting stars and rainbows and the beach…mountains…” she told him.
“The only thing I really got while I was here was you….” he said pulling her close to him.
“I can smell the cheese from a mile away, Brunz.” she laughed at him. “It’s like we’re in Wisconsin, not Hawaii.”
“Mmm. I like the Brewers.” he told her.
“I like you!” she said kissing him.
“Calm down, you two. You have the rest of your lives for that.” Diego said as the guests started walking out.
“It’s my party and I’ll kiss him if I want to!” she shouted at him.
“I think it’s I’ll cry if I want to…” Bruno told her.
“That goes for you too! Don’t tell me what to do or say today!” she shouted at him smiling.
“I’ll let it slide today, Ris. But after that it’s my way or the highway…” he said sarcastically.
“Shit. It’s a good thing we haven’t made this legal yet. I’m leaving right now…” she said walking out to the front of the building.
“You have to come and get me.” she told him.
“It’s not that hard to get you when you’re wearing that big dress, Arissa Hernandez.”
“Come get me.” she said turned around running toward the beach. He didn’t even have to run to get her as she rounded the corner to the sidewalk they had been sitting on earlier. He picked her up carrying her toward the beach. “Put me down!” she yelled.
“First you have to say you’re sorry.” he told her.
“Sorry for what?” she asked him.
“For being so darn amazing” he told her.
“I’m not saying that.” she said wrapping her arms around his neck closely.
“Fine. I’m not letting you go. And it’s going to be really hard to play the guitar when my hands are full of Arissa.”
“I want to hear the song! I want to hear the song! I’m sorry. I’ll try harder not to be amazing.” she told him. He kissed her again lightly placing her on the sand.
“Come with me?” he asked her.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“No more questions.” he told her.
“Bruno…” she paused waiting for him to respond.
“Yes?” he answered.
“Today was mind-blowing. You knew exactly what I needed. There’s no way all of this was in that box. I hardly had time to write all the stuff down I wanted.”
“It was all there. Who you wanted to invite, colors, dresses…you must have forgotten about it.” he told her leading her toward what looked like a deep purple tent full of people.
“And the big tent! And the dancing! And you,,,! Oh Brunz!” she hugged him as she started to notice faces. He lifted her up off the ground spinning her around in a circle.
Bruno sat her down at the long table off to the side of a piano, drums and four microphones.
He picked up his mint green guitar playing a few chords to make sure it okay on and tuned. Everyone turned around to see him.
“Arissa Eve…” he said holding the microphone close to his face. “This is our song…and no one else can have it…” I’m not a song writer or poet by any means so insert something sappy of your own here. But not Rest of My Life. I don’t think he wrote that for anyone in particular…or it was for a family member…
She felt herself getting tingly as he finished the song that he started to play as she walked down the aisle. He sang the verse again putting the guitar down walking moving the microphone from its stand walking right up to her. “I love you, baby doll. I do, I dooooo.”
“I do, I doooo.” she sang badly back at him. He switched off the microphone setting it down on the table next to her leaning in to kiss her.
“God, get a room.” Camille yelled at them.