Chapter 40- END (not really...)
Marla looked at her dress in the closet early in the morning. A bright yellow Grecian inspired
gown with red ballet flats were going to complete the long reverse braid the hairstylist was going
to complete later that afternoon. “Oh it’s soooo pretty!” she said.
Bruno hugged her from behind, ‘You’re sooo pretty!” he kissed her cheek and walked out of the
“Ha. So cheesy.” Marla, now 37 weeks pregnant was slightly nervous about being on the
Grammy Red Carpet with Bruno that evening. She was mostly nervous about the flashes, but
also about what people might say about her. His people had announced the pregnancy in early
January. People were buzzing, but it wasn’t too crazy. He gushed when people asked about it.
When reporters asked how many kids he wanted to have he said he wanted to compete with the
Duggars. But only all the kids named would start with Bs instead of Js. Marla studied pregnant
celebrity red carpet looks for months, she had it locked down. Answering questions, though, was
going to be a problem. She didn’t know how to answer questions. “Ouch.” she said quietly as she
walked into the kitchen to get something to eat.
She sat down next to Bruno who was eating a bowl of cereal at the kitchen table. “How are you,
“Pregnant.” she responded.
“I see that…” he smiled at her.
She flinched in pain as she took a bite of the blueberry bagel she had just finished covering.
“Holy crap, baby. That hurt.” She had had several contractions throughout the week, but this one
felt more powerful. But, she knew that she didn’t need to react to them until they were a really
close together. Oh please no, not yet. Tonight is supposed to be special. He has so much to do
tonight. Hold on baby. Hold on for at least 12 hours. You can do it. Be strong for us.
“You said ouch when you walked in the kitchen, Mar…is that the second one?” he asked her.
Can she tell I’m nervous? I get more and more nervous the closer to the due date it gets. I want
to stop everything when she says she is having a contraction.
The pregnancy was so uneventful and normal, that, knowing Marla’s history of being dramatic,
the baby would probably make an appearance today, of all days. Friends had actually bet on the
due date. Several, namely Eric and Travis, had bet on it being today. Marla thought it would be a
bit later, she didn’t feel ready nor did the doctor. The doctor said she baby was face down, but
that she still needed to gain a little bit of weight. She was a small baby, which according to
everyone was normal. All they wanted was a healthy baby and a healthy mommy. That was all
they could ask for.
“Yeah. The second one.” How the hell did he hear that? I could hardly hear that.
They finished eating and started getting their things together for the Awards ceremony. Marla
started dancing around in her fancy new shoes while Bruno took a shower. After he took a
shower she ran into the bathroom to put on moisturizer and foundation. She was, of course,
going to let the stylist finish everything, but she needed a base. There were only a few people in
the world she let see her without make-up on and some fancy Hollywood stylist was not one of
them. She squeezed her moisturizer on her hand and started to rub it on her face. She moved
over to the other side of the sink to put away Bruno’s toothbrush which he never had the decency
to put back where it belonged. As she moved her feet she felt a little wet spot near the cabinet.
“What? How does he not manage to dry off? He’s not a football player.” Marla reached for a
towel and felt the wetness follow her to the towel. “Oh…oh…oh…oh my! My watttttteeerrr!”
Bruno came running into the bathroom, slightly slipping on the first wet spot. “Come on! Come
on!” he grabbed her hand and started running out the door.
“Stop!” she yelled at him.
“Calm down, dad…go get my stuff and baby’s stuff. She’s not coming in the next 5 minutes.
And you don’t even have your shoes on, crazy.” she said calmly.
“You’re right.” he took a deep breath, put on his shoes and ran out the door without her. “Are
you coming with me or what?” he asked.
“Get my bags, Bruno.” she laughed at him as he walked back into the house.
“Rosalia Diane Hernandez, six pounds 5 ounces…Marla Gonzales…Bruno Hernández…” Eric
read the name card from the nursery window standing next to his brother and four sisters.
“Brunito, she is beautiful.” Tahiti nudged him.
“I know….” he didn’t look up. All he could do was stare at his daughter. Oh my God. She is all
mine, the hair, the nose, the eyes, the cries, the future…I don’t know what I’m going to do. I need
to know what I’m doing, but I don’t know what I’m doing. After we leave the hospital, I have no
idea what is going to happen. Living without a plan for myself is okay, but when there’s another
“Don’t worry Bruno; you will know exactly what to do when you get home. It’s an instinct. You
will be a wonderful father, and you know it. Don’t be nervous.” Eric reassured his little brother
who was visibly excited, but very nervous. He had never been this nervous in his life – not even
performing in front of 100,000 people. One little girl had given him butterflies.
Bruno held Rosalia tightly to his chest walking toward Marla, who was sitting up in the bed with
the remote in her hand.
“You lost Record of the Year…” she made a sad face.
“It doesn’t matter.” he responded kissing her on the forehead handing her their daughter.
“Bru…” she whispered.
“Yeah?” he said leaning on the edge of the bed as close to them as possible. He pushed a piece of
hair from her eyes.
“She has your hair…and your lips.” she said touching the baby’s dark brown skin.
“But she has your eyes…” he responded.”…that make the stars look like they’re not shining.”
If Bruno was anything, he was true to his word. Marla wasn’t sure if he would be able to hold
still long enough to be with them for more than two weeks. But, she had to remember he said to
trust him, so early on in the relationship. Just like the newness of a new house, a new car, a new
puppy, the two were left by themselves with Rosalia by the time Easter rolled around - two
months after her birth. Although both families and friends popped in from time to time – they
were going to raise that baby together – as a family. And they were doing a pretty good job. But
it sure made them tired.
On a Thursday evening they had laid the baby down in their upstairs loft next to them.
“I’m going to put on the Kardashians…” Marla said laying down on the couch.
“Ugh. Okay. I’ll go start the laundry.” he decided.
She turned around facing him. “Thank you…”
“You’re welcome.” he smiled at her walking downstairs.
“Mar! Why is it so quiet?” he yelled from downstairs. “Marla?” he didn’t get an answer. She
must of fallen asleep. After starting the last load of laundry he wandered up the stairs to see if
Marla was just being a brat, not answering her, or if she had fallen asleep. Oh..she totally did
crap out. I’ve got this. He picked up Rosalia careful not to wake her up. She better not wake
up….He laid her down where he could still see her going to get Marla.
Bruno picked Marla up from the couch walking toward the bedroom. She opened her eyes and
looked up at him, “Bruno…where’s the baby?”
“She’s sound asleep…right where she belongs next to the bed. Go back to sleep. I’ve got it
covered.” His eyes pointed to the bassinet to the right of them and kissed her on the forehead.
“Good night, mama.”
A few hours later she heard her baby’s cry from the living room. As much as she tried to go back
to sleep, he said he had it taken care of, she couldn’t handle it. She had to make sure the baby
wasn’t hungry, wasn’t getting sick, she was okay. Marla stretched out, put on a sweater and
walked quietly out into the living room where the cries slowly quieted. She heard Bruno singing
My Girl to her as Rosalia’s eyes started to close. She stood at the doorway smiling at her fiancé’s
amazing ability to calm both of them. After he finished the verse he kissed her cheek and started
to rock her gently walking toward their bedroom. “Oh!” he gasped as Marla took the baby from
his arms. “You scared the crap out of me, Mar!”
“Shh! You’ll wake her up!” she laughed continuing to move the baby in the same way he was.
He took her by the waist and led them back into the bedroom.
“I told you to sleep, babe…why did you get up?”
“Because I couldn’t sleep.” she lied.
“I don’t believe you.” he looked at her in the eyes knowing she didn’t think he could take care of
“Number one, don’t forget!” he laughed as he kissed her nose. They fell asleep holding each
Two years later
Marla sat in front of the window with Whitney combing through her hair. Whitney started to put
her hair in a soft braid. “Ready to see?” Whitney asked her.
“I’m ready!” Marla squealed.
“Okay, ma’am…check it out…” Marla turned around to see her long brown hair lightly braided
with a bright yellow flower sitting right below her left ear. Her dangling pearl diamond earrings
sparkled in the afternoon Hawaiian sunlight.
“Mama’s pretty!” a 2 and a half year old Rosalia walked toward her mother, holding her hands
up to be picked up.
“And my little rose is also very pretty!” Marla kissed her daughter on the cheek and walked
toward the door in her simple long white cotton maxi dress.
“Are you ready, mija?” Marla’s father’s eyes sparkled as he looked at her and his granddaughter
embracing in the bedroom.
“Estamos listas.” she said. Travis stood behind her father holding out his hand to Rosalia.
“Come with my, princess…” he motioned for her to come with him. “We’re going to go see dad
“Go, go!” Marla put her down and rubbed her daughter’s curly hair which was full of flowers.
“See you in a few minutes, sissy.” he told her running off with his niece.
“Marla, you are so beautiful today. I am so glad you two found each other. I was not sure how
this was going to work. If he was going to leave you heartbroken or just broken, but I haven’t
seen you as happy as since you were perhaps 2 years old.” her father said with a small tear down
“Oh dad, don’t cry. At least not yet.”
Marla’s toes hit the sand quietly. She and her father looked toward the small audience which
included her small family; Bruno’s never ending family and all those who had made their small
family what it was that day. She felt a small raindrop fall on her arm. Rain on your wedding day
is good luck, I guess…she paused to take everything in. She smiled when she saw her daughter
standing next to Bruno. She’s not supposed to be on that side! Silly. As she and her father started
walking down the aisle she started to remember the day they met. The first song he played, the
song that wasn’t even played to her. The way he introduced himself- it was just so normal. And
then, everything after was so not normal. Their first kiss, their first date, their first argument,
their family, their home…it wasn’t what she had planned. But it was just so beyond perfect. And
she wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. It was just so good. It was a Good Life.
It was a very simple religious ceremony. They had decided against a full Catholic ceremony,
even though they could have. Even though Marla thought, in some way she was disappointing
her parents (and grandparents) she was reassured that the quiet and simple beach wedding was
their relationship – different than she had planned. Marla’s father handed her hand to Bruno and
Marla, Bruno and Rosalia, together, lit a unity candle symbolizing their family and togetherness.
The pastor began the ring ceremony, “May I have the rings?” Eric handed him Marla’s ring and
Fiona handed him Bruno’s ring. The pastor handed Bruno her ring.
They decided to write their own vows. She knew she was going to be out done. She wore light
make-up prepared to cry.
“Marla Kate Gonzales, my sister told me about you before we met…” she never heard this story.
He was holding back…”She said that she was working with this amazing girl. This girl that had a
heart of gold, but not only did the girl have a heart of gold, she was smart…and she spoke
Spanish…and she was beautiful…I….” he paused to gather his thoughts. “I…we had to squeeze
that into our schedule. Jamie had to beg me. She begged me by telling me about you. But when I
saw you with your messy hair and your crazy system, I knew that I had to have you. What I
didn’t know….what I didn’t know was that I was going to fall in love with you. And you
changed everything. You changed me, you changed the way I see the world, the way I talk, the
way I walk, the way I do everything. There is no way to describe it. I tried to write all of this
down…even today, you still drive me crazy. And I promise to love and to cherish and to protect
and to hold and to never let go of you and the life we create together – even after death do us
part. I will still be there. I will never let go.” He slipped the diamond ring on his finger with the
engraving of Never Let Go.
“I’m going to try my hardest not to cry…” Marla started as she took his soft hands from his side.
He smiled at her and she melted. “You need to stop doing that or else I might just have to stop
before we even start. That whole dimple thing has always driven me crazy…” she said to
everyone. The audience laughed at her. “I wasn’t concerned about love when I met you. I just
wanted to finish school. I was, really, stressed out. But you did something to me that day. I knew
you were some random semi-famous guy performing at my fundraiser. I would shake your hand,
I would thank you for the attention to the cause you brought and I would go home to sleep with
the cat on my bed…but you had different plans. Plans, plans that changed quickly. There’s no
way to explain it all. But, I do know, that I will love you no matter how far away you are from
us, or what time you call us, or when you sleep next to us. I will, we will, love you no matter
what you decide to do with your life – whether you are singing in front of 100,000 people or you
are writing for 1 single person. Or you are sitting in front of our daughter singing her song.
I…we…will always love you.” a few tears fell down her cheek as she finished her vows.
He moved his hands from hers to wipe her tears. “Let me get that, Mar…” he said gently.
She sniffed loudly, turning her head to get the ring from Fiona. “I love you, Peter…”
They kissed before the pastor could introduce them and husband and wife.
“Mr. & Mrs. Hernandez!” everyone yelled as it started to rain. Marla and Bruno grabbed their
daughter’s hand and ran toward the covering of the venue. Everyone ran after them.
And they lived happily ever after.