Natalie sat alongside Bruno, their feet hanging off the edge of the pier. She stared off across the water towards the horizon, watching the glowing pink sky as it slowly faded into the night. She’d drug Bruno out of the restaurant, proclaiming that she’d never taken the time to actually look at a sunset. He simply gave into her spontaneous idea, laughing along as she pulled him down next to her.
She rested her head on his shoulder, grabbing both of his hands with hers, neither of them saying anything for some time. “Can you believe it’s been a whole year already?” Natalie nonchalantly asked after several minutes, staring off over the horizon. It was still sort of a strange thing for her to think about, better yet, wrap her head around. She never thought that she’d be with someone for even a few monthsbeing as her last relationship before Bruno was around two months long.
In fact, Natalie never saw herself falling in love with anyone. Especially at the age of sixteen. It’s crazy, she thought as she shifted herself closer towards Bruno, wishing they could sit there forever.
“I had no doubt in my mind last year that I’d still be seeing you,” Bruno teased, nudging her slightly with his shoulders.
“Oh whatever,” Natalie replied, rolling her eyes before resting them on the now dark-red sky. “I like this,” She said after another silence, squeezing his hand tighter.
“Hmm?” Bruno hummed softly, glancing down over to her.
“Just sitting here,” she replied, swinging her feet below her. “Not stressing about anything else. It’s nice for once…” she added, drifting off as she reminded herself that it had been a while since either of them weren’t so tense around each other from the given past couple of weeks.
“I like it too,” Bruno replied with a small sigh. “I think we should try this more often.”
Natalie sat her head up to glance at him. “You really think so?” she asked thoughtfully.
“Of course,” he said, shrugging his shoulders a bit. “I think it beats yelling and arguing.”
“Yeah,” Natalie said, feeling her face drop slightly. “How about no more fighting, Bru?” She asked after a moment before resting her head back down on his shoulder.
“No more fighting,” he confirmed, wrapping an arm around her shoulder, hugging her tightly. “Can we go now?” He asked softly, turning to look at Natalie again. “The sun’s gone now,” he added with a small laugh.
“Yes,” she replied, standing up with the help of Bruno’s hand. “But it’s only nine,” she added, wrapping her arms around his waist as they began walking. “I don’t have to be home until midnight, remember?”
Bruno turned to look at her with a small smirk, raising an eyebrow at her. She simply smiled at his expression. Natalie laughed, staring at the ground as neither of them elaborated further when they got back to Bruno’s car.
Several weeks after Natalie’s birthday passed proved to be more challenging than the weeks prior to it. Although it was only the beginning of July, things between then and the impending school year were becoming more apparent. The words themselves were never spoken, but Natalie and Bruno both knew her decision to move to California was final.
Neither of them spoke about it, and whenever phone calls or mail came with information from either her Aunt and Uncle living there or from the school itself, Natalie would simply brush it off to the side to wait until she had time to review things herself, when Bruno wasn’t with her. It caused for situations to become tense between them, and it was given that both of them had things that they wanted to say about the matter, yet neither one of them said a single word.
Natalie put her best face forwards toward Bruno, and he pretty much did the same. They spent their time acting like nothing was wrong, but they both knew that their time together was drawing short. Natalie herself had no idea what she was going to do or what was going to happen between them when the time came that she actually would have to leave, but she tried her best not to think about it.
However, on the few occasions that she’d let herself into thinking in that mindset, she knew that eventually they’d have to break things off with each other. Natalie knew long distance relationships were hard to manage, and given the fact that it was going to be both of their senior years in school this year, she didn’t want to have that fact be the thing holding them down. It flat out sucked, and a few times with these thoughts, Natalie found herself nearly to tears.
There were a few times also that the conversation between them did pop up. It literally always led to an argument, to which ended in yelling and shouting, which was the main reason that Natalie avoided what was on her mind because she knew that if she even brought up the subject of them breaking up, she wouldn’t even get what she wanted off her chest before another argument broke out. So she simply watched her steps.
It wasn’t until mid-July that the topic came up again, which was the point that really snapped the two of them into the reality that Natalie’s move was inevitable.
Natalie sat at the kitchen counter next to Bruno as he flipped through a magazine, trying to explain to her the importance of which guitar was best fit for him. She hardly ever understood anything music related that he said, but Natalie always nodded her head and laughed as if she understood.
“Wow,” Bruno said, shaking his head at her after a moment jokingly, looking back down at the page. “You don’t even care,” he added as she laughed at him.
“Of course I do,” Natalie whined with a laugh, nudging his arms. She looked at his face, knowing he was trying not to crack a smile. “Now explain that again, I wasn’t listening,” she added with another laugh as her mom walked into the kitchen with a letter.
“This came in the mail for you,” She said as she slid the rather large, tightly-packed envelope towards Natalie. Natalie saw Bruno glance up at it before he looked down at his magazine again, knowing it was from the school.
“First day is on September second,” her mom said as she explained the conversation she had with one of the school’s counselors earlier in the day. Natalie quietly listened as she flipped through a few pages that had been sent to her on the school’s handbook and supplies list. Bruno sat silently by himself even when Natalie took a glance at him, and she knew he was probably listening as well even though he probably wished not to.
“The second,” Natalie repeated softly after her mom finished, drifting off in her thoughts slightly, knowing it wasn’t that far off.
“So I think we’ve pretty much got everything covered,” Her mom added with a small but sad smile, standing up from her spot leaning over the counter opposite from Natalie. “Your flight is booked for August twentieth so that you can get settled in and everything,” she added with one more look at Natalie.
Natalie felt her stomach flip slightly at the date, realizing it was much too soon. She stared off across the kitchen, biting her lip back for a moment, nodding her head at her mom. She glanced at Bruno for a second, seeing him staring at his magazine still. Her mom picked up the hint after a moment, leaving the kitchen to Natalie and Bruno.
Natalie continued to look forwards a few seconds after her mom left, neither her nor Bruno saying a single word to each other. And with a sudden urgency after a few minutes, Natalie felt herself beginning to cry, her vision blurring.
Bruno looked up from his magazine, giving her one look before he wrapped his arms around her, not saying a word, but only hugging her close as she buried her head into his neck. “That’s only a month away,” she cried, her breathing shaky.
“I know,” Bruno softly replied, rubbing her back gently.
“I can’t do this, Bruno,” Natalie said muffled against his body, trying to calm herself. “How am I supposed to do this?”
“Shh,” Bruno said as he squeezed her tighter, trying to not think about it himself. “We’re going to be fine,” he cooed against her ear. “We’ll be alright.”
“But—“ Natalie began before Bruno cut her off again with his shh-ing.
“Just don’t worry about it now,” Bruno softly said. “We’ve got a whole month to not worry and to be happy, so for now just calm down.”