Natalie sat across from a silent Bruno, staring at the palms of her hands. “Six days,” she softly stated, not even bothering to look up at his face.
“…six days,” Bruno murmured back, staring at the table of the café. Silence drew around them for several more minutes, creating a slight tension between the two.
Eventually the silence was enough to drive Natalie insane, forcing her to finally look back up at Bruno. “What are you going to say?” She asked, locking her eyes onto his that were still turned down at the table.
He glanced up from the spot that he was staring at, meeting his eyes with hers. He shrugged his shoulders once before shaking his head. “Nothing,” he simply replied, creating a small knot in Natalie’s stomach.
“Bruno, please don’t do this right now,” Natalie pleaded back, letting out a defeated sigh. She knew he’d be stubborn; just like he always was. She bit back her lip reviewing their conversation from a few minutes ago. Of course with her inevitable move in less than a week the topic had come up again in their conversation. Bruno simply asked of how they’d keep in touch and how often she’d be back to visit.
Natalie had drawn quiet at his questioning, knowing that sometime within the next few days they’d eventually have to end things. Bruno picked up on her silence, shaking his head slightly annoyed as he’d mumbled the words, “of course” under his breath.
“I know you have a ton of shit on your mind so you might as well say it now while I’m telling you to,” Natalie finally said, breaking herself from her thoughts.
“Just why?” Bruno asked, leaning over the table, his elbows propped up on the edges. “How does that fix anything?” he asked in reference to them breaking up.
“Bruno, three months,” Natalie emphasized, leaning closer to him, careful not to raise her voice in a public place. “That’s how long it’s going to be until I come home again. That’s Christmas time for God’s sake.”
“So?” He asked, shaking his head. “I’m sure we can figure some things out. We’ll be fine.”
Natalie softly shook her head. “Look at us now. We can hardly make it through twoweeks without arguing. How well do you think a long distance relationship for three months is going to work?”
Bruno let out a deep breath, closing his eyes and leaning his head back, a scowl coming over his face at her words. “What the hell?” He asked, slightly pissed off. “You don’t even want to try?”
“Can we not talk about it here?” Natalie asked, glancing around at the other people eating lunch at the restaurant. She knew where this was headed and really didn’t want to end up crying and yelling in the middle of a café.
When Bruno didn’t respond, Natalie stood up from her spot, grabbing her wallet and heading towards the door. Bruno followed her out close behind, and neither of them said anything as they walked out onto the boardwalk.
“I’m just stressed out over all of this,” Natalie finally said, running a hand through her hair. They walked down a ways until they were on the beach, the distance between them as they walked making Natalie uncomfortable.
“You’re making it harder on yourself than it needs to be,” Bruno flatly stated, shoving his hands into the pockets of his shorts.
“How?” Natalie asked, turning her head to him when both of them stopped walking. “You’re the one that can’t even discuss anything rationally without losing your temper.” She crossed her arms over her chest defensively as she watched him kick the sand with his feet, not looking up at her.
“Bullshit,” he stated, glancing up at her, still kicking the sand with his foot. “I’m trying just as hard as you and you don’t see me over-dramatizing everything.”
Alright,” Natalie flatly replied, giving up. “I think I’ll just go now,” she stated, turning from him in the direction of her house.
“Natalie,” Bruno stated, trying to get her attention.
“Don’t even try,” she replied, knowing if anything, he’d at least make her get a ride home from him.
“No,” he said, suddenly grabbing her wrist. “Neither of us are going anywhere until we figure this out,” he added when she turned around in his direction.
Natalie pulled her hand back from his soft grip, crossing her arms again. “What do you want me to say?” she asked, shaking her head.
“You tell me,” Bruno replied, staring at her. “I don’t know what the hell is going through your head.”
“Yeah you do,” She said, feeling her stomach drop and her voice crack.
“Then tell me,” he stated in an annoyed tone, shaking his head. “What do you want to say?”
Natalie shook her head, biting back her lips. She took her eyes away from his, knowing she was on the verge of tears already. “No, Bruno,” she softly shook her head. “I’m not going to say anything.”
“Why?” he asked, his voice rising. “You’re going to have to say it eventually anyways.”
Natalie shook her head. “Don’t make me say it.”
Bruno ran a stressed hand up to his forehead before running it through his curls. “Why can’t you just say it?” Bruno asked, lifting his hands up. His voice was at a shouting level now and the once soft features on his face showed signs of agitation and anger through the wrinkles on his forehead.
“Because, Bruno,” Natalie said, her own voice just below a yell. “You and I both know where this is going so don’t act like you don’t know shit,” She added through a tightened jaw.
“We’re over, done, through,” Bruno coldly stated in a questioning tone, his eyes still locked on her face. “Is that what you wanted to say? Is that what’s going through your mind?!”
Natalie cringed at his words, her shoulders suddenly feeling like they weighed twice the amount than they had before. She swallowed hard and didn’t dare look at his face, knowing the anger from his voice would only match the expression on his face.
“No, I know that’s what you were going to say,” Bruno stated sarcastically. “I’d be stupid to not know that. I mean, it’s the only thing that’s been on your mind for the past month and a half.”
Natalie bit her bottom lip hard, trying to calm down both her anger and sadness as she listened to his words. It wasn’t often that Bruno opened up to say what was going on through his head, but when he did, it came like a wall of fire and it fucking hurt. “Bruno—“ she began, slightly glancing up at him before he cut her off.
“No, I get it, Natalie,” he said, the tone in his voice only making her feel worse. “I know what you’re going to say. I wouldn’t have said it like that, I wouldn’t have been so harsh,” Bruno continued, mimicking of what he assumed her thoughts were. Natalie stood quietly, watching him as he continued, not saying a word. “But you know what?” He asked, glancing up at her. “I’m just making this easy for you so that you don’t have to do it the day you leave. You’re welcome.”
He put his hands into his pockets again, glancing back down at the ground. After a moment he shook his head at her, beginning to turn away in the opposite direction.
“Fucking are you…oh my God,” Natalie said in response to him as he began walking off. “Bruno!” she angrily shouted, feeling her eyebrows knit together.
Bruno turned around, still walking backwards slowly. He lifted his hands up at her, shaking his head. “Just stop Natalie,” he said, not a trace of sympathy in his expression or voice. “I’m done, alright?”
“Fine,” she flatly replied with a stone expression. The two made eye contact for a split second before they turned from each other just after Natalie managed out the words, ”We’re done.”
lmao sorry it took too long…I think I got it about how I want it…
Natalie stared blankly across the water, following the waves with her eyes as they rolled onto the shore. She brought her knees up to her chest, hugging them close to her body as she rested her chin on her knees. Fuck this, she thought, feeling her eyes beginning to burn slightly. I should have known it’d end up like this.
She brought her hand up to her face, wiping away a tear from her eye before it had a chance to run down her cheek. Her stomach clenched as she replayed what happened over in her mind for the thousandth time, causing her to feel nauseous. I hate this, she thought, blinking her eyes to clear her vision towards the setting sun.I’m such an idiot. He won’t even talk to me. In fact I’m sure he’ll never talk to me.
And tomorrow it’s all going to be gone, she thought, fighting through her tears still.Sixteen more hours. And then nothing. I’m gone. Natalie shook her head at her thoughts, trying to shake them from her mindset. She buried her head into her knees, shaking her head, trying with all of her strength not to cry. And I don’t even know what to do about it.
Bruno strummed his acoustic guitar, sitting in a chair in his room. He let out a deep sigh as he tilted his head back, staring at the ceiling, his thoughts far too overwhelming for him to even comprehend. It’s not worth it, he thought, trying to convince himself otherwise. Nat even agreed to it herself. We’re done.
He shook his head before tossing the guitar on his bed, bringing his hands up to his head, crossing them above his head as he continued to stare at the ceiling. But tomorrow, he thought, closing his eyes stressfully. Tomorrow it’s all going to fucking change.
What the hell do I do? He thought, leaning forwards in his chair. Bruno propped his elbows up on his knees, placing his head into his hands. Shit, I’ll regret letting her leave on that note, Bruno thought, feeling his stress taking over.
He hadn’t even talked to her since they fought, almost six days ago. It was probably the longest they’ve ever gone without talking in the almost two years that he’d known her. In a way, it drove him insane, but at the same time, quite frankly he didn’t even want to talk to her, let alone work things out.
She pisses me off so bad, he thought, grabbing his hair in his hands. But I can’t bring myself to not doing anything about it, he continued, feeling his shoulders drop at this thought. Bruno let out a soft sigh, shaking his head and suddenly standing up. I still love her.
Natalie grabbed a small stone from the sand next to her, angrily throwing it into the water, sniffling slightly. Why the hell am I still crying? She thought, wiping away the wetness with the back of her wrist. You knew this was coming, she scolded herself, throwing another rock into the water. So there’s no reason to be crying.
She sat for several more minutes, continuing to throw rocks in the water, contemplating what she wanted to do. After a while, she suddenly heard footsteps from behind her, drawing her from her thoughts.
Natalie turned around from where she sat, seeing Bruno behind her. She stood up almost defensively, turning to face him, staring blankly. Bruno stopped walking when they were almost six feet from each other, glancing back at her.
A silence filled around them as they both stared at one another, the tension already rising between them. After another moment, Bruno opened his mouth to speak, but didn’t say anything. He ran a hand up through his hair, as if trying to figure out what to say, his lips mouthing words, but not speaking anything.
“What are we going to do?” he finally asked, defeated as his shoulders slumped, a soft look coming over his face.
“What do you mean what are we going to do?” Natalie asked back, staring back at him, her eyebrows knitting together.
“You’re leaving tomorrow,” Bruno stated as he shook his head, keeping his eyes firmly locked onto hers.
“Yeah,” Natalie replied, her arms held tightly across her chest. “You don’t seem to give a shit about it until the night before.”
Bruno let out a sigh as If trying to keep ahold of himself. “I do care,” he said calmly, still looking at her. “And I really don’t want you to leave Hawaii on a bad note.”
Natalie shook her head at him, stopping him midsentence. “Stop,” she said in a quiet yet strong voice. “Whatever you’re going to preach out right now, just stop because I’m done listening.”
Bruno shook his head, the agitation showing in his expression. “You know what, nevermind then,” he said, looking away from her, trying to calm himself with a deep breath. “It’s not worth my time,” he added as he turned away from her.
“Bruno,” Natalie shouted out as he began walking away. Bruno turned around to face her, expressionless. “Why did you even come here?” she asked defensively, shaking her head.
“I told you,” he replied, standing several feet from her. “You’re leaving tomorrow. And the last time we spoke was almost a week ago and we were yelling.”
“So what are you trying to do?” Natalie asked, shaking her head at him. “Do you just plan on coming here and pouring your heart out to make things perfect again?”
“No, I just want to fix things,” he stated simply. “Why are you crying?” he asked after a moment upon seeing her wiping some tears from her face.
“Because I’m stressed, Bruno!” Natalie slightly shouted, shaking her head.
“It’s going to be alright,” Bruno replied, eyeing her while she tried to get ahold of herself.
“No it’s not Bruno!” Natalie suddenly yelled, bringing her hand down from her face. “Don’t you understand anything? There’s absolutely nothing you can do to for us to make everything just fine.”
”Why?” Bruno asked, tossing his hands up. “Why don’t you just let me try?”
“You said it yourself,” Natalie stated back. “I’m leaving tomorrow. And besides, it’s hardly even about that anymore,” she continued, feeling more tears fall from her eyes. “We’ve been fighting over this all summer Bruno. That’s three months. Something like this can’t be solved in just one night.”
“Then why can’t we try?!” Bruno shouted, shaking his head. “You act like you don’t give a shit anymore.”
“I do care—“
“Yeah well you’ve got a pretty good way of showing it,” Bruno interrupted, rolling his eyes at her dramatically.
“Just listen to me,” Natalie stressfully stated, trying to get him to actually understand her reasoning. “How well do you honestly think this shit is going to work out when we’re not even within driving distance of each other? Bruno we literally fight every day. I can’t handle the stress anymore!”
“But we could work things out if you just tried,” Bruno angrily said, running a hand through his curls stressfully.
“Yeah but it’s the same old shit over and over again,” Natalie said, running her hand over her face, wiping away her tears. “It’s hardly worth trying anymore…” she added in a quieter voice.
“…So instead running away from your problems and not giving a shit about others is a much better way to solve things,” Bruno sarcastically stated back at her.
“Will you just stop that?!” Natalie shouted back at his wrinkled forehead. “You’re making all of this about you, Bruno. I’m tired of you trying to run my life.”
“Run your life?” Bruno repeated, shaking his head. “How in the hell do I try to run your life?”
“Just like this, Bruno! I can’t make my own decisions without getting completelybitched out by you because you don’t approve.” Natalie said, trying to control her anger. “You get mad when I’m around guys as if I’m going to do something when you’re not there…I can’t fucking go to the school I want because it means you’re stuck in Hawaii…and God forbid if I want to have fun and mess around with my friends on Halloween because you think what we were doing was too slutty.”
Bruno just shook his head at her, glancing at the ground, not replying.
“It’s selfish, Bruno,” Natalie said when she finished, watching him as he looked back up to her.
“How the fuck am I of all things, selfish?” He bitterly asked, his eyebrows shifting tightly together. “Right now I’m trying to work things out for both of us. It’s not just for me.”
“Yeah well it takes two people to work things out,” Natalie moodily replied. “I never once said I wanted to,” she added, remembering back to several days ago from how angry Bruno was.
Bruno let out a short breath, shaking his head. “Of course,” he said angrily, scratching his head. “I should’ve already figured that one out on my own,” he added, the tone to his voice bringing more tears to Natalie’s eyes.
He turned from her as if he were about to leave, taking a step before stopping himself. He stared at the ground, his back facing her as he took a deep breath. Turning around towards her, he glanced up to her face. “But just curious,” he stated in a pissed off tone, piercing his eyes with hers. “How long had you been planning on ending things?” he questioned sarcastically, staring her down.
Natalie opened her mouth to speak, stopping before she even found words to say.
“You know what, don’t answer that,” Bruno stated, shaking his head and lifting his hand up at her. “Because I really don’t care anymore. Have a great life in California,” he said, finally turning his back on her for the second time in one week.
Natalie shook her head, suddenly crying harder as she watched him walk away, wishing he hadn’t just said the last words he did. Have a great life in California, she repeated in her mind, the sarcasm of his voice still ringing in her ears. She continued to stare in front of her across the beach, looking at nothing specific as the tears slowly filled her eyes continuously.
As Natalie turned back towards her house, she opened the back sliding glass door to see her parents both look up at her tear-stained face, growing silent at their conversation. She knew that they’d probably watched the whole thing from the kitchen, and Natalie was sure that even just watching their gestures throughout the argument was probably enough for her parents to understand that things turned out much worse than was anticipated.
Her mom opened her mouth to speak as Natalie began walking through the kitchen. She quickly shook her head at her mother before she had a chance to even say a word. “Just…don’t,” Natalie said, lifting her hand up and quickly escaping to her bedroom.
Her mother didn’t try to question her further. In fact, neither one of her parents tried to even ask what happened between them at all. Instead, Natalie found her mom silently sitting next to her on her bed, simply holding her in a tight embrace for the rest of the evening while she tried her hardest not to cry.
The next morning when she finally woke up, Natalie could hardly find the strength to pull herself out of bed. Only a matter of hours, she’d thought, until I leave here forever.
Things weren’t supposed to be like this. Things were never supposed to end this way. In fact, things were never supposed to even be like this in the first place. Natalie was supposed to stay in Hawaii. She was supposed to be happy; to graduate from Roosevelt High. Better yet, she was supposed to be in North Carolina right now. Back at her real home; the place she’d known her whole life. She never would have been in this position had her family not moved.
That is, if things turned out how they were supposed to be.
She spent the morning silent, staring blankly at her room, now with mostly blank walls. Every one of her items were packed fully now and it was made pretty obvious that there was no turning back. Most things would be shipped out to her Aunt and Uncle’s next week, but for now, the only thing that remained in her room was a single suitcase for her flight.
She hated this feeling more than anything. It tore her apart. Never had she experience anything quite like how she felt now. It was overwhelming. Natalie had sat on the edge of her bed, her face in her hands as she took deep breaths, trying to decide what she was going to do.
I need to call him, She’d thought at the time. I can’t leave like this. I physically cannot walk out of here knowing that I didn’t even try. She’d proceeded then into reaching for the familiar house phone, only to stare at it blankly, shaking her head.No, she’d contemplated. He made it point blank that he doesn’t give a shit about me. He hasn’t even tried talking to me. Obviously he doesn’t care, so I’m not going to even bother.
Bruno clenched his jaw tightly while he played with his hands nervously in attempt to calm himself down. It was unfair, he’d believed, that something you’ve worked so hard on for so long can literally be shattered in a split moment. It was unfair that there was physically nothing he could do about it. It wasn’t fair that things couldn’t work themselves out.
He shook his head once, wishing his thoughts didn’t overrun his emotions.
Bruno got up from the chair that he’d sat in, walking over to the kitchen. He was glad nobody was home. That would only have meant more questioning of Natalie, and right now he really didn’t want it. In fact, he really didn’t want to even think about her. But that was clearly not working out too well for him.
He grabbed a water bottle from the fridge, opening it up as he stared out the kitchen window, seeing a small fraction of Honolulu through the wooden frame. He let out a deep sigh as he stared at the cloudless sky before turning away.
He couldn’t help himself. It had been all day and the only thing on his mind was Natalie. He hated it.
Even when he managed to get his mind off of her, the constant nag in the back of his mind reminding him that she was leaving today brought her back into the main line of his thoughts. Most times when it happened today, however, ended in him reaching for the phone. He’d run a hand through his hair as he squeezed the phone in hand, deciding on whether or not to call her.
I can’t do this, he’d thought as his fingers began reaching for the dialer. I need to know if she’s alright. I need to at least try to talk to her before it’s too late. But he never found himself ever touching the numbers once. No, he’d then think. Why am I even bothering when she hates me? He thought, shaking his head shamefully at himself. She hasn’t even bothered to call me. So why should I try for nothing?
There was something different in the air around her family today. Whether it was because of her impending departure or the fact that they knew she was not in the best state of being, she didn’t know. But the silence that filled between her and her siblings and parents and uncle had a slightly different tone. And Natalie wasn’t sure if she hated it completely, or enjoyed the quietness for her own thoughts.
Small jokes and laughter filled the airport lobby as tears lightly fell. Natalie continued to reassure her worried mother that she was fine and that she was going to be fine. She’d offered to completely cancel the flight due to the given circumstances, concerned for her daughter’s well-being. But Natalie insisted that it wouldn’t make things better if she just stayed longer in Hawaii.
Hadley and Savannah arrived just shortly after Natalie arrived, and they spent the last hour before her departure simply talking. No one spoke of Bruno or what happened between them; but it was obvious that all three of the girls wondered of him. Instead, they laughed like usual, talking about things as if Natalie was going to be around for the next ten years.
An announcement above in the intercom announced Natalie’s flight, breaking their conversation. She swallowed hard when she stood up from her chair, her family and friends bidding their last goodbyes to her. She surprised herself when she didn’t cry, despite everything that she was feeling at the moment. Natalie was leaving behind her family, friends, and now, leaving with a regret she would never get over.
But she couldn’t do anything about it now. It was too late.
The clock read three fifty-two. It was only eight more minutes before Natalie’s flight took off, and only eight minutes until she left his life for good. Bruno sat on the sofa of his house in silence, letting out a deep sigh.
There was literally nothing he could do at this point. Not even call. It was far too late for him to try. Even if he wanted to go to the airport, he wouldn’t make it on time. Not to mention, he wouldn’t even get the chance to say exactly what he needed to say to her and it killed him.
It’s too late, he thought. It’s over.
She didn’t let her family see her cry in front of her. It wasn’t until she set foot in the terminal that Natalie allowed the first tear to fall from her eyes. She had only barely wiped it away before another fell, leading to another and another after that.
And now, she sat against the navy blue seat, staring at the ceiling of the plane. She let out a deep sigh as she turned her red eyes towards the window, feeling the plane beginning to move.
I should have called, she thought, feeling her eyes beginning to water again. I should have fucking called him.
Bruno took a hard swallow, walking to the window of the living room. He stared out the window, his eyes glancing up at the sky.
A grey figure in the distance inclined its way up towards the sky. He locked his eyes on it, watching closely. Bruno felt his face soften as he watched the plane, knowing for a fact that Natalie was on that fight right now, and he couldn’t stop it. She’s gone.
He finally tore his eyes from the window, shaking his head painfully. Why didn’t I call?He thought, suddenly angry at himself. I could’ve made things better if I would have just called.
okok um part two now…and I just wanna say thanks to everyone who’s reading so far, and I apologize if the next few chapters are confusing because they’re gonna be a little jumpy I suppose.. :)
Eight years. Eight fucking years.
Natalie shook her head in complete disbelief. There was no way this was real. She couldn’t even wrap her head around it. The last time she had seen his face, he was completely heartbroken. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever think the next time she’d see him was like this.
Natalie closed her eyes and she could see his face perfectly as if it had happened just yesterday. The expression on his face never failed to mentally kill her, and each time she brought herself to even think about what had happened, it nearly sent her to tears just like that day on the plane.
She let out a deep sigh, opening her eyes once more, reliving in her mind the events that had taken place. After another moment, Natalie forced the thoughts from her mind, brining herself back into today. She bit her lip, a strange feeling coming over her.
Is this for real? She thought as she played through what happened only minutes ago.
She’d just gotten back to her apartment, tossing her keys on the counter as she walked in. Natalie had glanced around her home, deciding it really needed some cleaning done. Tossing her hair up into a floppy bun, she’d flipped on the radio, getting the vacuum from the closet.
“Up next we’re premiering the latest music with B.o.B and Bruno Mars, so stick around!” The radio host announced before switching to commercials. That’s weird, I haven’t heard the name Bruno for a while now, Natalie had thought, her mind drifting back to high school momentarily. She didn’t think much of it at the time, only continuing to begin cleaning her house.
Her mind drifted until she heard music beginning from the radio again, a soft sound beginning to play. She slightly danced to the tune for a few minutes, enjoying the catchy feel to the new song until something brought her out of her stance. She immediately stopped, shutting off the vacuum as she had listened closer to thatvoice. Something about it was just so familiar, it was diving her insane.
And then everything had clicked. Natalie’s eyes immediately widened as she yanked up old memories from a short Hawaiian boy singing his heart out every weekend.Bruno. She thought, suddenly remembering what the radio host had called him. Bruno Mars. No, that wasn’t possible, was it? She had thought, her mind suddenly a buzz. But his voice was so distinct, it couldn’t have been anyone else. There’s no way…
Natalie had propped the vacuum up, briskly walking to the kitchen to grab her laptop. She typed in what she believed the name of the song to be: Nothin’ On You. She clicked the first video she saw, opening a page in YouTube.
Her jaw dropped. “Holy shit!” She yelled, seeing the Bruno she believed it to be. Although it had been awhile since she last saw him, there was no mistake in the deep brown eyes of his and the complexion. She smiled at her screen, shaking her head. I can’t believe he actually made it, She thought, feeling happy that he’d managed to succeed in his dreams. I can’t believe it’s actually him.
And now she sat, staring at her computer screen in both awe and disbelief. Natalie had watched to the end of the video before restarting it again, not believing what she had seen. It wasn’t until the third time watching it that her heart had suddenly sank.It’s been nearly ten years since I last saw him, she thought, shaking her head. And the last expression I saw of his face was of a heartbroken and angry sixteen year old boy.
And it was me who broke his heart. Natalie bit her lip, guilt suddenly overcoming her body. Why do I suddenly feel like shit? I haven’t thought about him for a good five years, she thought, shaking her head. Natalie ran a hand threw her hair, realizing she was slightly jittery.
Holy fuck, she continued to think, forcing herself to close the laptop down, finding it hard to watch the video any longer. Never in a million years did I think I’d see him again, and now he’s in the same fucking city as me again.
Natalie glanced up across her apartment, scanning over her living room as she ran through her thoughts. After a few minutes, a sudden memory pulled itself up along with the others, making her get up from the desk with urgency. She quickly made her way to her bedroom, flipping through the drawers of her dresser.
She tossed some clothes out, trying to find the one thing she was looking for. When she couldn’t find it in her dresser, Natalie flung herself on the floor, sticking her head under her bed. “Where in the hell did I put that?” she asked herself in a muffled voice, annoyed when she didn’t find it again.
She hopped up back onto her feet, walking over to her closet. Flipping open the doors, she scanned her shelves, moving shoes and clothing out of the way. Glancing up near the top, she saw a medium-sized brown box on the top shelf, bringing a small smile on her lips. Perfect.
Natalie walked to the bathroom, grabbing a small stool and bringing it back into her room. She hopped up onto the stool, reaching her arms up towards the box. She stood on her toes, straining her short body to reach just the bottom of it enough so that she could pull it down.
After several muscle-stretching moments, Natalie freed the box from the shelf, dropping it into her hands. She walked over to her bed, setting the box down next to her as she sat down. Natalie let out a soft sigh before reaching for the lid of it, taking it off slowly.
She glanced at the contents of the box, feeling herself slightly smile as she remembered some things. It had been years since she last looked inside of it, let alone enough for her to nearly forget about it completely.
Natalie pulled back her hair with one hand, reaching down to grab a brown bracelet. “Hau`oli Momona ‘Umi Kumaono,” She mumbled quietly to herself, running her fingers along the writing. “Happy sweet sixteen,” she smirked, placing the worn bracelet down next to her, glancing back down at the box.
She spent the next few minutes looking through some of the things from her time spent in Hawaii, bringing back thousands of memories between the two years she spent on the island. There were mostly pictures of her and the girls, along with a few of Bruno and the guys. Those pictures had almost a different feel to them, which caused knots to form in her stomach, making her uncomfortable. She’d simply set down these ones when she got that feeling, ignoring the fact of what made her feel so bad.
A final picture in the box that she looked at was one of her and Bruno from homecoming, both of them smiling cheekily from the annoyance of taking so many pictures. She laughed at Bruno’s expression, his eyes wide with a smile so big it was nearly the size of his face. His arm was around the waist of her red dress, slightly gripping onto the fabric on her side.
Natalie shook her head with a smile as she set the final picture down into the pile next to her. She glanced down at the box again, feeling the smile leave her lips upon looking at the envelope that lay at the bottom of the box.
She reached down and picked it up slowly as if it were her first time looking at it all over again. Natalie flipped over to the side with her name written on the addressed space, along with a Hawaii stamp and street number written on the return address. Allowing herself to let out a sigh, she flipped it back over, taking out the letter from the inside.
Natalie unfolded the white paper, finding herself facing a handwritten letter she’d only brought herself to read one other time; the day that she first received it. She took in a deep breath, reading the date written at the top, beginning to read it;
Natalie slung her bag over her shoulder, taking off the sunglasses from her face. She smiled when her parents came into view of her, running up to her with open arms. She hugged them and her siblings, genuinely happy to be seeing them again. it had been almost six months since she’d last seen them, and quite frankly, she was relieved for once in her life to actually see her mom and dad.
Her father helped her carry her suitcase to the car, everyone talking about the news and happening over the past year. It sounded like things weren’t as different as they had been before. Everyone seemed to be getting along well, and Natalie heard good things about Savannah and Hadley, only making her even more excited to see them again.
When she got to her house, the first thing Natalie did was go to her room. She smiled seeing the arrangement of furniture exactly the same as a year ago, and she flopped down onto the bed, tired from the long flight.
The past year had been pretty hectic for her she had to admit. Even from her time leaving Hawaii to living with her aunt and uncle for the school year was a much different situation. She made new friends at her school and got along just fine. The modeling agency set up schedules around her school time, and she made more friends with girls her age during photoshoots. Nothing big was really happening at the moment, but she’d gotten the opportunity to model for some clothing lines for magazines and such, which made her completely ecstatic.
Throughout the past nine months in school, Natalie had never once forgotten about Bruno. At most, she probably went a week without thinking about him before something popped up again in her head. The first few weeks were rough, and the amount of times that Natalie sat with his number dialed on the phone she lost count of eventually. She found it hard with the thought of calling him, but she always wanted to. And now, her regrets only killed her further because of the fact that she was back at the place where everything happened.
After a few hours of settling in and a family dinner, Hadley and Savannah called to tell Natalie they were going to come over. They insisted on being the first of their friends to see her, since she was going to be in Hawaii all summer for the next three months.
“Oh my god, Natalie!” they squealed when they finally came over, hugging her to near death. They laughed and caught up on things between each other for the next half hour, going through the main gossip that Natalie had missed all year.
After the conversation died out slightly, Natalie bit back her lip, finally allowing herself to ask the question that had been on her mind since her flight landed. “And…Bruno?” she dared herself to ask softly. His name hadn’t even popped up in the conversation since the girls had gotten to her house. “What’s he been up to?”
Hadley and Savannah grew silent at her words, turning to look at each other. They contemplated for a moment as Natalie sat watching them, confused. “Natalie,” Savannah finally began in a soft voice. “Bruno left Hawaii.”
“What?” Natalie asked in a shocked voice, staring in disbelief. “What do you mean he left?”
“He moved out to California,” Hadley said.
The girls looked at each other again as if thinking. “Like not even a week ago,” Hadley finally confirmed. Natalie shook her head, perplexed by what they said. She couldn’t believe that he’d actually left. She’d always known that he’d wanted to get out and shoot for his dreams, but she didn’t think he’d actually get the nerve to do it.
They sat around and talked for a couple more hours until Hadley and Savannah decided it was about time to leave. They made plans to meet up the following day and left with smiles as they walked out the door. Natalie walked into the living room where her parents were watching TV, letting out a small sigh.
“Oh Natalie,” Her mother said, turning around from the couch. “I forgot to give this to you,” she stated before rummaging through a small stack of letters, pulling one out towards her.
Natalie grabbed it cautiously, feeling her heart sink when she saw it was from Bruno. She anxiously thanked her mom before walking back into her room, flopping down on her bed and opening the letter with shaky hands:
I think it’s been a while since I’ve last seen you. Right now, I can’t believe that I’ve actually gotten the nerve to writing this to you. I don’t really know where you are right now, or what you’re doing; or in that case how you’re doing, but I hope things are going pretty well for you.
Senior year is coming to an end. We’ve only got two more painful weeks to push through and then we’re free. I’m really excited for this year to end. Can you believe it? We’re practically adults now…being thrown out into the world as if we actually know what the hell we’re doing. It’s going to be different, but I don’t mind change all that much; I’ve gotten pretty used to it throughout my life.
You missed out on a good year, Nat. I don’t even know where I’d begin to explain everything that happened throughout these past nine months. So many things happened. I bought a new guitar that I’m proud of. You should hear the sound. It’s amazing. I still got my spot downtown every Saturday, and although it’s been nearly two years of it, I’m surprisingly not tired of it yet. Ryan’s pretty much the same, so I’m sure that’s not too huge of a surprise to you either. Everyone’s been pretty good, actually. Senior year really was great. I wish I would have gotten a chance to spend it with you.
I know it seems like I’m just dragging on, but there is actually a reason behind me writing this right now. I’m moving out to California. I’m actually going to do it, Nat. I never thought in a million years that I’d be where I am right now. But I can’t handle just staying here all my life. I want to go out and accomplish the one thing I’ve always wanted. And that’s music.
And with moving to Los Angeles, I want to leave Hawaii on a good note. I want to leave bearing no regrets onto anything or anyone. I want to start fresh; to begin with a clean conscious. And that’s why I’m writing to you.
I’m sorry, Natalie. For everything. Everything that I put you through and everything that I’ve ever done, whether or not I was even aware of it. And if I never speak to you again after this, that’s the one thing I will forever want you to know. I thought back to that day last August, the day before you left. It kills me every time I even think about it and now looking back I realize how stupid I was. You were right, Nat. Now I realize that I was holding you back. You didn’t need or deserve that from me. I wasn’t supportive in your decision. And just like you said, I was being selfish. I didn’t understand.
But now I do. I thought you were the one in the wrong for being mad at me, but you had every right to be. I know it’s really late for me to be saying this, but I think it took all of these nine months for me to fully understand everything and to sort out my thoughts. There have been countless times that I’ve tried to write this, but I could never finish through even the first sentence. And I guess they say better late than never, so here’s my late, telling you that I’m one hundred percent fully sorry.
And I want you know that nothing is your fault. Don’t ever think that things turned out the way they did because of you. You didn’t do anything. Sometimes things end so that greater things can be set into place, right? Well maybe this is one of those times. God always has his way of working things out. And I know we both would have liked it if everything ended on a better note than it did, but everything happens for a reason.
I don’t want you to ever forget how much you meant to me Natalie. No matter where either of us are in the future, you’ll forever be in the back of my mind remembered as the girl who changed my life. I forgive you and I want you to remember that. Don’t beat yourself up over what happened. But lastly, the one thing I want you to remember is that I love you. I never got a chance to tell you that the day you left and I hate myself for not doing so. So Natalie Marie Jackson, just remember, I love you.
By the time Natalie was at the bottom of the page, a few tears had already managed to fall from her eyes, staining onto the letter along with tears left behind from years ago. She let out a shaky breath as she tried to push the thought of him from her mind, trying to tell herself that it didn’t matter anymore.
But she knew it still mattered to her, whether or not Bruno himself said it was alright. Because she was the one who wasn’t alright at that point in time, and even now thinking back to that day when she first read the letter, it made her heart sink in the exact same way.
Natalie wiped her face on her wrist once, folding the letter back up. She placed it back into the envelope, holding onto it for a moment while she thought. After a few minutes, she sighed, placing it back into the box, gathering the other pictures and memorabilia and setting them back into the box as well.
Natalie pulled her hair back into a loose ponytail as she stared at herself in the mirror. A million thoughts ran through her mind all at once, her thinking overflowing with everything from memories to sadness or anger or remorse over the whole situation. Why didn’t I do anything about it? She thought to herself, resting her palms on the edge of the sink. Why didn’t I leave something for him?
She brought herself back to that summer after he left, remembering the amount of times she had forced herself to sit down and try to write back to him. But she could never do it. She didn’t understand. No matter how long or how hard she concentrated, there was always something that held her back from writing even three simple words to him:
I love you.
She found it hard to even face his family, which made everything worse. They didn’thate her. They didn’t even act like she’d done anything to Bruno at all. Every time she saw his mother or father or sisters that summer they’d greet her with a welcoming smile and stay and talk to her for a while. And never once did things get awkward. It made her feel one hundred times worse about Bruno because of the guilt she carried of never writing him back.
Natalie thought of the possibility of seeing him when she returned to Los Angeles. But she had nothing; no idea where he headed off in search for his dream, no address, and not even a phone number to contact him with. And she couldn’t bring herself to asking his family. So she gave up.
Natalie let out a stressful sigh, finally tearing herself from the mirror. She walked down the hallway of her apartment, feeling the silence of being home alone suddenly coming in on her. It had been nearly a week since she first discovered Bruno from the radio, and she hadn’t really thought too much more of it until today.
She walked over and pressed the blinking button of her answering machine, listening to the message of a manager from the record company. Shit I forgot about that, she thought slightly stressed as she listened to the reminder of the event the following evening. Natalie glanced up across the room towards the fridge at the note that read the time she needed to pick up her dress for the event.
As the message ended she ripped the paper off the fridge, mentally telling herself she couldn’t forget to get her dress later at two. Ugh I still have a ton of shit to do,she thought as she glanced down at her blackberry, dialing off a number.
It rang several times until he picked up the phone casually, not sounding too urgent.Typical. “Hellloooo,” he sang cheerfully with a laugh, the noise in the background muffled.
“Hey don’t forget we’ve got whatever the hell that music thing is tomorrow night,” she sighed into the phone, knowing how forgetful he tended to be.
“Really? You think I’d forget about that? C’mon, at least give me more credit than that,” he laughed into the phone before he became distracted, talking the guys in the background.
“Evan,” Natalie stated, trying to get his attention. “Seriously. We’re leaving at six tomorrow so don’t forget.” It was hard getting through to him sometimes, especially when he proved to be an airhead at some times. Although Evan worked heavily for the past few years under the artists and repertoire division on a few different labels, he tended to overwork himself, which almost always led to missed scheduled events. For someone who was supposed to be organized, Evan wasn’t the best example of the best A&R.
“I promise I won’t forget, alright?” he replied in a softer tone, lowering his voice.
“Alright,” Natalie replied skeptically, finally resting her chin in her hand.
“I’ll be home at around eleven. I love you.”
“I love you too,” Natalie replied with a small sigh, hanging up the phone.
Natalie laughed as she readjusted his tie one last time, patting his chest before glancing up at him. Evan smirked down at her with a silly expression. “Good enough now?” he asked, lifting an eyebrow down to her.
She pretended to ponder the question for a moment, stepping back to eye his attire. “I think it will do,” she shrugged sarcastically, flopping her shoulders at him nonchalantly.
“You think? Maybe dressing up was a bad idea,” he laughed as he took a glance at him in the mirror. “I’d probably get the same response from you if I were wearing sweats and a white t-shirt.”
“Whatever,” Natalie smiled before rolling her eyes at him, walking behind him. she stepped up on her tiptoes to his tall figure glancing at him in the mirror from behind his shoulders. “We should probably get going,” she stated after a moment, glancing over to the clock in the bathroom.
“Ready?” Evan asked, turning around towards her. He kissed her on the lips softly as he put an arm around the hips of her black dress, leading her out of the bathroom with him.