“Do they have to publish it?” Arissa asked standing in line at the court house.
“I think they publish everything because it’s a public record, baby.” he responded quietly standing next to her.
“Damn. Someone’s going to see that and go crazy tomorrow morning…” she told him.
“Going crazy about you…” he answered.
“Oh my god, no. Going crazy because Bruno Mars got married.” she said a little louder.
“They’ll get over it…Ris.” he kissed her on the cheek as they moved up farther in the line.
She grabb”ed the paper they had filled out online earlier in the morning to make sure he was right about publishing the information. “It says here that you don’t have to do it…” she told him.
“Oh..and Hawaiian is a race?” she asked him.
“That’s what they tell me…” he told her. He took her hand leading her up to the county clerk.
“Here’s our stuff…” he told her.
“Oh great. You have it all filled out already… “ she responded to him handing her the application and IDs.
“Okay…oh. What?!” the girl looked up at him gasping after she read through the application.
“Don’t say anything, please.” Arissa pleaded with her.
“Everything here is confidential, Mrs. Hernandez. I will be the only person to know.”
“Are you sure?” Arissa asked still slightly concerned.
“Riss..just trust her. People will find out soon enough.”
The clerk took about 15 minutes to type everything. Bruno started to talk to Arissa about going home.
“You’re going to come home, right?” he asked sadly.
“Of course I am.” she told him squeezing his hand.
“Doesn’t that guy look like Bruno?” she heard someone ask in the back of the line. “And he’s holding that girl’s hand like…woah.” the girl leaned over to her fiancé in shock. Another couple in front of them glanced over at Bruno and Arissa.
“Yeah, it looks like him. He’s rocking the fro today…”
“Hmm. What a lucky girl.” an older lady answered.
“She sure is. I bet he sings to her all the time…and does little dances for her…”
“I bet he kisses her lips all day.” a guy laughed.
“She’s just lucky. That’s all I have to say about it.” his fiancé responded.
Arissa heard some of the conversation wincing. “They know you’re here, Bruno.” she leaned in to his ear.
“How many times do…I have to tell you it doesn’t matter?” he answered touching her hair.
“Alright, you’re officially Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez, y’all.” the clerk slid the paper in front of them with an attached pen. “Sign here, Bruno and here Arissa…and I’ll go get you your two copies.” She walked back to make her official copies stamping something on the back.
“Here you go, congratulations you two.” the clerk said.
He led her outside into the sunny Monday morning light. He picked her up hugging her tightly twirling her around as they made their way to the front of the building. “I love you, Arissa Hernandez.”
“I love you Bruno Hernandez.” she answered quietly as he put her down.
“No way!” they heard a teenage girl scream. Arissa and took his hand running to the car laughing at the reaction.
“What did I get myself into?” she said under her breath as she put on her seatbelt.
Arissa kissed Bruno, who was still asleep in their bed, as she ran out the door for a shoot. She left a note under his blackberry that was sitting on his side of the bed.
I will be in San Bernadino all day and night for work.
Love you, Riss
Arissa jumped in the car, put on her ipod getting ready for the lengthy drive to the shoot she was assisting with.
“Suckers..my traffic is better than yours…” she said to herself as she sat in the slow traffic heading south of their home. Everyone else was coming into town as she was leaving.
The hour and a half trip started to get boring as she reached the mountainous area of the city. Oh my god. What if there’s an earthquake? She thought remembering that a co-worker had mentioned that the site was right near the fault line. She had feared about earthquakes and fires, but figured that if she could handle the flooding on her house when she was high school she could handle an earthquake. But there was a little one a few days ago…what if that was the pre shock? Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. She grabbed her phone to call her sister.
“What if there’s an earthquake?” she asked her sister after the caught up briefly.
“Sissy, quit being stupid. They happen every two hundred years…”
“You’re right. I just overreact.”
“Yeah ya do. Just stop worrying about non-existent problems. You should really be worrying about…nothing.” she told her sister.
“I guess you’re right. Thank you, sister.”
“You’re welcome. Have a great day.”
Arissa was only a few minutes away from the heart of Los Angeles when she heard her phone buzz.
“Hey there, sexy.” she responded to Bruno.
“Baby doll. I miss you.” he told her.
“Bruno, I was gone for a day. Calm down. I’m almost home I’ll be there in like 0 minutes.”
“Come to the studio…I won’t be home until late. And we ordered Thai. I got you that spicy chili stuff.”
“Spicy chili stuff? How fast can I get there?” she asked him changing lanes slowly to exit 405 instead of staying on the street she was on.
“Get here fast, Brody might eat it before you get here.” he told her.
“I’ll get there soon. Don’t let him eat my stuff.” she laughed.
“I love you.” he told her.
“I love you, too. I’ll see you soon.” she clicked the phone feeling a weird noise and sudden shake as she threw her phone down. The shaking got louder and more frequent. She reached over to her phone as she saw all the cars she was driving with make a mad dash to a flat surface. Oh my god. She thought. She started shaking as she stopped the car to get out as fast as possible. The door opened. She felt herself being pushed against the guard rail being pushed by the car. She clutched her phone tightly to make sure she could call someone quickly. She screamed loudly as the front bumper of her brand new Audi pinned her whole body onto the ground.
“Holy shit, that was big” Phil said after they felt the earth move.
“I think that’s the biggest one I’ve felt ever…” Ari told them.
“Is everyone okay?” Bruno asked coming back into the room after getting off the phone with Arissa.
“Yeah, dude. I don’t think anything was hurt. Is the food still there?” Brody asked.
“Oh…yeah. Oh shit. It fell…” Bruno laughed at the mess. “We probably should clean that up. It’ll stain.” He grabbed some paper towels and moved the sytrafoam boxes into the big trash can. No, no, no, no, no! Arissa was driving! Shit. Shit, shit.
“Wasn’t Arissa driving just now?” Phil asked him.
Bruno’s face went white as Phil finished his sentence. He stood up not saying anything, just walking out of the room back to where he was on the phone with her just a few minutes ago.
“Bro…call her. She’s probably fine. Freaked out, but okay…” Phil sat down next to him.
He picked up his phone with his hand shaking pressing the green dial button. The phone rang several times and then it disconnected. He dialed several more times, the same thing happened. “The lines are jammed. I can’t get to her. I can’t get to her! Where is she? I have to go find her. I have to find her!” he repeated the statement several times shaking even more. “Why didn’t she answer? Where is she? Oh my god. I have to find her…I have to find her…” he started to walk out the door. Phil grabbed him hugging him tightly.
“We’ll get her, Brunz. We’ll find her.”
“I have to find her!” he screamed.
“You’re not doing this on your own, Brunz.” Ari and Phil looked at each other deciding that they would all go look for her.
“I need to call Urbana, but after that we’re going to find her..” Phil told them. Bruno grabbed his keys flipping the light off quickly going to his car.
“Hurry, dude!” he yelled. He ran his fingers through his hair and then clutched the wheel tightly after they all got in the car to find her. Ari turned on the radio to see if anyone was talking about it. Bruno’s number one pre-set was dead. Number - dead. Three- dead. He flipped through Bruno’s XM stations to find the traffic station.
“Everything east of the 405 is closed. If you need to get home or find someone…just be patient. The area is impassable and dangerous…” the traffic girl said.
“I don’t care. I need to get to her.” he said under his breath. They hit a wall of traffic in her direction.
“Where was she when she called?” Phil asked.
“I didn’t ask. She said she would be home in like 0 minutes so maybe at Sunset…but then I told her to come see us instead…oh my god. She wouldn’t have been up that high if I hadn’t told her to come see us…it’s all my fault. It’s all my fault….why did I tell her to come see us? Why?” he started intellectualizing the situation.
They sat in traffic for nearly an hour. He continued to blame himself for not being able to find Arissa. The guys tried to calm him down, but also knew that there wasn’t much they could do to keep him from worrying.
They came to a recently imposed stop where a young police officer stood. He rolled down the window after the officer asked him to. “My wife…I need her…” he told the officer.
‘Sir, there are lots of people we are looking for. I’m going to give you this,” the officer handed him a sheet of paper with the phone number for the Red Cross and several hospitals. “Call these to find her. No one is allowed beyond this point.”
“But why are those people there?” he asked about the cars in front of him.
“There was another small aftershock a few miles ahead. They will get turned around soon enough.” the police officer told Bruno.
“I don’t care. I have to get to her…” he told the officer. “You can arrest me if you want to. But I am going to find her…” he told him.
“Sir, take these forms. You will find her. We will find everyone..”
“There’s a girl over here!” a police officer yelled to his partner. “Come help me get her…” several officers joined him seeing Arissa’s arm move.
“She’s alive…” his partner said. “Ma’am? Can you hear us? We’re here to help you…”
“Please…I can’t feel my legs. And my arms…they hurt so bad…”
“We’re going to help you. What’s your name?”
“Arissa….” she said quietly.
“Okay Arissa. Just hang in there. We’re going to help you..you’ll hear a really loud noise. Just know it won’t get too close to you. It’s to move the guard rail.”
She felt something fall near her and the car that had pinned her. The noise stopped and the officer spoke, “Now, you’re going to fall when we make this last cut. So, there’s a few of us behind you. You’ll fall on us. It’s okay if it hurts. We’re taking you to the hospital.”
“Tell Bruno…” she answered him.
“We’ll tell him when you get out of here, Arissa. Arissa…what’s your last name?”
“Hen….Hernandez…” she said with a gasp as she felt herself fade away from them.
“Ms. Hernandez?” the officer asked. He waited a few seconds before asking again.
“Dude! Get in there. She’s unconscious.” They freed her catching her as she fell back onto them. She was still holding on to her phone as she fell.
One of the officers grabbed the phone careful that it didn’t hit the ground. He knew the phone was the key to her family and loved ones.
“Where am I?” she asked as she found herself in the ambulance. “I need to call him…tell him Brody can eat my dinner…” she said through her oxygen mask.
“Mrs. Hernandez..you were injured in an earthquake. The car pinned you against a guard rail…you’ll be okay though. We’re taking you to Cedars…”
“Owwww. Holy shit. My legs hurt. What fell on me? The car? I can’t feel them…And my arms and…” she gasped again trying to catch her breath.
“Just keep your eyes on one of us….talking is hurting your ribs..” the female EMT told her.
“But Bruno…I need him…” she said again.
“Is that your boyfriend?” the lone female EMT asked. “I’ll ask you yes or no questions, okay? You nod your head.”
Arissa shook her head no. “Husband…he’s looking for me. I know he is….” she said.
“We’ll get you to him, Mrs. Hernandez. We’ll find him for you…” she answered her.
Arissa’s phone rang as she closed her eyes resting. She tried to reach over to the phone as it started to ring. “I can’t reach…please…let me talk to him…” she said trying to sit up. “Please….” she pleaded.
“It’s ringing!” Bruno said as they headed west toward his house. He heard someone answer the phone.
“Rissy….” he cried into the phone. “Ris! Arissa! Where are you? Are you okay?”
“Shhh….” she said faintly.
“Oh my god. Arissa! Where are you?”
“Calm down…” she said quietly taking motioning to the male EMT to take off her oxygen mask.
“Only for a few seconds…” he told her.
“Cedars…that’s where they’re taking me. I will be okay. I love you.” the EMT placed the mask over her again taking the phone from her.
“Mr. Hernandez?” the EMT asked.
‘Yes! Who are you?” he asked.
“Brandon, an EMT. Arissa is being taken to Cedars. She has a broken leg, a fractured arm and possibly some bruised ribs. But, she should be okay. She needs to rest her voice. But we just want to reassure you she is alive. We’re two minutes from the hospital…”
Bruno took in what the officer said switching lanes to make a u-turn to the hospital.
“Where will she be?” he asked.
“I don’t know that sir…but when you arrive you will find out…” Brandon told him.
“Thank you, thank you.” Bruno responded. “Can you give the phone back to her, please?” he asked. “I won’t ask her anything. I just want to tell her something.” Bruno asked.
“Rissy…I will see you soon. I won’t let anything happen to you again. I love you. I know exactly where to find you. I love you so much. Please hang in there, baby doll. Please, be strong.” he finished. She felt a tear come down her cheek making the cold air on her face feel even more annoying. The phone clicked off.
“Wait, Bruno Hernandez?” the female EMT asked.
Arissa tried not to laugh at her reaction.
“Well, lucky girl.” the EMT said checking Arissa’s IV.
Arissa felt a hand touch her face gently. She squinted her eyes to open them. She caught Bruno’s red eyes look at her.
“Why are you crying, Bru?” she asked him.
“Sweetheart…I just…I had no idea where you were….we went to look for you…and … and… Arissa I’m sorry.”
She looked at him inquisitively.
“I told you to come see me…if I hadn’t told you to come and see me you wouldn’t have been on the 405. You would have still been on the 10 and not up that high…you wouldn’t have felt anything more than just a little shake…Arissa…please forgive me…” he started to cry. She tried to reach her hand up to touch him cringing from the pain. She had never seen him cry so much. He leaned into her burying his head in her shoulder. “Please tell me you forgive me…please.” he said through his tears.
“Bruno…I’m not mad at you…” she said rubbing his back trying to get him to stop crying.
“I’m not mad…” she said quietly gasping for breath. “But you need to get up…you’re really..really..hurting….” she continued.
“Oh! Oh! I’m sorry, baby doll.” He lifted his head up off of her chest.
“Where does it hurt?” he asked her.
“Everywhere.” she let out a small cry.
“I would change places with you in a heartbeat Arissa. I don’t want you to ever feel this way.” he told her touching her hair.
“I wouldn’t wish this on any person in the world.” she told him. “It’s the worst thing ever.” she explained to him.
A nurse came in the room after knocking on the side of the door. “Mrs. Hernandez, we need to check your vitals.”
“Oh. Okay.” she said looking at the nurse.
“How are you feeling? Terrible still?” she asked.
“I hurt everywhere…” she told the nurse as the nurse put a blood pressure cuff on her arm.
“The doctor is going to come in to see you in a few minutes. He will tell you all about what needs to be done to get you out of here…” the nurse said in a sooth tone. “But first..take some Tylenol.” the nurse handed her a cup of three pills and a bottle of water.
“Ouch.” she said swallowing the pills.
“Hmm…” the nurse said.
“What? What’s wrong?” Bruno asked touching her.
“Her ribs are just a bit more sensitive than we anticipated.” she answered turning around to walk out the door.
“Brun….” he heard her gasp.
“She’s not breathing!” Bruno yelled taking her hand jumping up from his chair. “She’s not breathing!”
The nurse called for assistance as Bruno stood right next to her.
“We need to intubate her…” the first nurse, who was named Wendy told Bruno.
Another nurse took Bruno by the arm leading him out of the room. “But…but…is she going to be okay? I…Arissa…I…” Bruno was led out of the room in total shock.
“That was all for her?” He heard Phil ask him.
“She was okay…she was talking…she was…oh my..oh my god…she has to be okay…I need her!” he cried.
Phil took Bruno’s hand leading him to a packed waiting room. Aside from his sisters and parents, there were countless more people in the same situation as he was. His mother ran over to him hugging him. She was followed by the rest of his family. They held on to him tightly while he cried for Arissa.
“Bruno, she’s going to be okay. She’s going to get through this. She is a fighter.” Presley told him.
“I…I….” he had regained his ability to speak after he found her in the hospital, but after watching them put things down her throat he was speechless. But he was thinking million miles a second. I can’t lose her. She can’t do this. It’s all my fault. She wouldn’t have been there. She wasn’t feeling good this morning. I told her not to go to work today. I would have made her soup. I want to be there instead of her. Why can’t it be me? Why did this happen? This isn’t the way its supposed to be. I want Arissa back. I need…
“Brunito?” his mom asked him as he looked around the room at similar groups.
“Mom…I can’t do this without her. I need her. I won’t be able to…live…without her in my life…” he said feeling the tears coming again. The deep brown in his eyes had been replaced with bright red.
Nearly an hour later Arissa’s doctor, Dr. Miller, came out to speak to them.
“Mr. Hernandez…she’s stable. You can go visit her on the third floor. But, she will need to stay in the ICU for the next few days…she has broken her ribs in several places causing the pieces of her ribs to be separated from her chest. “
“Will she be okay?” Eric stood behind Bruno asking questions his brother couldn’t get out.
“She will be if she can get through the next 48 hours.” Dr. Miller told them.
Bruno was led to the intensive care unit where he was led into a small glass room to visit with Arissa. He took her left hand that still had a scar on it from when he burned it the year before. He sat down next to her to talk to her. Everyone always said talking to people when they’re in the hospital helps…even if they can’t consciously hear the words.
“Rissy…even though you probably can’t hear me….baby doll….you are so beautiful right now. You look so peaceful. And I love you. I need you to come back to me. Everyone needs you. I have to believe you’re going to make it through this. But not having you by my side, even for a night, scares the hell out of me. I love you, so, so much.” He kissed her on the cheek squeezing her hand turning around to leave the room as the nurse instructed him to.
“I can’t stay with her, tonight?” he asked the nurse.
“No, Bruno. I’m sorry. We’ll be here for her and will call you if there are any changes…”
“I….” Bruno paused, again trying to gather his thoughts. “I just need to…say good bye…” he stumbled through his thoughts. I just want to be with her when she wakes up…”I just want to be with her when she wakes up.” he articulated his thoughts.
“Mr. Hernandez…we will call you when she wakes up. And you can come and sit with her tomorrow afternoon….”
“Bruno?” the nurse asked as he drifted in and out of his thoughts. “Bruno….I’m going to take you downstairs to your family…” the nurse told him.
“I can make it.” he told her. “Thank you. I will be back tomorrow.” he said in a flat tone.
“You’re coming home with us…” Jamie told him.
“Phil took your car home…” his mother told him.
“I don’t care…I just need to be here…” he said looking through his family.
“Brunito…please come to my house and sleep. Just for a few hours. We’ll all come back with you tomorrow….and sit with her and you…”
He shook his head. “I’ll stay here…” he told them.
“No. No. You’re coming home. She needs to rest. And you know she stresses out when you stress out, Brunz. She can still feel that you’re stressed out. You know that. You know grandpa felt everyone when he was sick…and we left and he started to get better…” his mother tried to find a way into his head.
“Okay…okay. I’ll go. But I’m not promising you that I’ll sleep…” Jamie held his hand as they walked toward the exit of the building.
“What the hell are all those cameras here for?” he asked them.
“A lot of the injured people were sent here…and I think…”
“Bruno! Is Arissa okay? Where was she? How is she? Is she going to go home soon? Bruno! We are praying for Arissa…” he heard voices yell at him as his family gathered around him.
“She’s okay.” he said quietly trying to hide his frustration and sadness over the situation.
He got into his sister’s small car holding back the tears. “Why were they all out there? How did they find out where she was? Why? Why?! She’s hurt. I’m hurt. I just need my family and her family and friends who support me no matter what…and to know that she’s going to be next to me for the rest of my life...I just want to be Bruno Hernandez, husband to Arissa Hernandez who is in stable condition after getting crushed by a car in an earthquake. I don’t want to be Bruno Mars, today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not until she’s with me, again. I can’t do it without her…” he rambled as his sister pulled away from the parking lot.