They didn’t talk to each other for the rest of the night. Bruno went back into the living room to watch TV, so Arissa went into their bedroom to go to sleep. She had three more days to rest before going back to work.
Bruno got in the bed next to her facing the opposite direction than he usually did- toward the wall and not near her. “Bruno…” Arissa whispered as he put down his phone turning on his alarm. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean any of it.”
He didn’t answer her. When she woke up in the middle of the night she felt Bruno’s heart beat against her arms. Well at least he didn’t push me off of him…She felt him move as she struggled to get out of the bed. “Owww…” she whined.
“Arissa…are you okay?” he asked opening his eyes.
“I’m fine. I just stepped on my foot weird.”
“Let me help you, baby…” he said getting up from the bed grabbing her hand.
“I can do it…I…”
“Arissa…don’t be stubborn. Let me help you, please.” he pleaded with a piece of hair falling in his face. She didn’t say anything as he walked her to the bathroom, taking off her clothes and turning on the water for her to take a shower.
“I can do it, Bruno…” she told him as he took her shorts off. She felt a tear come down her cheek as he lifted her leg up.
“I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I really am..” she told him as he looked up into her eyes. “I didn’t mean to say that…” she continued telling him she was sorry. He hugged her lifting her up into the shower putting her leg in the spot that never got wet.
“I know you are, Arissa. I know you are.” he told her turning around to brush his teeth. He changed his clothes in their wall in closet. As he put on his shirt he heard the water turn off.
“Bru….can you hand me a towel please?” she asked him.
“Of course, beautiful..” he smiled at her taking her hand to get her out of the shower wrapping the towel around her like he always did. It made her heart beat fast and her pulse race when his warm body was next to hers. He pushed her hair off her neck kissing her neck from behind. “I’m sorry, Arissa.” he told her between kisses.
“Are we having make-up sex, Bruno?” she smiled at him. “I don’t know how this is going to work with my arms and legs are messed up.”
“Yes, we are…” he bit his lip taking off the shirt he just put on. She held on to towel tightly as she used her one good hand to take off his t-shirt moving down to his pants. As she unbuttoned his pants she let her towel fall so he could see her. He brought her up to his lips kissing her passionately.
“Bruno…” she pulled away. “I’m not going to take my pill…”
He smiled the biggest smile she had seen from him in a very long time. He grabbed her, still wet, body, laying her on their unmade bed looking at her arm –still bruised and battered moving down to her leg. Damn. I really don’t know how we’re going to do this…but I think we can…
“I think that’s a good idea.” he said coming down to her level. He ran his fingers against her stomach making her laugh.
“Stop!” she laughed as he started to kiss her stomach moving up to her chest back to her lips. She used her one good arm to touch his cheek.
“Wait..just stay still, Riss…” he said grabbing her waist lifting her up carrying her to the over side of the room all while he kissed her. “Don’t put any weight on your leg. I’ve got you…” he told her kissing her neck.
“Oh my goooddd…” she screamed as he pressed himself against her getting as close as he possibly could. They had done this before, but it was more of their quickie position than a I want you position. We have to do this one more…oh my gosh. Arissa thought to herself. “I need you Bruno….oh…Bruno….please. “ she whispered in his ear as he moved his hips in a slow motion to get her excited. “Ohh my…” she bit into his shoulder to keep from screaming as he licked her neck and running his free hand through her hair. She smells so good…Bruno thought to himself. The mangos..the mangos…
“Risss…you are so amazing.” he told him as he continued to press against her moving to a new rhythm.
“I like it that way…do it that way…pleassseee…” she instructed him as she pushed herself even closer to him.
She let out a heavy sigh as he started to say “I love you…” to her. She kissed him deeply, passionately and freely as he picked her up again taking her to the bed.
“You know you can’t get pregnant when you do it standing up…” she said as he looked at her again.
“That’s a good thing because we aren’t going to do it standing up….” he told her seductively.
“Arissa! Oh my goodness! You are going to do it?” Melissa yelled at her in her pajamas with a bowl of popcorn in her hands.
“Yeah…like…that’s so good!” Zoe exclaimed. Melissa, Arissa and another friend, Zoe who was visiting from Texas, sat on the couch eating popcorn watching Looking for Alibrandi.
“I mean...I can only wish to be with this guy who shows me his abs for 5 seconds…” Zoe went on about the ancient movie that had some type of spell over the group.
“We’ll find your someone special…Zoe. I’ll get Bruno on it.” Arissa told her laughing. “But on the real….I’m scared about it.”
“Why in the world would you be scared about having kids?” Melissa asked her scooping a big hunk of ice cream out of the cartoon eating it.
“I don’t know….it just…you know how I’ve always been…”
“You hesitate, girl! You always pull back when stuff gets too intense. Remember Jared? He totally had the hots for you…even after the disaster that was prom…” Zoe told her.
“No! No he didn’t!” Arissa screamed in reaction to her friend telling her about a friend from middle school.
“You’re so dumb. He was so into you…” Melissa told her.
“I don’t know…I can see it now. But….”
“Rissy…you’re doing exactly what you did then, but now. He married you. He loves you like nothing else in the world…you want to be with him forever, right?” Melissa asked using her extra months of marriage to counsel her friend.
“Yeah…I do…” Arissa stopped to think. “But I still feel like he could be like Andy and this would be a whole fucking joke. Like I’d wake up in the morning and Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake will pop out and say ‘You’ve been punk’d!”
“Oh my god! Arissa! You are so dumb. He was there to kick Robert’s ass. He sat outside your door after you acused him of cheating on you….he practically had a mental breakdown when you got hurt in San Bernadino…what else do you need from him to be okay with this?”
Arissa looked down at her leg, still battered and bruised, in dismay. “I know he has…but everything right now seems so perfect….it’s so safe…”
“Ris…life isn’t supposed to be safe. You took a huge chance with him and it’s paid off…” Melissa told her.
“Then why don’t y’all have kids yet?” Arissa asked her friend.
“It’s not like we don’t try, Arissa. If it happened we’d be so excited.” Melissa explained.
“That’s the way it was…until I opened my fucking mouth about having kids…” Arissa told her friends about the fundraiser.
“Riss…tell him you want to be a family…but it’s too much pressure.”
“It is a lot…his family is so huge. I feel them looking at my no baby tummy all the time.” Arissa confessed.
“I hardly doubt that, Arissa…” Zoe told her. “Really..what are you worried about? I can see there’s something else you’re worried about.”
“Well…I mean…it is that where we are now is safe. It’s perfect…but I’m also soooo worried that I won’t be able to do it. Like, I never thought that I would find someone that would want to be the father to my children….and now that he’s there asking….I get scared that my PCOS will stop it from ever happening. That’s why I suggested the other thing…”
“To live doesn’t mean you’re alive…” Zoe replied.
“Bro..did you say you were sorry?” Ryan asked Bruno handing him a pen while taking a seat in a big black rolling chair.
“Of course I did. What do you think I am?” he answered his friend.
“We know you said you were sorry, dude…but did you show her you were sorry?” Phil asked him.
“Well…yeah…” he thought scratching his chin.
“What did you do?” Phil looked at his friend inquistevly.
“Really nice sex?” he answered.
“Oh, moi goi….you have no idea….” Phil rolled his eyes at his friend.
“What?” Bruno asked confused.
“You get one get out jail free card with make-up sex a year. And you used that a long time ago…” he told the newlywed.
“In November? I used it already?” he asked. “I have to wait until then for it to count? That’s bullshit. Is that an unwritten husband rule?”
:Yeah…sorry I still need to get you the book, Bruh.”
“That would have been a good wedding gift….so what do I do?” he inquired.
“You gotta figure that one out on your own, dude.” Phil told him.
“Damnit.” Bruno responded grabbing his notebook and pen.
“Riss…” Bruno leaned over to her while she sat on the couch typing on her computer.
“What?” she looked up in her glasses and hair in a bun with no make-up on.
“Come with me…” he held out his hand for her.
“Where are we going?” she asked him pushing her glasses up onto her nose.
“Just trust me.” he told her. “I don’t want to blindfold you…” he whipped out one of his scarves showing her he wasn’t kidding.
“That’s kinky…” she winked at him.
“Rissy! I’m trying to be sweet Bruno…” he kissed her on the cheek dragging her as fast as he could with her broken leg.
“Okay, okay…” she answered getting in his car like he asked her to.
A few minutes later she knew where they were going. “To the studio?” she asked him.
“Yeah…but…” Bruno tried to decide what to tell her about what he was about to do.
“But what?” she asked him.
“Just wait…it’ll be good.” he told her squeezing her hand. He opened the door to the studio turning on the light walking toward the recording room.
“How is it sooo cold in here? Y’all were just here…” she shivered.
He took off his jacket wrapping to around her as he pointed toward the couch for her to sit down. She curled up in the corner of the couch watching him walk toward the sound board. She raised her eyebrow at him waiting for whatever he was going to do.
“Listen to this…” he said to her. He pressed a button in the middle of the big board. She listened to it starting to cry.
“Bruno! That’s what you were singing after the Ivy….” she told him. “I love it…so much…”
“I don’t know if it’s done yet or not…there’s something in the middle that I don’t like…” he started getting over analytical. She knew he did that when he was unsure of himself.
“Bruno…it’s like painting. If you add one more stroke to it you’ll ruin it. It’s amazing the way it is.”
“Arissa…I want it to be my first single. But I wanted to make sure you were okay with it.”
“Bruno…you’ll break all the girls hearts with it. It’s going to be huge.” she hopped a few steps over to him sitting on his lap. He wrapped his arms around her kissing her.
“I’m sorry, baby doll.” he told her after he kissed her.
“I know you are…” she said standing up from the chair. He pulled her down on top of him running his fingers through her short hair.
“Bruno….how many girls have you had sex with in here?” she asked him.
“. Carrie and now you.” he said running his fingers on her shoulder. She watched him touch her shoulder moving her legs around his waist. He moved her back to face him kissing her again. They threw their clothes on the ground as he moved her on to the couch.
“How did we do this last time?” he asked her looking at her leg and arm which were still out of commission.
“I don’t know, but you need to figure it out, B.” she said bringing him down on top of her.
“Oh I’ll figure it out…” he laughed her kissing her again.
By mid May Arissa had her casts off and was on her way to being herself again. She still had to attend physical therapy every other day, leaving early from work those days to ease into her normal routine.
On her way into therapy her phone buzzed. She grabbed it out of her purse to see a text from Bruno.
Happy meet Arissa Anniversary. I love you.
What is he talking about? She thought to herself. She had been so busy with life that she had forgotten it had been a year since they had met. She glanced at the date on her phone. Oh….my…god…I completely forgot.
You won’t forget after tonight, baby doll.
Oh god. You are so dumb.
Arissa pulled her car into their driveway walking slowly (and painfully) into the house. She knew Bruno was home, his car was there, but the lights were off.
“Bruno?” she asked loudly. She didn’t hear him answer. She glanced in the bedroom, the office and the guest bedroom not seeing him. “Where are you? This isn’t funny. Did someone kidnap you? Brunz?”
She flipped on the light flopping on the couch. “Whatever. I’ll just wait for you. Whenever you want to come out I’ll be here…” she flipped on the TV putting on CNN.
“Turn off the TV…” he came out grabbing the remote. “You suck at hide and seek.” he told her sitting on the corner of the couch.
“Oh well. I found you.” she said moving closer to him curling up into his chest. “When do you leave again?” she asked him about his new album knowing their perfect time together was going to end soon.
“June.” he told her. “But I don’t want to think about that.” he said taking her hand intertwining it in his kissing it. “Come eat…” he said moving her to get up.
“What did you cook me?”
“Guess.” he replied.
“I don’t know…” she thought out loud going into the kitchen looking at the plate. “Bean and cheese tacos?” she asked.
“I made them myself.” he smiled quickly grabbing the foil wrappers sitting on the counter. She played along with him taking a bite of the taco with him.
“Mmm. That’s so delicious. It’s like you’re an underpaid undocumented immigrant working at a taqueria.”
“Okay…okay…okay. I didn’t cook them.” he confessed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. Hernandez.” she continued to play dumb.
“Mrs. Hernandez…you are so beautiful.” he changed the subject watching her eat the 59 cent taco. “You’re also a cheap date.”
“It’s a perk of marrying me. Buy me cheap tacos and I’ll be yours forever.” she winked at him. Bruno grabbed her plate which also had Mexican rice on it to wash it.
“I can do that…” she said walking over wrapping her arms around him taking the sponge from his hand. She kissed his ear making him shiver. Holy shit. He thought to himself.
“Come here…” he turned around grabbing the sponge from his hand. He took her hand grabbing a DVD from the counter.
“Redbox?” she asked him. “You have everything…” she told him.
“I don’t own Titanic…” he said placing a DVD in the DVD player.
“No! I don’t want to watch that!” she whined as the previews started.
“You really think I would have picked Titanic?” he asked her.
“I don’t know about you…” she said taking the popcorn bowl from his hand.
“The Sandlot!” she screamed seeing the menu screen.
“Forevveeeer.” he said clicking start.
“You want s’more?” she asked him.
“S;more of what?” he asked.
“S’more popcorn…” she started laughing as he dug his hand into the popcorn bowl.
“Yeah. I want s’more of that and s’more of this…” he said kissing her over the bowl.
“Bruno! This is my favorite movie…we have to at least get through the part when Smalls can’t catch the ball…”
“Okay…fine.” he said putting his arms around her. She rested her head on him throughout the movie closing her eyes toward the end.
“Riss?” he asked after the grown-up Benny hit a home run.
“What? I wasn’t asleep. I wasn’t. Benny hit a home run and Smalls was wearing that damn duck hat…”
“Let’s go to bed, Arissa…” he said moving his arms leading her to the bedroom. She took the popcorn bowl throwing it in the sink.
She flipped on the light taking off her shirt putting on one his Marlon Brando shirt that was laying on a chair in the corner of the bedroom. She put on a pair of cotton shorts as she watched him get undressed.
“What am I?” he asked her catching her looking at him. “A piece of meat? Geez.” he asked her.
“You’re my piece of meat.” she said pulling the covers over her chest not taking her eyes off of him.
“Quit molesting me, Arissa.” he said getting in bed with her. She gave him a dirty look after that comment.
“I’m sorry…” he said kissing her quickly turning off the side lamp as Arissa moved into his chest.
“Good night, Arissa. I love you.”
“Good night, Bruno.”
“Mrs. Hernandez, how are you feeling today?” Dr. Reeves asked her.
“I’m doing well. I just want to get this over with.” Arissa smiled at her doctor who probably knew her better than anyone else at this point. It was one of her last visits before finishing physical therapy.
“Arissa…are you still losing weight?” Dr. Reeves asked her after she stepped on the scale. “Eating normally you wouldn’t lose 5 pounds in a week.”
“I lost five pounds?” she asked.
“Yeah. You’re 118 now…” Dr. Reid explained.
“I just stopped counting after I hit my goal weight in September…” Arissa replied.
“Wait. You were consciously losing weight?” the doctor asked.
“Of course, you have it there…it says I have PCOS…”
“Arissa…if you’re healthy you’re healthy. I’m not preaching right now, I mean, I’m going to the gym after this…and we’re in Los Angeles…but…” she flipped through Arissa’s paperwork. “You weighed 130 in March…and that was normal…you said you wanted to be healthy…not a model.” she tried to understand Arissa’s thought process.
“Yeah…I know..but…now it’s just easy. Easy to forget to eat, easy not to grab the cookies, easy to eat all the good stuff. I like it…and I’m actually surprised I lost weight when I haven’t been running. I miss running…”
“I’m prescribing you cookies. Lots of cookies…” Dr. Reeves scribbled on her notepad.
“Oreos and ice cream twice a day.”
“But…” Arissa was confused.
“I’m serious. You are going to start to hurt yourself.” the doctor told her.
“If I gain weight I can’t have kids…” Arissa told her.
“You were….” the doctor read the same piece of her chart over again “June 010. It’s June 01. You’ve lost over 50 pounds. If you were still the same size we would be worried. You aren’t skipping any periods are you?”
“Well…I don’t know…maybe like once or twice.” she mentally counted back to September and October of the year before. It was the stress. She thought to herself.
“I won’t tell you to not worry, Mrs. Hernandez. It will be hard…but you’re overanalyzing the issue. It will happen. You know stress interferes with all of this stuff. I’m also prescribing you vacation.” Dr. Reeves handed her another piece of paper.
“Vacation and lots of sex.” Arissa laughed at the last part.
“Doctor’s orders.” Dr. Reeves told her.
Arissa laid the faux prescriptions on the table next to her water bottle.
“This is so dumb. I’m going for a run.” Arissa said out loud. “Two miles..I can do it…”
Two hours later Arissa found herself laying on the couch in so much pain she couldn’t move. “Shit…that was a bad idea…” she said walking slowly in pain to the refrigerator grabbing ice stretching her leg on the table.
“Risss!” Bruno yelled from the backdoor.
“I’m in the kitcheeeennnn.” she whined.
“What’s wrong, baby doll?” he yelled walking into the kitchen catching her with both legs on the table ice laying on top of them. He started to laugh uncontrollably. “Oh, my god. Arissa…” he paused. She was laughing with him.
“I had to…” she told him as he sat down next to her kissing her on the cheek. He stared at her green eyes and red face. “You make my world go ‘round, Arissa Hernandez.”
“Oh goodness. Shut up.” she told him. She loved his romanticism and his cheesiness…but sometimes it was just ridiculous. “Can you get me the Tylenol, please?” she asked after he got up from the table.
“Of course…oh…what’s this? She gave you more drugs?” he asked grabbing the prescriptions on the table.
“She was being funny…” Arissa turned around facing him.
“Let’s do it.” he told her.
“Do what?” she asked.
“Go on vacation. Just get away.” he answered.
“To where?” she asked.
“Wherever you want to go…like France, or London, or India, or Japan…anywhere. Just you and me.”
“Really?” Arissa’s face lit up. They had been together since the earthquake, but aside from a handful of times when they went out with friends they really hadn’t had time to be alone. It was, in all reality, a very good idea.
“Yes. Get your suitcase. We’re leaving tomorrow.”
But Bruno…I have a meeting tomorrow…”
”Reschedule it.” he told her looking at the computer. ”We’re going somewhere regal…and fabulous…” he told her. Arissa walked up behind him to see where he was looking. He close his computer so she couldn’t see. ”It’s a surprise. But don’t forget to pack your hot ass green bikini.”
”Only if you promise to pack your banana hammock.” She smiled at him.
”Woah, woah, woah. That’s our secret.” he got wrapping his arms around her tickling her.
Stop! She laughed.
”No way. I saw what she prescribed. The vacation wasn’t the only thing she told you to do.” he said flirtatiously raising his eye brows.
*You are too much some days…” she told him.
”Well, I’m pretty sure that was a compliment…” he responded squeezing her tightly. She leaned in to kiss him leading him to the bedroom.
*Bruno….where are we going?” she asked him jumping out of the bed to get clothes.
”I told you, it’s a surprise…”
”But how do I pack when I don’t even know where we’re going?”
”I’ll do it…” he responded.
*I don’t think I can trust you to do that. The last time you did that for me I ended up with rocks in my suitcase. ””
”You did not! You ended up with fancy new kicks. ”
”Okay, well, maybe I did end up with lots of fancy things when you packed…but..you always overpack.
*Correction..you overpack for me.”
”Don’t be silly, B…I just started packing for you.”
*Fine..you’re right. That still doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you where we’re going. I told you to make sure you packed your green bikini. That’s all you need to know…now go!” He gave her a ”way to go team” slap on the butt as he walked out to the kitchen to get something to eat.
*There are oreos in there if you want them…” she shouted to him.
*I already found them…” he said walking into the room with the cookies in his hands. ”Here…have some..” he handed her two watching her reaction.
*I’m not hungry right now…” she said handing them back to him.
*Riss…eat at least one.”
*But I don’t like the way they taste anymore.”
”Don’t lie to me. You ate them on Tuesday.”
”Because it was the only thing here. I wanted the cheese thingies…” Bruno walked back into the kitchen to get her a 100 calorie cheese pack.
”Here. Eat this.” he told her.
”Ugh. Fine you win. I’d rather have the oreos.” She stood up from the floor where she was sitting taking the cookies he left on the table.
*They’re so delicious…” she said sarcastically.
”Arissa…you are amazing just the way you are. You have to stop this. I told you from the very beginning that you are beautiful no matter what…please stop acting this way.” he pleaded with her as she finished the cookies.