“Natalie, why is Bruno’s car—“The sound of her sister’s voice suddenly woke Natalie up. She shot open her eyes, seeing Alexis standing in her doorway, her eyes wide.Ugh, it’s too early she thought as she looked at her alarm clock that read eight am.
“Why is he here?” Her sister acted like she was the one who was older. Natalie got up, grabbing her sister’s shoulders , pulling her from her room. “I’m telling mom and dad,” She said when they were in the hallway.
“No you’re not,” Natalie replied threateningly.
“He’s not supposed to be here,” Alexis said, trying to act all mighty.
“He was in trouble last night, so I let him crash here, Alexis. You’re not going to tell mom and dad.” She stated, crossing her arms.
“Why shouldn’t I?” She stated, mirroring Natalie’s expression. Natalie scratched her head, shaking it for a minute.
“I’ll take your friends to the boardwalk today if you don’t say anything.” She saw the small smile creep up on Alexis’ face.
“Really?!” She asked, surprised at her sister’s words. Natalie nodded her head, not really wanting to babysit a bunch of fourth graders. “Sure…” She replied with a shrug, sending her sister off down the hallway.
Natalie turned back into her room, tossing a pillow at Bruno. “Good morning, drunk ass.” She said, laughing at his reaction. He groaned, rolling over, before painfully opening his eyes. “Go away, I’m still sleeping.” He said, closing his eyes again.
“No, Uncle Scott gets home at ten,” She replied, leaning down to grab his arm, dragging him out of bed.
Bruno groaned, rolling out of bed, his hair a complete mess. Rubbing his eyes, he followed Natalie down the hall to the kitchen.
“Bruno!” Jameson and Jackson yelled when they saw him. The two ran over to Bruno, beginning to playfully punch him like they always did. He laughed despite the way he felt, messing around with the seven year-old twins.
Natalie grabbed a pan, tossing it on the stove. Gathering some eggs and a pack of bacon, she set them aside, resting them on the counter. Bruno sat down at the counter bar, laughing as the boys ran back to the living room. Seeing the look on his face, Natalie slid a bottle of Ibuprofen to him, slightly smiling.
“Thanks,” He said, tossing a couple in his mouth. “You’re just like my mom,” He added with a small smirk.
“Yeah, except for the fact that your mom would be handing you those while under house arrest if she ever found out,” Natalie replied, knowing that Bernie would not be too happy.
Bruno nodded his head in thought for a moment. “Shit, she’s probably pissed now.” He said, shaking his head suddenly. Natalie flopped her shoulders, cracking some eggs into the pan just as the house phone began to ring. Wiping her hands on a towel, she walked over to answer it.
“Don’t,” Bruno said when she went to reach for it. She gave him a confused look, not understanding. “It’s probably my mom,” He said with a tiny shrug.
Natalie nodded her head, stepping back from the phone, letting it ring. The answering machine tone picked it up, letting out a soft beep. “Hey Natalie, this is Bernie, I just wanted to know if you’ve heard from Bruno at all…” She paused for a moment, letting out a sigh. “Alright, well just give me a call back if you know where he is. Thanks.” Natalie turned to face Bruno, who bit his lips back at her.
“I should probably get home,” He said, standing up. “Do you trust me with my keys now?” He asked, holding his hand out to her with a smile.
Natalie returned his smile, handing him the keys. “I think you’ll be able to make it home safely.” She replied.
“Thank youuuu,” He said, wrapping her in a tight hug. “You’re the best, Nat.” He added, quickly giving her a kiss on her cheek before pulling away, walking to the door. “Adios!” He yelled before walking out the door.
“Do you like him?” She heard Alexis ask. Natalie looked down, seeing her sister sitting at the bar now. She shrugged her shoulders, reaching over to flip the eggs in the pan. “I’m not sure,” She replied, giving her a small smile.
because you hoes are impatient and threatening, *cough*, here’s chapter 7:
“So what’s the damage?” Natalie asked later that day through the phone.
“Three days ‘grounded’, but mom said I still have to do the opening for the show tonight,” Bruno said, laughing. “She acts like that’s a punishment.”
Natalie smiled at Bruno’s reference to the magic show he opened up for every week. Ever since he was a young kid, he’d been singing and performing as much as he could in Hawaii, trying to get a name on him. Natalie was surprised the first time she heard him sing; she never would have expected that kind of a voice to come from him.
“Where’d you tell her you were at?” She asked, switching the phone to her other ear.
“I said I stayed at Ryan’s,” Bruno replied simply.
“Mmm, of course.” Natalie replied, wondering why she even asked him in the first place.
“So are you going to come watch tonight?” Bruno asked, his voice sounding hopeful.
Natalie let out a sigh, “I suppose,” She said teasingly. “Of course, Bruno.” She added, serious this time. “I’ll call Hadley and Savannah or something,” She said, thinking her two friends would like to go.
“Alright, thanksss Natttt,” He said in a happy voice. “I should probably go now; I’m not even supposed to be using the phone right now.” He said with a giggle. Natalie smiled at his funny laugh, allowing him to hang up.
“So what time does this start at?” Savannah asked as they followed Ryan and Brandon through the doors of the given building.
“Right now,” Ryan said, looking up as the lights around them dimmed. He led Brandon and the girls to some seats dear the middle, all of them piling into a row. Natalie saw Bruno’s face light up when he saw his friends in the audience, giving them all a wink.
His small opening performance was like every other time she saw; perfect. When he ended they got up, not planning on watching the magic show. They waited until Bruno came by, the guys chatting with him for a bit before they headed off. “So you still can’t do anything?” Ryan asked, shaking his head.
“Nope,” Bruno replied, turning around to look back at his mom who was talking to someone. “Mom even accompanied me to make sure I actually came home,” He added, rolling his eyes.
“Well don’t have too much fun at home,” Ryan said, laughing while bidding Bruno goodbye with a handshake.
“And don’t have too much fun without me,” Bruno replied, winking at Natalie before they left the building.
“So now where to?” Brandon said, turning around to walk backwards as they exited the building.
“I heard Logan’s having a bonfire at his place tonight,” Ryan replied, referring to some people from school.
“Alright, let’s load it up, ladies!” Brandon said, hopping into Ryan’s car, everyone else following suit.
Logan lived alongside the beach as Natalie did; only his home was on the opposite side of town. When they arrived, Natalie noticed the large group of people on the beach, generally surrounding the fire near the water. Music blasted from an old stereo, several of Natalie’s drunk classmates dancing along.
“Natalie!” She heard Hadley yell out. She turned from where she was facing, seeing her throw an object towards her. Catching it, Natalie looked down at the can of beer her friend tossed her. Well it’s not like I have to babysit anyone tonight…I’ll be good, She thought, opening it up.
A couple of hours later, Natalie sat by the edge of the ocean, staring off into the black horizon. She took a sip from a bottle of something she had no idea of what the name was, her thoughts and memories swirling through her mind.
After a few minutes, she felt another body sit down next to her in the sand, causing her to peel her eyes away from the water. “Oh, hey Ryan,” She said, smiling as he sat down next to her.
“Thinking?” He asked as she looked back at the horizon. Natalie nodded her head, taking another drink. “Thinking about home,” she said softly, realizing that after nine months in Hawaii she was just really beginning to feel the toll of homesickness. Although she adored all of her new friends, Natalie still missed the ones from back home. She wondered what they were doing at this exact moment.Probably sleeping, she thought, knowing the time difference was drastic between her two homes.
Natalie threw her head back, lying completely down on the sand, staring at the stars now. Ryan leaned back as well, sharing her view. “Ryan?” She asked, staring at the North Star, her mind drifting.
“Hmm?” he answered her, glancing to the side of her face.
“Do you ever think about what it’s like outside of Hawaii?” She continued, turning to gaze at the stars again.
“Yeah,” Ryan spoke softly, turning his head as well. “I always wonder what it’s like living in a place that you can actually drive long distances without coming in contact with an ocean,” He stated with a small smile. “And maybe actually experience snow,” he added, laughing slightly. “That’d be pretty sweet.”
Natalie turned her head to face him again, smiling. She’d only experienced snow once when her family visited her cousins in Michigan during Christmas one year. “But I don’t mind Hawaii,” she said, looking across to him once more. “The sun’s nice,” She added with a shrug and a slight smile.
“And what about the people?” Ryan asked, raising his eyebrow. She shrugged, laughing. “Eh, I suppose the people are alright. But god forbid, that Ryan Keomaka,” Natalie teased, making a disgusted face.
“Oh shut up,” Ryan replied as Natalie laughed, rolling over to her side. Oh shit, that’s close, she thought as she looked back up at him. She stared at him, contemplating for a moment. He stared back at her as she ran through her thoughts.
And as if out of nowhere, Natalie suddenly felt herself lean into him, kissing him on the lips.
She had no idea if it was from the buzz of alcohol running through her system, or the lateness of the hour, but she let herself lean in further, rolling herself on top of his body. They continued to kiss as she felt his hands weave around to her lower backside, tugging her closer.
After a few minutes, she heard some people near the fire hollering out at them. “Damnnnn, Ryan! Getting it in with Carolina!” she heard one of the guys yell out, referring to her as one of the many nicknames she’d picked up when she moved to Hawaii.
Natalie pulled back, embarrassed by a few of the cheering high schoolers. She lifted herself off of him, standing up, readjusting herself. Oh shit, I didn’t mean to do that, she thought as she tried to avoid eye contact with Ryan.
She walked back over to the fire, seeing the sideways smiles coming to her from Hadley and Savannah. Well this is awkward.
Ignoring them, Natalie rolled her eyes as she said, “We should probably go.”
Hadley nodded her head in agreement, setting her drink down in a cup holder of a chair. “I think it’s getting to be that time…”
“I thought you were all about Bruno,” Hadley said the next day as she and Natalie walked through an outdoor market downtown. “But Ryan now? I never would’ve expected that.”
Natalie inwardly groaned, shaking her head. “But I don’t like Ryan,” She said, trying to convince her friend.
“It didn’t look that way last night by the way you were all over him,” She said, not sounding too convinced.
“It didn’t mean anything, I mean I was drinking, and it was just a tiny, innocent, two minute make out, you know?” Natalie asked, hoping she could think of a reasonable explanation of why she kissed him.
“Yeah, but I thought you and Bruno have been talking?” Hadley asked, turning to give Natalie a confused look.
“Well, we were, but—“
“So I don’t think he’ll be too happy when you tell him you hooked up with his best friend…” Hadley said, making a decent point. Natalie wasn’t exactly the best at making thoughtful decisions on the spot, which tended her to get into small issues like now.
“Well it’s not like he can get mad at me,” Natalie stated, scratching her head. “I mean, it’s not like we’re dating. We haven’t even done anything…” She said, drifting off in her thoughts. Hadley shrugged her shoulders, not questioning her friend any further.
“So what’d you guys do last night?” Bruno asked later that evening. Natalie shrugged her shoulders as she sat at the counter, knowing he couldn’t see her through the phone. “Nothing too exciting. We just went over to Logan’s for a fire.” She said nonchalantly.
“Mmmm,” He replied, pausing for a moment. “What’d you all do?” He asked after a couple of seconds. Natalie let out a sigh as she replied. “Just hang out, mostly,” She said, skipping the drinking aspect because her mom was making dinner in the kitchen.
“Mostly?” Bruno asked, his tone making her suspicious.
“Why do you sound so hesitant?” Natalie asked, wondering why he seemed so questioning.
Bruno was silent for a moment as he let out a deep sigh. “Someone said you hooked up with Ryan,” He finally said. Ugh, it wasn’t even hardly a ‘hook up’.
Natalie looked up at her mom. “Who told you that?” She asked, avoiding Bruno’s hidden question.
“It doesn’t matter,” He replied simply. “Did you?”
Natalie got up from the stool, walking to her room which was in safe distance from her mother’s hearing. “Why do you sound mad?” She asked, flopping down on her bed.
“I’m not mad,” Bruno stated simply. “I just wanted to know. So you did then?” He asked in a different tone.
“Uh, yeah.” She said, biting her lip.
“Do you like him?” He asked flatly.
“No, Bruno. You know I don’t,” Natalie replied with a sigh.
“So why did you hook up with him then?” Jeez, everything’s twenty questions with him, Natalie thought as she shook her head.
“I don’t know, probably ‘cause I was drinking…and you sound mad.” She said, pointing out the flatness of his voice.
“I’m not mad, Nat.” Bruno said for the second time. “I just thought that we…sorta had a thing,” He stated, sounding a bit disappointed.
Natalie let out a soft sigh, nodding her head. “Yeah, well that doesn’t mean we’redating,” Natalie pointed out. “You can’t honestly be mad about that when it’s true. We’re not even in a relationship.”
“Yeah, but if you don’t care, then obviously nothing’s going to work out then…” Bruno said, rising his guard.
“Bruno, I never said I didn’t care.” Natalie was beginning to get annoyed by his assumptions. Why can’t he just let it be?
“Well you’re acting like you don’t,” He replied flatly, causing her to roll her eyes.
“Oh my God Bruno, what’s your deal?” She asked, wondering why he was acting so strange.
“What’s my deal? I don’t know, maybe I should just go hook up with your best friend and see how you react,” He stated moodily.
“Bruno, come on, we didn’t even—“
“No, you’re right,” He began, cutting her off. “I shouldn’t care; it’s not like we have anything anyways,” he said, his sarcasm making Natalie slightly cringe. She let out a small sigh, rubbing her eyes in a stressed manner. “Bruno, you’re acting like a girl…” she said softly, drifting off.
“Thank you for that, Natalie,” Bruno said in the same sarcastic tone.
“You know I didn’t mean it like—“ Natalie tried to say before he cut her off again.
“Listen, I’ve got to go,” He said, not sounding like he was in a good mood.
Natalie allowed herself to sigh once more at his tone. “Alright,” She said simply. “Bye.”
She heard him click the phone off, not saying anything else to her. She half-heartedly chucked the phone on her bed, wondering why he was being bitchyabout this whole thing. How in the hell did that turn into a fight? He really is acting like a girl, she thought as she laid down on her bed. And he has no real reason to be pissed at me in the first place…
“What the hell Ryan? You lied to me,” Bruno said as he sat on his couch, flipping through TV stations. “Sorry man, I didn’t want to freak you out,” Ryan replied through the phone. Bruno let out a sigh, hearing his sister in the background complaining on how he wouldn’t stick to one station.
“Yeah well thanks, Ryan,” he softly stated, slightly mad at his friend.
“Ah, don’t be like that, Bruno,” Ryan said in response.
“You knew I liked her,” Bruno said, running a hand through his curls, slightly stressing over the situation.
“…Well, you didn’t seem too keen on making a move, so I did.” Ryan replied hesitantly.
“…Right.” Bruno said softly, trying his best not to get mad at him.
“Hey, I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking,” Ryan said after hearing the tone in his voice. “But seriously calm yourself. We only kissed so don’t go kicking my ass.”
Bruno allowed himself to let out a sigh towards his friend. “It’s fine,” he finally said, knowing he couldn’t be mad at Ryan. Just a kiss right? That couldn’t hurt anything…
“So you’re not mad at me right?” Ryan asked skeptically.
Bruno shrugged his shoulders. “Not as much as I am at her…” He softly mumbled, still a little bitter that Natalie would do something like that when she knew they’d been talking.
“Aw don’t be too hard on her,” Ryan replied in a relaxed tone before letting out a sigh. “Hey man, I’ve got to go, but you’re coming over tomorrow night, right?” He asked in a somewhat hurried tone.
“Yeah, I think so,” Bruno replied, turning to glare at Presley as she continued to complain about his indecisive choice of which show he watched.
“Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow then! Have fun at home,” Ryan snickered as he teased him before finally hanging up the phone.
“Jeez,” Presley stated when Bruno brought the phone down from his ear. “I swear you talk on the phone more than I do…”
“Well this is awkward,” Natalie mumbled under her breath as she saw Ryan’s truck pulling up beside her house. “Who invited them?” she asked, turning to her two friends that were sitting in lawn chairs around a small fire they set up on the beach.
Hadley and Savannah each exchanged a glance before they both shrugged their shoulders. “Ryan didn’t think it was a big deal anyways,” Hadley said after a moment.
Natalie rolled her eyes as she turned away from the guys as they walked over, staring blankly at the fire. The last time she even spoke to Bruno was two days ago when he bitched her out about the whole thing. And the last time she spoke to Ryan was that night at Logan’s…
Oh my God this is really awkward, she finally thought, tensing up in her seat suddenly. The guys all gathered around like they usually did, making themselves at home. “Hey guys,” Natalie said with a nervous smile, deciding she should be nice since they’re at her house.
“Hey Nat!” Ryan smiled back, pulling up a seat across the fire from her. Everyone else acknowledged the girls with a smile or a nod, aside from Bruno.
Are you serious? Natalie thought as she glared over to Bruno, who was laughing with Ryan suddenly, completely ignoring her. Way to be mature…
“Oh don’t worry about him,” Savannah whispered quietly next to Natalie. “He’ll get over it eventually.”
She nodded her head, peeling her eyes away from him, letting out a sigh.Whatever…
Two hours later, Natalie found herself in the same position as she stared across the fire, her eyes burning on Bruno’s face as he and Robert went off about some pointless shit. She couldn’t stand it. He acted like wasn’t mad, yet he refused to make eye contact; let alone speak to her.
“Wow, your guys’ relationship is looking towards a good start,” Savannah laughed as she lowered her voice towards Natalie’s pissed off expression.
“He’s being an ass on purpose,” Natalie replied, slumping down in her seat as she crossed her arms. “I swear to God I am going to kick him when I get within touching distance.”
Her words sent Savannah into an uproar of laugher, clearly amused at the small drama. “Should I ask him to come sit over here?” she laughed, smiling back over to Natalie.
“Shut up,” she said as she rolled her eyes, still keeping her focus across from her. “Oh my God, I can’t take this anymore,” Natalie finally said with a sigh, pulling herself up from the chair. ”Bruno,” She stated in a loud, stiff voice, catching his attention.
He looked up from Robert, giving her a surprised look as his smile faded. “Come here,” she demanded as she began walking away from the fire. “I need to talk to you.”
Bruno hesitated as he got up, following Natalie until they were both alongside the shore, away from earshot of any of their friends.
“What’s your problem?!” She asked as she threw her arms up, defeated.
“I don’t have a problem…” Bruno stated calmly, actually looking at her face now.
“Bullshit, Bruno,” Natalie replied as she crossed her arms. “You’re making this into a big deal.”
Bruno let out a sigh. “I told you I don’t care. It doesn’t matter who you go around kissing anyways…” he said, mumbling the last sentence under his breath.
Natalie rolled her eyes. “I can’t believe you’re still going off about that. I’m sorry, Bruno,” she said, running a stressed hand through her light brown hair.
“I know you’re sorry,” he replied as he put both his hands in his pockets.
Natalie scrunched her face up in confusion. “So then why are you still acting like this?”
Bruno shook his head, looking down from her face as he tried to hide his smile.
“Why are you laughing?” She asked, beginning to get annoyed with him.
“It’s nothing,” he said with another small laugh. “And I’m sorry. I know I was being an asshole.”
“I don’t get you…” Natalie stated as she wrinkled her forehead at him again. “And why do you keep laughing?” she asked again in a small voice, feeling a little embarrassed.
Bruno looked up from the ground, taking his hands out from his pockets. He smiled at her, slightly shaking his head. “You’re just adorable when you’re mad like that,” he said, making Natalie’s cheeks burn.
“No I’m not…” Natalie mumbled, glancing at the ground for a second. “What do you want me to do? Because I’m tired of trying to figure you out.”
Bruno shrugged his shoulders again, kicking the sand with his right foot as he took a couple steps closer to her. “What would you say if I told you I liked you?” He asked, glancing back up at her eyes.
Well that’s a bit obvious… Natalie thought sarcastically. “I would say I liked you too,” She replied softly, keeping her eyes on him.
“And what if I said I liked you from the very first day I met you?”
And that’s obvious as well… “I’d say the feeling was mutual.”
Bruno nodded his head, taking a swallow before moving a few more feet towards Natalie. “And what would you do if I kissed you right now?”
Natalie scanned over his face for a moment as he didn’t break eye contact. She paused for a moment with her mouth parted, thinking. After a few seconds, she let out a small sigh. “Then I’d kiss you back,” She stated before realizing they were now only inches apart.
Bruno paused for a second as he ran his eyes across Natalie’s face. He slightly hesitated before leaning into her, pressing his lips against hers softly. He placed his hands on her waist, moving closer to her when she kissed him back.
Natalie weaved her arms around Bruno’s neck gently, suddenly realizing that she didn’t want to pull back from him. He seemed to think the same thing too because with the movement of her arms, he simply tugged her even closer against his body.
“Oh my God,” Savannah said as she glanced over towards Bruno and Natalie by the ocean. “I told you guys they’d end up making out…”