Isela started to look at her phone at the nominations…”Wow...oh my gosh…..oh…wow! No shit!”
Victoria, a lead anchor walked passed Isela and commented, “You know..you do talk to yourself a lot…especially when it’s about guys, Ortiz.”
“Oh dear. I think you’re right…” Isela responded.
“What’s going on sweetheart?” The blonde petite anchor sat down next to her looking at Isela’s blackberry.
“The grammy nominations? So?”
“Do you remember that day when I came back in from outside all broken up?”
“Vaguely…” Victoria responded.
“Bruno Mars broke my heart that day.”
“Wait, what? I thought you two were really close friends? There’s a reason Greg sends you on those interviews. They’re like the best interviews ever.”
“I hide it well, I guess.”
Later in the day Isela put on an olive green mini dress, navy high heels and killer make-up for her live broadcast at the Grammy nomination party. She knew she was going to be running into him and also knew that she needed to look good, no matter how good or bad things were going to go.
“Bruno! You know she’s going to be there….just play it cool. Who cares? Flirt like hell with her and she’ll let you get in her pants. You know that’s how she is…” Phil told him as they walked toward the door to perform and accept a million and half nominations for that awards season.
Bruno shook his head knowing that something had changed with Isela. She was going to play a different type of game this time. But he was going to win. Not her.
Bruno, Phil and Ari made their way through the line of reporters excited about their nominations and the impending chance of winning awards. He caught a glimpse of Isela talking to Katy Perry in the background. “Walk behind Isela…..” They followed Bruno’s directions walking slowly in front of Isela’s camera…Bruno popped in front of Katy Perry catching Isela off guard.
She started to laugh on camera. Damnit. Why did he do that? The trio continued to walk without stopping.
“What just happened?” Katy asked.
“Nothing, nothing…I’m sorry. Thank goodness this isn’t live.” Isela responded.
Bruno finally made his way back to her to do his interview. Her cameraman needed to get some more tape, so it was just the two of them for a few minutes. She punched him in the side the second he got close enough to her.
“Ouch. That hurts more than I remember it, sweetheart.” he told her.
“What was that photo bomb about?” she was acting serious.
“What are you talking about? I just walked behind you, Isela.”
“Don’t play stupid, Bru.” She told him.
“Isela. Come on. That was the least I could have done. You needed to laugh.” he explained.
“I need my cute Bruno Mars flirts with the correspondent interview. Then I need to go to bed.” she retorted.
“Oh my gosh, Isela. What is wrong?” he looked at her seriously.
“Nothing is wrong!” she exclaimed with a smile. “I’m just happy for you all!” she gave him a huge smile and hugged him to congratulate him on his nominations.
“Thank you, Isela.” he whispered in her ear. He wanted to hang on to her longer, but she let go.
Oh my god. He feels the same. I need to get away from him before it gets awkward around all these people. “Oh..look…Taylor is back! Let’s do this!” Isela danced in her shoes to get ready for the interview.
“Why are you nervous?” he asked covering her microphone.
“I’m….I’m not nervous Bruno Mars.” She grabbed his hand off of the microphone lifting it up to talk to him. They completed the interview with him announcing his desire to take her home with him. They mock laughed with each other and said their good-byes. Taylor turned off the camera and flipped to his iphone.
“I’m sorry.” he said grabbing the microphone putting it on the small table near Taylor.
“For what?” she asked.
She raised her eyebrow at his comment. “I’m confused.” she told him.
“Dinner, tonight. I’ll explain.” he told her.
He pleaded with her through his eyes. “Oh my god. Stop. Okay. I still hate you.” she laughed.
“I’ll see you tonight.
They sat down at a table in the middle of the Italian restaurant. A waitress handed them menus and glasses of water.
“I’m sure you’re wondering why I brought you here…” he laughed at her. She looked kind of nervous.
“Slightly.” she was a bit nervous. She caught a handful of people eyeing both of them. She wasn’t sure if they recognized him, her, or both of them.
“Vanessa cheated on me.” he said bluntly.
“Bruno!” she gasped grabbing his hand gently.
Isela heard her boyfriend, Jaric Klaslow, a third year Czech basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers, open the door to her apartment quietly at 2 in the morning. She opened her eyes slightly to see what he was wearing. Damn he’s cute in that outfit. I’m too tired to do anything. He put his bag down near the closet, took off his pants and shirt, getting in bed. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the back of her head.
Isela woke up to her alarm at 3:30, just an hour and a half later with his arms around her. She moved his arms to smell a perfume she had never smelled before. It was sweet, kind of flowery. She wasn’t going to wake him up- but he was going to have hell to pay in the afternoon when she saw him after practice.
At 4:30 in the afternoon she opened Jaric’s door to find him sitting on his cushy leather couch. He smiled his bright white smile at her. In his deep Eastern European accenter he asked her to sit next to him. She shook her head to compose herself. “Did you sleep with someone else while you were in Chicago?” she asked him point blank.
He looked down at a pillow that the remote was sitting on.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” she turned around to walk out.
“That was my own…my one…one..rule. You know how important it was for me. It wasn’t just the trust! It wasn’t that. It was my health. It was your health. It was everything. I forgave you when my cancer came back. I knew you couldn’t be there for me. I had my family. But you did this to me? How could you go off and do this to me? I’ll have Yuli bring your stuff over to you. And I’ll have Chris get my stuff from here. I don’t want to see you ever again. Ever.”
“Why? Wait?! What?! I’m so confused….I thought you two were golden? Like she was the one…”
“It was before Thanksgiving. I….don’t know. It just happened so so fast Isela.”
“Why are you telling me this, Bruno?” she picked up her glass of water taking a sip through her straw giving him an inquisitive look.
“Because you have always been there for me. You’re one of my best friends. And I need someone who isn’t going to judge me for what happened. Or just happened.”
“Oh. Bruno. What happened; happened. It was a mistake. We all know that. It’s the past. And you’re going to get through it.” She clutched his hand making sure he knew that she was there for him.
They finished their meal. He was incredibly heartfelt in what he said to her. He was broken. He didn’t need her – he just needed someone to talk to – someone to be with. Isela was confused as to why he wanted to talk to her, he had such a big family and his oldest sister was there for him constantly. She was his rock. But he was talking to her. He went on and on about touring the country and how nervous – but excited- he was about going to Oceania.
As they walked out the restaurant she asked him why he wanted to talk to her about all of this. “Bruno…” she paused to face him as they neared her car.
“Why did you want to do dinner tonight?”
“Because Isela…because I still love you.”
“Well, I love you too…” she laughed grabbing the handle of the car to open it.
He touched her waist in a way that made her melt.
“Bruno, no. This is not happening again. Not again. Not now. Not while you’re going through this. No. And you don’t mean what you said. You don’t. Go home, write. Write until your hand hurts. It will make you feel better. Trust me.” She took his hand off her waist and kissed him on the cheek. “Good night, Bruno Mars.” she drove off.
“Owwww. It hurts.” Isela whined.
“Here…have some of this Capri Sun, it’s my favorite…” Bruno fed Isela the juice as she laid in her bed at her father and stepmother’s house.
“Mmm. I can understand why that’s your favorite. I like that one too.”
“You’re my favorite too, Sell.” he kissed her nose taking the juice box away from her setting it on the table.
“How long have you been here, Bruno?” she asked him.
“Just a little bit; you were asleep. Max let me in. Your mom and dad went to work.”
“Well, I’m glad they put my care in the hands of a 15 year old stoner…”
“But, I’m here to take care of you now, Isela. You’re safe!” he said standing up like a super hero.
“Well, that certainly makes me feel better. Now, if only you could make sure that this cancer goes away.” She started to cry into her pillow. She had just woken up from a short outpatient procedure to get rid of Stage IA ovarian cancer cells. The doctor insisted that she stay in bed for three days. After being in school for months and stressing out about work she was thrilled about being in bed – but worried that the procedure wouldn’t work and that the cells would have spread.
“Isela….they’re going to go away. You’re going to be fine. You’re one of the strongest people I know in the world.” he said to her taking off his jacket and putting it on the floor.
“What are you doing?” she looked at him.
“Getting in bed with you; what else would I be doing?” he answered.
“You’re so weird.”
“You signed up for it.” he spun around burying his face in her back.
“Owwwwww. That really really really hurt.” she cried.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” he said kissing her t-shirt. She closed her eyes listening to him sing, “I’ve worked so hard for so long seems like pain has been my only friend…”
Isela went on with work as if nothing had happened that night. She knew he was hurt, but she also had promised herself that early February morning that she was never going to do anything with Bruno ever again. His music was more important than her. It always had been - and placing that above her had finally paid off. As much as it hurt to know that, she was still happy for him and all those that she knew that he carried along with him.
Isela’s phone buzzed in the middle of the night in late January. “What the fuck?” she moaned as she grabbed it. She was accustomed to getting random breaking news tweets and texts, so that was what she was anticipating. She clicked the button to see what it said:
Grammy pre-show- please come. – Brunz
Oh my god, why would you text me at 3 in the morning, you fool!
It’s not 3 in the morning in Hawaii.
But it is here. Let me go to sleep!
Not until you say yes.
Okay, fine. I’ll be there.
I can’t read your sarcasm in a text message, Isela.
Get me the info, I’ll be there. I promise.
Cross your heart and hope to die?
Cross my heart and hope not to die.
Good night, Selly.
“Here’s your stuff…” Isela handed Bruno a mishmash of things – hats, a set of drumsticks, a notebook, and in another hand a guitar.
“Thank you.” He turned around toward the door.
“Bruno…” she stopped him from opening the door. A tear came down her cheek. He turned around with all his things in his hands to see her crying. “I need you.”
“I need you too, baby doll.” She walked toward him. He put his things on the couch meeting her in between the couch and the doorway. He took her by the waist wrapping his arms around her. She ran her fingers through his hair kissing him gently.
“I’m so sorry.” he told her.
“I know you are.” She led him toward her bedroom.
The holidays came and went. Isela spent the holidays pretending to enjoy the company of one of her sister’s friends, Marcus. They didn’t click, and they knew it. They were great friends though. He was cute enough. He had blonde hair and pretty blue eyes. But, Marcus was too normal for her. Yuli had met him at the gym. He initially hit on her, but as Yuli had been in a relationship a starving improve comedian since she graduated from college, she suggested that he date her sister. It usually ended up that way. Isela needed to stop relying on her sister to set her up. But, Marcus was so normal – a mortgage broker. She loved his normalcy. He worked 9-5 and had a Camry. He didn’t have any tattoos, didn’t know a G chord form an A and had no interest in Prince. What he did love was running. And that’s how they clicked. But, that was about it. The sex was passionless, he didn’t know, nor did he care, about her job, and he lacked a sense of humor. The holidays were anything but happy.
Bruno still had Isela on his mind, but was trying to move on. He knew that the next year was going to be even crazier than the past year. He relished the time with his family. He slept, ate, slept some more, and wrote like she told him to. It did help. She did know him well. But, what he really wanted was her by his side when the New Year started.
“Sissy..look at this…” Yuli and Isela sat at the kitchen table early in the morning before they both went to work. Isela flipped through her blackberry while Yuli played with her ipad. Yuli handed Isela her ipad open to some random picture of Bruno with another girl.
“Good for him. He needs it.” Isela said handing the device back to her sister.
“What do you mean he needs it? You are obviously craving him. Every time anything remotely related to him is mentioned your eyes light up. You’re both single again….”
“Both of us have been single at the same time since we broke up, Yul. It’s not going to happen again.”
“Please, woman. The twin force is strong on this one. Something happened after he broke up with Vanessa between the two of you. I don’t know what it is, I’m not in your head…but I know something happened. And you need to figure your shit out. Your head is spinning like crazy which means his is too.”
“Why do you say his head is spinning too?” she asked her taking a sip of her orange juice.
“Because you two, no matter what, I hate to say it, will end up together, in the end.
Two weeks after the box incident – 2007
Isela walked back into her apartment after a girl movie date with her teammates, her sister and siblings. She threw her purse on the couch, took off her flip-flops and turned on MTV. An old episode of Laguna Beach was on. Damn. I love this shit. I’d totally take Stephen. LC has nothing on me. And Jessica is such a dumb bitch. She grabbed her phone from her side, knowing that she needed someone to watch Laguna Beach with.
“Come watch Laguna Beach with me…I’m bored out of my mind.” – send…Bruno.
About 45 minutes later she heard a knock at her door. She was half asleep. Shit, it’s about damn time. She ran to the door opening it seeing him look ridiculously hot – a jean jacket, yellow shirt and skinny jeans with converse on. She didn’t even bother with her excuses to get him to come watch Laguna with her. She wrapped her arms around him kissing him deeply, passionately. It was a “I need you” kiss. He walked her into the living room returning her kisses.
“Laguna Beach huh?” he finally said pulling away from her. She shrugged taking off his jacket moving closer to him demanding with her movements. Holy shit. We’re doing this. We never did this. 3 in the morning? Really? Okay. He thought to himself taking off her t-shirt running his finger nails gently against her back to her bra. She moved closer toward him to stay warm. He knew she got cold quickly when they did this. She lifted his shirt off over his head careful to run her fingers through his thick hair as the shirt came off. She pushed him against the wall near the entry to her bedroom kissing every inch of him from his ear to his collar bone. He didn’t question anything she was doing. He just went with it. She took his hand after kissing him leading him behind her sliding out of her cotton shorts and underwear on her own. She sat on the edge of her bed to look up at him.
“Take me, Bruno.” she insisted. She used her eyes to indicate that he should take off his pants. She wasn’t being funny. There wasn’t a smile cracked. She was in charge, and it turned him on. She is so out of it, tonight. I need her. He moved her to the middle of the bed returning her passionate kiss from earlier in the session. He moved down throughout her body careful to touch every inch of her body in the way that made her scream. He found that perfect spot in between her legs and hips that made her pop.
“Don’t move, Isela.” he looked up at her, now taking control. He put his hands on her hips pressing down on each side.
“Ohhhh…I….Brunooo…” she cried. He moved up against her, kissing her lips so lightly that she could hardly feel it. She clutched his curls so hard that he cringed, but in a good way.
She opened her eyes to watch his arms – they always turned her on. She wrapped her arms around him to get as close to him as she ever had been before. He glanced up to see her looking at him. This isn’t real. We’re not doing this because she loves me anymore.
He rolled over to the side of the bed after they each climaxed. They would have fallen asleep together, him holding her. This time, was different. She looked him right in the eyes and said, “You need to go.”