”Mommmaaa…can I put the sticker on the map?” Rosie asked her mother a few mornings after.
”Where is your dad today, Rosalia?” Marla asked.
”He’s in London…London Bridge is falling down falling down…falling down….” Rosie started to sing dancing in a circle around her mother.
”Okay…but do you know where it is?” Marla asked. ”Show me where we are and then where dad is…” Rose stood on her tip toes touching the bottom of California.
”So smart!” Marla exclaimed helping her daughter point to the sticker. ”Now let me show you where London is…” she moved her daughter’s finger to the star in Europe.
”It’s in the water, mama?” Rosie asked.
”No, silly..it’s near the water though. And it’s cold there…” Marla told her shivering.
”It’s summer, mom! It’s not cold!” Rosie told her mother.
”Okay..let’s not argue…go get dressed…” Marla said finishing the conversation.
Bruno sat in a big chair looking across the room at the group of girls he, Ari and Phil were working with. Bruno had become attached to the city since the writing session he had way back in 2009 so any chance he was given to be in the city he jumped at the option. Today, he and his team were working with a newly formed group of girls in their mid twenties who had been signed by his record label after being spotted at a university talent show. The experiences the girls had were so different than his making the process even harder. The girls were so new that they hardly knew what to do. But the guys knew they could work with them.
”Okay girls..listen to this….” Bruno said singing something to them.
”Can we make it a little edgier?” one of the girls, Maggie, asked. Maggie started at him with her blue eyes, blonde hair and piercings making him nervous.
”Yeah..sure…” Bruno changed a couple things making her smile.
”I just adore it…” one of the other members, Holly answered. ”Who gets that part?”
”I think that Sabrina should get it…” Ari said pointing to the final girl in the group who sat off to the side flipping through her phone.
”B! Did you hear us?” Bruno yelled.
”Yeah..yeah…I can do it.” she said looking up at them.
”You should really try to join the group.” Phil suggested. ”It’s not gonna work with just the two of them.”
”Ugh. Alright…” Sabina said jumping up to record the song. They continued working for the whole night almost completing the song.
By 2 in the morning Bruno laid his head back in the chair sighing heavily. ”Can we finish this tomorrow?” he asked them.
”Yeah dude…let’s finish it tomorrow…let’s go out!” Ari exclaimed.
”Maybe for a little bit…but not too long…” Bruno said watching the girls’ eyes light up.
”Okay…okay…but I’m not promising anything won’t happen…” Maggie said putting on her coat grabbing her phone leading everyone out the door.
Bruno nudged Ari not sure what she meant by that statement. ”Who was she talking about?” he wondered outloud.
”Dude..come on. She’s got it hard for you. Like how do you not see it?” Ari asked.
”No, I don’t because I have the most amazing wife in the world and don’t look at anyone like that except Marla…or maybe Rosario Dawson…but that’s it.” Bruno answered.
”Alright, dude. But…” Ari stopped. ”Nevermind.”
”Yeah..nevermind is right. I’m not like that anymore.” Bruno answered sitting next to Sabrina who was still madly texting someone. ”Girl..your fingers will eventually fall off. That’s why that guy at the front desk only has four fingers.”
”Oh, shut up, Bruno.” she snapped at him.
”It never gets easier, though.” he told her.
”What do you mean?” she asked.
”Well, your obviously texting Emmett…” he referred to her boyfriend.
”Does it get easier at all?” she asked him.
”No. No…it never does. This is the third time I’ve done it and it’s gotten worse.” Bruno answered.
”Well, way to make the new girl feel better.” she smiled.
”Ha. I didn’t mean to scare you, B. It’s one of the hard things you gotta do to make things work.” he told her.
”Yeah…I guess..” she answered. ”I think I’m going to go…” she said standing up.
”You shouldn’t walk out there all alone, B.” Bruno told her.
”Yeah…Maggie..come on…” Sabrina pulled at her friend.
”No way, dude.” she answered. ”Have Bruno take you back…”
”Yeah?” she asked him.
”Okay…let’s go…” Bruno answered as they all said good bye.
”Bruno…tell me about Marla. You love her so much. I only hope that Emmett loves me the same way.” Sabrina asked him as they started walking down the brightly lit city street.
”Marla and Rosie are sometimes the only thing that gets me through the day, Sabrina. It’s hard to explain, but there’s something about knowing that the two of them will always be there..no matter what.” Bruno told her.
”Through richer and poorer in sickness and health and all that? I don’t know if I want to marry the guy yet…” Sabrina told him stopping to light a cigarette.
”Well, when you find that moment when you want Ito marry him, it will be a good moment.” Bruno told her.
”When did you know Marla was more than your girlfriend?” Sabrina asked him.
”She called me freaking out about her hair the day before the BET Awards…” Bruno told her.
”The one with Alicia Keys?” she asked.
”Yeah. She was freaking out because the stylist said she was pregnant. ” Bruno told her.
”I knew that I needed to be there for her..forever…” Bruno told her.
”Bruno…I want something like that…” Sabrina said moving towards him. Bruno was caught off guard by her move towards him. He put up his hand shaking his head.
”After everything I told you…Sabrina…there’s no way I would ever do that…” he told her. ”I’ve been in many situations, Sabrina…but no one could ever change my feelings….please go upstairs. And let’s forget about this tomorrow.” he said turning around walking away from her as quickly as possible.
”But Bruno…” Sabrina said softly watching him walk away from her.
Bruno slammed the door to his room closed looking at his blinking phone.Mar…I’m sorry..I’m sorry..I’m sorry….he thought to himself holding the phone in his hand not sure how to react. They had been together since 2010 – 6 years and this had never happened. Why did I put myself n this situation? What just happened? He continued to hold the phone looking at the background picture taken just days before at the concert of her looking up at him on the stage. He felt his body start to shake scared of what he was going to say to her when she called him. He pulled out a piece of paper to write her a note.
We have been together for six years. They have been the most amazing, scary, frustrating and did I say amazing? years of my life. And I wouldn’t change anything. Even if sometimes I say I want to go back to the day of your seizure, Marla I wouldn’t have it any other way. Marla…I don’t even know what to say to you except I’m sorry. I’ve never even been close to another person like you since Rachel….it tore me up to see Sabrina looking at me like that. It made me scared to even think of losing you because of how stupid I can be. Mar…I love you. I love you to infinity and beyond.
As he started to fold the paper up knowing that he would be making a mistake by sending it that very moment Marla’ distinctive ringtone started playing. He jumped caught off guard by the noise.
”Dadddyyyy!” he heard Rosie’s little voice in the phone.
”Hey, Rosie…can I talk to your mom? It’s really important….” he told her.
”Daddy..I miss you…” she told him.
”I know baby girl. I miss you too…”
”Bruno? What’s going on?” she asked him. ”I’m surprised you answered the phone..it’s 4…”
”I’m sorry…” he said in a soft defeated voice.
”Mar…I’m so sorrryyyy…” he drug out his apology.
”What in the world are you talking about, Bruno? What are you talking about?” she asked him.
”I slept with Madison last year….” he told her.
”Who is that?” she asked him. Shit. She doesn’t remember the girl that opened for me during the last tour. ”What are you talking about? Bruno….” her voice went from loud to soft all within a syllable. He could feel her start to cry the same way he was about to cry.
”Mar..it didn’t mean anything…it didn’t mean anything..oh my god…” he tried to get through the words.
”Is this before or after?” she asked him.
”It was before…when I was in New York…when we were working on the album..it was right before your mom started blowing up my phone…Mar….when I saw you in the hospital…I promised myself I would never hurt you again….”
Marla sat down on the couch searching for this girl she couldn’t remember.Oh…no. I remember her face….”Bruno…what made you do this? What happened?” she asked taking a deep breath trying to deal with how upset he was.
”I don’t know Marla…I don’t know…you were upset that I wasn’t going to be at Rosie’s appointment. And I just couldn’t deal with it….you were so upset…and I…we got really drunk…Mar…”
”Bruno…I don’t even know what to say to you. I think I’ll talk to you tomorrow…” she started.
”Mar…I don’t want you to go to bed angry at me…Abby said never to go to bed mad at each other…” he told her about something a therapist they went to after her memory loss had told them.
”She also told us to be honest with each other…and you never told me. Why now, Bruno? Why all the sudden while you’re in London? Why not yesterday when you were here?” she asked. ”Yes..I’m upset at you for what you did…but Bruno…I’m even more upset that you didn’t tell me.”
”Mar…you would have left me. You would have left the house so fast….I can’t lose you…” he told her.
”Why…no…what made you tell me now?” she asked.
”Sabrina…” he told her.
”One of the girls?” she asked.
”Yeah…Mar…she tried to….to….”
”She tried to get in your pants.” Marla finished for him. ”Just like Madison did.”
”And all I could think of was how horrible I feel knowing ”Just like that you don’t know this….” he told her.
”Jesus Christ, Peter.” she sighed leaving the living room where her daughter had fallen asleep on the couch. ”What was she like Bruno? Was it good?”
”It was horrible.” he told her. ”It was the worst feeling in the world. She didn’t smell right, she didn’t touch me right…she didn’t say the right things..she didn’t kiss me right..” he waited for her to say something after he finished his statement. ”Mar?”
”Bruno…I can’t even try to talk to you right now. I’m not angry at you. I’m hurt. If you say things were bad for us then…they had to have been…but…”
”Marla….I took a vow to love you and cherish you through the good times and the bad times and…Marla..I fucked up. I fucked up so fucking bad. I just want to take it all back. All of it. I want to erase that night forever…” he paused trying to find the right words hearing her crying on the other end of the phone.
”Bruno….I want to wake up tomorrow and forget this whole conversation. I don’t want you to tell me we had it. I don’t want any record of it….so I can forget this ever ever ever ever ever….ever….happened. But…my brain does funny things. And I know I’ll wake up and remember everything you said. And anything I say is going to make it worse. Bruno…I’m always going to love you and I’m always going to care for you. I’ll love you the same way I loved you before we had this conversation. We all make mistakes…some of them take longer to let go of. Please just give me some time…” she paused waiting for him to answer her. ”Bruno?”
”Mar…I’m gonna make this better…” he told her.
”Bru…I know you will.”
”I have to put Rosie to bed, Bruno…” she told him trying to get off the phone.
”Kiss her good night for me, baby.” he said trying not to be emotional through the phone.
”I will. Have a good day tomorrow.” she said hanging up the phone throwing it across the backyard hearing it hit the swing set breaking into several pieces. ”Fuck you, Bruno Mars. Just fuck you.” she yelled at the top of her lungs.