”Mommm…I wanna ride my bike….Chrissy is outside….” Lucy whined walking into the kitchen where Evie was looking over notes for one of her very last finals.
”Baby…I think you should stay here. You could get hurt and I can’t go outside right now.” Evie responded.
”Fine.” Lucy stomped her feet going into the room with the video games. ”I’m just gonna play Wii then.” she said in a soft tone knowing that she had gotten in trouble a few days ago. The trouble resulting in both Bruno and Evie telling her she couldn’t play with any electronics for the next week and a half.
”Nope. Not gonna happen. Come sit with me and draw me something.” Evie said to her daughter.
”But Mommmmm….” Lucy whined.
”You know you shouldn’t have been playing with the drums when Bruno wasn’t here…..you can play with the Wii this weekend. Okay?” Evie told her.
”But I said I was sorry.” Lucy whined.
”No means no. I’m not your grandmother.” Evie told her handing her daughter some paper. ”Draw me what you think the wedding will look like.” Lucy pulled the paper from her mother going to the drawer where all the colors were drawing something.
Evie went back to her work seeing her daughter listening to her drawing several misshapen people. Lucy went all out with the drawing not finishing until well after Evie had gotten up from the table procrastinating more with her own homework.
”Okay, mom…here…” Evie said holding up the picture with dozens of people squeezed into the notebook sized piece of paper. ”You’re wearing a diamond dress and Bruno is wearing a tux….and everyone else gets to wear a diamond ring but nothing else flashy…but me. I get to wear a diamond dress like you. And everyone else wears bright purple…like this…”
Evie looked up from cooking dinner in the kitchen. ”And mom….everyone is there….see….” she counted and named all of both of their families. ”After that…..Bruno gets to be my dad. ” she finished.”I wrote a contract…like the ones you write…we all have to sign it…then he can be my dad….”
”Oh…what does it say, Lu-lu?” Evie asked looking at Lucy turning over the paper.
”Oh…it says….I, Bruno, agree to be a dad who is always there for me and my mom. I have to be at home with my wife when she is sick and when she is happy. I have to be nice to my daughter and I can’t leave me mom if we get angry. And I especially won’t hurt anyone. No broken noses, or bruises and hospitals….only hospitals if there are more babies. No other reason because as a dad I will protect everyone. And I won’t put Lucy in timeout or take away things from her. Because I agree to be a nice dad. The end.” Lucy said.
”Did you write all of that, Lucy?” Evie asked taking the paper.
”Ummm….I need your help finishing it. But….” she handed the paper to her mother who laughed seeing all the words there just horribly misspelled.
”I think we can all agree to this….but the no timeout part. That might be pushing it, Miss.” she answered. ”When does Bruno have to sign this?” she asked.
”On the day you get married. Not earlier or later. He can’t be my dad before then because you’re not married right now.” Lucy said poetically.
”Okay….so if Bruno comes home from his trip and says he wants to get all the paperwork and everything to have you change your last name you want to wait until after the wedding?” Evie clarified.
”Yeah. It’s silly to do it now.” Lucy answered. ”Plus you said you wanted to take your test before the wedding.”
”You’re right.” Evie answered. ”I have to take my test before we can have a wedding.”
A few days later Bruno and Evie sat on the couch wrapped around each other watching TV before going to bed. ”Lucy wrote you something….” Evie interrupted the TV show.
”Oh….?:” he asked raising his eyebrow.
”Hang on…” Evie jumped up going back to the fridge. She handed him the paper watching him struggle through her kindergarten words. ”I think I need to take her to therapy….” Evie told him as he finished it.
”Why?” he asked her.
”All those things…she thinks that’s normal…all the things Sean did. Like everyone does it….and it hurts me to think that she thinks that you would do that….” she told him.
”Evie…have you forgotten the things that your parents did to you?” he asked her.
”Well…no….but….” she struggled to see where he was going.
”You know all the things that your parents did were wrong but you didn’t repeat any of them. Lucy will not ever do any of those things she wrote down. You are too good of a mother to let those things happen and after I sign this I guess I can’t let those things happen either….” he said with a sweet smile trying to make her laugh.
”Oh Bruno…you always find a way to make things better. Thank you.” she wrapped her arms around his neck kissing him quickly pulling away. ”Let’s finish this show….”
A few months later-near the end of the school year
Evie threw her hands in the air screaming in the middle of the night while looking at the last piece of paper she needed to sign to complete her Juris Doctor. Bruno had been in the studio for days and Lucy was sound asleep on the other side of the house. ”Oh my god! Just finish yourself!” she exclaimed signing her name, scanning the document in the small travel size printer next to her, clicking send and dramatically closing her laptop. ”Fucking done.” she said getting up to fill her glass of wine. She took a sip of the drink turning to see a car pull up to the driveway. She sat the glass down quickly brushing her hair with her fingers putting it up in a messy bun grabbing the lip gloss that sat on the table next to her coaster putting it on. Shit. Why do I look like this? she thought to herself glancing in the mirror on the other side of the room. He wasn’t supposed to be home yet…the door opened quietly, the way he usually opened it late at night. He squinted a little seeing the bright light on.
”Oh…I wasn’t sure if you were still awake…” he yawned walking toward her.
”I was just about to go to bed.” she told him feeling his arms wrap around her.
”With that much lip gloss? Who were you gonna go to bed with? It’s not me…” he smiled wiping a little bit of the shine off her lips making her smile. ”And you brushed your hair before I came in..” he pulled a strand of hair out of the neat bun leaning in to kiss her cheek. He took her hand starting to lead her to the bedroom. ”Let’s go to bed…”
”I have to clean this up…” she said looking at the mess at the kitchen table.
”Let me get it….” he said carefully picking up the pile looking at the back of the things. He pulled out the magazine trying to contain his laugh. ”You were looking at this!” he exclaimed holding out the newest issue of Modern Bride.
She shrugged her shoulder not even caring that he saw it. ”So?”
”I just think it’s funny. You said you didn’t even want to think about it until after the bar…”
”So I lied.” she smiled taking the pile from him placing it in her tote bag. As she turned around he grabbed the glass of wine she had poured finishing it placing it in the sink. ”You don’t drink that.” she stated.
”I lied.” he said trying to keep a straight face as the cheap wine went down his throat. ”Oh god….” he grabbed his neck in mock horror. ”Now I know why I don’t drink it. That’s horrible.”
”Hey!” she smiled getting up from the other side of the room
”Okay, okay. But we have to agree that this cheap shit isn’t at the wedding.” he told her placing his hands on her hips starting to dance with her.
”I’m sorry. I’m not thinking about the wedding until after the bar.” she laughed wiggling out of his arms walking toward the bedroom.
”Oh. I see how it is.” he said running up behind her.
”Let’s go to bed, Bruno….” she responded putting on her pajamas getting into the bed.
The next morning Evie felt arms around her as the light started to stream through the curtains. She glanced at her phone seeing it was 8am. She pushed Bruno’s arms off of her walking into the kitchen where she was just a few hours ago. The kitchen should have been exactly as they left it…except there was a giant bouquet of flowers with one small piece of her favorite candy underneath it. She looked down at the note that read
Today is your day. You deserve it all. –Brunz and Lu-lu
”Awww….” she said out loud wiping a small tear off her cheek. ”That’s so sweet.
”Mommmm….” Lucy ran toward her mother jumping into her arms. ”You get to get dressed up today!”
”I know I do!” she smiled putting her daughter down on the counter. ”What kind of tacos do you want, mama?”
”I want the ones with the potatoes…” Lucy said pointing to the potatoes on the counter.
”Good choice because that’s what I was going to make anyway….” Evie said grabbing the cutting board. ”You wanna help, Luc?” Lucy jumped from the counter grabbing the eggs and tortillas from the fridge. ”You can break the eggs….” Evie told her watching her daughter break the eggs dripping more than half of them on the counter. She just let it go watching Lucy whip the eggs and place them by her mother. ”Go wake up Bruno.” Evie finished cooking the eggs hearing the laughter in the bedroom watching Bruno carry Lucy out over his shoulder tickling her knees.
”Say you’re sorry, Lucy!” he laughed still tickling her.
”I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorrryyyyyy….” Lucy screamed as he put her down in the chair.
”What did she do?” Evie asked Bruno.
”She messed with the womp.” Bruno said running his fingers through his messy bed head.
”Oh shush.” Evie answered handing him a spoonful of breakfast.
”It’s really good, Eve. But it’s always good.” he smiled kissing her on the cheek. ”Good morning, Geneva Wilson, Attorney at law.”
”Not yet!”she said. ”Not yet! Don’t jinx me!”
”Okay..okay…Geneva Wilson, Jay deeee…..” he lingered on the J.D. making both Evie and Lucy laugh.
”Can I change my name to Lucy Hernandez JD?” Lucy asked taking a bite of her food.
”Maybe one day, Luc…but you gotta keep going to school.” Evie sat down next to herdaughter handing her a napkin.
”But I don’t want to go to school…First grade is going to be so hard.” Lucy whined.
”Don’t give up, Lu-lu. You can do it.” Bruno said.
”If you say so.”Lucy responded finishing her food walking into the kitchen leaving Evie and Bruno sitting next to each other. He grabbed her hand squeezing it tightly.
”Don’t trip today…okay?” he told her standing up with their plates.
”Okay, Bruno.” she replied.
”Momma…where will you be? Will I be able to see you?” Lucy asked holding onto Bruno and her hands.
”You see that screen?” she pointed to a big screen off to their left. ”You’ll be able to see me there.” she answered.
”But mom…can’t Dre get us closer?” Lucy asked.
”Oh..Lucy…” Evie tried to contain her laughter. Lucy looked over at Dre who was standing next to Bruno stoic as usual.
”Make them move for me!” Lucy said letting go of them pulling on Dre.
”Luc….I can’t. Bruno’s not in charge this time.” Dre said sweetly to her. Bruno took her hand pulling her back to them.
”Lucy…it’ll be okay. I’ll put you on my shoulders and you can wear my hat.” Bruno told her.
Everyone started laughing at Bruno’s statement making him shoot them dirty looks. ”Shut up!” he laughed. ”At least she’s not taller than me….”
”Okay, shorty…I have to go. I’ll text you when we’re closer…” Evie said kissing Bruno on the cheek and hugging the rest of her family. She said good bye walking away feeling a hand,
”Geneva…” she heard her father’s voice. She turned around almost forgetting what he looked like, even though they had seen each other only in November. They had seen each other during the Christmas break and once earlier in the Spring, but aside from that the most contact she had with him was with her half-brother, now close friend, David.
”Yes?” she asked.
”I just wanted to tell you that I’m so proud of you. Of everything that you’ve achieved. And that I’m sorry again. I’m sorry for everything. I wake up every day thinking what you, your sisters and your brother’s lives would be like if none of this had happened. Then I remember Albert and Katie were the best thing to happen to the four of you. I thank them every day for making you one of the most amazing daughters a father could ever wish to have.”
”Thank you….” she paused trying to decide what to say. It’s my day today. I can be a bitch if I want to…she thought to herself. ”There aren’t enough apologies in the world for me to forgive you for everything that you put us through. And you will never be my father, my dad, my anything. ” she stated plainly walking past him.
”Look…they’re coming! Bruno…I can’t see!” Lucy exclaimed pointing to the front of the grassy area where the whole school’s graduating students were walking out. ”Bruno…why do they have all those scraves? They don’t even look good…”
”Lucy…they have them because they’ve earned them. You get one for being smart….” Laura told her.
”And the rest they get for being pretty.” Bruno said lifting her up on his shoulders so she could see her mother.
”Where did she go?” Lucy whined seeing someone walk in front of her.
”Oh…I….” Bruno saw someone wave seeing Evie smile.
”There she is!” Bruno said pointing to her. Evie caught their exchange blowing Lucy a kiss. As she walked closer and closer to her diploma Bruno turned his head to see Katie and Albert talking about how proud of her they were and that they were so happy that she ended up the way she did…he heard his name very briefly making him start to choke up a little. That’s the girl that wouldn’t give me the time of day because she was too busy with school. The girl that was scared of what I would think of her daughter. The girl that was hurting because of the things she’s been through. The girl that wanted to give up. And that girl is mine. She will be mine.
”Geneva Lynn Wilson….cum laude, Juris Doctor.” they all heard a booming voice announce. Everyone around Bruno and Lucy gasped not breathing seeing her take the diploma from the Dean’s hand smiling at the camera.
*”I love you mom!” Lucy screamed breaking the silence around them making everyone laugh.
”Dre…gimmie these….” Bruno said taking a giant pile of flowers with a bracelet buried in the middle of the bouquet for Evie. She ran toward them hugging Lucy and her parents tightly before even noticing Bruno’s gift.
”Oh…my…gosh. You didn’t have these before?” she questioned.
”I have my ways.” he smiled handing her the flowers watching her smell them.
”They’re my favorite….” she said pulling the small box out of the middle of the flowers opening the box seeing a silver infinity symbol bracelet in the box.
”Look, mom….I have one too…” Lucy said holding up her arm.
”Oh…Lucy…that’s so pretty….” she said picking up her daughter as they walked through the crowd unnoticed.
”Mom…I want to be just like you when I grow up.” Lucy responded looking at her mother wiping away a small tear from her mother’s cheek. ”Don’t cry momma…it’s okay.”
”I know it’s okay. I’m just happy.” Evie said. ”Ohhh…ohhhh….” Lucy slid out of her mother’s hands quickly watching her mother slip and fall on a small hole in the ground. Evie quickly got up feeling Bruno grab her waist to make sure she didn’t fall. ”Well….” she caught herself wiggling her ankle to make sure she was okay. ”At least it didn’t happen when I was walking the stage.”
Bruno walked into the unusually quiet house in late July throwing his jacket on the couch looking through the house spotting Evie sitting at the table with books scattered around her with her headphones on. Oh….should I do it? Fuck it, I’m going to do it…he thought to himself walking quietly behind her careful not to be noticed suddenly wrapping his arms around her putting his hands around her mouth hearing her scream like someone was going to kill her. “Don’t move or I’ll hurt you.” He whispered in his distinctive voice making her calm down. She moved her mouth a little biting his finger lightly.