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Saving Her

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It had been difficult for Bruno to fall back into a routine with his family. A family he hadn’t interacted with in ten years.

In the months after casita's restoration, Camilo would shift into Bruno with glowing green eyes every other day and although he knew that Camilo was prankster, he couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable.

His sisters had always reached out to him. Trying to get him to join them when they went to village. Bruno had only smiled in apology and told them he’d rather not. He hadn't wanted to see the faces of people who still didn’t trust him and his visions.

In the end it had taken him over a year to visit the village.

Sometimes little Antonio had spent time with him because his rats rarely left his side, and the boy loved the many rodents.

The only real exception was Mirabel. Wasn’t she always.
She had always smiled at him, asked him to watch real telenovelas with her or visited him in his room, that had been slightly changed by casita, when he came back.
Less sand, more quiet, relaxing places.

 

It had been three years since then and while he felt much more at ease with his family, he still had times where he’d rather crawl back into the walls.

Today was one of these days.
They were going to have a big family dinner, even with Dolores’ husband's family. Bruno was expected to show up, so he sat on the big table, feeling out of place.

On his left side sat Mariano’s mother and he could see her still throwing sceptical glances at him out of the corner of her eyes.
Everyone was having loud conversations.

For a moment he thought about becoming Hernando. Hernando is scared of nothing.

A hand on his elbow brought him back from his thoughts.

Mirabel smiled at him.

He smiled weakly back at her.

Her attention was then taken by Isabela, but her hand stayed at his arm for a while.

 

It was later that evening, he had excused himself and was now sitting on his bed, petting his tiny rat friend, exhausted from the day.

A soft knocking.

He granted the person entrance and Mirabel entered his room in her colourful dress that she had chosen for the dinner.

“Why are you not with the others?”

“They’re pretty loud, aren’t they? Dolores already complained about a headache. But she rather endures the headache than leaving Mariano”, Mirabel explained.
She didn’t wait for his answer but went straight to his bed and flopped down on it.

“They’re not too loud for you though.”

“No. But I didn’t like seeing you leaving. I spent some time with them, now let me have some quality time with you.” She grinned a big wide smile and Bruno wouldn’t be able to even find words for all the thankfulness he felt towards her.
His sobrina had barely changed in these three years. From the very beginning it was her who loved the family the most and her love for her family only grew. She was a bit taller now, but it seemed as if she had stopped growing and now, they were the same height. With the exception of Antonio, they were now the two shortest people in their family.
The thought always almost made him snort with laughter.

“What’s so funny, tío?” Mirabel looked it him, the question mirrored in her big eyes.

“I just thought that I’m kind of glad you don’t tower over me as well.”

She laughed and lightly punched his upper arm.

Bruno mocked pain and excessively rubbed the spot she’d punched. “Don’t punch your old tío.”

“You’re so childish sometimes, Bruno.”

“I’m not Bruno! I’m Jorge!”

She snorted and tried to hide her laugh behind her hands. “What if I’d rather speak with Hernando?”

“Hernando is working.”
Bruno grinned. No one in his family was this good at making him comfortable with his jokes.

“Poor guy has to work this late? It’s pretty late.”

“Hernando is not too afraid to work at night!” He searched in his room for his bucket to portray a better Jorge.

“Of course, he is not…but do you know who my favourite person to talk to is?”
Mirabel leant forward as if to tell him some kind of secret.

“No?” Bruno gave up on finding his bucket right now and instead fixed his gaze on his sobrina again.

“Bruno!” Mirabel laughed and gave him some comical side hug.

 

That night Bruno had a restless sleep. All in all, his evening was quite nice so he didn’t expect to have such dark dreams.
He saw Mirabel. Quickly shifting scenes, too fast for him to understand.
The feeling of fear clawing at him in his dream.

 

The next morning, he woke up with sweat clinging to every part of his body.
Just a nightmare, he said to himself.

Dolores’ birthday was coming up and he had offered his help with the preparations to Pepa. She had gladly accepted his help.

He, Louisa, Felix and Mirabel were shooed by Pepa from one place to another to fulfil all kinds of tasks while the rest of the family were helping the villagers. Bruno enjoyed the physical work if it meant people were expecting less social interaction from him.

At some point Mirabel started singing, stating it lightened the work.

“I think the work is pretty easy!”, Louisa yelled at her amused while lifting a heavy flowerpot with ease.
Mirabel laughed at that, barely able to continue her singing.
Felix was always down for some good music so he immediately started dancing and encouraged the others to do the same.

Bruno felt weird about dancing, so he just looked at the others.
Seeing his family, especially his favourite sobrina, happy like that made Bruno smile, glad to be part of this wonderful family again.

But Mirabel saw him, standing there awkwardly and took his hands. She laughed while she tried to get him to dance. He looked at her bewildered. Then he timidly followed her steps.

 

Unfortunately, his nightmares continued.
They were always featuring Mirabel, but everything was too confusing for him to make sense of it.

After three restless night Bruno decided to try for a vision. He felt like his subconsciousness wanted to give him a hint.

The thought of having a vision again made him jittery and he almost dropped his pot with sand when he drew his lines.
Bruno sat down in the middle of his sand circle and closed the eyes.

After he opened them again, he was surrounded by smoke and he saw the village, beautiful and full of life. His vision followed Mirabel and suddenly he saw something fall.
He couldn’t see what it was.
But he saw her shocked face and then the vision almost kicked him out.

When the light faded, he held the green vision plate. Mirabel with a shocked face while something dark fell from above. He couldn’t make out what it was, but Mirabel’s fearful face made him think of something horrible.  Everything was so unclear. As if it was just one more vision regarding Mirabel that was still undecided.

Bruno had to tell someone. He had to tell her.
But then she would think it was his fault. People always thought it was his fault.
Surely, Mirabel wouldn’t think that. He told him before that his visions were not his fault.

His hands on the vision cramped and he gritted his teeth.
Mirabel didn’t look any older in the vision. It might as well happen tomorrow. Maybe he should just keep an eye on her. He had to keep her save. Nothing should ever happen to her.

 

So, he spent the next days following Mirabel’s every step and he tried not to annoy her or be suspicious about it.
It took her four days until she cornered him.

“What’s going on, tío Bruno?” She stood before him, a determined look in her eyes and her hands on her hips.

“What do you mean? Nothing’s going on.” He tried to sidestep her, but Mirabel demonstratively stretched her arms, making it impossible for him to get around. Even his rats had sided with her and scampered between her feet.

“Please, Mirabel, there’s nothing wrong, just let me…” Bruno blushed. Confrontational situations were not his thing. To be honest, he was absolutely awful at dealing with them.

She looked disappointed and he wanted to apologise but she only smiled sadly at him and left him alone.
He was the worst tío.

 

He felt disheartened about following her, but he knew he had to prevent that vision, so he continued his task.

In the beginning after their small confrontation, Mirabel just glanced at him questionably. However, at some point she seemed to have decided to use his attention and talked with him all day long and asked him to accompany her everywhere.
And Bruno had to lie if he’d say that it didn’t make him feel weirder about the situation. But he also thrived on her willingness to spend that much time with him.

 

Then came the day when Mirabel decided to visit the village. Bruno was anxious about it because she hadn’t been there since he had that vision.
Of course, she asked him to go with her. And of course, he did.

She pulled him to every booth they passed on their way through the village’s little market. Mirabel was always contemplating buying some fruits or nuts. He told her she should do so if she wanted, he brought enough money. But she never did and instead pulled him further.

When Mirabel stopped at another small booth, he decided to turn back and buy some fruits for her.
He had a short chat with the women selling the fruits and managed a small smile when she gave him one extra.

Bruno turned around, searching for Mirabel. When he couldn’t find her, he panicked.

But then he heard her laugh. She was talking to some children.
When their mothers were calling out to them, she rushed them to catch up with their families. Then her eyes found him, and she indicated to come to her.
He walked the few steps towards her.

In that moment he saw some couple quarrelling on a balcony out of the corner of his eyes. The man made big gestures and knocked over a big stony plant pot on the railing.

“Mirabel!” Bruno dropped the fruits and ran the last metre.
She must have realised the urgency and the fear in his voice because her face was full of shock.

Then he collided with her body.

The heavy stone plant pot smashed to the ground just centimetres besides them.

Bruno had trouble breathing. He pressed Mirabel’s body firmly against his own. Her small hands had gripped his shoulders.

People rushed towards them.

He was still shaking but he released her and tried to stand up. Mirabel looked at him with big eyes, still shock in them.

People made them sit down, gave them water and food to calm down. Bruno couldn’t take his eyes of Mirabel. He was too afraid something else would happen although he knew that this had been his vision. It had been undecided because he was there to save her.

 

When they arrived home, just shortly after the incident, Mirabel took his hand and pulled him in her room.

“Thank you”, she whispered. “You knew?”

“I saw it a few days ago”, he admitted.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I was too afraid that you would think it’s my fault.” Bruno looked everywhere but her eyes.

“Oh, Bruno…I would never think so!” Her face softened and she hugged him.

He returned the hug and hold her tightly. “I was so afraid to lose you.” The words left his mouth before he could stop them.
Mirabel looked at him as if she was searching something in his eyes.

Then she kissed him.

Bruno froze. He felt her soft lips on his and he desperately wanted to taste her as well but a small, troubled voice inside his head told him it was wrong.

She let go of him. “Bruno?”

“Mira…we can’t.” His trembling hands grasped her upper arms.

“Don’t you like me?” She sounded confused and put a hand on his shoulder.

“That’s not…I’m your tío!”

“I didn’t ask about that. Bruno, I love you. I loved you since I got to know you after finding you in the walls.” Mirabel sounded so sure and honest. Her eyes were begging him to be honest to her too.

And he was so scared.

“I do, Mirabel. I’ve never been more afraid than I was today.” He couldn’t lie to her. He owned her everything. She was everything to him. Nothing mattered except her.

Bruno kissed her softly. He tenderly touched her cheeks.
She reached to put her arms around his shoulders. He looked into her big brown eyes.

“I love you more than anything Mirabel. You’re everything to me.”

And then he saw her smile that he had missed the rest of the afternoon.