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Heal Me

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Audra Taylor comes from a background with pain and trauma but is full of good people who love her. Bruno Siemper's background is full of wealth and status; however, his disease casts a shadow over his past and present. It doesn't help his parents are not loving. When Bruno meets Audra, her warmth, in the form of aloofness, attracts him. Bruno's good nature attracts Audra. However, both have to come over the scars of the past and heal themselves before they can love one another.

Romance / Drama
Dantes Inferno
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Audra Taylor had been waiting for her sister in the quad of her alma mater for twenty minutes and started to believe she had been set up. Audra was supposed to show ungrateful Joann around the campus but instead spent over a quarter of an hour blasting her music and waiting outside of the pre-med facility of Freedman University.

Again fed up, Audra called her sister only for it to go to voicemail once again. She made a mental note to tell mama about her petty behavior. How dare her sister leave her waiting? She was Audra Taylor, an artist, visionary, and future world-famous director. Joann had begged HER to be shown around the campus, not the other way around. Audra could have been watching films or taking pictures, her master's degree in film wasn’t going to complete itself, yet there she was on the steps instead of preparing for her first day as a master student at Freedman herself.

Audra made another mental note not to trust a boy-crazy eightteen-year-old Leo of all things as she hoisted her backpack onto her shoulders. As she was turning to leave she heard a familiar voice behind her calling her name excitedly. She turned to come face to face with John Henry James or J.J as she called him growing up.

“Audra...Audra Taylor? Where you been girl?” John asked engulfing her in a hug she didn’t consent to but was too mad to put her body into.

John was a broad-shouldered big-toothed man who moonlighted as a teddy bear. His dark skin and big brown eyes were a good enough reason for Audra to have a crush so big on him growing up that it took until 11th grade for her to snap out of it. A man like John, smart, sexy, flamboyant in all the ways that make people likable would never go for a girl like Audra. Audra lacked social graces or looks that could turn heads. She was fat, not thick, but fat. This is why every man she had dated since middle school had never wanted to date her in public, loving outlook seemed more of a lie every year.

“I’ve been around,” Audra said breaking the hug to look up at John. They’d been close-ish growing up in Mississippi, everyone knows one another. John’s grandma lived by Audra, Audra’s mama lived by his daddy, and John’s daddy lived by Audra's aunt Lynn. They’d see one another at church, birthday parties, familial homes, and even at the elementary middle, and high school they both attended. He had been a constant flutter around Audra's life and so she was not surprised when they both ended up at the same HBCU together. Audra would go on to see him at the occasional party she attended or walking around campus, but for the past four years, she was somebody she heard more about than saw.

“Well, I ain’t seen you in a hot minute. Every time I’m at yo kin house you just left. I heard you doing big things getting your masters degrees in film, ya gonna take Hollywood by storm,” his smile was bright and genuine. He had the type of smile that made women feel special, it made her nervous.

Audra smiled back, “Well I heard you’re about to be doctor J.J, do I think you’re doing better than me. Matter of fact you can pay me back that 10 dollars.”

Audra stuck out her hand and John threw his head back in laughter feeling the air with laughter. But his laugh was not alone, she hadn’t noticed but directly behind John stood. A tall beautiful man with deep dimples and caramel skin. He was as attractively handsome as they come, with big white teeth and muscles that poked softly again his graphic t-shirt. Audra wondered how she missed him, he was unmissable.

“That was seventh grade. When you gonna let it go?” John asked. Audra peeled her eyes from the man who stared back at her tentatively. “When I get my ten-piece I’ll let it go,” Audra said.

John opened his mouth to speak when the man from behind him cut John off. “I’m Bruno, by the way,” He said extending a hand and a smile toward Audra. She wondered if she’d asked who he was out loud instead do in her head. She touched her lips for the memory and found none. He’d introduced himself on his own. Audra found that strange, he didn’t wait for his friend to introduce him, which she believed to be customary in social interactions. She made a note of it.

“Audra,” She said shaking back. His hand was strong but soft. They weren’t working for men hands like the ones she grew accustomed to coming from a farming county in Mississippi. They were the hands of a man who never worked a real day in his life. Audra dropped it all but instantly, triggering a confused look to cross Brunos face.

“Nice seeing you J.J and nice meeting you Bruno. I need to be getting home.”

“Wait,” J.J said. “Ya momma told me something about you loving at the Angelou apartments. That’s were we bunked too. We can give you a ride.” J.J suggested. Audra exhaled a light, but frustrated sigh at the fact she had to have a momma who gossiped more than Wendy Williams. I’d it wasn’t for the fact that their off campus apartment was five miles away Audra would have never agreed to go with them. However, she trusted J.J their whole family was close, and he always looked out for her growing up.

“Are you asking a question or making a statement?”

“Audra yo ass never changes. I’m making a statement. Get ya ass in the car before I tell ya momma you’re walking the streets at night all alone.”

“You know she’d kill me, but ya momma and daddy would kill you.”

“Tupac, now common.” J.J. laughed pulling Audra to the left toward the car park.

“You want the front?” Bruno asked Audra as they walked back to the car. Before she could answer J.J. answered for her.

“She want the back,” he said, throwing her an almost pitiful look. Audra remembered just how much J.J knew about her and began to feel uncomfortable. She remembered why she made it a point to keep her distance the first couple months they got to university. Audra could have easily found him with all the information her mama gathered from his, but she didn’t. J.J scared her because he knew everything about her, almost everything. He knew her middle name, where all her family lived, her sister, and even things they left unspoken like her grandmother and what happened to her because of her father. He bore all the same secrets she did, and what made him dangerous is that he made concessions for her without even asking. He made sure she always got the back seat, made sure she always had a seat saved in the back of any class they shared together, made sure he walked her home because she was afraid of crossing the street alone until she was in tenth grade, made sure he protected her and never wore the color red. J.J knew all these things and Audra never had to tell him and he never brung up what he knew. She wondered if he pitied her like many who did know her life story did.

J.J cranked up his old truck his daddy gave him as a graduation present. It was a miracle a car so old and rusty was still on the road “I heard my lil sis Joann was starting here this year.”

“Yeah, I was supposed to meet her today, but she had other plans...I guess.” Audra said buckling her seat belt.

“What’s her major?” Bruno asked his voice deeper than Audra once remembered it. J.J. looked over at him confused but Bruno ignored him. “She’s studying to be a vet,” I said.

Bruno opened his mouth to say something else when he was cut off by John. “I forgot to introduce yall, didn’t I? That’s Bruno Sempier he’s all the way from Pennsylvania. Studying to be a baby heart doctor, what they call them?” He asked Bruno.

“Pediatric Cardiologist?” Bruno more asked than answered.

“Exactly, I won't be remembering all them titles. And Bruno the lovely lady in the back seat is Audra Taylor, as you may have heard. We grew up together. I saw more of her than I saw myself.”

“You from the north, no wonder,” Audra said more of a whisper but was loud enough to catch Bruno’s ear and turn his head toward her. His big brown eyes looked at her amused.

“What does that mean?” He asked.

“Well, I assumed you were from a rich side of Mississippi. Your hands are soft like you didn’t grow up riding horses to the store or helping on one of your relative's farms in the summer. The way you speak doesn’t get a twang of nothing in it.”

“You saying I’m lazy and never worked a day in my life, and that I sound...white?”

His statement elicited a genuine laugh from her. Which caught her and J.J. both off guard and put a brighter smile on Bruno's face.

“There is no such thing as ‘sounding white’. You simply make your mouth work. Ery’thing I just spoke made my mouth have ta work overtime pronouncing every syllable of the words correctly. I choose, a lot of us down here choose, to let our mouths rest on certain words and let our hands do the talkin and that's the difference.” Audra smiled.

“There’s no use going up against Audra she was the only reason our school had a debate team. She sharp as a tack.” J.J laughed from the front seat as they turned into the apartment complex.

“Keep straight down here and make a right. I’m in building twelve,” Audra said.

“You know twelve my favorite number?” Bruno asked. Audra cocked an eyebrow at how good he sounded when he let his words settle in his mouth and relax. He sounded and looked like the mix of boys who would play with girls' hearts at her high school growing up. She never had to worry about those types. They never looked at her long enough to see her face.

“Yeah, because ya daddy the feds,” J.J laughed again. Bruno rolled his eyes and looked over at J.J like he had passed in his cereal.

“Thanks. Y’all have a good one.” Audra said sliding out of the back seat and closing the door behind her. J.J. called out for her before she could get too far.

“Ay, Audra you should come over tonight we throwing a beginning of the year kick back and fish fry. I’ll wave the fifteen-dollar fee, since I owe you.” J.J said smiling from the front seat. Bruno was looking at Audra in a way that made her feel uncomfortable like he was trying to figure her out. Audra pushed her glasses up and laughed to herself. There was nothing to figure out.

“Nah, I’m good. I have a packed night.” Bruno’s brows raised in interest. J.J threw his hands up in annoyance.

“Whatchu doing? Watching an old film while you’re editing a picture?” He asked. She’d not varied from her routine since middle school and he knew that.

“I was also going to edit the ending of my script Mr. Know-it-all,” Audra said crossing her arms over her wide-body and jutting out one leg in a defiant school girl stance, that made her hips look even fuller than they were.

“That sounds lit.” He mocked before changing his voice back to the sincere one she knew best, “You know I ain’t never got on yo ass to do nothin. But consider it, we’re in apartment 1738, I miss my best friend.”

His words caused visual confusion to cross Audras face. “Best friends”. Were they best friends? The word was foreign in her mind. To Audra, her only friends had ever been the women that raised her and her sister.

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