Monday, January 16, 2017

(Someday I'll be) Saturday Night.

(Let me just cover my eyes and blush like a fucking fool here. We're not going to discuss this in house but DAMN. It was fun.)

Sitting on his lap, he pulls me forward for a kiss. A very gentle kiss. He laughs into my mouth quietly. His arms slide around my back as he holds on tightly. So good. He presses me to his chest and I close my eyes.

At least stay tonight until I fall asleep.

Maybe. I promise nothing as he exhales against my throat. It gives me goosebumps.

Better than nothing, he whispers. Behind me I hear Loch get up and walk out of the room.

Caleb watches him leave and takes his cue. Are you okay with this?

I nod and he lies me back flat. He begins to unlace my dress, smiling quietly to himself. Like he's opening a present. I smile back at the devil. So far so good. He swears and gives up quickly, instead lifting the hem of my dress up from the bottom. I arch my back and he pulls it off my body gently, swearing softly at what he sees. Tattoos in vintage lingerie. Beautiful delicate lace and satin in colors to rival the cashmere from before.

Wow.

Yeah. Hey? Isn't it beautiful?

Yes. I like it.

But then it's on the floor and he's busy fighting muscle memory. Instead of letting history run a familiar scenario, he's trying to start over. He wants this to be new. No mistakes. No loss of control or emotions. No winners, no losers. Good experiences only.

I cry out and Lochlan comes back. He turns to go out again and Caleb calls to him. Come in. Come here. Hold her.

Something flashes across Loch's face that I don't recognize and he responds, joining us. The night becomes a blur and I am shaking when I finally untangle myself from them. They keep reaching for me though and I can't do anymore. I fall asleep with one arm around Lochlan's neck, in a spoon with Caleb, Lochlan's free arm thrown over us both. He's up higher than we are so his arm is mostly against my cheek. The music keeps playing from the living room and I fall asleep hard. I'm not bitten. I'm not ashamed. I'm thrilled that Lochlan came back and didn't leave me here alone. I'm wondering how long it will hold. Lochlan's generosity. Caleb's temperament. My bravery. Pick something.

I get my first answer at three-thirty when sleep is abruptly broken as I am lifted off the bed. Surprised, I cry out softly. Caleb pushes me up against the door and shoves himself into me so violently I can't breathe. He drives hard against me as I hyperventilate, trying to catch my breath around his fingers, his hand over my mouth. I try to peel his fingers away and he takes my hands, pinning them high up over my head with his left hand. His right hand is underneath me, holding me up and I can't help myself.

Come for me, Doll. Come hard. Right now.

I always follow his orders and this time he's right behind me. His fingers lift away from my mouth so I can breathe again just in time to ride the wave of adrenaline and he keeps me there forever until he joins me on that wave. He gently slides me down so that my feet touch the floor. Lochlan is sitting up. He wants you now, Caleb whispers into my hair from behind me now and I go back to Lochlan, who puts his arms out, pulling me in, pulling me underneath him, back to holding me so tightly breath is going to be the one thing that doesn't come easily tonight. Lochlan's not going to be shown up. Not tonight. He turns me over and then lifts my whole body up so I'm still pressed against him, head back against his shoulder, eyes closed as he picks up speed against me, one hand jammed down underneath me until I'm seeing stars. I practically keen and he matches the sound, putting his head down against my back, pushing me down on my face as he leverages his weight on me while his hands pull my hips up hard against him. He finishes as all nice guys do.

Last.

Best for last.

We have another toast, this time with bedhead and I can hardly hold my glass for my hands are shaking too much.

Time to go. Lochlan smooths my hair back down, kissing the top of my head. He dresses quickly and then pulls my dress down over my head and laughs at my surprised expression when my face pops out the top.

It's good to be on the right side of things again. Caleb shakes Lochlan's hand and then impulsively pulls him in for a hard hug. Lochlan hugs him back but it's hesitant. Guarded still. Even after this.

Caleb pulls me up and gazes at my face. Go get a little sleep, Neamhchiontach. You've made an old man very happy tonight. 

Yeah, he is, isn't he? I look at Lochlan who waits at the doorway for me. Relief is on his face mixed with a little guilt maybe. And there's some incredulity in there as well. This is the way he looks when he wakes up every morning in a cuddle with Ben when he thinks it's me. It's the most adorable thing on the planet and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Come on, Peanut. We need some rest. 

Thank you for bringing her, Caleb tells him.

She brought me. 

Thank you for bringing him, then. Caleb says to me and I'd laugh but I'm too tired now.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Truants and rogues.

My nightmare is death, it's running out of time, leaving hearts broken, harsh words spoken or worse, nothing at all. My dream is a rush of panic to fix it all before it's too late.

Too late is one of the most frightening, disappointing phrases in the English language. You should have been faster, worked harder, made a better effort to get it all done before time was up.

Time is always up. That's the one sureity we're given in life. Death. We're running toward a finish line. It does not matter if we run slowly, fast or detour to a different track entirely. It's still there. Way up ahead. Waiting for us.

When I get to the finish line I want to have been loved, and I want them to know that I love them. All of them. With everything I had.

That's why, to answer PJ's question when we rolled in just after four-forty-five this morning. I am so tired this morning I'm hallucinating and didn't even attempt to go to church. I told Sam I'd get struck by lightning anyway, if I tried and he started in with some attempt to tell me God loves me most when I fight the hardest and I turned around and pointed out God doesn't love me at all so let's bail on these miserable charades. Sam didn't say anything else but went off to probably give a sermon about being disappointed in those you put on pedestals and why you probably shouldn't do that. They're going to let you down but don't worry, you're not off their list because they're insatiable, incorrigible and ruined already. You won't even have to take blame with you when you go to them. It's built right in.

I need coffee. More later, maybe. Everything's fine. I'm just so fucking tired.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Buckingham Nicks.

I traded my Converse All-Stars, green nail polish, ripped jeans and a sweater five sizes too big (Cole's) for Louboutin stilettos, mascara by the pound and a dress so snug PJ's been staring at me unabashedly now for upwards of twenty minutes.

I can see your heart beating, Bridge. You sure Lochlan's okay with this? 

He's fine. I smile really big so he knows I'm lying.

I'll stay dressed tonight in case you need me. 

Did I ever tell you you're my favorite?

If I was you wouldn't be going over there. 

Don't, Padraig. 

And you wouldn't be wearing that. 

Enough. Please. 

Enough what? Lochlan comes in. In a dress shirt. He refuses to indulge in Caleb's rules for my dress so he's pretending we decided to dress up tonight because we're a team. We are. Doesn't matter what we wear. And we always will be. Like Lindsey and Stevie. No matter what, no one ever pictures one without the other. At least I don't.

We're going to have drinks in the library and see if the evening holds. That's it. No promises, no expectations and no plans to see it through until morning because if Caleb woke up here there would be hell to pay and I'm pretty sure I covered that bill already.

With his money, though.

(I'm not stupid. Just crazy.)

(If he stays I'll kick him out around four. That's usually when Ben comes to bed and space or not, that just won't work.)

Friday, January 13, 2017

All your dreams are on their way/Feeling small.

He's been working out the piano to Bridge over Troubled Waters this morning. I'm in tears. It just moves me. No other reason but that. Sometimes music does that. His voice is perfect for it. Lochlan has a soft small range to work with and mostly sings falsetto. Higher than most. Accent fumbling through the sounds. It's beautiful. It's the perfect opposite to Ben.

Like everything, I suppose.

Last night Loch had just grabbed me up to himself, remarking not kindly that he hasn't seen me in days and maybe I should take a break and then Caleb rang around and he had a point and the timing was terrible but we went over anyway. Just a nightcap. See where it goes. Lies. Promises. Despair disguised as impatience. The night grew long, the glasses emptied and Lochlan put his head down in his hands and prayed to God to save him. The whole thing just ground to a halt. Caleb tried his best to fix it but it wasn't being fixed on that night so we left, maybe with all three of us in tears at some point but it was a good thing we stopped when we did because he was losing his mind and Caleb was losing his control and I was uncomfortable and out of place, feeding off their tension. Torn between my fierce loyalty to Lochlan and whatever the fuck this other thing is becoming.

We came home and had incredibly angry desperate love, Lochlan yelling at Ben to just stay out, Jesus, just cut him a break here. It wasn't fair or nice and he made his amends this morning after fixing our broken love last night. He voiced his doubts, we counted up fears and concerns and then we invited the devil here instead. Tomorrow (Saturday evening). We'll start over starting over. Over again. We'll get it right. We'll sort it all out.

If we don't we will chip away at it until we do. It's an unfinished masterpiece, my heart. It needs a lot of work yet.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Strawmen.

Did it work, Princess? Do you feel like yourself again? For what it's worth, you felt whole to me.

The irony in knowing I felt the same way about him, that he felt whole right up until I found out he was gone leaves me ignoring his questions as I fight instead with the tears. He's not going to get the better of me now. I've come too far.

Did you know Sam is just trying to help out? They're trying to claw up as much of you as they can, because it means less of you for Caleb. I thought you weren't naive about this but I was wrong. Hope they enjoy their tiny pieces of you.

His bitterness (he never liked Caleb OR Loch) wakes me up abruptly and I force myself more tightly against August, who sleeps easily, propped up on pillows, clutching me gently as the bed sways from where the ghost got up and walked away. When I press into him his arms tighten and he wakes up, his voice raw and thick.

S'wrong. 

Bad dream. 

'Bout?

Jake. 

What'd he do? August asks quietly.

He's angry about Sam. He thinks Lochlan recruited Sam to keep me from Caleb.

August opens his eyes and rolls them comically.

I don't think Lochlan is smart enough for that. Besides, the timing is fucked on it.

I'll tell him you said that. 

Please do. Think about this. If he was, it could backfire just as easily. I still think he's-they are-, hell, we all are-only trying to make you happy. Besides, you can't subdivide human emotion. But you can explore dissenting voices from a source you use as a sounding b-

Isn't that what you're all trying to do now? Subdivide me?

No, Bridget. We're not. Get some sleep. I'll keep the dreams away. And he closes his eyes again while the bed swings gently. He falls asleep mid-shhhhhhh against my forehead, and I fight brief panic, feeling out his heartbeat over my own, using it to lull myself to sleep again too.

It works.

No dreams this time and when I wake up August is gone and there's a note on the table.
Taking Sam for lunch to talk. Stay here til I get back.
    -X A

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Grace sets you free.

I turn the box over in my hands. It's dark. I can't see my hand in front of my face let alone the contents of the box but the Devil told me my soul was in it, that he's kept it in here since I was a little girl, that he never trusted anyone else with it for a second because flighty, free-spirited magical people who feel this deeply aren't trustworthy or responsible (all lies) and so he thought it would be safest with him. He started this off, tripping me as I ran and then steadfastly refusing to pick me up or stop and thus began the pattern of tripping and falling on my face for the rest of my life. I've broken teeth and I've broken hearts too in the process. It seemed like it would never end.

But is it over or is this just the beginning?

I can't ask the expert. Sam, the only person hellbent on seeing me get somewhere. As everyone else was demanding I stay in one place Sam was putting me through the paces, making sure I came out the other side of the grief for Jake and for Cole, learning to live around and through it, instead of in spite of it. You don't get over it, you learn to live with it. It becomes a big part of you but not every part of you. Then he taught me how to swim, sick of seeing me saved, excused or helped (A marked contrast to when I fall), making sure I could do it myself. I got a pretty mermaid as my badge, to hang in the window I look out each morning as a reminder that some things I can do myself.

Sam finally came crashing down all around me, giving in to his needs the way they all do, eventually. I can't figure this out. I don't recognize it. Now I can't ask him about it. Understand?

Do I put this thing back wherever it's supposed to fit and pick up where I left off? They said I was still a child, they said I was stuck there fast, someplace vague between nine and seventeen, with events to mark the days tied up like knots but no way to chart the path. Becasue I'm not a map, I'm a tangle, a string frayed on both ends and almost worn right through the middle but tied tightly around them nonetheless.

I never felt like there was a hole inside, just more of a distant ache for myself, for this thing that's supposed to be worth so much that they would give up each other for me, only to watch me turn around and fall on my face again, getting up only to run the other way.

I hope I can do this. Figure out how to put it back. Make myself whole. It's a start, maybe.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Cliff Hangers.

I didn't get to sleeptest the new feather bed last night because I didn't come home.

I had every intention of coming home but then as is tradition with narcoleptics I found myself a little tiny bit relaxed and closed my eyes for JUST A MINUTE and...

Boom.

Out like a match in a windstorm.

Something about the closeness of the boathouse walls. Something about the darker atmosphere. Something about his heartbeat lulls me into a calm that will put me under in seconds. He said he didn't have the heart to send me back just yet so he put his head down against mine and closed his eyes too and when I opened my eyes it was morning already and wow, my neck was so stiff I was in tears before I stood up.

That caused an issue because he wasn't about to let me head back over to the house crying, sore and disheveled.

I need to go. 

Bridget think about this. I don't want to spend our lives moving two steps forward, twelve back. He's going to misunderstand. Ask him to come over so he can see for himself what the night was like. 

I nod. He's right. That's it. I can do that. Makes more sense than being shouted down while telling the truth due to some sense of duty or honour or just plain offence.

I call Lochlan.

I fell asleep here. We were watching the waves from the couch and I just went out and now my neck hurts and I'm worried about how you might feel and-

I know. 

How? 

I checked on you. 

Really? 

Yeah, you were both asleep so I came home. 

I'm sorry. 

You coming home? 

Come and meet me? 

Give me two minutes to get my boots. You okay?

It just feels weird. 

I understand that. 

I know you would. I'm sorry.

I'm not mad, Bridget. 

I hang up and Caleb turns around. There's the box again.

Before he gets here, there's something I want you to have. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Go big and go home.

The feather mattress toppers for the new giant bed were delivered this morning.

So...comfortable...can't lift a finger. Holy COW.

Why didn't someone tell me these things existed?

I'm never leaving this bed again so YOU KNOW WHERE TO FIND ME.

(Take turns, please. Jesus. Don't all show up at once. Or...well? I guess it doesn't matter anymore.)

(I know. Incorrigible. Snort.)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Good in snow.

The Devil approves.

This is why I have you decorate, Neamhchiontach. This is inviting. 

I don't know if he's being ironic so I thank him for the compliment nonetheless and usher him back down the steps. We have church.

Why does Sam insist on his early service being so early? 

Because if he does it late less people come. People like to get God out of the way early and then they free themselves up to do other things. Half of my sentence comes out in an unrecognizable yawn and I laugh because I can't understand myself.

Sam seems very busy lately doing other things. 

My gaze is a warning. I don't say a word.

Interesting that he can lead you to sin and then redeem you all at once. One-stop shopping. 

Caleb. Please. 

No familiar nicknames, no casual teasing. My formality is a second warning.

What is Lochlan doing, Bridget? 

You'll have to ask him. Maybe things are smoothing out. Maybe he's able to release his hold just a little. He's relaxing. I don't know. Like I said, ask him. 

(Don't ask him if he spent last night clutching me so tightly against him while he slept that I couldn't breathe and didn't care and he lashed out with a fist when Ben tried to untangle me but he was mostly sleepfighting and didn't know so Ben settled for wrapping a hand around the back of Lochlan's head and spooning behind me. That seemed to calm Lochlan back down. I didn't die overnight. I was still breathing this morning but I was flushed and overheated. I woke up not even knowing where I was for all the lush colors I forgot about while I slept.)

(For the curious, everything else in the house is white. Jesus. Five shades of white paint. White carpets and rugs. White trim. White white white. Matches the snow. Hard to keep up with when you have a black cat and ten people with impossibly dirty fingers living in the same place but I try my best.)

(I should learn to stop telling stories in parentheses.)

I might, Caleb says.

I've forgotten what we were talking about.

When we get downstairs Ben is ready. Lochlan is working for Batman today and forgets Sundays are church. He hasn't liked church since I was ten and we went to ad-hoc open-air tent revivals, lead by whoever felt the need to spread the Word. Those were confusing to me, riveting only in a sense that I couldn't understand people's devotion to something so seemingly intangible. They told me I would get it when I was older. That I would feel it. I'm still waiting for that day to come.

Ready? Ben is holding his keys and wearing his boots.

(The ground clearance of the R8 means it is staying home now until the snow and ice is gone. Caleb says if this keeps up he'll go back to driving a Bentley. I asked why he doesn't just get a truck and he said he wasn't a savage.

Just a snob, then. 

Probably, yes. I'm not a truck person. 

No, you certainly aren't.)

We are ready, I tell Ben and we grin at each other. I know the minute he turns the key in the truck the full-volume Amon Amarth (best hair in the business) CD I had playing when we came home last will fire up and blow Caleb's horns right off. I can't wait.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The four-poster field of dreams.

He smiled that smile when he came into the room. He is leading another by the hand. They look devilish and sweet. Lochlan puts a finger to his lips and walks right past me with Sam. Sam leans over and plants a soft kiss on my cheek.

I don't understand but I don't look a gift horse in the mouth either. Lochlan was afraid I would get closer to Sam and now he's engineering it firsthand. He's being affectionate with Sam to a fault. Lochlan is neither gay nor is he even bisexual but he's feeling the love. Maybe it's a crush. Sam is crush material if I ever saw it. He and Lochlan have a lot in common. They're both shorter than the rest. Sam's hair is almost curly, it's wavy and rumpled perpetually. They're both fair and thoughtful and super affectionate to me, and maybe Lochlan finds God through people. He once said any faith he had was in me, maybe he has some in Sam too.

He's here with us, isn't he? Lochlan reads my mind. He says it quietly, with mischief.

He's showing him what we've done. We changed the lighting, hanging almost a dozen electric Turkish lanterns in shades of greens and turquoise and copper, some by the bureau/closet area, some over the cozy little couch and chair nook, and some on each side of the bed. We updated the curtains and pillow covers in rich shades of teal and green velvet and we...added to the bed. We added a double with extra length to the extended king that was already in place. Ben himself made a new extended width frame so the posts keep it all together in one huge expanse and I tripled the curtains draped over copper rails. Now we have an absolutely beautiful room with space for everyone. Or anyone we invite. Or anyone who happens to show up. Now Ben can sleep sideways, if he wants and still has room to stretch his arms over his head without them hanging off the bed. Sometimes we get turned around.

(Go big or go home, Fidget.)

Bring the Reverend or bring the Devil or maybe bring them both. I can do whatever I want. Or I can keep it all to myself with just Ben and Lochlan or maybe nobody but Bridget. I can make sheet-angels. I can dream for miles.

I wasn't dreaming last night though. I was awake throughout. Sam left shortly before sunrise and my dreams wore out my brain to match my body. Which was good. I needed it.