If there's no one beside youI think I will stay home again today.
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Then I'll follow you into the dark
Even though I wasn't home much yesterday, I didn't go to work. My "job" seems to be on an as-needed basis and if I don't show up anything I don't do just gets added to the pile or pawned off on someone else.
I don't like the taste of crow anymore, you know? And yet I eat it every day because everyone is always right and Bridget is always wrong and I know I shouldn't have taken the job with Caleb but I did because I am selfish and I'd like to keep all the men I have loved, in whatever form I can, very close to me, no matter what the cost.
You wouldn't understand.
Wednesday evening at Caleb's loft, after being cornered for the third time and having John not show up to pick me up because he was lied to flat out at Caleb's request, I realized precisely how desperately Caleb is to keep me close to him. He pulled out a little emotional blackmail, found a crack, and drove a very big wedge. He and Cole have the same gifts for making my brain think things that aren't in existence, and making every word seem like the truth in a new light. He makes it very easy.
Wednesday night he talked what he knows about Ben and why Ben drinks and what Ben wants and why I was holding back from giving him what he wants and how things are never going to change because the past is too big and too wide and too crushing to escape. All these things Caleb knows because when Ben was at rock-bottom he told Caleb everything he wants because that's what you do when the devil offers you your wildest dreams.
Caleb drove that wedge deep, because I believed every word he said. Just like I always believed every word Cole ever told me, even the lies, even the blatant attempts to steer me down a path that would leave me lost forever.
I came home but I couldn't talk to Ben. He tried. I tried. Every time I wanted to talk I was afraid I might hurt him or accuse him so I feigned a headache and went to bed. Ben doesn't push, he knows when the cracks are running deep and he just allows space for me to figure it out. I still don't know if that's good or bad but I really wanted him to discount all of the unspoken questions and go kick Caleb's ass and fix it.
Like Jake used to.
Only Ben isn't Jake and WHY does that bother me so much sometimes?
So yesterday morning I got up and went to see Jake to ask him.
Or rather, I went to sit on his bench, which is interesting, I now have the perfect outdoor amphitheater in which to play out my drama, cursing Cole for his evil genetics and need to destroy me and cursing Jacob at the same time for not being here to fix it and cursing Ben for having visible flaws that other people can use to tear both of us apart, separately and together.
I sat there a little too long in the very much too-cold, and they sent in angels again.
Sam, hurrying down the path to me, awkward and convicted. He grabbed my hands, said we were going inside, Bridget, don't argue with me and he drove us to the church where he said if I needed to hide, I had the run of the place.
I hung out there most of the day but I didn't want to talk and everyone seemed satisfied that I was safe and that I would just go home later.
I went to Joel's apartment instead and asked him if he had any dinner and Joel is such a pushover he poured some wine and I haven't had a drink in so long. We had a long talk, then I went home in a taxi and Ben met me at the sidewalk and all of it came out. All of it. Right there in the cold because for some reason with us when the snowflakes start falling so do all the fears and they pile up between us and we shovel and shovel and we can't keep up with it.
He yelled at me. Again, I put him last. I left him out in order to protect him and it hurt him more.
Why didn't I go to him first? Why didn't I lay out Caleb's accusations and proclamations and let Ben answer for them, if I believed them. And if I didn't, they why didn't I come home?
I don't know. If I knew which end was up, would I keep falling?
But Ben can't be any harder on me than I can be on him, and his angry words quickly dissolved into frustrated tears and we were both shaking from the cold. We came inside and I thought we were going to sit and I was going to burn off the wine but instead Ben pulled me into the den and then backed out and closed and locked the door.
Serves me right.
Sometimes the safest place to be is the saddest. Apart. Alone. So we don't continue to hurt each other with our words and our suspicions and our flaws. Sam's ten-count, only this time it flowed past in hours instead of seconds and early this morning, just before the ghosts could crowd me out of sleep, Ben picked me up off the chair where I slept with my head on the desk and brought me back to bed where it was warm and soft and loved. And he held me really tight and told me that he wasn't ever going to tell me I couldn't do something but that if I was going to keep working for my brother in law I needed to not let my guard down.
Even if I'm tired.
Even if I'm doubtful.
Even if I am Bridget.
Ben called Caleb this morning. Said I wouldn't be in. Said a bunch of other things but he walked all the way down to the other end of the house and I couldn't hear any of it. I'll ask him about it later. For now I just want to get back to where I was before Wednesday, since I thought I was finally doing pretty good outrunning my own mind. I guess I didn't notice when I rounded that corner and it caught up to me. I guess I didn't realize there are no ghosts in heaven and that's okay because that isn't where I am now.
I can hear Caleb's silky voice in my head reminding me that I am always susceptible to evil and what I can't find, I will create. And I see further still that he has his own price to exact for the loss of his brother and I am the only currency that will be accepted.
They want to know what it's going to take and I don't know the answer to that any more than I know the answers to any of the other questions I have today.
Namely, who's lying and who's telling the truth?