(This is downright maddening.)
What happened, princess?
I just sat there on the dirty floor with my hands picking at my dress, lifting and letting it drop in tiny pintucks of frustration. I shook my head. Nothing like that feeling of acting five years old in front of the only person I'll ever strive to impress.
It's not important.
Yes, it is or you wouldn't have come down here on what seems to be such an ordinary day.
I know, baby.
Nobody KNOWS, Jacob. I'm well aware that none of you ever have any words of comfort or any promises you can keep when it comes to this issue. But it doesn't go away just because you want it to.
Then how do we fix it?
Oh, turn back time, keep the big promises, you know, the usual.
Life isn't so easy, is it?
Not on your life, obviously.
Did you come down to take it out on me?
What can I do?
I got one promise fulfilled finally from you, and now I'd like another.
Ah. You think I had a hand in this?
I'll keep my faith, you keep yours.
What's the promise?
If he can't stay because he never seems to be able to stay, can..
Can I make him?
No, can you stay instead?
Not in the way you need, Bridget. Where is Lochlan in all this?
He hates me.
He loves you.
No, he just wants me because then he can be better than everyone. It gives his platform credibility. He's the corrupt politician of Bridgetville.
Do you really think you and Ben are the only ones who struggle?
Sure seems like it sometimes. And I'm not interested in trying to further divide any loyalties or cause any more pain to Ben, which is why you're the answer, not Lochlan.
Because you're asking this your loyalties are already divided, princess. Pain happens because they all love you, they want to possess your heart. You're well aware of this.
I hurt them.
No, you live and you're not responsible for their feelings. You weren't responsible for mine.
Don't lie to me, Jacob.
It serves no purpose to hurt you now, Bridget.
Then you need to promise to be here when I come. Because I feel so alone. All the time.
BUT I AM. The things I need I can't articulate. What I want is unreasonable and impossible and unfair. Life doesn't work this way, you all keep saying it but maybe it should and then things would be easier for me.
Aren't things getting easier?
Are you happy?
Only when he's here.
And when he isn't?
Then go and be with Lochlan and spend time with the boys and try and have some fun and Ben will be back when he can be back.
So it was a waste of time to come here.
Actually never. You won't come to me anymore.
Bridget. You built this with your mind. You put me here and I can't leave.
I built it with my heart. And good. Because you should be here. You should be here and we should be happy and none of this should be so hard.
Circles indeed. Fuck you, Jacob. See you tomorrow.
I love you, beautiful.
I did. I stayed for two years longer than I planned, and now I'm in this place. I gave up heaven for your purgatory. I gave up hell for you. I had heaven in you and the punishment for that is this and we're stuck here and I fear for you, Bridget. I really do.
But you can't help me.
No. Only you can help you.
But I love you, Jacob. And I can't do this.
You already are. We're going to have this conversation a million times until you see it for yourself. You're living. You're doing things, even the things that scare you. Things are getting better, and the doubt doesn't preclude the fact that you're incredibly capable. You just can't see it. Everything comes from within.
Is it okay if I don't ever believe you and continue to do this?
I don't have a choice, princess. I'm bound to you.
That's right. I call the shots now, preacher.
Does it help with the fear?
Then go with that.
Cole made a sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob far above me from the dark. Jake didn't acknowledge it. Neither did I.
I'll be back tomorrow.
Bring Benjamin with you.
I need to talk with him.
Just bring him, okay?
I stood up and wobbled. My legs were asleep and my dress was ruined but I smoothed it out anyway and then wiped my black hands on it for good measure. He laughed and I frowned. There's nothing funny about being here. Nothing cute about the extraordinary measures I have to take to get here, and nothing remotely safe about spending time this far away from PJ and August, who tend to take turns being my bodyguard when I leave the house.
Jacob isn't in the house, in case you thought he was.
He stopped smiling and gave me that concerned look, the tender one and my knees buckled a little more because he still has the most beautiful face I have ever seen and I'm so grateful it wasn't damaged. I choked on my own breathlessness and the tears started, not because I wanted to hurt him but because that look will always be the one that stops everything while I take my time climbing back on the earth after being flung off repeatedly. I'm a glutton for punishment. I'm the ultimate masochist.
I love you too, Jake.
No, go love Ben.
Then try harder. Bring him tomorrow and don't be afraid of life.
Try. Bridget. Just try.
I am. You guys make it impossible. Just give me what I want and we'll all be happy.
He laughed and I was on the other side of the door again. I don't know how he does that, but I wish he would use it for my trip down there instead of just as a party trick because he doesn't feel like holding the door for me.