And I will be good at making badI close my eyes. So hard to stay awake this afternoon.
And I'll light the way for the fucking mad
I will defeat what I'm heading for
And I will be here for evermore
Then what happened?
He taught himself to eat fire.
He wasn't scary enough.
Caleb stifles a laugh. No, the other part.
If you were going to breathe fire he would consume it, just to show that he could overcome you. Or overpower you. I forget which.
And then what happened?
I tried to balance all of you at once on my tightrope.
The low one with the blindfold while he threw the flaming hoops up and you'd jump through them?
Were you scared?
No. If you trust the person responsible for your safety, then there is no fear. Besides, it's nothing compared to the highwire.
But you are afraid of me, Bridget.
Do the math, please.
Why don't you trust me?
You've used everyone you've ever met, yourself included. Self-sabotage is such an amazing redemption, I couldn't find any more suitable penance for you if I tried.
He puts his head down against my shoulder and pushes against it.
I don't think I ended up too bad off.
Is that proper grammar?
I have no idea, I'm a lawyer, not a writer.
He laughs and drinks Dom straight from the bottle. We have been in bed for two days, celebrating his call to the bar. Well, that and he loaned Cole a whole bunch of money and Caleb decided the interest was due up front. The interest being in me.
Am I a capital gain or a dividend, then?
What are you talking about? He laughs and takes another drink. I daresay he isn't really paying attention to the words anymore, whether they are used correctly in a sentence or not.
I have given up keeping everyone straight at this point. I am in my mid-twenties and they all think they're so smart, double-crossing one another. Lochlan has spent the better part of a decade telling people I am too much work and therefore he was finished forever ago, only he never actually went away. I pilfer time with him from Cole as a respite for the time I am forced to spend with Caleb.
Only I have come to a place where I only act like I hate what Cole does because it is my absolution too.
I get up and go outside and curl up in the lounge chair on the balcony. It's thirty degrees in the sun. Beautiful. Caleb follows me out and readjusts the umbrella so that I am in full shade. I frown and he just says you burn.
I do. I burn. I burn for everything.
The heat and the exhaustion and the champagne put me to sleep in seconds and I pull the sheet up around my shoulders and let it happen.
When I wake up it is late afternoon, twenty years later and the sunny day has turned overcast. I frown at the sky while my stomach growls. My mouth tastes like cotton batting and my head hurts so I go inside to get an aspirin and some juice. When I step inside I hear him on the phone.
He sounds frustrated. He's talking in his Secrets voice. Quietly. Adamantly.
I go away for a few years and I've been fighting my way back in ever since. He does the same thing but then picks up right where he left off without acknowledgement of the absence on her part. He conducts his life expecting her to just be there for him and she IS. He doesn't notice husbands or time, for that matter. Every time there is great difficulty he vanishes, deals with it and then he comes back strong, ready to take over again. I think it's that distance that keeps him grounded so he can help her cope after the fact but she blames him for abandonment and that's what keeps her doubting him, to my credit. But they are one soul divided down the middle. That I know for certain.
The devil is counting his roster. We have denied him whole numbers. Part of me smiles at the description. One soul. Two bodies. Part of me cries because he is still obsessed with both of us, moreso than I hoped. How many casualties will there be from those who try to break this bond? The more success that is gained, the higher the price that is paid. They have learned nothing from Cole or from Jacob. After all.
Who is the devil now? I'll give you a hint. She's standing wrapped in a sheet, listening at the door and she looks as if she couldn't harm a fly. Caleb walks out of the room abruptly, tucking his phone into his shirt pocket. He is dressed. He is leaving. He turns and smiles at me (a lie) and kisses my cheek gently.
An investment, Bridget. That's what you are.
And he walks out the door.