We wait, watching the server pour coffee around the table, clockwise. She is efficient and professional and I don't watch as she struggles to place their faces. I feign boredom, looking out the window as early workers hurry down the snowy sidewalk to their offices. I didn't think it snowed here in March. I guess I was wrong.
So you never told him.
Both Ben and Lochlan break into comical grins. I roll my eyes.
It was none of his business. It's none of YOUR business.
It helps me to be informed if I am to keep an eye on him.
I can do that from home.
Yes, Bridget, you're doing a fantastic job. As are you. He glares at Ben. Ben's grin slides to the floor and he slouches out in his chair. He's taking up about six square feet of space at this point. He scratches his ear and shrugs.
You can't play both sides.
Lochlan nods, looking from me to Ben and back again. I feel like a child who stole a cookie and I try to take responsibility by speaking up. It's not his fault.
No, it's mine. It's too easy sometimes to overlook common sense and just give her what she wants. Ben glances from my ring to Lochlan.
That's never a good idea with Bridget, Lochlan tells him, missing the gentle dig entirely.
Hello? I'm sitting right here. I sit up in my chair so I am taller and Batman laughs out loud.
You three are so beyond convention. You tell me my life is skewed? It's nothing like what I see here.
Ben sits up again too. But it works. For the most part anyway.
Lochlan and I both nod.
Yes but leaving huge gaping surprises for people to discover doesn't help matters. When were you going to tell him?
When hell froze over. I didn't want him making any more trouble than he already does. It comes out in a near-whine and I struggle to compensate with regular word-sounds.
Bridget, don't forget you perpetuate that trouble as much as he does.
I'm working on it. Head down, playing with the spoons. There are five of them, all told. What sort of meal needs five spoons? I think I've topped out at three. Distractions are good, right?
Can you work harder?
I can't hear you, Bridget.
If you do that, then I have room to help you. Otherwise my hands are tied.
Better yours than mine, I mutter under my breath.
What was that?
Nothing, I tell him.
He stands up and comes around to my side of the table, planting a hard kiss on top of my head. I heard it anyway and I agree. Do you think you can get through the remainder of this week without going looking for trouble?
Yes. I tell him. He leans over the table to shake hands with Ben and with Loch too and then he's gone and I watch his perfect form exit the near-empty dining room. We stand to leave as well. Lochlan pulls my chair back and reaches into my pocket, digging out the smallest silver spoon and replacing it on the table. I turn and follow him out, fishing into his pocket, pulling out the same-sized spoon. We would never actually leave with the items, it's just practice.
Ben does not participate in this. In addition to overlooking common sense, his method of concealment would be to eat the spoons. Then it would take so much longer to get them back. We can't have that, we're busy trying to keep up appearances around here.
Apparently it's working.