Who claims that no man is an islandPJ wound me into a tizzy by spending more than a little time trying to convince me to join the Witness Protection Program before Caleb's return. I adopted his low-grade panic until the dreaded message on my phone sent me scrambling downstairs and out the door.
While I land up in jeopardy
More distant from you by degrees
I walk this shore in isolation
And at my feet eternity
Tries ever sweeter plans for me
Dutifully I presented myself in the driveway to Caleb, who was standing beside his car, sleeves rolled up, hands in his pockets, suitjacket threaded through one arm, carry-on laptop bag at his feet. Mike was standing at ease beside him, hands behind his back, staring at the car. The look on his face was somewhere between disappointment and amusement.
Caleb looked at me and then abruptly (alarmingly even) dismissed Mike. We both watched silently as Mike got back into the Bentley and drove carefully in a loop before leaving the driveway, pausing at the top to wait for the gate. I stopped watching but Caleb continued until the gate slid closed behind the car.
Then he smiled tightly.
What have you done, doll?
My composure fought to stay above ground as I tried to speak clearly and failed. Nothing came out. I hid my face behind my hands. He walked over, dropping his jacket, tearing my hands away.
Why are you afraid!
I hear the Scottish click. Just once and we both turn and there is..well, there's everyone. All of them. On the porch and the steps except for Lochlan, standing three feet behind us, and Ben, three feet behind Loch.
Caleb turns back to me and repeats himself. Why are you afraid? Softened into a question now for the benefit of us all.
I ruined something you care about.
I can fix it, Bridget. Anything can be fixed.
The second click came out almost like clockwork and Caleb must have lost his mind because he charged Lochlan. Charged him. The nerve. He's yelling What the fuck is your problem and Lochlan's shouting outrage over things that simply can't be fixed and they're not talking about cars anymore. Ben pretends to be supremely interested in the direction of the wind when he sees that while Caleb is still much larger and a lot stronger than Loch, he still fights like a
After a few moments of them trying to choke each other out we realize that we need to do..something so Ben reaches down and grabs Lochlan by the back of the neck and I surprisingly don't burst out laughing when he comes up still swinging. I would but none of this is funny.
Caleb straightens out his clothes. He is not hurt, don't worry, and he at least has the guts not to storm off.
The car. The fucking car can be fixed, you fucking hot-headed carnival rat.
It was just such a glorious euphemism though! Being able to fix something ruined that someone cares about! Lochlan spits out again, in case anyone needs clarification at this point. Ben still has him held because his arms are still moving, because he will take any excuse at this point and just fight to the death already but there's been too much of that already.
Besides, this is my fault.
I won't drive your car anymore. I'm sorry, Diabhal. I hold out the key and he takes it, keeping my hand in his. I see Lochlan's limbs flinch and twitch but Ben has him good. For as much as Lochlan can charm the universe by virtue of his passion, sometimes he just needs to know when to let things go.
You can drive the car, Babydoll. Just be careful.
I nod and he gives me my hand back. He walks over to Lochlan and strokes his face. Lochlan threatens to ruin him and Ben threatens to let Lochlan go if Caleb torments him. Where was this passion when she needed it, Loch? Caleb asks him and it's as if the wind has gone out of Lochlan's sails. Ben says Caleb's name again as a warning but Caleb regards him wearily.
I'm actually not up to any more arguments, if you don't mind. It's been a long few days and I just need some rest. Maybe later in the week. And he salutes Ben casually, then blows me a kiss and turns away, picking up his bag as he goes. Everyone watches him until he gets to the bottom of the steps and then I realize his medicals. I don't know what his results were and I take off running after him.
He turns and looks over my head, still keeping an eye on Lochlan. He never does look me in the eye. He just says Not now, Dollface and continues up the steps.