Thinking about our younger yearsHis voice is low, his eyes veiled. He is vaguely angry at me. Angry at me for spending one entire night telling Caleb things no one else knows and angry at me for calling Batman and giving him false hope for the sake of seeing a movie. Even though Caleb deserved to know certain things first and Batman and I have always seen the Batman movies together by virtue of our own in-jokes. The pyromaniac took offense and he took possession. He leans right in against my ear and claims his time, asking if we can have a quiet weekend dreaming. I pull back and look into his eyes. Suddenly they aren't angry. Suddenly they are darkened pink and lavender skies, bright lights and excited screams, farmer auction callers and carny promises. Burnt popcorn and french fries. Cotton candy still stuck to my lips, my hair, his neck where I kissed the dirt and sweat he wears like a uniform after a full day on site.
There was only you and me
We were young and wild and free
Now nothing can take you away from me
We've been down that road before
But that's over now
You keep me coming back for more
Baby you're all that I want
When you're lying here in my arms
I'm finding it hard to believe
We're in heaven
And love is all that I need
And I found it there in your heart
It isn't too hard to see
We're in heaven
Pop radio hits play on a speaker and I am still too small to ride most of the rides without him and so he takes too many breaks to take me on everything I want to experience, my staff bracelet almost falling off by the next morning, stuck to his chest as we sleep in the hundred degree heat of the camper with the smallest stuck-window you ever saw, my mood ring leaving a mark against his face where I held it all night to keep him so close we breathed through each other.
What kind of quiet-dreaming, Locket?
Sleeping in, eating pizza and lazing around on this chair together. He laughs quietly. Lochlan likes to sleep but he also works long hours. He's a huge, impossible study in contradictions, the strictest but most permissive guardian, the most affectionate, hottest, ice-cold lover, the most logical, irrational mind you will ever meet and a thoroughly practical, whimsical soul to back the whole thing up.
So from that you clearly will beget one fucked-up, completely uptight and proper, impulsive, lackadaisical princess who thrives on sugar, love and bright lights and still can't handle any sort of criticism whatsoever without copious amounts of tears, drama and ridiculousness. I am also supremely punctual and fully insured.
The plan was to never grow up, as long as we could help it. We're mired in the eighties forever, listening to Bryan Adams through a shitty sound system over the general boisterous noise of a hot summer night and a capacity crowd.
It's a deal. But only if we get a Hawaiian pizza too.
One pepperoni is enough, Bridget.
Can we have ice cream after?
Sure. Whatever you want. (see? SEE?)
You worry too much, Locket.
No such thing as too much, peanut. He gives my forehead another bruiser of a kiss and pulls himself out of my embrace to go and see about dinner. I pull the hoodie that he has left behind close around my shoulders. He turns back and smiles. Wish I had a picture.
So take one already.
I head inside to change. It's gotten cold out, and Lochlan is taking a while with the pizza. I change into jeans and a thin white lacy sweater with a dark blue cami underneath. I brush my hair, apply a little bit of lip gloss and slip into flat sandals. I frown and kick them off, trading them for my All-stars instead. They match the ones Loch wears almost daily, if he must wear shoes at all. I decide my outfit is complete and go bounding down the stairs, right into Ben's arms. He laughs and squeezes me.
Just the person I was looking for. God, you look so pretty. Let's go for dinner.
I don't blink. Loch's getting a pizza for a picnic on the patio.
So grab a hoodie and come out.
Naw, I won't be a third wheel tonight. His voice is light but his eyes are heavy.
I'll catch you later. Going to go and get a little work done and I'll see you both later. Love you.
If there's a third wheel it isn't you-
Bridget, it's ok. No big deal. I can pull rank whenever I want anyway. I could tell you you can't go. I could tell him to take a break.
And I really want to do that right now but I won't.
He can handle it.
I wouldn't be able to.
You're not making sense.
Right so let's meet at eleven instead. Go have your picnic and watch the stars and then come down and get me, okay? Eleven. Does that work? He needs you, bee.
I need you though.
He smiles. You have me. At eleven. And he gives me a gentle shove past him to encourage me to go.
I hesitate again, two steps down from him, looking up. Ben acts annoyed, telling me not to be late and I nod and he turns and disappears into our room. The door closes behind him. I turn around to go back downstairs and run smack into Lochlan, who is looking for me. This is becoming a habit, since I can't hear them coming.
Ben won't come down and eat with us.
Ben is Ben. He'll just eat the bed if he gets hungry.
Would you come if he offered you the same thing?
That's exactly what I did, Bridget. I volunteered to be the third wheel he feels like right now because it was the difference between being able to see you in the way that I want to and never seeing you again.
I don't like theses moments where their plans overlap and feelings inevitably get hurt.
Ben is back at the top of the stairs. I wouldn't have kept her from you, Loch.
That's because you're a sick fuck, Benny.
Yeah well, beggars can't be choosers. Let's eat. Ben smiles slightly. He's such a pain.
You two make things very difficult for me. We're supposed to work together. I pout.
We work together just fine. You're the problem, princess. Ben laughs.
I'm going to go see what Andrew's doing for supper.
No, you're not. (This is Lochlan, ordering me around.)
I was kidding!
No, you weren't. (Ben says this, calling me on my bullshit.)
Can we eat now?
Good idea. (this, they say at the same time. They're fucking FREAKS, I tell you. Sharing one woman, and clearly one brain.)
Eleven didn't see any change in my guard. Eleven saw me being led back into the darkness trailing hand to hand to hand. Well-choreographed moonlight, or some semblance thereof.