We both know this endsCaleb draws his thumb across the tip of my nose, his fingers touching my ear, just enough that he and I both noticed I was holding my breath.
But what if no one knows
No one knows how to kill us in the end?
This is all you need for who you are
This is how a good man goes too far
I don't need much to show you
Only enough to control you
Bury your head inside this
And gather the darkness that finds it
I think I'll die if you deny me
Swallowed alive in eternity
Give me a way to be the agony
That knew you all along
He bends his head down close to mine and lifts my head up at the same time until my nose bumps against his cheek. His breath is warm. He smells like bourbon and cedar and smoke.
I shake my head and swallow. His other hand comes up to cup the back of my head and I resist until it's too late. I always figure Caleb will someday just pull me off my feet, twist his hands and that will be that. If I don't get pushed off the cliff first.
This way he could just say he didn't mean to, but he broke his doll. Then he'll find another one. Or maybe not. Not like this one was mass-produced. She'll be impossible to replace. Some delicate balance of that knowledge keeps me alive, I'm sure. Or maybe I'm wrong and it keeps murder in the forefront of his mind.
Ben pushes me forward still but I lean back against him.
No, I say. Clear as day, break the mood like glass under the full moonlight.
Cole is the only one who could ever soothe your homesickness away from Loch. Use that, Bridget. You'll feel better if you just let go. Just a little. That's my baby girl.
Ben's hands release me while the others tighten slightly. Here we go, lift and snap. (Just get it over with but don't kiss me. I don't want you to kiss me, Cole.)
I put out my hands and push hard against Caleb's chest. I don't go anywhere. Neither does he.
Don't make this difficult.
Don't do it then, I whisper in his face.
He abruptly drops my head and turns away. Maybe she needs another drink, he tells Ben.
Ben runs his hands up over my shoulders and pulls me back against him firmly. He doesn't do anything else. I turn my head to the side and inhale his flannel shirt. Soap. Rain. Uncertainty. Resignation. My perfume on him. Flowerbomb. Transferred by touch.
She doesn't. And she doesn't need you either, I slur but they completely ignore me. Jesus. For good measure I yell my safe words. Gingerbread! Wenceslas! Fucking listen to me!
Ben ignores them like he always does, his fingers squeezing my shoulders, his thumb rubbing against that trigger spot. I'm like a dog, half-expecting my leg to start twitching in time with my heartbeat involuntarily as he rubs. I'm frustrated that Ben caves in so easily without even pausing to recognize my concerns. He has tunnel-vision. He's oh-so-very-easily swayed. He was told I needed him so he got on an aircraft and came to me. Only I was doing okay. I don't need him. I don't need any of this but I'm glad he's here now and I'd do anything for him.
Caleb appears in front of me again with a glass, which he forces against my lips. When I try to resist Ben's hands tighten around me. Drink some. It'll help you relax.
Only God can help me now.
He smiles. Then I guess you're on your own.