Saturday, 30 November 2013

I wrote this a long time ago and everyone's always teased me for my ridiculous sweet spot for all things Paul Walker.

I'm telling you right now, it isn't safe for me to love you.

Going to go gather up my action figures and cars and watch Timeline, Joyride and all the Fast and Furious movies a hundred million times until the shock wears off.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Walker and thank you for your blue eyes and silly grin. Like all good and wonderful things, it was far too soon.


Friday, 29 November 2013

All those places I got found.

Caleb has a whole host of new issues to deal with (not a great checkup by any means) and Joel was still here when we got home. I walked in and he said hey and I turned and went right back outside.

It's a love-hate thing. People want to know why I'm so hard on him. Well, I detailed it quite graphically at the time. Basically when Jacob flew I went away for a few weeks, because breathing was too goddamned hard and when I came home, wait, within twenty minutes of coming home, Joel had me out of my clothes and took me on the floor of the front hall, on his Hugo Boss trench coat.

I think they call it abuse of a position of trust, because he was my psychoanalyst at the time.

But I blamed myself, not him because I didn't know any better, but because I do that. I mean, I also mowed through half the guys in my life during that same time period and they are also in a position of trust, if you want to be totally honest.

Should I be quietly avoiding PJ every waking moment then too? (Yeah. Pretty sure I hurt him the most and still he's so amazing to me every waking moment.)

Instead of being mad or vulnerable I choose to believe that they were going above and beyond the call of duty, providing comfort, providing whatever I wanted, at their own expense. But Joel had no reason to do that. His job was never to provide anything but his expertise on my brain. Something he's still really good at.

I have to go inside, Jesus, it's five degrees and I'm tired. What a long day. My demon is slowly dying. I need a fucking drink. I need to get laid. I need a lobotomy and I need a vacation too.

I walk right past Joel into the kitchen and order a brandy from Dalton, who fetches it so fast it's as if he knows me.

Oh wait.

(No, not him, in case you're wondering.)

Then I text Lochlan. He's in San Francisco and he tells me he'll be home tomorrow but he won't be home until supper. Oh fuck, I forgot.

He says to stay home. He says please and I instead decide I want the better brandy because Joel won't be where it is so I walk out of the kitchen, out the side door, across to the boathouse where Caleb is slouched into the couch, reading on his laptop about all the things that are wrong with his heart that yesterday was better than ever. I tucked myself under his arm and fell asleep in seconds.

No brandy, no dreams, no Joel.

But no Lochlan either.

I wake up at four in the morning and drag myself back across the driveway, leaving the one with the broken heart still asleep on the couch. I wish there were tests and measures to determine how ruined I am so someone could begin a plan to fix everything that's wrong with me. Maybe that's what Joel would like to do but he was gone when I came back. Everyone is gone, doors are closed, lights are off.

This is hell. I know it. I would know it anywhere. I thought I was a Good Human but I guess not.


Thursday, 28 November 2013

Holter tops.

Since I've held it together so long, they figured today would be a great! day! for a surprise visit from Joel, who still seems to function as their expert in the wake of August's painful absence.

Nevermind that Joel may or may not ever have been qualified. Nevermind that he isn't welcome anymore. They all just ignore me when I say that.

So when the Devil sent me a text asking me if I'd like to join him at the hospital this morning for his annual ticker-check I may or may not have been in his car before he hit send. Someone might want to take a note that I would rather sit in a waiting room than stay home and visit with Joel today.

Need a pen? Dictation? Whatever, get a clue.

So here I am, sitting on a hard chair being smiled at by gentlemen in gowns and every single doctor who wants to address me as Mrs. C today. Which is jarring and weirdly comforting because that used to be my name back when I knew who I  was.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Let it ring on.

I'm fine, really. I don't have a pantry to hide in anymore, living here and they took the doors off the library (it's being expanded. With a ladder for the top shelves even!) and so I've taken to some rather dramatic displays of self-soothing that work about as well as you'd expect. I really should go see someone or take something but the way I see it eighty-five minutes of lying in the grass watching the stars is as good a medicine as anything.

Also: Hypothermia.

If you ask Lochlan (which I don't recall doing), he'll point out that it doesn't actually fix anything. 

He has a point but at the same time it would have made things worse had I just remained indoors and exploded all over the walls in a fine red mist. 

Besides, PJ didn't just come out and peel me off the lawn and carry me inside so that implies full consent. And Duncan still doesn't think I can outrun his sorry arse so I was perfectly safe. I point that out and Lochlan laces his fingers through mine, pulls me in close to smash a kiss into my forehead and laughs shakily.

No, you're not. And they do a real shitty job of looking after you. 

That's because I'm old enough to look after myself. 

Right. That's why you're face-down in the grass before dinner?

I was face up, actually. 

Semantics. 

Oh, hell no. Face-down is a whole different thing. Then you should really worry. 

You don't get any less impossible as time goes on, you know. 

I know.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Loyal subjectives.

The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path
The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more
And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon
The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me 'till I'm sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me.
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon
It's one of those days where the only place I feel calm is facedown on the lawn hoping the sun will just hurry up and go down already and usher in night so we can get the whole day over with sooner rather than later.

The grass is crunchy. It's covered with frost.

Come on, Poem, get up before Pyro gets home and takes my head clean off for letting you lie here in the cold. 

Tell him I dismissed you. 

You think that will matter to him? Because I don't think it will.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Doctor Sleep and First Contact.

Jumping back into grown-up Danny Torrance's life only to find he is still a predictable mess was sort of cathartic. I'd be a mess too, if I were him.

But honestly I think I like him that way. What I didn't like was the overly simplistic, predictable way the story unfolds after Danny realizes that a child with the shining is trying to contact him. I didn't like anything that happened after that and I certainly didn't like the ending, which was wrapped up so neatly it may as well have had a bow.

Those moments at the onset were fantastic but mostly it seemed as if Stephen King wrote this purely to make a screenplay writer's job easier down the road. I hate even saying this, but it was certainly no Joyride.

Joyride is a goddamned masterpiece. This was a good idea gone awry.

Onward and upward as Preacher says, who always said I should read more and I try. I've just started Not Dead and Not for Sale by Scott Weiland. It's very good so far. Surprisingly good and surprising too.

***

Ben walks down the hill to say hello after his morning meeting. New-Jake walks beside him. I don't think I like that all that much, it might have been better to have someone who isn't already a friend, because all this means is that Batman gets an update every time Ben and I have a conversation. When they reach me (on the porch, cleaning paint brushes), Jake heads inside for coffee at my urging so Ben and I can talk because I decided that's the way it's going to be. Within earshot if we're yelling but otherwise somewhere else.

And I'd like to yell but I can't. Ben is being great. He's accommodating and using his manners and being very respectful, hardworking and kind. Generous even. But he's not being Ben and I keeping waiting for Ben but I think he killed my Ben and left Borg-Ben in his place. Borg-Ben is not the sort to start a food fight or eat my lip gloss. Borg-Ben isn't quick to argue and is even quicker to forgive. Borg-Ben doesn't have any quirks at all. Borg-Ben is a hard worker and a neat freak and a doer of laundry and a solitary churchgoer and a perfectionist and I don't know where the fuck he came from.

I guess it's all profoundly reassuring to Lochlan and maybe to Caleb too. Caleb still won't let Ben come home so maybe the behaviour is an attempt to win his life back or maybe he's just numb. I hate it though. I want to throw a plate at his head and tell him to wake up. I want to take the front of his shirt and haul on it, swing on it, stretch it out and hang off it until he laughs and comes to his senses. I want to take his eyes and make a window in my brain where I show him all the hard parts, all the times where he could barely contain his emotions, whether it be sadness or exuberance or both but I really don't think Borg-Ben would understand so instead I walk over to the front door, stick my head into the house and call for New-Jake to take his alien back to their planet.

New-Jake looks confused but I can't explain. I just tearfully wave him away and go back to cleaning my brushes, wondering how this is happening when I wanted my Benjamin back, flaws and all. I don't think I care if he's straight or crooked but no one wants to hear that, trust me.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

But honestly.

Batman shrugs when I ask him about the house. It's a good investment. It's worth a lot more than I paid, to be honest. I underbid heavily and now it's mine.

I am pleased for him but also confused. We've lived here for almost four years. Why now? 

I needed to be out of the city. I'm getting old, Bridget. And you need a few more allies with power, I think. He shrugs. He's never egotistical about his influence but he trusts it.

Forty-five isn't old. 

Sometimes it is. My bullshit tolerance is down. I want to have peace and quiet and be left alone. 

So you came here?

Yes. Your noise is sweet. It sounds good. There's a family dynamic here. The guys are my friends. I think I'll settle in. I'm too busy to join in much but I'd like to be around more. 

Are you-

I don't mean I'm going to make a grab for you, if that's what you're worried about. I don't think your affection for me is that strong and while I would like to have a companion at this point I think just having you and the rest nearby fits the bill.

What changed?

You aren't interested. I think if I had made a move earlier you might have considered me. Back when you were twenty-two. But I was too busy. We've had some fun though, haven't we?

He's trying so hard to make up for Cole. I let him off the hook so easily. Yeah, we did. 

Good.  

So you're just going to be around?

I'll be Caleb's conscience. 

That's a tall order. A man like that doesn't have a conscience. 

He does, Bridget, he just rarely invokes it. 

You're defending him?

Knowing what he fights against, yes. 

Saturday, 23 November 2013

In runes.

Busy watching Jace and Valentine duke it out shadowhunter-style on the big screen. When it's done I'll watch it again. Come back tomorrow for big feels and big words because right now I'm busy being a teenager and no one at this age can put into words what happens inside their minds and hearts and make it comprehensible.

I know I never could and sometimes I regress.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Another debilitating argument and we're left stripped down and starting over, finding scratch from which to build a life on. Finding something that reminds us why the fighting is the least important part of us, and maybe is a painful way to grow and nothing more. Everything holds even when the words cut so deep I think I'll bleed out before I hit the ground and instead of having the courage to be cruel in return I fold like a birthday card, flat on the table.

Not a pushover, I'm just not a worthy adversary. Everything disappears and I can't focus and the world becomes a blank white void, cold and desolate. Then the fear rushes in like the wind and I can't catch my breath. The focus shifts to surviving it and then gradually the color floods in like ink in water, clouds of hues I haven't seen up close to know they were this beautiful before.

Loch caves in, regret washing over him in inky blacks and blues and red. He thinks he's being generous when I am stupid and selfish, I guess but really I'm just trying to breathe here for the fear, oh the fear. Make it stop because I think it might be killing me.

What are you afraid of, Bridget? It's Jake's voice in my head and it makes my eyes sting and burn. I can see his face, smiling gently, helpless and yet still trying to help because he didn't know what else to do but organize perpetual rescue and none of it was ever enough and I look up into Loch's green eyes and wonder if I'm going to destroy him too and I don't want to do that. I don't want him to end up like the rest and why can't I breathe?

His promises echo-bounce off the walls and around the room like a magic trick and I stare at him, gulping in lungfuls of oxygen while he wonders what the fuck he did that made me like this.

(It isn't you. It isn't you. It isn't you. I can't not be afraid. I can't find familiar things. I can't believe a word of this life. I can't manage at all right now please don't look at me like this but don't go anywhere either please. Pleasepleaseplease.)

He works around me, my hands clenched into the front of his shirt, bunching up flannel and t-shirt and pure heart. I can't let go but I've tried. He puts my headphones in my ears finally and finds a playlist and presses play and I let go when I realize I can grab the melody instead, hanging on for dear life. His arms go around me and they form a sort of full-body armor and then just for those few minutes the fear subsides. The promises hold. The fight is over.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

ROCKmaninov, bitches. It's what's for breakfast. And lunch. And snacks. No, wait. Pachebel for snacks.

Yes, this.

No messing around today. Today's the eight-hundred-bucks-an-hour-but-only-if-you-wear-the-skintight-grey-wool-dress sort of day where I play Executive Assistant (because Personal wasn't important enough) in order to assist the person who executes me. I mean my company that I don't want.

Are you still keeping track? Because I'm not.

I chose Rachmaninov this morning because it pleases Satan to no end. And because it fills my brain without hurting it and that's a great thing.

But I'm not working. I'm tracking down cute cellphone accessories (DOUGHNUT. CAT. THINGS.) and being awful and texting with Sam about things like wedding dessert because It doesn't have to be cake, right? And I texted back a threat that might land me in jail because YES IT DOES and then Matt texted me with a warning not to threaten bodily harm over pastries but I thought he said pasties and I spit my coffee all over the place and Caleb looked up quite sharply from his desk and tried not to crack a smile.

But he failed. Oh, yes he did.

And Lochlan isn't returning messages because I told him I was working and he said no and then I said I wasn't passing up a green and he didn't say anything again and I'm at the top of his shit list but I can make it up to him later with money and kisses because he loves me in spite of the fact that I'm me, apparently.

And I can't breathe in this dress, therefore the lightheadedness.

(Chaconne hurts my brain, okay, there. I admit it. God so beautiful.)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Bush league.

When the future's architectured
By a carnival of idiots on show
You'd better lie low
If you love me, won't you let me know?
Sam has traded pancakes for waffles today. No mountains, no roaring snow-bonfires, no bagpipes. No kilts. Maybe something more refined. And maybe they should change the date, he's pretty busy over the Christmas season. It's hard enough to find other ministers to fill in without several week's notice. And also it will be hard to plan a honeymoon without booking things far in advance.

Waffle waffle waffle...

Stop it, Sam. We walk and I keep looking up at him. I'm getting lovely views of his Adam's apple bobbing as he tries to swallow the idea of a future in which it isn't Sam but Sam-and-Matt. No more autonomy, only fifty-fifty splits and negotiations. No more I but we instead. No more fretting about wedding plans because soon they'll be married and that will be that.

He covers his face with his hands and drags them down until they fall away and he looks even more tired and more worn now. No haircuts and no shaving this month have left all of my boys looking like savages. I love it. Sam is incredibly cute with his caramel curls and darker beard.

A judge then? Have your ceremony in an office, no decisions required. 

A little too UNspecial. I want it to be perfect, I just don't know what perfect is for us. 

Close your eyes. 

Why?

Just do it! Have faith. 

Punny little thing. Okay. Closed. Now what?

It's a overcast cold day off in December. What are you doing?

We're listening to music by the fire. Coffee's made. Maybe some jazz on. 

There you go. A cabin, roaring fire, and a very rustic and quiet Christmas wedding. 

I know. I keep leaning that way I think. 

A flannel wedding!

Yeah. 

Don't forget the pancakes. 

What is it with the pancakes?

I like the way you make them. 

Why?

They're shaped like bunnies. 

Oh. What? I didn't make them like that on purpose. 

You...really? And here I thought I was special. 

You are. 

Apparently not special enough for bunny pancakes. 

Bridget-

I think you need a new best friend. Apparently I'm not worthy of breakfast shapes. 

Sure you are! You just have to ask and-

Oh, Sam, if I have to ask then there's no point. 

This, Bridget. 

What?

This is why I'm marrying a dude. 

I thought it was for the baseball. 

What? Baseball? Huh?

The pitcher/catcher thing...

BRIDGET! 

WHAT? 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

It's like a progress bar, this engagement. LOADING LOADING LOADING

December 21st. That's a good day to get married, right?

That's what Matt said and Sam, who seemed like he wasn't actually paying attention, sat up, closed his book and said It does. It sounds like a really good day.

Then they sat there grinning like fools at each other until we all jumped on them.

Finally. A date. A plan. A...month? JESUS. This is like that time when Jacob gave me mere days notice for the smallest wedding the world has ever seen. This will be slightly larger but not by much. They have a few ideas in mind and they're all wonderful. Including breakfast. Wedding pancakes. Things involving flavoured coffees and candles. Winter sunrise. Kilts and Ben's pipes and snow and mountains and I don't even. Gosh. I just don't even.

I've been married too many times to never have planned a wedding (fun fact!)

And now the teasing has begun, because everyone keeps asking Sam when he's going shopping for THE DRESS.

I want to smack them all and cry with happiness at the same time.

Sam I love you to pieces. I hope you know that.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Back to class, children.

Dear lord, let it go. For the record, Caleb said I yelled YOLO and pulled my pants off, swung them up and they got caught at the top of the fountain. Then so I wouldn't feel awkward Andrew, PJ, Duncan and Loch (I know! WTF.) threw theirs too.

We are getting too old for bachelor parties even though that was the first one I've ever been invited to.

Thanks, Samwise (who is still sleeping even though it's four in the afternoon but Mondays are his Saturdays so it's okay. He does not drink but he stays up far too late for his own good).

'Twas fun.

In a wood full of princes, freedom is a kiss.

Not even going to talk about how I wound up doing karaoke on top of the kitchen island at three this morning in my underpants and a t-shirt that reads Runt of the Litter but it happened and I think there might be video.

Who ever brought the Jaegermeister needs to take it away because damn. I thought I was doing a stellar job covering These Dreams but in fact I was not.

(Consensus is no one was paying attention to my singing but instead the lack of pants.)

(I was not the only one not wearing pants.)

(The fountain outside is wearing four pairs now and there is one pair on the roof of the garage. I don't know how they got them up there. I cannot run with the big boys and I never ever seem to learn that, but at least I know I look better without my pants on than anyone else.)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The wheel breaks the butterfly.

Oh, to be loved like this.

New-Jake is Ben's roommate/keeper/conscience/rat. He told me this morning over cold coffee on my patio that Ben was bluffing to see how far my loyalties would reach.

Bluffing. Right. No, we're not going to do this. Ben told me to get on with it and let him fix himself. I wanted to stick around and help him. I thought I could help him and he told me I couldn't. He told me he needed me to just listen for once and do what I was supposed to do in the event of one of his big meltdowns and that is to remove myself from him so as not to be in danger.

So I did. I listened. I obeyed. I followed his directions and now he's turned it all around and inside out and proclaims that it was a test to see if I had more loyalty to him or to Loch.

I laughed because this is ludicrous and also because hot coffee is NOT a privilege it's a RIGHT.

I felt mean so I said it was lucky Ben found out now, before he got too attached.

Because he was the one who wished for space so he could barricade himself behind a fifty-proof wall and I wasn't brave enough to save him. Because he knew damned well what he was up against when he started this and he knew better. Because I tried very hard and he didn't make it easy and I tried until we wound up in humiliation mode. You know? Stay down, Bridget. You're out cold. Give up. Stop fighting. You can't win and we're all cringing here watching you.

Yeah, so fuck that. I can't even process that sort of backtracking anymore and so I asked Jake to go before I turned madder than before. He's smart enough to not have to be told twice, unlike everyone else in my life. They just assume tears will be the result of being mad. In my head though I'm always one step away from taking a sledgehammer to their trucks. Maybe their balls. But instead I always seem to swing for their hearts instead and connect so easily you think I've been doing this all my life.

Maybe I have.

And I went on ahead because I have to and I don't like being made to feel like this because he has regret. Does he think I don't know what that feels like? Does he think I have all the luck in the world where I can just not feel things that hurt anymore? Numb is a protective state but I can't control it. I wish I could. I'd like to be more numb and less hurt. More numb and less anything. More numb.

Friday, 15 November 2013

A one-way ticket to a white-hot world.

Woman, turn my head around
Woman, my whole world's upside down
You come into my life and you tear it all apart
You can't put out the fire once it starts
Until there's nothing left to burn inside my heart
Yes, it hurts when my bubbles are burst. This morning I found out Lochlan's new sysadmin gig is courtesy of Batman.

Yeah.

*pop* *popopopopop*

Whatever plans I had for myself have been flushed, run over, held under the water and torched for good measure I think. Loch tells me he took care of the list and that's all that matters and I think at this point I'm just about ready to ask PJ if he wants to take me and the kids and buy a split-level house in Shediac and live out our days bickering over who gets the last cinnamon roll. I'll teach him to make me high-end sandwiches and he can teach me how to use the winch on the Jeep because scaries.

That sounds like a dream sometimes. Especially if you ask PJ.

But let's not. I don't want to get his hopes up.

***

Peanut, just stop. I did the list. And when I weighed my options he's more well-connected than anyone. I'm not working directly for him. I just wanted a gig that paid enough to be worthwhile so I can look after my family. So you don't have to feel like you have to work for Cale. I'm trying to accomplish something and you have to use connections in this day and age-

I get it. I know. It's okay. 

I started out in life with five t-shirts, my dad's old wallet and truck and an eleven-year-old girlfriend. How in the fuck did things get so complicated?

Life. Life is complicated, Locket. 

I had a plan, Bridge. It wasn't going to be complicated. 


Sorry.


For what?

Making it complicated.

The very first bad habit I want to see you undo is you blaming yourself every time something goes wrong. 

Oh... I see. You're going to take a stab at fixing me, are you?

Hell, no. I like you weird and messed up. But you've got a few faults you can probably work on. May as well while I'm dealing with my massive flaws at the same time. At least yours are easy fixes. 

Faults?! What faults, then?

This whole stealing money thing has got to stop. I need those bills. He grabs me and turns me upside down and three fifties flutter out of the sleeves of my dress to the floor. Those are for dinner tonight! 

Wow! How much can I have to eat?

It's the kids. I've never seen two kids eat so much. They remind me of..well, they remind me of you at the same age. Only it cost a lot less back then to get takeout. 

Because it was the Dark Ages. 

Is that what you call it?

Sometimes. 

In my next life I hope I find a map that will explain Lochlan's facial expressions. That would be helpful.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Addendum because there's always a Devil on my shoulder.

No, Caleb didn't read about things here. I told him in person. I'm dedicated to humanity in that I prefer in-person contact for most things. Paying bills, signing papers, telling someone his lifelong adversary is winning, that sort of thing.

His reaction? Laughter. Smug laughter, no less.

That's his big coup, Princess? (see what he did there?) You stay married to Ben. You still travel with me and Loch goes and gets a menial job that sees him gone all day and agrees to a laundry list of things he should be doing anyway?

I don't go anywhere with you and Ben isn't even present. 

So what's the big deal?

We're trying to make a life here. 

What were you doing before?

Just...

Tell me, does it hurt when I burst those bubbles Pyro blows for you?

Part III: Change not change.

(He put the wheels in place the day he ambushed me after Daniel and Schuyler's wedding. Backup in case something goes wrong with me, Bridget. I'm not known for my reliability, he said and I fought him. I argued and I warned him and I entered into this against my will. I should have realized he was building an escape hatch but I was blind.)

When Ben came home from his program I was so excited but he's different. I tried to wait. I tried to manage him. I tried to just keep living and have patience but he kept widening the gap between us until it became a chasm and I don't think we can build a bridge big enough at this point to reach each other.

Besides, every time I get near the edge trying to see him he yells at me to get back, that he has too many problems to fix so I should just go on ahead.

That this probably won't change and he's sorry. That he knows I tried so hard but he's doing this anyway. That someday if he ever has his shit together maybe things will be different but for now he's not going to tether me to him when he is a sinking ship.

I told him I'll shift allegiance when I'm good and ready and he said I was stubborn and amazing and that he feels bad now that he put me in such a strange position where I could divide my time so readily and without apology. He feels awful for the times he handed me to the devil on a silver platter and commoditized and objectified me.

I defended him but he had none of it and he told me to stop taking orders and go and be where I belong.

Well, that's ironic. Stop doing this, and do this instead. Oh and listen to no one.

Okay...? Wait, what?

He's going to continue to stay at Batman's new place and work for him again/still, ramping up as he feels able/inclined. He's still a part of this family and that's not going to change. He's still a part of me and that's not going to change. I'm doing what he's asking me to do but I refuse to abandon him so no big legal shifts will take place. Like everything else this is a trial, subject to change.

So I guess it's a non-explanation but it's better than nothing. No, we don't know what we're doing. I think they're trading places, forcing Lochlan to grow up, forcing me to be a little more independent (HA) and taking the pressure off Ben just a little longer so he can continue to focus on getting well. I can't argue with any of it, even though I'd like to.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Part II: Goodbye Princess.

(Part I is here. Part III is coming. )

No. You've got most of it. Isn't that enough?

I rocked him. He didn't expect that and the look on his face hurt so much I started to cry. Not sure he was all that far behind me. He put his hands up, thumbs blocking my ears, fingers behind them spread out so I can't look away. He mashed his forehead against mine and asked me what he needed to do.

I gave Lochlan a verbal list while tears dripped off my chin. This is something I've thought about long and hard and have decided to not give an inch ever for the rest of my life.

I told him everything on that list, pretty sure he couldn't pull it off and I'd save myself the heartache of ruining anyone else in this lifetime but he sniffled gruffly, wiped his nose on the back of his sleeve and nodded like he had work to do.

When we went to sleep he didn't let go all night. Not even when I got warm and had a hard time breathing, my nose mashed hard against his chest. When I woke up Friday morning I was still clutched against him and my phone was going off perpetually, the messages from Caleb piling up. Lochlan told me not to go spend the day near the devil but I went anyway. I need to be busier. It helps. It helps because this is Jacob's week and it's been unseated by something I didn't expect right now, though I think it's been inevitable for a while now.

I got on a plane to New York, almost grateful for the larger space I could put between us and I never thought another thing about it. Lochlan isn't good with the follow through, it's not like anything is going to change, ever. We're going to ride this carousel until we die.

When I came back I felt accomplished. I fixed things. I saved the day and I am learning about Caleb and why he throws himself into these things so readily. It's easier than trying to exist in the here and now. Busy is an excuse to disappear and not have to deal with anything except work. It's escapism of a different sort.

I'm such a bleeding heart, I don't think I'd be good at it for long but it was worth the price and isn't it amazing how suddenly all my major players have game plans for the week when the last six years they've let me slide naked down razor blades over and over again during this week until I ran in rivers and blood and surgically-precise patterns of misery.

But when I stepped into the airport lobby, Lochlan was there. Right by the door. In the way, actually, but he wouldn't budge until he saw me. Caleb saw him at the same time and let out an indignant teenage protest (Oh, come on!) when he saw Loch and I wanted to laugh but the surprise had swallowed everything else.

He had my bag already and he gave me a huge hug. We need to talk. He took my hand and turned to greet Caleb. See you at the house. Then he turned and pulled me with him. That's why I forgot my computer. Caleb was carrying both mine and his off the plane.

When we got into Loch's truck he just sat there for a few minutes and then he put out his hand. Close your eyes and take this and tell me what it is. 

I closed my eyes and put out both hands. The moment it touched me I knew what he had given me and my eyes flew open. The brass ring from Coney. The first good luck charm. You asked for it back when I married Cole. I could have used it in my life since then. Can we go home now?

Soon, Peanut.

Next he handed me a crumpled piece of paper. On it was written everything I asked him for. Every single one was there and they all had a line drawn through them, crossing them off as completed.

You got a job! 

Yeah. Computers. It's nothing much. 

Same thing as before?

Mostly. Negotiated a better rate than last time. And benefits. 

He looked sheepish but happy as I went through the whole list. Oh my God. He did this in three days flat.

Turn the page over. There's one I didn't do. It might be a dealbreaker. 

It said Let her keep the nickname.

I can't do that one. You're not their princess, you never were. You're my freak. You got freak blood and freak brains and a freaky sense of everything and I think the princess part was the anomaly here. 

But..every girl wants to be a princess.

Not my girl. My girl's a freak. A little circus peanut. A spark. A million other names but not that one.

I nod. So many years and time is suddenly caving in all around us and soon we're swimming again in a faceless clock, a manmade lake left when the trappings of proper society fell out from under us once more and sent us under the surface.

Conventional? Never.

I can treat you like a princess, I'm just not going to use nicknames that other people had for you, you know? I just can't do it. I was here first and I'm going to be here last and I have my own ways, okay? Tell me this is okay because you're so quiet it's really freaking me out and I don't know if I've gone to far or you have no intentions of being with me I just know when you got on that plane I decided it was going to be the last time forever that you leave me behind for someone else. The last time. I hope it was a good trip because there won't be any more and oh Jesus, Peanut, please say something before I burst into flames. 

(I think that was what he said. His accent fires up strong when he gets going and boy, was he going right then.)

No more princess?

Fuck no. Jake's gone, Bridge. Let's leave his habits with him and start over. You need to start over with me. I got it all wrong and if I got one more shot I'm going to do it right. 

What's right? 

Whatever works for you and me, Peanut. And he winked as I caught my breath. The last time he said that we were arguing over what to do to make more money than we were making with him busking and both of us on sideshow. It wasn't enough and I said what are we going to do?

We'll do whatever works for you and me, Peanut, he said and his pragmatism gave me comfort. He even had flying by the seat of his pants figured out. Figuratively AND literally and almost thirty-five years have gone by since I imprinted on him and refused to let go, even as I had my heart broken five times over in the meantime. Slow to learn, I said but you never believed me.

So now what do we do? I asked him as he started the truck and pulled out of the parking lot. He smiled and kissed my hand.

I really have no fucking idea, Bridget. I guess we try and pick up where we left off. 

Maybe we should start over. Start fresh. 

No, I kind of like the idea of people asking how long we've been together and being able to say thirty-five years without blinking an eye. That'll roll heads. 

But it's not true. 

Yes, it is and you know it just as well as I do. 

Then all of this was for nothing. We never broke up so we can't get back together. 

Fine. Give me that ring back. I can sell it for nostalgic purposes. 

I'm going to sell you for nostalgic purposes. 

You won't get much for me, though with the new job I am worth a little more than I was a week ago. 

But we didn't get very far. Fifty yards down the road the weight of our decisions overtook him and he pulled over and turned off the truck and just wept.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Back.

(Every post is not a declaration of intent so stop doing that thing where you freak at me.)

Friday's incredibly obvious attempt to lure me away from Lochlan turned into a bonafide crisis before mid-afternoon and before dinner we were on a goddamn plane to New York. Long story. To simplify he merged some stuff and people got spooked.

What Caleb thought was a concern turned into an almost-defection but by the time our late dinner was over I had his biggest investors eating out of the palm of my hand.

Well, not literally. But once that fire was out shit got weird.

On the morning of day two I wound up being painted with the same brush as a row of 'companions' to Caleb's investors, dismissed as nothing more than a sugar baby. While it's fine for me to paint myself with that brush, it isn't fine for anyone else to speak to the head of their company that way.

Besides, all of the so-called ladies were breast-implanted, bleached and sucked dry. None of them had a single opinion that didn't swing like a loose shutter off their 'daddy' and I took one look at Caleb and he rolled his eyes and said fine, take off. Then he had the grace to stand and announce that the director of the company (me) had another engagement but we all thank her for her time and for coming on short notice.

I'm pretty sure I would have tripped over their duck-face injected pouts and jaws on the fucking floor had I moved any faster walking out of that room but I knew what I wanted to spend the rest of the day doing, because I've done it a few times before.

(You're thinking Coney Island! Which is a great guess but no, sadly. It would have taken me almost an hour to get there from Midtown in traffic and I didn't have that kind of time.)

I called Ben and he called ahead to his old stomping grounds and so they were waiting for me when I got to the studio in a taxi. I was given headphones and a cord and I entered the dark soundproof room, stretched out on my back on the carpeted floor and turned the music up all the way. A voice cut in at the beginning asking me if I wanted a wake-up call.

Sure. Four forty-five? 

No worries. Enjoy your time, Bridget. 

Then the music swelled back up and I closed my eyes. Never will you hear music more pure than right where I was, no hearing aids or ear pressed against a speaker required. I know what ninety minutes of studio time costs and I knew I could cover it so it was better than staying where I was and worth it by far.

By far.

But I will say one thing. The breakneck pace and change in scenery and obligations actually did wonders after a very long week and kept me from focusing too hard on Jake or on Loch or on anything other than growth and capital and projections and all the other stupid things Caleb has taught me over the years that are important if you want to make money, important if you have an eye toward the future in the way that he always does. Maybe his expertise extends past financial concerns and into a painful attempt to continue to do what is best for me even when I fight him on that only to later find out he was right all along.

I went over this afternoon to fetch my laptop and he had a cheque waiting for me.

A job well done, Princess. We make a good team.

I took the cheque. It's more than I expected by half. Hey! Now I have enough to get implants! Yessssss!

Bridget-

I'M KIDDING.

(Part II tomorrow! Finally!)

Friday, 8 November 2013

This is not part two because I'm at work. *rolls eyes*

Little offhand life rules from a seventeen-year-old boy have annoyingly stuck in my brain, against his very best wishes now that he has grown up and knows better.

Never turn down a show, Peanut. The money will always come in handy.

So of course the Devil had an 'emergency' today and he kept adding to my executive assistant rate until I said I'd be there by eight. He said seven thirty and I said I was still in my pajamas.

That's fine, he said. Then he added another zero if I took them off and didn't replace them with actual clothes.

Fuck off, Diab. 

I'll make it up to you with some KFC for lunch. 

I'll take two more zeroes instead. 

Does that word have that second e?

I don't know. It's seven in the morning, Caleb. Look it up. 

You can do it when you get here. And don't eat. I'll make cheese toast and coffee. Oh and tell Pyro to have a nice day for me, would you? 

I'll bring him with me. He can help me work. 

Bring him and I take four zereos away. 

Are those like Oreos but for losers?

I don't know. Ask Pyro. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Part I: A pre-dawn show.

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.
I held the lighter up high over the bed in my left hand and spun it until it flickered with a steady burn and hiss, blinding me from the dark.

Happy forty-three, Preacher.

I said it quietly and I felt the cool trail of tears sliding down my face into my ears from my eyes. Flat on my back I kept the lighter wavering tall above me. Lochlan took it out of my hand and pulled me up.

Get dressed.

Sure. Not like I'm sleeping. I look at the clock and it's 3:42 in the morning. Everything is quiet. He pulls on his yesterday-clothes and I do the same and he takes my hand. Let's go.

When we get outside to the backyard he drops my hand and heads down to the patio, dragging an Adirondack chair out, away from the others. He then motions for me to take a seat in it so I do. He says to wait there and I do as he disappears.

There's the ocean and the sky and a place Jake won't ever see because he never made it to his birthday and is forever locked at thirty-six even though my mind tries to future-age him every chance it gets. It tries to keep him in the picture. It tries to never let him go.

The rain is coming steadily now and I wonder if I've been banished from my own bed for my perpetual insolence and reverse-loyalty. But then Lochlan is back with his fire.

His precious fire.

In between eating the fire and doing tricks for me, he tells a story. Sometimes the fire is in the story, and sometimes it's a distraction from the story. Sometimes I am astounded and afraid for him and sometimes I feel proud that he works hard to keep such a singular set of skills so fresh.

But more than that the story is one I have heard before, but never told quite like this. It's about a princess and an angel that comes down from heaven to help her but only briefly because he must go back. She doesn't listen. She thinks it's forever and then can't understand where he went so she spends the rest of her life looking for him until a helpful court jester in the kingdom tells her kindly that he isn't coming back. When she cries he distracts her with a poem and some magic and then invites her to a dance. She accepts, surprised she didn't really see him before even though he has been there all along. She remembers him from long ago and she remembers her fondness for him too.

They lived happily ever after in Lochlan's story as the rain weighed down his flames and threatened to rob him of heat and light, as it crushed his curls to his head and flooded my heart and made the ocean and the house invisible as he shouted out the lines as he wrote them in his head.

And I listened as hard as I could.

When he was finished he put down his tools, taking a few minutes to clean up the gear and then he came over to my chair. He took my hands and pulled me to my feet, kissing the top of my head, now with plastered-down hair as well, leading me back inside, up the steps in the dark and we stripped off our wet clothes and got back into bed, the smell of white gas permeating everything, where he said he's only got one thing left that he needs to steal in his life and if I'd help him with it then we could have our Happily Ever After without further delay.

He pointed to my heart. He pushed right through flesh and bone and emotional trip wire and psychological electric fence and he said he would take it. He said maybe he has already. He looked for confirmation, hints or maybe just promises dissolved by rain. And then he waited for my response.

(Oh God. I HATE cliffhangers too. I'm sorry but it has to be done.)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Year Six.

There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.  ~J. M. Barrie
Two thousand, one hundred and ninety days in and things are evolving again. I would say maybe I'm slow to notice or plodding in my acceptance or so stubborn if you stood in front of a midnight blue sky in proof I would face you with clenched fists and an angry red face and insist that you're wrong, it's inky black.

Because that's how it's supposed to be in my head but every now and again the outside world proves me wrong and I need to step out of my brain and take note.

Lochlan has settled back into his alpha role in my heart, I think. He runs a tight ship, but he's unconventional too and he's somehow able to come up with his share without fretting, he just digs in. I know he worries but not outwardly so, the way I do. Ask me How are you? and I tip forward and drown you in emotional tea, without a lid or an acknowledgement when you say enough. I will pour until I'm empty and then turn around and do it again. He takes it. He's fashioned a snorkel in order to breathe, drawing in air from that navy-blue atmosphere and keeping us alive when some days I'm so determined to follow Jacob over that edge you would still be so surprised and most likely disappointed in me.

But I didn't and I won't and I keep writing to try and figure it all out and sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's comforting, sometimes it's maddening too and sometimes it's downright surprising.

And sometimes I wake up feeling numb and slightly removed and uncaring and that's usually the day after I've lost my mind and someone, and I think I know who, doles out one magical tablet but doesn't tell me, just stirs it into the juice he offers without actually seeming like he's monitoring me so closely and I drink it because I'm always thirsty and then I realize what he's done and I'm grateful. Grateful for the escape from a day that isn't ever easier to manage, not even six years later.

I know there are supposed to be timelines on grief and shock and improvements and fading of memories and moving on and I'm here to tell you that all of that is purely guesswork and BULLSHIT and it's a-okay if you're still in that moment that changed you forever because you're you and you do what you need to do, not what some expert tells you to do, chosen as an appropriate answer based on an average taken from people who are not you.

It's okay and I'll back you up on that forever. I didn't think I would still be able to generate as much complete and total hysteria as I did yesterday but PJ said he could have bottled it and run the whole point for years on the energy I put out for ghosts.

It very inappropriately made me laugh. That's okay too.

***

When I went out to the rock wall, Jake was there but he was so faded I could hardly see him. Maybe it was the weather or maybe he's eroding from my brain with time just like they said he would. He is disappointed that I have turned him into the holy trinity especially seeing as how he is was a Unitarian minister and sad that I am so miserable but also heartened that we have not self-destructed in his absence. What absence? I ask him and he laughs and shakes his head. Aw, Pig-a-let, you're so willful. I'm not sure I'm worth that energy you expend on me. 

You are. 

What would they say?
He nods toward the houses, gesturing like he's in front of an imaginary pulpit. There's a reason you have to move on, if you don't you get stuck forever. 

So what?

So, you didn't die, I did and you need to live. 

Fuck right off, Jacob Thomas. 

Mad is better than sad, Princess, but neither is better than glad. I return to my clenched fists and red face because I'm about to get into it with a ghost. I hated that saying. It made me feel immature and ungrateful. Which is exactly his point and so he grins faintly. I have to go. I'm not supposed to be here anymore, Pig-a-let, remember? I'm the anchor wrapped around your ankle and if you don't free yourself you're going to drown. 

You're speaking my language now aren't you?

Yes, can you hear me?

Loud and clear, Pooh. 

Go find your Peter Pan and plot the future. It's time to pick up that other fairy tale where you left off. The fucker.

It's not a fairy tale. It's more like a reject paperback from a sale table that no one wants to buy. Pulp fiction. Everyone picks it up but no one has ever finished it.

Bridget. (Oh there's the stern, serious face I loved so much. His eyes are narrowed, mouth turned down and set tightly, just waiting. He looks just like the Sundance Kid.)

I know. Anchor. Fairies. Books. Live. Future. I squint my eyes to focus but he fades completely. Before I turn to walk up to the house I know that if Lochlan is standing just at the edge of the patio, hands in his pockets, flicking the dry empty lighter over and over and over again that my future will be less obscure than I feel like it is sometimes.

I turn and he grins at me in relief because sometimes I think he thinks I'm still going to bolt when I walk all the way down to the end of the wall and stand there talking to the flowers that persist in growing out from between the rocks, appearing to be as crazy as I feel most days. I start the long walk across the wet grass to get back to him and I get the feeling that between now and Year Seven I probably won't see Jake at all. He's beginning to repeat himself, looking for different ways to get through to me. He's beginning to find his end.

That would be something. If I don't get to pick when grief ends but he does instead.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

It’s a fragile thing, this life we lead
If I think too much I can get overwhelmed
by the grace by which we live our lives
with death over our shoulders

Want you to know
That should I go
I always loved you
Held you high above, too
I studied your face
And the fear goes away
The fear goes away
The fear goes away

This might be a placeholder for a post or it might just be part of a cool Pearl Jam song. Who knows? Let's see what the afternoon brings. I have issues and can't post more than this. Only some of my issues are technical though, I'm pretty certain the rest are mental.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Jake frost.

Winter arrived this morning without herald, and we scraped off all the trucks and the Cayman too. The 370z was temporary, like all good things and Caleb is having fun driving ridiculous two-seater coupes up and down the mountain highways without a care in the world. When I grow up I'd like to worry about as much as he seems to. Thanks to me the other trucks are already outfitted with better tires for winter and each one has a kit with safety gear, food, water and first aid supplies plus we have roadside assistance cards for each driver because shit happens and only the devil could melt his way out of a bad situation, I guess.

Which seems fitting.

(The boys don't need roadside assistance, but I do because sometimes I get to go out alone! They would call each other in a time of need, not CAA. I would just cry and call CAA because I want to be independent, dammit.)

I spent the day trying to breathe (still 30% sick I am), trying not to cry at the sweetness of Ben and some of the others with regards to babying me with how difficult it is for me to breathe when it's cold. I spent the day trying not to scratch as I bought what's supposed to be the most fantastic lotion on the planet for my eczema, dry skin and itchies and guess what? It gave me a rash all over.

I spent the day switching health care plans and wishing someone would take me to KFC for one of those Doritos tacos because DAMN those are so good but no one did and so I made myself toast for lunch and I organized a lot of things toward Christmas and I shivered and scratched and bit my tongue and took the hugs whenever they were offered and I helped Henry with his homework and I looked at the calendar, dreading the next seventy-two hours and I helped Lochlan work on a drawing like we used to when I was young and he was professional and logical about it and not the least bit comforting, saying things like, you'll get through it. I'll be here. and you really need to go back to the doctor, I think you're allergic to damn near everything and then he threw in stupid things like You should eat better (from the man who raised me mostly on corn dogs and french fries and candy apples with cotton candy for dessert and why do I still have teeth?) and It'll be a cold day before Ben comes back here and I looked up abruptly because it is a cold day and Ben is back here. Well, sort of back here. Close enough but not even close enough.

Or maybe Lochlan already forgot because he's comfortable or he wants to reiterate that Ben snoozed and lost and it's all recent history and Jake still doesn't deserve the extent to which this week destroys me and I want to describe to Lochlan just how yes, Jake does deserve it. How he was firm and not the least bit waffle-y and how he stuck to his guns and he refused to parent me but he never trusted me either and how he was a safety net in and of himself right up until the moment that he wasn't.

And I was not a safety net for him but a gaping hole of a life with a danger sign flashing but he jumped anyway.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

I can find trouble before trouble finds me.

In the beginning it was the Ferris wheel. I thought we would stand underneath it, in t-shirts and jeans. I would have a borrowed veil and a bouquet of daisies picked from the parking lot and I would still be in the employee group that had chaperones and curfews, but it would be dusk and a minister would read important, solemn words to us. We would nod, the available carnies who witnessed would loiter and smoke cigarettes and tear up sightly. Then we would repeat the words and share a kiss and then climb into a bucket and go for a spin just as the lights came on for the evening. At the top when the wheel stops we would have a longer kiss and then Lochlan would hold my hand for the rest of his life when I fall asleep and when I'm awake too. I would do what he tells me and be the best wife ever, making him pies in the camper by the sea while he sang love songs in so many languages I stopped trying to keep up with him when I turned ten.

It changed briefly in Atlantic City when I had this rocketing vision of us exchanging hurried vows behind the circus tent that weren't touching or legal but functioned as a permanent escape from the paths we'd chosen by mistake, in haste. It would be witnessed by the dwarves and the strongman and the snake charmer and the fortune teller too (though she never liked me either, none of them ever liked me and I never found out why) and then we would come home and somehow find a way to make it legal. I'd wear my satin assistant costume and Loch would wear his top hat and tails or maybe his skintight black fire-breather tank or his athletic gear from the ropes, depending on where in the day it was, and I wouldn't have a bouquet but I have tattooed wildflowers so good enough and a ring would be from a client's cigar from a private show and we would go dancing in the empty bar down the street to the same eighties jukebox selection we've always danced to. Maybe we'd spend a day's pay on a dinner at the steakhouse first. Maybe I would change my name. Maybe we'd get better billing and could quit with the fucking freakshow if we rebranded as a team inside the tent. Maybe someone will take us seriously now, because we're salt and pepper, yin and yang, thunder and lightning.

It shifted once more two years ago when they took a collective chance the morning after Daniel and Schuyler tied the knot so tight it happily chokes them into submission. Suddenly the moment has been orchestrated for me and I have no choices at all. The dress, packed without my knowing is a simple form fitting lace shift. Palest pink to be almost white, sleeveless and square-necked and freezing cold standing on a beach on a foggy October morning with the seagulls wailing quietly and the waves lapping against the rocks. The hemlocks close in around me and I look for the garish decorations, the lights, the noise that makes me feel at home but there isn't any of that, everything is slate, muted and refined. So far beyond what I am that I feel out of place and costumed. Sam stands just in front of the water. The tide is going out. He holds Jacob's bible in one hand and smooths his curls down around his ears with his other hand. His tie knot is backwards. He's barely got a hold on his composure. I watch their faces and I try and focus on the sound of the water and I try to pay attention. I try to be present for this because this is important but also because I feel like I am marking the beginning of the end of something else. I just don't know what yet. I don't even know if it's good or bad. I don't know what it feels like to want something and get it but not on my own terms. I want to run this show and I'm not qualified to do so.

But neither are they.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Fluttering hands.

In the middle
Under a cold black sky
Halloween was very low key this year, so much so that we almost missed it in a sugary coma. I lost the toss and wound up giving out candy. We left the gates open and lit up the point like fireworks and all of the children seemed to think big house=big treat but no, small handfuls of treats were given out, as per always. Some kids were so cute! SO cute. Some were shy. One very bold Ninja Turtle turned the knob and walked into the foyer unannounced and alone, leaving his surprised parents down on the front walk.

He's lucky he was cute. And he said Thank you.

Eventually I moved out to the front yard to spare the kids in their awkward costumes the walk up two flights of steps. Caleb was across the driveway, sitting on his steps with a bowl of candy beside him. He was dressed as Doctor Strange and I laughed out loud when I saw that because other than the usual nonsense around here that we indulge in every day (top hats and fairy wings, mostly) no one had planned to formally dress up this year. Even Ruth and Henry had to be convinced to go out. Henry's still under the weather too, and Ruth went to a friend's house. So a costume was a surprise to see.

We pooled our candy, sharing the duty until the steady stream of Trick or Treaters slowed to a non-existent trickle and then Caleb invited me in for an Irish coffee.

I took the offer. I figured we were being civilized. I figured I would drink it and come home before Lochlan noticed I was gone and I'd be able to fall asleep easily instead of spending my nights wide awake and haunted and I completely forgot it was Halloween and that means, like on most holidays, that Caleb starts out great and spirals into ruthless evil the moment I blink.

He never disappoints, glancing a solid kiss off my forehead before speaking softly into my ear.

Should I call Ben to join us?

Ben and I are taking a short break while he focuses on recovery. You know this because you pretty much singlehandedly engineered it. So I don't think that would be good idea. But you can call Lochlan. I bet he'd like a drink. 

Caleb's face changes to confusion.

Oh, you meant something else, did you? I play dumb. It's not hard. 

I'm not calling Pyro. 

No, that wouldn't work, would it. You know something? I think I'd like a raincheck. 

For tomorrow?

For never. 

What are you doing, Bridget? Are you shutting me out? 

He comes over and looks down into my eyes, waiting for whatever it is I have no idea, I don't know what to say. Yes? Yes would make sense but what if I need him? What about Henry? What about everything we've done? What about my unspeakable future, shrouded in a swirling circuit of snow under glass? No? No makes sense until I change my mind. But this is not a competition. It never was. As amazing as Caleb is, he was always too old, too composed, too perfect, too serious. And now here we are standing in his kitchen and he's in a superhero costume and he's trying to dip the earth in solid gold if that's what I want and all I can think of is my very own Ferris Wheel. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He could buy me one. He could buy me a hundred.

(Stopreadingmymind.)

Stop making it so easy.

The shock of his answer propelled me off the edge of the counter and I pushed into him so he would move and I went to the door.

If that's all it would take, consider it done, Princess. 

You know what it would take. A ride isn't part of the request. 

I wonder if Loch knows he will always come in second to Jake. 

He doesn't come in second. I just want to say goodbye properly. 

That isn't true, Bridget. I thought he taught you not to lie. 

Who?

Lochlan. 

On the contrary. He taught me how to be convincing so we...so I would never get caught.

I think that means I just caught you. 

That's only wishful thinking. Goodnight, Doctor Strange. 

I was almost home free until he called from the top of the steps. I'll hold on to that raincheck for you, Princess, you never know when you're going to want to cash it in.