My face in his sixteen-year-old hands. My eyes hostage, his fire starving all the oxygen from my doubts, his warmth keeping the cold trembles from my skin. In that moment when he touched me I changed. I grew. I metamorphosed from a wild, willful child into a dream without sleep, with singular focus and breathless, bottomless emotions.
He watched, fascinated, stunned. It was a visceral shift, profound and yet profoundly quiet.
He groaned and squeezed his hands, fighting for control. I kissed him again, biting his bottom lip and his hands left my face and slid around my hips. I stood in front of him in nothing but a ridiculous expression because for the first time I wasn't shy in front of him without my clothes on.
I may have been the only brave soul there that day because Loch smiled and kissed the end of my nose and then pressed his forehead against mine and said Not today.
I wanted to scream because I really wanted him right that minute. I thought I might burst into his flames and become part of his routine. I thought I might die unfulfilled if he didn't just touch me a little longer, a little harder maybe, a little so not-standing-up but I bit my own lip instead and he took it to mean I thought he might be rejecting me when I wasn't thinking that at all.
I want to eat you alive, he whispers and I nod. I don't even know what it means but I want it too. Whatever he says to do, I'll do it. I'll figure it out along the way. He's a patient, gentle teacher.
What? I cry. I think I may explode and he laughs.
You look like a wounded bird.
I whirled around, already on the defensive. I don't like being startled, I don't care who does it. What do you mean?
Your broken wing.
Fractured only. it should be better in a few more weeks.
Bridget, you can't trust Caleb.
I don't when it comes to me.
Then what are you doing?
What else am I supposed to do, Jake? Keep talking to ghosts? Keep pretending that you're not real so they think I'm okay? Let the money default into a locked investment when I might need it?
Why would you need it?
You think money can buy a solution to every problem? Don't you know better by now?
It's not the answer but no way am I going to turn it down. I said I was going to take him for everything and I meant it.
What happens when he finds out?
He already knows! We don't have to hide a thing.
Then do I finally get to hear the whole story now?
I'll think about it.
He wouldn't take it, Bridget. He has the integrity of a hundred men. I admire his ability to hold to his values no matter what distractions he faces.
So what did you do?
I lied and said he was signing the alternative plan, that sees everything put into a family trust.
I love that you spent zero time encouraging him to read the things he's signing. You're a great lawyer. Really.
He'd never listen to me anyway and he's old enough to read. I don't know if he actually can, though. This isn't turning out how you expected, is it?
Life? Not a chance.
Well maybe I made it a little easier, at least.
Do you even hear yourself sometimes? When have you ever made anything easier? Did you think your generous donation to the Home for Wayward Freakshow Rejects and Teenage Runaways would absolve you? Is that what you were hoping for, Diabhal? Because it doesn't.