The toast that Duncan made for me this morning turned to concrete mush when Lochlan walked in, sat down beside me, called me possibly the worst thing he could choose from a list of so many things and then refused to say anything further, having not said anything since Saturday night. The protest went up so vocally all around us. I didn't know whether to be grateful for the blind support or humiliated that there really are no secrets left and we're reduced to horrible words and worse deeds to repay each other for whatever we fight about.
Believe it or not, around here Lochlan's ability to bestow the silent treatment on someone is right up there with me spending the night with the devil. Both are wrong, evil, particularly cruel and yet look at us go.
He had asked what I was thinking. Batman had just stopped in during the evening to say that the paperwork was in order, that everything looked good. Congratulations and be cautious, he said. He left and we felt so elated!
I forgot and answered too honestly.
I wish Cole was here to see this.
Come again? Loch said and so I repeated myself and then I tried to backtrack. He would have been happy to have this security and to have the upper hand with Caleb.
Jesus fucking Christ. Do you ever stop thinking about them?
I was dumbstruck. No. I assumed that was obvious. I exist through ghosts and fight to love the living. Why in the hell do I spend every waking moment asking for a lobotomy? I can't turn it off.
I just meant-
Maybe you should go find Caleb and get yourself a little taste of the abuse you miss so fucking much.
Never dare me. Ever. Just don't because I'll take it. Maybe I will!
Good! Tell him I said hello from my ivory tower where I sit on piles of money and yet he's STILL running my fucking life!
Gotcha! Ivory tower, piles of money, life!
Bridget, don't you fucking walk out that door!
Too late. Sweet dreams.
I left. I slammed doors as I went and then suddenly I'm outside in the cold and now I have to follow through because I'm too stupid to let him have the upper hand. Besides, now Cole is in my head and my brain is stretching far over the memories, ripping, tearing, straining over the holes he left behind. I can't cover them and so I fall right in.
In a fight between my mind and Lochlan I can afford to let my brain win. If I let it lose it's worse for all of us. That much I have learned in the past six years and absolutely nothing else of value.
And now what's done is done and I've had two days of ice-cold fire to burn the shit out of what's left of me now.
I slam the plate down and leave the kitchen and another chorus of protest goes up. They don't have to lean on him though, he follows me even as I attempt to evade him, doing circles through rooms, doubling back, rushing forward and becoming panicky and desperate when I can't shake him.
WOULD YOU STOP? He roars right behind me and I come to a screeching halt. He plows into me and knocks me down, saving me from hitting the floor with both hands out with a modified Heimlich that hurts so bad I'm sure I'll need a full body cast by supper.
He drops us together on the floor where we sit, staring at each other. He looks irked but normal. I look like a hot mess. Pink tear-streaked face with pure humiliation painted all over it. I can't breathe and he softens. Stop. Just take a deep breath. He pulls me in against his shoulder just as Sam hits the top step.
Checking on things.
What a good friend. Loch nods against my head and Sam goes back downstairs.
Why can't you stay away from him? If I asked you to, could you?
Don't ask me to.
I think I'm going to anyway.
I'll try harder. It's been seldom anyway. Please just let me sort this out.
Stand by while you stomp all over my heart and ask me to be okay with it? Hell, no, Peanut. Hell no. I'll give back my share and yours too and he can take his money and be alone. This is not the deal. Are we clear?
I shook my head. No, we're not clear. We are murky and impenetrable. We are confused and fucking fucked the fuck up. We are never going to crawl out of this hole. I fell in and Lochlan jumped in willingly after me.
Save yourself, I plead.
If I go I'm taking you with me, Bridge. Don't even try to put up a fight.
I never put up a fight.
Yeah, well, maybe it's time you learned how to.