Are you finished with your voice lessons and ready to get some very important things looked after today?
Yes, Mr. C____.
He paused but he didn't look amused. Bridget, I'm not in the mood for the brat today. I know that's a rare occurrence but now is not the time for your nonsense. This isn't the circus, this is the boardroom.
This isn't the boardroom, this is the boathouse. Oh! By the way! Did I tell you I'm drawing a map of the property?
You can tell me later. Let's go, we have a lot to get done.
I walk into the living room and there are lawyers everywhere. One of them is mine. Oh, wait. Two of them are mine. My heart sinks. He's taking Henry.
But Caleb sees the look on my face and is almost as fast as my anxiety is loud.
This has nothing to do with our arrangement. Except to say I tried to keep you shielded from this and I've reached a place where that is no longer possible.
What do you mean?
He took me back outside to tell me privately, holding my hands, watching my eyes as I went from sure he was lying to sure he was dying within minutes.
Although he assured me he isn't going anywhere, he really has to take better care of himself. The stress of trying to manage all of this isn't helping and so he's going to take some of my unending suggestions and simplify, liquify and rearrange his holdings so that it's easy to handle but perfectly secure. The board will be dissolved. My proposal comes to me as a done deal even though I've done nothing to deserve it.
I nod and then tears are rolling heavily down my cheeks and I make no move to hide them. Every time I cut him off it seems he hurts a little more. This is my fault. I must be the heartbreaker.
You are, he laughs with glassy eyes, answering my reasoning out loud. And the fact that you continually defer or bank, ignore and sometimes outright refuse my money only serves to confirm that you are the one who should have it.
Are you dying. I don't ask questions anymore, I just brace myself for the worst with statements, dry and bitter. I literally square my shoulders and lock my knees and when I look at him he is a bit covered with glitter and with sad and with resignation too.
Someday yes but not soon, if that's what you're worried about.
You can't die ever. You're not allowed. I bend over to pick up all of the pieces of Bridget that are suddenly popping off everywhere and scattering all over the floor.
I know. I know I can't but I will someday and I'm going to see that when the time comes you are well-equipped to deal with it.
What do you mean?
Bridget, it's begun to dawn on me that no one has been able to fix you yet. So I'm going to. I have things at my disposal that no one else does and a history with you no one else shares or even knows all that much about. I figure I am the best suited to helping you get better.
Less prone to burst into tears and run off to sit on the rock wall in the pouring rain when you catch a surprise memory of Jacob.
Hell, I do that when I have a rough time flossing my teeth these days, I think it's a universal-Bridget-thing, not a Jake-thing.
Then I have my work cut out for me.
Oh, this sounds relaxing and stress-free for you! Yay! What about Loch?
What about him? I am entitled and encouraged to spend time with you. He can retch and moan all he likes, that won't change.
It won't work, you know.
I've tried everything else. Literally everything, Princess. Let's just take it as it comes and see what happens.
You can't fix me. Besides, I'm not yours to fix.
You as much mine as anyone's. A group project. Collective effort.
No, I'm not.
But you are.