Sunday, 30 November 2014

SMS (Sunday Morning Shenanigans).

Time to get up. 90 min til service.

It's -10, Sammy.

God will keep you warm. 

But the wind!

But you're becoming a little heathen.

Loch will keep me warm. 

Loch is already a heathen.

Ben will keep me warm?

Ben could bring you to church. He could use it.

Tell him that.

Naw. Too scared.

So how can I make it up to you if I don't go?

Bible school. Every day. Five hours. With yelling. And thumping. 

That sounds like fun. I'm in! 

You now have an hour. 

Not going to happen. I'll wait for your thumps. This bed is too warm. Everyone is still asleep. 

God is awake. 

And such a killjoy.

Does this mean you're coming?

Can I get a ride with you?

Then you have fifteen minutes or so.

Make me coffee?

We'll pick some up on the way. 

Can we get some hashbrowns too?

Are you only coming with me for the food?

Shhhhh. :)

Saturday, 29 November 2014

The white stuff.

I hate snow. Have I mentioned it? Still not finding the novelty in it one bit. And I won't apologize for that, though the Christmas lights look very pretty after dark so yes, I will admit that much but nothing more.

I started reading Mr. Mercedes last night. It's glorious. I'm excited.

Caleb called from just outside the grounds of the Taj Mahal last night too, completely overcome with emotion as I have heard happens when you see it for the first time. I never ever will. He misses me. He is beyond exhausted and pushing himself every step. Not sure this is a good idea anymore but he's at the bitter end here, flying to Spain Monday for what he calls a hard reset (total flamboyant, unintentional nerdage), because he needs it so badly. Retirement has been busier than ever and he says he'll slow down but then doesn't.

Lochlan started reading Revival, because he is further along in the Stephen King release schedule than I am, because he's able to focus on things while I flit around like a moth to a flame.


I tell him it's because he's older.

Most nights when I have time to read in bed I wind up playing games on my phone instead. PJ and I have a contest going with Henry to see who can get the highest score in Stick Hero. I'm the furthest behind. Henry is so far ahead of us now it's become funny.  We did it with Flappy Bird too until I deleted the game in a fit of frustration. My high score? 5 in both games. I send PJ screenshots every time I add another point and he ignores the messages and then after days will return a screenshot to me that's in the double digits. I give up. I think I'll read instead.

Finally when I can sleep Ben will start to snore and then insist upon waking that he didn't sleep even a minute. He is worn out too but in a different way. He wants to keep me up to fill the time but I really need sleep at some point and can't stay up all night indulging him. And boy does he like to be indulged. He's the perfect enabler to my sex addict tendencies, refusing to deny me a thing. Then Loch will be done reading (he reads downstairs) and come up looking to indulge himself and how the heck am I supposed to resist his teenage grin and those curls?

Right. It can't be done. But then Ben gets all jacked up again and I'm pretty sure the reason I hate snow is because when I'm this tired I pretty much hate absolutely everything.

Except sex.

Because DAMN.

Friday, 28 November 2014

READY (aka I eat like crap).

I am so in love.

Big Bad Wolf (new today!) and even better, Sick like Me.

Not often you see really good videos these days. These are miniature works of art.

Like me.


Loch, Daniel, Andrew and I spent all day shopping today. Ben's birthday is on Tuesday. He'll be forty-six. He doesn't look that old but hey, every second month it seems we are reminded that numbers grow less and less important each year. I have some special surprises planned for him for that day. Plus we needed to get moving on getting things together because here I am trying to get ready for Christmas all in around, up and over everything and everyone and though we had planned on celebrating US Thanksgiving we never actually bothered. We ordered Chinese food instead.

So best laid plans and all that. I don't want that same fate to befall his big day.

Everything is wrapped and loaded and I'll bake a big cake on Monday and make lamb chops (or rather PJ will. Ben really loves lamb and I can't stand the smell or taste of it so I'll make corn dogs too. Then it's really a party. Freaking corn dogs!


You just can't take the carnival out of the girl. Sometimes I wonder if Ben had any earthly idea what he was getting himself into with us. I suppose he does. When I asked him for a birthday list he said he has the two things he wants most. Me and Loch.

Oh, well then. I'll just take back all these presents then?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Delhi tonight.

I think Dubai was a whirlwind for Caleb. It was supposed to be the second longest leg of his trip but instead he booked a half day trip to Agra to see the Taj and so sliced a day off the Emirates besides. He will not cut into his week in the Canaries no matter what. He's going to need it. He sounded appreciative but exhausted when I told him just before our conference call began that under the desk I only had underwear and thigh-high rumpled socks on (credit to Lords of Salem. I have a dozen pairs and hadn't worn them much lately but I am now) because I didn't have time to find pants in the dark but sorry if we're going to do this shit in the middle of the night thanks to his time difference then I wasn't going to be at a hundred percent. I was wearing a nice shirt (Lochlan's plain blue flannel button-down from yesterday) and I managed to flatten my pixie enough to be presentable and I asked again why I needed to be present for a strategy update and he laughed and said because I was in underwear and socks, that's why and he loves the fact that I'm committed to making sure he misses me so much he aches.

Which brought a halt to everything as I killed the call and called him privately for a health update. If he says something 'aches' then something is wrong and I knew I should have gone. I wish he hadn't gone at all and I wish he would give in already and let technology take the place of shaking people's hands.

He assured me he is tired but fine and he's going to sleep on a beach for the entire first week of December.

(Did I say I should have gone? Yeah. I should have gone. That sounds nice.)

He reestablished the call and our parties were there waiting. I had to pinch my legs to keep from falling asleep and only contributed two questions to the whole thing but they were smart questions and Caleb looked proud and then finally it was finished and I could go back across the driveway (I need to have it loud so I took the call at the Boathouse) and book upstairs to crawl up the center of my bed, passing out cold (no, literally) on top of the quilts.

This morning Ben proclaimed that my outfit was to be considered pajamas from here on out and I am to come to bed like that forever because wow.

Lords of Salem, I reminded him.

I know. Oh, how I know. he said

Lochlan, ever suspicious and rightly so, asked me where my pants were. He's been difficult the past two days. Beyond difficult. (Level 12 difficulty, actually. I function at an 8 or so, if rested. Which I'm not.)

So I told him I didn't wear any and he asked how I got across the driveway half-dressed, in the dark, in the rain. So I told him.

The same way I always do. Quickly.

It was over chowder at lunch time before he actually spoke to me again. It's fine. I lasted until afternoon coffee before I replied back.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

I break 'em, they fix 'em (return of the Poet).

You don't want to look at me
For you will turn to stone
(Repeat after me: I can love him all I want, that still doesn't make him mine and that's okay.)

Everyone's favorite beat poet has returned to the point and we couldn't be happier. Gone is the untouchable Lizard King and in his place stands a man who isn't wearing sunglasses or smiling that stupid sexy grin. He isn't dangling an unlit cigarette out of the corner of his mouth and he isn't holding a drink.

He was sitting on the side of the bed when I opened my eyes though and I hadn't expected him until tonight. They surprised me. I got to have breakfast with Duncan (and Loch before he had to go to work!) and then he was whisked off to a meeting with Sam and Ben. It wasn't weird or uncomfortable though I felt keenly watched by all.

And that's not exactly new, so the only person making things weird is me, as usual.

They returned Duncan much the same way Ben came back. Twenty-five pounds heavier and completely unshaven. He carries it well at least and will lose it fast. Unlike his program my kitchen doesn't feature an award-winning chef or even regular meals, since it's only me and PJ who cook much of anything at all.

I didn't know how much I missed his hugs until I was in one again for the first time in five weeks. I had a hard time letting go but Sam was eager to keep Duncan on track even though the only thing he has to do is continue to get better. He says he can do it here. That we're fine. That he's ashamed he let things get so bad and sorry he got everyone riled up. He was careful to keep blame out of the picture since they are educated to take full responsibility for their own thoughts, actions and consequences.


He and Dalton have gone out to grab some lunch and shop for some bigger clothes. As expected, I was not invited. SURPRISE.

The world doesn't revolve around me. Right. Whatever.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Twosday (something neat).

Because I hardly ever follow up on a damn thing and I wrote about this almost a year ago, here is my view when I'm flat on my back in the big bed.

Lochlan put the whole galaxy on the ceiling for me. The tiny fairy lights trace the path from Mercury to Pluto and back (yes, Pluto) and underneath the planets the ceiling is covered in glow in the dark stars. When we turn off all the lights, it's positively breathtaking because the fairy lights have given an extra boost to the path that the planets are one so the stars glow slightly stronger along it than the rest of the ceiling. It also reflects in the patio doors so it looks like it goes on forever.

Yes, the stars make the shapes of their constellations. Not all of them, only my favorites. He's a perfectionist.

Pictures don't do this justice. This is only Earth, Mars and Venus besides because they are right over the bed. It's a pretty big room and the galaxy goes from corner to corner, side to side. A huge lazy oval. It's fucking amazing. I fall asleep in outer space and I couldn't be happier.

Christmas crow.

Let me clarify, because everyone is clearly literate but gets a fail in reading comprehension or maybe I was too ambiguous for my own damned good. (Not sure when I've ever been on my own good side, but if I need to spell it out then I shall and then we'll move the fuck on, because he comes home tomorrow and I don't want anyone thinking I'm not fit to greet the guy.)

Here's the thing. During his time away, over the phone with all the courage of a faceless audience, Duncan said more than once that he wasn't sure if he wanted to return to the Collective. I'm not sure if he was feeling me out, testing me or just voicing early doubts. He never clarified it for me so I took it at face value.

To that end, I don't want him to come home if I'm just going to be sated, comfortable having everything as it should be and everyone home only to have him wake up weeks or days or months from now only to decide he's going to leave.

(I unreasonably ask for forever-promises on a regular basis. I'm aware it's not realistic or healthy. I can't help it. My brain needs instant relief or it goes missing.)

So don't come home and break my heart, is all.

Around here that isn't a lot to ask for. Maybe it is. I'm sorry. I understand living here within this intentional family is intense and dangerous, more difficult than easy but these boys are my family and you don't just check out so if he's going to come home only to leave then I hope he tells me up front.

That's what I meant by a test. I want him to tell me to my face that he's going to be okay here again. Like before he decided he should fall apart. He wasn't supposed to be one of those ones. He was supposed to be strong and silent and now there are doubts cast over everyone left as they seem to fall one by one. I want them to be happy, above all. If they aren't then I'll take the broken heart but please try to make it hurt as little as you can.

So PJ making me cry, forcing me to promise him I'm not going to go after anyone else was unnecessarily harsh and completely unnecessary. I should have just written what I meant instead of trying to protect myself from real life issues that I don't want to face. I know how Duncan feels. Courage is so easy when you're not being stared down. I just want to be excited and not afraid.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Can't take me anywhere and sorry but I'm not sorry.

My punishment for missing church yesterday was to spend most of this rainy Monday helping Sam around the office.

I'm only here so he can pick my brain, test my resolve and shore up my heart for the next incoming storm. The one named Duncan. I don't know why Sam worries and I don't know why he bothers standing up to Joel/Loch/Ben/Caleb when it comes to me when he could just let go a little but at the same time watching Baby Preacher jockey for senority warms my heart and I know it's wrong but if I didn't love Sam he wouldn't be in my life.

I keep trying to compare all this to Joel. Sam and Joel are the same from a qualifications standpoint now (casual counselors) though Sam has all the credibility in the world where Joel has none left but Joel isn't a part of my family. Just a part of my team.

Kind of like Corey isn't family. There's no love lost there. But Corey doesn't live on the other side of the driveway.

(If he did I might move because he scares me something awful. He's cutting. He's a bully.)

Sam has already established that I am looking forward to Duncan coming back so that everybody is home safe for the holidays and we'll be supportive and loving to him because he wants to be here and he wants to be well without being beholden to alcohol and maybe get back on track to being the coolest guy in the world.

Bad Bridget who is never going to show her ugly face in this church can't wait to have Duncan back so she can test him and see if he can handle her.

(Because he promised once that he could indeed and she still believes him.)

Sunday, 23 November 2014


And I'm not seized in desperation
No steel reproaches on the table from before
But I still can feel those splinters of ice
I look through the eyes of a stranger
This morning is made up of giant Christmas trees up and lit, Sheri Moon Zombie's amazing ass, Lords of Salem hangovers and early preparations for Duncan's return.

!!!! Finally.

Also Count Chocula. I had my first bowl. I didn't like it. Ben was marginally sad at my reaction, even helpfully pointing out that the milk was turning chocolate, just like it's supposed to but that didn't help. Yuck.

Oh and church hooky because I sleepily told Sam that we would be along and then Lochlan came down and pulled me back to bed by the front of my pajamas and then he didn't have anything to hold on to in seconds and I fell back asleep afterward and they didn't bother waking me up so I missed church and then lunch too and oh, it's not even morning anymore so there is that to point out.


It didn't help that Lochlan just lay there smiling at me. Threatening that if I set one foot on the floor I was going to get it and then I got up anyway and he pretended to get up and I ran but once I got to the door I realized I still needed to shower and change. He laughed and ambushed me in between the shampoo and the soap. Again.

So yeah. That took forever.

But I'm up now and I'm starving. Literally starving.

Caleb called from London. I missed the call and he didn't leave a message. He sent a picture of some goodies he is sending back, including Lochlan's favorite snacks that you can't buy here. Nothing like Count Chocula but too sweet all the same.

Oh yeah and Duran Duran. Because I'm amazed that I can still retain perfect recall of song lyrics I learned at ten and eleven years old but  I've been grocery shopping three times in a row and still can't remember to put lettuce on. the. fucking. list.

But damn.

(Also I can't find my pajamas now. Loch laughs and says he burned them right off me and I must have not been paying attention. Huh.)

Saturday, 22 November 2014

One millionaire short.

(I'm your slave)
This is what I crave
I'm lost, I'm saved
Caleb called last night during dinner.  We had everybody on deck including Joel, New Jake and Batman, for chrissakes and I had to bail halfway through.

He couldn't sleep. It was his last night in Dublin. He was all packed up and down to the casual outfit he had on and his laptop, ready to head to London first thing (not to the Hyatt Regency, thank heavens) for the busiest part of the trip. He again offered to send for me and be there to meet me at the airport on arrival. I didn't answer him and he changed the subject, asking me if I could send him the notes from a strategy meeting for one of the tiny little firms I talked him into funding here at home with nothing to go on other than a gut feeling. It's a test. So far so good. He admitted he needed more to do, that he doesn't have enough to keep his mind occupied and that's why he's wide awake at such a late hour. That he needed to hear my voice to calm himself down. To soothe his scarred heart.

He then tore me to shreds for not being there with him. For making him go alone. I sat there with my finger on the button to end the call and finally Ben came out and did it for me.

He'll figure it out, Bridge. Come in and finish your food. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Warmed me on a blustery damp Friday. (I wasn't going to post it but then I couldn't not.)

Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me resurrect
Right before your eyes
He took a huge gulp of what they thought was whiskey but it was fuel. He didn't swallow it, instead turning to me, kissing me hard. As he pulled back he sprayed the fuel all over me and then touched me on the shoulder with the torch. The audience gasped as I went up in flames before he swooped back in quickly with a wrap and made a romantic show of pulling me in close, effectively putting me out. Then he would try and soften it with another kiss and then fake-sneeze a flame. He would shake his head, kiss me again, and sneeze out another flame. By now the audience has forgotten the horror of his favorite trick and is laughing along. He finally takes another drink before kissing me long and hard. Forever until the catcalls begin and then when he lets me go I pretend to be dizzy for a moment before sneezing really hard, lighting all of his torches, held out like a bouquet.

It was very popular.

The poster said WITNESS YOUNG BURNING LOVE! It had a cheesy drawing of Elvis in a top hat, instead of Lochlan. We weren't there very long.

There’s no reason to cry now
There’s nothing to forgive
This suffering’s my blessing
The death of sin is how I live
This morning Sam confronted Lochlan in the front hall and asked if he actually tells me lies about Cole and Jacob being alive.

Loch stood his ground and said he did, that he does whatever it takes to get me to sleep. (He was surprised though.)

Sam told him I needed to learn to do it on my own, that it sets me back, giving my brain conflicting ideas and refusing to help me acknowledge death as I should. As I have.

Loch said he doesn't care, that sleep comes first and I'm smart enough to see when I awaken who's alive and who isn't. That if I don't sleep all bets are off and then we have a lot more to deal with. PJ wandered in, toast in hand, because both Sam and Loch have been known to engage in surprise fist-throwing and we don't want to send Sam to church with a black eye. Not now. Advent is starting soon and besides, they're fighting on the same team, they just forget sometimes.

Sam said if I need help he is here to talk to and Loch gave him a shove before PJ put his hand up in front of Loch and blocked him from doing any more damage. I went in and said it was an old comfort from years ago that has less to do with ghosts and more to do with a blanket quiet for a severely overactive mind and he's doing no harm by it. Sam seemed to accept that but still shot Lochlan a look that would have cut glass. I gave Sam a quick kiss to see him off and Loch just glared him right out the door.

I took him back for a little comfort of his own. Back to the show.

Norms don't get it, Locket. Doesn't mean it's not okay for us.

I know, Peanut. I just don't know what gives him the right.

He cares, that's all.

He should mind his own.

We are his own.

I felt his hands relax finally. Just a reminder that yeah, family. This is it. We're here. We're not always going to agree and yet Lochlan shouldered my safety and sanity for so long without knowing how to help me that he devised ways that were neither right nor even remotely acceptable but he did the best he could for a teenage boy in charge and it doesn't do any one of us any favors to question that at this late stage in the game.

Sam figured it out before he got to his car and came back, barging back in through the door and PJ swore and tried to head him off but he smashed right into Lochlan, throwing his arms around him, holding him close.

Sorry, my brother. Trying to protect you both.

Loch nodded and put his arms up around Sam too. I know you are. Thank you for that. It means a lot.  He nodded as they let go and Sam left again, with a nod to me to have a good day.

Sometimes the surprises are from the audience. Sometimes it's the performers' turn to gasp out loud and then relax when it all turns out okay.

(At least we get in for free.)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

If I lie on my side pressed against him I can count his freckles. One by one as they fade into winter to hide until the warm weather returns. His hair already seems longer, darker, the curls bigger still. The circles underneath his eyes holding his freckles captive are deep and dark and tell a story you might hardly not believe if it weren't for his eidetic memories, organized by season and year. By Bridget. Bridget at eight. Bridget at fourteen. Bridget at twenty-six. Bridget at thirty-three. Bridget now. Bridget at ten. Either mislabeled or he removed it to wax it nostalgic and now that it shines bright he's forgotten where it belongs.

Most of those stories I have too but mine are arranged haphazardly, clumsily, remembered in a completely different way, having taken away a different slice of life for being younger and far more naive before becoming vaguely, reluctantly hard, jaded into a concrete green for the things I have witnessed with my own eyes when people are free to be themselves. I only ever slept at night because he would take the most unpleasant of stories and explain in the way that only he could, telling me that the man that shot the other man out back was merely practicing a trick or the boy crying with the black eye walked into a light standard and was going to have his pictures taken for school the next day, or that if we didn't eat tonight, we would have the most fantastical breakfast in the morning, right after we've slept well.

Sometimes when he feels patient and generous he tells me Cole is off seeing the world and that Jake is downstairs. Sometimes he tells me the Devil is only in my nightmares because funnel cakes do funny things to my brain. Sometimes he tells me the feeling of falling is the same for falling in love, that agonizing lurch when your heart hits your breastbone and your blood begins to float and that it's not supposed to be scary.

He has two hundred and sixteen freckles left and that means winter is almost here.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Well, YEAH, if you walk in and I'm busy yelling the lyrics to Sex Metal Barbie while I test Christmas lights on the floor behind the dining room table well then you can't LAUGH, MOTHERFUCKER!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

So who did save your soul?

(Hold still for more first world problems because I swear storage capacity is worth more on the black market than bullets and gasoline combined.)

Ben took me out to breakfast this morning where we loaded up on hash browns and sausage and egg mcmuffins and then on the way to get groceries he ambushed me (again), taking me to the phone shop and trying to set me up with a 6 plus. He got one on release because he's one of the eight people in the world with hands and pockets big enough to deal with one. I grabbed it with both hands, tried to shove it in my pocket and then shook my head. I knew I'd regret it. It made for a fine angle from which to plead my case for a 128 GB regular 6.


I loaded on every single thing I've got and I still have 80 GB free.

*falls facedown in surprise*

Damn. I'll never run out of music now. This is a very far cry from my 8-AA-batteries-an-hour (sorry Cole, I know those were expensive) Sony Walkman with the option of only bringing one cassette at a time. I always played Jewel's Pieces of You because she's easy to sing along with and it was 1996.

So just..yeah...I still have that album on my phone right now. (shhhhhhhhhhhhh)

It's good, okay?

Caleb was all Good for you! on the phone like I finally let Ben buy me something. I'm very bad with that. I don't know if you noticed but it's very hard to let them buy me things. They'll all nod sagely and agree that it's tougher than they would have thought.

Until I showed Ben the box full of new phones since probably 2006 and he laughed. I don't think I've ever made it more than 14 months without someone buying me a new phone. It's pretty much the only thing I collect, other than boys. Reluctantly, of course.

(Phones reluctantly. Not boys.)

(And yes I blubbered through my call with Caleb. Because I'm a big fucking baby, that's why.)

Monday, 17 November 2014

(Do as I do, not as I say.) Quadrilaterals and polynomials.

You remain,
My power, my pleasure, my pain, baby
To me you're like a growing addiction that I can't deny.
Won't you tell me is that healthy, baby?
But did you know,
That when it snows,
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen.
It's like he's waking up. Eyes flashing, smile unable to leave his face, curls highlighted in the darkness. No longer in the shadow of the devil, he thrives in the moonlight, charm leading the way. A quiet confidence tried on for the first time in ages, inspected and repaired to one hundred percent. My heart soars. I wish sometimes that it was only us again, plotting our course on a stolen gas station map with a borrowed pen and the most foolish of dreams, dreams we never finished. Dreams we don't know the endings of yet. Dreams we can maybe finally afford.

But it isn't just us now and we have a whole built-in circus full of characters, full of workers, everyone knowing their role, playing their part and when the Devil lets go he leaves a wake of flames behind.

Only one person can control those and it isn't me.

Our audience is each other, our acts change daily, costumes too. Our profit is high and our word of mouth travels as far as the eyes can see. To a place I have never seen, a place Lochlan describes as magical, full of adventure and surprise and comfort too because comfort is essential when you travel so lightly as we are wont to do. I nod enthusiastically. I'll believe anything he says when he says it like this, only the adventure came to a grinding halt right here, grinding, sliding right to and then slightly over the edge of the world, tipping perilously toward the ocean but not quite. The wind ruffling our hair, threatening to help gravity just enough to end this grand adventure but our hero thought of that already and has fashioned a safety-rope made of my fears and doubts, twisted tightly together in lengths, knotted for strength, destined to save us somewhere along the line, the face of caution and preparation to his headlong rush, the childlike fear of the unknown that kept him from taking me into his arms and dropping off the face of the earth never to be seen again, lost in a mighty whirlwind of show after show after act after show. Going down in history as the courageous lovers who never saw the end coming until it was too late.

Except that isn't how it ends. Our act has changed so much through the years, veering haphazardly down one path, doubling back before heading deliberately down another and still here's one more path and it's different than all the rest but as he always tells me when the doubts rear up like boogeymen to chew off my limbs and then feast on my heart,

We're together. We have food. We have heat. But most importantly we have each other and I'll never need for more than you as long as you'll have me and be beside me. 

We need more than food and heat, Locket. I have to have grade ten math to graduate and I need an actual job and if we ever get caught we're screwed-

I'll always provide for you. I'll teach you the math. And you don't need a real job, that's why we're here. I'd rather do magic for the rest of my life than suffer indoors at some stuffy office gig and we're too good to get caught, darling Peanut. And that's the best magic right there. We're independent. We're perfect. We're invincible! 

Does this mean I can go get cotton candy for dinner? 

No. I stole beets and carrots from the field just down the road. You need vegetables to grow strong. 

You just said I was perfect. 

Perfectly miniature. I think you'd have a easier time if you grew just a little more besides. Then you could reach those dreams without me holding you up. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

You and your modus vivendi.

Everything I say you lie along with me (she said)
Every song you sing is that because of me (I said)
Any time I cry you always laugh at me (she said)
No matter what you do you won't belong to me
Caleb left this afternoon. Halifax-Dublin-London-Dubai-Delhi-Spain and then home again. Six places, twenty-two days. Which isn't much time in any place but he's rested and ready to conquer the world while we three here decide on whether to accept his offer of armistice once and for all.

I cried when he left. I cry when any of them leave. I cried when I saw Santa at the mall yesterday so this isn't a particularly awful thing, just a thing that I do that I can't fix and don't care to.

(Santa seems early. Don't you think?)

He said repeatedly if I change my mind he can send for me. Lochlan said it wouldn't happen so Caleb cut him out of the conversation all together. Ah. Brotherly love. (Here, take her. Naw, give her back, I changed my mind. You're still a monster.)

Duncan is nine days from coming home. Single digits. I am counting hours almost.

As a surprise while Caleb is gone I have arranged to have his house cleaned top to bottom, carpets and draperies steamed, wood conditioned, kitchen professionally detailed. Then a day before he returns a grocery delivery including fresh flowers.

I'm good like that.

I'm outstanding like that. I spoil my men. Mine, even if I'm not theirs.

And I know what armistice means. Maybe he likes me dumb and pretty, still a child in matters of this life but I know it doesn't mean an end to the war, just a break. Which isn't up to us to accept or reject in the first place. He was going on this trip anyway. That is the break. He wonders if things will change while he's gone. If I will miss him to the point of shifting allegiance. If I will be so lost without him here that I will turn over everything to his charge and leave his nemeses out in the cold.

No. I will not. However. I would be open to a different sort of arrangement but this time I will make it myself and he can either agree to it upon his return or find out what it means to be left out in that godforsaken cold himself.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

No one's going to build a monument to love here.

Last minute instructions as he's beginning to pull his things together for a three week round the world odyssey to diversify, reaching out to some untapped desperate markets and have a trickle of European profits to round out what is shaping up to be a surprisingly solid and easy to oversee selection of projects. I reassure him if I have any problems I can easily reach him by phone. If that fails I can always go to Batman for help. Caleb frowns and says he'll check in daily and nothing can go wrong that can't wait.

I nod. This is a technicality. He didn't have to put me in charge of anything. It could have sat with a short note on his voicemail to relay his return date and an automatic reply on his email to say the same. He just likes to put me in the hot seat. He is always testing me and I always remind him that I do business using logic and common senses because that's the way life works. He always frowns and says I sound like Lochlan.

He tells me he is going to miss me while I count out pills and more pills for him to take along. Some are dailies. Some are just-in-cases. Some is spray nitroglycerin in triplicate and it's all neatly labelled now and in clear bags ready to be pulled out of his carry-on bag for inspection at airports. This part makes me a little nervous and so his daily check-ins are five deep. Batman in the morning. John at lunch. Ben at dinner. Henry at bedtime. Me at night. This is so over-engineered I want to Caleb to wait, that he can get Luke or even Batman or maybe possibly me to go at a later date but he wants to get this done and onto the books before year end.

I tell him to avoid the women. And the Russians. He laughs and tells me he's too old to get in any trouble these days.

Any advice for the really hard parts, Babydoll? 

Late in the night when you can't sleep, you mean?


Call me. It'll be early here. I'll talk you through it. 

Or you can just come with me. 

I shake my head. I'm trying so hard to avoid this part of the present.

Take care of our son and if anything happens, Bridge-

I nod. I know what to do. I know where all the papers are. 

Not what I mean. I mean if I'm gone, don't let them vilify me to Henry. I want him to be proud of me. I don't want him to have to hear the things I have done.

My nose gets all stingy and my eyes start to leak but I nod. I didn't let anyone do it with Cole. I won't let them do it for you. 

And if I go, Bridget-

Just.. Just shut up. The odds aren't there that you won't come back so let's not do this. 

Well you don't read the letters anyone has left for you so I made a video. I emailed it to you already. Watch it now or if I don't come back or later but watch it eventually, okay? It's important. 

I nod and he kisses the tears off my eyelashes. Diabhal? I can't talk about this.

Hey. I know. And this goes both ways. If you need me to get through the really hard parts, call me. 

You're never going to get any work done. You realize this, don't you?

That's fine. I'm at a point in my life where I set up the pieces and the puzzle solves itself. 

You're so humble about how hard you work. Stop it. You need to take it easier like you promised. 

I need to actually be busier because then I get into less trouble concerning matters of the heart. Did I tell you one of my side excursions is to the Taj Mahal?

I have always wanted to see it with my own eyes and it's hard not to turn jaded green at his news.

Send me a selfie when you get there. I'll put it on my blog. 

You'll do nothing of the kind, Bridget. 

It would be nice for people to see that you're human, Cale. 

Why would I want to be human when I can be a God instead? And he leans down to kiss me hard because I'm finished. There's nothing left to pack.

Gods don't need luggage, Diabhal. 

This is not my final form, of course. I like to travel in disguise. He winks and lets me go. His charm. I could drown in it if it didn't dissolve my bones the moment it touches me.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Even at my ugliest.

You always say I am beautiful
As you tear me to pieces
Matt came home early this morning. Early like 3:47 this morning and of course everyone is now asleep and I'm all Hiii? Someone come play with me? But no one answers except the furnace and the odd random cat meowing for attention and winding around my legs.

He walked in with his customary clear call, Honey, I'm home! I thought Sam might burst but he didn't because that would have been messy and ironic and so instead he only grinned huge and glassy and rushed into the front hall and we all followed and Matt was greeted as if we hadn't seen him for years. It made my chest hurt because Ben would go out for six, eight, thirteen months and we would stay up and greet him the same way. Hugs. Smiles. Tired relief like okay, everyone is here now, home safe.

We can actually sleep now except sleep is still waiting for when Duncan is home too. At least for me. The rest of them can sleep but me, I always wait.

But Caleb leaves before Duncan will be home and  my chest hurts every time I think about that too.

Bridge. Come back to bed. 

Yeah. Okay, Locket.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Comets are a girl's best friend.

All 142 frames of this are amazingly touching. You can click through them all here.

Take me all the way to the end
Show me how you want it to end
Keep dancing with the dead
Go ahead
Keep dancing with the dead

The devil's in your head
Filling in the stance
God is playing dead
So save your breath
I declined Caleb's offer again this morning. He leaves in a few days for Dubai and will be gone for weeks. He thinks I should go with him and has managed to make the pot so sweet if I dove into it I wouldn't even sink for all the sugar. Dublin. The Canaries. A whirlwind trip to see everything I've ever missed. With him. The original benefactor who brought the world to me. He thinks I'm throwing my life away once again in order to follow Lochlan around. Baby duck, he calls me. Imprinted. This is wrong, Bridget. I went out and made a life for us and while I was ensuring your future you ran off with the Joker.

He is mad about that and also because he actually thinks I'm about to order plastic cufflinks for him for Christmas and he insists I am more than that, that I should strive harder to be what he wanted me to be instead of what I have become.

We come bearing our baggage, hauling the weight up on our shoulders, braced in a rigid stance facing each other. He is never going to put his weight down, while I would drop mine in a heartbeat except for the fact that my hands are fused around it, melted together and I can't seem to let go.

Everyone sees a different facet and I blind them all when the sun hits me. A miserable diamond, a shattered visage, a valuable and yet worthless trinket set by a market rate but fetching whatever number is called on any given day. Some days I am surprised. Some days no numbers go up at all.

I'm not sad that he's going, honestly. I'm looking forward to the break from his intensity. I'm looking forward to debriefing Henry and not being criticized because I can't crawl out of my own way here. I'm looking forward to being in charge and being deluded about that as well. I'm not actually in charge. I never will be but the North American side of business falls to me in Caleb's absence and I'm anxious to prove myself worthy. A diamond in the rough, or something. I can be in charge of his high-stakes ventures with his full confidence but not of my own household. How telling.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Like playing Barbies but giant oversized Barbies with beards!

This morning I painted Ben's nails for him and helped PJ do a mask on his face. I asked Ben if he wanted a mask as well, for exfoliation and he asked what the mask tasted like. He's looking at the front of the container. Cucumbers and coconuts? I ventured. But probably like chemicals. 

He declined. For once.

Lochlan came in and did his Oh ho ho Santa-Claus laugh. He saves it for his happy/incredulous moods. I chased him around the house trying to get him to submit to some treatments too but his idea of effort is not brushing wet curls. Then once they're dry he rakes his hand through them and has perfect glossy red loops.

I swear to God in my next life I want that hair.

Ben's nails are black. There's no other color ever. Well, once when Ruth was four he let her paint them pink. They were still pink when he came home from tour and if you look at pictures online from that summer you can see the pink polish on every set of horns he throws.

It's great.

PJ asked how to get the mask out of his beard after about fifteen minutes of waiting for it to harden. Rather, he whined for a good ten minutes while I guessed at solutions.

Have a hot shower. Or stick your whole face in a sink full of really hot water?

Oh come on, Bridget! Seriously? There's no easier way to get this out of my beard?

I don't know. I don't have a beard so I'm not the expert here.

Wait. Loch, how do I, oh nevermind. Not like you can grow an actual beard. (Oh. Burn.)

Naw but at least I can grow a set of balls and not let her play beauty parlour with my face, asshole. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Checkout is 3pm.

Had an epiphany! A diamond headband with a pixie cut would be hella cute. Just need to find one now. God forbid I mention it or I'll be taken over to DeBeers and held there until I pick something. I don't want something from there. I mean like a Goody Rhinestone one from the drugstore.

In other news, I woke up long enough to page through my favorite Christmas catalogue today and every model made me think of Drunk J Crew.

(I never laughed so hard lately as I did at this website.)

But then I found Caleb's Christmas present for this year. No, not the Maserati. He doesn't love those cars in the same way I don't 'love' DeBeers. I'm getting him THESE.


I've been rattling around the house mostly since 5 am (I don't sleep anymore. Why don't I sleep?) and I looked out the window and abruptly it was like someone flipped a switch and the sun rose. Like it was dark as I walked toward the window and I blinked and it was light out.

I wish I could do that at will. I hate the short days so badly

More later. I might be hallucinating and should probably go back to bed.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Small but not quiet.

I can't believe I let myself break down
Every morning now at four I get up, turn on the fireplace and bring my phone and headphones back to the middle of the big bed. I burrow back down between the sleepers and put on music. Mostly I just play Run Free/Moving On/The Road on repeat until I fall asleep again and then when Loch's alarm goes off at six he will quietly lament the need to tether me to him so I'm not wandering around in the dark. It was so easy once with a tiny fifty-six-square-foot space. Not so easy now. Fifty-six hundred feet and then some.

He'll wrap his hand around the back of my head and pull me back in. So warm. Perfect. He'll promise me we'll get new headphones because these ones are broken from waking up lying on them and after snoozing for twenty minutes or so he'll leave me here and go get ready for the day.

I put the headphones back in and press my forehead against Ben's arm until he shifts and spoons with me. He says turn it down and I ignore the request because I can pretend I'm asleep and he doesn't know what a lifetime of sleeping with music on has done to soothe my brain and how much I missed it recently.

He is back to full sleep in seconds anyway. I press repeat another fifty times until my batteries run out and then I get up too.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

I used to love the sound of rain when I could hear it finally.

The only thing I'm needing is for you to be bleeding
From my homicidal kiss
It'll be five years this early spring since we moved here. I should be packing. Anything over four years and I start to live on time borrowed from someone else's future. A nice present (and a bad pun) but I always wonder if the cabin fever is some sort of escapist technique I just haven't figured out how to wield properly.

Caleb laughs at this suggestion and provides one of his own, saying he thinks Lochlan managed to impart to me a fairly serious notion that humans don't need roots or stability or familiarity at all and that it was profoundly damaging in adulthood, proper.

I remind him not to be disparaging and he dismisses his words as normal thoughts, unchecked. No filter, as he promised to be as forthright as I always am. I walk in the door, unload my anxiety all over you and then wear your mental picture of my transparency as a frame around my fragile bones. I don't do it on purpose, this is just what has become of me.

He asks how we, all together, would start over yet again, somewhere else and I tell him,

Leave that to me. Just pick some place where it never rains but I'm still on the beach. Okay?

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The lady who pinned my poppy on me this year is a genius. It's still on there. She threaded the tip back up through the poppy itself. It's not going anywhere, and my hand is all poked to bits from trying to adjust my seatbelt strap under my coat collar. I'm not complaining though. Usually I lose them within minutes.

Sam had someone else pin his and as such, lost it within minutes.

He's getting so excited. Matt comes home next Saturday for good. The work thing is done. Matt was on Skype with us and August and Duncan (home in less than three weeks) and everyone else too and it was amazing yesterday.

Til I ruined it by crying and asking August to come back.

But you know. I cry every time I see him. It's not him though. It's me.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Good morning (my archives, they're up now. Go read all about Jake while I lie here and die.)

Life goes on here. I'm not quite up to a big birthday dinner tonight for Jake but maybe later this weekend.

I had a massive change of heart. I reuploaded all of the missing archives. All of Jacob, from the day I left Cole right through to marrying Ben and then walking away from my blog. Two year's worth of entries, April 2006 through April 2008 (when I left for four months and then was convinced to come back) is up now and available for your reading pleasure.

I'll apologize in advance for the liberal amounts of romantic cheese at the start. Jake was like that.

But he's gone now and it serves no purpose to shove his memories in some dark corner. If they were in direct sunlight, perhaps they might fade a little faster so I can thrive a little here too. He wasn't magic and it took seeing it all again to understand that.

Maybe Sam was right.

I'm not going to die though. I feel a little braver than I expected to at this point. It's been seven years today. Happy forty-fourth, Pooh.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Christmas? MADE.

Ultra Snobby Sugar Daddies of West Van.

(I'm so cranky today.)

The news out today seems to be the new Star Wars title (The Force something I forgot) and the fact that yeah, they did go ahead and make a second episode of Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver. I'm not a Star Wars person, as such. I'm really not. I don't get the hype. I think it's cheesy and poorly written and frankly some people, once you reach a certain age, develop a thirst for nostalgia that rarely matches the quality of the thing you are waxing about.

URAGV on the other hand, well it's just delightful. Probably wouldn't be if the episodes ran longer than fifteen minutes each but it's hilariously pointless. Poorly directed, stereotypical and also weirdly sweet. There's no purpose other than today I learned that Chanel put out a line of purses called Boy.

Not sure I'm missing out on fashion. They also put out a line of QUILTED FUCKING MILK CARTONS. I think fashionistas are being punked, is what I think but whatever. I'll be a Coach girl on my deathbed. Only the leather ones though. And yeah, I love Snoopy but I don't want a Coach Snoopy handbag because I'm not twelve. Well, I am but twelve-year-olds don't carry $400 handbags.

Maybe the Ultra Rich ones do.

My favorite handbag of ALL time was a burgundy vinyl mini-backpack from Bentley. I carried it from age fifteen to twenty-two and then it broke. I wasn't Ultra Rich though. Probably the opposite which is why I was so blissfully happy today to find petite Rider Jeans at Wal-Mart of all places because sometimes that's where I go. They fit so good. You don't know what it's like to buy short or 28" minimum inseam jeans only to come home and discover there is still an extra eighty-five inches of fabric after your toes stop to still deal with.

Caleb frowned and asked if I needed jeans made. I told him quite loudly and slowly that I. just. found. a. bunch. at. Wal-Mart. and looked at him with huge eyes.

He physically winced.

I should see if they want to make a show about him.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Gravy train.

Is it sick of me
To feed the animal in you
Is it sick to say
I tease the hunter like I do
Is it sick of me
To watch the wicked way you thrill
Is it sick to say
That I live to break your will
Ben took me Christmas shopping this morning. We got wrapping paper, ribbons, some LED light garlands for the mantle and a few books to add to what we already have to send home to the grandparents. All of the grandparents. I shop all year round but yes, I'm going to be the first person to remind you Christmas is now fifty days away.

Jacob's birthday is two days away. Ben's is less than a month! He won't tell me what he wants and I don't know what to get him. This is nothing new. I should get him some sort of silver teething ring. In the grocery store this morning when we were picking up a few odds and ends he ripped the top off an envelope of powdered gravy and stuck his tongue inside and then made the worst face I've ever seen.

He then opened a container of chocolate milk and drank half of it in the aisle. We got a really big frown from an older lady and I got cross and told her we planned to pay for it. He took the jug away from his face and gave her his best Kurgan laugh.

Gosh, Ben can look so scary sometimes doing this stuff. Part of me wishes he could have a little more self-control and the rest of me eggs him on because if you can't have fun while you're living then you're never going to have any fun at all.

Ben and I were like this together before death happened to us.

It's sometimes really nice to know we can still be silly. Or creepy. Or just weird.

He said we can get a cake for Jake's birthday if I want. I'm thinking about it. I'm thinking it's a great idea and also a terrible idea and I should probably run it by Sam or Joel's just cake and cake is pretty much the point of life, isn't it?

It's not?


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Easy answers/no easy answers.

He's covering it over by telling them that his point was that in spite of testing or margins of error or percentage matches, he would still have stepped in to take care of his brother's family no matter what. But don't worry, we used the best labs. Tests don't lie. Those percentages can't be called in question. They're simply too high.

I stood behind the door and rolled my eyes because the nobility of it all slays me. No, actually it doesn't. What slays me is how easily the rhetoric pours out of his mouth like black tar, coating everyone in a slow reassuring ooze. They buy it. They buy it with lingering silent doubts but they still buy it overall.


What do you want for Christmas?

Levi 501s in my size. 

Ah, the endless search for jeans that fit properly. What else?

The Justin Trudeau book. 



Someone needs to teach you how to be a girl. Every other female on earth keeps a ten-page list. What have you always wanted?

A rear-wheel drive car I can drift in!

I give up.

Monday, 3 November 2014

I heard shouting this afternoon and ran to look outside, wondering if some of the boys were home and had decided (against my wishes) to take matters into their own hands.

I see Batman standing at the bottom of the steps to the boathouse and Caleb at the top. They're both shouting and gesturing angrily and then Batman turns and sees me. He come straight over to the side door and I meet him there, where he sticks his finger up in my face and tells me to stop buying into Caleb's attempts to find a way to hurt me. That it's probably all bullshit anyway and I'm stoking the fire by even responding to him. That we maybe do belong together because between the two of us we create enough drama for a fucking soap opera. He says no more trips across the drive and if I miss Ben so badly I should call him and he'll do what he can to get home early or stay home or whatever he needs to do and do I understand?

I nod and he closes the door in his own face. He doesn't have time for this. I stand there staring up at my back door, listening to his footsteps as they fade.

But all I can think is he said probably.

It's called Defamation and I don't care.

But look at my hopes, look at my dreams
the currency we've spent
I love you
You pay my rent
Last night was a furious round of hate sex followed by restless sleep and I was up at five standing on the stupid thinking-patio (as Ben called it because he's right too) feeling the rain saturate through my skin until it mixed with my blood, diluting my life almost colorless. Lochlan came up behind me and I jumped fifty feet when his arms came around my ribs. I took out my (wet, broken) headphones but he was already three sentences in. Wants a mulligan on our fight, didn't mean to add to my stress. Is going to work on how to deal with the inevitable Devil. Is going to work on sharing. Is going to work on never threatening me with his absence.

This isn't even a Ben-coerced crow feast. No, this has Batman written all over it. Batman is so close I can taste him but far enough that you can't see him with the naked eye.

Ben is too busy for this. I forget what Ben looks like except for the expression on his face last week on the plane when I threw up in his shirt pocket and he was alternately charmed by my ingenuity and horrified by my sudden air sickness. He didn't quite know whether he should try and save the shirt or call it a loss and be grateful for the t-shirt underneath (we went for loss).

I nod and tell Loch that's a shame because he was right and this isn't working at all.

He reminds me that I already pointed out we got ourselves into this mess and we can't change it.

The weight hits my shoulders squarely, hammering me clear through the earth and I pop out in the water on the other side, immediately beginning to sink.

I don't even bother showing him the messages on my (wet, broken) phone from Caleb. A game of twenty questions spanning several days, back and forth, ranging from deep to sublime. What's your secret favorite color that you never tell people? and Is the reason you're like this because you hate me that much? 

And we took our sweet time answering (Lilac. No) before he lobbed a grenade out of the blue.

What would you do if you found out on Henry's 18th birthday that he wasn't mine? 

I'll show them. Probably later but I'm sure it will be dismissed as a game, that we have proof otherwise. We had our own testing done. Henry has genetic markers that match Caleb's to a tee, and sometimes the same attitude. That could be from the time they spend together. There's so much of it.

 But Henry looks nothing like Caleb. If I lined up everyone I've slept with over my lifetime I would still pin Henry to Jacob without hesitation and if Caleb isn't playing a game then Jake would have flown for nothing. Caleb would have kept me here for nothing. Loch would be tormented for nothing. Caleb would have won the worst game of payback for his brother's death that I could ever imagine.

And I wouldn't put it past him. Not even for one second.  Especially since I found out he is single-handedly responsible for Duncan not being able to stay on the wagon and is now focusing on Sam, who apparently is next on Caleb's To Ruin list.

Because he can. I guess Lochlan and I weren't enough. He isn't about to let anyone get close to me without paying a price. I don't know why I put up with this, Oh, right. I didn't get a choice.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Manipulating shadows but right every time.

Life is like a constant state of switching from light to dark as I am thrust back into the spotlight of the big top. Lochlan's gone full shutdown on me though, sitting in the darkness, top hat and drink at hand. He looks like The Shade character, slouched in the rain on the patio, refusing to speak until I conjure up enough helper phrases from family therapy to open him up just a crack. His skin is on inside out these days anyways, as is mine and Ben's too but Lochlan will never accept this. Never ever ever.

Can you help me? I finally ask and he turns sideways in the chair. I don't know how drunk he is.

I could help by leaving. Then you'd never have to feel bad. I wouldn't have to live like a norm anymore and you would be free to wear yourself to pieces rubbing up against the guy who ruined everything for us. What an extended reward for him. What a fucking curse for me. 

I'm not rewarding him, I'm taking something I need and punishing him too. (Woah, there goes that fleeting foolish misdireccted insane pride of mine again.)

What do you NEED that you can't get in this house?


Cole's dead, Bridget. Fucking his brother isn't going to bring him back. 

But it does. And thinking that is the only way I can deal with Caleb.

Then you need more help then you're getting, Neamhchiontach, but you know that already. 

It works. You're supposed to look the other way. And don't ever call me that again.

You're walking around telling everyone I'm you're one and only. Clearly it's a line from an act and I think I've seen it before. He takes another drink.

It's not an act. 

Then leave Diabhal alone. 

I can't. If I don't go he'll take Henry from me. 

We can fight him. No judge is going to separate a boy from his mother. 

They will if it's me. All he has to list everything that's wrong with me, everything I've done and no judge is going to leave a boy with his fucked up mother. 

He takes another drink.

We're fucked, Locket. 

No. You're fucked. I could just walk away. 

Ruth needs you. 

She has a whole collection of better fathers than I could ever be right here. 

That isn't true. 

I missed her childhood because I was off trying to forget about you because I forget how much this hurts. Then I come back for more and I'm still not exactly raising her. He pays for everything. PJ looks after the rest. Kind of like with you.

None of this is going to change until Henry is a legal adult. 

I don't have to live with it. I could go. Start over. Go back to the show. Live out my days from a suitcase, in front of a crowd. This isn't me. 

You need to stay here. With me.

With who? You aren't yourself. My Bridget doesn't sweep around in a Valentino gown pressing buttons for fire. My Bridget stands in the pouring rain, shivering from the cold, her stomach growling, in the same clothes she's worn for two weeks straight and she can't keep the lighters dry but she smiles so big for me I think my heart shattered every time I looked at her. She looked SO HAPPY. She sure doesn't look so happy now, Miss Millionaire. 

I'm not, because you're not.

THEN FIX THIS, BRIDGET. Because, Baby, I've got one foot out the door and if I go I won't come back this time. You'll have to come to me and dammit, I don't think I can wait forever for your loyalty to them all to fucking die already.



Saturday, 1 November 2014

Worth it in the end.

(Halloween is a gimme for the Devil. Obviously.)

He wanted to shrink the world. 

I held my breath and stood very close as it got smaller and smaller until it was no bigger than a footprint for two and there was just enough air for both of us and just enough cognitive awareness to remain in the present but no room for the past or the future.

Then he turned, asking me if I was ready. I nodded somewhat hesitantly. There is room for worry. Will it be like the last time? What if he's worse? What if I can't play my part with the Corporate Cowboy to his satisfaction? What if satisfying him is as difficult as ever?

I close my eyes to keep my balance on the ledge in front of him and focus on my breath, forcing it to come slowly, just like the rest of me as he smiles and my brain edges in on my heart, shoving it violently out of the way in an effort to force just a little space for the past. Come on now, it teases. Just a memory or two won't hurt a thing. His hands are the same. His blood, the one and only. Five years apart but it might have been five minutes for how alike they are in certain ways.

My heart shoves right back. You don't get to choose. She's ruled by me. 

But my head just laughs out loud and the cowboy takes it as approval, kicking into a faster pace. His hands slide down my throat, down my arms, over my backside to my legs. He tightens his fingers around me and the past blooms in full color now, just long enough for me to say the wrong name and my heart withers and blackens while my head hisses Told you so spitefully.

Goddamnit. He stops and asks for clarification. Neamhchiontach. Don't lose your focus. 

I shake my head. I can't keep my balance on this tiny space. The past is bigger than the present and the future is nothing more than a black hole gaping dangerously before us. We're speeding straight for it, a race to a dead end.

Dead end.

I say the correct name and feel his relief like a dark warm blanket all around me. His arms tighten once more and his teeth press against my skull. He's not going to hurt me, he just needs me. He needs someone to hold. He needs time to process and absorb how he let me slip through his fingers, hammering himself into this tiny postage stamp of ground where we left off. The present is a difficult puzzle, as shrouded in mystery as the future, as tangled as the past. His lips force against mine, his hands holding my head. He is out of breath and headed home to the bigger world where we have room to run when abruptly he drops this kiss and whispers a plea for me to never leave him.

And in that tiny patch of darkness I smile because that's exactly what I'm always going to do until the day I die too.