Yesterday is nothingSo far so good for a Monday. Caleb called to thank me for having flowers and cheese toast delivered to his suite shortly after he checked into the resort. He forwarded a few pictures of his view and I may have proceeded to spend the next half-hour snapping and frustrating my way around the house until Joel appeared out of nowhere and asked me if I still make butternauts.
I have half a life to rewrite
Of course, I snapped at him, too.
But then I nodded kind of slowly because I do, I make them every chance I get.
He took me to a place where nothing is under two digits (even a half-glass of juice) and we had a big fancy psychotherapy breakfast but I don't know if I felt better at the end, just full and tired and then we came home and he asked if I would hang out with him for a bit and help him nail down Christmas present ideas for his family. That maybe we could make some more coffee or some popcorn and watch a movie or something. If I wanted. If I was free.
I did and I was but I said no anyway and asked if he wanted to come hang out with PJ and I for a bit, that he was welcome to. He said no but he kissed my cheek and thanked me for the company over breakfast. I hesitated before asking but then just steamrolled ahead. Was this for a report? What does Caleb need now? I blurted it out before I could pretend I was oblivious when I know all along.
Joel looked surprised. That was breakfast. If you think I only speak with you when Caleb is concerned about you then you're mistaken. I care about you, Bridget and I want to help. So if I can still listen or guide you a little bit so you stay in a good place then it's the least I can do and you're a generous soul for allowing me the honor.
I don't have a soul but if you're telling the truth then maybe we can make this work, but only if he remains honest.
Only if you do, you mean.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Bridget, you've left a big black hole in your discussions with me. At first I thought it was a time constraint issue. Then I wondered if it was a conscious effort and now I see that you are willfully redirecting every conversation I start with you about Lochlan. Why is that?
He's not up for discussion.
He's fundamentally responsible for your upbringing and possibly for some of your issues now. If you don't see through some of your illusions about him then he'll continue to hold power over you-
Joel, you could have just come right and said you were still sniffing around on Caleb's behalf. Not sure how I wind up trusting you so easily but I'll be sure not to make that mistake again. Have a good day.
I walked to the main house and PJ opened the side door just as I reached it. Everything okay?
Sure. They think Lochlan is Charles Manson now and that I'm under a spell. It's just a typical, average day. Call me a disciple. Feed me a line and keep me in another.
But did you make butternauts? (PJ is just thrilled I can extrapolate Joel's deceptions so easily)
Of course. I made whole armies of them.
Then nevermind the rest. Come in and we'll make some more coffee.
If you don't mind I need to make a few calls.
Okay, I'll start without you.
I kiss PJ's cheek because he has the perfect blend of ironclad guidance and generously-granted privacy for me. Then I go to the library and close the doors to call Lochlan.
I relay the conversation with Joel to him and he asks me what I think. I tell him the truth, as he has always instructed me to do. That Joel is probably right and this isn't a commune, it's a cult, only it doesn't revolve around me, it revolves around Loch (which is what I always say anyway), who calls the shots and somehow managed to get someone who hates him to bankroll enough space to have all of us live together as a family and everyone defers to him and it's pretty weird, isn't it? Let's not even begin with the fact that at a young age I was separated from my family and friends in order for him to have one hundred percent control of me. I was taught to steal, taught to listen to him and no one else. I've worshiped him ever since.
He didn't say much. I could sense him smiling though. He'll let me believe whatever the hell I want until I move on to the next idea. If he never confirms Joel's fears then he doesn't have to answer to them and then he can forever feign ignorance even though never once has a single human that we've met ever thought of any of this as normal.
Why would they? It isn't.
And then I realized exactly what Joel was trying to do all morning, most likely as per the Devil's instructions. In Caleb's continued absence? Drive a wedge.
Sorry, Diabhal. It won't work. The sun rises and sets by the redhead and that ain't ever going to change.