(Eight years today and this doesn't hurt any less and everyone's a liar.)
The ache of regret and dread woke me up early and I made my way downstairs to see Sam, after telling Loch that I was going to get juice, that I'd be right back.
What if the letters had instructions on where to meet Jake in the future? Maybe he just needed some time and now he'll be waiting forever? We made a big mistake burning them. I shouldn't listen to you. Maybe I just need to keep listening to myself on this subject and not let you all steer me in the wrong direction.
Bridget, stay here for a bit. Let's talk about-
I need to go.
He lunges for me but I've already gone back up. Loch and Ben are dozing still, the house is dark and quiet and I go see Dalton next.
He puts his arm up with the quilts over it and I crawl in beside him. He brings his arm down and pulls me close.
Any other day I'd be drawn and quartered for this.
Would I be a bad person if I keep Caleb?
Depends. What's the motive?
Not losing anyone else. There's too many empty places at the table as it is.
And you think you can fill those holes by sleeping with the Devil?
No, but I feel less alone.
If you still feel alone between Loch and Ben then I would say nothing's going to help you and maybe you should keep the Devil on ice until you figure this out.
I say nothing but kiss him on the cheek and slide out of his bed. I put on my docs at the side door and head across the driveway to the boathouse. I look back once because I think I hear PJ call me but it's the wind so I keep going. The boathouse is dark too and the Devil is in his dreams so I guess I'm already there.
I slide under the furs beside him and his arm comes around me as he wakes up.
You okay? He says, in a voice thick with sleep.
I shake my head against his arms but say nothing.
I don't think Loch can be the man of your dreams if you wake up missing someone else, Neamhchiontach.
Keep Loch out of this.
He's in it, though. Fighting a ghost. It's the only thing that helps me sleep at night, knowing that he knows he'll never be number one to you.
Do you need to do this now?
Forgive me. It's hard to wake up triumphantly and triumphant to wake up hard because there's a Bridget in my bed.
I'm not going to give you up.
Music to my ears, Baby Doll.
I can't lose anyone else.
You never lost me, even when you asked me to step aside. I don't think it matters what you do. I'll be here until the end. He kisses me on the forehead but doesn't let me go right away and I don't try to leave. It's warm. Secure. Safe.
I leave him reluctantly and head back across the driveway, where PJ opens the door before I can turn the knob and frowns at me. How long were you there?
Five minutes. You going to lecture me?
If I must.
For the record I'm going to manage my own affairs from now on.
How does Loch feel about it?
Feel about what? There's Lochlan now. Awake and ready for a fight.
Bridget's going to use her grief as a shield to deflect any criticism she faces for continuing to sleep with everyone. (Thanks, PJ for picking sides today of all days.)
I shrug. You don't have to be assholes about it.
Neither do you, Loch tells me. His eyes are flashing with tired rage.
This is what you signed up for. Maybe you shouldn't have walked out when things got tough.
I came back. All in, Bridget. You have my heart.
I'm not all in. So I don't know what I have for you.
Look, just ride out the day and tomorrow things will seem better.
Why? Is he coming back?
Who do you think?!