Last night's whiskey and courage went long past dark and into wavery, drunken, dangerous territory for some of us. Including the Devil, who watched us closely, me and Loch, proclaiming us adorable more than once. We sat quietly by the fire sometimes, and sometimes danced and sometimes laughed at the radio play on the stereo. We went outside to watch the rain and we almost gave in to his invitation to extend the night when somewhere we found a crumb of self-control (learned so recently but maybe not) and politely declined.
Tomorrow I'll come by and we can swap Henry things and look at the taxes. It's almost February. Time to do up T4s for the locals. I catch myself trying to make things up to him to soften the blow.
Or just stay on.
Sorry. Not a good idea.
On the contrary.
Nothing changes, does it?
Again, on the contrary, Lochlan is learning to roll with it if you step outside of your boundaries.
No, he isn't.
We should test him. Better yet, bring him with you.
And let you eat him alive? Never again.
Caleb shows his teeth briefly and then the levity is gone in a flash. Sam is standing behind me. I can feel it.
Bridge, come back in. Loch, you too.
I'm having a great time being talked about, Sammy. Loch is lit from within. He's in slow-motion, liquor is mud to him. It paralyzes and calms him like nothing else.
Ah. I should give you a stipend for being her keeper now?
If no one else is around, maybe. August and Joel have gone home. PJ made sure the kids were ready for bed and then crashed in his room. Duncan is watching TV downstairs with Ben. No one would have saved us, truth be told.
What is she worth to look the other way this evening?
Far more than you might guess. She's been working hard. Don't try and mess with it right now. The newness of it has barely worn off.
Sam, the newness of you hasn't. This is dogma. She belongs with me.
She belongs with them.
I was first. I'll be last. You shouldn't stick your nose in where it doesn't belong.
Bridget, you ready to go inside? You've got to get some sleep. You too, Loch.
We nod but continue to stare at Caleb. I always wait for the figure as he tries to buy his way in.
But he doesn't. Not tonight. He's right, Doll. I'll see you tomorrow. Get some rest.
Sam looks relieved. I reach up and kiss the Devil's cheek and burn against the stubble. Oíche mhaith, Diabhal.
Neamhchiontach, coladh sámh.
Lochlan snarls mildly at Caleb on his way past but says nothing. By the time he thought of something, he'd be upstairs anyway and saying it in a language near no one can understand. The midnight ramblings in English/Gaelic/Romanian/Scottish Outrage are usually broken and lose their efficacy quickly when pickled.
Caleb smiles. Still adorable, he tells Loch. See you both tomorrow.