Woke up screaming. Jake was calling my name, his voice breaking over and over, a sound so lonely it curdled my blood as I slept fitfully between Ben and Loch and finally I sat bolt-upright, shrieking for him and he wasn't there. In the firelight Loch held me close and told me it was just my brain adjusting to the changes, that Jake is safe in heaven and he's not at risk. He can't be hurt and he can't get back to me because I released him to a better place finally. Ben nods on top of my head, squeezing both of us, barely awake but alarmed at the sudden outburst.
But I'm not having this. He's still there. I fight my way out of the bed, them grabbing for me and I start shrugging into my clothes, Ben tackles me against the wall, half-dressed, half-crazed. He's not there and you're not going there. It's just stress. Come and sleep, Baby.
But that isn't possible and within the hour half the household is awake and in the kitchen, tea steeping, lights blazing, Joel holding court with five o'clock casting a shadow over the room, wired and tired, attempting to explain what my brain is actually doing (processing. Grieving. Thinking TOO DAMN MUCH, everything hair-triggered by such an intense few weeks). I am given a sedative and sent back to bed. No dreams. No Jake. No memory of walking back up to our rooms. No desire to get out of bed today except that Ben forced me to. I whined and pushed against him as he physically pulled me out of the bed and stood me up against the closet door.
This is payback for me putting my faith into Lochlan making it through this intact, isn't it? Yesterday I called Lochlan the hero. Every day we fall a little more back into the love we used to have and every day Ben becomes a little more of a stranger.
He stands back and looks at me with irritation. No, Bridget, this is me wanting to take you out for breakfast because I keep venturing off into my own world when you need me in yours. And for the record, he's the hero in my story too. Tights and all.
He doesn't wear tights.
He should. He has nice legs. Now get dressed and let's go before they switch the menu over to lunch.