Monday, 31 October 2016

STUPIDLY CONFLICTED. But at least not conflictingly stupid. We've got that much going for us, as ever.

If I don't take it will you leave?


If I take it will I lose you? 


I don't trust anything right now, Bridge. 

Then don't take it. Life continues as it did before. 

But you go to him anyway. 

If I do anyway, you may as well have the money. Take it.

But you'll leave.

Then don't take the money. 

I never wanted to sell you out. I never had any long con. I just wanted him to leave us alone. 

I'll con him all I want. If he's giving it away I'll be first in line. He owes me everything. I don't consider it selling out, it's more like further restitution. He looked after me, and now he needs to look after you.

Restitution. That's a technical way of putting this. 

It's payback, Locket. He went and made his existence and he's offering it to us. We've come full circle. Take it and enjoy it. You've suffered enough. 

But you might decide he's what you want. 

He'll never be what I want. I want you. And Ben. And...sometimes August. 

Bridget, he's been chipping away at you for years. What if this changes everything? What if it's a test of my loyalty? What if it's a test of yours? 

Then don't take it! Christ! Make up your mind. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Not the Halloween party post you were looking for.

(Words, weapons, wrath. Wounds. Wary. WHAT the fuck.)

I made her wealthy. I can do the same for you and then you wouldn't have to leave her during the day, wouldn't have to worry anymore. You could buy a new RV. You could do whatever you please instead of shilling for dimes, Dóiteáin, working for the man. Worried you'll get fucked over before payday, worried something will happen when you're not around. Life changes when you have money. Ask Bridget what it's like now that she doesn't have to save up to buy shoes for Henry, or budget when she goes grocery shopping. Ask her what little I asked of her in exchange for everything I gave away.

But Lochlan isn't going to respond. Not like this. He's looking at the floor instead of at the gun. It was the only way Caleb could get him to stand still for a moment and just listen.


Please, Neamhchiontach. Be quiet right now, Baby, please. His voice wavers but his hand is steady as he addresses Loch. I'm asking for time, and I'm going to pay for it. You're out nothing. She comes to me willingly and then at the end of the day she goes home. She remains yours. I get what I need. You're set for the rest of your miserable grifter life and no one gets hurt. I'm not going to bite her or tear her down. I just want to help her with Cole and I need to help myself. This will be nothing to you. Nothing she hasn't already done, nothing you aren't used to. I'll keep her safe, I promise you that but I don't want to spend the rest of my life pretending this isn't how life was meant to be. The three of us are here together for a reason. She isn't going to get better without me, let me fix this. Let me set things right-

I'm not selling out to you with her-

You wouldn't be selling out to anyone. I always thought we would go into business together, make our fortunes together. We can do that now. You become my partner. We can fix this. We did it, let's make it right. Before it's too late. Enough has gone wrong, Lochlan. There's been enough madness here. Let's fix this while there's still time. You've got her back finally, now is the time to make this the best life we can. I'm asking you for an arrangement that would put an end to this war. No more games. Just peace of mind. Accountability for your part in this. And Bridget gets better. Don't deny her this chance to be happy. Don't take away the last shot at fixing this because of your ridiculous pride. 

He waves us out. Think about this. We'll talk tomorrow. Or the next day. We can have the papers drawn up this week. You will both be fully protected in this arrangement. Whether it's a long con by you or not, I don't even care anymore. I just want this to stop. This fighting. This misery. 

Lochlan nods and then walks out, leaving me there. I follow him. he turns back on me halfway across the driveway in the dark.

Maybe it's a long con by you and Caleb. If I don't accept this, what happens to us? What do you want me to do here, Bridge? Which way are you hoping this goes?

Saturday, 29 October 2016

I'd take it down but I can't bear to.

He came back into the kitchen, wrapping his fingers around my upper arms, pressing his forehead against mine, walking backwards until we were up against the wall. He smiled at me, painfully almost.

Don't write about it, Bridgie. Don't write about it when I touch you. Don't write about us making love. Don't put it there so he can see it. It's not for him. It's for us.

Weird. I thought Lochlan would be boastful, thrilled to have it right out there for everyone (the Devil) to read. But he isn't.

Would have stayed in bed all day.

You're the love that I hate
You're the drug that I take
Will you cage me?
Will you cage me?
You're the pulse in my veins
You're the war that I wage
Can you change me?
Can you change me?
From the monster you made me?
The monster you made me?
Starset fans, it's your day.

New music is the best music. Monster is a little bit catchy, a little bit poignant and a surprisingly whole lotta dancey. Which isn't something I'd equate with cinematic space rock but it works. And I love it.

Album soon.


When I went upstairs last night Lochlan was lying on the bed reading, his giant iPad braced against his knees, pencil in hand. Jeans unbuckled, shirt unbuttoned all the way to the bottom. Glasses on. Hair wild. Drink on the bedside table. Lamps on low, fire in the fireplace.

It's almost as if you were waiting for me. 

I was. 

I smile. Moments of complete peace are so rare. He sits up, picking up the glass. We can share, he says.

I walk to the edge of the bed and stand between his knees as he feeds me a sip and then undoes the buttons on my clothes. Slowly. He's watching me, noting as my mouth opens slightly as his warm hands reach skin.

Bridget, I just want what's best for you. 

Almost kills the mood right there. What is that?

Happiness. I'm trying to follow in everyone's footsteps when I should have been leading the way. I'm playing catch up here when I don't even know how I fell behind. It won't happen again. 

I know. He puts his arms around me, pulling me in close against him. I lean in hard and he lies back, feet still on the floor. He rolls over and pulls me up underneath him, pulling my legs up around him, pushing me down, letting me fight just a little while he smiles through his whiskey and then we're on muscle memory, letting history show us how to touch each other.

He pulled me up hard over him at one point and left me there in Lochlan Magic Outer Space and wouldn't let me down until I shivered and shuddered from his touch. Then he started all over again. It wasn't until hours later that he finally allowed himself to let go, tremors wracking him. He let out a soft groan against my ear and then I was asleep within seconds, held tight against him, his breathing slowing now and even against my forehead.


This morning I couldn't lift my arms, had no sugar left in my blood and zero energy left with which to stand up, let alone be as productive as I usually am first thing.

So stay here, he smiles at me, pulling me in closer still until we are pressed together under a mountain of quilts and hours spent just like this but for the sake of being warm. I am trapped. Ben has one hand wrapped around my leg. I don't even know when he got here, I just know that I want to stay here for as long as I can.

Back to sleep, Peanut, Lochlan whispers into the top of my head as I close my eyes again. Just for a little while.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Pumpkin stars.

This morning there were leaves floating in the surf, trying for purchase on the sand before being sucked back into the next wave. Fall at the seashore isn't a thing. The sea remains dark teal and grey. There is no change. It won't even grow cold yet, not for months to come after warming all summer in the sun. The leaves felt sorry for it and tried to colour it. Tried to cheer it up. Tried to help it blend in. Tried to make it seem like it belonged but it doesn't. It stands alone. A force we can reckon with all we want but we don't get anywhere.

It just keeps going, doing what it does. Day in, day out. Tide advances, tide recedes. Colors change with the clouds above. It has two uniforms, light and dark, two depths, shallow and deep and two temperatures, warm and cold.

Like me.

Thursday, 27 October 2016


(This day is brought to you by Between the Buried And Me's cover of Blind Melon's Change.)

Two people aren't happy about my penchant for waking up in strange places, like I did yesterday, though a suspended king-sized bed in the middle of a bright airy room isn't as strange as it is exhilarating, and they're not the people you'd expect.

The first is the Devil, who thinks he should carry carte blanche on any nocturnal attempts at comfort that I wish for, and the second is August, who continually kicks himself for allowing me past his head into his heart. Into his hands. He thinks he should hold himself at arm's length and be objective, productive and effective.

Naw, I tell him. You're effective alright, just not in the way you think.

And the part of me that needs the ghost that is Jake quiets just a little, probably taking a breather before spooling up hard in time for the week after next.

Because it's anniversary week and birthday week (9. 46.), a time when I am reminded that I'm not as wonderful as I think I am, or anyone thinks I am, but I was just enough to send him on a one-way trip to anywhere I wasn't. That I am too much and not enough and as impossible as Lochlan always says I am. That I was too dark for Jacob and not enough of anything else to be worthwhile.

It's not you, it's me, Jacob always tells me through a fine filter of swirling, settling dust motes in the light through the garage doors. But we sure make beautiful children. That's a gift.

I nod and leave him there. Too bad it wasn't enough of a gift to keep your feet on the ground.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Reparation anxiety.

Woke up with August today, bedhead and rain obscuring the ugly truth of using someone to dull the pain and the second ugly truth of knowing that he knows I'm never going to get better but he keeps up the guise of looking after me because he knows I need him and we don't want to fuck with the status quo now, do we?

I covered my face.

Show the day those pretty eyes, August whispers. The bed sways ever so slightly. He is lying on his stomach, his forehead pressed down against the side of my temple. He's smiling through his beard but he is tired. I take a lot out on him. He puts it all back inside but nothing advances the cause here, because like I said, we all have too much invested in this to make any positive change at all.

The day has seen my eyes. They float to the surface of every single moment. I whisper it back and August laughs quietly.

I needed Jake. I needed him to put his arms around me and hold me close and kiss me until my heart stopped racing and I could breathe again without having to remind myself to breathe deeper.

I needed him so badly I pushed the rest of my life out of the way, adamant. Not now. Just leave me alone. Just go. 

Life put up a good fight. Life has had enough of this and I can't fix it and ignoring it doesn't fucking work so we juggle the most innocent of the evils, grifting a series of events that will forge a path of least resistance to the end goal which is what, inner peace? An end to this hobbling grief? A better system of exacting life without turmoil, jealousy and emotional volcanoes?

What is the end goal?

To make it through to the end without changing things along the way. To sneak around these big catastrophic events without turning the whole mess into Pandora's box.

Good luck with that, August says as he drifts back to sleep, throwing one arm around me, dragging me closer, almost underneath him. I take a deep breath out and allow myself another half-hour here. One more half-hour of pretend life and then I go back to pretending I never knew him at all.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Tastes so good it makes a grown man cry.

I scream you scream
We all scream for her
Don't even try 'cause
You can't ignore her
(Sing it with me! No, don't, please. I always hated that song.)

I made a cherry pie yesterday afternoon with some of the cherries I picked, pitted and froze over the summer. There are still pounds and pounds to be eaten. I think I hate cherries now.

Kidding! These cherries are incredible.

It was going great until the plate boiled over and then the top crust separated and began to slide off the back side of the pie. I had to wait until it was done to coax it back (five arms, three sets of tongs and an icing spreader) but by then cherry filling had dripped down to the bottom of the oven (OF COURSE I forgot to put a cookie sheet underneath), making a lake of just plain sticky over the entire oven floor.

So I smartly hit the clean cycle to run while the pie cooled down. The oven locked itself and promptly caught fire. 

I'm looking at it's contained, at least so this might not be so bad.

Eventually the fire burned through the cherries, running out of fuel and that was that. Five hours later (Hey, did you know the burners don't work when the oven is in self-cleaning mode? I didn't!) the oven unlocked itself and I was able to sweep up the ashes and life went back to normal. 

They're calling it The Night We Had Dessert For Dinner, and it was the best night of our lives.

Monday, 24 October 2016


So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
'Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold on with all of my might
Just promise me we'll be alright
It just feels right, having everyone home. It doesn't feel like anyone's missing.

Your brain is missing, Bridget, Andrew tells me over coffee. We're plotting a trip to Robson street to go shopping (there's a new eclair store. JUST eclairs too. Kill me. They are like cake sticks with bonus surprises in them. How perfect.) but I also can't lift my arms to drive. I'm too tired. I walked seven hundred miles behind Ruth yesterday as she power-shopped for shoes for her graduation formal and then I came home and cried all night between watching episodes of Black Mirror and The Walking Dead.

Got a good hour long dose of Jeffrey Dean Morgan on TWD too. He's a lot like Caleb in looks and mannerisms except Caleb hasn't reached that stage of violence yet in life. Soon, but not yet.

He's been hanging around all day (Caleb, not Jeffrey DAMMIT). All last night. Constantly interrupting. Constantly requesting. Constantly being lonely so loudly I almost gave in to going over to watch a movie or something.

Or something, he smiles.

No, Peanut. Lochlan said it once earlier in the day and never again. End of discussion. I open my mouth to protest and his expression slices me in half.

If he's lonely let him go find someone to love. I did it once. And it's not like he isn't a keeper. He rolls his eyes.

The look coupled with that observation made me laugh so hard I almost peed my dress.

But instead I bit my tongue and nodded.

I never defy Lochlan.

To his face, anyway.

Besides, I made a conscious choice and I don't plan to second-guess myself. Lochlan is beautiful. And he's passionate about me to the point of not having further than simple passing interests in anything but me. How could I ask for more than that?

You won't ask. That's the problem. You'll just take it. And I don't know how many times we have to teach you this but he's very, very bad for you.

Sunday, 23 October 2016


Lochlan held out until we sat down in church, with Caleb jockeying to be on my other side. Lochlan leaned out and looked at him.

What in the hell are you doing? He whispered.

Caleb leaned across me. Making up for lost time.

Everyone is in church this morning. Our pockets are loaded with Halloween candy to fill the collection plates.

(We still torture Sam every chance we get. One Sunday earlier this fall we used Hot Wheels cars)

Caleb sits back and picks up my hand, bringing it to his lips, kissing it firmly and then putting it back down but not letting go. Lochlan stands up. I do too because I think we're probably leaving, candy and all and then suddenly Lochlan pulls me toward him and then steps around me, sitting beside Caleb, elbowing him hard as he sits down and then apologizing profusely as if he hadn't meant to do that. He throws his right arm around me and holds his left hand up as if Caleb should take it and kiss it, glaring at him all the while.

I open a tiny Baby Ruth chocolate bar and eat it, ignoring both of them, waiting for Sam to start the service before Loch and Caleb come to blows.

They manage to behave, though Caleb offers to share the hymnal, Loch refuses, turning distinctly to the right so that his back is to Caleb. He holds the book in both hands, me within his arms. Ben looks at us and then looks past us at Caleb and chuckles. I sing from Ben's book because I don't want him to feel left out. Somewhere God is also laughing at me while I try to manage all of this. Somewhere Jake is too.

On the way out after the service (which turned into a trick or treat fest as Sam collected the plates and sent the candy right back out, asking everyone to enjoy a treat courtesy of his landlords, dedicating the collection to us), Caleb invited me to lunch. I declined because we were going out anyway, and he said that was fine, that I already had plans on short notice and that maybe next weekend we could spend a little time. I said maybe and he took it as a yes, and left quite happily before I remembered that next weekend is Halloween.


You prefer sweet or scary? 

In regards to...candy? Movies? Music? 



Little liar. 

Today. Maybe tomorrow I'd have a different answer.

Then maybe tomorrow I'll ask again. 


Duncan came in the house all huffy.

I wanted to knock his arms off at the shoulder and wipe the smirk off his face. 


He was acting like Bridge was his. 

So are you, right now. 

Dude, I didn't mean any harm. 

That's what everyone says, until it becomes an issue.


PJ is rinsing cups to put in the time machine.

Want coffee?

I'd love some. 

Too bad. I can make you a hot chocolate though. 

Why did you offer coffee then? And why can't I have some?

Lochlan said not to let you have any. I figured you should know that. 

What else has he forbid?

How much time do you have?

I feel in my pockets for more chocolate bars but they're all gone. Not as much as I thought. 

Saturday, 22 October 2016

He's home. Two weeks is a lifetime. He has a beard. Jeans. Leather jacket. His best Negan impression minus Lucille. His life is here. I know. I see it in the mirror.


Batman was looking for his place in my life, that's all. Reassurance. Every does that, to try and shore up their stake, as it were. So I gave him what he asked for and then I held the flame to him and burned him for it.

Sometimes I adore being commodified. Sometimes I do not.


Caleb is on his way home. This time for real. He says he's done enough solo traveling for a while, that this is overmuch, that he didn't do anything wrong, didn't lay a hand on my head and that if Pyro thinks I'm going to be the fall guy for everything, Pyro is sadly mistaken. 

Don't call him that. 

I'll call him whatever I want, Neamhchiontach. 

Don't call me that. 

Yes, well, I see your conversation with Batman went well and I feel as if you're foundering in my absence.

I do what I want whether you're here or not. 

I absolutely love you when you're belligerent. 

I can hear the smile in your voice. You're being dishonest.

Just so there's no mistake. 

Safe travels, Diabhal. 

Tell him I'm coming back and that we're going to sort this out once and for all. I can't advocate for you against his shortcomings if I can't get near you. 

I'm not telling him that. 

I'll tell him myself, then. Neamhchiontach, this has to stop. We've gotten too old for schoolyard brawls and shouting matches. This isn't some old bike we've found in the woods. It's time they all stopped treating you like property and started treating you in the manner that you deserve. 

Pretty sure they've got that covered, actually. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

On being careful what you ask for.

Last song played on your iphone? 

Uh...let me look. Eidolon by Karnivool. 

Favorite band name?

Oddly enough, Bedouin Soundclash. Coolest name ever. 

What song do you like most by them? 

I don't know any of their songs. 

Last meal? 

A chocolate ice cream cone. 

Was it satisfying? 

No. I eat them really fast. Lochlan calls it PT-iceD as a bad joke because when I was little Bailey would eat the end off my cone and it would drip everywhere and I got in trouble. I've told this story before. 

Favorite car?
The R8.

Latest celebrity crush?

Jimmi Simpson on Westworld. 

Female crush?

I hate you. Chloe on Lucifer. She's beautiful! 

Agreed. One regret of today? 

I missed my Friday contraband coffee. 

Aw. You poor thing. 


Plans for tomorrow?

Uhhhh.. Ruth needs shoes for prom and we're finishing costumes tomorrow, God willing. Also chicken wings. We have plans for wings. Cravings. I shrug.

If you could sleep with anyone right now that isn't Loch or Ben who would you pick? 

Wow. What a question. 

Entertain me.

(That's always a challenge accepted.)You. If I were to but I'm not.


I have no emotional attachment to you and I never knew why. That makes you safer than most.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

I always say the smallest things are the scariest and no one ever believes me.


I went for a long walk around the grounds today, to check and make sure there was no damage I hadn't found already from last weekend's storms. I was approved as long as I stayed topside and within the fence, which is on because...well....bears.

*Bears everywhere*

I'm not afraid of the bears though.

After an hour of wandering through the woods, I was just rounding the big tree by the path behind the stables and Lochlan caught up with me.

It's starting to rain, Peanut. 

I'm on my way back in now, I assure him but he stops me, walking me back against the siding. He kisses me like he used to. Like I'd like him to more often. He reaches down and pulls up my dress, pulling his shirt up too, pressing our skin together. He's so warm. The kiss gets deeper, his hands get harder against me and I forget breathing as I wait to see what he's going to do. I put my hands up into his curls and he lifts me up into the wall.

It's pouring and freezing. I never minded until much later.

He finally slides me back down and pulls my dress down over my hips. He looks around to make sure we're still alone and reorganizes his clothes. We walk back to the house. I start shivering and he pulls me in under his arm.

How about a hot bath?

Yes. I'd love that. 

Once upstairs I went to take off my dress and something fought back as I was pulling it over my head.

A really huge fucking spider.

I screamed and ran out the door, down the steps and into the kitchen. Which was filling up as boys come home from work and errands and meetings.

And me. In my birthday suit for all to see.


Sam took his sweet time shrugging out of his flannel shirt, keeping his t-shirt while I took the flannel.

But I'm still screaming because spiders.

I'm afraid of them.

I don't mind little ones but these ones we keep finding lately are huge.


Would you have run like that for a bear? 

Right out of my dress? Yes, indeed. But I wouldn't scream. I'd have just been relieved. 

So why aren't you relieved now?

Because it's probably still in my hair! 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

You know when the specialist puts drops in your eyes and the green disappears completely and your pupils are huge and black and you look scary, like Wes Borland circa early nineties hot-creepy?

Right. That's meeeeeeeeeeeee.

No post because I can't even see fuck all. She thought I was hilarious though because it burned so badly when she put the drops in I let loose with a string of explicatives I usually reserve for driving on freshly frozen ice roads.

She wasn't offended, just amused. But no, I still can't see. All is well though. At least this time we don't have to wait for pathology.

(See? I technically tell you NOTHING.)

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Too in love to let it go/Just what you're worth.

Sometimes you're hard to find. At least I can triangulate you these days so I know you're inside. He laughs but it's pained. He reaches down and hauls me to my feet, using my fists as handles. I was tucked in amongst the Christmas wrap and decorations in Daniel and Schuyler's storage closet.

It was very quiet for a while. I almost fell asleep.

Who gave me up?


Ah. Remind me to thank him later. 

I already thanked him. You make me lose my mind along with you, Bridge. Some days I'm just thrilled to find you not in someone else's bed. Like..well, yesterday. 

I'm sorry. 

But you're not. And I know you're doubling down on punishment because I made you feel things that scare you (oh, he's suddenly so well-versed in Bridget, I know he's been talking to them) but you can fret all you like, you're not getting rid of me. 

What about PJ?

I don't think you're getting rid of him that easy either. He might even love you even more than beer right now. I would wonder how you pulled that off but I think I already know. The pained look returns and I start to apologize but he stops me.

He's harmless. You aren't, though.

I nod. Wrecking them all, I am. Caleb's right. Panic takes over and I try to push him out of the closet.

Don't let him put this stuff in your head, Bridge. You can rail against the idea of us all you like but it isn't you, it's a problem you have and we're getting help for it, and in the meantime it's still going to be you and me against the world and no one and not a thing will change it. Promise me you understand that. 

What if we're wrong?

After thirty-five years I don't think we could possibly be wrong about something so right. I'm not wrong. I don't know if you noticed but I'm never wrong and therefore very easy to live with. The pained look disappears from his eyes, replaced with gentle amusement.

Not as easy as me. I'm a peach. 

A tiny rotten one, then. 

Yeah. Definitely. I'm sorry. About PJ-

Look, part of our bastard plan to keep you safe involves taking one for the team. PJ is still the least of all the evils so just leave it lie and don't make me think of it any more than I have. Remind me to change the fucking plan too. It's going to be my downfall here. 

Yours? It'll be mine. 

You don't seem any the worse for wear. 

My brain is wrecked, Locket. 

I know, Baby. We'll get it fixed up good as new. As long as we don't have to come fish you out from between the bows and wrappers too often, we'll be good. 

Hope you're right. 

Always. He grins sadly. Like I told you.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Declaration of dependence.

I want to tell you I dug more splinters out of my fingers from pulling roses almost two weeks ago. I need thicker gardening gloves or maybe a better method besides wading right into the thorns and attacking from the centre out.

I want to tell you I was safe in my bed last night but I wasn't, instead waking up in PJ's arms at two in the morning when he found me in the wrong place and went with it, keeping me until sunrise, not sorry in the least. His excuse? I'm not Caleb. Also, finders keepers. And he winked like a shithead.

I want to tell you I'm ashamed of that, but I'm not.

I want to tell you Ben washed his hands of all of this because he's so into self-preservation he had no choice. Two for one. Always a bargain, Bridget is, on sale, low-rent, picked-over last digs for a song, folks. Not that anyone minds. Like when you're eyeing the runt of a litter of puppies and true to form it's the only one left after all the others have been claimed.

That's me.

I want to tell you I'm ashamed of that too but again, I'm not. I know what my pedigree is, my history. Nothing we were ever proud of outside of survival, nothing we could ever survive outside of pride.

Nothing to be said about another rainy Monday with sporadic power and underreported hearts other than to point out it's almost over. That's good. Because I want to tell you I called the Devil and asked him to come back because Lochlan said to me point blank that running never solved a thing in his life so it wouldn't for anyone else either and he meant me but if he does that, he has to mean everyone and so Caleb might as well come back and get his moment in the sun to explain why he had to scare me so badly now, of all times.

I want to tell you why I couldn't dismiss it suddenly but I don't know, honestly. Joel could probably tell you. August and Sam for sure, and probably Caleb too but they don't share these things with me. It's just better not to. I want to tell you I don't understand that, but I do.

I want to tell you a lot of things but I can't.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Living up to his name.

What if he dies next? What if it is you? What if your ghosts consume all that you love?

But it wasn't voices in my head that gave me this doubt, it was a voice beside my ear, bending low so that I could hear his soft words before I turned to gaze into his medium blue eyes, cocked and ready to destroy everything I love.

You can't keep him safe, Neamhchiontach.

That confirmation had me running. Maybe if I ran fast enough time would unravel, the clocks would go back and I could undo the damage, mitigate the danger and save Lochlan's life. The fear built into my mind that I could push away, pretending it isn't there came rushing out, regret flooding in to fill its place.

Oh my God, I told his face and Caleb smiled.

They found me with the fuel and our wedding clothes on the floor of the garage, blubbering nonsense to Jacob. Apologizing for finally having the stupid nerve to go behind his back and marry Lochlan, admitting that Henry was his but I hadn't had the nerve to come and tell him because it was busy at the wedding and on my honeymoon. What a stupid, reckless, foolish and damning attempt to rewrite history that's already been written on my behalf. What a risk.

What a shame.

I lit the dress up like the fourth of July and all the sprinklers went off, smoking out the whole garage and making a mess. I didn't leave, wouldn't leave, sinking down into the smoke and when hands finally landed on my head, Lochlan's voice broke in a yell,

I've got her! He faltered on the sound but I was taken off my feet and out of the garage into the fresh sunlit air, covered with soot, my fingers burned and part of the sleeve of my sweater, inconsolable, exhausted and still fiercely determined to undo everything we did in case the Devil is right. In case the Devil comes for Lochlan next.

What were you thinking? Lochlan asks me and I turn and stare at him, eyes pouring tears, mouth agape because he knows this was a bad idea and he blames me for it to, because we both knew damn well Caleb's never going to let us be together and everything he's done thus far has been a show of force to make sure we never forget what he's capable of.

I'm sorry, I tell Lochlan. Sorry that he fell in love with me. Sorry that he's still in love with me. Sorry that I thought we could have a life together. Sorry that I told him I could handle this, that I wanted this, when I should have protected him better.

What are you talking about? His own fear and confusion made me absolutely hysterical, and the last thing I remember was screaming, trying to sit down on the floor, trying to get out of his arms, trying to implode so that I wouldn't have to deal with that fear anymore.

This fear, I mean.

The one that doesn't bother me so much when I have this much quicksand in my blood. The one that can't catch me as long as I outrun it, trick it, do anything but this.

I spoke by phone to Claus, telling him that everything is bullshit, that Lochlan can't stand there and tell me he's going to live forever. I've watched people die. I've made people die. I've got enough presence of mind to understand when a person can't make a promise they want to make so badly and fright sent me reeling once again.

August caught me as I went past him and I hyperventilated so hard I blacked out. When I woke up I was in my bed, safe. Lochlan was there, safe. Ben too. Sam and August. PJ. Joel, who got an eleventh hour phone call because the last time I did this they cornered me in the castle and shot me up on the floor or I would have gone right out the fucking window. It's Cole. Cole is back to life in Caleb's form and he's going to kill all of us.

He can't hurt you any more.

Sure he can. Look who lives next door! Look who started it!

But a week later I'm still exhausted and not as panicky anymore and while I'm aware that Caleb's words are just that, words, borne out of jealousy and covetousness, I'm still not so sure that he's wrong.

Nothing in history disproves his observations and I don't know if I want to take risks anymore.

Too late, Lochlan reassures me. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere. I could have told you that before you torched my hat. And your dress, Bridget...we can't replace it.

I don't care about things, just people. Just you.

He doesn't have a right to take your happiness or your memories, Peanut. 

Too late.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Admit two.

Two missed calls from Caleb and my phone was fired out the patio doors into the grass of the backyard in the pouring rain and then Loch disappeared behind the locked doors of the library to make a call.

For the next nine minutes I could hear indignant but otherwise unintelligible heavily-accented shouting coming from behind the door. 

Nine minutes. That's almost a record. Usually Caleb grows weary, then amused and will hang up on Lochlan, who will always, always finish his sentence into dead air before giving up and putting his phone down. 

At least his isn't a shorted out paperweight now. 

PJ was comforting. Let him get it out of his system. We'll get you a new phone in the morning. 

A new phone arrived twenty minutes later. Not a new iPhone 7 but a regular six, in the same color that I had. With a headphone jack and everything else I needed. 

If only we could restore your life at the bad junctions, said the note. Love, CXC


If only. 

That phone lasted six and three-quarter minutes and Lochlan fired it at the general direction of the Boathouse, this time from the side door off the kitchen. It landed in several pieces in the driveway after hitting the rock wall.

Could you stop it please? I need a phone for the kids. 

They'll call Padraig. 

They text me. 

Bridget, I'm not doing this with you right now. 


Don't you defy me! 



That's not going to work.

It did before. 

Right. And I've done NOTHING wrong so stop yelling at me. I didn't make you angry, Caleb did. 

I'm not angry with you, Bridget. 

Then why are you yelling?

I'm afraid.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Prescribed burn.

He watches the flames.

Don't bring fire into this. It sanctifies you.

I know. He baptized me in it last night, a graceful trip around my being with a tiny singular flame. A humble consecration, a reminder of how we use that fire to connect, to identify. To breathe.

He is using the fire today not to teach but to warm himself. His favorite sweater is no match for the heavy rain and so flannel shirts with waffleknit layers take over and a heavy element jacket on top were grudgingly applied, slowly and with disdain.

He and some of the others were out late last night bringing the camper back to the house, away from the edge of the cliff. They moved all my flowerpots up under the overhang by the patio doors and brought the telescope in. All of the pool chairs have been stored in the garage and PJ is already fretting because his precious jeep had to be put outside in this weather. His jeep weighs far more than the big chaises, which weighed a fair bit themselves, towed two at a time on a trailer pulled behind Ben's truck.

We're like some sort of incredible, dysfunctional resort.

The storms are here. All of them. Psychic and environment-based. Emotional and physical too. I was told if I wanted to do anything online to hurry up. So here I am.

Caleb missed all the fun. He's gone to the East Coast again for a bit to get away from me Lochlan the violence things. I'd be jealous but I always miss him.

Loch touches my face. I wonder if I could burn your brain down to nothing like the farmers do to their fields, so you could grow back new and unscathed. 

Let's try it and see. 

But he just stared at me for a moment in surprise at calling his bluff. Then he put his jacket back on and went outside to finish up.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Listening hard.

My ring slips off too easily. It's cold out now, my fingers are shrunken, my skin is tighter still, stretched across my bones in a tension he can tune with a fork and a very good ear.

He frowns, picking it up from the bottom of the tub. We'll get it re-sized for you, he said, sticking it down over my middle finger instead. It's fine there for now, a subtle fuck you to the universe, an easy dismissal of the rest of the world outside of his extended reach.

He lets the frown slide away and puts his hand on my forehead as I lean back against him in the warm water. I put a bath bomb in with us. We smell like jasmine. We're covered with purple glitter. It's a far better moment than some of the previous week and I take a deep breath, letting it out slowly. He leans around from my left to see my face.


I nod but I don't say anything. A kiss lands on the top of my head. Then he is gone. Cold rushes in to coat my skin and I shiver violently.

Let's go. 

I nod again but I don't move and he reaches down, pulling the plug out of the bottom of the tub. I sink down until my head goes under, making no move to resurface. He reaches down once more to pull me up gently. I emerge covered head to toe with glitter and he laughs.

Rinse off in the shower. We've got twenty minutes to be downstairs. 

I dutifully duck under the hot spray and when I emerge, still mostly covered with shiny tinies he is there with a warm towel, wrapping me in it, glancing another kiss off my forehead, arms tight around me. I shiver again but it's not from the cold, more like from survival and surprise that I'm here.


I watch him stir his coffee. He'll lay the spoon upside down against the edge of the plate and let his eyes travel the whole way around the restaurant before he speaks. I'm not wrong. I've studied Lochlan's movements since I was eight and he was thirteen, since before coffee, and violence and baggage. I've watched him change and yet he remains the same as always. He doesn't actually change. He forces the entire world to adapt to him. He refuses to compromise or bend. His will is iron, his code of right and wrong carved in the rusted metal of a platform for a thrill ride, or in the words of a verbal contract with a handshake to seal the deal. There's no reason to question him, for he's never had even a moment of grey area. No ethical pause, no consideration of less than what is good and what isn't.

I didn't listen. I ran ahead or fell behind. I had my head in the clouds, pretending all the time. He indulged me because one thing that was right to him was the desire to make me happy. He went along with it. He humored me when I couldn't remember the rules or didn't hear the orders. He was lenient, full of grace when he should have lifted me off the ground by the collar of my dress long enough to make sure I was paying attention.

I got burned and by default he did too.

Some days we're unscathed. Lucky. Beautiful and new.

Other days we are burned beyond recognition. Disfigured and ruined.

This is an in-between day, in which the scars are visible to the naked eye but they're a little numb, that's all. A little closed-feeling, a little bit forgotten, if you're not paying attention. A little bit better.

I think we should go. I think we should go now. And if you won't then he has to. 

I can't banish him. 

At this point you don't have any veto powers here. Not anymore.

I stop running down the path in the waning light and turn and look back at him. I drop the trilliums I have picked on the carpet of pine needles coating the forest floor. Something in his voice is different this time and it scares me.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Too small to do any damage.

(Ironically I drew the Hierophant card today:A card symbolizing rules, laws and doctrine. Your freedoms may be limited today.)

It's National Take your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day and I just...don't even get me started. I brought my teddy bear with me to my laptop. His name is Ben and if he sits up straight in my computer chair his knees hit the underside of my desk, lifting the whole thing off the floor.

I swing my legs because my feet don't touch the floor if I'm sitting in the same chair.

He's been keeping close, which is nice because the minute he turned his back the Devil whispered in my ear last week and I'm still mostly reeling from that. I don't want to talk about it though. Not today. Today is for bears and big guys and for getting on with things and not for stunts or drama or fear.

We went out for breakfast, which was nice. I'm still mostly asleep on my feet in the meantime. Joel heralded a group decision which is to keep the princess under chemical control until she can prove she can do it herself. I tried to point out the futility of their argument but every once in a while it's nice not to feel anything. Just so I can catch my breath. Then I'll dive back in because I have to feel something or I'm not worthy of remaining alive.

That's how the Devil put it, anyhow.

But I'm a-okay, well-fed and cuddled today and we've battened down the hatches for the coming October storms. We've got groceries and I scrubbed the bathrooms and the house is clean and the trucks have gas and the generators too and the trees were all trimmed so bring it. Bring whatever you got. I'll stand behind Big Ben and fight you from here.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

An actual conversation.

Since it's National Coming Out Day (where the fuck are they getting these 'holidays' again? Someone please tell me), Sam decided back in. Since Matt didn't work out and he has a few other craven issues here, he's hopped the fence. 


He set up a Tinder profile and unhesitatingly selected female responses only. Then he sat down to wait, as if the Internet fairies would send him the perfect woman within seconds.

Sam, I think that's a hook-up app. 

What? No it isn't. You're thinking of Grindr. 

No, that's definitely for sex only but it's for gay people. Tinder is the version for straight people. I think.

Oh, well, shit. What's the app for actual dating? 


I don't understand.

You don't meet someone online for any more than a casual thing. 


Well, did you meet Matt online? 

I refuse to answer that on the grounds that someone here will judge me. We all can't be raised by our future spouses. He stares pointedly at me. 

Right because we all see how well THAT'S going. 

So what do I do?

You need a Polish matchmaker.

I'm halfway there! I have the buckle! 

Right. Don't meet someone online. You need an uncurated soul. 

I need a Bridget, is what I need. 

Jesus, what? No you don't! Too much trouble. Also be quiet before someone hears you. 


They'll take it wrong.

There isn't a way to take that wrong, actually. It's just...nevermind.

Oh. Then here, let me help you choose a photo. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Checking in because once again the internet thinks I'm either dead or being held against my will, as usual.

I'm here.

I had a quiet weekend. Friday went to shit and ended very very badly and then I slept half of Saturday away and was brought back to life eventually, as Joel let the medicine wind down on its own. By early yesterday I had a handle on things and anything I still couldn't hold onto Joel picked up and handed to me.

He did a good job. It was reminiscent of the old Joel and for that I thank him. I had a huge stretch of uninterrupted, chemical sleep and for that I thank everyone.

I thanked them with a huge Thanksgiving dinner last night (everyone pitched in to help) and I am grateful to every single one of them because when I go down I go down hard. It's difficult and upsetting and horrible but they dealt with it and instead of giving up on me they're investing in me. Instead of turning their backs they offered their arms. I don't know if I deserve that but I'm grateful for it and Joel assures me that I'll get through it like I have every time before this.

I don't want to keep doing this, I told him late the other night when he checked in on me.

I know, Bridget. I know. 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Late last night.

When I woke up, I was pinned. I thrashed once and Lochlan's face swam into view.

Hold still, Peanut. Peace is coming. He's got my wrists held against the quilt. A sharp pain comes suddenly in my elbow and then chemical euphoria floods in.

I lick my lips. You're sending me to visit them, I tell Lochlan but he lets go and then Joel bends down over me. I smile at him in slow motion. Hi, Stranger.

Hi, Beautiful. Lights out, he instructs, and I'm gone again.

Friday, 7 October 2016

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
Of what's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone
He sat in front of me on an old wooden stool while I sat on the top step of the camper, on the kitchen floor proper, holding my arm out straight in front of me, using my other hand to prop it up because this was taking a long time.

Hold still, Lochlan barks at me with pins between his teeth. He really did a number on this. 

He is unpinning my heart. Said brusquely that it can't stay there, that it needs to be protected, and if it doesn't fit then he will keep it.

You already do, I remind him as he ignores me, loud and clear. You've had it forever. 

Right. It's mine but you keep throwing it out there like a boomerang, and there are people in the way so it gets stuck in them and then you have to go dig it out and that seems stressful and unnecessary. Stop throwing it. 

I'm trying but they seem to need it. 

They will live without it. 

In my world that's not an offhand remark, it's a dangerous gamble. 

Well, what do you want me to do, then? 

Help me keep it locked up so it won't get out. 

Lock you down? Jake tried that and it made things worse. Ben didn't and you hardly left his side. Trying to sign up for the end already are you? 

Never. This is it. Alpha-Omega, baby. That's who you are. The beginning and the end.

He finally gets my heart unattached without further damage. I retract my arm and rub the sore spot where the pins went through my skin and he holds up my heart for inspection. I lean forward to facilitate him putting it back and he hesitates, cupping it in both hands like it's a bird about to fly away. I think I'm going to hang on to this for a bit, if it's all the same to you. 

Then stop giving me mixed messages. 

I already told you I fucked up. I was trying to hurt him and I hurt you instead. I just..I want things to be different, Bridge. I want to run the show again. I want it to be you and me against the world. He absently tucks my heart into his shirt pocket as he speaks, a bloom in red growing almost instantly on the front of his shirt. Just trust me and I'll make sure things are better. 

I nod.

Do you believe in me, Bridget? 

He asked me the same question on our wedding day and it rocked me then as much as it does now. As if I don't trust him to have changed when he said he would, as if I don't put any weight on his regret. As if I can't count on him to do what he says he's going to do, after decades of fighting it out.

I do. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Why I didn't want to be the poster child for dealing with grief, because clearly I can't and if I let anyone, everyone, all of you down I'm sorry.

(From The Book of Bridgeticus chapter eleventy billion, verse four hundred thousand and five: And on the ninth day, when he saw Bridget, God created Ativan. And he saw her on it and said that it was good. Or at least, better than the alternative.)

(With apologies to Sam for liberties taken with the Bible verses, but honey, I'm so high right now.)

In the warm dark early this morning he turned me toward him and ripped out my heart, pinning it to my sleeve, nodding as he worked.

I love you, Bridget. And I hate every second that I have to be away from you.

He looked at me fiercely as he checked his work and then he was gone before the sun could wake up and see him off even.

And then I woke up and Lochlan was there. I looked down expecting to see the gaping hole in me where my heart had been wedged tightly in place for so long and found it dripping all over the sheets, making a mess. Making my arm ache, for it's heavy. Dense with feeling, rich with blood, laced through with repairs done over the years.

He doesn't see it. Fuck. I am crazy.

What is it, Peanut?

I had a dream about Cole.

But he doesn't want to know what it was about (because duh, Cole) and gets up to get ready for work, asking Ben if he can keep care today when Ben probably (always) has other plans. Whenever my brain starts opening doors that are better off locked, imagining violence or finding trouble to make for itself he worries even more than usual, if that were even possible.

Yeah, Ben confirms to Loch as I stand there holding my elbow up in front of my nose to watch the blood drip off the end, watching as the puddle grows around my feet. Soon I will be Alice in the drowning pool and Loch will wished he stayed home and saved me instead of leaving me with someone equally distractible. Someone with their own ghosts can't fight yours off too. No one's strong enough for that. Not even the guy who eats amplifiers for breakfast and then says he's hungry.

Or the one who eats souls.

(Or anyone, for that matter.)

I stare at him as my feet leave the ground, treading water easily as I was taught in the other pool, back in sunnier times. He's looking at his phone. I call out to him as my head goes under but he's not listening. I open my mouth and blood rushes in, filling my lungs. When they find me they'll say somberly,

It appears she murdered herself. Case closed.

And then I'll be a ghost for someone else to fight off.

(That isn't fair, now, is it?)

I start to try and dig my way out but it's thick like quicksand now and I really fucked up. Shit. I thrash and fight and get nowhere and then the surface breaks. Two hands thrust down into the heavy liquid, pulling me up by the hands roughly. I surface in slow motion. I cough and cough, leaving a spray of red across the front of his formerly white shirt. Lochlan pounds me on the back, pushing my head against his chest.

Couldn't you SEE this? He yells at Ben, who has faded into the background. I can hardly see him between deep heaving breaths.

She was fine a second ago. I'm right here! For fucks sakes.

Why didn't you see it, Ben?

I won't let him, I say thickly. I feel drunk. I told you. I need to save him too.

Even if it kills you?

Jake won't let that happen.

I saved you, Bridget. ME! Stop giving him all the credit. He's the one who finished you off!

I just look at him until his words sink down into my flesh and then they begin to sting and it makes me cry. Good. I can join the rest of them and no one has to be alone in their misery.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


Sorry, not much time today. Since today is supposed to be the last warm sunny day of the year, I chose to spend it outdoors. I hung all the sheets on the clothesline. Duncan brought the laundry outside for me and helped. I worked in the garden, pulling up roots, cutting down stalks and pruning roses to within an inch of their lives. I scattered the rest of the sunflower seeds for the birds and attempted to break up the giant root plates that held the sunflowers fast through September and mostly failed. They can rot and compost into the ground over the winter and then in spring Ben can break them up. I leave all the leaves and plants laying in the garden and let them break down on their own. Over the winter they will compost and then in the spring we'll load up on sheep manure and till everything together. It makes the best growing soil.

I'm good at this.

The yard is open and barren now, especially without the roses. The tea rose bushes I cut down from ten feet to two. The ornamental shrubs get a little more tender loving care and they are a foot tall now with chosen hardy stalks to grow from next year. The carnations will bloom right through the snow and I ate all the remaining strawberries while I pulled all of those up too. The raspberries are coming along. I don't have to touch those. And all the plants out front are hardy perennials that require little care, if any.

It's done for 2016.

The boys made up the beds fresh with flannel and electric blankets for those who love to be cozy and with cool cotton and light duvets for those who don't. We had the fireplaces cleaned and checked. We cut a few big limbs off a tree that has overgrown it's welcome and was touching windows on the house and on the garage and we had the landscapers come back and extend the corner of the brick driveway that heads around the barn so that Sam and Caleb both will stop clipping it with their cars, as they park on the high side, up on the left of the garage while the rest of us drive down around in front of it (the garage is across the driveway from the side of the house, above the boathouse) and park facing the side of the house.

So yeah. We got a lot accomplished today and as such, I will now attempt to not fall asleep face-first in my dinner plate.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The piece-makers.

The whole household dropped everything last night and joined us watching movies. We made a Sam-wich, plonking him right in the center of the huge sectional and piling all around and on him and making sure he had extreme extended cuddles for the entire evening. He sat grinning, one arm looped around Dalton and one around Loch.

Sam is so much like me. Sometimes he just needs to be touched. You'll never hear anyone who lives here speak as openly as I do about the amount of affection required before I even feel as if I can get out of bed in the morning, or how awful if feels if I don't get that amount and then some. But men are raised to be tough and to be quiet so he didn't say anything and then we played charades to figure it out and I didn't have to ask anyone twice to join us.

If you've ever had someone emergency-message you (and twelve other people) to come and watch a movie in our house you just show up ready for anything. Or we do, anyway and everyone showed up ready to fix him or at least cuddle trying.

And he loved it. Sam said he wanted a weekly movie pile up.

Where have you been? I tease him. We do this all the time! 

He shrugs. He was trying to work himself to death so he wouldn't feel the hard parts but they were always jabbing him anyway, sticking into him painfully, leaving bruises, leaving marks that don't fade, let alone heal.

Today again when he came downstairs for breakfast instead of nods or bits of greetings everyone got up and fought to hug him first. It was hilarious.

He was still smiling when he invited me to church to finish the work he bailed on yesterday. Grinning from ear to ear.

I hugged him last. See? I can fix things too. I mean, it's a patch job but as long as we keep on top of it, it should hold nicely. 

What were you going to talk about with Lochlan yesterday, Bridge? You offered to talk to him. Is that what you meant? To talk to him about a play-hookie cuddle pile? 

Yes, I lie. Of course. What else did you think I meant?

Monday, 3 October 2016

Zero to one hundred and back again.

Licking every drop of poison off a pocket of keys
While some daddy's little angel's getting dirt on her knees
When the Sun goes down, the filth run free
You'll never find a finer specimen of filth than me

I don't want this, I just need this to carry on

I got the white line fever and an appetite for sin
If there's a black hole headed for Hell
Then, baby, count me in
I sold my soul so long ago
A bullet in the chamber with nowhere to go
If there's a black hole headed for Hell
Then, baby, count me in
I'm pushing Sam's buttons this morning, playing as much provocative music in the sanctuary as I can get away with. Sometimes he's not paying attention to the lyrics, other times he is keenly aware and this pained expression will cross his face but it's errant, distracted. He shakes his head to get his hair out of his eyes and then he'll say my name sharply. He's actually pretty cranky for a Sam. He's getting this viral flu/cold thing I think.

No, I'm just a bit out of sorts. 

How do we get you into sorts again? What do you need, Sam? 

He sits back, drops his binders on the floor and stares at me for a moment and then he gets up and leaves the office. I watch him go down the hall through the window and then the music is gone and he comes back.

I couldn't hear myself think.

That's usually the goal of putting it on that loud. 

He stares at me again. Seriously? I didn't think you were literal. 

Oh, I'm always literal. That's why I play music so loud. 

I thought it was your hearing, that you needed it loud. 

I do need it loud, like I said, but not for that.

Fuck it, Bridge, if you're just going to talk me into circles maybe I should run you back down to the house. 

That stung and I pointed out carefully that it's lunchtime so that's a good idea. I'll call ahead and PJ can have something ready so we can eat something. I'm thinking Sam is just peakish from being on the go.

But when we got home, he pulled up in front (his usual parking spot is up higher by the barn) by the door and waited as I got out. Then he drove away, leaving me standing there in surprise.


I went in and PJ said that Sam messaged him and said he didn't mean to be harsh but that there was no reason to subject me to his mood today and maybe Lochlan should check with him before just dropping me off without warning. PJ said it was fine, that tonight things will be better and that he would take control of the package for the afternoon.

Except..well, I don't work like that. I grabbed my keys and went right back out the door, got in my car and went back to the church.

The fuck, Sam. If you have an issue you share it. That's the deal. 

I already did. He's got the heels of his hands over his eyes like he has a headache. He's holding together by a thread here.

Call your backup. We're both actually going home this time. I'll call the boys to come and get your car. 

I have work to do, Bridget. I can't just work when I feel like it. 

Oh, yes you can. 

I have bills. 

I'll have them paid. 


When you have a problem YOU ASK FOR HELP. Remember? 

He stares at me tearily. I can't have help with this. Sometimes it just flares up like a bad rash and then it goes away again. 



I shake my head to the right, once like I didn't hear his answer but he's still nodding when I meet his eyes.

I'll talk to Loch. I say it softly.

Don't. He doesn't like me much as it is. 

He loves you, Sam. 

Not when it comes to you. 

You saved my life. He owes a huge debt to you. Let me worry about him. 

Bridget, I'm going to tell you this once and if you can't obey my wishes things will drastically change. Don't ask him for anything. Just don't. 

Stung again. Sam's a veritable bee's nest today and I'm...I don't even know what I am. I want Sam to be happy and content. That's all.

Fine. I choke it out and match his eyes for tears.

But thank you. He smiles for a brief second and it's enough. I throw myself at him for a full-body hug and I get it and he doesn't let go fast like he normally does. He just holds on forever. This is what he needs and I dropped the ball. This is all anyone seems to need and I'll give it willingly.

Finally he lets go and I realize I can breathe again.

Already better. Thank you. He smiles. Look. I need an hour to get some calls made and then let's find some lunch and head home early. Maybe we can watch a movie. 

Only if we can have a fire too. It's cold. Maybe hot chocolate.

We can do that.  And he looks hopeful for the first time all day.

Please stop emailing me about the Sponsored Divas thing. I'm not interested. Besides. I think to qualify you can only have one Sugar Daddy, not three. I'm not selling anybody out here except myself, okay?

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Situational unfairness.

It didn't make it worse, it made it go away a little. Maybe the ache of always missing Cole can be soothed with a little tiny bit of time, a little less time, a moment or two. I wouldn't have spiralled into ruin had I not taken that moment when it came, but I also had absolutely zero plans to take it further. I can't do that any more, I'm working so hard to be accountable for every action I make, not having it passed off as grief, revenge or just 'Bridget being Bridget'.

You do you, everyone says all the time anymore.

What an excuse. How about You try harder, or You be better? What ever happened to that? I'm just trying to be different. To not approach the hard parts of life with the same methods as always. Trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of foolishness or idiocy or something. So that. I'm trying and sometimes I feel like it could work.

Other times I just give in. Rushed back to the house, pulled almost off my feet, I faced Lochlan's ire once we were behind locked doors. He checked my neck, wrists, hands, face. He fired questions at me, loudly and fast. I didn't know if it was fear or anger or maybe a mix of the two. And then he was satisfied that I was fine, that I didn't overstep past letting the Devil hold me and he said again that it was enough and he let himself relax but only slightly.

Every moment since he has had a hand around my wrist, or my leg, or my neck. Tangled around my fingertips, arm looped around my ribcage. I haven't been more than a foot away from him, either in waking or in sleep. He prefers to eat, breathe and pass the time close beside one another in order to either reassure himself or keep me from going back.

And as I told him, I have no intentions of going back. I spent the time I was going to spend. I got my Cole-fix or maybe my Caleb-fix or whatever it is. I reassured myself that he's still here and it's enough. It's more than enough. Maybe it's not right or okay or sanctioned but it could have been worse.

It's no different, Lochlan tells me. I know where he comes from. I understand the difference.

It will be, I promise him. I'm sorry, I say out loud but I don't know if I'm apologizing to him or to myself. Or maybe to the monster on the inside who constantly wants to fuck everything up.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Two sharp raps on the door and he's there looking in as I cross the kitchen at the same time. The instant relief washes over his face and changes my own relief to guilt.

I open the door. Just coming back. 

You've been drinking? 

She had a taste of my drink. Care for one? Caleb is right behind me.

I'm good. 

I bet you are, since our girl is intact. Not for lack of trying. Now I know how Jacob must have felt trying to find a way in. 

My heart breaks and blooms painfully, suddenly and Loch grabs my hand, pulling me out the door. That's enough, Diabhal, he says under his breath and we're gone. Caleb doesn't say anything else. There are no fists thrown. No brawls down the stairs. Just quiet. Quiet and black.