Thursday, 31 March 2016

For every dream that is left behind me
I take a bow
With every war that will rage inside me
I hear the sound
Of another day in this vanishing life
Returned to dust
And every chance I've pushed away
Into the night
A chance encounter between the titans in my front hall knocked over my goddamned roses which I didn't appreciate very much, especially since neither one of them live here. Besides, in a fair fight I am instructed to side with the Devil instead of the Batman because things work better that way.

So he was pleased, and I was not.

Loch and Benjamin were both vaguely pissed. PJ was overjoyed. New Jake seemed disappointed and Keith said we were all fucked in the head.  

Of course we are, I reminded him. Otherwise this doesn't work at all.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Because everything that hadn't turned black yet had moss growing on it.

I pressure-washed the entire point today or at least every hard surface save for the obvious ones so any meaningful words will have to wait til tomorrow until my hands stop shaking.

Caleb's response to Batman's plans? Absolutely not.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Shoot me. I like poking at his sore spots.

Batman's office in London is up at running at last! And he finally gave up on his efforts to secure a personal assistant there and so he changed his mind entirely and modified his plans significantly.

(this upset Caleb and just about everyone else. I'm kinda thrilled though, truth be told. And I rarely tell it so it must be special).

Instead of one imported assistant, he's fashioning the job into something for three people.

Me, New Jake and Asher.

Remember Asher? Batman gave him to me as a gift one Christmas, so that I would have my very own hot young butler except that Asher was outrunning his own problems and no one wanted a stranger in the house even though he is one of Batman's relatives.

But he'll be at Batman's. And he will function as butler there. Head of household, cooking, errands, organizing cleaning staff, drivers, deliveries and social functions, which is funny because Batman hardly ever entertains. He is one third.

The second third is New Jake, who will function as security and general maintenance/landscaping/vehicles/outside everything. But who gets a sparkling raise and odd complete veto powers over Asher because Asher's a tiny bit flighty so we're going to watch him grow into this position. Both of them, maybe.

The third-third is me, though the extent of my duty will be part-time (maximum ten hours a week. I can do ten hours a week) coordination of lawyers, accountants and temps to deal with all the things I today refused to do, sliding down off the chair from where I sat listening, with a rather dramatic and childish whine of despair and Batman laughed at my actions, pulling the 'coordinator' idea out of thin air, on the spot.

I can do that. I climbed back up into my seat and straightened my sweater, smiling like nothing happened.

On one condition.

What is that?

You have to spend the money I pay you instead of hording it, and no fraternizing with the other employees.

When have I ever fraternized with Jasper?

It isn't Jasper I'm thinking of.

Asher's a little young for my tastes unless you want me to go full coug-


Hey. Jake and I are adults and we got it out of our systems. I think.

Keep it professional.

You're SO boring.


For Christ's sake, I'm kidding.

But you're not and you have zero shame.

I give zero fucks, there is a difference. I'm always vaguely ashamed, if you want the truth.

Then why don't you change that?

Look at him. Would you?

Probably not. But I'm also not his type.

Lucky for me then. 

Monday, 28 March 2016


There is SO MUCH CHOCOLATE in this house. I might need New Jake to test my blood sugar. Caleb tells me I have no actual blood, only milk and glitter. He's weird. Once peeled off the ceiling, my color came back and everything, proving I do indeed have fast-moving blue blood in my veins. Not like you can't see them underneath my skin. Proves I'm real, proves I'm royal. Proves I probably shouldn't have had Lucky Charms for breakfast after eating chocolate all weekend long.

We retired the bunny head. Not only was it heavy, hot and relatively painful to wear but for as much magic as it gave the kids at Easter they pointed out it also gave them nightmares to see someone loping around the woods wearing the thing. A grim sort of scary-magic. They also proclaim to be too old for this shit (their. literal. words. because I let them swear as long as they use the words properly and not just toss them out in a thick layer. I keep forgetting Henry will be driving in sixteen months WHAT THE FUCK.).

The head was also was in surprisingly poor shape this year, as someone (not naming names-starts with P, ends with -eej) didn't store it properly in a rush and it was all dried out, stiff and disgusting. Ben offered to wear it anyway and so I ended the tradition on the spot.

Because gross.

Now the kids will need therapy for decades. FUN FACT, they've already had a metric shit-ton so they helped us burn the head and that was that. Tradition spent. On to the next. It was beautiful while it lasted but thinking back I think the boys did it for me, not the children.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

In the dark the sand sparkles like stars, scooped from an earthen sky and released from my tightened fist into a galaxy patterned on a dark damp rock masquerading as the universe. In the dark the saltwater stings a cold dance against my skin, baptism by sea, clarity via the elements. The sea is my giant crystal ball, it helps me see everything and what it misses I can find in those stars as I touch them and let them go. The sound rushes in to fill my head, muting everything else until the focus that remains is distilled down to the purest form.

Sea, myself & sky.

It's a game I've been playing inside my head forever, a play upon learning grammar in elementary school. Me, myself and I. Subjects. Objects. Pronouns. Intensifiers. I look up sharply at the teacher. Intensifiers? I've got intensifiers. My half-formed little eight-year-old brain smiles as she thinks of her boys and returns to her daydream in which it's not even day, it's night and it's not even in town, it's at the beach, and it doesn't even matter because the sea will still be here waiting for you even if your brain is full and your mind is harried and your grammar is wrong and your dress is still too big, Bridget. She's there and she keeps the stars on full reflect and she will drown all your fears and she will show you a different way to predict your future if only you let her surround you. Lean your head back, spread your arms out wide and tread the sea like the longest journey you can imagine and at the end, there you are.

Friday, 25 March 2016

No spoilers!

Oh my gosh. The movie was freaking GLORIOUS. Ben Affleck looked great in Gucci. Don't ask how I could pick out so much of his wardrobe as Bruce Wayne. He's now my favorite Batman of all time, forever. I cringed, I cried, I spent half the movie thinking Doomsday was Colossus with a skin issue and there were bagpipes, for the win.

Worth the price of admission. Grim as all hell. Destructive to a fault and I wish it never ended. I'll go back and see it again with the rest this week.


My money's on Batman (no, not my Batman, the Ben Affleck one. *DROOL*)

Sam is PISSED that we're bailing on Good Friday services (on the beach, no less) because we have tickets to see Batman V Superman this morning. Whoops. He nailed me to a cross and put me on his schedule which means I get fiery-Finnick service later alone because I need to be saved or something. Because I'm the chosen one. Because I've been crucified. Because I'm fucking Wonder Woman and so I made an executive decision and bought the tickets before the internet arrives to spoil the outcome of the movie for me. Not going to happen today, folks, and I promise I won't spoil it for you either. Wish us luck, it's always a logistical nightmare to take more than a dozen people to the movie theatre.

For everyone else, not for us. We're good. But the rest of the world hates being stuck in the long lineups for popcorn just before it starts.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

White flag.

Batman called to clear the air before we see each other tomorrow and asked what the nightmare was about.

How did you know I had a nightmare?

Bridget, we do a daily group chat before your feet hit the floor each morning. Tell me. 

I dreamed you came down the arrivals hall and you had Jake with you. That you found him and were bringing him home and my head exploded. 

If I could do that I would, bridget. 

Best to leave that alone. 

I am bringing home someone I think you'll get along with just fine, however. 

Oh? How did things go. 

Got it straightened out. Thanks to your boy, there. Also, tell him I found the job he thinks he lost. I'll bring it with me. 

Thank you for that. For all of it. 

Bridget, I'm not as black and white as you seem to think. I understand the difficulties you two face. 

Really? I don't think anyone does. 

I think everyone does. That's why they surround you both. Everyone just wants the best for you.

Remove 'the best for' and you've got it. 

Stop. I can't wait to introduce you. Please be on your best.

When am I not? 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

This. THIS.

Behold, some schoolwork my mom sent in with a box of Easter treats. This masterpiece was created when I was ten. Hard to believe I was the most artistic kid in the whole school, thankfully since I certainly wasn't the most academic one. The boys are having a field day, remembering little Bridget, when she was too small to have much sway at all, let alone a fully-formed opinion.

At least I knew what I wanted from an early age. Except Lochlan isn't in the drawing, he had tied me to the wheel and was running it from the ground. He didn't want me to leave him.


Maelstroms and motives.

Thought I would die a lonely man, in endless night
But now I'm high
Running wild among all the stars above
Sometimes it's hard to believe you remember me
The way it was told to me, Batman got halfway through lecturing Lochlan on the whole idea of not being able in life to just stop what you're doing and hide or leave or escape, that bad things happen every single day and business doesn't just stop for every tragedy or news story. He said it sounded heartless but the show must go on.

Same quote Caleb used on me, ironically and it had the same result on Loch that it had on me. A swift correction and a ceasing of any sort of mutual effort to get anything done at all.

Then I quit. Loch told Batman out of the side of his mouth in his half-angry, half-bemused lilt and got on a flight and was home late last evening. He flew commercial because as he told me, I got the bonus-bonus but I guess it'll have to last a while because I lost me job. 

I pointed out that he knows where it is, he's the one who left it there.

No matter, Peanut. I'll figure something out.

I smile, half from exhaustive relief and half because he's been saying that for thirty years. If ever a soul needed a net it is this one.

(Batman will be back on Saturday. Brace for impact. Dalton and Dylan aren't fazed and will be continuing their itinerary until the fall unless I get too spooked and extract them with more exciting means. It could happen. You'll see.)

He opened all the windows so that the smell of avgas and panic would dissipate overnight and then after making sure we had enough love to see us through the dark (Oh, we do. We have enough for the rest of this life and the next because we're not sharing anymore.) he passed me my headphones but he picked the music and I was asleep before the end of the first song.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Ostrich millionaires and the girl who cried wolves.

(Jesus Christ. I'm the Queen of Hearts today.)

Do you know if your soul is removed early for whatever reason (like in heated negotiations with the Devil for permanent ownership of it) that the remaining stalk can be replanted and sprout a new one? It grows slowly and you have to change the water every day, like celery, but then you have a new bargaining chip with which to negotiate when you are trying to spend a hundred thousand dollars on a jet for a one way flight home for three people you care about so dearly it's criminal.

Yes, Dylan. Even you.

I might have promised my new fledgling soul to the Devil for his contacts when he stepped in at the last minute of my call to the Russians because I want a fucking plane and I want Lochlan, Dylan and Dalton on it and I want it in Vancouver by tonight.

Not gonna happen, Princess. These things take time. 

Money makes it happen faster. 

He can fly commercial. 

(I can fly commercial, Peanut. Don't waste the money.)

I don't care.

(I don't care, Locket. If you get blown to pieces there I won't survive it.)

(But you're safe.)

(Not without you.)

Did you talk to Batman? 

He's busy. He told me life happens and if he ran and hid every time a threat played out in the world he wouldn't get anything done. 

He's right. The show must go on.

The show is rescheduled if the whole motherfucking tent is burning down, Cale! If you're going to use a quote like that on me at least understand what it means! 

Bridget, calm down. 

I'll calm down when he's home! 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Sugar up to my knees.

Thanks to the mild weather Caleb had my Porsche brought out of storage (put away last November) a few weeks early. He had it detailed, delivered and then told me to come out to see it, to have a seat and reposition all of the seat and climate controls the way I like them.

I turned on the fan full blast and glitter came out the vents.

I squealed and he laughed and said it was payback, but since it's clean glitter in a very clean car I plan to leave it all. over. everything.

They can pick it off their tongues for the next six months, like I do. My car looks like a snowglobe on the inside and that's just the way I like it.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Weapons-grade feelings.

Yes, I love you
Lochlan on speakerphone last evening, warning us it will probably be most of the week until he gets home.

Go outside and listen to the record I sent you, he instructs. He sent me Oceans of Slumber's Winter the other day, which is a masterpiece so underrated it's almost criminal if you're a progressive rock fan or a music fan at all, frankly.

Not now, Bridge. It's dark, John tells me. User override. Lochlan's time difference is excused. It was very very early in the morning for him. It was daylight.

He said he saw the album art online and went down a rabbit hole. I'm kind of stunned by the way we find music sometimes. I can identify with that. The rabbit hole, I mean, though the artwork is neat, too. I already had put that album in my skull from my perch on the wall at the end of the yard, as I do, in the rain. I'm good. I'll do it again today. Just because.

I'm good, I repeat to him but he never believes me. Doesn't believe Ben has retreated, doesn't believe I've resorted to sleeping on Sam's couch, doesn't believe I've even had time to listen to his offering as I've probably been busy lining the boys up and picking them off, one by one with my cold naked charm.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

They only love me when I'm good.

It's Saturday morning and they seem to be on a relentless mission to spoil me. I love this. I could get used to this but I probably won't let myself because in there somewhere is the voice of a twelve-year-old telling me I don't deserve it.

Ben woke me at fiveish this morning. Not gently, no. Instead I was lifted off the bed until the only thing touching it was my heels and my fingertips on one hand before I grabbed onto him because as always I am afraid to fall. He was rough but sweet, sleepy but awake and ready to wind me out, letting his own wants stay on the back burner. He put me back down, turning me over first, one hand sliding underneath my abdomen and the other covering my whole face. This was nothing short of glorious and we somehow got perfectly synced, achieved nirvana together and then collapsed on top of the sheets, out of breath, perfectly warmed and smiling, Ben moreso while I practically dozed because he loves the noises I make. He loves everything.

No offers this time to go to the Devil?

I only do that as a front for the fear. 

The fear?

Of not being able to make it the whole way. 

So Loch is libido backup?

Naw, he's your lover. That's a turn-on too. 

Then what is Caleb?

Risk. Darkness. Ever feel like you just need to do things that are more out there? Just to feel alive? Watching the Devil take you over makes me feel alive. There's no jealousy, no regret, just hunger. It's amazing. 

So today?

Today you're mine. I have no intentions of sharing you. 

A delicious little tingle of bliss runs up the back of my spine and I shiver.

Until Loch comes back. Then I get everything I need. 

Same danger?

No. Lochlan's too hippie to be scary. 

He can be scary, Ben. You didn't know him back in the day. 

I would have loved him just as much as I do now. 

Yeah, you definitely would have. I stop talking, relaxing my body one part at a time until the next thing I know it's hours later, the sun is streaming into the room, the curtains are open and so is the door and I am tucked neatly, thoroughly under the quilts and it didn't hurt to open my eyes. First time in two weeks I feel as if I've caught up on rest but could still always use more.

A knock on the door and there's PJ's shoulder hovering just outside. Decent? Ben asked if I could take care of a little project for you. 

I am. Where is he? 

He and Dunk went to a meeting. 


I think he'd rather stay sober than take any more risks, Bridge. Anyway, here's breakfast. He wanted it to be perfect. He comes in with a tray with coffee, an omelet, toast, strawberries and a tiny rosebud in a shot glass.

I don't think my brain can take this level of spoilage, Peej. 

Try yourself. You're a little too austere about shit, Bridge. Just enjoy it. Relish it. Maybe even ask for it once in a while. 

Who brings you breakfast in bed, PJ? 

Your husband, you little blind tart. 

That's deaf tart to you, asshole. 

I poisoned your food, FYI. Ben's mine.

Seems to be a lot of that going around lately, doesn't it? 

How about you just eat? I want to run the dishwasher before I go out and it's getting late. Some of us have things to do. 

I have things to do too!

Like what?

Well, I have to eat! So either sit down and entertain me or get lost and I'll ring you when my dishes are ready. 

I should negotiate for some butler pay. 

Yes, you should. Want me to talk to the boss about that? 

No, Bridget. I've been asked to keep you away from him until Loch comes back. I'll have to enlist Sam because I have to go out.

That's probably a smart move. 

It is, because I'm like that. I'm definitely going to ask for a raise. 


Hey, what, Princess?

Can you stay and keep me company while I eat?

Only if you share. 

Here's a piece of toast?

That isn't what I mean. 


I'm kidding! Christ! Well, I'm not but the joke was begging to be told, you know? 

Friday, 18 March 2016

Crucible Cove (Or, How I spent Saint Patrick's Day).

Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can't say anymore

'Cause I love you
Yes, I love you
Oh, how I love you
I get worn down. I erode like the cliffs along the shore at high tide, wearing layers off, picked at. Anticipated. And so when he offered a late-night holiday celebratory drink (oh God. Another?), I took it because I'm tired. I'm still drunk.

Is it poison? I asked Caleb over the rim of the glass.

Only as much as that swill Padraig's been feeding you all day. You're almost pickled.

He wanted me to have a happy day.

He was positioning himself for a happy night, I think.

PJ doesn't angle like that.

Sure he does. Like I do. Like everyone does.

I really am some sort of shared prize, aren't I?

Maybe. Or maybe you're just the one girl who seems to be appealing to a large range of men with different tastes.

You're not all very different, actually.

How are we alike? What brings us to this space and time, Neamhchiontach?



Yes. And empathy. You all connect with each other and with me on a much deeper level. Those who don't live here aren't here for a reason. It's kismet, or ardor. Chemistry. Sexual tension.

Oh. I'm disappointed. I was hoping it was just me.

No. I scowl at him and we laugh.

I think as a group we are extraordinary, actually, Bridget.

You do?

Yes. For so many of us to be together like this as friends through life is a blessing.

Was it a blessing for you and Loch to be knocking each other's teeth out the other night?

He doesn't work well with boundaries.

Who does?

He needs to understand the rules.

They're difficult to follow.

They shouldn't be. He has no trouble with his end of things.

He loves me. That's all.

And you love him.

More than anything.

So then why are you here?

Good point. Actually I think I've overstayed my participation in the day. I've been up since four. 

You don't have to go, Bridget. He puts his hands on either side of my face and bends down for a slow kiss, the likes of which he rarely bothers with. It takes my breath away. It pits me against myself, battling gravity for light. It makes it hard to leave but I'm about to.

Yeah. I do. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

My very own butterfly effect.

Gamble everything for love.
The weird stasis of unfinished business and a hesitant sunrise saw me back at the airport this morning because something went completely south on Batman's efforts to escape the UK and so Lochlan has to go back, sent home some impulsively, prematurely and now with an almost doubled bonus because of the inconvenience.

Only Batman would call a ten-hour plane trip an inconvenience. I'd probably be dead on the floor, but only because I have toddler-level maturity when it comes to being trapped in a seat and forced to amuse myself for hours on end with nothing to look at but the back of another seat. It's hard to make up stories about people when the only parts of people you can see are a couple elbows across and up the aisle slightly. Fuck that. I'd rather take a boat and have an adventure! But then the trip would take weeks instead of hours and I'd like it if Lochlan wasn't gone that long, thank you.

It's difficult.

Or maybe it's just strange now when he's not with me and it's one of the reasons Batman has to pay him so much, or he would probably just quit because he likes to be here at home and pretend with me that we are norms and we're doing norm things. Like backflips in the kitchen and fire-throwing in the driveway.

Wait, what?

People don't do that?

Huh. Too bad.

But hey, if nothing else (excluding Loch's big fat bank account), Ben and Caleb get a do-over this weekend on the whole How To Convince Bridget to Fuck Up Just A Little More.

It'll probably work, because it's Saint Patrick's Day and my very own Saint Patrick not only gave me his flask again on the way home from the airport but offered to make me coffee this morning only there's no coffee in this and I could probably light it on fire and throw it without much effort seeing as talent is contagious and so is drunk.


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Functional spirit.

I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone
Back across the driveway around eleven, before risking falling asleep in the wrong place. Heart rate back to normal, brain hung on a hook, askew inside my skull, thrumming a worried cadence of its own. My skin still feels phantom fingerprints, lips against my throat, legs against my knees, arms around my waist. He's a living wraith representing both a ghost and a friend and he's wrong but he's right and no one seems to notice. No one even cares.

I do.

Flat on my back, eyes open wide in the dark looking for the moment when he makes that change and missing it, kicking myself. I bite my lip and breathe his name like a prayer. He doesn't answer because that's not his name but the arrangement calls for things that aren't properly labelled and we're each getting something out of this so that cancels out who's fault it might be. When in doubt I'll step in front and they can level blame straight upon my bare shoulders.

If it comes to that.

Sometimes I feel like this is the only thing that keeps me alive. Sometimes I think this is the only way they remember who we've lost. Sometimes I think this is the only way out of this mess. Sometimes I think this is wrong but if I think too hard my brain throbs because it isn't properly set in it's place and sometimes I forget things, left on the bed or the table and they make their way back to me a few days later in the laundry or the sideboard or sometimes on the piano. But this isn't a game between us, it's a vow to not let him go if we can help it but it goes against absolutely everything August says out loud to the others.

Forgive me, he says in the dark, every single time for years now and I still never know if he's talking to me, God, Jake or himself. I'm afraid to ask.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Hyperpathetically speaking.

That cold wet grass served as a good cushion when Loch and Caleb took each other to the ground last night in the dark, in their endless multi-decade struggle to be whatever it is they think is best/first/most important/right/just/perfect.

PJ stood, dry and warm, just inside the double patio doors with a beer and watched. I asked if he was going to go outside and break them up and he said Naw, Bridge. Let them go at it.

So I stood tucked just underneath his arm, my forehead pressed to the glass, watching them slug it out and fall only to use one another as a crutch to get back up only to hit the ground again. PJ will step in if it looks like someone's getting really hurt. It doesn't matter who.

Loch finally stands up and backs off, putting the back of his hand up to wipe the blood from his nose, tucking his shirt in. Caleb gets to his feet and stands with his hands on his knees, staring at Loch while the blood from a cut on his cheek and one on his lip mingle into a thin rivulet down into his collar. He says something I can't hear and Lochlan laughs, nodding at Caleb as he stretches and then turns to make his way back up the steps to the house. I watch Caleb leave via the side gate.

What did he say to you?

Lochlan laughs again. He said 'Same time tomorrow?' but the mirth never reaches his eyes.

This is how I know we're getting old, when they don't even finish a fight due to ridiculousness, disinterest or other plans and that even the act itself is a source of (heavily guarded) amusement for both of them. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow we'll get somewhere.

Or they'll ruin two more shirts (and another Adirondack chair).

Monday, 14 March 2016

Cartoon-level villainous, this.

(Bonus round for you today because I need to put it somewhere that isn't in my head, alone to wreak havoc.)

The quick meeting was outside, by request, but also by request within the confines of the immediate backyard/patio so that PJ could keep an eye on me. Lochlan's already gone back to work (still mightily hungover, if you can believe it), Duncan and Ben are at a meeting of their own and Sam has been sleeping all day. Monday is his Saturday this month. Dalton is away in Europe (LUCKY) and August is running errands, I think. So that covers the house. The kids are at friends' houses. They are always here with a dozen kids or always somewhere else with the same crowd. It's great.

Caleb is standing in the yard under a huge black umbrella. I join him but remain just out reach of the shelter of his offering and therefore out of his reach as well, watching his face change from delight that I'm there to dismay at the condition in which I present myself. That is, bare feet on the cold wet grass which simply can't absorb any more rain and so it's soaking up the legs of my ripped, faded jeans like liquid through straws. My grey Leafs t-shirt is already soaked, outlining the navy blue camisole underneath it. Wet hair. Wet bracelets. Goosebumps. I am accessorized by my reaction to the weather but I love the feeling of cold wet grass under my feet almost (okay, not even close) as much as the feeling of damp sand.

And I still hate shoes. The Louboutins were gifts. I don't give a shit about them. I only wear them when he asks nicely and even then I scowl the whole time. Red soles for a soul's ransom, I guess, only if I pay the price I'm still never getting my soul back from this man.

Lochlan had a good trip, I'm imagining? I saw the presents on the table. 

I nod. He did. 

He should be less cocky and more grateful. 

Maybe you can fuck him into submission too. 

I never thought of tha-


Oh, well. There's a nerve. 

I'm just stressed. 

Why is that and what can I do to help?

It's because you're pressuring me. Stop.

I can't. I'm growing tired of waiting and lonely from being alone. 

Then I guess you'll have to find something or someone new to do. 

Right. That's where picking on Lochlan comes in. 

I swear to God, Cale-

And what does God promise you?

That if you touch Lochlan I will kill you. You've already hurt him far beyond what a normal human can withstand. 

Thank your God he's not normal, then, Bridget.

I do that every day. 

Lit from without, lit from within.

That's how Lochlan described himself once when I caught up with him at the lake. I was eleven, and we hadn't yet gone our adventure that year. We were busy swimming with everyone and watching Caleb roll over from teenage to adulthood, like a life odometer. Like a boss.

What's wrong with you? I asked Loch as he struggled to navigate the path to the tire swing.

I am, how do they say it? Lit from within! He announced with the typical bravado of a sixteen year old boy.

Did you drink the gas from your torches? Are you poisoned?

No, it means drunk, Bridgie. It means I've caught fire on the inside with the help of a little juice and I'm burning up. 


Not that kind of juice, sweetheart.


Sunday afternoon was much fun after I greeted Lochlan with my violin roundabout noonish, playing an agonizingly slow, frightfully loud rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but he grinned with his eyes closed and bore it, saying he slept more Saturday night than ever in his life. I wasn't sure if I get credit for that or if he was just happy to be home so I ruined the good humor of the day and asked what the fuck he meant when he told me I should have gotten it over with. He wins so he concedes first place? Wants to share his trophy out of goodwill? No longer cares? Come on, what gives?

I didn't say that. 

Yeah, you did. You said I should have done it while you were away and Ben was around, in case. It's the stupidest thing I ever heard. 

Most stupid. 

Yes, that too! 

No, I mean-nevermind. What I said was I thought you had gone and done it while I was away, and that Ben was there to protect you. That's why I came home lit from within to get through having to hear about it. The emotion was relief that you didn't, not regret that you didn't. Jesus, Peanut. What kind of monster do you take me for? You need to put your ears in. 

No, then the violin is too loud. 

But if you don't, you're going to get your feelings hurt and it will be your own fault. 

I'll think about it. 

And Caleb can wait for you for the rest of his life and then some. It's called Hell on Earth. He brought it, now he can live it. 

Oh you came back in fine form.

Actually no. I came back in shameful condition. I won't do that again. 

But it was a good trip? 

Very productive. Got my bonus. And wait until you meet Alfred. 

What?! Alfred isn't his real name, is it? 

No, but neither is Batman's, so we may as well keep with the theme. 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Monsters come in many forms.

Lochlan did make it home yesterday, alone and drunk from the plane because Batman had to stay behind and finish up and Loch was ready to leave. He drank the whole flight away to combat boredom, exhaustion and fear.

I get that. I drank on the ride to the airport.

(No, I actually did. PJ had a flask. No one tell him it's empty now, shhhhh.)

He's home now and that's all that matters, and not the fact that Caleb is now tapping his watch, reminding me I've crossed over into borrowed time and there will be interest to pay. And not the fact that Loch actually told me last night that I should have gotten it over with while he was too far away and too busy to worry about it and while Ben could bounce Cale if he crossed the line.

Wait. What??

Broke my brain, that did and so this morning I skipped church and went with Schuyler and Daniel to see 10 Cloverfield Lane. 

It was great. Really fun with perfect sound design and a breath-holding plot, the kind I like best, rooting for the heroine to see if she's tough enough to make it out alive.

(Or taking notes in case it comes to that.)

Saturday, 12 March 2016




Why am I yelling?


Friday, 11 March 2016

Keeping the peace (away from you).

I'm not one to waste my time
Searching for some silver lining
But somewhere out there past the storm
Lies the shelter
Of your heart
(I love it when a former grunge/heavy hitter quietly matures into someone who has to be one of the most prolific and under-acknowledged singer/songwriters of my time. I say this because this morning I tripped over my ears and fell in love with Chris Cornell's new album, Higher Truth. Especially Before We Disappear, but really the entire album is perfect. I've had it on repeat all day.)

Caleb, to his credit concerning yesterday simply pointed out it's been barely three months, thanks, but who's counting? 

He's a wee bit ragey that I failed to take a direct invitation and Ben and I continue to enjoy our mini-honeymoon together with fun pastimes like enabling, sabotage and demolition. Ben actually does this regularly and often and usually we ignore it because Ben is impulsive and thoughtless and a little bit removed from reality at the best of times. All things I can't actually fault him for. Whatever he didn't arrive with was taught to him by the rest of us and sometimes the idyll of a Utopia such as this is clouded by the feelings that sometimes get in the way. Sometimes we get jealous. Sometimes we get wild. I didn't say we were perfect but I'm also not going to make excuses for myself even as I make them for Ben. Ben's only endgame is sudden perfect happiness. Why do you think he's had issues with substances? He'll never understand that happiness isn't real or that if you always do what you want the rest of the world becomes a miserable place to exist and people have rules for a reason.

Bridget has rules for a reason because Lochlan tips the other end of the scale in that he always has his eye on the prize and any deviation or momentary comfort might fuck that up and so we continue to deprive ourselves for that contented almost-happiness where all truly is right with the world, or the world as we know it, I guess.

Everyone else basically went apeshit, including John, who took great offence to any real or perceived danger, in bed or otherwise and took a piece off of Ben for that. John may be slightly shorter than Ben but he has a great way about him that makes him almost scarier and God bless him for giving Ben that extra perspective.

Ben is trying to learn but again, there's that shitty impulse control that makes him so much fun. It's not like anyone actually feels sorry for me for having to put up with him, rather they give him all the sympathy and support in the world for his weird ability to put up with me.

But the true amusement of the evening is left to Sophie, who got wind (don't know how, geez. LOL) that Caleb might be..lonely...again...and managed to get her arse on a plane this morning to invent some reason to 'stop by'.

She came down the driveway as I was standing there with John (bodyguard duty until Lochlan dismisses him and no, I don't get a say). We were eating chocolate pudding, standing on the bricks with little silver spoons and everything. She got out of her car and smiled at me really fakely and crazy/excited and headed straight for the boathouse. John looked at me, spoon in mouth and raised his eyebrows in horror. I winked as I watched her come back just as fast.

Is he in your house? 

I shake my head and remove my spoon from my face. He's not home.

I can see that. Where is he? 

John's face is killing me now and I burst out laughing. I don't know. I'm not his secretary. 

She stares at me for a moment and then remembers why she came here again* and tells me she'll find him after her meeting. She gets into her rental A4 and drives out through the gate as I finish the last of my pudding. Or, you know, you could phone him.

*(Money. The answer is always money.)

Caleb calls me a half hour later. If she comes back don't open the gate, just leave it locked and pretend no one is home. 

What if we're outside?

Then pretend harder. This is something you're good at, Bridget. Don't play dumb. 

You really don't want to see her? 

I don't have time to waste on complications. 

Maybe she's as lonely as you are, Diabhal. This seems like serendipity to me. 

Then you're as impulsive and immature as your husband if you think the only interest I have in you is physical. 

All this time and it was spiritual? You actually took my soul so that it would be saved instead of destroyed? All of this to protect me? From what? But the minute I said it I knew and whatever heartless banter we were having was over.

From all of them because they don't deserve to have what should be mine. 

First of all, I'm a who, not a what and secondly, how dare you decide what another human being deserves-

I would have said more but John took the phone from me and pressed end.

Just don't get into this with nobody here. Please, Bridget. It's Friday and it would be nice to have a quiet weekend instead of a war.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Mildly Judas.

(Stranger indeed.)

It turns out my brain is the time machine, not the dishwasher, after all. It's not a matter of coming back in the future to a world full of clean dishes, but rather a matter of visiting the past to relive a memory or take something that I might need. Sometimes, like last night. When Loch is away I dream about him. I hardly have time to miss him and he'll hardly have time to sleep. But now like clockwork comes the inevitable dream. I don't even know why I'm in this one but I'm wearing a yellow t-shirt and black shorts. Lochlan was sitting outside the camper writing out our budget on the back of a payroll envelope and listening to Circus of Heaven when he asked if I liked it.

I like the slow part of this song but the Tomato album? Not honestly.

Add an R, Peanut. 


Not there. 


Tormato, Peanut. I can't teach you classic music if your head is in the clouds. 

Where else would it be? Also that isn't classic music. Classic is Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. 

Classic rock, I mean. 

I like Zeppelin and Floyd already. You know this.

Then you're most of the way there. I'm just helping round out your knowledge base a little.

So in the future Ben will be surprised?

Who is Ben?

Exactly. Because we don't know him yet. This is how my dreams work.

At least until I am pulled right out of them, physically lifted right out of the quilts and into Ben's arms. Still mostly asleep and unable to figure out what he wants until he cradles my head against his face, waking me up with kisses before pulling me all the way down toward his dreams. I can please him in my sleep. He pulls my hair into his fist, keeping control of my head, choking me on his body, gently forcing me past my comfort levels, bringing the night right to the brink before lifting me back up into his lap for a spell. I shiver when he does this, because he throws the covers right off. It's not long before he pulls me down onto my back beneath him, because he's already pushing the limits of his self-control and doesn't want me to get hurt.

At least physically.

Do you want to take this down to Caleb's? 


We don't get a lot of chances now. 


You've held out for a really long time. You did good, Bee. No one expects you to go so long. Even Loch. 

Not so long.

Almost six months.


No one's going to blame you if you want to. 

I shake my head and ask him if we can go back to my dream now because we were just about to meet him.

Your dreams are right here. Everything you want. 

Ben, I can't do thi-

Don't apologize. 

I'm not. I-

Say the word, Bee-


He stops and stares at me in the dark. I don't even know what the look is but the act of convincing has stopped completely. So have all the words, apparently as he resumes his efforts in silence, making sure he goes to the other side of control where he almost has some but not really, ducks his head down against the top of mine and keeps going forever. Through the rest of the night and into the windy sunrise. I hold on to him even as I try to shut out all the bad things he wants for us, how his penchant for living in the moment does nothing but ruin lives and futures and worst of all, dreams.

In my dream I go inside for lemonade and when I come out there's a strange boy sitting at the picnic table across from Loch. He is tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed and brooding. He's in all black even though it's warm and sunny and he's sitting in the shade even though the table is in full sun. He looks at me curiously but he doesn't smile.

Bridget, meet Ben. Just be careful though. He's a bit dark and really marches to his own drummer. 

I see that. Nice to meet you, Ben. 

Do you ever feel like a freak, Bridget?

All the damned time. 

How old are you anyway?


Okay, yeah, no. That's too young. What the fuck are you doing?

Long story, Loch says it but he still isn't paying attention while Ben and I stare at each other with some sort of instant bond that screams equally mutual weirdness and predilections for danger together in perfect harmony.

Yeah, well, I'm not interested in getting arrested like the rest of you so I'll be back when she's like twenty-five or something. See you around. Good luck in the show. 

Come see us when we get to Atlantic City?

You're going to Atlantic City? I've been there. 

What's it like?

It's dark. Be careful, little Bumblebee. Or wait for me. 

I nod. You won't remember me by then. 

Sure I will. How could I forget? 

You forget everything. 

No, I don't. It just means I don't agree with it if you think I forgot. 

That's a weird personality ticket to have, Ben. 

No it's not. Look at all of yours. 

They're not my fault, they're Caleb's but I don't know that yet. 

Are you from the future?


Then you know you're going to fail. 

At what?

The thing you want most. 

I look at Lochlan but he scribbles furiously.

No, not him. 

What do I want then?


That's a terrible thing to tell a child. That they're bound for failure.

You said you weren't a child. You can't have it both ways. 

Yes I can. That's why we're going to join the circus. 

You should stick to the freakshow. 

You think so?

Hey. Don't discourage her. She's a child. Lochlan finally looks up and is horrified by the conversation we have damned near weekly at this point.

I know you'd like to keep her that way forever but it's too late, Brother.  She's going to go somewhere that makes her end up even darker than you. It's inevitable.

Loch sits back and stares at him. She'll be with me, thanks. She always comes with to me. 

I wouldn't put my faith in things that are so small. 

This is the biggest thing in the world. 

Then maybe you should protect it better. Her, better. Because the dark is coming for her and it's coming for you and whether you like it or not it's real and it's worse than this. 

Maybe you should come back in ten or fifteen years and we'll see. 

Done deal. Take care. 

You too. 

And I woke up again, bathed in sweat with Ben still moving against me even as the new light comes in through the windows to burn his skin. Our hair plastered to our foreheads, his hands slip on my hips, grasping tightly, painfully. He says into my ear that I don't have to fight against something that's not even there. And all I want to do is cry but I know he's only advocating for me in the best way he knows how, which is not at all.

Don't give me the silent treatment. I told you I wouldn't fix you because from where I stand, there's nothing wrong with you.

There's nothing right with me either. 

Why did he teach you to talk in circles, Bridget?

Because he knew it would be the only talent I would always have at the ready. Because it's fun to walk the tightrope or do acrobatics but in an emergency you can't pull out tricks like that. You've only got your wits. And he said I'm too much of a dreamer for even that so I am to use my words. 

Is that why you don't talk when you're upset?


Ben gets up from the picnic table in my dream and leaves, heading straight into the bathroom where I hear the shower turn on. I roll over into the damp warmth of the sheets, pulling the nearest quilt over me, a place to hide where I can close my eyes and wish for sleep without dreams, men without preoccupation and girls without memories.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

On marrying this perfect stranger.

What is wrong? 

Ben is standing in the front hall, his entire frame holding open the front door and the screen door and still managing to block out all the light. I kick at the toe of his motorcycle boots with one sock foot and he smiles so gently I wonder if he had to practice to make it look that soft. He hasn't shaved in a couple of days. I noticed because I didn't wake up razor burned nor did I go to sleep that way. He looks a tiny bit wild and a whole lot of sweet right now and he watches me frustratingly kick at his steel-covered toes and try and come up with some words that will work for him.

What if you stayed home and we hung out? 

(I'm losing my mind here. I've already made all the boys that are home lie in a circle, heads in and took their picture from the loft. They did not appreciate nor did they understand it.)

I could do that but you have to sweeten the pot. 

We could chocolate fondue things!

I'm pretty sure every tooth in my head has a cavity thanks to you. Something else?

The kids have no cavities and I only have like four so it can't be from my influence. I think you just have soft teeth. 

If I do they're the only things that are soft. 

I don't doubt it. We could...go snowshoeing. Ben loves snow like Bridget loves cake.

Needs to be sweeter. 

We could go snowshoeing...naked?

That sounds like a fine idea. Let's do it.

Wait, what? We'll get arrested. 

Not if we do it in the bedroom, Bee. 

What will we do afterwards? I try and wink salaciously at him and he's not even looking, he's taking off his boots.

Watch movies? Better yet, we'll make a movie, a documentary about naked snowshoeing in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and then we'll send it to Loch. 

He's a terrible critic when it comes to docs, Benny.

He'll love this one because it stars us. We'll get him to facetime while he watches it so we can see his reaction to our moves.

Our moves? There are moves in snowshoeing? I thought you just walk. 

Oh, Bridget. There are so many moves in naked snowshoeing. I'm going to teach you everything I know. 

You've been snowshoeing before? 

No, but how hard can it be? I can guarantee one thing, it won't be as hard as watching you ask me if I would stay home today while you broke your toes on my boots and my heart with your eyes.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The easter egg hunt this year will take place on PJ's face (why that sounds so dirty I don't even know).

Someone left a bag of mini Cadbury Creme Eggs on the counter. They're not there now.

*Shiftily looks around*

The concert was amazing but on three hours sleep now I have the intelligence of a mashed potato, the reflexes of a manatee and not enough energy to finish words, let alone sentences.

PJ says this is nothing new so I wound up and threw a mini egg at his head. Nailed him right in the beard where the wrapped egg stuck and he said he would leave it there for a snack maybe later but then every time I saw him I would double over laughing so he finally took it out and did eat it and then went back for more.

So yes, whoever they belong to..we're...sorry? Or something. You have to guard your chocolate in this house. You just can't go around leaving it everywhere, unattended, unlabelled.

PJ says Perhaps it was a gift?

Perhaps, I repeat and smile with chocolate all over my teeth.

I actually think Lochlan left them there as a treat for me since he had to leave so early. This is why there was so little sleep. Batman and Lochlan had a last minute work trip and so we took them to the airport and I was too tired to cry, if you can believe it. Maybe that's the secret. Exhaustion. Though they say exercise and being tired is so great and I ran and ran for years and nothing changed except now my legs don't ache constantly and I buy really cheap Nikes instead of the spendy Sauconys.

Lochlan didn't want to go but it's only three nights and really Ben seems to be doing well and PJ is in charge and so now or never, I guess. Batman will be bringing home his new personal assistant (they need to be imported I guess). Loch is going to bring home British chocolate which he says will blow my tiny little mind but I reminded him that's been done and there just isn't enough left to risk so I'll make do with a tacky souvenir plate of Kate and William if he's in the mood. They should be buying plates with our faces on them, he tells me as he kisses me goodbye.

Well, fuck, NOW I'm going to cry. Great.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Kind of love it when Ben leaves the house with the rest of us and it's not for food.

My eyes are blind but I can see
The snowflakes glisten on the tree
The sun no longer sets me free
I feel the snowflakes freezing me

Let the winter sunshine on
Let me feel the frost of dawn
Build my dreams on flakes of snow
Soon I’ll feel the chilling glow

Tonight, finally, after a delay, is the Black Sabbath concert. The last one ever, as it were and so everyone is going. Everyone except the children, so that means if you see us and want to come up and say hello we really don't mind. If the children are with us we go into full Avengers Assemble-mode and it's a little scary. People sometimes get reallllly excited when around someone they kinda recognize and at this kind of event it's far more likely. Long story. Anyway, if you see us and you want to come say hi, just be gentle, LOL. We won't bite but we also don't like a big fuss.

(Caleb is even going. He'll be the inappropriately dressed one in a blazer and nice pants.)

I'm excited. I have maybe fifty pounds of eyeliner already on and am broadcasting Snowblind to the point. PJ is very appreciative of my swaying around the kitchen singing it. Or maybe it's these skinny jeans? I should probably stop before he gets a full-on metal boner but who cares?

I'm even going to break my own golden rule and drink a beer tonight.

In public.

(If the jeans can take it. They're tiiiight because metallllll.)

Because this is the End.  Goddamn it. I know I'm going to cry. But also SNOWBLIND.


This is the shit dreams are made of, right here.

(I am such a boy. Eyeliner included.)

Sunday, 6 March 2016

(All the destruction, it was quiet.)

All of the interesting turns of events from birthday to now and Caleb is fixated on the title of yesterday's entry as if it's a label I have put onto him, stamped across his forehead as a reminder to learn from my mistakes and grow.

But let's face it. I'm done growing. I was done at eleven or maybe ten. Maybe the Midway food stunted me or maybe Lochlan froze me in time, perfect to fit under his chin or maybe I don't learn from mistakes and therefore are doomed to repeat them over again, ad infinitum. Maybe Caleb wasn't ever a formal enough of a relationship to be considered a mistake, more of an ongoing kind of dalliance that we've never solidified into anything further, as I was always otherwise engaged. Literally engaged. Positively uninterested in ever giving a voice to a marriage of monsters.

In consideration I have thought about it many times and I often wondered if I did, if he would change. If he would be nice or at least somewhat less cruel to me. If he would be kind instead of frightening, loving instead of forceful. Sweet instead of always mean. His charm, his frailty is a mask and as long as I keep that in mind I do okay but his charm is also magnetic, dangerous and deceitful and I am no match for the Devil as I am forever frozen in a time period I would have gone back to if I could find the way. Not for the bad things but for the good and now no one seems to understand that when I write 'My Yesterday', it simply means this is how the day before today went and nothing more. It's not a proclamation or a hidden message. It's just a descriptor. A marker. A heading. It's a story.

It's a shame, is what it is and now I'm going to move on. Fifty-four is almost a year away and so I can let out a long deep breath and plan for the next catastrophe which seems to be the mystagogue in this house, who pretends to be a minister but I swear to God sometimes Sam, like August channels just enough Jake to warm my cold broken heart in the form of these men who keep me going to see what they do next. He's lying on the floor in the living room with headphones on listening to music, which would be quiet and acceptable save for the fact that he's singing so loudly he woke the whole house up.

(He found that Shooter Jennings song. Man. What an amazing fucking song.)

That's exactly what Jake used to do each early March when Lent was under full steam and we all stopped going to church regularly enough for him. He would make sure we were up and at 'em so that we wouldn't be late. We didn't all live together back then so he would drive around town knocking on doors and singing and checking his watch when they would come and open the door in pajamas, rubbing their eyes, probably hungover with no intentions of hearing his service.

And it works now like it worked then. Perfectly.

So off we go. Maybe I'll add more later. Maybe I'll go back to bed.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

My yesterday.


Friday morning, 8:05. A heartbeat after the kids have left for school and the Devil has come to claim his due.

Where did you get them?

Everyone is all up in his face before he finishes the question and he struggles against them while I stand in the doorway. He's screaming at me to tell him and then in a moment of silence I shrug.

Where did I get what? 

The benzos you put in my drink.

Are you saying you think something fell in your drink?
It's a sad day when you feel as if you have to poison me to avoid meaningful contact. 

I didn't poison you. It must have been some kind of accident. Love how you call it 'meaningful contact' now. That's amazing. Everyone is staring at me with amusement and I have no poker face so I burst out laughing very inappropriately.

That's an extraordinary length to go to, Neamhchiontach. 

The stress of trying to hold out dissolves me and the tears come. I must look insane. I don't know what you're talking about! I thought you were tired. I was relieved, I admit. I came home. I didn't do anything to you. 

He softens just enough that they let go and those who have some manners leave the room. Bridget, I'm sorry I frighten you so much. I wanted to end my birthday the way I began it. Alone with you. 

I'm sorry. I whisper, well aware that it sounds like guilt even though I'm apologizing for leaving his house before his birthday was over.

(My inner twelve year old kicks me in the shins and scowls. Lochlan leaves the room. For fucks sakes. Social engineering is as exhausting as a birthday to me.)

Did you put something in my drink, Neamhchiontach?

No. Maybe you're just more tired than you realize. It was a long day. I smile through tears and he wipes them off my cheeks with his thumbs.

His eyes though.

Blue right through with obvious doubt.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Just like normal people.

Pierced your arrow through my heart
Wanted me, now want me gone
In your hiding, you’re alone
Kept your treasures with my bones

Told me lies, told me tales
Lived for bad, and hit the rails
Hate you, boy, with what I know
Picked my love up with my bones
Through the door at 10:06 pm after Caleb nodded off on the couch. I took our glasses into the kitchen, covered him with one of the fur blankets from his bed and let myself out, locking the door behind me.

When I came in the side door Lochlan came off his chair like there might be a spring underneath him. PJ had him blocked before he even registered that it was just me.

You're here! 

I told you I wouldn't be there long. We had a drink and I'm home as promised. I think he really enjoyed the day. Thank you for helping keep the peace.

His composure fought an incredible battle on the inside. I could see his expressions cycling through as he went for neutral and wound up with pain, relief, stubbornness and love all mixed up together. Then he bailed on the whole mess and just pulled me into my place, tucked under his chin, in his arms, underneath his flannel shirt, pressed against the t-shirt that is so old it feels like his heartbeat is the thrum of huge heavy butterfly wings muffled by clouds.

Three seconds later another chin lands on the back of my head and the sandwich is complete as I feel Ben's hands press to my ears. Okay then. Jesus. They painted me a reckless liar. Wait, I am one. This feels awful.

You okay? Ben's question is as weighty as Loch's relief so that I get crushed underneath my own guilt.

I'm fine. We had a drink. I'm home. 

He let you go?

He can't 'keep me'. He fell asleep. It happens. People get tired.

The Devil isn't 'people', Bridgie. 

I shrug and push myself out of the embrace. PJ checks his eyebrow raise and asks if I want tea. I shake my head and ask if we can watch a movie or something. Lochlan gently reminds me that it's late and he has to get up early so bed it is. Off we go.

Why did you stay up then?

I was holding out until PJ let his guard down and then I was going to come get you. 


Just don't, Bridget. 

You don't trust me. 

I don't trust him. You know damn well if he wants something you can't-

Can't refuse him?

Can't fight back. He absolves me with that. He forgets the minute I am home, always. 

Sure I could. I'm tougher than I look.

He shakes his head and then pulls off his shirt and the t-shirt underneath. You think he..I don't know, do you think he's going to leave you alone? 

I don't want to ruin this perfect victory of a day, complete with cake, balloons, presents, touching speeches and self-reliance with disappointment so I just strip off all my clothes, climb into the middle of the big bed, bracelets and all and forget to kiss the boys goodnight.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Stumbling into a flat run.

Beware the bottled thoughts of angry young men
Secret compartments hide all of the skeletons
Little girl wants to make her home with him
In the middle of the shore, she wonders
'Don't know what you asked for'
Fifty-three this morning looks haunted, quietly unsettled as we take a thermos of coffee down to the beach to greet the horizon, a line cut with damp sugar. I'm teaching him to appreciate the simple life even as he attempts to appropriate the magician's rituals for his own. The coffee is a compromise. He wanted to bring champagne. Which is different than scotch but somehow still the same. It's cold and rainy this morning and the birthday boy looks at me for a very long time before I give in first, toasting him with the metal cup full of scalding black gold.

Happy Birthday, Diabhal, I've made my speech privately, ending with the expected formality of a wish, as this day holds so much more weight than any other of his year. Birthdays are sacred to the Collective and treated as such.

Which one of them is keeping you from me? Look what happened to the last two men who tried. As of today I am three years past my goal and it's further out of reach than ever.

What did you do, wake up and say this should be the day where you turn the evil up to eleven?

I need a name. If you're protecting Lochla-

It's Bridget.

Pardon me?

I'm doing this. Because I said I would and I am. If you're going to kill me please not by heights or fire. I prefer to be drowned or asphyxiated in the throes of passion. Humane, as it were. Maybe a drug overdose but make it good so I have no idea what's going on. Now if you don't mind can we not fight today? This is a very special day. I squeeze my eyes shut tightly and he laughs. I peek at him with one eye all squinty and he's smiling but his eyes are still incredibly sad.

I'm not going to kill you today. It's my birthday, Neamhchiontach. And you're right. The simplest things are best and being here with you to greet this day is a gift in itself. I know you probably met a lot of resistance. I do appreciate it. 

I'm not doing you a favor. I want to be here. 

Is Pyro chained up inside or something? 

He's at work. 

He doesn't know. 

Sure he does. His spies are all over this. I point back behind my head and Duncan is casually scanning the sweet morning skyline from the telescope platform.

Okay, well then how about I go get some things done and I scoop you up at one? Since dinner is here and you've gone to so much trouble let me take you out for lunch. 

I'm game. Can we just have ice cream? 

We're having cake tonight. Don't overdo it. He indicates the candy vista stretching as far as the eye can see in glittering shades of lavender and orange over a darkened teal early sea. My legendary, unchecked instant childlike disappointment is a goddamned firestarter.

We'll see, he changes his mind when he catches my expression as it runs to hide. He smiles again, eyes still sad.

It's your birthday. You choose. But no more threats against Lochlan. He hasn't done anything to you.

That slight spark is enough to reassure my pounding heart that he is okay as the smile finally hints at his eyes until the comprehension of my words extinguishes it completely. I can't coordinate my feelings. I want to be Kevlar and I want to be comfort. I want to be somewhere else. I bite my own tongue chewing on my shoes as I attempt to change the subject before he notices what I have done.

 Are you coming back up? I see Duncan has already come down from the platform and is heading for the stairs. I have my answer.

I'm going to stay for a bit still. Give me the coffee, would you? 

He takes the thermos and walks me back carefully to the bottom of the steps, kissing my cheek hard as he lets go. As I grab the railing he heads back to the other end of the beach. He turns to see me looking back at him and holds up a finger.

Wait? Stop? Think about this for a minute? I have something else to say? Be careful? Soon? See you at one? I have one man left to destroy? I don't know what the finger means so I ignore it, turning away first, climbing the stairs slowly, hand on the rail as instructed because he just broke one of the house rules of buddies on the cliff stairs because they're fucking dangerous. Less dangerous than he is, though, I suppose, birthday or not.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Damn the dark, damn the light.

And if you don't love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying
You would never break the chain.
He finishes his bite and then points to my plate while he wipes his mouth on the napkin. Finish your lunch, he orders.

I am busy editing photos on my phone and my sandwich is mostly untouched.

In a minute. 


Just a word. Just my name. But it's loaded with pretty much every bullet we've ever shot at each other when he says it like that.

Like a dad.

Not like a lover.

Which is where I get confused. The ten year old sits up straight, wipes her braids off her shoulders and digs in, swinging her feet until she kicks off her shoes (she hates shoes anyway) and then has to withstand five long minutes of lectures when he reaches under the table to get them and has to spend an exorbitant amount of time untangling the double knots he tied for her this morning. Then she stands up while he ties them again, back on her feet. These are new. Nikes with a blue swoosh. They're for tennis but she hates tennis. Too much running and it's boring. She writes the words to Fleetwood Mac songs along the sides with a ballpoint pen and wonders if she'll soon be old enough to have the kind of heartbreak they sing about. Then Lochlan stands up, pulls his sleeve down over his hand and wipes her whole face off.

I bet if I stood up right now he would be tempted. I should test hi-

Bridget. Come on. We've got things to do. 

He totally would.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The killing kind of love.

We're partners in crime
You got that certain something
What you give to me
Takes my breath away
Now the word out on the street
Is the devil's in your kiss
If our love goes up in flames
It's a fire I can't resist
We're making preliminary plans for when Dalton comes back that involve sending he and Duncan downstairs for a sibling-flat kind of scenario and Sam is moving up to Duncan's room. Duncan likes it. Dalton will love it.

Sam doesn't want to be down there any more. Too many memories. I get that so I'm moving heaven and earth (that would be Duncan and Dalton, respectively hahahaha) to see that he gets what he needs. If Sam's frame of mind slides anymore he's going to be at the bottom of a big hill. But I had to ask the inevitable question because it could be an issue.

What happens if Matt stays over again? 

He won't be. Hey, I gotta go. I'll be home in time to help with dinner. He kisses my forehead and he's gone.

Oh. Well, why not, Sam? I ask my blueberry pancake. PJ tries not to laugh from where he is loading the time machine.

That's a musical apartment. 

It's what it was intended for, I guess. Whoever needs it most. Maybe I should go live there.

With Duncan? PJ smirks at his cleverness and I throw my pancake at his head. It misses wildly and sticks flat against the window above the sink, sliding down the glass in a syrupy crawl like a huge tangible honey moon.

He can't help it anymore, laughing out loud. I look for something to throw next.

I think your plate is full, he reminds me as I wonder what the fuck he's talking about. My empty. I just THREW the food on it at him and missed. Oh, wait.

A figure of sp-

I know what it is! 

What are you doing about Thursday? Feed the Devil, kill the Magician? 

No, I'm going for a birthday champagne and then I'm coming home. 

Does Caleb know this? 

Yes, but he doesn't believe me.

Does Lochlan know this?

Yes, but he also doesn't believe me. 

Duncan might be the best choice in this scenario. 

I know, right?