The shame is all mine as the jokes began around dinner last evening. Both kids were out, we were making homemade pizzas, and Caleb finally came downstairs. A few softhearted shoves as he ran the gauntlet and they have decided that I wore him out, that I'm like Sleeping Beauty except if you touch me, you're the one who falls asleep for a thousand years, or until there is food nearby.
Sure enough, he ate like five slices of pizza while Dalton made gentle jokes about working up an appetite and being hungry because Bridget's not enough, no meat on her bones. I made a mental note to show him otherwise, but not today because today my bones are worn out and we're in a good place. Everyone is in love, everyone is content. Ben is super good and content and finds life funny again. Sam is a little detached, his usual hesitance, though this time it's not borne out of self-consciousness but out of a need to feel useful and I don't know if he does right now. Too much of any good thing and I get into a headspace where I get blinded by touch and then I'm no good at all and he loses every ounce of his perfect objectivity and we're useless.
Lochlan took back his easy ownership, his alpha-male role, finding a second piece of pizza, eating it folded with one hand, the other looped around my neck. I was already finished my piece. Gorgonzola with ham, pineapple, mushrooms and black olives, washed down with a glass of white wine. I also eat one of PJ's left over crusts, which he hands to me with a wink. I pretend to glare at him before Caleb makes his goodbyes and heads back across the drive. Once he's gone, Lochlan physically relaxes in a way that still bothers me since it's so much different than what he says out loud. He turns me in close so I am standing between his knees. He threads both arms around my back and kisses me on the nose.
Okay? He whispers so no one can hear him. They're all talking about cars anyway. The food is almost gone and everyone is scattering back to their long weekend comfort zones.
I nod and he kisses my forehead, rubbing my back with one thumb as he holds on tightly.
What about you?
I'm okay. I don't think he sounds convinced. Forgiving the Devil is a tough road to walk but we're still walking it. He pulls me until I am resting against him, head over his shoulder, arms around his neck and he just stays like that forever.