Sunday, 10 May 2015

(I called him the Hot-Ness Monster once. He did not approve.)

I drew a four of swords this morning and almost dropped the whole tarot deck on the kitchen floor. I always wanted the fortune teller's job as a child because she had all the answers if only you would ask her the questions. I wanted to wear big golden hoops in my ears and stand in the doorway just after sunset, accepting cash from the hopeful who would pay anything for me to tell them what to do. Nevermind that ninety percent of it was bullshit. Ten percent was still the truth and that's all that mattered.

I'm not feeling better today, in fact, I'm feeling a whole lot worse but I'm going to grin and bear it because that's what one does when one is me. Today feels a little edgy and whole lot helpless as if the tiny part of me that is missing Ben so badly but is hiding like a spark under a pile of dried twigs is just going to erupt and spread like wildfire until there is nothing left of anything.

I can't let that happen so the part that is angry at him prevails until further notice.

And Happy Mother's Day. For me it's like being a Christmas baby in that Mother's Day and my birthday are too close together to have two celebrations so other than eating dinner outside (a special treat because BUGS, they hate them) and perhaps a fire show at sunset from THAT guy, it's going to be quiet.

However, I'm going to stretch out in the shade and read all afternoon. I got the entire set of Outlander novels for my birthday and so far they are very good.

(So very, VERY good.)

A woman who's in love with two men, one of whom is a redheaded Scottish highlander who is difficult and one on the fringe? No, I don't know anyone who would want to read something like that.

Oh my GOD, this book is about us. 

Not hardly. I'm a Midlander, if anything. 

True. And I wouldn't miss Frank. Not even for a minute. 

Because he's boring?

Well, that and because he's no Jamie. 

What's so good about Jamie? She doesn't even know him. 

She doesn't have to! He has red hair and an accent! Nothing else is required! 

Maybe Claire is a little too shallow for her own good. 

Eh, she's holding out so I doubt it. 

She's holding out? Then what's the rub? 

I have no idea, they just had a drink together though so it's inevitable?

What is?

Torrid eighteenth-century sex, naturally.

Oh, I see. You're reading historical porn?

No, I told you. They just had a drink. Give me a few hundred pages and then probably, yes I am.

I wish the fortune teller could have told me that! 

Why? What would you have done differently?

I would never have taught you to read! 

I could read before I met you, Lochlan, Jesus! 

Dr. Seuss doesn't count, Bridget. 

Too bad. I could have written a sequel. Oh, the Assholes you know!

Is that right? But he's laughing. He's laughing and he didn't stop for half the morning. Every time he looked at me he would burst out laughing again.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Short rounds.

I spent part of my morning with the nice older Russian doctor today, since Caleb requested him as a favor. No doubt he'll have to pay that favor back but at least I wasn't subject to a laundry list of all the things I could enhance if only I wanted to look...better.

I just want to feel better, that's all. The kidney infection didn't clear up completely and came roaring back yesterday and by this morning I was ready to throw in the towel and start googling black market kidneys.

You probably just needed a stronger antibiotic, they said.

It will be fun, they said.

This is so not fun, I pointed out but they didn't want to hear that. I don't even want to say it.

But I'm on the mend (again). Ben called and is Concerned but Concern does little from there and if he comes home now he's out more than he'll make. I have lots of nursemaids in his absence. Big ones with beards and one Devil who bought stole my soul and was supposed to give me a perfect life in return but things keep getting stuck in the gears.

I'll be okay.

As always, it's beautiful when Loch and Caleb get along as they both fuss over me without turning it into a competition.

I may still google the possibility of buying a kidney or two. A pair and a spare? Just in case? Do you think they cost less than Cirque Du Soleil because that was so far out of my means I almost cried. Even with Batman's resources added in. It was phenomenal and it wasn't even remotely enough.

Friday, 8 May 2015

From Miele to melee.

Caleb elaborated on the pool/spa/sauna installation, saying it will be the perfect prescription for rehabilitation for Daniel once his cast comes off, and will be good for anything, really. That it's less recreation and more therapy. The pool itself isn't going to be very big. I'm kind of glad. I pictured a large sterile rectangular eyesore. This will be built into the landscape and be part of it, not apart from it.

The deep end will be nine feet maximum. Good. Any deeper than that and I scream because Cole convinced me there were sea monsters nipping at my legs under the surface when I was little and I still kind of believe him only it spilled over from the ocean to regular pools and it's very hard for me to go over my head without a lot of mental distractions, which is ironic considering I say I go off the deep end all the time. (Reap what you sow, Princess.)

Ben called, asked if I was good and then hung up. Then Loch's phone rang and he and Ben talked for over an hour. About Daniel, about me. About the Devil. About the arrangement we have and what state it will be in this August.

About that threat.

Lochlan downplayed it, which is so easy for him to do when he didn't tell Ben that he already ambushed Caleb at breakfast this morning, piledriving him into the dishwasher and then they rolled under the table, throwing fists so hard you would think someone was angry about something.

It took me over two hours to get the blood out of three shirts. The third shirt belonged to August, who put his hand up to block Lochlan from jumping back in and wound up flat on his back clutching Loch against him. Loch is still flailing at this point and had to be talked down. That fell to Sam, who has no use for Devils and was anxious to soothe Lochlan. I would have but Dalton carried me out of the room so that I wouldn't be hit by stray fists/chairs/plates. August would have but it was taking every ounce of energy he had just to hold Lochlan back.

Again, don't be too dismayed. They've been brawling on the floor since before puberty. So just about forty years, all told. Not a lot changes. They're competition. They're fine with it. Caleb throws out this bait and Loch takes it and runs because Loch is stubborn, obstinate and pure and Caleb is a reckless singularly-focused nightmare. They goad each other until the whole mess boils over. You should have heard them yelling as they struggled. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I feel like I should maybe crawl off and down between the cracks in the floorboards and disappear but then they would find something else to fight over.

I guess soon they'll be able to do it in the pool. At least the water will be marginally softer than the kitchen appliances, one of which now needs to be replaced and better come before any ground-breaking for pools takes place. In the meantime, they can take turns washing dishes.

I don't even live here! complains Caleb.

Thank fuck, Loch says. He's gingerly feeling the top of his ear where he was clipped by a fist. It's the only good hit Caleb got in.

Caleb, on the other hand, looks like a prize-fighter fresh out of the ring. His face is wrecked and bruised but he wouldn't let me look at it.

Maybe I earned it, he said. But you're worth it.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Child of Bees.

Seventeen, all he's ever seen
Is living in between the lies
It's kind of funny how a mind
Can keep living in denial

Eighteen is a very strange scene
He's still playing with the past
Expelled, maybe someone could've helped
If someone had known to ask

Hey, look what you did to me
When you were taking me home
Getting me stoned
Leave me alone
The Devil is describing his plans for an in-ground lap pool/sauna/jacuzzi arrangement when I make my way out to the boys that are standing in a loose semi-circle. John bends at the knee and I jump on his back, looping my arms around his neck as he stands back up straight, his hands coming up under my knees. Caleb meets my eyes and loses his train of thought completely. PJ reminds him instantly and he continues on but he doesn't look at me again.

The pool will be in Daniel and Schuyler's yard, technically. They have a huge rock wall and a larger flatter expanse of yard before the cliff. I should know, I carved the whole damn thing up the night I took my epic naked motorcycle ride. So much room. It's going to be amazing. I nod along with everyone.

But really I'm not impressed.

(I hate pools.)

(Also hot tubs. I hate those too.)

(Did you know the province I was born and raised in has seven thousand, six hundred kilometres of seacoast? Right. Who needs pools? Salt trumps chlorine any day.)

(A sauna might be okay though)

Then they all head back inside and I am dropped gently back to ground. I stay in that spot though and Caleb turns back to stare at me. The wind is ruffling his hair ever so slightly. His medium blues are washed out in the cloudy brightness. His expression is terrible.

PJ grabs my hand. Come, Bridge.

In a minute.

Want me to wait with you?

No, I'm fine.

PJ looks at Caleb and Caleb meets his eyes. I won't keep her long, the Devil says, his words flat, expressionless. PJ accepts that for some reason I can't comprehend, heading inside. He knows better than to bite the hand that feeds him. He is the pet bird of the Devil and he doesn't even know it. I chew on that hand like a dog.

Happy Birthday, Dollface. I have something for you at the house. It seems there was a concentrated effort to keep me from you on your big day. 

It wasn't that big a day and it was pure coincidence. They weren't trying to prevent birthday wishes but you know that already. 

What is the plan, Neamhchiontach?

For what? I'm waiting for Ben to come back.

I'm well aware of what you're all doing. Don't play coy with me. I never liked that.

I'm waiting. For Ben. To come back. Was I not loud enough?

Belligerence isn't a good plan.

Neither are demands!

Is your plan to stick it to me by marrying Pyro before he turns fifty? Just to twist my screws a little more? Does he think you'll suddenly stop coming to me if you're married? Like you stopped with Jake except you didn't and we all know how that turned out. Hell, you've never dropped either of us in spite of any new husband you've taken up. I hope Lochlan doesn't expect that to change suddenly.

We're not getting married for a long long time, if at all.

Bridget, regardless of when, this is one life choice I can't allow and I have put up with a lot from you over the years. You left my brother and took away his childen, you took up with Jacob who assaulted me, you remained in league with Loch even as I warned you to stay away from him, and now you're slowly trying to shut me out again. I wouldn't advise that at this point in your life but you keep at it as if it's going to work somehow.

I wouldn't. We have to coparent. 

Then what? What is the plan?

Well, according to you I'm going to marry Lochlan and you're going to walk away from me. You've got it figured out already, I guess.

What about Cole?

He's gone. At some point I'll have to say goodbye. It isn't him that I come for anymore anyway. It's you.

Neamhchiontach, if you say things like that, don't expect me to walk away from you without the biggest fight Lochlan's ever seen. 


Yes, wow. Wow would be the biggest understatement of your lives. Bigger than an amusement park, bigger than the circus, bigger than anything you could even imagine. So yes. Wow. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

In his brother's absence Daniel became keeper of the pipes again and busted out an incredible (and terrible) rendition of Happy birthday, held up by Schuyler because he doesn't have a walking cast yet and you can't play bagpipes sitting on yer arse, as Loch helpfully pointed out.

Yes, he was still drunk. Why do you ask? He was rough and affectionate last night and told me point-blank that he's afraid of me. Afraid of the way I make him feel. And that he's got to deal with it before we take another step. There is so much baggage involved we might need to rent a van. Or perhaps a cargo plane.

And I don't know if I'm willing to tie him down in the way that people expect. I mean, I've tried in the past and it's blown up in my face. Fourth time's the charm or give up already because you can't pin down a man who manipulates fire for a living? Or took you with him when he ran off to join the circus for that matter? It's like pinning flames to a moving target.

You'll get burned.

I've been burned. I have scars. Maybe we just have to get to a place where we're older and wiser and less hung up on what's right or what's 'best'. Not sure if I know where that place is, though. The plane will know. The plane carrying our baggage. Maybe we can catch a ride on it.

In the meantime we listen to the agony bags squeezed like never before because birthdays, thank God there are two or three a month around here, because Daniel really needs the practice. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The day Ben turned into someone mature and together.

Ben called first thing this morning.

Happy birthday, my Bumblebee. I wish I was there. 

I wish you were here too. 

You okay? 

I don't know. 

I'll be home soon. 

No you won't. You won't be home for months. 

Pretend I'm in treatment.

You probably will be by the end of this. I might be too. 

And Loch. Is he still smashed?

Yes he's still drunk in his sleep, if you can believe it. 

He's not good with pressure. How the hell did you guys ever manage to put on a show together if you both run full bore on pure terror all the time. 

Drugs and cash. 

Makes sense. 

I'm kidding. Jesus. That was instant gratification. This is a life decision, not a aerial performance and definitely not a magic show. 

He could be so cool but the paralysis really takes away from the whole picture. He's a huge fraidy-dork. 

Just like me. 

Naw. You're a tiny little fraidy-dork. You two are going to self-destruct before I even cross the ocean. 

Then why did you leave?

Because it's time to see if you can make this work together. You've waited your whole life for this show, Bridget. Go and be the star. 

I'm not a star. I'm a burned out asteroid, Ben. I'm a fragment. I'm not..

You're a 'naut? What kind of 'naut? 

A stupidnaut. Ridicu-naut. Lamenauts. Paralynauts.

How about fraidynauts for now. Tomorrow you can be bravenauts. 

Why tomorrow? 

Because today is your birthday and if anyone pressures you to do anything other than enjoy the day I'll fucking kill them from here.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Cold light.

I present to Batman this morning, because he was loud and insistent and I wanted him to just stop already.

He is pacing. He is upset. I don't even know why.

Let me see if I have this straight. He picked a fight and then went out again, not planning to be back until the end of next season, effectively leaving you and Lochlan legally married to each other and he did all of this two days before your birthday? 

I nod and sip my coffee. He looks so pained when he gets confirmation. I am barely upset.

I'll speak with him. 

You'll do nothing of the kind. This is what Ben does. Also we're not married to each other yet. Might not even bother. We'll see what happens.

Ben hasn't done this for five years. What gives? 

An opportunity he couldn't pass up right now. He has my blessing. 

No offence, Princess, but your blessing isn't enough. Who authorized him to do this? Especially right now? 

I told you, I did. I'm not going to stand between Ben and his livelihood. He needs a break from all this. 

What about you? Where's your break?

The Devil doesn't give me any space to have one. 

Sounds sometimes like you don't actually mind that. 

My turn to look pained.

He bit you again and they let it slide. 

I bit him back and this isn't your business. 

You are my business. The welfare of all of you is important to me. You need advocates who can be effective, Bridget. 

I have a whole army here, remember?

An army you talk out of action on a regular basis. You charm them, they look the other way.

I need to go. Lochlan's going to wake up soon. 

Is he going to spend the summer drunk, talking about the good old days when you were young and he got all your attention?

You're welcome to come for dinner tonight, as long as you precede your visit with an apology for what you just said. 

I won't apologize for speaking the truth, Bridget. 

Then eat by yourself! 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

A road paved with diamonds and a road paved with dirt.

While I was in church this morning, dressed in my smart pale pink Chanel suitdress (courtesy of Caleb), trying to stay awake while parked between Duncan and Christian, Lochlan was sitting on the front steps sharing his morning worship with the bottle of Auchentoshan that we keep hidden for celebrations and emergencies alike. 

When we came home, he raised the bottle and I realized I had no idea which occasion this was, a celebration or an emergency. I'm not sure he did either, judging by his lack of clarity in speaking to me. 

Duncan and Christian went straight in after greeting him and telling him to not have any more, that it's early. Ruth might want to do something today. He nodded and gave up the bottle to Chris, who took it inside with him, leaving me halfway up the front steps waiting for an explanation. 

Sorry, Peanut. It's sometimes far better to check out of a stressful situation than to face it like a man. 

Is that what Ben did?

Ben? What? No, me. The drink. I mean, I'm sorry. He smiles and it disarms me, melting my resolve just enough for me to need to grip the railing because I'm guessing the resolve hardens in my knees. Now it's gone, and they're weak. Don't smile at me like that. Don't call me your circus peanut. Don't be so fucking cute and helpless and afraid and in love. This kills me and they'll blame you when they find my corpse. 

I don't think I can handle this.

What this do you mean, Locket? 

Look at you. You're so pretty and clean and sweet and high-class with your pretty designer dress and your fancy shoes and the cavalcade of cars going up the road in a neighborhood so fancy everyone has gates. Look at you sugar-babying your way through life running this sort of mean balance between princess and freak. I cannot give you this. This seems so you now though. Where's my girl with the sugar smile and the bloody knuckles from trying so hard to help me tear down rides so we could get home faster? My life won't have mansions and fancy dresses and big fridges stocked with groceries I can't pronounce. My life isn't this. I'm a transient in my own existence. What's going to happen when you decide you want that easy, pretty life and I can't provide it for you? You move so easily between being two people. Fancy Bridget of the point and Firebaby. My little filthy, hungry shadow. I can give the shadow everything. I don't even think I know the fancy girl. 

I strip out of my jacket and my shoes and call for Chris to bring the bottle back. He does in a few minutes with a confused look on his face. I thank him and he disappears again. I pull the cork out of the top and take a big gulp, letting it burn off my hypocrisy and and I tell Lochlan that I don't think I know the fancy girl either and I think he's forgotten that you can take the girl out of the circus but you can't ever take the circus out of the girl. 

I ask him if he's going to be okay with this. That we have received a gift from Ben and it would be a waste to let it sit. 

A gift? Naw, Peanut. We worked for this. We earned this, fair and square. I'm just trying to decide if I'm worthy to be in charge of you on my own.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Signed, sealed, delivered.

Well, the Devil doesn't like this. Not one bit. Ben finally addressed him, telling him what he could expect and what he expected in return because unlike Caleb, Ben has the full support of the entire point. Including Batman, though Caleb himself is responsible for furnishing the collective with what we have now. It's a fine balance and by giving me so much power in his weaker moments, Caleb essentially signed away his rights to be outraged, or to force issues at all in certain areas.

The politics here are exhausting.

But as Ben sees it, there's truly no downside for anyone here. 

Except for his glaring absence which will flay me alive. 

He doesn't think it will. 

We agreed to disagree. 

And with that he goes back on the road.

Just for a few months, he says.

Though a few months is a lifetime to me.

You're in such good hands, he says.

Good hands are a curse and a blessing to me.

I'll be home soon, he says.

You better, I threaten. But there's nothing behind my threats except the empty hole where he once took his place, promising me he would never leave again. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Leave your baggage at the door. You're not going to need it on this trip.

Ben came home, as always in the middle of the night, by surprise, scaring me when I woke up smelling kerosene and I thought we were in our trailer on the road and Lochlan smelled like gas all the time. Everytime he lit a smoke I would close my eyes expecting to be blown to kingdom come by virtue of proximity but he would laugh and assure me he washed his hands. Or at least, he thought he had.

I was pulled up out of my sleepy fog and straight into Ben's lap and I put my head back down against his shoulder as his hands slid down underneath my hips and lifted me over and over. He whispered that he needed to plug in and recharge and I would have laughed but I didn't get it and asked him why he didn't go to sleep if he was so tired.

Missed my girl, he said.

Finally he put me down and I was back at the fair in seconds. Loch's arm went around me from somewhere in the dark and Ben sacked out flat on his back and yet I was still surprised to see him when I opened my eyes this morning.


Green cashmere underpants, skinny jeans and a striped t-shirt (so very Jean Seberg) today as I wait for my inspection by the Devil. He wants to know when Ben got back and I blush. He wants to inspect my shoulder from last week and I wince. Two stitches. The Devil is getting better. He had five stitches of his own this time. My teeth are small and sharp. I said we tore each other to bits and I wasn't kidding. We would kill each other if given half a chance but I don't even want a quarter of one. It was a mercy fuck. I just don't know who dispensed the mercy and who received it because we are equally pathetic and I was trying to prove a point.

(I did, in case you're wondering. Can't trust a carny.)

But the Devil doesn't want to compare healing speeds or plan his next assault. He wants to make sure I'm still of the proper mindset. The approved one. The satisfactory-smug one.

Hell, no, I laugh to cover my fear. Because now things have changed. Again.

I leave before he kills me. It seems like one of those days. A sunny inconsequential Friday is the perfect day to wring someone's skinny little neck, don't you think?


In between those things the three of us (no, not Caleb) lay in bed at sunrise talking. And listening. And plotting and planning and promising and working out kinks (not those kind) and coming to terms with change. And absence. And culminations. And last names.

And dreams too. Those stupid things you hang onto stubbornly, for so long you forget how it felt when you made them until the day arrives when they come true. All at once. Just like that.

(Don't be so foolish. It's never just like that. It took thirty-five years, all told and we're not done yet.)