Friday, 30 November 2012


Because we're so awesome, Friday nights are just the pinnacle of entertainment here at the house, as the boys broke into a impromptu game of tackle football. Indoors.

I was the football, taking off at a flat run to get away, bouncing off PJ and heading in the other direction until Duncan cornered me in the library. I screamed and ran right up over the back of the chair, back out into the hallway, heading up the stairs.


Ben was waiting. He wrestled me down to the floor, held my head very still and squirted Otrivin up my nostrils. I hate nose spray.

Oh the other hand I don't sound like a walrus when I breathe now! Hey!

Too sick to tell you anything important.

When I wake up next (holy Dayquil, Batman! Er...) Lochlan has his head resting on the pillow beside me. He's staring at me and suddenly I'm afraid. This was how I woke up the first day knowing full well that Jacob was gone forever. Only it was Ben staring at me because the Red Chicken didn't want to take the blame for the bad news and it backfired on him and oh well, I wonder what day it is now?

I calm myself as I try to focus on his eyes, the 'completely unremarkable compared to yours windswept-isle green', as he calls them to me. Bleak-green. Brean. Gleek. Something something fever. If he had my color of green eyes, I would walk around throwing my panties at his face all fucking day long.

Hey, is it warm in here or do I still have a fever?

It's Friday, sleepyhead. Want some breakfast? You can't have my crow though, I have to eat it all. 

Huh? I sit up on my elbows. What do you mean?

I did not mean to imply that you were retarded because you physically look for your memories, Peanut. I actually love seeing it. I just ran with a moment and tried a zinger and it was insulting and childish. I'm really sorry, love. 

Apology accepted. I didn't take it personally, Loch. Your timing was priceless.

He half-smiles and moves in to kiss my forehead and I sneeze right in his face.

ACK! Bridget! 


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dammit listen to me good.

Maybe Lochlan's bad mood was residual, contagious, but I was summoned from my bed (sickbed, if you will) by a text from Andrew this morning.

It said Need you. S&D are at it. :(

If Andrew puts a sad face on it you know it's not good. If Andrew, of all people feels the need to call in reinforcements then it's definitely not good.

However, I was feverish and hallucinating so I went over to the house next door in my pajamas. In the pouring rain. I must speak to Satan about building an underground tunnel for the weather, or for fast escapes, as it were.

Up until now Schuyler and Daniel had enjoyed a long period of relative calm. Still in their post-honeymoon phase, with the pressures of housing prices off their backs they were settling in quite nicely. Until today, anyway.

When I arrived it was quiet. False alarm maybe? I walked down the hall and made my way straight upstairs to the master suite. Daniel is a hider. Andrew meets me halfway down and points the other way to let me know Schuyler is in the kitchen but I have a bond with Daniel and I want to see him first. He's my third child and he's just like Ben: tissue-thin and prone to cognitive ruin twice as fast so I went up and knocked on the door. I hear music.

Come in.

I went in and the music was loud. And then I see that Lochlan (who was called first by Christian, unbeknownst to Andrew) and Daniel are lying in the bed fully-clothed singing along and Daniel is crying and laughing a little bit and oh, I get it.

I'm dreaming.

I shake my head and pinch my arm but they're still there. They don't morph into Chris Broderick from Megadeth magically so dammit, I must be awake. (Shhhhh. We won't go there. Feverish! Hallucinating!)

I head over and climb into bed between them. Lochlan reaches out to feel my forehead but I push his hand off. Daniel looks concerned. Why are you out in the cold? Did he call you?

No, someone else did (I never give up names until What's happening?

Loch is using sappy love songs and quiet conversation to bring Danny around and I'm guessing it worked and I can go back to bed, only I'm in a bed and so I close my eyes and listen for a while. I push my butt up against Loch and rest my head on Daniel's arm which is bent up under his head. He slides it up out of the way and the moment I land on the pillow I'm out.



Asleep before I had a chance to find out what happened.
You nearly had me roped and tied
Altar-bound, hypnotized
Sweet freedom whispered in my ear
You're a butterfly
And butterflies are free to fly
Fly away, high away, bye bye
When I woke up it was getting dark. I sat up in the bed and Lochlan turned to look at me from where he had been staring out to sea. The music was off, Daniel was gone and my fever seemed to be waning slightly. I coughed and Lochlan told me that the boys sorted things out.

You gave them both Big Picture talks, didn't you?


It's too bad we can never seem to take our own medicine, isn't it?

We're strong. We'll be fine, Bridget.

But I am still shaky and weak and somewhat out of it and I forget to soften the blow. No, we won't be fine. The way you consoled Danny was the way you used to look after me. Only you said you couldn't do that anymore and yet here you are. It still works. Just not with me I guess. 

He turned back to look out at the water and I lay back down, finishing the song in my head. See, unlike Schuyler and Daniel we no longer yell at each other until we're both in tears, we just sweep it all under the rug, shoving memories aside to make more room for all the new moments, and then pulling the edges tight hoping the coverage is enough, but it's not, exposing all the oldest ones. I keep hoping for the right love song to play that will tie it all together and make it possible to breathe. Knowing that we've played them all and it never has and probably never will. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sister Golden Hair Surprise.

Will you love me just a little, just enough to show you care?
This morning I walked into the kitchen and Lochlan played a few notes on Ben's guitar, which he tinkers with every chance he gets. (It's electric. Apparently that's a big draw.)

I immediately turned around, cocked my head and tried to place the song. I know that song. I know it well.

See? he says and Teflon Jesus nods. She totally moves her eyes when she's rooting around in her brain for memories. It's unbelievable. 

Maybe it's a sign of something, I tell him.

Mental retardation?

Well, SOMEBODY'S in a bad mood this morning. 

He passed the guitar to Dalton and walked out. I looked at Dalton and waited for an explanation. Dalton just shrugged. He needs a little more beauty sleep, I think. He stays awake when you're sick. 

If he's so concerned he has a terrible way of showing it. 

Hey, it's his Scottish bedside manner. 'Go fuck yourself', or something like that. Right?

I suppose. And then I cough some more.

Here's the rub: Ben will keep me awake late each night whether I should be or not (so that we get time! We never have TIME.) and Lochlan does not agree with that, nor does he abide by the None of your business response to his direct orders to sleep and not play. The fucker.

On the other hand I am sicker today. So instead of I told you so, he just acts all miffy and put out for like the entire day and then just as I plan to sweeten him up and make everything better, he starts giving orders again. It's preschool by day, army by night.

See, this is why I go looking (literally, LOOKING WITH MY EYES, BOYS) for those midway memories. Daytimes on the show were pretty much the only time in my life I wasn't treated like a child.

No worries, Bridget. He'll come around. 

When I feel better. 


Hey, do you have that song on your phone? I want to hear the rest of it now.

No, you'll have to go ask Loch. He probably does.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

No spirit yet.

Well, that's it then.

Daniel, Schuyler, Christian and Andrew have become the Griswolds.

Their house looks a little bit like a rave party standing still. They have four, count 'em, FOUR Christmas trees up and decorated inside and outside I believe I stopped counting at something like thirty strands of lights.

In this house we...have a huge poinsettia in the corner of the kitchen, but only because the creepy grocery store dude ran after me to take one because it was free if you spent a certain amount. I always spend over that amount so I get a lot of bonus products. This was the first time I've ever been forced to strap one of those products into the passenger seat of my car.

We may have non-Christmas this year. Everyone is too busy. And I'm sick now with a lovely throat thing and fever that makes me not care all that much about whatever happens a whole month from now.

I will still shop though. And wrap. And bake. And then make a cup of tea Christmas evening and exhale. That's my plan.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Break on your horizon.

I've had a slightly awkward morning yet it gives me so much hope that at least one person in my life still marches to his own drummer instead of falling in line behind mine. It also reminds me that absolutely nothing surprises me anymore.

And my drummer doesn't share, for the record. He's dead. He was the first one to vacate earth under the pressure from leading so many. But I don't miss Cole, not anymore.

I went to work this morning (how formal, geez. I walked over to the boathouse, coffee and phone in hand). I function as Caleb's frequently sexually harassed personal assistant while he pretends to be a venture capitalist/mogul/financier. It's very exciting, oh, yes it is. Mostly I schedule conference calls and file statements and listen to music.

I figure he is already working when I walk in this morning. I don't knock and he hardly ever locks the door so it's sort of an expectation that I am always welcome.

Except that when I walk in this morning, there is music playing and I smell perfume. It's lingering in the air and I say his name, switching to professional because I don't know what to expect.

Mr. C____?

I hear him laugh and then he walks out into the hall wearing only a towel wrapped around his hips, his straight razor in his hand, and the remainder of his face to be shaved.

I'm alone now, Bridget. You don't have to be formal but I appreciate the lack of implied complication if I weren't.

Someone was here?

Yes. Her name was Peyton. Medium height, brown hair. Very attractive, actually. I sent her home in a car around one this morning.

And you had a good date?

We went to dinner and a show and then came back here for a nightcap.

And you're going to see her again?

No, Bridget, I'm not. She was an expenditure I didn't want, but I can't live like a monk so I contract services to look after my needs. I'm not like the boys in that house. I can't live like that.

I know. We're down to whispers and thanks to the look on his half-shaven face I change the subject out of a sudden need to feel better. Coldplay this morning?

It's beautiful, isn't it? 

Yeah. I nod and point back behind me. I'll make some coffee for you, okay? 

That would be great. I want to get a lot done today. He steps back into the bathroom and resumes his routine. He starts singing along with White Shadows and he sings it well, I know it's a favorite but I sort of forget sometimes what Caleb sounds like when he sings, too. I have to lock my knees so I don't hit the fucking floor.

When he finally comes into the kitchen, fully dressed and ready for some work, I can't resist the dig. He's in a good mood (fancy that) so I know I can get away with almost anything this morning.

You realize her name probably wasn't Peyton, right?

I'm well aware that that was not her name, Bridget. 

What name did you use?

I'm not going to talk about this anymore, okay? 

You said your name was James, didn't you? James Bond but not THE James Bond?

So busted. Against his efforts not to, he breaks into a grin. Can we PLEASE get to work, Bridget?

Yes, Mr. Bond. Right away, sir. 

Please, call me James. 

Depends. What's the going rate for me to call you that?


Hey, you left your virtue at the door with one phone call. It's open season, Diabhal.

He smirks through the grin. Fine, I'll give you until noon to get it out of your system and then I will exact payback. 

Oooo. Payback. Will it be shaken or stirred?

Christ. You're impossible. 

Come on! I'm just having a little fun! No one ever lets me have any fun! 

He stops smiling abruptly. It's as if I have thrown a switch.
Maybe you get what you wanted
Maybe you stumbled upon it
Everything you ever wanted
In a permanent state

Maybe you'll know when you see it
Maybe if you say it, you'll mean it
And when you find it, you keep it
In a permanent state
A permanent state

Sunday, 25 November 2012


His arm is tight around me as I sit wedged into the corner of the couch beside Loch. He is reading things on his tablet and I am playing a word game against Matt on my phone. Matt is in the kitchen.

The fuck. Oh, I wish you wouldn't document every goddamned thing I've ever said. 

I'm sorry. 

But you're not!

Okay, I'm not. 

Please point out that you were also a major pain-in-the-arse who would bat your eyelashes and get whatever you wanted, so people don't feel sorry for you, 'oh the wee 'lil Bridget'! 

Oh, I think everyone knows. 

Hope so. Nothing's changed either. You're still exactly the same.

Everyone knows that also, Lochlan. 


Saturday, 24 November 2012


(Sorry, this one became rather long.)

I am waiting for him on the grass at the edge, but not on the concrete because he said to stay ON THE GRASS and he yelled it very slowly in what I am now calling his Worried voice. It's never angry exactly but he yells when he is afraid something will go wrong, it's almost as if all his nerves bunch up and force his voice out of his body very loudly.

(It took me precisely four days of spending time with him to figure this out but interestingly enough the only other time I heard him yell was when he got mad and threw himself at Caleb. That was a different yell by far. It was his Angry-Frustrated voice. That one happens when his nerves snap completely instead of bunching up.

I'm really glad he has more patience with me than he seems to with Caleb. Especially since everyone tells me I don't listen most of the time. I try to, I think they speak in the other direction and their words must get swallowed by the hungry wind before I can hear them.

He's the only one who saw right off that I'm not attention-deficit or anything, I'm just a daydreamer. He said I was imaginative, and he did so with admiration in his eyes. By the time it was dark out on Tuesday he had told me a whole raft of his own dreams. I said I couldn't wait to hear about them when they came true, because they would and he stopped talking in surprise because I was the first person to expect those dreams to eventually take place instead of dismissing them as impractical, fantastical, impossible.

I asked if that wasn't the whole point of dreams, to make a set of plans and reach for the stars, instead of hoping someday to come across a talking rainbow elephant in the bushes outside your house? He grabbed his head with both hands, his eyes open wide and said EXACTLY! But it wasn't in his loud Worried voice, or his Angry-Frustrated voice. It was a new one. I christened it his Astonished voice. We both like that one best.)

So as I stand ON THE GRASS waiting, he turns and looks at me suddenly. I turn around and look behind me (maybe someone is there) but when I turn back Lochlan is making his way back across the dam. They are walking across the top, where the water rushes over the edge into the river below. He went to see if it was safe enough to bring me too or if the water is still too strong like it usually is at the beginning of the summer. There is a camp on the other side, in the woods by the lake. The tire swing is there that Bailey told me about. I want to go. Very, very badly.

His face is stern when he reaches me. No way, Bridget. Sorry. You're too young and if you die I'll be in so much trouble. 

I can do it. I can get there. 

Not today. Maybe in a few years when you're older. Sorry. 

It's okay, Lochlan. Maybe I'll see you later then. I am crushed. I want to be with the big kids and he's going swimming at the swing. They don't always stay on the beach, like today and as usual I am too little to do the fun things. I turn away and start to walk across the grass to head up to the road and walk home (if I can remember which way) when Lochlan calls out for me to wait. He'll be right back. DON'T MOVE (worried voice). I sit down on the steps leading up the hill and wait, drawing patterns in the sand with a rock, my head on my knees.

He comes back and tells me that Caleb has to go to work so he's going that way and he will drive me since Lochlan doesn't want me going home alone but also doesn't want to give up a chance to see my sister and her friends in their bikinis. Then he says he will see me later and Caleb will be back across in a minute. He crosses the dam again and waves goodbye when he gets to the other side. I ignore him, not waving my Angry Frustrated arm, always too young, too small, too inexperienced, too much of a pain to be included in anything it seems and then I see Caleb. Lochlan turns and points to me and Caleb nods, clapping Loch once on the shoulder and then waving to me as he crosses the dam.

I sit in the front seat on the way home (secretly thrilled, since no one ever lets me sit in the front). Caleb asks me what music I listen to. I tell him I like heavy slow songs and he laughs and shakes his head. Interesting, he says. He finds a good rock station on the radio and we listen in a comfortable silence. I study him while he drives and every now and then he looks at me and smiles and says What? Then finally he asks if he has something on his face and I shake my head and then I blurt out that I really want to go to the rope swing and I know it's a long path and I know crossing the dam is dangerous but maybe since Caleb is the oldest, HE could take me there. When I'm done I am so surprised at myself I clam right up.

He just smiles at me and says Sure. When do you want to go? 


When we arrive at the lake the next day (that was fun as my mother told Bailey when to be home and then told me I couldn't go and Caleb was ready for her. It's okay, Mrs. Lund. I have a younger brother I'm used to taking care of so I can babysit Bridget if it's okay with you. I know she wants to go too.) Lochlan starts over, all no-ways and she's-too-youngs and Caleb ignores him.

He has my attention and he takes my bag with my towel and stuff in it, slinging it over his shoulder and then he reaches back and holds out his hand. I want you to stare at my back, hold my hand tightly and cross without stopping, okay? Don't look down, don't stop walking.

I grab his hand, holding it tightly. I hear Bailey warn him but her voice disappears. Cole tells me I'll be fine but then shoots a doubtful look at his brother. Caleb turns away and I focus on the freckle on his left shoulder blade as I follow him across the dam. The water rushing over my feet scares me but he pulls and I squeeze and then in the middle I stop. No! I cry. I can't do this! He turns and tells me I have to, that he can't switch places with me so we have to keep going. I shake my head. I can't budge. I'm terrified. I'm hyperventilating.

There is only one solution.

He looks back to the grass and calls to Lochlan, who has already realized what's wrong and is making his way across the concrete divide. When he reaches me he puts his arms out and turns me around and then takes my hands tightly. He orders me to look into his eyes. Not down, not anywhere but directly at him. I do and he squeezes my fingers and starts to walk. Backwards.

Turn around! I tell him in a shaky voice.

Just look at me. That's all you need to do. I keep looking at him and he smiles and winks and I feel all of the fear rushing with the water away from me. In studying his face I see a handsome, boyish charm between the chaos of the red curls and his quiet green eyes. He doesn't miss a thing. I think I like his face alot. He doesn't have the easy cookie-cutter handsome of Caleb, he has his own look. His jaw is strong and the expressiveness of his eyes is magnetic. His smile makes me feel warm on the inside. I don't even know what that means.

My feet touch grass and he doesn't loosen his hold on my hands until he has pulled me right up to him and into his arms. Oh. Warmer still.

Caleb is right behind us. Bridget, are you okay?

No, idiot. She's EIGHT FUCKING YEARS OLD. She can't tell you she can make that walk. You have to decide for her and you fucked it up. I'll look after her from now on. Jesus, Cay. You could have gotten her killed. 

She asked me to take her-

THAT DOESN'T MEAN SHE SHOULD GO! From now on she's MY Responsibility. Got it? MINE.

Caleb nods. He is clearly pissed off and I think it's directed at me.

I'm sorry I got scared, Caleb. 

You're eight. He snaps back at me.

I nod. I can't think of what to say back.

Come on, Bridgie. You and I will swim here. We'll catch up with the others later. Okay? He ignores Caleb, who heads out across the dam once more.

Don't you want to be with your friends? 

I am. He gave me a sort of annoyed expression and then reached up behind his neck with both hands and pulled his t-shirt off over his head. I just stared while my brain told me in a whole new voice: HE'S FOURTEEN! WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?



I really want to go across. If you walk backward again will you take me tomorrow?

Yes, but only because I can actually get around you if you decide halfway through to go back. Caleb doesn't know how to do that.

How can you?

I'm really crazy-good at balancing. Now. Are you ready?

For? I break out of my reverie. He's strong and beautiful. The perfect teenage boy.

Swimming! COME ON! Oh, there's the Astonished voice again. I like that one best.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A barefoot winter.

In an effort to be more...uh, whimsical and spontaneous (since the complaints in this house are that I am still as uptight as ever), I put on a poufy party dress this morning (from a hundred billion years ago and it's too big now) and I went downstairs, cut a big slice of chocolate cake, microwaved it for a minute so it would be warm, and then I poured myself a glass of champagne (leftover from yesterday) and then I took my breakfast outside and ate it on the (uncovered) patio in the pouring rain.

None of the boys would come out, they wanted to stay inside where it was warm and dry.


My bare toes were numb and by the time I came inside I couldn't feel my fingers either. I asked for help through chattering teeth to open the closet door so I could get a blanket and PJ helped me and then pointed directly at Lochlan, over my head.

I blame you for these character defects of hers. It ain't right, brother. 

And Lochlan laughed.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Heavy metal birds (redux).

Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up.
               ~Chuck Close.
There's a snapshot of the day in here somewhere for all to see and pin to a wall in a cozy spare room in between the television schedule and that credit card bill you paid and forgot to put away.

There are two still-newlyweds-in-spite-of-the-calendar cooking a turkey together next door in the house where they spend their love. Schuyler's got this, I think. He loves Daniel so much he'd cook a brontosaurus if Daniel asked him to.

 Daniel and Ben are American and so Thanksgiving to them is Christmas The Second and it's ridiculous. Only Ben never showed up, because Ben took the rest of that cognac and went downstairs to work days ago and I never saw him again.

Not a good thing. Just a thing that I'm supposed to believe is not my fault nor my concern and instead of accepting that I thrash against it like a rabid fox. I don't buy it for a second and I want to be there but he always removes himself from me when he gets scary like that.

Lochlan has likewise retreated to the camper to stay out of the line of fire. He hasn't said much. When I came in from a long walk alone with the dog, he followed me into the kitchen, blew on my hands to warm them up, gave me a silent hug, ever the affectionate one, and left again.

I turned around and realized I really do hate being alone and so I wandered across the driveway and found another obstacle, Caleb asleep again in front of the wall of ocean that is his decadent view, the lights on low in the kitchen but nowhere else. He sleeps a lot now. He's exhausted from just about everything but really I think it's escape. Depression. A weird form of established hopelessness that appears when you become mired in wanting things you'll simply never have.

Henry also wears him the fuck out, frankly. This whole week has been a Halo marathon. It's fun. Lochlan and Ruth play too. It's the only time Loch and Caleb get along, when they are forced together by the children, who are still inseparable, even though Ruth is firmly entrenched in art and self-expression at thirteen and Henry is all war games and strategy at eleven (just like their fathers, huh).

 I watch the Devil sleep. I don't touch him in case he's only pretending, I just sit nearby and watch the sun go down at a ridiculously early hour of the day and then I venture to touch his face before I leave. He doesn't move and so I know he is really asleep. When I leave I lock the door behind me.

At the main house there are three messages on my phone from Daniel, who is too busy cooking and playing host to come looking for us. I reply and tell him we're not feeling well and will find him tomorrow if he wants to keep a little aside for us. This reply is not so much to decline his invitation, he knew we wouldn't be there but to let him know I/we am/are safe.

I make some tea and put two cups and the pot on a tray to bring downstairs. When I get to the bottom the door is open. Ben is fussing with his acoustic at the board, the bottle of cognac nowhere to be seen. He is unshaven and focused and unreadable. I go in and set the tray down on the coffee table. He turns and smiles.


Hey, you. 

How much shit am I in? 

I don't think anyone has noticed. They're busy eating dinner. Your brother went all out. 

I don't mean with them. I mean how much shit am I in with you?

Oh, you know, the usual amount. Ben, where's the bottle?

Duncan has it. 

My relief wants to escape via my eyes. How much did you have? 

I had a taste, Bridget. It wasn't very good. Not as good as I remember it. 

Did you, I mean, was it because of me? 

No, Jesus, Bridget, never. I get caught up in cycles of self-loathing. You know this. You're the one good thing that counteracts all the rest. 

I'm not a good thing. 

Sure you are. And the kids, and Lochlan but I'm always sabotaging him so that I can stay ahead. Eat or be eaten, as it were. 

He can handle you. 

Yeah. Surprisingly. 

Not really. He has a high tolerance for freaks. 

So I've heard. Ben laughs, winking at me and then reaches down and pulls me right up into his lap, his arms tight around me. I'm surprised you're not hanging out with Caleb since everyone is occupied, speaking of freaks.

I was, for a bit but he's sleeping. 

Ben nods. He's very serious, suddenly. I see. Hey, is that tea for me?


Good, I'm starved.

It's tea, Ben, not turkey. It won't substitute for dinner. 

It will if I eat the mug too. 

You aren't allowed. That's it. New rule. 

Oh, you're going to make new rules are you? Do I get to make one too?

Of course. 

Okay, he pretends to think. The rule is, never ever ever ever not come find me if you are lonely, or if you think I'm in trouble or if I seem to be checking out on you. Okay?

A double negative. Wait, I have to figure ou-

Another way then. Always, always come to me. You look like a lost kitten. I'm here. I'm a total introverted wreck of an asshole but I promised to be here for you and here is where I will always be, okay? 

Okay. I nod and the relief sees a chance and escapes down my cheeks. Okay. I promise I'll come find you.

He reaches up with his big thumbs and smooths the tears away from below my eyes. You know what we need, Bumblebee? We need some FUCKING TURKEY NOW!!!!! YEAHHHHHHHHHHH! 

I throw up the horns. Which either signifies that we should Rock On or that turkeys now come with antlers.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


(In between spates of horrific drama, we're just like you.)
I can see you but you can't see me
I could touch you and you wouldn't even feel me
Wait a second and you'll settle down
I'm just waiting, 'til you really let your guard down
You're relaxed, you're sublime, you're amazing
You don't even know the danger you're facing
If I'm quiet, I'll slide up behind you
And if you hear me I'll enjoy trying to find you
Through the early 2000s I really tried hard to turn Lochlan on to slightly (okay not only slightly) heavier music. I figured he would enjoy it, he always seemed the type somehow.

He does not.

He does, however, know a lot of the words to a few particular albums and sings along in his very best Eddie-Izzard-as-Mr. Kite imitation to just about any song I play. It's positively fucking glorious when his voice drops down into the smarmier parts. He's got quite a flair from his midway/circus/busker days. You wouldn't expect it but it's there.

Sadly today PJ and I are ignoring his performance while we eat leftover pasta for breakfast (God knows why I'm eating breakfast so late, let's just say I wasn't feeling so hot earlier and wasn't hungry besides) and peruse the Christmas catalogs that came to the mailbox. They all have Caleb's name on them but I always steal his mail because it's that much more exciting than mine.

Who would like a Sharp high-density plasmacluster ion generator for their car this year? I don't know what it is but I'm guessing it makes your car jump to your end location just like in Battlestar Galactica. Maybe I should buy that for Caleb for Christmas and send him to a new galaxy.

But then how would I get the Neiman Marcus Christmas book to dream through? He's maybe the only person I know who could actually afford this.

Sigh. Dream indeed. That's amazing.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Chemistry (set).

A sort-of nice reprieve for most of Sunday and all day yesterday as I get one more shot at leaving my mark on the planet, AKA forgettable role in a music video. The Girl. I figure pretty soon I'll be too old to play The Girl and I've never seen any roles for The Woman so I may as well milk it while I can.

And I must say, the makeup artists are always super-sweet and I usually learn something new, which is tough when you're always surrounded by men. The only discussions I ever have with anyone about cosmetics are the ones in which I ask Ben not to lick the wand on my new Dior lip gloss.

So makeup, hair extensions (clip-in ones, MY LIFE WILL BE DIFFERENT FROM NOW ON) and adult conversation that isn't about me as long as I can follow instructions (boy, did they ever pick the wrong Girl) and wrap up my shots in under a day (ish).

I can do that. This will be the fifth or sixth video for Corey's band and they don't exactly ask for much. Misogynistic, frightening bunch, actually. They just sort of wander around and hardly pay attention until I get to shoot the really degrading parts. And I get to hear around a third of the song seven hundred times in one afternoon, which is good, since now I know the words and can sing along. Such good songs, they all are. This one is no exception.

(And I only screwed up once, if you're counting. I started singing along with the chorus and I forgot we were rolling. Whoops.)

On the way home Corey thanked me for helping out (if it's a favor no one has to pay me, right?) and said he was sorry for being an ass but the environment in the houses is one of total and utter Bridget-worship and he doesn't want to get sucked into that religion again.


You know what I mean. 

I dropped it because if we can part on good terms then it's a banner day, because Corey and I don't get along so well a lot of the time. We're told we are a lot alike but I don't believe it because he doesn't like being candid, something I apparently demand without realizing it. He's not demonstrative. He's not affectionate. He's moody and mercurial and a big mean robot most of the time and I have no use for that. I believe he tolerates me on behalf of the others but otherwise I'm not sure how we managed to wind up with so much animosity between us over the past decade.

At least it doesn't translate well to film.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Infinity blade.

The jeans are possibly eight or nine years old, the t-shirt is fairly new. Daniel got it online. It says Self-Rescuing Princess on it and that sort of confuses me. It's either untrue, impossible or congratulatory, either way I'm not sure the shoe fits but like all things Daniel buys for me, the t-shirt itself fits like a glove.

I woke the angel up and told him he was to replace all others in that designation now and he'd better not let me down. He swore and said I should promise him the same. He inspected me for marks and chose to go after Ben first, for caving in to a whim he can satisfy closer to home, even though we know that's a bald-faced lie. Ben apparently refused to engage him past apologizing and Loch called him out on his unintentional fracturing of what is supposed to be a family, out of fear. By choosing Caleb over Lochlan, Ben can try and somehow keep Lochlan from being too close.

Ben comes up with all kinds of impulsive plans, you see.

Lochlan went after Caleb next (God love him, he's just all good ideas and absolutely no planning, just like Ben) and apparently Caleb's been going to the gym, learning how to kick-box, which explains the new musculature and also the lovely swollen cheek that Lochlan returned with. He refused to say anything at all about that exchange. I gave him to August to be babysat for the rest of the day because I don't need him fighting my battles for me.

I went back to see Caleb (alone, because I learned from the masters about good ideas and planning, you see) and he pretended to ignore me as I stood inside the door watching him make notes on his phone.

I finally stomped my feet and he burst out laughing. God, you both are so immature sometimes.

Why did you engage Lochlan at all?

His lack of respect for Ben.

Ben can fight his own battles.

Ben won't and you know it and you exploit the fuck out of that, Bridget.

Ben also brought me over here because you asked him to! You prey on his fears about Lochlan and he feeds right into it. Jesus, who's exploiting who now?!

Nice shirt.


What would you have me do, then?

Don't touch Lochlan. Ever. If you do, you'll never touch me again.

That's why I make every moment count with you now. I never know when it will be the last time.

Oh, so suddenly you're done with the notes, and done feeding Ben's fetishes and done with me?

You seem to have lots of men at your disposal.

Right. So I don't need you.

But you want me. 

Sometimes, yes. 

That's all I need to hear, that you're still fucked in the head sufficiently to give me what I crave.

That's exploitation too, Diabhal. 

Look around you, Bridget. Do you think any of this is for YOUR benefit? Stop being so innocent and open your eyes for once. 

I did and I didn't like what I saw. 

Then don't be surprised if nothing ever changes, love.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


(I feel sorry for him, that's all. 


Because he's completely unable to put a stop to the aspects of this arrangement that he doesn't like and that would drive a man to certain ruin when it comes to someone like you.)

Late. It's dark. I am taken by the hand and put into my coat, and then led outside. Across the drive in the biting rain to the boathouse. So sleepy. Quiet greetings are exchanged and the look on his face is triumph. I'm irritated by that but soothed by the full glass of cognac placed in my hand. I am led to the low couch where he has a fire crackling. One small light on in the corner. The draperies open to the dark sea, to the weather. Five star view in a room with rates by the hour, paid for with pieces of my very soul.

The folded up remains of our plans are placed on the table, a torn dark grey envelope with a single page inside that would be marked with a time. That time matches my watch, which was just removed, along with my rings, my pendant and my earrings. My other things will join them in time but for now I watch my pretty, sparkling things disappear into the small wooden box for safekeeping and I refuse to meet his eyes until he says my name. Twice, because I hesitate just a heartbeat too long.

I am told to try the drink. They watch as I listen. I am obedient and ready for the courage in that glass. I know next they're going to give me two words to say if I need them. The first word is supposed to function. The second word is if something fails and they don't hear the first one. The words don't change. The gamble is whether or not they will follow their own rules. I bet nothing. I know better and so I won't risk any more money on a sure thing. I don't have it to lose.

The cognac burns going down but I hold the line, spellbound. I repeat the words back, carefully, clearly. I am told to relax and enjoy the fire and the midnight ocean for a while.

An hour goes by, or so I think. The warmth of the fire and the alcohol start to work and I feel my eyes getting heavy again. An arm slides down around me and I put my head down against hard muscle. I feel a heartbeat. My drink is taken out of my hands as I am lifted up once more, hardly standing for the arms around me are mostly holding me up. A kiss forces my head back easily. I repeat back the safe words again and laugh in spite of myself. I am held tightly while my dress is unfastened, while my hair is unpinned. While my world is ripped apart once again and I'll let it happen. More cognac is poured into my mouth and I let that happen too, until my judgement is wasted along with my limbs and I stop fighting altogether, letting my eyes close around the moonrise, my arms close around the broadest shoulders I know of and my mind closes in around itself, bursting into old habits coupled with new shame.

Sunrise sets the skylights ablaze, the morning sky overcast and tinged with regret. My cognac is still on the coffee table, half-full, the tiny wooden box neatly beside it as if he knows I will collect what belongs to me and run. I replace all my jewellery and go back down the hall for Ben, who won't get up and I resort to pulling one arm out of the bed and trying to drag him to the floor. He sits up, covering his face briefly, wiping the night from his expression and he asks if I'm okay.

Okay is such a loaded concept, and so instead I parrot back both my safe words, still sealed and unused for next time, even though I practiced them inside my head for much of the night while the Dark Lords found new ways to impress each other with their creative violations. Everyone leaves a satisfied customer! Fucking carnival barkers, get out of my head.

Can we go home now? Please? 

He frowns, nodding and stands up, pulling his clothes on quickly. We walk quietly down the hall and out into the kitchen. Caleb is nowhere to be seen, but I don't go looking either. He is probably still sleeping in the other room. We link hands and head back across the driveway without saying goodbye. When we get home the entire household is still sleeping. Sleeping hard. Lochlan is spreadeagled, flat on his back across the big bed upstairs, naked except for the sheet tangled around his hips, the concern on his face, and his curls, flattened by the dark. The reluctant sleeper, losing consciousness in spite of his efforts to hold on to it forever.

He looks like an angel.

I could use one.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Saints and hypocrites.

Well I've known you forever, we complete each other's thoughts
Ain't like we never got in trouble, it's just we've never gotten caught
And if you've got a secret, it's in me you can confide
And if we ever get split up, I'll always be on your side
Lochlan is sitting at the island having toast when Caleb walks in through the side door. Both of them freeze, deers in headlights and I drop my dishtowel on the floor, recovering just as fast. I tell Caleb Good Morning and he smiles and says it back, with a nod to Lochlan who goes back to eating his toast without a word. I frown in Lochlan's direction and he mutters a greeting reluctantly. Caleb acknowledges it and speaks to him directly.

She was this close, Pyro. Bet that makes you feel great.

Want to eat your own teeth for breakfast this morning? Lochlan takes another bite of his toast and chews noisily.

Where is Ben? 

Downstairs. Working. My voice comes out flat.

He doesn't care that you'll never go against Loch's wishes?

They've made their peace. Are you just here to start something this morning?

No, my apologies. I came to see if you wanted to go out for some breakfast so I don't get another little deposit into my account. A working breakfast. 

Have you looked in your account? Lochlan smiles as he chews. She put the whole thing back. Just like I told her to do. 

This is none of your business, Loch. 

She's mine, 'brother'. Lochlan practically spits the word at him. She doesn't want your money.

Bridget isn't a child anymore, she can look after her own affairs. Caleb grins suddenly as if he has just told a joke.

She defers to me. You know this. Don't come looking for trouble today. 

Caleb pauses to consider this. I stand and wait, watching his face, watching him weigh his options to push and be right and possibly wind up on my kitchen floor versus keep his dignity and gracefully ducking out. I don't want to cause you any upset, Bridget. I just thought breakfast might be possible. If it isn't maybe Monday or Tuesday? Let me know, okay? 

Do you have food?

He turns back. Pardon?

Are you hungry. It isn't even a question. I am defeated and defiant and Lochlan practically throws his dishes in the sink. He kisses the top of my head and storms out without a word.

Yeah..well, getting there anyway. 

Then let me make you something. I'm not going to have you guys at each other again though.

He is protecting you from me. Who can blame him? Caleb takes Lochlan's seat at the island.

Okay, that's the second time in as many days that you've said something in favor of Loch. What gives?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Oh well, I now understand certain things all of them have in common aside from romantic streaks ten miles wide and extreme focus. And unruly cowlicks, dark eyes, devastating smiles and beautiful hands. They all like hot dogs with Russian mustard. And ginger-ale cut with cranberry juice.

And hugs.

But anyway, when I arrived this morning (day one of a hundred days to earn what's sitting in my bank account), I find Caleb lying on the floor. I didn't panic, for his eyes were open and he said hello when I walked in. But there he is, in the middle of the living room floor between the coffee table and the window.

What are you doing?

Wishing I had kept you there one more fucking day and then I never would have let you leave.

Ah. I said ask, not kidnap.

Same thing.

Actually it isn't.

Sure it is. You love me anyway even though I've physically kept you with me.

Stockholm syndrome.

Soulmate syndrome.

Munchausen syndrome.

Ouch. Why are you here, Bridget?

To work.

I have nothing for you today.

Then for every day I don't work between now and your birthday I will put that day's percentage back in your account.

Oh, Bridget, just keep the fucking money. I suddenly don't care about it.

Why not?

I do believe you've ruined me. Finally. The day fucking Pyro has been waiting for has arrived. How you could possibly admit to setting out to ruin me and in the next breath you say you would have left my brother for me is just beyond my capacity to understand, at present.

I never would have done it, Caleb.

Why in the hell not?

I wouldn't have destroyed the bond between two brothers, fucked as it was, and I would never have defied Lochlan.

But you said you didn't trust him.

That was then, this is now.

Oh God, listen, Miss Hinton, could you crawl out of your teenage self for two minutes and tell me what I'm supposed to do now?


I've bested my lifelong rival and you want me to do nothing.

Right. Because you clearly didn't best Lochlan.


I said I didn't trust him then because he had a history of forsaking me when things got tough. He doesn't do that anymore. Therefore, I married him. Sort of.  So stop shouting and get up already.

He will forsake you again. Lions don't change their spots.


I don't know. I feel lobotomized.

Maybe you need some cheese.

You did not just say that, Bridget.

I fucking well did. That's one of your tricks, isn't it? Deflect important conversations with offers of dairy products?

I suddenly understand why Lochlan is perpetually frustrated, more and more each day.

Wow. And boys still suck. THIRTY YEARS LATER.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Little autopilot.

Feed me lies
There's nothing left to see
No room left to breathe
So pick me up
And give me back my belief
Live to die
Three glasses of wine over lunch and I'm quickly learning I'm only comfortable here when I'm half-lit on the endless alcohol that flows through this city like water under a bridge. Caleb made a phone call and while we were out for lunch the hotel moved our things upstairs to a bigger suite with an office so he can extend his trip but still get some work done. I have to leave though. I'm being sent home on his plane because he's getting nothing done with me here.

I'm going to miss this amazing view, he says and I'll call that a miss because I thought he was looking out the window like I am. Las Vegas is flat and dusty, seedy and sick. I've been spending my days getting drunk and sizing everyone up. I can tell which women are actually men and which men are actually Very Bad People. Caleb says I'm not only an excellent judge of character but he suspects I am an empath. I don't exactly know what that means but it's tiring and I'd like to shut it off sometimes.

He is in the desk chair, which is on wheels but big enough that it's more like a club chair. I climb up onto his lap, facing him, doing everything I can to distract him while he makes calls and writes notes, probably something involving a list of ways to limit my alcohol intake or how to triple his net worth again even though I think he has enough now. He's doing really well. He just leased a plane and we've been here all week celebrating the latest financial milestones, under the guise of Cole needing to punish me for something so he sent me along to be tortured by his brother.

So drunk. Pretty dress. I think Cole's punishing himself. He said he hopes I learn my lesson and maybe this can be the last time he has to send me away or hurt me like this. That he wants to try to be better together but he just needs me to be away for a little while and then everything will be okay. He doesn't realize I've been double-crossing him all along and Caleb is respite instead pf punishment.

But I don't care about Cole right now, because I'm buzzing and because my baby pink satin dress with the black lace overlay is hitched up taut across my thighs and my knees have disappeared down into the sides of the chair. My behind is resting on Caleb's knees and he has his left hand around it so that I don't slide off. His right hand is alternately holding a pen, typing something rather slowly on the keyboard or holding the phone up to his ear. I get busy working out the Windsor knot on his tie. Unbuttoning his vest. Stealing things from his pockets and kissing his other ear, the free one.

And the look on his face is one of the best I've ever seen. It delights me. It's worth the price of admission to hell as the flames lick against my heels.

I hear him say he has to go, that his afternoon is very busy. There's the wink and then abruptly he puts the phone down and slides the laptop hard into the corner of the desk. He lifts me up and lays me out on the desk crushed against him. He finishes removing the tie and uses it to blindfold me. I don't want it so I push him away. He ties it over my eyes anyway and I struggle to remove it. He pins my hands with a warning, whispering in my ear.

Bridget's brain hears a challenge. I try and yank my hands away and am rewarded with full on restraint, my wrists clasped tightly in one of his big hands while the other reaches up my thigh and finds my underwear, pulling them down to my knees and then right off. I buck my hips in protest and he smiles as he holds me down. It's effortless. He outweighs me by seventy-five pounds. A long kiss is followed by him pressing his jaw against my forehead as he yanks me closer to the edge of the desk. Back toward him. He lets go of my hands briefly while he unfastens his belt.

His phone rings. I hear it hit the floor and then Caleb frees himself and pulls me in tightly to him, the fleeting pain forcing me to jerk my hands up suddenly. His hand comes up against my cheek, squeezing my face. Shhhh, he says. Relax.

No, I cry. He keeps to a crawl. He's still stroking my hair with one hand, the other has my torso pressed up off the desk against his muscular frame. Razor burn stings my chin and cheekbones. I turn my head. He pulls me back in close, turning my face back, kissing the end of my nose as he begins to pick up speed. His head disappears somewhere above me and my forehead bumps against his shoulder as he begins to pound me against the desk. I get where I'm going first. I wrap my arms around his shoulders, holding on tight, forcing him to work for every stroke, bracing my knees to fight his moves.

He cries out my name as he reaches heaven in second place, leaving teeth marks in my skull, falling straight back through without purchase, back to earth as I watch from above,  dropping through the floor to a place no one will ever want to see, for all his money, for everything in the world. Back to hell with you. You belong there, Diabhal. Using your little brother's flaws against him so that you can touch his wife.

He pulls me back up to sitting in his lap on the chair, pulling the tie away, smoothing my hair back away from my ears. He points right at my face.

This is what I want. You.

I wink at him, climbing off, hitching my dress back down over my thighs, smoothing my own hair. He stands up and tries to pull himself back together. I surprise him by reaching up again and kissing him hard. So hard he staggers back and grabs me for support. He is so hopeful. So anticipatory. So handsome with his fucked up shirt collar and half his clothes on the floor.

Revenge is harder than it looks. I am sent straight to the Devil, of whom I remain marginally more afraid unless I am flat on my back. Caleb shares the same intensity that Cole exudes effortlessly but he has twice the power and he's older, bigger and more dangerous. Over the years the brothers have taught me that my submissiveness could be cultivated, a power onto itself. It's a game I have grown to enjoy. I do as I'm told and I want for nothing but affection now. They think it's punishment. It isn't.

No, we need a break. A long one. I want to make things work with Cole. We're trying so hard to be a family and this doesn't help at all.

His face is impassive suddenly. Damn him. Demonstrative emotion is so fleeting with him but I feel him and he's surprised and saddened and will subsequently throw himself into his work. I hold his gaze as I wipe the lipgloss off the sides of my face from where his fingers smeared it.

It's a loss for both of us but I understand.

Such a bad man. You're always taking things that don't belong to you. I frown at him. It's a dig. I get them in wherever I can while he atones forever for fucking up my perfect future. I can't have Lochlan, things will never be the same between us and so I'm going to take it out on Caleb because it's his fault and because Lochlan asked me to punish him any way I can. I'll ruin all of us, myself included. No survivors. I don't even know what I'm doing anymore. But I know I can trust Caleb and I can't trust anyone else. Even Loch. If Caleb asked me point-blank to leave Cole I would have but he doesn't know this and so he doesn't ask.

I'm not bad, Bridget, just weak when it comes to you.

That's not what I saw a few moments ago.

Wish I knew it was the last time, I would have made it last all night.

Good luck, Diabhal.

Be safe, Neamhchiontach.

No such thing as safe now. He frowns but he thinks I'm being figurative.  He knows things are difficult with Cole but he has no idea how difficult or he wouldn't let me go back. I thread his tie under his collar, kissing him on the cheek one last time. I collect my coat and my bag that is still sitting on the table and head for the door. I have a plane to catch.

So what am I supposed to do now, Bridget? Pretend that none of this matters?

Yeah. Just pretend we hardly know each other until I tell you differently. 

Oh, Bridget. 

Or just go back to being mean. Either way it's the same to me.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tempest (dig that hole, Princess).

Take out the stories
They've put into your mind
And brace for the glory
As you stare into the sky
The sky beneath
I know you can't be tired
Lay there, stare at the ceiling
And switch back to your time just go ahead now try and taste it
I know it should be ripe
(thrust ahead)

Turning in circles
Been caught in a stasis
The ancient arrival
cut to the end
I'd like to be taken apart from the inside
Then spit through the cycle right to the end
I wonder just how you shaped it To get back to your prize
(thrust ahead)
My lips are dry, my cheeks cold when I arrive. He is on the phone but he winks at me and leans over the island, pushing an envelope toward me. It's pink. Palest baby pearl pink. I frown and he holds up three fingers and that means he's going to wrap up his conversation in under three minutes. I abandon the pretty envelope and go throw myself in one of his leather club chairs.

I smile when I see the coffee table. Henry has been here, an Escher puzzle is maybe 2/3 of the way completed on it and a can of Diet Coke is on a coaster right in the middle. Caleb lets Henry drink pop. I do not. I let Henry stay up late. Caleb does not. We even out. If Henry feels like having something he isn't allowed, he just wanders over to the other parent and gets express permission to have it anyway.

 Caleb is finished with the phone and he swears to the disconnected call and then sweeps the envelope into his hand on the way into the living room. He gets down on his knees beside my chair and presents the envelope to me without a word.

It's pink. I look at it but I don't take it.

Open it. It won't bite you. Oh and by the way, I wish you'd watch what you write down.

It's common knowledge you have odaxelagnic tendencies. And tell me what this is, because I don't like surprises. I wish I brought a lipgloss in my pocket. My lips are burning. 

Open it, Bridget. It's your Christmas bonus. 

I've worked a whole four days for you this fall. This is hilarious. Also, it's barely the middle of November, aren't you early?

OPEN. IT. He runs out of good graces and switches to the rotten, bad kind. 

There is a small card with a handwritten paragraph, which I don't read and a cheque. I slide it back into the pretty pink envelope and lean forward to place it on the puzzle. 

Is that why you invited me over? To give me money that I have not earned?

Would you prefer to earn this money, Bridget? Oh, there he goes, falling into his own black holes so I go for audacity instead of sense. 

Yes, I would. His eyes light up. I snap him out of it. I should WORK at least a hundred days to get a bonus. Isn't that more fair than just giving me money?

He recovers into the monster I know and love. You know what I miss? I miss the innocence of you in Vegas. Vegas impressed you. You didn't know how to hold a glass of champagne, how to keep your mouth shut at the tables or how to defer to me when spoken to directly by the wrong people. I even taught you how to withstand my brother without getting hurt. I taught you everything on those trips when I had you to myself. I turned you into a lady from the amusement park orphan you used to be. The subsequent trips were such a joy. You behaved. You listened. It was a respite for both of us.

I withstood, you mean.
I get up and turn to leave but he comes after me, spinning me back around. He presses his forehead down against mine. We've had some good times, Bridget. Haven't we?

I needed you to help me be away from Cole. I had nowhere else to go.

But I've been here, every time you've asked for me. I'd never leave you alone the way they do constantly. You'd never have to miss me, we wouldn't have to be apart. Even during the day. Things could be so good. You'd be safe. You could teach me things. Like patience. How to comfort you in a way that works. How to give you what you need, Bridget.

I can't teach you those things, Diabhal.  

You taught him. 


You think that's how it was? Think again, sweetheart. He wasn't fit to look after himself, let alone you and you changed him. I think you could change me too. 

What if I can't?

We'll never know until we try, Bridget.

I'm not up to that. 

Not today, no. Today maybe we can just have some cheese?

Leaving now. This is how dysfunctional we are. Soul-shattering topics to dairy products in under a minute. 

It just proves we were meant to be together.

Fuck off. Eat your cheese by yourself. 

Nice seeing you too. I'll put the money in your account since you're going to be recalcitrant.

How you like me best, isn't it?



Monday, 12 November 2012

Bread and circuses.

Too cold on the beach to be without shoes. My ears rang and I withstood it as long as I could until finally I asked Lochlan for his linty wool peacoat and then fifteen seconds after that I asked if we could go back up to the house because the wind. Sweet merciful fucking glorious wind, I should know better, I should know to bring something with a hood but I was in a hurry when he made the offer to go down to the bottom of the cliff to see how cold the water was after a night of freezing temperatures, 'freezing' being completely relative to living in a such a mild climate. Cold with wind is a different animal, always, as I have long-ago learned and so I tucked a knitted scarf by the door that I will try to remember to bring along each time I step outside until at least March now.

The skinny jeans are threadbare and far too long and wide for me with my glorious twenty-six-inch inseam, but I'm too lazy to buy custom-fitted jeans so I just go to Warehouse One and if they aren't too low cut but just low cut enough I get two pairs and wear them into the ground, yanking them up, rolling them, looking at them with dismay. I don't often wear jeans at all, actually and so this picture (like all pictures I post anyway) is a rarity. I am fond of my Converse though. They last forever, quite unlike anything else in this world, except maybe Lochlan's coat, bought in 1991 on a trip home to the Motherland (Scotland, if you're new). I think it might be a military-issue, and then worn ever since as long as it isn't as cold as it was when we all lived in the Prairies, for that brief eight-year segment of life.

There he wore Carhartt, much like everyone else, save for Ben, who wore leather, with flannel underneath and me, who wore everything I could put on and still walk in because it was SO. FUCKING. COLD.

So here in this place now, 'cold' is a relative term. A hilarious, inappropriate one as I stand on the beach. My beach, which is cultivating glass and leaving trace amounts of bronze on the line of the tide as it washes past the rocks in the dangerous part of our shore, right over to the now-completely-ridiculous private marina (A spectacle for the proles, we call it secretly, behind the Devil's back).

I frown as I inspect the progress on the final addition, a gigantic covered slip for the yacht. Because we're on a protected cove here, Caleb really has no need to move his boat anymore, but sometimes it needs to be inside for maintenance and it's not so much a roof as it is a full-service boat garage and what a monstrosity it is. It wound up being constructed precisely eight feet to the left after I complained that I would be able to see it from my balcony and that wouldn't do. I only said it to be a brat but they moved it anyway and now that I see how big it is I'm glad I pitched a fit.

Lochlan frowns at the excess. He's a closet anarcho-communist to boot, a beautiful bleeding heart. An odd belief for someone who can be so cold, and I'm sure this has more to do with Caleb than life in general. Maybe it's why he agreed to our collective, too, but Lochlan holds a huge disdain for people with too much money, only fully respecting Ben because Ben spends money like a hundred-year-old woman on a micro-pension, i.e. not at all, and Lochlan thinks that's good.

I think that's good too, because frankly Caleb's gotten a little over the top with the money he spends but I see his long term vision because he spells it out rather slowly when I ask. I am learning about his vision for this property, the means to an end it will become, the options he has left wide open for a variety of financial scenarios, pounded out on spreadsheets, his projections and risks transcribed by yours truly on a monthly basis, kept dotted and signed just in case. He is learning too. Just in case are three little words that have become a punctuation mark on everything we say or do now. Just in case is an excuse to do things that seem over the top. One hundred and fifty percent poured into everything, whether it be opening a pistachio nut, painting a wall, buying a shell company or saying I love you.

I didn't even understand the tens of thousands of dollars he spent on the fountain and the circular driveway until I realized I no longer had to find and wait for (at least) three guys to move their vehicles when I wanted to go out, or that Caleb stands in his bedroom window watching me as each morning I go outside to the fountain, make a wish and throw my penny into the water.

Ooooooh. A wishmaker conduit-fabricator-device. Not landscaping, exactly. How clever is the Devil, indeed. I think that was a simple perk, possibly for all the nights he's bitten me, tied me up or pulled my hair so hard I cried out but he needed to keep me still so he did it anyway. You think I have regrets? You should meet Caleb. I wish sometimes for him to feel feelings like regular people. Still waiting for that one to come true, sixty-seven cents spent in pennies so far, and that's only made on mornings that I hurt.

He is still very clever, if I may continue my train of thought, because one of the things he wanted to install down at the bottom of the cliff was a grouping of outdoor heaters with a range of around twenty feet each and I told him not to be crazy, that it's too mild here. We don't need it. How excessive and spoiled and over the top. Heat the outside? What are we, lightweights?

I refused to take off Lochlan's coat for the first hour after we went back inside, so the answer to that appears to be a resounding YES.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


I'm on the outside, I'm looking in
I can see through you, see your true colors
Cause inside you're ugly, ugly like me
I can see through you, see to the real you
The door is locked and checked twice. He pulls me down and tucks me underneath him, his lips on my eyelashes, his hands pulling my ribcage up against his chest. He holds me there with one arm while his other hand slides down behind my thigh and pulls it out hard, lifting me up further still. He smiles against the bridge of my nose.

I don't know why I spend so much time away, he mutters, not so much to me as to himself, for I still haven't managed to pull him out of his distracted focus in spite of the fact that he's been working from home instead of going downtown to the studio for more than half of this week. He's tired of the endless bickering between Caleb and Loch. He wants to be home more. He's missing me.

Gee, join the club, Benny.

I am forced back down expectedly. I cry out on the way there. He says Shhhh, his lips so soft against my skin. He finds my mouth and covers it with his own. Endless kisses. The best kind. Scuba-Benning, he calls it. If I need to breathe, I'll have to go through him. It's okay though, I can't breathe at all actually. I'm tweaked out on his crushing weight and the sweet brutality of his affections. He is ravenous, wild, stringing me out, balanced dangerously along his whims, facedown and then up again and then down. Up. I fight for traction and find nothing.

I still can't breathe so I scream, just as he pushes me right to the edge and then over. He clamps his hand over my whole face, ratcheting my limbs down even tighter, closer, harder until I buck and claw against him, unable to move an inch anyway and he loves it. He fucking loves it. Abruptly he lets go and I fall back down into the sheets and he comes down again over me, this time prepared to spend a while. He can go like this for hours until I beg him to stop and then he just goes even more slowly.

By the morning I am exhausted and shaking and completely without wits, my skin pink, raw and hot to touch, my smile goofy and endless, my hair so tangled I wonder if I should just keep cutting it until I can comb it through. I stand in the bathroom, looking at the wreck of my reflection, my hands over my mouth when he comes in and pulls me backward against him, his arms coming down around me and crossing over. I'm locked in the Ben-cage now. Such a little animal I am. He grins and tells me he isn't finished yet and if I'm never coming back to the bed then he'll make do with this, and he takes my head in his hand, bending me facedown on the counter. I go up on my tiptoes as he starts over again. By the time he is finished with me again my knees no longer lock and I can't feel anything below my shoulders. I am wimpering and laughing and he is all whispers and grins.

He pulls me into a hot shower, directing the spray against everything that hurts but it doesn't hurt in a bad way. The hot water feels so good. I'm falling asleep so I just put my head down against his chest and let the water drown me until he puts his hand up to shield my face, before turning us away, letting his back take the brunt of the spray.

When I am clean and dry he leads me back to bed and I shake my head. So sleepy. So ridiculously rubbery. No more, please God I have to sleep for an hour or I'm going to be sick and he smiles and we climb back in and he turns me away, pressing his chest against my back, sliding his left arm under my neck and his right hand down around my ribs. We are drifting toward slumber in minutes, content to spend the rest of the morning unconscious but together. Making up for the time that we thought was lost until we found it.

Connecting physically first before we seem to be able to express ourselves emotionally. It's just the way we've always done things.

Just be, he instructs. Take what you want. Take what you need. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere, Bridget. I pull his arms in tighter still around me until we are fused in the moment, in my dreams. I tell myself that I won't let him spend so much time away anymore. I tell myself things will be okay now. I tell myself to stop letting my mind race and sleep already.

I never listen. Not at all.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Forward unto dawn.

He is at the door when I finally appear down in the front entryway. I'm still in my pajamas. I still sleep far too much even though I mostly lie there with my eyes wide open, weighed down by ghosts, the tremendous pressure of The Present begging for a foothold in my life.

I have added a fever to today's ensemble. Lovely. The virals have made the rounds here lately, low-grade sorts of misery that have been causing aches, pains, headaches, and stomach upsets and I've fetched a lot of Advils and teas and hot water bottles and blankets and movies and sandwiches even and so it stands to reason I probably hold the highest risk of exposure because I'm always asking for hugs and kisses and bites of food and I forget all about germs until I wake up like this.

Lochlan is blocking Caleb's entry past the rug inside the front door. He's all flushed and angry and they're having a hushed, superheated argument. Nothing has changed except the look on Caleb's face. It's one of pure regret and he's nodding. Lochlan's talking a mile a minute, I can't understand a word and then Caleb nods again. Yes, he confirms. I know. That's why I'm here. 

I say Lochlan's name and he turns and tries to fix his expression but I catch a hint of his helpless rage against Caleb. Why doesn't he forbid contact with Caleb? Why won't they just force him to stay away?

I have asked them not to. Sometimes every single day, when necessary.

Bridget. Caleb looks right over Lochlan's head and starts right in. I did not mean to imply that you were beneath me or that you were raised in poverty. I also did not mean to make the morning about me, or my own needs and I feel terrible that I did not choose to acknowledge your grief. I know what week this is. I wasn't thinking and I want to make it up to you. 

Make it up by keeping away from her, Devil. 

Lochlan, the children wanted you to play a few levels of Halo with them, they're waiting for you. I caution him and he gives me that look, the horrible one I hate that's so helpless and he passes me, heading up the steps.

Caleb visibly relaxes. I'm going to start wearing a helmet when I see him. I never know when he's going to punch me. 

Leave him alone, Caleb. He's someone I love very much and he takes care of me.

He stares at me. I think if I held that stare I could make him cry-wait, too late. His eyes are filled with sorrow. I back down and study my wrists instead, allowing him a moment of self-repair.

I'm so sorry, Babydoll. 

You know what? It was nice not to be coddled. It's not as if it's something I ever expect from you. 

Being coddled?


You can't come to me for comfort?

No. I laugh my response bitterly, with so much surprise. I thought he knew this. It dawns across his face slowly, the realization that what I look for in absolutely everyone I still can't find in him, outside of simple touch. I expect nothing from him. I want nothing from him, and that will forever set him apart. Far apart from everyone else.

That's the price of your heart, isn't it, Bridget?

My voice drops to a whisper because I don't trust it. Bingo.

Friday, 9 November 2012


This is what Daniel calls cold fashion, when it's freezing but sunny outside so you can dress very well indeed. He picked this outfit out for me ages ago and I've never worn it because all conditions have to be right. Today seems perfect.

It's a fine knit micro dress in soft deep silver, with a long grey coat over the top and patterned leggings. High-heeled ankle boots in grey suede. My big silver leather bag. Chain and bracelet. Hair down. Super-straight and shiny. Minimal makeup. Escada perfume and my new Dior Pink Lingerie gloss. No earrings. I feel like it's a westernish/kittenish look. Not sure I love it and I need to be confident to wear this as it's tough to pull off very much at all with my height tearing it all down.

And not only am I out of bed for the first time in two days, but I'm clearly going out and that's interesting, because Ben went to do some work and Lochlan is out at meetings and running errands and where the hell you going, Bridge? 

PJ looks cross. He's been the one making coffee all week and they all like mine better.

I smile and defer, because discretion is an art-form and they know better even though I have nothing to hide and I head out to meet Caleb, heart thumping across the butterflies, interfering with the beats, my stomach in knots because it's very difficult for me to leave the house unfed and because being nervous makes me sick.

It's not until we are settled in the restaurant and he has ordered for both of us (again, without my input) that he realizes I haven't said anything, assuming I am still waiting for privacy. He compliments my appearance scathingly, miffed because I'm not wearing one of his dresses (not HIS dresses, he would look silly in a dress. Ones he has bought for me to wear when I spend time with him). I try to appear bored even though I'm close to tears. I don't actually want to be here but I seem to be a sucker for a man in need even though he isn't a man, he's a monster but sometimes he acts like a man and those times make me weak.

In lieu of a formal apology he reminds me he is prone to taking things too far and he should have exercised more restraint but he has great difficulty in controlling himself when it comes to me. Oh, I see. A non-apology. I shift my attention back to his face, blocking out his words. I've heard all this before. Nothing ever changes. He sees my eyes unfocus, the pearl green spreading into a fog and stops, realizing his repetitiveness.

And he tells me how many days he has left to live out his dreams and I zero right in on his face, lean across the table and ask him if he's going to die on day 114 or something, as if his stupid timeline is supposed to stir panic or force me into motion. He wants obedience, compliance and servitude. I offer him nothing more than company across a table so that the humiliation of him eating alone is spared. Also, this restaurant is really really cold, as I just realized I'm wearing two layers of knit and I'm still clenching my shoulders together and it's becoming difficult to hold my cup of coffee. I look around for a server but Caleb unconsciously always manages to see that they are scarce until his signal. I need to know  the signal. Then I could ask for heat or a flamethrower or a torch. I suppose I could have brought a torch but they don't fit in my handbag. It occurs to me that whenever I get a certain distance away from Lochlan I get so cold that I can hardly see in a straight line and the thought makes me laugh out loud.

I need to go. 

I shouldn't have mentioned the proposal. I'm at a loss here, Bridget. I'm getting everything wrong. I used to be so together but I'm starting to slip. 

You're starting to get desperate you mean, and that makes you sloppy. You seem to be trying to pin it on age or fatigue or distractions like me. 

Maybe it's a combination of all those things. 

No. It's desperation. I can smell it from here. 

You're cold today. How can we change that?

We leave. 

He looks at my plate, frittata (without toast on the side, whatthefuck) mostly untouched. My blood sugar has gone through the floor, my head is now pounding a rhythm that pulses pain dots behind my eyes and the caffeine has shot straight into my veins. I feel like a lunatic and I just want away. This was a bad idea. I never say that unless we're in the dark and he no longer hears my words. Out of control. That's how I feel. I want to go home.

His eyes leave mine and he looks above me just a hand lands on the back of my neck.

Give you a ride home? 

It's Sam, and Matt and three others I don't know. One has a collar. Must have been a church meeting.

Sam kisses my cheek and says they had coffee in the patio. But they can take me if I'm heading out. God granted me an escape and I nod and put my napkin on the table beside the untouched plate and Sam pulls my chair out as I stand up. Caleb's face falls and it's as if we're on elevators in the same building going to opposite floors all the time.

But he does not concede.

Actually Sam, I'm going to keep Bridget with me for a little longer. We're not quite finished our morning. But you head on out and maybe we'll see you a little later? He stands and comes around, shaking hands, introducing himself and I am clutching Sam's hand. Sam gives me a questioning look and I shrug. I don't know anymore. I need to eat. I'm not eating this pretentious crap though. I'm not this. This isn't me. God this dress is so uncomfortable and suddenly I'm thrust ahead and introduced and I nod and blush and smile and then we're heading out, the server rushing to return Caleb's credit card, the valet whisking his car up just as we step through the opened door.

Bridget, what can I do? 

The tears sting my eyes but they don't escape. Take me through the drive-through. 

McDonalds? You want to go to McDonalds? Jesus Christ almighty. You can take the girl out of the trailer park but you can't take the trailer park out of the girl. 

You can take that back later when I care. 

He heads three streets over and pulls up outside McDonalds. They don't have valets here.

Tell me what you want. 

Had you asked me in the other place this wouldn't even be necessary, you know. Sausage McMuffin and a hash brown. No drink. Do you need money?

Don't they take Visa?

I doubt it. I fish out a twenty and give it to him.

Eight minutes pass and he returns to the car with a huge bag. He passes me the bag and the twenty (They took Visa! he tells me.) and pulls away. We drive to the park and he finds a spot to stop the car, overlooking the ocean. I count the oil tankers with dismay. He takes the bag back and passes me a napkin, which I spread out over my lap. He takes my purse and puts it behind my seat and then passes me my breakfast. I am finished in six bites, no talking and I watch him from my peripheral vision as he similarly attacks the same meal.

When he's finished he says I forgot how good those are.

I smile. He catches me and reflects it, and I realize his evil is more of a habit than anything now, easily deconstructed, distracted or dissolved.

But habits are so hard to break and he reads my mind again. Does that change your mind then, knowing you can diffuse my evil so easily? Hey, maybe he is losing it. He got the d-words all wrong.

I shake my head.

But you love me! 

Not in the same way. 

Then CHANGE THE WAY. Give up Frankenben and the Pyromaniac and keep me company until I die. I can't give you more than everything. I don't know what you want!

I get out of the car and stand beside it, losing myself in the view of the waves. It's so windy today, just like it always is back home in Nova Scotia. And I can lose myself in the waves, numbing myself in the cold so I can't feel anything anymore.

Just like I always do because I never know exactly what to do or how to get it right.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Blender (uncommon sense).

Are you coming to do a little work for me this afternoon?


Single words. Are you still in bed?


I see. Well, Bridget, since your pay is direct-deposited into your account, if you don't actually do the work for me you'll have to earn it via other means.

You don't even mince words anymore, do you? You just puree them into filth.

At least I got more than one word out of you that time. Are you coming over or do I need to come and get you?

They won't let you near me.

My name is on the house. I can have all of them evicted if need be.

But you wouldn't because the judge says nothing changes. And you promised.

Even a judge will understand when a man has come to the end of his rope. It's called ad iud-

Ad iudicium. I know. But I'm sorry, I've decided to live out my days from the confines of my big feather bed. So you can keep your money. 

They get to see you. 

They didn't string me along hinting that my husband might still be alive. 

That was a game, one you were hellbent on playing along with. And both of your husbands are alive, Bridget. Live in the goddamned present for once. They get to see you. Every day. Several times a day. All day long for the vagrant.

Fuck off, Caleb. I growled it so quietly he was instantly chagrined. Like really, please. Please please please don't fuck with me right now or changes you will see. 

I would like a chance to comfort you. That's all, Bridget. I think Ben is in his zone and we all know Lochlan has an incredibly polarized view of the world so the more help that actually benefits you, the better. Please come down for dessert or something tonight? 


No? Not at all? He said it quietly.

Maybe breakfast tomorrow instead? Late? I'm so tired I just need to sleep, okay? 

Breakfast then. He softens considerably. Maybe I'll take you to that new place.

Somewhere quiet? 

It will fit the bill just fine. I'll collect you at nine. How would that be? 

Good. And one more thing?

Name it, Doll. 

Stop calling Lochlan names. Your frustration could be controlled far better than that. You know, since we're all hellbent on overdue self-improvement all of the sudden. 

As soon as he puts your best interests above his own desires I'll call him by his God-given name. 

How is he any different from you? Honestly?

Oh, Bridget. Don't even go there. I have means. He has nothing. 

He has Ruth. And he has me. And money doesn't buy a goddamned thing, Diabhal.  Money didn't give you Henry and money won't give you me.

Silence floods the space between us on the phone and I wait for him to acknowledge my hand, played predictably and with triumph because he got sloppy. He recovers gracefully. Nine sharp. Until tomorrow?

Nine sharp. Goodnight, Caleb. 

Goodnight, Neamhchiontach.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A repost, in full. Today would have been his 42nd birthday and I've very recently decided I'm never getting out of bed again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Bottle Green

Or maybe I should call this entry bottle empty, for that's what it was when Jacob was finished celebrating Birthday 2006.

Jacob is thirty-six today!

And this time I got to play designated driver. Which held way more peril for me than it seems to for him, most likely because if I'm unsteady on my feet, he can simply carry me home. If he's unsteady on his feet I have to enlist at least two of the boys to keep him upright. He's a big man, and it's been a very long while since he's had a drink. Let's just say that he was long overdue and gee, did he ever make up for it tonight.

(The funniest part about Jacob having one too many that embarrasses him half to death is that he'll reach a point where he starts to talk rather strangely, adding a whole round of extra words to everything he says, alot like the Winnie-the pooh-speak and it is the best thing ever.)

We went out to dinner with four other couples to celebrate his birthday, with a sitter at home to keep the kids happy-they don't like Thai food and it is a school night. There was less food and more alcohol than usual. Jacob listened as each of us stood up and said a few words about the past year of his life. Mostly everyone reiterated that he was moving in the right directions all the way around and we were so very proud of him.

He stood up and raised his glass, drinking it down and then he started talking. His Newfie accent is so prevalent when he's had a few, what a riot. It was touching as he went around the table and told each person what they had meant to him and how they had specifically supported him over the past year, and then when he got to me he stopped talking and just smiled broadly for a minute. His eyes were glassy. I smiled back at him. Everyone started to tell him to just get on with it so we could all have dessert (the cake) and so he did.

To my Bridget. My bottle-green-eyed bride of ninety-four whole days, the past year has been impossible with you as usual. You make me so crazy. You make me worry. You frustrate me and sometimes I'm rocked dumbstruck at what it is about you that keeps bringing me back for more. But now that I've held you in my arms and you've become my wife at long last I know the answer and I wouldn't want it any other way. I love you, thank you for being with me. I hope I do you proud. Thank you for this day. For this year.

(He was easy to understand until this point, then it was all downhill.)

He bent down and kissed me and told me he loved me again, while some noisy awwww's rose up from the table. They brought out the cake and we sang and ate and drank some more.

Too much more for Jacob.

Which...well, argh. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or give in.

Finally the simple fact that it was a weeknight brought our dinner to an early close. Jacob seemed okay to walk out and I drove us toward home, perched on the edge of the truck seat because it's difficult to reach the pedals.

I need to stop in my office for a minute, Bridge. Something important must be done and so I have to be there for it.

Okay, I'll wait out here.

No, come in with me because you're out here and I'd much rather see you without seeing you, and it's dark right about now. I think.


He unlocked the side door of the empty church and we went in, he grabbed my hand and I followed him down the darkened hallway to his office door. We giggled and whispered the whole way as if we might get caught. He stopped when we got inside his office and I bumped right into him. He closed the door and locked it.

Jacob, why don't you turn on the lights?

Lights? We need those? I see everything I need that was here right behind me and always in front of my eyes. Like magic. Let's keep the dark going. Because then I can do...this.

He bent his head down and kissed me so hard I swear he bruised my lips. His hands searched inside my coat and he didn't stop until he hit bare skin. He tasted like whiskey. He was trying to unbutton my dress but he couldn't manage the buttons and so he went for hiking it right up instead. His hands lifted me up onto his desk and he was pushing me flat onto my back. I'm sorry, God. I tried to take him home. I think his patience rode the whiskey right out of his mind.

Oh, no, Jacob. Not here. This is your office.

Right. It is and my God, it's so messy and I think I want you right now, princess. Right and completely this minute.

Jacob, your office is IN THE CHURCH. We're in the church!

It's not like we're under the pulpit, Bridget. Just let me worry about that and take your damned dress off because I just noticed I think I hate some buttons like these ones here.

Jacob, we're going to get struck by lightning

Then our hair will stand on end forever and make us laugh. We'll finally have black eyelashes and smoke will come out of our noses. Now come here, beautiful girl.

Could I could blame the whole thing on not being able to understand what he was saying half the time?


Well, I never said we were saints. And I never said it was proper. And I will definitely never look at that desk the same way ever again.

Jacob maintains he has had the Best Birthday Ever. We are so going to hell.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

In dreams awake.

I wish I were brave but I'm not. I'm a little fuzzy blonde chicken standing just behind the doorway to one side. You can see one green eye and one wavy wisp of my hair and my fingertips and that's it. That's how I greeted this day. Timidly. Hesitantly.


I swore at the black sky and then reminded myself winters have been so much worse and we're lucky here. It hardly ever goes below zero. The grass is still green. Snow will be scarce, right where we are and it's sort of odd because my snow tires are on the car and the car has no traction at all now.

It will when I need it to though, on the hills in those two or three days of snow that we will have this winter and I won't like it one bit but I'll be safe and sound.

..or just safe, since we all know I'll probably never be sound again.

Jacob was sitting on the wall when I went out to see him. He didn't look happy. He looked expectant and irritated and then surprised. I wasn't wearing black. I didn't have my velvet ribbon or his ring and I didn't have the box with the bird on it. I just had me, in my jeans with huge dots of rain coloring them from faded blue denim to dark navy blue and I had wet Converse all-stars and my green hoodie and nothing underneath so I was shivering before I made it to the end of the patio.

Go back in, Pigalet. You're shivering. 

I need to talk to you. 

So what's different about that? We'll talk later when you come back with a coat on. 

I put up my hood and it sticks up in a point. I look like the illustrations of Swedish children in one of Henry's Christmas around the world books. We need to talk now. 

Aw, Bridget. You gotta go in, hon. 

Can I just..can you forget about the stupid rain for a minute, Jake? 

He waits, softening. I can always tell he is coming around from being terse by the way his eyes will smile without the rest of his face being in on the joke. Then it follows like the last kid to hear the punchline.

You know what today is, Princess?

Five years without you.

Five years and you've come along nicely. 

I laugh but say nothing. He's going the counselor route. Lovely.

It's true. And while you don't believe a time limit can be put on grief you reach a point where you have to shift the percentage of attention you devote to it. 

That's why I'm here, Jake. I interrupt him and he stops so suddenly his words stack up and then crumble to a heap at the bottom of his thoughts, a sudden tangle that needs attention and until he gives it readily he'll have no free words to use.

I take a deep breath. Does letting you go mean I can't have conversations with you anymore? 

He looks up sharply from his pile of words and his mouth falls open and then lifts itself into a bittersweet smile. You can still have them, they'll just be one-sided, okay? I will hear you, I just can't respond. His eyes well up and I'm wanting to claw the question back down my throat so it never sees the light of day ever again but it's too late.

What if that doesn't work for me, Jacob?

This is one-way trip, Bridget. No undo. 

But what if I need you? My voice comes out in such a high-pitched squeak I don't even hear it. Whatever grand plan I had to set him free is turning into a painful panic and I'm having trouble breathing.

If you feel as if you need comfort then you'll go to Ben. Anything I could ever give you, Bridget, you can get from him. And you can keep every memory, every moment of me safe in your heart forever. No one can take those away from you, and that's how I'll continue to be a part of you for the rest of your life. Do you understand? 

Yes. I mean no! No. I'm not ready. Forget it. I changed my mind. 

Naw, see, once you try it out, the whole idea of letting go, it sets a process in motion. It can't be undone, Pigalet. 

So this is it?

This is it.

Oh. God. His eyes match mine, glass for glass and between the rain and the tears and the terror squeezing my heart I think I'll drown and then I won't have to do this.

I'm sorry, Jake. I tried to protect you. I failed. And I'm sorry. 

It isn't your fault, Bridget. It's mine. I wasn't strong enough. I'm sorry. But you're strong. You're safe and that's all I ever wanted for you. But you deserve better than me. I love you so much it's unbelievable and that's never ever going to change. Any time you think of me I want you to remember that. Promise me. 

I promise. I love you, Jake. 

I love you, Princess. 

Lochlan and Ben's alarmed shouts from the back door made me turn away briefly and when I turned back Jacob was gone.

And he's not coming back.