Saturday, 16 December 2017

The porgs! I need more of them! (No Last Jedi spoilers, I promise).

Payback was this morning, when I woke Lochlan out of a sound sleep.

Let's go see Star Wars. 

No. 

Oh, come on. If we don't someone will tell us what happens and it will be spoiled. 

Yeah. You're right. 

So off we went for a sub-eleven in the morning show. Who eats popcorn at eleven in the morning? We do, that's who. I didn't even have coffee today. I'll just have two tomorrow.

Glad we didn't wait and have the plot spoiled, now that I'm on the other side. I would have spent the whole film waiting for the spoiler-parts and instead got ambushed with how good it was, how well it fit in to the timeline and how glorious one particular shot was that took my breath away.

But now it's done and it feels like Christmas is upon us, because there's always a Star Wars movie in the holiday somewhere.

It's playing now and it's worth the trip in spades. I couldn't say that about the last four Star Wars movies so take note.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Bitchy McSnorkynose (I didn't make it up, that's what he said when he didn't know I was coming down the steps behind him since I'M UP NOW, LOCHLAN.)

Burn me alive
Set me on fire
And watch me die
Burn me alive
Watch me ressurect
Right before your eyes
Lochlan managed to sleep for twenty-odd hours and he was up at the crack of some miserable hour raring to go.

Want to go out for breakfast, Peanut?

I...no. I want to sleep. I feel terrible, as I think Matt brought his cold to the point. I snorgle a response from under water and Lochlan laughs. Jesus, he's so fucking loud and chipper I may have to sleep elsewhere just so I can get some rest.

Later. Eight. Or ten.

But...eggs Benedict.

I hate you.

No you don't.

Bring them to me here.

Do I look like your servant?

You brought me breakfast in bed last time.

That was last time. I'd prefer not to be apart for a while.

What's a while?

The rest of my time off.

Why is this?

So you don't get ambushed by the others.

Ah, you talked to Matt?

In a way, yes.

Did you talk with your fists again?

No? Why would I do that?

It's how you and Caleb talk to each other.

That's different. We're heathens.

What is Matt?

Some outsider who hurt Sam.

Is this where you finally admit you love Sam?

If I do will you come to breakfast with me, Bridgie?

No.

Hey, I can carry you to the truck and you can eat in your jammies.

Jesus. Should I call you 'Daddy' while I'm at it?

Fuck. I hope when I come back at ten you're less cranky.

Promise. (he said TEN! GOODNIGHT!)

Thank fuck.

Great. Now I'm wide awake. Yes to pajamas in restaurants and yes to extra hash browns, please.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Two truths and a man.

(Inwardly I felt as panicked as he looked. Outwardly though, I was ice.)

Matt's here. He seems to be a hallmark of the seasons changing these days, as he and Sam refuse to commit but can't be apart. This is maddening and heartbreaking and yet it's exactly what happens when there are complications in a relationship.

Complications like...bees.

You've been with Sam for almost a year now. Matt lobs it gently toward the water as we walk. It's a flat sentence and so it skips once, twice...three times before sinking below the surface.

He's keeping track.

I wait for him to drown me in the surf, taking me out of whatever imaginary competition or obstacle he thinks I am but he walks on, picking carefully over the rounded wet rocks that force us to consider each step we make with an undeserved concentration.

(It's a metaphor. Roll with it.)

I don't respond. I wait. I'm a good listener when you need me to be.

What is he to you? What are you to him?

Comfort. Faith. He's a constant. He's a lighthouse.

You've got ten guys who could fulfill that role. Why'd you have to touch Sam?

It's a broken question from a broken man.

He touched me first. 

Bridget-

You weren't there for him.

I was working.

You don't put work first in this life. Maybe Sam and I have seen that and we know it. Maybe you're just learning it now.

What does the future look like, Bridge?

If only I knew.

He stares at me. Why do they all stare at me? How do I do this if you're in the way?

I'm not in the way.

Yeah, you are.

Then I'll move over.

What if I want you to leave and not just make room?

Sam made his wishes known over and over and you ignored them. The one thing I'm not going to let you do is hurt him. We just finished fixing him. 

Oh, is that what you think you've done? 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Got what I wanted. Thanks Santa! (I mean Schuyler).

Lochlan came home early this morning. I swear he would have outrun the plane had he been able, and when I made it to arrivals he was in a flat run toward me before I saw him, almost knocking me over when he reached me. His carry-on meant we didn't need to wait around and we were off. I handed him his truck keys, grateful he wasn't too tired to drive, and he offered breakfast if I hadn't had it already. I had, and he ate on the plane so we settled for drive-through coffee which I promptly forgot about and it's still out there in the truck because I don't get coffee on the go, I can barely handle it at home where I'm not moving.

He looked tired but had a productive trip and then shortly before lunch he went to see Schuyler for a rundown and Schuyler gave him the rest of the year off (!) and a health Christmas bonus too (!!), for going on such short notice and fixing everything.

Lochlan was fixated on the bonus but I was ecstatic at the thought that he now has almost three full weeks to not think about anything, not do anything and just enjoy Christmas with Ben and I, as Ben is going to work less, though still some and really besides Lochlan coming home that's the best news of today.

Well, that and I remembered what a latte was finally so I didn't order one by mistake and then go aw fuck! 

(They're half milk and I don't have milk unless it involves Lucky Charms.)

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

He doesn't want anyone to think he's a big softy. I don't honestly give a shit.

(I'll write about him if I want to write about him.)

Daniel and I split a bottle of wine while Schuyler and Benjamin made pizza for us and then after a few spontaneous carols Ben said we were heading out. That surprised me as I brought my pajamas with me and my phone charger but I didn't protest. He said we were going to take a walk so I could sober up. We hugged the boys and left them with most of the pizza for leftovers (a total surprise since Ben is a bottomless pit) and off we went, hand and hand into the night, heading out their front door and up the road, the long way around in the fog.

He put my hand in his pocket with his hand still around mine for warmth. He walked slow, so I could keep up. I was warm, flush with the glow of too much Shiraz and not enough food but this wasn't a dinner about food, it was about company and it was nice to have a normal dinner party and it was nice to leave it on a good note.

I don't get to see you so much these days.

You don't surface much. 

Sorry, Bee. Big projects. That's why Loch-

He's not even home. 

I know. I took a break so you wouldn't be alone. 

I'm glad. I squeeze his hand and he squeezes back.

Lochlan's back tomorrow?

Yeah. Hopefully. Unless there are problems. 

Naw, he'll be back. 

Yeah. 

That's why I didn't let you stay next door. I wanted you to myself for a night. 

All you have to do is as-

I can't ask Lochlan to give up more than he has, Bee. 

Ben, you don't have to-

It's tough. You know? I gave you back and I wasn't ready. 

I'm right here. 

Stick around okay?

I'm not going anywhere, Ben. 

We don't talk to each other enough. We don't tell each other I miss you. We should. 

I woke up this morning half-crushed by his arms holding me against him. His skin wasn't cool as usual. Instead it was broiling. He didn't sleep like a vampire, he slept like a Jacob, he didn't disappear in the night or in the morning and it was like the first days when we were trying to sort out being together when I thought it was forever and he thought he was a bookmark. I still refuse to see it like that because every time he's around we fall a little deeper, we find our way back.

Don't disappear when he comes home. My plea is sleepy but clear in the dawn. Don't leave again. 

I won't, Bumblebee. I'll be here.

I mean all the time. 

When am I supposed to work then?

You were supposed to stop. 

I didn't stop, did I?

No, you didn't. Instead you vanished into thin air, which is a pretty incredible feat considering how big you are. 

And you're still drunk. How do you remember these conversations so well?

I have to concentrate so hard so I can hear you so they just stick in my brain like toffee. 

Sounds delicious. 

No, it's very noisy and I don't like it but it's the way I am.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Plus none.

There he goes, swinging from nice back to not, from acquiescing back to making the rules, from being sweet and kind to making sure I've earned all of these bruises as punishment for whatever it is that he maintains I've done.

Which is nothing but tease him slightly and it was more than enough to send him into a tailspin of dark misery that he saw fit to share and I needed to run from and didn't because we have a trauma-bond.

Hell, yes we do.

Caleb keeps vetoing every single thing I suggest, after he asked me for a Christmas list. Every single thing I offer he counters with something outlandish, expensive or inappropriate. Finally he throws up his hands and asks me to stop, that he'll find something and that I'll like it.

Just because.

Then why did you ask me? This is so stupid, I think I've decided it's the hill I'm going to die on today.

Because I thought maybe you might be reasonable. 

My suggestions are reasonable for what you-

Oh, please finish. For what I am to you? Think hard before you answer, Neamhchiontach, for I like to reward you not for what I am to you but for what you are to me. 

Redemption. 

Hell. Yes. 

Too bad you can't buy your way out of this. 

It is. 

Well...too bad! 

Oh, I see we're just going to slip into some childish frustration now. 

Best I've got. 

Indeed. 

Okay, I'm leaving. 

Why leave when we can fight our way through dinner?

I already have dinner plans. 

With? 

Danny and Sky. We're making pizza. I'd offer to bring you along but they specifically said threesome. I say this just to watch his ears  light up and burn. They said nothing of the kind.

(It's implied, though.)

Does Ben know you're going? (Lochlan is away. Yesterday's sweetness was a going-away party. Not for more than a few days but I am well-supervised for his absence and I miss him enough to cry already.)

Yes, of course. Now I'm just annoyed.

Maybe I'll send them some instructions and they can talk you into something nice for Christmas. They appreciate the finer things. 

Good luck with that. 

Good luck with your dinner. I'll watch for your return. 

Don't bother. I'm staying for a sleepover. 

The face he made was enough of a Christmas gift for the next fifty years of my life. I grinned back.

Adios, Diablo. 

Don't throw Spanish in on top of everything else, he whispers.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Absent frosted Jesus.

I made it through the year and I did not even collapse
Gotta say thank God for that
I'm torn between what keeps me whole and what tears me in half
I'll fall apart or stay intact

With tired eyes I stumble back to bed
I need to realize my sorry life's not hanging by a thread
At least not yet
Lochlan started a fire and came back to bed early this morning, then left once again, returning with cane-sugared doughnuts and very good coffee spiked with Irish cream. I woke up then, when my body sensed the sweetness level rising in the room exponentially.

We ate our breakfast while watching The Legend of Frosty the Snowman on his iPad, and when it was over he asked if I wanted to get up and go to church or stay in bed maybe through lunch, that we could probably find another Christmas movie to keep us busy or if not maybe something else to do besides. I grin with my sticky face back at him. We should probably stay in and finish off these sheets, I'm thinking, because there's sugar everywhere.

He nods. I'll let Sam know we won't be in church.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

A commune (you know, like Alcatraz or the Hanoi Hilton).

Bridget this is work that has to be done. It's as much for your privacy as it is to maintain our investment in this property. You saw the assessment. We're sitting on a goldmine here and it's only going to increase in value-

I have a question. 

He looks startled but recovers quickly. Go ahead. 

What if I wanted to leave? Could I?

What do you mean? 

It's an easy question. 

Jesus. People we don't even know come here and put these ridiculous ideas in your head as if you're a prisoner here-

Am I? 

He turns and looks at me for a long time and then takes both my hands in his own as he sits against the back of the island. We're at eye level when he does this.

Bridget. It's safer for you if you stay with us. We'll look after you. I've explained this over and over again. I've showed you what happens when you go out on your own. This is just the way it works. 

So what you're saying is no. That I can't leave. 

You're not a prisoner here-

What would you call it? 

A brotherhood. 

I thought we called it a Collective. 

Only in front of you, Neamhchiontach. 

Good to know.

Friday, 8 December 2017

(Already reimbursed and everything.)

The round table (core group) meeting got a little heated last night and I may have pulled rank, deferring the whole renovation plan until the spring or possibly later, (however long I can stall. Like forever is perfectly fine with me.) much to the unchecked relief of virtually everyone except Dalton, who once again wandered into the room in his pajamas and asked what was going on.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

We can simply get a contractor instead. 

Not for this. 

I stared out the window while they debated. My own reflection stares back from the dark, surrounded by lights. Ransom was an error. Based on name alone they shouldn't have hired him, but he came well-recommended and was brought in from out of province, which was why he was always here. He had nowhere else to go, in town just for this project. They should have let me hire someone based on interviews instead of just forging ahead. They don't know men the way I know men, and he walked in with a keen overreaching awareness that I picked up on instantly and then revealed his hero complex way too soon. I am a liability, I don't need any others and he scared me with his interest right off the bat.

It wasn't until I pointed that out that they scuttled the plans. Apparently wanting to leave the bones of the house alone wasn't a good enough reason, but being afraid is.

Maybe we can paint, I offer to the groans and exasperated expressions around me. Lochlan snorts and gets up. Yeah. Maybe we can paint. 

But later in the dark when he leads me upstairs he asked me what went wrong. He wasn't there, all he has to go on are everyone else's deductions on why Ransom isn't coming back.

He was pushing his way in. He asked me if I was being held here. He could see the marks on me. 

Maybe there shouldn't be marks on you. I wouldn't have acted different if I in his shoes. This looks insane from the outside, Peanut. It only makes sense to the Collective. No one we bring in to do the work is going to behave different. 

Then we need to present it differently. You and I will book the work and the brother-in-law will deal with the deals, because there's no reason to have PJ and Duncan and Ben at the table. We'll just go over options with them privately. 

So we goofed. 

Yeah, we goofed. 

No harm, no foul, Bridge. 

But his words were the same as Ransom's and they make me think, as Lochlan pulls me down into his lap, forcing my arms around his neck and my head tightly into the space between his shoulder and his jaw as his hands slide around my hips in the dark.

Am I being kept here? Is everything okay? If it doesn't look right the outside world, does that make it wrong?

It isn't wrong, Bridgie. Lochlan reads my mind as he loosens my deathgrip from around his shoulders, pushing me away and down on my back before coming back in close so that he can hold me in his arms. It isn't wrong.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The rescuer.

I was up early (Lochlan had to go out early to work and I couldn't sleep after he left) so I went over to August's to see if he was up and making espresso (he was). I figured I could beat the crowds, if you know what I mean.

I was wrong.

On the way back, blowing down the heat of my cup, I ran smack into Ransom, who was exiting his car. I didn't know he would have to be onsite every day or I would have already vetoed this, but they can't get the changes sorted out so until they do, my kitchen seems to be their office.

We haven't been formally introduced. He extends a hand as his own name rolls off his tongue as if he's used to impressing women. That surprised me slightly but I don't acknowledge it. Instead I tell him my first name and shake his hand briefly.

So you are the owner of this beautiful property. They talk about you constantly. I'm actually having a little bit of a hard time sorting out the dynamics in this house. 

Such as? 

Your husband is Caleb? I was under the impression that he lives there. He indicates the Boathouse.

I was under the impression that you're here to oversee the new designs and coordinate with the contractor. Not ask questions about my personal life. 

I just wasn't sure who was officially in charge of this property.

That would be me. 

But Caleb is responsible for payment. 

That's correct. 

Have I upset you? Look, I didn't mean to, I was present for some of the conversations about the property and it went from confusing to impossible to tell who lives here and who does not. So I'm there trying to take direction from six different people and none of them actually live here. I need you to sign off. 

They live all here. Well, across the five different buildings.

How many families? 

Just one.

Bridget, I don't know what I've walked into here-

A design job? A big renovation? If you don't want the work or it's a conflict of personal morals or something you can be excused-

-Are you okay? Are they..keeping you here? Do you need help, is what I'm asking?

She's fine. Oh, there's Schuyler. My perpetual guardian angel. Always close at hand.

Ransom is staring at Schuyler. Is Caleb in charge or isn't he? 

He's financing this, so yes, he is your boss.

Bridget, go inside. Oh, there Caleb is now. I think the question period is finished for now. 

Ransom turns to look at Caleb and his face breaks into a goofy smile. Hey, no harm, no foul. What did I do? Get too close to her? I'm just trying to find the chain of command here. 

I told you on the first day who you would be dealing with. Bridget is not on that list. 

She's the property owner-

Then we'll make sure she signs off on all of it. I'm a lawyer, I understand you need to cover yourself.

That was the last I heard, as I came back inside, followed by Schuyler, who left Caleb to deal with Ransom.

I take a sip from my cup but my espresso is cold. I make a face and Schuyler matches it as I put the cup in the microwave for a minute. 

What?

Avoid him. 

I've actually been trying to! I didn't expect him to be here at eight-fifteen in the morning.

True. He won't be here much longer if he keeps up this curiosity. 

I'd be beside myself trying to figure this out if I were anyone coming in. They can't help it. It's extremely unusual. 

Schuyler stares at me so long I begin to squirm. Finally he speaks and it took so long it startles me. You're right, Bridget. I'll give him a cursory explanation and see if it resolves his interest. But you stay away. Might want a little break from Caleb too. Ransom only asked you if you were okay because you're covered in bruises. 

I'm fine. Just clumsy. 

Jesus, it's me you're talking to, Honey. Don't sugarcoat it, I don't have a sweet tooth. 

Liar. 

For girls. 

Oh, liar once more. I grin as he calls me a brat and shoos me out just as Caleb and Ransom come in to start work. Don't have to tell me twice. I'm gone.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Professionals.

Ben wasn't so keen to be found and distracted and so he shared the wealth and brought me back to Caleb's where I was held down by one and spun out by the other before they traded places and spun me back in. Then Ben went back to work and left me there to sleep but sleep was full of nightmares, bruises and that weird brand of shame I can never seem to shake, though it's been years and I don't answer to anyone outside of the Collective anymore.

Caleb slept like a baby.

Funny, that. The more violent he gets, the easier he sleeps. The true mark of a monster, I guess, though if you put a mirror in front of us and asked us to point out who the monster is we would both probably indicate me.

Ben is angry that I even registered Ransom in the house. Told me not to get into it. Then Caleb threatened to fire him and call in a new architect. Apparently they're a dime a dozen around here, if your dime is platinum and crusted in gems. But I don't want any architects, let alone Ransom, he can just live on the fringe, like Ben.

Except I miss Ben. I shouldn't after last night but I still do because he was moody and quiet and thorough, hurtful and a little bit rougher than I wanted, though maybe it wasn't about me. It might not ever be, and that's okay too.

Caleb was just rough because that's the way he is. Always wants to put on a show, refusing to show any side other than the purest of evil just in case someone finds further weakness in him. Aside from me, I mean.

So today I asked for breakfast in bed so I wouldn't have to deal with Ransom at all.

And I got it, but of course that meant a couple more protracted hours that I wasn't home and when I did get home (when Ransom left) Lochlan was waiting and ready to take his piece of me, carving out most of the shame and ego I brought in and leaving me with more of the former and none of the latter. He said I should be there going over the plans so I know what's happening (this after telling me yesterday I didn't know what I was doing so just stay out of the way) and also if I could stay put that'd be great. I pointed out I was with Ben but Lochlan asked if Ben even knew where Ben was these days and I didn't answer because I knew it was a rhetorical question and then he unrolled the plans across the island and just like that, the subject was changed.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Writing without talking (here is what you missed).

We celebrated Ben's birthday last weekend, on Sunday, not Saturday because he was working downtown and couldn't extricate so at the last minute we moved the whole thing to the next day and had a lovely celebration. This was part of my Saturday-frustration but I wasn't about to blame him for anything other than being a workaholic.

He is forty-seven now and does not want to be detailed here day-to-day. He's mellowing and would sometimes like to fade into obscurity and sometimes not. It varies depending on his moods but he is happy, healthy, loved his presents and his speeches too and ate almost half the cake in one go. I make two now, since one is never enough, but that's probably too much. He's as mercurial as anyone and worse when he doubles-down on a project. I can't pull him away and we both wind up irritated by just about everything. Him by my whining, and me by his endless working.

***

Ransom. Architect. Here doing some work on the house because apparently it's not good enough so they're doing so major renovations. Like, MAJOR ones. Last time I checked it was my house but even Lochlan (you thought I was annoyed you should see him) pointed out my standards end at a 100-foot-square camper and I can't see past the end of my nose to understand things like flow and usable space and multipurpose areas. That I settle for nothing and am too happy about it. That I should try harder to live the way I want to live and not the way I remember it.

This is total bullshit. Someone just wanted to throw my OCD into overdrive because it's not bad enough. Let's just rip the side of the house off and have crews in here all through the holidays.

But that's not the point. The point is that every morning now when I come downstairs Handsome-Ransom is in my kitchen looking at plans with the boys and he'll look up and greet me with much attention. We grin at each other and he'll watch me go and pour my coffee to the point that he usually has to be prompted to return to his conversation.

Just what I need. Another man.

***

Caleb just bankrolls whatever they want as long as they frame it being for my benefit.

This will give you a little more privacy. 

I'm fine.

Neamhchiontach-

I said I was fine. (Just don't look too closely, large parts have been blown clean off.)

He sighs. Where's Ben?

Good question! 

You're more than welcome to stay here while the work is completed if you'd like the quiet or if you're having issues with Ben-

Who said I was having issues?! FUCK.

Ben's right. Your ire ranges from white-hot rage to insolent emotional immaturity. 

I'm...emotionally immature?

Very. Yes. 

Do you know how that comes to be? 

Bridget-

No, really. Do you? Because my brand of it comes from trauma at a young age. Do you remember what that was, Diabhal? 

Shocked into silence, he turns and leaves the room. The conversation is over. I need to go find Ben anyway to find out who authorized them wrecking this stupid house to try and make it better. The only way we could make it better would be to fix the people who live in it. Namely me.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Little blonde clown.

I've decided 2018 is going to be the year that I. start. not. giving. a. fuck.

Yes, I know, I've probably said it before, something something blah blah blah have more fun/worry less. Then I worry more, fold myself into a tangled ball and hide out the days exisiting or surviving instead of living.

I'm afraid of a lot of things. Not like Sarah Paulson in AHS: Cult who screamed like a banshee every time she saw a fucking clown (I LOVE clowns, but not Pennywise, he bores me, overrated, you know this) but afraid of weird things that send my heart plummeting into black dread and my body into fight mode.

(Note? Don't spoil Cult for me, we haven't finished it.)

Because I don't run. No, I'm stupid like that. I go after that fear because how dare it try to do that to me. How dare my fears try to leave me unsettled, get the best of me or just plain make me afraid. They don't get that right. I fight like something you've never seen. I force myself to do it. I march right up to it and demand that it be fixed right now so it isn't scary anymore.

Except for elevators. I haven't figured out how to make them back down yet but I take one if the stairs aren't handy. It's terrifying but I do it anyway because that's who I am.

Or something.

But yeah, this year I'd like to become someone who sort of doesn't give a fuck, doesn't give a voice to the fear, doesn't care if she's tired, doesn't worry about every little thing, doesn't hide and then come out swinging, doesn't worry about it.

I've earned it.

I won't bother listing the fears. Some are valid, some are earned. Some are ridiculous. Some are unfathomable and some are tiny but powerful. They all hold the same weight to my battered brain and I'd like it better if they didn't hold any weight at all. 

Sam calls this determination one of my fleeting moments of courage, in which I'm going to change my world with my Big Plans, only to be the same as ever. I'm not sure if he can see my capabilities better from up there or if he's trying to goad me to actually follow through. You'll have to ask him.

 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

A girl, a fix, a prank.

I got part of my wish last night, as August put his Spotify account on my phone. At any given time now I can see what he's listening to, and since I don't have a poker face, I fear that just about every time I look at him from here on out he's either going to be treated to an expression of pure surprise or sheer disappointment, as his musical tastes have always been more than a little strange for a man his age.

We went for a walk out out in the orchard, now laced with a huge chaotic array of those carnival rainbow bulbs, because why not? We did so with some mulled wine and it was perfect. Well, except for the subject matter, which involved a plan to navigate the holidays with as little upset as possible, as that familiar helplessness and frustration came up yesterday that signals a decided lack of self-care, a focus on the negative (but I made a list of the good things!) and a disappointing ignorance of just how good things are.

Suitably stung, I nodded. He's right. He's always right but at the same time I feel an undercurrent of annoyance. I didn't ask for this, it was facilitated to me. My good fortune in life is a debt paid for unspeakable reasons that began long before there was ever any Cole, any Jacob to be worried about and he addresses that too, before I can abandon the walk in a flurry of misery.

Ask for help, Bridget. Before things reach that point. 

I know. 

But do it. You know it and you keep silent. 

It's hard. I want to be capable. 

Capable people know the limits of their capabilities. 

Oh, then I'm not capable at all, nevermind. 

He laughs. Sure you are. As capable as you can be for you. 

I look up at him. In the dark cold if I close my eyes and focus on the accent and not the man, I feel like I could touch heaven if I jumped.

Don't look at me like that, Bridge. 

Sorry. I didn't mean to. 

Jesus. What you're 'capable' of is dismantling the strongest of men with your very being. 

Wow, Augie. See? That's the problem. I don't want to dismantle anyone. 

You can't help it. 

I could go live in a cave. 

You could, but it's going to get awfully crowded, since no one's going to let you out of their sight. Get some sleep, okay?

And with that, we are at the side door of the house and he opens it just as PJ is coming down the stairs. They give each other one of those violent man-back-clapping hugs and then PJ holds the door for me, locking it behind us as August heads back across the driveway to his loft.

Any luck?

Yes, he gave me his login.

Oh, the games are ON now. 

(Supposedly on Spotify you can change the music on another user if you have their info on your deivce. Don't worry, we're not mooching the songs, we're just going to try to brainwash August into slightly heavier music. PJ already hooked me up with my own IHeartRadio account for the all-Christmas station I've been playing when I'm driving.)

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Ballad of Highway 99, Part II.

(Excuse the rant, but I'm entitled, once in a while. Or if you want to put it a different way: I'm entitled so once in a while I rant. Yes, first world problems. I understand. Skip the emails, seriously. I get it.)
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too?
I woke up like this.

Frustrated and slightly overwhelmed as I watch my to-do list pile up and I have taken to hard slashing, cancelling everything I can cancel, trying to group errands, getting things done early or strategically putting them off and generally trying to put myself in everyone else's shoes so I don't rip their heads off.

I drove for two hours last night in the pouring rain of an inky black night only to arrive downtown, thinking I was off the hook for driving for the weekend only to realize it's Saturday and what a gift it would be if I could get a few things done today to make the week ahead easier. Plus, Henry abruptly needs something and I have to go out anyway. But where we live you don't go out for one thing (unless it's food). You go out for a few hours and do everything while you're there, because it's a hell of a drive home.

I'm sure they chose this remote place because it is most like home. And yes. It is in a way. If you squint and make everything super blurry and way smaller. And the shopping matches, because there isn't any here either, and what should be a twenty minute drive to the shopping centre has never taken a mere twenty minutes. More like forty-five. Each way. Which isn't bad per say but I make that drive multiple times a day sometimes and this time of year, between the weather and the Christmas rush, it's particularly awful.

But I got Henry's shoes, the new security lights for outside (three of them have failed in the past month. I guess their life expectancy is seven years), and mailed all of the parcels that are going home. So I felt better making that drive home, knowing I've just saved what would have been half of Tuesday, freeing me up to do other things.

Like get ready for Christmas. It's a battle not to constantly feel overwhelmed but I somehow do. Yes, I have help. Yes, I have a list and a plan. Yes, I have the means. Yes, I started in September.  But in my rush to make the season perfect the only part that isn't is me and I don't know how to fix that either. I wish it would snow but only Christmas weekend. I wish I could not have chores, but chores wait for no one. I wish I could cook better. That's so dumb but it's true. The thought of dealing with a turkey again makes me tired. Also slightly grossed out because I only stopped being a vegetarian eighteen years ago and I still can't figure out bones.

I want to sit by the fire and drink whiskey and read a good book. I want to listen to Christmas music but the IHeartRadio app scares me and I'm bored of my own supply of Christmas music that I own, or that Ben has sung, sometimes with me. It's a little disconcerting to be singing along only to hear your own voice out of the blue over the stereo. I want Lochlan to have some time off (yeah somehow Schuyler and Batman both have him booked up. He was going to retire. Except, true to Loch, he can't sit still. Maybe this is a good thing?). I miss him though.

I want to walk in the woods and sleep in, eat brunch and watch holiday movies. I want to stop moving.  I could. Boy, could I ever. There just never seems to be any time left over. Everything is so fleeting and then we're up and off once more. Tomorrow Ruth will need some obscure art supplies and we'll run out of orange juice and John or PJ will need a watch/pair of boots/truck picked up and I'll be up there on the highway again.

I'm starting to hate that road, but it runs East, and for some reason that makes it okay. At least every time I leave my house, I'm one step closer to home.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Waiting for a King Tide.

I'm ready.

I'm ready for the dock to be underwater and the sea to come up and try to reach me, throwing up foam and salt, an icy slap from out of thin air. I'm ready to be banned from the backyard, the cliff, the beach (which will briefly disappear, as it always does at high tide anyway) and the steps. I'll remain inside where it's warm, turtleneck unfolded up over my mouth, nose pressed against the window, trying to commit that particular elusive shade of teal to memory. Still failing to do so, I'll be lured to the fire instead, to the flame, if only to pass the time between oceans.

I finished all of the off-point Christmas gifts today. Now I have to organize, wrap and ship them. Everyone is getting a small painting (by me) and a jar of pickles with their gifts (also made by me) and I hope everyone likes them. They'll all be shipped to the other ocean, the one that's a slightly lighter shade of teal, more grey for the Atlantic to the Pacific's green undertone.

Colder, still.

At least it's brighter there. Here in the dim petrichor air we grow mushrooms in our hair and squint at the lights because it's so dark, so wet. So miserable. I don't know where the perfect place is, but I'll know when I find it. Trouble is, I'm not really looking, so how can you find something you're not even really searching for? Home is where the heart is, so I guess right now one piece is downstairs in the studio, one is in the boathouse, one is in heaven and one is on the highway on the way home, with take-out for lunch.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Not long.

I was digging out rubbermaid bins from the storage room yesterday. The storage room sort of doubles as the control center of the house. The alarm box is there, the modem, router and printer all live in there and if you keep walking (it's very narrow), at the back of the room I have neatly stored holiday decorations in bins as well as a good stack of moving boxes (Lochlan conjured up a nomad in me I can't seem to get rid of) and an entire bureau full of DVD and Blu Rays. Or is it Bluerays? I don't know, I'm not down there to look.

Anyway. I was backing out of the room with a bin in my arms and managed to smash into the alarm box with my right shoulder. It hurts something awful now, I have the biggest most colorful bruise and I'm pretty sure it chipped a bone, which means I have an orphan unattached bone shard floating around under my skin that will probably work its way around and stab me in a vital organ.

I was telling Lochlan about it when he asked how I got the bruise. I have no filter, I ended with a dramatic reenactment and death scene and everything.

How do you even come up with this stuff? 

Well, what if it does? 

I'm sure you'll know if that happens. 

Well, I had a bit of a headache earlier so I think it's going straight for my brain. If that's its master plan just know that I love you. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Midweek Jesus (Because Sam was adamant that I not call this entry 'Hump Jesus')

Did Christmas change or just me?
We spent the morning decorating the church. Sam humored me and let me put the radio on over the PA, which meant I turned it to 105.3 FM, which is Vancouver's all-Christmas station. Deep and Crisp and Even, indeed. Eighty full percent of the time it'll make your ears bleed. But twenty percent of the time you'll be knocked off your feet by Elvis or Frank Sinatra or someone really good so when Ali & Theo came on, I begged Sam to give me the other mic and we could karaoke our way through trimming the tree.

And by golly, he was game. 

(He does a good Ali to my Theo, that's for sure. Then Kelly Clarkson came on and he just TOOK THE FUCK OVER. Go Sam!)

It made short work of the rest of the boxes. Singing does that. He was also game to chuck the remaining multicolored trashed decorations from years past and buy all white decorations with the modest holiday budget increase he got from head office this year.So everything is red and white, rustic and understated and woodsy and beautiful.

He had to rip the microphone out of my hand though, as usual I will tell you I freaking hate karaoke and then close the place down.

Now I get to decorate the point. I've got the all-clear. December starts on Friday, after all.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Places you didn't think you'd miss so much, but you do. Like people.

The best cup of coffee I've ever had in my life came from a little hole in the wall place called Vietnam Village in Corydon Village proper,  just up from Daly Burgers, a place we adored but tonight was a date night, just the two of us.

We ate our meal and then the coffee was made and brought to the table to brew. In a few moments the owner came back and showed me how to place the filter upside to one side and give the coffee a stir, as he had poured a layer of condensed milk into the glass before placing the drip on it.

It wasn't as sweet as you might think, only rich and wonderful. I think I'd have a future as a bulletproof coffee fan, if only not for this amazing creation that outclassed butter-stirred coffee by an easy mile.

I think it was as much the surroundings as anything. It was a hot summer evening and the sweat rolled down my back inside my sundress while Jacob played with his truck keys, watching me. We were the only people in the restaurant, because it was almost too early for dinner, but almost too late for me to be drinking coffee. We people-watched through the window, a breeze from a nearby fan not quite reaching us, until I finished the glass. Jacob went and paid our bill and then we stepped out into the prairie night, as anonymous as the rest of the world, but just as visible too.

Monday, 27 November 2017

The world needs more princesses.

We flew Mark in for the weekend. Daniel and Schuyler got coordinated tattoos. All the way down their forearms in each other's handwriting: Schuyler's says I won't let you down and Daniel's says I will not give you up. They're lines from Freedom! 90, the song by George Michael.

God, they're so adorable it makes me want to cry.

Cue an endless dancefest, because why the heck not?

The lovefest continues today too with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announcing their engagement. Squee! A royal wedding is on the horizon this spring. I love weddings. The bigger the spectacle the better, though not for me personally. I preferred small intimate ceremonies. Sometimes no ceremonies. But I'm a raging monarchist and I'm SO EXCITED.

You wouldn't think it was a Monday, and no, I didn't get any more tattoos, though Mark touched up a few spots on my knuckle tattoos. He tends to come out about once a year for a vacation and we make him work. He said my knuckle tattoos aren't holding up that well and I reminded him that duh, they're now a year old, plus I do the lion's share of cleaning, cooking and wetwork, as it were. He laughed at the description and pointed out that maybe the lion should do his own share and then he'd still have the honor of having his name inked on my left hand, LOCH, though before Mark arrived it mostly said lu l because that's all that was left. But I am fixed up and reclaimed and ready for my wedding invitation as a citizen of the commonwealth.

Wait, what? I can't go? That's fine. I'll watch it on Youtube and I'll be there with bells on.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Medium, mystical Jesus.

What are my birth cards? 

He's watching me with fascination from his bed. I'm struggling to get dressed under the spotlight. I brought my church clothes with me because I don't want to miss it two weeks in a row. He doesn't mind. He's not making any move to get ready, so far. I fight my stockings, clipping them in a crooked fashion. No one besides Caleb is going to see them anyway and when we get home after lunch I can change.

The Tower and the Chariot, I believe. I'm a bit rusty though. 

And what do they represent for me. 

Sexuality, violence, control. Bravery, danger. 

You're kidding. 

Actually no. I'm not. You are indicative of an unstoppable force. No matter what the obstacle or the cost. 

Jesus. He thinks about it while I button my dress. He thinks some more while I put on my over the knee socks (church is cold) and then while I button my tall boots. He thinks while I put my jewelry back on and when I stand in the doorway waiting for my dismissal.

How do I change my fate then, Neamhchiontach? 

You can't. That was Lochlan's point when I was young.You act outside of it and you'll still come back around. You just fight it until you can't anymore, I guess. 

What does that mean for us? 

There is no us. My fate doesn't include you. 

And I'm gone, running flat out through the rain from the Devil back to God. Back to Sam. Back to Lochlan, who isn't going to church either, I bet. He doesn't go all that often, since the church and Lochlan share a mutual distrust of each other. It's no surprise, as the church has no use for spiritists and they have no use for the church.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Telling fortunes, telling truths.

He turns, checking behind us, always looking over his shoulder. Never believing he isn't going to look just this time only to see the past catching up with us, as it has been stalking us all along. Only by laying down huge swaths of fire has he been able to throw it off, force it back and cover our tracks in the process.

Close your eyes, Bridgie. It's so bright and beautiful, I don't want you to love the flames the way I do. He presses my head tightly against his chest with one hand. I don't want you to see this. 

And I don't look. This is one thing curiosity doesn't try and override, like everything else. I screw my eyes shut tightly and press my face against the flannel of his shirt. I can feel his heart pounding but it's strong. I feel safe. I feel the heat from the flames but I'm not afraid here, in this place with him.

Did she tell you your cards? 

Yes, but I think she lied. 

What are they? 


The Wheel of Fortune and the Magician. 

She didn't lie, Bridgie. 

But you're the magician! 

I am. It's fate, Peanut.  

What is the Wheel for then? 

It means our luck is going to change. Big time. 

I hope it doesn't. I want everything to stay the way it is. 

It can't. 

What are your cards? Did you ask her?

The Star and the Strength.

What do they mean?

It means I witness perfection and resist the urge to improve it. At the same time I have to keep the balance of power  of nature in check. I can't force things or relax them. When I figure out how to combine them I will realize my true self. Or something like that. I'll be lit from within. 

Aren't you already? 

You can see this. I don't know it yet. 

Do you believe her? 

She's just a messenger.

Oh. Well then now what?

We stay close together and live our lives as predestined. 

But can't we change them? Our lives? 

Sure, you can act out of turn or live counter intuitively to your intuition but that isn't a good idea. It's better to stick to your path. It has your name on it. 

But what if I didn't?

Then bad things will happen. Why risk it?

Friday, 24 November 2017

Somewhat fixed.

Did you miss seeing the white, plain blog from last night? Lucky.

Okay. This design is hella minimalist but at least everything works. The sharing buttons are back (! I don't know how) and the header isn't missing, though it's not quite there yet. Patience, people. I have the technological skills of your average newborn. Ruth even gave me some pointers yesterday and then told me to google some tutorials, realizing that she didn't have the kind of time required to teach me everything.

Sigh. I will make it look better eventually but it's readable and that's really the main point here.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Yes, I know the blog is broken.

Stay in the shadows
Cheer at the gallows
This is a round up
This is a low flying panic attack
Oh I fucked up now. In an effort to switch back to Firefox (yes, roll your eyes. He said switch to Chrome, so I switched to Chrome and then he said switch back to Firefox so I switched back because I always wanted to be like the cool kids) I realized my blog looks narrow and outdated (I started it fifteen years ago when 'aesthetic' wasn't a word anyone actually used) and hey, I'm only running a fever of a thousand degrees, sneezing lava on people, and unable to keep anything down or...in, as it were, now's a perfect time to start fucking with HTML.

Did I mention I don't know any HTML?

Right, so I *think* the blog is wider and more pleasant, though it depends on who you ask. If you ask Chrome it's all the way across the page. Ask Firefox? Naw, fam. Ask safari and it's somewhere in between. My header is now missing because I managed to resize it but then couldn't reupload it. Firefox crashed but saved my work so now there's nothing there. Whoops. And I know I checked off to have share buttons for twitter, etc., at the bottom of each post and yes, it's still checked off but are they there? Nope.

And my tech-guy who knows everything about everything won't help me. Why? Oh he's mad that Duncan and I went down to Duncan's den to play Xbox (yes, who DOES run out of Netflix? We did, that's who) and I got very dizzy so I dragged myself to go lie down. I couldn't go far away (Duncan was babysitting, you see and why give the hen to the fox if you're so concerned) and I didn't want to crash in Duncan's room so I picked Dalton's (he wasn't home) (at first) and then Dalton came home, found me fast asleep in his bed, apparently stood there for a good fifteen minutes debating what to do before saying hell, no and going upstairs to get Loch.

Apparently Duncan had gone to his own room to sleep too and Lochlan thought I was with him when confronted with a closed door when he came looking for me, and didn't both checking the next room, where I was. Because that would be too easy.

Yes, I'm still stuck on the fifteen minutes thing too. Debating what? Do I even want to know? These are the things I think about while changing beds, as I pulled maid duty in spite of still being sick. That is the price I was given for borrowing Dalton's bed for the evening. The price I pay though will probably be much higher.

I'll get the header back up when I figure out how. Wish me luck, I think I'll need some today.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Too sick to write anything good today. Was going to put up an interlude of Lochlan juggling fire batons but the compression to Blogger is garbage and I can't figure it out. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Blah.

Today was a strange departure as I have the flu. But so does Duncan and so we tucked ourselves into warm clothes and watched movies on Netflix all day in the kitchen (oh, don't worry, there's room for  a TV up on the wall, a woodstove, a wraparound couch and three easy chairs in my kitchen and no, that's not the eating area, that's in the big open section between the island and the stairs. That's where the long table is (it seats twenty people). The formal dining room is down the hall between the back staircase, PJ's wing and the foyer. Someday I'll just post the floorplans. It's hard to describe.

This would be called a breakfast nook but it's bigger. There's so much space here. In any case, Duncan kept the woodstove going and we cooked hot chocolate, tea and soup on it while he dozed in between while I (wide awake naturally) managed to clear the entire mending pile in a day.

Then PJ came home. Power out? 

I don't think. I don't know, why? 

You two look Amish. You're sewing and he's cooking on the stove. 

What about the television? Clearly we have power.

Not necessarily. Even the most devout to their belief can be swayed by the magic of Netflix. 

I don't know why you like Netflix so much. Not like there's porn on it. 

Bridget, there's more to my life than porn. 

There is? 

I mean, there could be, if I wanted there to be, I mean. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Calling in favours.

I..er..have a bodyguard today.

(And IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII will always love yooooooooouuuuuuuo)

Thankfully he's better looking than Kevin Costner and much bigger too. And he eats whatever you put in front of him, saying yes please and thank you and he doesn't let anyone get away with a damned thing.

Including me.

(John's actually driving me nuts. Any takers? He's six-two, long brown hair, long beard, looks like Mark Morton when he smiles and wears enough flannel to make all your dreams come true. And yes, ladies, his boots are a size 14. All the dreams, let me tell you. He has better manners than most and he's retired (accident/settlement) from the industry so no worries about being left alone for endless tours. But he's fine. Other than being too good at keeping me in line, he's good.)

So breakfast with Batman was interesting because Batman took an inordinate amount of time to put his poker face on when he saw John and John very graciously and gently pointed out that he would sit at a different table if Batman would like. Fortunately Batman is a gentleman and shifted the whole tone of the morning into something completely different and we ate together.

Or rather, he talked and I ate everything. Sunday was light on food somehow. There were Monte Cristos. I think Lochlan ate them. So I drank his whiskey to fill the hole and got a little (or maybe a lot) shitfaced before they had time to notice.

What're you doing, Peanut?

Building a hurricane, Locket, I told him with great conviction and then fell off the bed, bottle and all.

So today no one was taking chances and I'm sure that Batman wanted to discuss how ridiculous I am but he demurred in John's presence (or perhaps he realizes John already knows how ridiculous I am) and we talked about Christmas instead.

Which was dumb because I may have hit the lights a week ago but I'm not allowed to put any trees up until a month from now. I have to figure out how to charm them around it. Or maybe I can use leverage. I mean, what's the point of having some much of it if I can't put it to good use?

When are you putting up your tree? I ask Batman as I finish his fried potatoes and his orange juice too. So thirsty. John snorts with a laugh but says nothing, watching the rain out the window.

I was thinking this weekend. 

I stop chewing. That's leverage. If they won't let me put up my tree I'll threaten to go enjoy his. Not like everyone isn't learning that calling my bluffs brings those bluffs running from miles away.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Princesa muy pequeña, experto en hombres.

(I'm still drunk and it's seven in the morning so here's just how obnoxious I can get. Forgive me I'm not myself. I'm objectifying everything in my world right now just like everything in my world objectifies me.)

If you leave your phone on the table just know when you come back I will have wiped it clean and replaced your music with eighteen different remixes of Despacito. 

Because if I'm going to have this fucking song stuck in my head then I'm going to share it with you too.

Also this somehow popped my Beiber cherry which is not a thing I expected to see in this lifetime but he is twenty-three now (somehow) and the video wasn't bad, exactly.

I don't know how it wasn't good either (it kind of looked like something from a Fast and Furious music from the motion picture video too) but he's not a child anymore.

(Oh my GOD. Fuck off, Bridget.)

Also we saw Justice League yesterday so excuse me if testosterone is spilling all over everything. You're going to drown in it or at least in the brains from my head exploding every time Batman was on screen (not my Batman, the real one. Ben Affleck).

Those Affleck brothers though. Goddamnnnnnnnnn.

Was hard to pay attention to the plot. Really disappointed that Steppenwolf wasn't metal in the least and they missed a great opportunity to play Magic Carpet Ride in the credits, I think.

Stay through the credits, people. Two cut scenes. TWO. Everyone in the theatre walked out and we were like LOL. Suckers. 

Quicksilver is amazing! I mean the Flash. I don't have any comics except for The Shade, so I don't get the duplicates. They tell me it's DC versus marvel and I'm a DC girl all the way. Also Jason Momoa still isn't real. I refuse to believe any human could be that freakishly beautiful.

But he still ain't Batman.

(At least he's not Beiber though. I will revisit this thought when he's thirty and an actual man-man. Something happens to men when they hit thirty and they look like men suddenly. Ask me how I know this. No, don't.)

Also we missed church so now we can listen to Despacito on repeat. Because no one set alarms. Because Monte Cristos, whiskey and crowds, shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sam's going to get fired but he's still asleep so at least he's spared that thought for now. Also I think Sam and Caleb might have buried the hatchet, and no that's not a euphemism for anything, Christ, people.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Incorrigible.

The gift Diabhal had for me was a beautiful weekender bag,  a replacement for the one everyone hates and has tried to replace a few times over the years without succeeding. Part of the appeal of my favorite much-repaired exceedingly colorful carpet bag is that it's distinct and I don't leave it behind as such, it's loud enough that it calls out if I do.

Which is fine. I have a few very loud quirky things. I'm not a fashion person. I don't care for seasons or collections or whatever as long as it's comfortable or pretty, doesn't give me hives and works for what I need it for.

This is a Valentino Garavani travel bag. It's studded, it's black. It costs more than Ruth's tuition for the year and it's going back.

I could be a Valentino girl, hell, I am a Valentino girl any day when it comes to their dresses but this bag is not me. It looks like something Sophie would carry and I point that out to Caleb.

That isn't the point. The point is that it's well-made and will last a lifetime or two. I can return it, however. 

Please. 

He nods, slightly defeated but also well aware that if you spend a lot it should be for something someone adores and will cherish, not resent.

Stop trying to make me into her. 

You always complain that you're not sophisticated. Wearing a furry pink coat and carrying a multicolor patchwork bag isn't helping your fight, that's all. I can find a name for you if you'd like to work with a stylist-

Wow. 

(I say "Wow" from my current vantage point in Frozen-branded Disney pajamas. That are plush. And covered with Olaf. They were 60% off and a girl's large size that fits just fine.)

This was your issue, not mine. Honestly I kind of love the fact that you refuse to conform and then you step out in your dresses and blow everyone off the planet. 

Eclectic. 

Yes. The bag will go back. What do you need then? 

I'm fine. 

What do you want, then? 

Seriously, I'm fine. 

Christmas is only a few weeks away, Neamhchiontach.

Right. So just be nice. That's what I want. Keep being this. This is working. 

I would like to spoil my girlfriend this Christmas. 

Then let's eat Monte Cristos in bed and get drunk on good whiskey, and let's do that with Lochlan and everyone else too. 

I don't think my bed is big enough for everyone. 

That's okay, mine is. 

Friday, 17 November 2017

Blown wide open (rare & honest straight from the devil himself.)

He spoke with a gentleness, a hesitancy he rarely displays. It's been a week, Bridget. We were away and since we've been back you've not come to me. 

I did and you called me names. 

I'm sorry I did that. I was frustrated. Not an excuse, but a reason. I'm very possessive of my time with you. I'm not going to share -or relinquish- it to those who don't have my designation in your life. 

You weren't like this at the Lake, Caleb.

That event was a special occasion.

And what is this?

A random Friday in November. A dreary, lonely day full of rain that I was hoping to spend with you. The world is devoid of color for me when you're not available. I'm finding it rather grey. 

Or you could just say you need me. 

That would be admitting weakness. 

So you don't have a weakness for me? 

Of course I do, I just don't want to come across like a clingy boyfriend. 

So instead you opt for the heavy-handed, possessive stance?

Bridget, I've never done this before. Give me the curve on which to learn and in time I'll trace it perfectly. 

What would you like me to do?

Just like that? I win your favour and your company? 

Depends. 

What if I said I have a present for you? 

Depends on what it is. 

Ah, going the subversive route. 

Better for me than the submissive one. 

Why is that? 

Less dangerous. 

Not from where I sit. 

You sit in a place where you're now requesting my attention and sometimes not getting it based on your behavior. Are you sure you want to be like that? 

Like I said, I want time with you and I'm frustrated that I can't seem to get any as of late.

So, hang out more. 

Time alone where we're not hovered over by everyone in that house. 

Oh. That kind of time. 

Not necessarily. Just time. To watch a movie or read books side by side. Maybe have a snack. Go for a walk. Nap. I don't know, Bridget, like I said, I've never done this before. 

Been a pedestrian, bourgeois boyfriend of a little match girl? 

He kind of giggles. Yes. That. 

I've never heard you laugh like that before. 

I've never felt like this before. 

Like what? 

This. Peaceful, almost. Content in a way that doesn't come easily to people like me. Happy. I just would like to be alone a lot less. 

I'll see what I can do. He's watching my face as I struggle to plan time I never seem to have. 

Maybe PJ is up for more company. He seems to like not being alone. 

I actually think you two would be a good match. 

I think we'd grow to love each other. In time. 

I still get that present though, right? 

Of course. Come in and I'll get it. 


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Burn, baby, burn.

There she is.

I'm dragged out of a sound sleep, as his headphones are put over my ears. Ben lifts me up out of my warm dreams, Rob Zombie's voice crashing through my ears, Hands of Death, I think. How fitting. Ben is relentless, Ben is hunting. His hands are warm and hard, pulling me inside out, breath against the top of my head, chest solid against my face. My legs are wrestled out of his way, one on each side of his hips, knees bent back agonizingly and then he's inside me. I cry out and he is gone again as I am turned face down, headphone readjusted, music turned up, hand over my whole face to keep me quiet. He pulls my hips up into him and I close my eyes again. So gloriously painful. His chin comes down against my back, lips against my skull but I can't hear him thanks to the music. God only knows what beautifully terrible things he's telling me he's going to do to me. His mouth is against my shoulder abruptly, teeth softly pressing into my skin (not to bite, but to brace) and I feel his legs widen, taking mine so far out I feel like they might snap off and then I'll be the best girlfriend ever. I cry out anyway and his hand flexes, fingers reaching over my forehead and to each ear. He only holds me tighter, higher and I start to become afraid that he'll drop me from here.

But he's not going to let go, he's going to brace us both with one elbow. Oh my God.

The next hour is a delirious repeat of that song, over and over while he remembers where he is and who he's with. I am turned back over, dumped on my back, headphones pushed back on, scraping my face, as he bends down between my knees that dangle over his shoulders, his hand left over my mouth. I scream and twist against his face but he doesn't let up for even a second, scooping one hand underneath me to push me up against him. The harder I struggle the harder he holds me until I soar up over the atmosphere, unable to breathe, and then and only then does he let me up. His face is thrilled, the rest of him is tense and ready to go. He forces a kiss, says Sorry with a laugh before the headphones are put back once more. He drops his weight on me, at once driving so hard I wonder if I'll die this way.

That would be fine.

Seriously.

I can't hold on. He's too hard. He's too fast. He's not giving me or himself any breaks and fear tingles through me. Tighter. Harder. Rougher. I start to wonder if he knows it's me still, or if Ben is fucking his demons into oblivion so they might leave him alone, violated and ruined in one wide swath of darkness here.

But then he slows to a crawl and I am flooded with victory as he rips the headphones off, kissing my ear, kissing my whole face. Bumblebee, I'm sorry but you just looked so appealing sleeping so deeply, I couldn't help but help myself to you. And he laughs softly once more, asleep before I can reply.

Lochlan stirs sleepily from my other side. Jesus Christ, What the fuck was that? with pure admiration in his thickly dreamy voice and I fall asleep with a huge grin on my face. My lips were stuck to my teeth when I woke up this morning, proper.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Ménage à triage.

We're not even going to dignify the news that the DeLeo brothers have chosen a new life support system singer for Stone Temple Pilots when they should have pulled the plug after Scott died. You would think Chester also dying would have confirmed their inner doubts. Jeff sings flat. His voice has little power, frankly. But more importantly this is not what STP fans want. The band was more than the sum of its parts. Maybe the DeLeos could resurrect Army of Anyone instead? I hear Richard is free, and that album (self-titled) was a freaking masterpiece.

***

(I had a laugh when I chose my title for today's post. A ménage à trois means a threesome. Ménage avec triage means a house with a yard. Ménage à triage to me means this love triangle needs help. This is somewhere in between. The love triangle (square? ...hexagram? in this house needs work. You get it. Nevermind.)

August has thawed. Maybe since Lochlan managed to wrangle my heart back into place though it hardly fits for all the patches and frankenparts that make it up now. Maybe since it appears that I did navigate this seminal anniversary without losing my shit (yet, hence the word seminal) August figures it's safe to make contact.

Just saying that makes me feel alien and unwelcome.

But here he is in all of his dark-blonde wavy-haired flannel Newfie glory, a sight which never goes unappreciated (stop it, Bridget).

Hey, Princess. 

Hiya, Wolverine. 

What? 

Nevermind.  You just quoted a cheesy line from Wolverine. We laughed out loud at how badly Hugh Jackman delivered it before Logan happened and was so much worse I forgot Wolverine until now. 

What are you talking about?

Nothing. Nevermind.

Want to talk?

The question is, do you? 

That's why I'm here. Will you make some coffee? 

You're the one with the gorgeous Breville. 

You've got the press. He smiles and all of my guns hit the floor.

This talk wasn't for me, it was for him, as he says he didn't come with us to Tahoe because he couldn't, because he was dealing with his own marking of this, the tenth anniversary and he wanted to think on it, that I am as much his memory of Jacob as he is Jacob's memory to me and it's not a beneficial relationship because it's parasitic instead but that he wanted to try harder to get us both to a good place where we can help each other instead of ripping each other to shreds.

I thought you were tough as nails. 

No. I'm one of your butternauts. 

Everyone's a butternaut, deep down. 

I'd rather be tough as nails. 

No you wouldn't and I wouldn't like it if you were. 

Being here works better to keep us on track. 

So I'm banned from the loft?

For now. 

That's fine. There's lots of room here. Because I'm incorrigible and I never learn.

He gets it and laughs but changes the subject. Any concerns right now? Today, based on the past two weeks? 

I dump my brain out on the tiny glass table between us. Pieces fall off the edge and roll away under furniture but the big pieces will keep him busy for now. We'll find the rest later.

He frowns. Sam know about all this? 

I would hope it's pretty obvious just by looking at me. 

Mostly it is. 

Can you fix it? 

In time I can but for now we'll have to patch it up and see how that goes. 

Well, hurry. It's starting to hurt again. 

I'll do my best, Bridget. 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Lionhearted.

You know that feeling when you forgot to do a laundry load of delicates for two weeks straight and yet it's too cold to go commando, and for the first time in forever that's an important thing to point out?

Well, it is and I'll tell you why. I forgot to wash all of my lingerie and there's enough of it that I just kept pulling things out to wear and not even thinking about it until this morning. When there was nothing to grab. So I shrugged and grabbed my jeans anyway. But then I headed downstairs and no. Turned around and came back up. Too cold, can't stand the feel of denim against my hips. Hate it. Contemplate a dress but no. It's windy and stormy and pouring rain, need jeans and a huge sweater. So I raid Lochlan's drawer and find a pair of white trunks at the bottom. They're like his boxer briefs but with shorter legs. As close to boy shorts as I can find. I pull them on but they're too big so I pin the sides and that does the trick. It used to do the trick between towns when I'd run out of clothes and it does it still today.

But then we're outside and Lochlan dares me to jump into the roiling sea with him. A hard reset, he calls it. Baptism on the fly is what I say.

Fine- I start to say, and then hesitate.

Take off your stuff, he reminds me. You can't surface in jeans and a sweater, it's too much weight. We always strip down to our underwear. And I'm wearing his. But he doesn't know. And they're pinned which for some reason is even worse still.

Maybe later. I'm freezing already.

Bawk...bawk.

The fuck is that. I'm not afraid. Fine. Let's go. Odds are I'll be in first. I strip out of my clothes and down to just his underwear. He sees it and begins to laugh. Almost doubled-over, still fully dressed.

What the hell, Bridge. This is hilarious.

I'm out of clean things. 

So you're wearing mine? But they're too big. Holy shit. 

Stop it. I cross my arms over my chest, not because I feel exposed, but I'm damn cold. You have two seconds to strip or I'm jumping alone. 

The only thing that would have made this better is if I stripped and you discovered I was wearing your underwear. 

I'd like to see you try. 

Not sure I could get a leg hole past my knee. 

You do have big knees. 

And I have an arse, unlike you. 

Last one in is a chickenshit. And I run and I win, hitting the churning water while I think he was still unbuttoning his flannel shirt. Then he hits the water mere seconds later and surfaces before his hair is even wet. He looks like a lion, slightly angry, slightly bemused. Like his face can't decide.

You have to wait for me. 

I knew you wouldn't be long. 

And he grins. You've got to wear my stuff every day. It's freaking hot. 

Not from where I am right now. 

Want me to piss in the water, to warm you up? 

LOCHLAN! GROSS!

Monday, 13 November 2017

Making Amens (sic).

This morning I brought up breakfast in bed for Lochlan. He's done it for me, I do it a little differently. Hot chocolate, fried potatoes, sausages, soft boiled eggs and toasted bagels with honey. Tin plates and mugs, camping forks and flannel napkins with tea lights on the tray to make it rustic and appealing. He woke up slowly with a smile on his face from where he was probably dreaming about fire. It's like having married Ghostrider, except that he has a face, and such a beautiful, sleepy one at that.

What's this, Peanut? Is there enough for both of us? 

Of course. I settle back in beside him, cross-legged in my pajamas so we can eat. I was starving but I wanted to do something special for him and also avoid any more overhand-mug-throwing because I'm sure he's perpetually ragey at someone, probably Jay today, since no one addressed his fuck-it-I'll-throw-my-hat-in-this-ring offer from the weekend.

And no one will be addressing it. We're just going to leave it to twist in this crazy wind. We could almost surf today in the waters off the beach. It's fierce. I keep waiting to hear the power go out and the generators kick in but so far so good. Hopefully it will stay on. Otherwise I love this weather.

We polish off our plates in short order and I stack the dishes on the tray, moving it to the table. Lochlan buries himself back into the quilts, bringing me with him.

Thank you. That was amazing. I think you should do that every day. 

Maybe I will. 

Can you imagine that life? 

Don't have to. Just lived it. 

But every day?

Well, remember that time you put toast in the toaster without getting off the bed? 

That was extreme poverty. This is luxury. 

Because I made breakfast so far away from where we sleep? 

Yes, exactly. But he's smiling. You do realize the day is all downhill from here now, don't you? 

I hope not. I've planned a pretty exciting lunch too. 

In bed? 

Hopefully.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Jesus complicated.

Sam and I had a karaoke session in his car all the way down the highway to early church this morning, singing along with Wings. Let Me Roll It indeed. By the third go he had all the words down, and by the fourth we were both sick of it and switched to Fleetwood Mac.

And I got another lecture, because he covered for me and he was pissed that I flouted his grace in favour of making a cheap grab at shocking the whole household, as if PJ is an easy mark, lesser somehow.

He's not but everyone is also right in assuming that he's a safe bet, he's easily let off the hook whereas virtually anyone else would be subject to a huge blowup.

And I know what's wrong with me. I know what's wrong with this, but I maintain if there's going to be a fuckup, PJ is definitely the lesser of all evils. I had offers from as far away as Jay. No one wants me with Jay.

And yet Sam is wondering why PJ in the first place? Why not himself?

Because August was busy (August is also angry with me. Seems to be contagious.)

I wasn't busy, Bridge. 

You're a direct threat. 

Lochlan regularly invites me-

Right. He does. I don't. 

I'm harmless. 

No, you're not. And I tell the truth. You're as dangerous as they come. 

More than August? 

Yes. 

Why is that?

Oh, look, we're here. Looks like a full lot today. Ready for your closeup, Preacher?

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Hide or lie.

He poured me a stiff drink for breakfast. A Bridget-double, which is one and a half. I drink it like a shot to feel the warmth and wipe my mouth with the back of my hand so that I look tough. I put the glass down on the counter and turn just as he whispers Showtime, baby. 

He pushes me backwards without looking, as I stand behind him without anyone realizing I was there, because Lochlan threw his coffee mug overhand at PJ's head upon coming into the kitchen.

Christ, Padraig. Keep your fucking hands to yourself!

Or maybe keep better track of where your wife is, at any given time. PJ reaches back once more, grabs me by the arm and pulls me out beside him. Lochlan turns pale.

At least I can actually protect her. PJ further risks his skin in this game. Besides, she's my ride or die. Better off with me than virtually anyone else on this point. 

But Lochlan ignores him. Did I hit you with the mug? 

No. I shake my head.

Who's your ride or die, Peanut? 

You are. 

That's my girl. 

She wasn't in any danger with me, but maybe you better talk to Caleb, as she left his place in a hurry and I just ended up being the boomerang. 

I know. PJ. Thanks. Lochlan is still looking at me.

And that's how I escape any sort of retribution in this house. They actually thank me. And then I'm dismissed. He winks at me and with a flourish he is gone. Proper thing, too. If he had continued to needle Lochlan, eventually Lochlan would have turned his ire and attention back to PJ and it would have ended with a quiet brawl on the floor in which they really really want to hurt each other but at the same time, they don't and it's difficult and complicated and nevermind because PJ's already gone. I said I'd take the fallout for my actions and I do, right up front.

Caleb wasn't putting me in danger. He made a comment about me being a party favour so I left. 

And confirmed his assessment. 

Hell yes. 

PJ's had a little too much good luck this year, don't you think?

Sure, fine. Next time I'll go to Duncan. 

You're angry with me. 

I needed you and you disappeared. Again. After you promised you wouldn't. You said you wouldn't break any more promises to me but you weren't there. 

I could say the same for you when you promise to stay put and then I end up sleeping alone. Apparently my ride or die is Benjamin! 

I open my mouth in horror. TAKE THAT BACK! 

STAY THE FUCK PUT! 

FINE! 

FINE! 

He laughs suddenly with tears in his eyes. Jesus, Peanut. If I could pin you to the floor anymore I would. Caleb said you were sleeping. Sam said you were doing fine, every single time I went looking for you everyone assured me I was being a helicopter husband and that you'd be around in a minute but you never showed. I really wish you wouldn't fuck with PJ. It's a conflict of interest. His loyalty is to your well-being, not your flesh. 

I've got news for you, then. My laugh is bitter because I know better.

His eyes flashed brightly in warning but in that flash I was gone too.

Friday, 10 November 2017

In the next Harry Potter movie I'm starring as Hegemony Grifter

(Who wants a Saturday morning crash course on Manichaeism? Not this girl. I get enough of it on a daily basis.

They let me turn on the exterior Christmas lights last evening. The crazy colourful midway ones I wouldn't let them take down, that span at least eight kilometres in length because absolutely everything is covered and you can see our point from space? Yeah.

Sorry (not sorry).

In other news, Caleb earned himself an icy shoulder by pointing out that things have shifted once again, and didn't I see it? First we've boarded up and demolished the concrete rooms in my brain and then we shut out the ghosts in favor of more room for the living. Things are improving. I was able to navigate this time of year without completely falling apart so let's move quickly through the stages here and go back to keeping the drama within the Collective relegated to who gets me on which night.

Which...honestly? Horrified me that he even went there.

Because I don't.

And just no.

Fuck off, Caleb. I used his name for effect. Formal. Distance. No beloved nicknames for you today, asshole. Because a) don't neatly wrap up your dismissal of someone I will love and miss forever, equally as if he still breathed and b) don't highlight my own deviant behavior as if it's a bonus or a treat for you. Don't gleefully benefit from my pain. Fuck you indeed.

And then true to form, I promptly came home and went to PJ's room since I didn't want to disturb Lochlan who is exhausted from being tense for the past while. PJ woke up easily, held the blankets up for me to crawl in and said No funny business, Bridge. I'm an old man and I can't afford to lose any more friends. And then he promptly pulled off all of my clothes.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

SO HAPPY.

(These posts, albeit being from a broken stream of consciousness where I'm not detailing every moment of the day make me sound Bipolar. Surprise! I'm not. We're home and I need to tell you about something. I'll still be in my dark hole dealing with ghosts and their presences and absences but with new music, because...priorities.)

You guys. I found them.

Since the jet had wi-fi, I lost three hours mindlessly surfing and something I always do when that happens is to see if Deepfield ever surfaced after the two perfect albums they put out, the last of which was over six years ago.

Well, guess what? I found a reference to Baxter Teal on an instagram feed from some radio station saying his new band was going to be appearing.

The name of the band is Gravesend. They have an EP out and yep, it's him with a bunch of other guys from other decent bands, but they re-did Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. And it's incredible. As usual the only social media they seem to have is a half-assed Facebook page but I already bought the album on iTunes and damn. Dead and Gone is amazing. Forty seconds into it even PJ was leaning over my shoulder saying Who is THAT?  

Hopefully there will be more from them. Soon.

(Since someone's going to ask, what did you do the other two hours of the flight, Bridget? I'll clear it up early. I ate. Caleb had that plane well-stocked. I ate my way to Lake Tahoe and back. Happy now? I am. First time I've tasted food in forever. Usually I have no use for it.)

(Also note: there are two albums by Deepfield Gravesend on iTunes. Ignore the Celebrity EP. It's so terrible I don't even think it's them, oddly. If it is it should be pulled and burned or rerecorded or something.)

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Winter circus.

We're heading out now. We have a two-hour drive, and then a five hour flight and then another hour drive and then we'll be home. Home to see why August didn't come out, home to see if Gage survived alone with the dog. Home. Home where Jake never lived in life but haunts in death in a way I can no longer explain. He's there, I just can't see him. I wonder if I'll stop feeling him in the same gradual way.

I hope not. Death shouldn't be about having to forget to cope with the absence. I don't like this empty hole. Life is a series of distractions and in between that hole digs against me, leaving a painful wound.

Death is a catalyst for change, Bridget. He brought Lochlan back to you. He brought Ben back to life. He brought me to a better place. He brought you your army back. 

Caleb says all of this against the top of my head. I am almost asleep. We packed up last night and then settled in by the fire for one last drink. It won't take long to wrap things up here, a place that is quickly becoming shelter in even the quietest of storms, like this entire week.

Mmmm. He did. 

I'm grateful to him for this chance. I will always credit him for this. 

Credit me. He bailed. 

What if he was never real? What if he was just an angel sent to bring us all back together as a group? 

That makes me a sacrifice. 

No.

Yes. Always the lamb to slaughter between all of you. 

He pulls away and looks at me. He's frowning. Is that what you see yourself as? 

I don't answer, instead tucking my head back down against his chest, holding on tight. He doesn't say any more and I fall asleep soundly until he stirs again and Lochlan takes me over, standing me up, leading me back to bed. I tell him to say goodnight to the lamb and he kisses my forehead hard. Goodnight, Bridget. He doesn't even question it. His arms tighten around me until I can just get in a breath and I fall asleep to the quiet, dependable thud of his strong heart against my weaker, much-repaired one. I dream of circuses in the snow. It's beautiful. Why no one's ever put the two together blows my mind and for just a little while it's the nicest distraction in the world.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Day 3650 without you.

Ten years tonight. The proverbial lifetime. I just want him to walk through the door so I can wish him a happy forty-seventh birthday. Then I want to kill him for doing this. For leaving me stuck in my very own life like a bookmark, holding his place. Unable to reread or even read ahead. This is where I am today. As always. Not a great place but I don't want to move from it in case he comes back. Wouldn't want him to lose his place.

He's not coming back, Neamhchiontach. Caleb says it softly, to eleven-year-old Bridget because that's where he bookmarked her.

I don't believe you, she says belligerently in return, lower lip stuck out for extra stubbornness, while the rest of them look nervously at the ground, wondering if she'll run or seek refuge among them. It's always one or the other.

Monday, 6 November 2017

It's snowing.

Give me a name
Something to save
(This is beautiful.)

If you look at me straight-on today you can see right through me. I'm made of tissue paper, easily torn, easily destroyed and I can't find my strength, can't stick to something stronger.

Yes, you can.

Lochlan is smiling at me. He's standing in knee-deep snow, hair wild, ice packed in around every crease of his jacket and jeans. When I woke up this morning I came downstairs to an early birthday party. We're not celebrating the end but the memory that lives forever. There's a huge cake in the butler's pantry. There's a Ben in the living room. There's a Sam, a Duncan, a Dalton, a Christian, an Andrew, a Schuyler and a Daniel too. Ruth and Henry are outside playing in the snow with the aforementioned redhead and PJ too. There's a Batman bringing up the end of this parade and I watch it go past my eyes with wonder. They all arrived while I was still sleeping and now it's a woodland party. Tiny white lights are strung up in the timbers, up the staircase and all over the dining room, the outside of the house and the trees as far as I can see.

The chef is here early so that he can be sent home early too. He's making a half-dozen shepherd's pies, one of Jacob's very favorite foods. And fresh pickles because he loved those too.

There are presents on the sideboard, but they're not for Jacob, there's something for every one of us. I think that's Caleb's work until closer inspections shows me they drew names. Someone put my name in and Caleb's too. Bless them.

And every time I waver and begin to crash to my knees from the weight of this memory, old and new, someone reaches down and brings me to my feet, holding me up, keeping me going.

Every time. Just like they always have.

Jacob would have liked this, but he didn't stick around. I'll be eating his share of food tonight, because I can. Take that, Preacher.

I hope in our next lives he's here for these good moments. My loves took a sad event and turned it into something beautiful. They do this a lot. It's worth sticking around for.

I have to go. I was just invited to the snowball fight. We aim square and pack them hard. No one is ever off limits. If you're hurting you're alive, or so they always say. If you can manage a two-day party it doesn't get any better than that, does it?

What are you waiting for? Caleb's smile is new, satisfied and hopeful all at once. He wanted to be on the inside so badly he would have done anything. Now he's here. Taking a place I didn't think he'd take but look what he brought to me. Look at this.

(Like I said, this is beautiful.)