It was afternoon on the campus of the University of Chicago. Several students were gathered in a lecture room for a meeting. A pretty young coed named Mary walks in, she's the person who's going to run the meeting.

"Ok, everyone. Let's get started." she says.

Adam, another student, is there for the first time after being brought by Timothy, who had come before and had raved that the group was a great place to meet girls and threw great parties. Adam is instantly fixated on Mary, thinking she's very attractive, and she is.

Mary goes to the podium, putting a small Cupid figurine on it that has a small bell hanging from the notched arrow in the bow. She turns and hangs a banner on the chalkboard which reads UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO EROS SOCIETY for the ADVANCEMENT OF TRUE LOVE IN THE MODERN AGE. Mary rings the bell on the figurine, getting the meeting started.

Adam whispers to his friend Timothy. "I'm not so sure about this..."

Timothy smiles. "Oh give it a chance. Great place to meet women. We're all suppose to help the cause of True Love, so why not help ourselves."

Adam looks at Mary. "WHat about her. She's cute."

"Mary? Yeah, she's a babe. But she's sort of... strange. I'd steer clear, man. She's a little out there. She's the one who dreamed this entire society up. Mary really believes all this stuff."

"What? That the olympian gods were real?"

"Well... yeah. Were and still are. But it's your call. Go for it if you want. Be my guest."

The meeting continues with a discussion of who had 'hits' this week in setting people up. After the meeting, Adam approached Mary. to break the ice, he describes a bartender he met downtown, in a bar named Taggerty's. "I'd love to take you to meet him. If you're 'free' tonight?"

Mary blinks. "WHy would I do that?"

"Well... he actually thinks he's Cupid, the god of love."

Mary raises an eyebrow, intrigued.

That night, Trevor is working at the bar. Claire is across from him. He's teasing her about his being married to her in a former life (A MEMORY LIKE WATER). She's taking it with a smile, but say's it was all an illusion of a talented hypnotist. He asked why, if it was an illusion, she almost kissed him in the rain. Claire says she was just happy to escape from the tent.

Trevor keeps eyeing a man and a woman across the bar. Champ, passing by with some glasses, notices and asks what he's doing.

"I'm serving drinks. Picturing Claire naked. Trying to figure out world peace. Picturing Claire naked. Contemplating the engineering intricacies of the underwire bra. Picturing Claire na-"

"Ok, I get it Hef. I meant the two in the corner. WHatever it is, please don't. I hate sweeping up broken glasses."

Trevor ignores Champ, heading for the woman with a drink in his hand as a song starts on the jukebox. "WHat if god was one of us." by Joan Osborne.

Unseen by Trevor, Mary and Adam are watching him at 'work'. She turns to Adam, skeptical. "That guy? He's Cupid the god of love?"

"Well... yeah. At least he claims to be." Adam smiles, realizing he's been caught in a pretense to take Mary out. "OK, maybe he's just some nut..."

Mary looks across the bar, considering Trevor. "Hmm. He just seems so... human."

There is a commotion as Trevor, still holding the drink, 'accidentally' spills it on the woman he had been watching. He apologizes, handing the empty drink to the man he was watching before rushing to find a towel. the man and the woman begin to talk. Back at the bar, Trevor smiles and nods at the sight, making no attempt to find a towel.

Mary suddenly realizes what Trevor was doing and is impressed. Adam smiles at her. "Want to meet him?"

After taking Mary over to introduce her to Trevor, her and Adam watch him for the rest of the night, Mary growing more impressed with Trevor's skill and persistence, even when he fails. Adam takes her to the bar over several nights, grateful to be spending time with her. (Poss. Montage here.) Slowly Mary becomes genuinely convinced that Trevor is Cupid, and when he tries to set up mary with Adam, she instantly goes along.

That night Mary and Adam are about to sleep together. But even as he's kissing her and removing her clothing, she's talking excitedly about Trevor and his mission, about meeting the god of love here on earth. Adam picks Mary up in his arms, saying, "Well, we shouldn't disappoint him." She kisses him, and he takes her into the bedroom.

Trevor is at Claire's office, apparently for no other reason, as she points out, than to tease her that she's secretly in love with him. Champ arrives to pick up Jaclyn. Trevor says that if she has no feelings for him, she should prove it by completing the kiss she almost gave him in the rain, unless she's scared. Claire says that's ridiculous, she talks about how it would be unethical for her to kiss him because of the doctor-patient thing. "You mean you can't kiss me." "Right" Claire says, not catching it his implication, "and even if we did, I'm sure I would feel nothing." Trevor nods, and turns and bends Claire back and kisses her without warning. Jaclyn, holding a soda about to leave with Champ, drops it out of shock. Champ is speechless and wide eyed beside her. Claire is surprised, but doesn't fight the kiss, but she doesn't seem to encourage it either. Trevor breaks the kiss, pulling her back up.

"You didn't say I couldn't kiss you, Claire. So... anything?" There's a smile on his face.

Claire is perfectly composed, serene even, keeping a straight face. "Nothing. there was nothing. Absolutely no feeling at all."

Trevor shrugs, still in a good mood, not really upset. "Oh well, it was good for me. Worth A shot."

Claire nods, going into her office. "See? No feelings at all." She closes her door and leans against it, trying to catch her breath and cool off. She silently mouths the word 'WOW' to herself.

Still in a good mood, Trevor walks down the hallway from Claire's office. He doesn't notice that Mary was secretly there the whole time, watching.

(another possible montage here, need a song. Maybe "Every Breath you Take"by the police. Hey... how about that for the story title?) Trevor is at the singles group, trying to set up two people there. He turns away for a moment, and suddenly Mary's talking to them, seated in the group. She tells the couple they should listen to Trevor, he really is the god of love, and she's one of his followers. The whole thing scares both of them off just as Trevor comes back. Mary explains she was only trying to help, Trevor asks her to leave it to the 'professionals'.

Trevor is bringing drinks to a couple at Taggerty's he's just started 'working on' just in time to see them hurrying away from Mary who's badgering them. She tries again to apologize, but Trevor lifts an angry finger in warning, not wanting to hear it.

Various scenes of Mary seemingly everywhere. Trevor is in a coffee shop, stopping as he's talking to a woman to nervously look around. he doesn't see mary. He talks to a man while riding the elevated train, when he sees Mary a couple of rows back. Exterior shot as the train stops, the doors open, and Trevor gently sets Mary off the train, going back on as the doors close and the train leaves. Trevor is at Taggerty's behind the bar as he looks up and groans. Mary is talking to one of his attempted couples again. He tosses his towel onto the bar in surrender.

(END MONTAGE) The next morning Trevor is walking down the street in a trench coat, hat, and dark shades, trying not to be noticed, sneaking around overtly as if he's being watched. (Remember the John Belushi scene where he's breaking into the Dean's office at night and stops every few feet to look around? Something like that.) Trevor finally makes it to Claire's office, believing Mary was following him the whole time. She probably was.

Claire is surprised by how Trevor is dressed. "Trevor! Please tell me you're wearing something under that Trenchcoat." Trevor smiles, "Just my birthday suit." He flashes her, forcing Claire to cover her eyes before realizing he has clothes underneath. Trevor explains. "Champ gave this to me for my birthday. Since there were no calendars back then, i told him to consider any day I need something as my birthday, See, T-shirt, sweatpants, running shoes. And I do mean running."

"What does that mean?" Claire asks.

"Remember Mary? She's stalking me."

"She's not stalking you, Trevor. She's just-"

"Everywhere Claire! Everyplace I turn I can't get away from- Wait..." trevor listens carefully. "Did you hear that?"

"Trevor she's just a Cupid 'groupie'. A harmless fan..."

"Maybe. I've got to go. Since she's stalking me, she's bound to look here."

"Lighten up a little, Trevor. It'll pass."

"See you, Claire." Trevor puts his disguise back on, this time adding a fake looking mustache. But before he leaves, he turns to her again. "By the way, I still know you secretly love me." Claire is about to argue but Trevor is gone.

As Trevor is sneaking through the hallways, he spotted by Doctor Dehnt. "Dr. Love. It's good to see you, and... you're... new look. I haven't heard from you in a while." Trevor is too paranoid to talk. "Yeah, nice to meet you, no autographs." He hurries away. Dr. Dehnt gives him a confused look, before heading for Claire's office. , holding a file.

Claire is looking out the window with a smile, thoughts somewhere else, catching herself suddenly thinking about Trevor's kiss. Still, it's unthinkable, a line she won't cross. She whispers to herself in annoyance. "I really need a boyfriend..." There's a knock on her doorframe.

Dr. Dehnt is in the doorway, Claire was so distracted she didn't notice. He calls to her softly. "Hello, Claire."

"Richard." Claire turns around, a little embarrassed she was distracted. "It's good... good to see you."

Richard smiles. "Still waiting for that second date you promised me a month ago."

"Well, I've been so busy..."

Richard nods. "Don't worry. I didn't come here for that. try not to look so relieved," he says with a smile. "I actually came to consult you on a case. I still fresh out of school you know, and still a little new with all this. I could use your help."

"Sure. What's the case."

"a patient of mine has been 'interacting' with a patient of yours. Her name is Mary Simmons. She's been in therapy for a couple of months since coming to Chicago to go to school. It's not a very serious case, minor really. She's fixated on the belief that the Olympian gods are real. And she's sort of attached herself to one of your patients, so i thought I'd come to you. The patient's name, if I can find it here, is-"

"Trevor Hale." Claire finished for him.

"Yes. Then I found out he was yours..."

"EXcuse me?"

"One of your patients. he believes he's the god of love?""

"Oh. Right. Actually you already met him. He's the one who set up our first date."

"But that was Dr. Maxwell Love- I see. Hmm. Intriguing. He is persistent. Anyway, i thought we should talk about the two cases so I came to consult you. Mary's not a danger to anyone, but she can be very fragile. We should coordinate our efforts."

"Sure." Claire started to look through her schedule. "We need to set up a time to meet."

"How about dinner tonight?"

Claire smiles. "How about in my office tomorrow."

"Purely work related. I understand. Tomorrow then." Richard turns to leave. "Still hoping for a second date though..."

Claire responds diplomatically. "We'll see."

Out on the street, Trevor realizes Mary IS following him. He storms over to her. "How did you find me?"

"Easy. Follow Claire long enough, eventually you show up."

Trevor doesn't want to argue. "Look. Just leave me alone." He walks off, leaving her there.

Adam is about to go to another class when Mary shows up. He's happy to see her, since he hasn't in a while. Mary says they should break up, since she has to devote more time to other things. Adam is heartbroken, realizing he's been dumped.

Trevor is at Taggerty's happy for once to not see Mary there. Then he notices a red-head, and realizes it's Mary in disguise. He's had enough, about to ask her to leave when two girls, giggling girls, come up to him and ask if he's really the god of love. Trevor looks over to where he knows Mary is listening. "No. I'm not. Sorry. You must have me confused with someone else."

A man at the bar hears and turns. "But last week you said you were when you tried to set up that-"

"Well, I'm coming clean. I'm not the god of love. Never was." Mary is listening, not knowing what she's hearing. Trevor tries to get the attention of everyone in the bar. "Listen everyone! Just to let you know! I'm not now nor have ever CUPID the god of love. It was all an act, and it's over now. I am not Cupid, alright?" There are confused faces on everyone just as Claire comes in the door, hearing the last part. She rushes over.

"I'm just Trevor Hale! No Cupid to be found!" Suddenly, Claire takes him by the arm and drags him to the side. "Trevor, what are you doing?" Trevor looks at her. "I'm going on vacation. got to get a Mary off my back." Claire warns him. "Trevor you can't do this." "Why not. You of all people should be happy for me." "I know you well enough to know you're only trying to get rid of Mary." trevor doesn't understand. "But this is what you wanted, right?"

Claire pauses, sighing. "Not when I know the reasons why you're doing it. Look, I shouldn't tell you this but... Mary's a 'patient' of Doctor Dehnt. She could be adversely affected if you suddenly 'claim' not to be Cupid."

"Wait, you're encouraging me to BE Cupid? that's a switch."

"No, I don't want you to be Cupid. But you can't rip away Mary's facade like that. It could harm her."

"Well, maybe it's time for some tough love." Trevor goes over to Mary, Claire is unable to stop him. He takes her aside, saying he's coming clean, he's not really Cupid. That he's really R.P. Hale, a former professor of Classical Mythology at NYU. It had all been a lie, because he's attracted to Claire. Mary shakes her head, not listening. "You're really Cupid, even if you don't believe it yourself."

Trevor leaves her, not knowing what else to do. Claire can see Mary didn't believe him.

Later that night, trevor is walking home from work as thunder from an approaching storm rumbles overhead. He finds Mary on the sidewalk in front of his building. Trevor has had enough. he says that if she REALLY believes he is Cupid, she should listen to him.

"What do you mean?" Mary asks.

Trevor tells her. "I never want to see you again."

"You don't mean that."

"yes, I do. I'm not Cupid. I'm Trevor Hale. Leave me alone." Trevor goes inside, leaving Mary heartbroken on the sidewalk as it begins to rain.

Later that night, Champ and Jaclyn are walking slowly in each other's arms kissing in front of Champ's door, when he notices a note taped to it. He takes it down. "What's this?" he asks.

Champ rushes in to find Trevor inside, handing him the note. "It's from Mary." he explains, and with a look of worry, rushes to find Claire.

Trevor rushes into Claire's office, wet from the rain. Claire has already been called by Champ, and is now on the phone talking to Dr. Dehnt. Dr. Dehnt is saying he doesn't believe Mary will harm herself. She likes to be melodramatic, but has no real intentions of going though with it. Claire trusts his judgement, not realizing that back at his home Richard is a little scared, feeling over his head. Trevor shows her the note and says "I did this". Claire tries to assure him that Mary will be alright. He says they've got to find her. He needs to fix this. Claire says Dr. Dehnt feels she'll be fine. Trevor says, "And Doctors are never wrong? Have you ever been wrong?" Claire thinks about Trevor, and gets her keys.

The rain is pelting hard on Claire's windshield, wipers not really able to keep up, forcing her to drive slow. Steetlights are a blur of color. Trevor keeps his head out the window, getting soaked. Claire looks at him with a worried look, but knows he needs to do this. After several hours, they don't find Mary. it's still raining when Claire drops off Trevor, saying they'll look again in the morning.

Trevor goes into the building, is climbing the stairs to the apartment when he spots Mary standing there, backlit by a ceiling light fixture behind her head. She's soaking wet from the rain, and a chill goes through Trevor when he sees a shiny handgun in her lowered palm.

Trevor steps slowly forward, rising a step to try to talk her out of killing herself. "Mary, it'll be OK. You don't have to do this. Life is worth living. Just give me the gun..."

Mary seems distant, resolute, in despair. "No. You don't understand. You say you're not Cupid the god of love, but I know you are. And I'm going to prove it." She suddenly points the gun at Trevor and shoots him in the chest.

Champ suddenly opens his apartment door, having heard the gunshot. He quickly rushes Mary, tackling her and taking away the gun. Not fighting back, Mary is crying. And Champ looks to see what she's staring at. Trevor is lying there bleeding on the landing beneath them. Another man comes out of a neighboring apartment, and Champ screams at him. "Call an ambulance! Now!" With the gun in his hand, Champ leaves a sobbing Mary and rushes over to Trevor, taking him into his arms. Trevor is weak, mumbling something in LAtin.( I have it written down somewhere, but what I'm going to put is the old latin phrase "Whom gods destroy they first drive mad" But only in Latin, let the reader figure it out if they want to). Champ ties to comfort him, tries to stop the bleeding with his hands. "Hold on, Trevor, hold on..."

Claire frantically pushes open the emergency room doors, looking for Trevor. She checks in with a nurse, who says that it's still touch and go since they're still working on him. Claire ruches over and looks through a window into the ER, whispering to herself. "Don't die. Please don't die..." Her eyes are full of tears. Sobbing she sees Champ standing nearby and rushes into his arms. He tries to comfort her. "He's going to make it, Claire. I know he will. He's not finished yet."

Later, alone,, Claire goes to the hospital chapel, bows her head as she does something she hasn't done since High school, she prays. And cries.

Later, Trevor is admitted to a room. He is stablized, and Claire is at his bed side. A nurse sees her there and tries to comfort her."Miss, don't worry. His injury is serious, but he'll be okay."

Claire nods introspective. "I know. I know he will." Suddenly she lets out a soft, sad laugh. "But I may have a bigger problem."

"What's that?"

Claire finally says it. "I think I'm in love with him."

The nurse doesn't understand, and leaves. Claire decides not to think about it right now, just happy Trevor's alive. She reaches out and holds his hand, kissing it as he lays there unconscious.

Weeks pass, and Claire realizes that as Trevor heals, becoming his optimistic but bed-ridden self, she can't tell him. He's still a delusional man. And she comes to a conclusion. Eventually she is alone in the room with Trevor after everyone else, Champ, Jaclyn, etc. leave. She says reluctantly that they have to talk. He asks what about. She says that... Claire takes a quivering breath, that... she can't be his doctor anymore. Trevor is shocked, not understanding. Claire can't tell him and says, "I'm sorry Trevor." She leaves, fighting back tears. trevor ties to figure it out, not knowing what just happened.

Eventually, Trevor believes it is because he thinks Claire blames him for pushing Mary over the edge. He's very depressed. Claire is also depressed, realizing that once she realized she loved him, she couldn't objectively be his doctor anymore. Or even tell him why. She accepts that Trevor is delusional, that she can't love him, can't be with him. So she tries to move on, tries to get over her feelings for him. She finally calls Dr. Dehnt, taking a breath.

"Richard? Hi, it's Claire. I think I'm ready for that second date..."


to be continued in

HANGING BY A THREAD (story arc part 5)