"Trevor..." A concerned voice whispered into the darkness.
"Trevor, come back!"
"Claire..." someone whispered back, half asleep.
"Trevor, don't you dare walk away from me..."
Alex shook her shoulder lightly as she lay asleep next to him.
Claire woke suddenly, staring at the darkened ceiling of her
bedroom. For some reason, she half expected to see ballroom
chandeliers hanging there, ablaze with candles. But she couldn't
quite remember why. She was certain she heard the echoes of a
string quartet's elegant music in the air for a second, but then
it seemed to fade to the corners of her mind. Now as she listened,
all she heard was her quiet bedroom. Lifting her head, she looked
around, barely awake and confused.
"Tre... Alex? What is it? What's wrong?"
As she looked at him, she felt a chill emanating from his side
of the bed. Without a word he removed his hand from her shoulder
and laid back down, staring at the ceiling.
"You know... I've tried to be understanding," Alex began, his
voice quiet but annoyed.
"Alex, what are you talking about?" Claire asked, still confused.
He continued on, not looking at her. "I know how involved you can become
in your work. I saw that the first night I met you. I mean, so can I.
Of course I've never fixated on writing my next article in my
"Are you going to tell me what's going on?" Claire tried to interrupt
him, but he talked over her as if trying to reason with himself.
"He's a complex case... you're in the middle of writing a book about
him... I understand that. And I know that you hate the fact that
so far you haven't been able to do anything to help him..."
"It takes a lot of thought and consideration, a lot of research, to do
what you do. But still, I just don't see why he's always in your-"
"Alex!" She had definitely had enough and she hit him on the shoulder
to get his attention.
"Alex, talk to me, not my ceiling."
"You were dreaming about him again."
"Dreaming? About who?"
"Who else," he said angrily, swinging his legs out from
under the sheets as he stood up. Claire let out a frustrated
breath and dropped her head back onto the pillow beneath it.
She tried to stay calm as she spoke in her most rational voice.
"How many times are we going to have to go through this, Alex?"
He stopped her angrily. "No, wait a second. Hold on. Isn't that
supposed to be my line? Isn't that what I should be asking you?"
His eyes were hard and worried at the same time as he looked at
her from where he stood near the foot of the bed. A wave of feelings
rushed through him, sending his heart pounding to the pit of his stomach
as he thought about what she meant to him. He tried to ignore how
beautiful she looked as she lay there bathed in the soft moonlight streaming
in through her bedroom window. Just as he tried to ignore what he really
feared was going on. The room was silent for several seconds as neither of them spoke.
Growing slightly calmer, he sat down quietly on the edge of the bed,
doing his best not to look at her.
The sheets rustled as Claire reached out to turn on the small
lamp on the nightstand beside her bed. As its warm light suddenly
filled the room, she propped herself into a seated position. Watching
him, she said nothing, trying to sort out what she felt. She understood
his reaction and the insecurities it might cause. But after all that
they had been through, that he would still have those insecurities made her feel
like she was pounding her head against a wall. Why were all the men in her
life so stubborn? Both him and Trevor. She almost laughed bitterly to herself. Here she was,
a couples therapist. Why wasn't her own relationship easier? Nothing
is ever easy, she reminded herself, and she finally spoke.
"Alex, it was only a dream. Its not a sign of-"
"What was it this time?" he interrupted, his voice somewhat
calmer than before. "Another romantic trek across the desert?
World War I again?"
Claire started to speak but stopped. She felt suddenly
uncomfortable about the subject.
"Well," she said softly, "It's starting to fade, but... there was
something about a ballroom, a grand staircase or something...
I don't know."
"I'm not really sure how I should feel about this," he said.
"It meant nothing, Alex. You can't go all defensive on me just
because I had a dream. Not everything flittering through my head
is a reflection on you, you know. Or on our relationship. Just because
I'm working through some problems outside of us doesn't mean that I
love you any less. It doesn't. I mean," her voice took on a more
exasperated tone, "my god, Alex, it was only a dream."
He finally looked at her. "You dream about him almost every
night. I hear you talking... no, arguing with him in your sleep."
She gave him an annoyed look. "And what have you heard that's been
"That's not the point."
"Then what is?" Claire tried to find some explanation that would ease
his worries. "Alex, he's my patient, that's all. He's not some fantasy man
floating around in my dreams. Just because I'm concerned about him doesn't
mean that there's anything going on between us. Give me a little more credit.
I guess its just... well, I don't really know why I dream about him so much. Maybe my sub-conscious
mind is trying to construct disparate scenarios to try to gain some insight
past his dementia..."
Alex let out a bitter laugh, as if that was exactly the sort of thing he
had expected to hear from her. "Sounds like a rationalization
to me, Claire."
"Rationalization? Of what?" Claire felt her voice slowly growing louder,
but she didn't care. He was being a stubborn oaf. She didn't like what
he seemed to be implying. "Don't you think that I'm trying, honestly trying,
to help Trevor? That I want him cured of this delusion of his that he's the
god of love? He's hurting, Alex. Trevor's hurting and in pain in some
place I can't reach. He needs to move past that to realize
that he's just an ordinary, mortal man. I'm doing my best to convince
Just him? Alex wondered to himself.
"Maybe he doesn't want to be convinced," he said.
"Yeah, I think I noticed," she shot back.
"No, Claire, you don't get it. What I'm saying is, maybe
he doesn't need to be cured."
Claire gave him a confused look. "What? Don't tell me that
you... you don't honestly believe he's Cupid, do you?"
"No, I don't."
"Then what are you saying, Alex?"
"That he doesn't either."
That took Claire by surprise. She couldn't think of
anything to say for a few seconds, stunned at his statement.
Finally, she shook her head.
"No, that's ridiculous."
"It makes perfect sense." Alex moved over to her and knelt
by the side of the bed as he took her hands between his.
He had to make her see what was happening. "Claire, maybe you haven't
been able to help him because there's nothing left
that needs help."
"But why would Trevor do that?"
Alex was surprised that she didn't see it. He answered
as if it were obvious.
"Because he's in love with you."
"Trevor? No..." she said in disbelief.
"Trevor knows that once he's no longer Cupid, no longer some
puzzle for you to solve, then you're out of his life. When that happens,
he'll never see you again and he can't accept that. He doesn't
want to lose you."
"Alex, Trevor's delusion is very real. He sincerely believes he's
Cupid. You've seen him. With his..." she shook her shoulders in imitation of Trevor. "How can you think he's faking that?"
"Yeah, I've seen him. And he's not trying to get home to Olympus.
He's trying to get home to you," he said, unwavering.
Claire still couldn't accept what he was saying. "I think you're
seeing things that aren't there. He's never shown any-"
Alex shook his head. "If you believe that, then maybe he's
not the one with the delusion." He stood up again, moving
away from her. "Don't kid yourself, Claire. His stated
goal in life is to match these hundred couples of his so he can
serve his penance and go home. And for the most part he's
tried to do just that with every couple he's put together. He's
tried to find their true love. All except one. Us. If
anything, he's done his best to try and come between us.
He even told you before he introduced us that whoever he found for you
would be someone you would hate. I mean, how much clearer does it
have to be?"
"That was just him trying to make a point. He's been nothing but
"If he has, it's only been a smokescreen for what
he's really after. The only point he's trying to make is that
the person for you is him. And that's why he's still pretending that
he believes he's Cupid. To string you along."
"I... don't believe that Trevor would do that," she said, but her voice
held less conviction than her words.
Alex began pulling on his clothes as he gathered them from around
the room. "Well, it's something you should consider." He looked
around angrily for his shirt and found it drapped over a chair.
"And maybe, just maybe you'll realize that's what all your dreams
are really about. You keep telling me that in all of them he ends up
leaving you. Maybe you're trying to tell yourself something. Something
that you're not willing to admit yet. Something that neither of you is,
about what's really going on."
Alex didn't say what else he feared that she wasn't admitting to herself.
That deep down, maybe she didn't want Trevor cured either. He finally
finished getting dressed, draping his overcoat over one arm. As discreetly
as possible, he felt for the small box tucked into his coat pocket. It
was still there, but this was, without a doubt, not the right
time for it. That would have to wait.
"Who knows," he said, "maybe he really believes he's what he says he is.
All I know is, if he's hanging on to the delusion of being Cupid so
he can stay close to you, then your doing him more harm than good,
With that he turned and left her bedroom. Claire sat there alone,
not knowing what to think. After a few moments, she reached over
to turn off her nightstand lamp and the room plunged into darkness.
Quietly, she placed her head on her pillow, wrapping her arms around it
as her eyes adjusted to the dim moonlight. As she soaked it in, she closed her
eyes and listened, almost imagining she still heard a distant string
Trevor jerked his head up from his bed as he woke unexpectedly, covered
in the soft full light of the same moon. He looked around as if
searching for someone, but he found no one there. His eyes felt heavy
as looked over at the clock face glowing beside his bed. Groaning
at the late hour it showed, he awkwardly rose from where he lay, his sheets
jumbled from a fitful sleep. Still drowsy, he padded towards his bedroom
door, pulling the sheets off the bed to fall onto the floor. He didn't
notice. He wouldn't have noticed if they had been on fire. On the backs of elephants. Doing the mambo. His mind was too
muddled with sleep for such trivial matters. Pushing through the double
doors out of his bedroom, he slowly walked towards the kitchen.
Champ's voice, clear and articulate as if he were performing, cut off
in mid-sentence when Trevor appeared. In his hands he held the script
he had been reciting from, but his attention shifted fully to Trevor
as he shambled towards him. Trevor gave him a look as if he was trying to
figure out what Champ was. Still uncertain, he rubbed his eyes and seemed
to finally accept that Champ was real. And awake.
"Hey, Champoo! The face-man waketh," Trevor said in a tired, scratchy
voice as he moved closer, passing him on the way to the refrigerator.
"Why are you still awake at this un-godly hour."
In sharp contrast to Trevor, Champ was a barely contained ball of
energy, seemingly bouncing on his feet as he stood there. "I've got a
big audition tomorrow... I mean this morning," he said as he checked
his watch. "I am SO psyched for it that I couldn't sleep. I feel it.
I'm going to nail this one. I think I have a great shot this time. Slam
"What's the part, Caffeine on a Hot Tin Roof? Because you'd qualify. I really wish more people had as much night energy as you. It
would make my job a whole lot easier. You go knock them dead.
We've all got to dream." Trevor opened the refrigerator door and removed
a carton of milk. "Unfortunately," he muttered softly to himself.
Champ heard him anyway. "Even gods among men? Do you dream, Trevor?"
"Look, I'm still trying to get used to sleeping eight hours of the day,
much less dreaming. Someone should really complain about these design
flaws you humans are saddled with. Shortcomings aren't something we
gods are used to. Now that I've been like you for awhile, let me let
you in on a little secret. These mortal bodies of yours suck. Everyday
with absolutely no consideration for your schedule, your mood, your bodies
lapse into this magical land of catatonia that you can't avoid. I feel
like I've been mugged by my own body. Bad engineering, if you ask me. Although
some of the female floor models do have some interesting bodywork."
Trevor shook the milk carton he held and realized it was empty. Without
a first thought he placed it back in the refrigerator. "And yet I always
hear someone complaining about how they don't get enough Coma-time. I don't
see the attraction."
Not even bothering to scold Trevor any more, Champ reached in and removed
the empty milk carton. Calmly, he exaggerated dropping it into the trash
can. "Well, in defense of mere mortals Trevor, some of our ill-conceived
bodies actually get tired."
Trevor smiled. "Except for nervous actors before a big audition, I guess.
Regardless, sleep is a total waste of useful bed space."
Still trying to use some excess energy, Champ slapped the script into
his other hand loudly. He did it several times to some unheard
rhythm until he realized that Trevor flinched with each sound.
Trevor put a hand to his ear. "At least sleeping is quiet."
"Sorry," Champ apologized. "You still haven't answered my question.
Do you dream?"
Trevor moaned. "Don't get me started on dreaming. Although I've used it
to my advantage in the past, now I don't see how you mortals handle it.
Do you have any idea how long it took for me to realize that none of
it was real? I'd always assumed it would be obvious. Even now, how
do I know that you're really here and not just another dream?"
Champ smiled suddenly. He reached out and pinched Trevor hard on the arm.
"Ow! What was that for?"
"Just a little test. Its supposed to show that you're
"Only in pain instead. Much better. Unless I'm dreaming of you
"Trevor, if you're dreaming about me trying to convince you
that you're actually awake, then you really need some better
dreams. Considering how you're the god of love and all."
Trevor tried to ignore the sarcasm in Champ's voice. "Tell me about it. A minute ago before I lapsed back to lucidity, I was
in a ballroom with a feisty brunette wearing too much dress and
too little inhibition. Then, the next thing I know I'm back here looking into
your annoyingly-lively-for-the-middle-of-the-night, thespian face. I
mean, that's nothing but a tease..."
"Well, I'll try to keep my liveliness to a soft roar, Trevor. So
you can get back to your dream."
Trevor nodded. "Thank you. It's nice of you to consider the adrenaline-
challenged." He started walking back towards his room. "Victorian
dresses. I'm surprised humans didn't just go extinct back then considering
all the unwrapping involved for procreation. Just once I'd like to
dream about the sixties. Free love. One of my favorite word combinations."
Trevor stopped and considered. "She was a looker though, dress or no dress.
Dark hair, fiery brown eyes, great figure. Not that she would ever
stop arguing with me long enough to dare the thought of showing it."
A look of understanding crossed Champ's face. "Dreaming of the
illustrious Dr. Claire Allen again, are we Trevor?"
Trevor paused. "Why would you think that?" he asked confused.
Champ smiled to himself. "No reason."
Trevor nodded as he headed back to bed, but then he stopped again.
"Were you playing some music out here before I came out? Classical
or something like that?"
Already engrossed in his script again, Champ answered
only off-handedly. "I don't think I even own any classical
"Oh. Okay." Trevor wondered what it was he remembered hearing.
Finally he put it out of his mind. "Well I'm off for another
dose of sexless death that you humans call sleep. Sexless
and death. Two redundant words if I ever heard them. Good
luck in the morning."
Trevor climbed back into bed and lay quietly in the
moonlight as he tried to get back to sleep. Suddenly he
felt very alone and he wondered where Claire was. What she
was doing at that moment. He decided it was better not to
think about it. With Alex in town he had a pretty good idea of
the answer. Still he couldn't quite shake the feeling that he was
late for something, that everyone was waiting on him. Trevor closed
his eyes and imagined he heard long, full dresses scraping across
a ballroom floor as they danced in time with distant music.