The light of a new morning sun was glowing brightly through the small opaque window in Trevor's bathroom as he slowly stepped out of the shower. His body was naked, skin glistening with water as he stood there for a moment. before he grabbed a towel from the rack. He started to dry his face, obscuring his vision.
Trevor pulled the towel down with a pleased grunt and shook his shoulders, invigorated by his morning shower. His face was still wet and dripping. Pausing, he looked somberly down at his chest. After a moment his hand came slowly up to gently touch the small round scar tissue in the middle of his breastbone. Trevor's brow furrowed as he examined it, feeling the hard circle of healed skin there, smooth under his fingers.
"Wonder how I got that..." he said softly to himself, thinking.
Trevor shook the question off, accepting that it would all come back to him eventually. With a contented sigh, he started to wrap the towel he was holding around his waist, just about to secure it firmly, when a woman's face suddenly appeared over his shoulder.
"Morning, Trevor." Allison said with a smile before stepping back.
Trevor scrambled frantically to cover himself, startled by her abrupt appearance there with him in his semi naked condition. He quickly backed up, his wet footing slipping on the tiles, trying to stay on his feet. The towel around his waist slipped and twisted under his hands as he tried to reposition it, the loose fabric almost falling down off his wet body.
Stepping away, Allison didn't seem to notice that he was virtually naked, squirming nervously behind her. She was a petite attractive woman, dark blond and curvy, wearing a form fitting white sleeveless tank top and sweats. The snug shirt exposed a generous portion of her smooth, tanned stomach. Her face was bright and happy as she walked over to the sink, unconcerned and totally at ease.
Trevor blinked. "D-Did you need something?"
"No..." Going about her business, Allison smiled at him as she squeezed past his body again. "You didn't lock the door. So I guessed you wouldn't mind me seeing you naked. Why? I am correct in assuming you like it when women... see you naked, aren't I?"
"I don't know. Do--" Trevor stammered. "Do you like... being the woman to see me naked?"
She angled her head, eyes glinting playfully at him. "All depends on what I see. Would you like it if I liked it?"
Trevor blinked. "Would.. you like it if I liked it that you liked it?"
Trying to follow where they were in the exchange, Allison paused thinking over it. "Wait, is your head spinning too? Because we're talking in circles here..."
Trevor nodded. "Right. I've always preferred communicating in parallelograms."
Standing in the small bathroom next to each other, the two of them went silent as they watched each other, trying to piece it together.
"Trevor... what just happened?" Allison looked at him.
He shrugged. "Testing the water. Two people feeling each other out... Without feeling each other up."
With a smile Allison nodded and turned back to the sink. Their bodies continued to shift position in the small space with each step, sometimes close, and sometimes closer as Allison went through her morning routine. She grabbed her toothbrush and a tube of paste. Trevor's body was still clenched stiffly as he stood there penned in close, wearing only a loose towel, pressed flush against the wall opposite the door. In that small room, he knew he couldn't leave without brushing rather intimately past her. Allison's reflection in the mirror smiled at him, not seeming to notice his discomfort as she rinsed her toothbrush under the water from the faucet. "It's a beautiful morning, Trevor. I was up on the roof. Watching the sun rise. You ever do that?"
"Umm... no..." He wasn't really listening, still working frantically to secure the towel around his hips, trying to tie it around his waist. His attempts weren't very successful and he had to constantly jerk the towel back up as it slipped down in one spot then another, shifting from place to place.
"Oh you should..." Oblivious to his troubles, Allison continued, putting toothpaste on her brush. "Seeing a new day born. It cleanses the soul..."
Hands still gripping his downward slipping towel, Trevor decided to go completely still, hoping that would keep it in place. Trying to appear non-chalant he leaned back against the wall. Allison's well shaped body was close to his, well within reach. Curious, Trevor leaned forward for a quick moment. He could almost smell her perfume. She turned to face him by the sink and his shoulders stiffened back on to the wall again, water dripping down his forehead.
Her eyes glittered, amused. "So. Remember me yet?"
She flashed him a wide, instantly infectious smile as her features lit up. "Good. We never met until you came back. See, your memory's getting better already..."
He nodded. "If you can call not remembering, remembering."
"Sure. Especially when there's nothing to remember."
Turning she leaned forward over the sink again, her face closer to the mirror as she started to brush her teeth. She didn't see Trevor's towel accidentally slip down his left hip behind her before he yanked it quickly back up. Trevor's back was still plastered against the wall, knowing any step forward would almost certainly bring his body in contact with hers. Not to mention what it would do to keeping his towel in place.
Allison rinsed her mouth with water before brushing again, still facing the bathroom mirror. "Lucky for you I still needed a roommate. When I moved in, I thought I'd be living here with you. But then you ran off and I was all ready to get a new roommate. But Champ insisted I leave your room open. He even kept paying your half of the rent even though you weren't here. Never seen Champ so adamant about something. I know he never paid my half of the rent when we were roomies in school. Still, he's a good guy. We go way back. I've known him since we took acting classes together. He told me to leave your room free. Because somehow.... he always knew you'd come back..."
Allison was brushing her teeth again. Trevor looked past the small of her back to the bathroom door, feeling trapped on his side of the small space. He thought of making a break for it, but he didn't think he could, not without losing his grip over the towel he barely had draped over him.
"So how are you adjusting?" Allison was still facing the mirror, brushing her teeth.
"Yeah. To coming back. To me being your new roommate. Not remembering anything about your past. All that."
"Umm..." Suddenly Trevor's gaze dropped slightly lower as he looked down at her figure. His hair was still dripping wet, plastered against his forehead as his lips parted. Allison was bent slightly forward over the sink, her body making all sort of enticing curves from head to toe. The small white tank top bared her tanned midriff, clinging firmly yet gently to her. The grey sweatpants she was wearing seemed to inadvertently emphasize her shape even more in all the right places. As Allison brushed her teeth, her body swayed slightly with every stroke. Even though Trevor knew she was not doing it intentionally, he had never seen a more arousing act of tooth brushing in his life.... at least that he could remember of course.
"Uhh..." He repeated absently, before he swallowed, his body shifting awkwardly as he tried to cross his legs under the towel. "Well, some things has been... harder than others."
"Really?" She was genuinely curious. "Like what?"
Finished at the sink, she turned to him with a smile. That white shirt sure did emphasize the smoothness of her tanned stomach. Trevor felt his towel become less concealing by the moment.
Allison seemed amused, as if she sensed his thoughts. But she pushed it away, lightly trying to force a neutral expression onto her face. "Like what. Living with a girl?"
"Sorta..." Trevor shook his head no as if denying it, but as he did he said "Yeah... actually. Yes."
She laughed. "Just like living with a guy. Or with Champ. I'm no different. Don't worry, I'm pretty open. Beer binges, belching contests, sports channels, pizza cartons on the floor... I don't mind all the typical guy stuff. Usually I get along with just about everyone. I've found it's just better to let people be themselves, so that they're honest with each other. For instance... right now you're picturing what it would be like to have sex with me aren't you?"
Sputtering, Trevor tried to back up, having no place to go. His words didn't sound very convincing even to him. "What? No..."
Allison didn't seem to mind, turning to the mirror again as she combed her hair. Trevor did his best not to notice her body again, swaying with each brush stroke. Allison continued, unconcerned. "Don't worry, Trevor. Men are visual creatures. I understand that. Believe me, I figured that one out a long time ago. That doesn't mean we're automatically going to end up in bed together..."
Leaning closer to the mirror, she suddenly felt the need to catch her breath, after seeing Trevor's wet muscles glisten past his towel. With a smile she spoke softly to herself. "Doesn't mean we won't either..."
Behind her, Trevor didn't hear her, now trying to stiffly walk sideways past her, his spine plastered against the wall. She saw him in the mirror and whirled around, stopping him in his tracks. Grinning, she stepped imperceptibly closer in the already tight space, giving him a long, warm look.
"Loosen up a little, Trevor. Don't be wound so... tight. Just pretend I'm a guy."
Amused, Trevor exhaled in acknowledgement. "With better curves than any guy I've ever seen..."
"Oh I don't know about that..." She looked into his eyes, leaning even closer. Then she took a long, unabashed glance down at his wet, muscular body next to hers, and at the small inadequate towel between them, before looking up again. "Don't sell yourself... short, Trevor."
Smiling as if she didn't have a care in the world, she brushed her body past his, leaving the bathroom before he did. "I'll get used to your quirks, Trevor. You'll get used to mine..."
"Quirks? Like what?" As he watched her walk away, her arms crossed in front of her, out of view.
Suddenly the white tank top she had been wearing hit him in the face and instinctively Trevor reached up to catch it with both hands, his vision obscured. The towel wrapped around his waist instantly dropped onto the floor when he let it go, leaving him standing there naked from head to toe. He caught a glimpse of Allison's slender exposed back as she left, but she didn't turn around, disappearing around the corner.
She called out. "Quirks like I'm next in the shower!"
Trevor frantically bent down and grabbed his towel from the floor once he realized he was completely naked. Wrapping it around again, he tied it firmly off for the most part. But he could feel it slipping again. He had to get some clothes on. But how could he leave with Allison out there walking around without any... Keeping his eyes pointedly on the apartment floor, he made a dash for his bedroom, before finally losing the towel again. As it dropped, his feet caught onto each other and he tumbled down, sprawled on the floor.
Later that morning, Trevor eagerly sprinted towards the reception desk outside of Claire's office, speeding up because he knew exactly who would be waiting there for him.
And she was. Jaclyn was all smiles when she looked up at him sitting behind her desk, happy to see him.
"Good morning, Trevor!"
"Good morning..." Leaning towards her over the desk, he lifted an eyebrow, giving her a long seductive look as his voice a lowered to a husky moan. "Jaclyn."
She giggled. "You look clean..."
"Oh, but my mind's dirty. Very very dirty. You have no idea. I'm always looking for that next sponge bath volunteer, if your interested. Which brings me to something I've been meaning to ask you..."
She blinked at him. "What..."
He leaned even closer, giving her a seductive smile. "Jackie. Cutie... Since I've forgotten so many great things, I just got to know. Before I bludgeoned my melon, did you and I.... I mean, have you and I ever... you know..."
"Know?" Jaclyn didn't understand.
Trevor stared warmly at her, his gaze steady.
Finally she got it. "Know? No! I mean... " Jaclyn giggled, giving him a cute, coy smile. "No... Trevor."
Playful, he slowly nodded with regret at that fact, smiling at her. "Wow. Hard to believe. Hard to believe.... You sure?"
Jaclyn almost seemed flushed, as if lingering in the image. "Oh yeah..."
He looked at her for a moment. "Then Claire must have been right. There really was something wrong with me."
Smiling to herself, Jaclyn looked down, hoping she wasn't blushing too much. There was a flirty glint in her eye when she looked up at him again. "Without a doubt..."
Beside them the door to Claire's office clicked open and they both looked over as she stepped out.
"Oh, you're here..." Claire said.
Trevor quickly stepped over to her.
"Yes I am!" He announced proudly.
"Oh that's... great." She wasn't matching his enthusiasm. "Congratulations, Trevor. I'll alert the media about that exceptional accomplishment and maybe you can win a Pulitzer for punctuality."
"And also all the awards for amazing alliteration?"
"Right, Trevor. That's assuming of course that no one comes along to wake you up and ruin the whole thing..."
He ignored her. "Claire, I'm starting to remember things. Lots more details, all the time... Some really, really good stuff. For instance, last night while I slept--"
Claire moaned skeptically, her voice soft. "Oh this should be good."
Trevor continued. "While I was sleeping, I think I had what might be my first honest to god 'real' memory. But... I'll have to see you naked to confirm it."
She walked past him with a tiny smile. "You're not seeing me naked, Trevor."
He blinked. "Well I didn't mean exclusively..."
Claire crossed her arms. "Trevor you'll just have to be satisfied with the absolute certainty that all of us are naked under our clothes..."
He nodded. "Yeah, but you're just so much better at it than most..."
She decided to change the subject. "So your new roommate. Allison. How's she working out, Trevor?"
Jaclyn spoke up from her desk. "Yeah, I'm sorry I stole your old roommate away, Trevor. You know, with Champ and I living together and all..."
"Hey..." He looked over at her behind the desk. "That's perfectly fantastic. I mean, why not. Two people falling in love. Shacking up. Living in sin. And lots of it, I hope. Like I told our friend the good doctor here, for most everyone else in the world, love's a good thing. I like it. Looks good on you. In fact, if you two hadn't hooked up, I might have tried to push you together myself..."
Claire's face went blank for a moment, but she decided to ignore that. "Umm... so are you getting along with Allison, Trevor?"
"Sure, Allison's fine. Emphasis on 'fine'. Except she does have this one annoying habit of walking around naked, but other than that she's-"
Startled Claire blinked, taken back. "E-Excuse me?"
Trevor smiled at her. "Her birthday suit is definitely still in style."
Jaclyn smiled at Claire's reaction. "You are okay with that, aren't you Claire?"
Claire stumbled for words. "Sure... Umm.. Sure. Why-Why wouldn't I be?"
"Of course. Why wouldn't you be..." Jaclyn seemed pleased at Claire's discomfort.
Trevor gave both of them a strange look, wondering about their reactions before facing Claire again.
"So what did you want to see me for, Claire. Non anatomically speaking, I mean."
"Well, first off Trevor... I want you to stop calling me in the middle of the night just to ask me what I'm wearing."
Disappointed, Trevor turned to Jaclyn, muttering. "I hate Caller ID..."
"And second..." Claire reached into the files she was carrying and pulled out a spiral notebook, all the sheets blank inside, offering it to him. "Trevor, this is for you..."
"For me?!" He spoke boyishly, pretending to be exuberant. "Oh... golly! Really? A brand new notebook! Wow. I can die now. Really. I mean that. Please. Shoot me. And look, just in time for back to school too... Thanks Mom, how about a little kiss on the cheek before I shuffle off to class? Wait let me undo my belt..."
Claire broke in. "It's for you to write in, Trevor. I always wanted to do this before, and now this is my chance. I want you to keep a journal. Of your thoughts, your dreams."
Trevor quickly leaned over and plucked the pen out of Jaclyn's surprised hands. Cradling the notebook against one arm, he opened the cover and started writing, frantically pacing back and forth as if in deep concentration.
"It was a dark and stormy night... Lightning crashed. Thunder rumbled. The eager young nurse screamed as her blouse lay soaked on the ground beside her broken down car near the lonely farmer's barn. The rain pounding on the roof drowned out the moans and pounding together of their drenched-"
Claire quickly plucked the pen from his fingers, waiting for a moment, before offering it to him again. "Not that, Trevor. I want you to write about REAL experiences."
"That was real! I'll admit, I'm not an officially licensed medical professional, but we were play acting and the nurse's uniform fit me, so-"
"Your REAL experiences, Trevor." she emphasized again. "Starting from now. No pretend encounters, no imaginary trysts. But everyday life. Average. Ordinary. SANE... I want you to write down what you think and feel as you slowly start to remember your past and re-discover yourself--"
"Discover myself? You mean like when I was a kid in the shower and I noticed hair growing in the strangest of-"
Claire didn't dignify that with an answer. "... you know what I mean, Trevor."
"Tell me, Claire. How much time do you set aside each day to re-'discover' yourself? Because the the thought of that keeps me up at night..."
She glared at him. "Are you finished?"
"Fine.... We can save the re-enactment for later. So... journal. Pen. Write." Trevor scribbled in mid air. "Right. Got it. What else."
"We're stepping out of the office again today, Trevor. I want to observe you in various everyday situations. Let you interact with real, average, normal, NON-DELUSIONAL people. Like the average, ordinary person you are, Trevor."
"If you think I'm average, You MUST still mean non-anatomically. A notebook, now a field trip. Are you gonna but me candy too? She works a few blocks down..."
"No Trevor. Babysitting you is a handful enough without giving you a sugar rush..." She paused, when she realized what he had actually said, but shook it off. "Anyway, like the sign says. 'Don't feed the animals'"
His face lit up. "The zoo! We're going to a zoo?"
"I meant you..."
"Oh..." He sounded disappointed
Claire pressed her point. "We're going to the museum today, Trevor. Nice. Ordinary. Normal. And you can stop yawning now, please because we're going anyway."
"Are you sure you can't just shoot me? It would be more humane..."
"Trevor, the entire purpose of this little excursion is to see you act normally. NOR-... MAL-... LLY... Can the entire class say normally with me?"
"Nor-ma--" Jaclyn started to say it too, but her voice softly dropped away when Claire stopped her with a look. "Sorry..." Jaclyn apologized.
Trevor's face still looked strained, his pursed lips working. "Wait, I got it. Norr-... I think I got it. Normmm-... Nor... mel.... Mel... Melly--See, it's just not coming to me."
"What a shock...." She nodded. "Ok. Come on. And try to behave yourself. Let's get going..."
Trevor's expression fell as she walked away, realizing she was actually serious about this. With a weary sigh he started to follow her, mumbling.
"I can feel the fun already..."
As he walked, he looked back at Jaclyn, mimicking his hands around his throat strangling himself of his will to live.
Jaclyn smiled once they were gone, and went back to her work.
The Chicago museum was wide and serene, it's large rooms open and quiet. Tasteful works of art covered the walls, lit strategically as people slowly walked past them. Statues and various sculptures, some life like, some abstract, dotted the polished tile floors between the paintings. The visitors in the museum moved slowly from exhibit to exhibit, their voices low as they observed and considered the displays. The air was filled with quiet refinement.
Then footsteps were heard, growing closer, louder. As the stomping grew, a few people turned their heads when they heard a loud voice approaching, breaking the silence from some distant part of the museum.
There was an open archway leading into another large exhibit room off to one side, and suddenly Trevor walked momentarily into view across it, gesturing and talking loudly, unconcerned that his voice filled the still air. After he was gone Claire chased behind him, embarrassed, and hurrying to catch up.
Trevor finally stopped.
"Hello museum!" He called out, spreading his arms and circling slowly as he took in all the paintings around him. "Amazing... You can actually feel every single bit of excitement being sucked out of this room. About as lively in here as the local morgue on wash night. 'Museum'. From the Latin meaning 'Boremus Maximus'. What the hell are we doing here, Claire? That strip club we passed a couple of blocks back would have been a hell of a lot more fun, especially if you weren't so hung up on the whole personal nudity thing. Who knew you were so prudish. Strippers would also be far more artistically valuable too. What could I possible learn here except maybe how to cure insomnia?"
Coming to a stop beside him, Claire gave him an exasperated look, realizing that so far this wasn't going as planned. Doing her best to ignore the stares they were getting around the room, Claire spoke. "I just thought... I hoped, that a change of surroundings might dredge up a new memory or two out of that uncharted fogbank you optimistically call a brain. Who knows, Trevor. Maybe you came to this exact same museum as a kid growing up..."
With a decided lack of enthusiasm he looked around, before finally shaking his head. "Hmm. Mind's a blank..."
Claire smiled. "I've suspected for years..."
Trevor shook his head. "Not remembering a place like this is probably a defense mechanism, Claire. This place could make a convent seem like Cabo on keg night. And you. Look at you. You sure aren't doing much to punch up the excitement level either..." He looked over the simple outfit she was wearing. "Do you always have to dress like that in public Claire?"
She didn't understand, looking down at her clothes. "Like what?"
He waved his hands at her outfit, straining for words. "Like... THAT. Just once per decade, maybe you could try sexing it up a bit. Something a little tighter, a little higher, a little lower. Unless you package your package, you won't raise any... eyebrows. Take that construction site we passed earlier. You didn't get a single perverse leer or obscene catcall! What does that do for your self esteem..."
She gave him a look. "Oh I don't know, Trevor. On the upside, that one guy REALLLY seemed to like you..."
He pointed at her. "Hey, I know that guy. He's really been hard up for work since the Village People broke up. And I guess he already had the hat, so..."
Claire rolled her eyes. "Trevor, I'm just saying that I'm fine dressed the way I am."
"My point exactly! Yet no one gets to see the accuracy of that statement with you in that getup! All I'm saying that with a little more paint and body work, you might even catch my discerning eye. Or other assorted body parts. Come on, mix it up once and awhile. They won't wither away in direct light you know. Just show a little more of--... well, this. And a WHOLE lot more of THAT. Definitely more of that. Given a little incentive, who knows. Maybe someday we'll wake up staring into our sweaty contented faces in the newly installed rotating mirror over your bed."
Claire paused, concentrating as if something distant had caught her attention. "Trevor... Do you hear that?"
"I don't hear anything..."
"Right there... That sound of.... another hopelessly delusional mind, finally snapping."
He sighed. "I'm not being delusional. I'm just saying you should look into the possibility of having sex this millennium..."
"I've... I've had sex" Claire blinked at the accusation. "I have. I'm sexual, Trevor."
"Sure you are. You put the 'coy' in coitus, Claire."
She seemed annoyed. "Well, maybe not everything in life is about the old bump and grind, Trevor."
"It's not about the sex, Claire. It's about unclenching! I've seen diamonds with looser morals than you!"
She sighed. "Why is it that dealing with you always feels like trying to push a river uphill?"
His eyes sparkled with the image. "On the plus side, I bet you look bitchin' in a wet t-shirt."
Having finally heard enough, Claire pushed him roughly towards one of the wall paintings. "Art. Examine. Appreciate. Now. Let's go and look around..."
Smiling, Trevor shouted as she manhandled him. "That's it. Yeah! Spank me, baby! Oh yeah! Come on! Harder! Hurt me! I love it!"
Claire's face went red as people looked over, but she tried to stay calm, pushing Trevor along in front of her.
Trevor was looking at something out of view.
Staring at an unseen painting, he was standing by a wall, in deep thought, having wandered off a little from Claire. His gaze moved quietly over the canvas, transfixed, unable to take his eyes off of it. Claire silently walked up and stood beside him, curious at his reaction.
She could see the concentration on his face, so she turned to look at the painting too, wondering what had him so intrigued. Blinking, she looked over at him again.
"What is it, Trevor?"
His voice was calm. "I think this painting is turning me on..."
He angled his face slightly towards her, but his eyes never left the painting. "Look at the body on her, Claire."
She blinked. "You're kidding, right?"
"No. That skin is made for sin. Wait. Is it getting warm in here?"
Blinking in confusion, she turned her gaze back at the canvas. "Trevor... it's an abstract painting."
He finally did look at her, eyes filled with disbelief. "You mean you don't see it?"
Not saying another word Trevor slowly walked off, waving himself off as if he needed to cool down. Not knowing what to say, Claire's brow furrowed, turning her gaze back on the painting, studying it.
She was standing there alone, before a large imposing plain canvas of pure red hanging on the wall.
"Ok, Trevor. Let's try some word association. I need you to answer quickly, without thinking. In other words... talk like you always do."
They were still walking through the museum. Trevor thought about it. "Claire, I've decided that my original impression of this place was all wrong. It CAN get more boring... Word association, huh? I know. I'll name a body part, and you name which body part of yours best fits with it." He took a deep breath, about to start.
Claire stopped him. "Absolutely not, Trevor."
"Hey, our deal was quid pro quo remember? Fine, you ask your little word association, and I'll limit my inquires to 'either-or' questions. Ok?"
Claire thought about it. "Deal. Ok, me first."
He smiled. "Been known to happen. But I'll have to pace myself and try not to fall asleep on you. Hmm... maybe I really should consider using that Bob Dole thing..."
Claire ignored him. She looked into his eyes, searching, trying to decide which word to use first. Finally it came to her.
"Home..." she said.
"Lost..." He instantly replied, looking sad for a moment. But his face brightened as he asked his first question, leering at her.
"Underwear..." he said.
With a smirk she looked away. "None of your business..."
"Still looking for either/or, Claire."
"My turn again, Trevor." She paused, before coming up with another word. "Love..."
"Lust..." he replied instantly. "Ok, my turn. M&M's. Peanut or plain."
She gazed at him, trying to hide the smile creeping onto her face. "The one with the nut. My turn. Sex..."
"Therapist." He said quickly, before he noticed her stare. "Sorry.... I'm sorry. That just, it slipped out. Ok my turn. Tit or tat?"
"Umm, tat..." She blinked, having no idea what he was talking about. Then she looked deeply into his face, waiting patiently as she asked her next word. "Trust..."
"You..." Looking up, he smiled at her before he explained, his voice genuine.
"Claire, I'm lost here. Without any memories, without a home. Everyone I see all around me is a stranger. I'm all alone here. But you... You're the only one I trust..."
Feeling a little touched Claire smiled, not knowing what to say. Without another question they both turned, and together they continued to walk through the museum.
They were in a different wing when Trevor walked up to her again. "You know, something has really been bothering me lately, Claire."
"Trevor, I could have told you those X-ray glasses wouldn't work even before you ordered them out of the back of the comic book-"
"No, not that."
"Oh... Then is it that in real life women in bikinis don't bounce in slow motion like they do on Baywatch?"
"Yes. But... no. Not that."
"Hmm. You finally heard they were canceling the naked twister tournament?"
"No..." he said, still thinking.
"Air brushing in playboy..."
She blinked. "Then what is it, Trevor?"
He looked her straight in the eye. "Why does it vibrate?"
She went motionless. "Excuse me?"
"You know. IT. It vibrates. Why? Men don't vibrate. If they did, you instantly know when they're attracted to you." His voice started quivering frantically as his whole body bounced and shook. "Hiiii, Claiiiirre.... I'mm Treevvoorrrr annnd I'mmmm RRREEEAAALLLYY haaaapppy ttooo seeeee yooouuuu...."
She sighed, exasperated after having thought he was serious for a moment . "Trevor, considering your maturity level, maybe I should introduce you to the joys of Ritalin..."
His voice started quivering again. "Rita Lynn. Isss shhheee cuuttee???"
Exasperated, Claire walked away.
Later Claire was admiring an abstract sculpture when Trevor absently walked past behind her, reading a newspaper that he had found lying around somewhere.
Claire continued to admire the sculpture before her, a shapeless mass of chaotic, contrary curves and arcs, obviously impressed by it. Behind her, Trevor was still engrossed in his newspaper, surprised by what he was reading in the sports section.
Claire tried to get his attention. "Trevor, look at this. It's remarkable. The juxtaposition of pain and joy. The duality of beauty and ugliness. I believe this sculpture makes a rather... poignant, psychological statement. I'm really impressed by it. It's an insightful work."
Trevor spared it only passing glance, but he didn't seem too impressed, going back to his paper. "It's total crap, Claire. Plagiarized off sixties television. It's actually an incomplete bust of the cast of Hogan's heroes. The so called 'artist' is just trying to pass it off as 'deep'."
"What..?" Claire looked at the sculpture again. "No... It's... Wait, maybe it does a little.... No, it can't be, Trevor."
Still reading, Trevor pointed without looking. "Sure it is. See? It's turned on it's side. That's Colonel Klink's chin right there..."
Languidly, Trevor walked away from her, still reading.
Claire blinked at the sculpture, dumbfounded. "But.... It can't... Why-"
Thinking about what Trevor had said, she looked around to see if anyone was watching her. Then, Claire tilted her head to one side to look at the sculpture from a new perspective. And there it was. Colonel Klink. Smiling at her.
Her eyes widened, her voice soft. "Wow..."
Embarrassed by what she saw, Claire straightened up, walking quickly away.
She moved over to where Trevor was, picking up the front page of the newspaper he had discarded. As she looked at it, she read a headline emblazoned there. DOCTOR-PATIENT SEX SCANDAL IN NEW YORK WIDENS Claire sadly lowered her eyes for a moment, thinking to herself. Trevor interrupted her, still reading the sports section he held.
"Claire, I may have forgotten a lot, but I never realized professional baseball was so open about the sexuality of their players. They even keep a stat on it. See, right there. Are 'Bi'..."
Leaning in, she looked at where he was pointing on the newspaper. "That's R.B.I. Trevor. You know. Runs batted in?"
"Sounds sexy when you say it..." He smiled, looking a little perplexed as he read the stat sheet again. "Really? That's what it means? Ohh.... Then why am I even reading this."
With that he tossed the paper over his shoulder and walked away.
Sometime later Claire walked up to Trevor again as he was standing by a life like statue of a towering naked man carved in marble. Trevor was distracted, pretending to wipe some imagined dust off the statue's muscular form. But his attention wasn't really on what he was doing. Instead Trevor's eyes were fixed across the room.
A pretty brunette was standing there, right where Trevor was staring. She was looking up at a large painting on the wall in front of her. But her glance kept slipping over to a handsome young man standing nearby. He was wearing glasses, dressed like a young professor, or perhaps a college T.A. Smiling to herself, the brunette obviously made sure that she lingered near him, slowly pacing across the length of the painting as she pretended to admire it.
Occasionally, the young man in the glasses looked her way too, obviously attracted to her as well, but not saying a word. As he passed behind her, he turned around and inadvertently bumped into her. The woman smiled at him, and they both softly offered polite apologies to each other, their gazes lingering before they stepped away again, saying nothing else.
Claire followed Trevor's gaze, and instantly she took in what Trevor was interested in, his eyes still locked on the two. He was watching them so intently that he didn't realize he was actually dusting across the crotch of the nude male statue before him. With a smile Claire decided not to tell him.
"So. See anything interesting Trevor?"
He nodded towards the man and woman he was watching across the room. "Cute couple. Just two strangers. Who happened to come to the museum on the same day. They keep looking at each other, wishing that something would happen. But neither says anything."
Claire was suddenly a little concerned for a moment by his reaction. But then, she couldn't help but gaze fondly into Trevor's face as he watched the couple. "And that interests you?"
"Sure. It's obvious how they feel about each other. Spending the day together in a museum. But they both stay closed up. Hiding it all away. Why don't they just tell each other?"
"Maybe they're afraid. That it won't work out." Claire smiled as memories passed through her mind. She lowered her eyes, amused as she spoke. "It's funny. The old Trevor Hale I knew would already have marched over there and-"
When she looked up, Trevor was gone, not having heard any of it.
Turning, she quickly searched the room, until she spotted him. He was over at the far wall, talking energetically to the pretty brunette. Even from where she stood, Claire could almost hear the improbable pretense Trevor was spinning for her, as he gently guided her over to the man in the glasses. Trevor acted like he had known the two of them forever, even though in reality none of them had ever met. He eagerly introduced them to each other, even though he didn't actually know either of their names. That was a minor detail. Trevor's voice was friendly, his face animated as he spoke to both of them, hope in his eyes.
Amazed as she watched, Claire stood there. And then, a smile slowly spread across her face. It was almost like old times. She knew she should be over there stopping him, that is if she really wanted to finally make Trevor 'normal', she should be walking right over there to stop him before this lead down an all too familiar path. But this time, this one time, she let it go, gently observing him. With a grin she walked away, not saying a word.
"Trevor, how do you do that?"
She looked over at him. "That couple back there. You just swooped into their lives. A complete stranger. And after a few seconds you had them talking to each other like they've known each other for ever. After barely a minute they wouldn't have seen you standing there beside them if you were on fire. How do you do it?"
Pleased, he looked over at the couple. "A single step can cause an avalanche, Claire. They just needed a nudge. So they could start falling."
Claire smiled, looking down as she walked slowly beside him through the museum. "Today has been nice, Trevor. Here. With you. Like old times."
He laughed. "Whatever those were... Who knows. Maybe I'm slowly turning back into my old self."
"Yeah..." Her face was pensive, worried by the prospect.
Ahead of them was an exhibit wing which they hadn't gone into yet. The crowd was thicker there, causing some sort of commotion from the event that was going on. Claire looked up, wondering what it was.
"Look, Trevor. It looks like they just opened a new exhibit..."
Trevor noticed it too, mildly curious. "Yeah. It's drawing a lot of attention. Wonder what it's about."
As Claire watched, some of the crowd parted, and she was finally able to see the entrance to the exhibit ahead. There was a large placard on a stand beside the arched doorway leading into the large exhibit hall beyond.
The Representation and Impact
of Cupid : The God of Love
throughout Art and History.
Claire's eyes went wide, and suddenly a panicked look crossed her features. "Trevor, we don't... Ummm, We don't need to go that way..."
"Why not? Looks like there's a new exhibit over there. A little more lively. It might be fun."
She started gently tugging at his arm, searching her mind desperately for any plausible excuse to steer him in any other direction. "Ummm.... Let's just go this other way, Trevor. I think I saw a retrospective on the egg in the hallway over here."
"Set up by the National Botched Lobotomy Survivors Society. Claire, I'm not going to look at a bunch of eggs unless I'm eating them. Why can't we just-"
"I thought I saw a leggy blond in a micro mini skirt go that way..." she lied.
Trevor thought about it, silent. "Eggs it is then..."
Without a moments hesitation he turned and walked the other way, already searching for the supposed blond in the crowd.
Behind him, Claire took one last worried look at the Cupid exhibit at the far end of the building, an exhibit she hadn't known had been there. Exhaling in relief, she turned to follow after Trevor.
"So Trevor, you're saying that it's impossible for a man to ever understand a woman..." Claire asked.
"Physically impossible. They're just wired different."
The two of them were in a hall surrounded by egg sculptures, egg paintings, egg whatever. Every display area was covered with them. Not for the first time, Claire wondered to herself if the museum was really this hard up for exhibit ideas.
"Trevor, the last time I checked, the neural pathways of men and women were wired exactly the same way."
"Check again." Trevor continued his point "Women are wired through their hearts and men are wired through their-"
Claire interrupted him. "I think I get the picture, Trevor."
He continued. "Men will never be able to understand women. Never happen. Because women are NUTS! They're completely insane. They're unknowable forces of nature that aren't designed to be understood. At least not by anyone swinging a.... y chromosome between his legs. Believe me, there isn't a man alive who has ever truly understood how a woman's mind works."
She thought about it, sounding skeptical. "Then why are men are still attracted to them, Trevor."
"Of course men are. Because men are easy to understand! They're the dumbest of creatures with the simplest of motivations. Women on the other hand are more like chocolate souffle. I don't have a clue how they're put together, but they sure are fun to eat."
Her eyes widened. "Trevor!"
He blinked at her reaction, not getting it. "What..."
She finally shook her head. "Never mind. Redundant in your case, I know. So tell me, do you actually pad your knuckles or do you just let them bleed along the floor."
Trevor was forced to a stop when there was yet another egg statue in his path, looking exactly like all the rest. "Claire, we've been up and down this exhibit five times already. How long are we going to stay here? Let's go back before I start hallucinating phantom eggs while I'm awake instead of just my future nightmares."
She looked nervously back the way they had come, remembering what was back there. Quickly she stepped in front of Trevor as he started to leave, blocking his path with a smile. "Why go back when there's more here to see."
Trevor looked up. "It's a bare wall, Claire."
"Oh..." Disappointed she looked up, realizing they had run out of exhibit. She tried to make the best of it. "But is anything REALLY just a bare wall, Trevor?"
He motioned towards it "Yeah. This is."
She put her arm out when he tried to leave again., palm against the wall and hemming him in. "What's the hurry? we could just stay here and... talk some more."
He ducked under her arm. "Claire I'm egged out! I feel like Foghorn Leghorn on an acid trip! And that blond in the tiny skirt hasn't been in here anywhere. Which already proves one thing. She's smarter than us! This exhibit has definitely lost its egg-citement. Wait... Now I'm doing it. Oh no. Puns. Egg puns. Get it out! Get it out!" He watched her. Claire didn't even crack a smile. Trevor grunted, turning away. "Oh never mind...."
Claire raced around him and blocked his path again. "What's the rush. We could always talk about... other things, Trevor. Like... Like..." She strained for something.
Suddenly she grabbed his arm and pulled it up to her. "Dancing. How about we dance again? Huh? Like in the park? That was fun right? Living on the edge, embracing the moment. Let's liven this place up. Show these people how it's done."
He stared at her. "There's no music. Besides, the people in here are beyond saving. They're in an egg exhibit! We're in an egg exhibit! We're talking real Night of the Living Dead here! And besides, what's up with you, anyway? You're really acting.... kinda weird."
Her face froze. "Umm, nothing's 'up' with me Trevor. I just thought... that maybe you'd remember more details if we danced. Like before. Ok. Instead of dancing, how about I answer any one question about myself. Any question about me, I'll answer it."
"Really?" Trevor smiled, intrigued.
"Umm, sure..." Claire already looked a little doubtful, but she was desperate. She quickly led Trevor to a bench and sat both of them down, turning to face him.
"Fire away, Trevor."
It was sometime later and Claire was pacing back and forth as she went into the tenth minute of her answer to Trevor's question, engrossed by her own analysis.
"So you see, in a way my first sexual encounter was actually a subconscious attempt to fill the void of that underlying emotional deficiency throughout my formative years. And by seeking to reinforce my evolving sexual and romantic maturation, in the end I precipitated-"
Claire finally looked over to where Trevor was sitting and suddenly stopped in her tracks. Trevor wasn't quiet because he had started dosing off again during her long, dry analysis about her first time. He was quiet because he wasn't there anymore. Startled, she stepped forward. He was gone. Quickly she turned and scanned the room. But this time, he was no where in sight.
Frantic, she hurried down the length of the exhibit, moving from room to room, everything flying by as she called out his name, nearly running. Eventually she started seeing more normal statues whizzing past, more conventional art on the walls, leaving the egg exhibit far behind. But still nothing. Claire continued to call out, ignoring the stares she was getting from the museum patrons.
Claire stopped. He was nowhere to be seen. Then a sudden dread filled her chest, and she knew where he had to be.
"Oh no..." she whispered, and this time, she actually did run.
Walking into the Cupid exhibit, Trevor took the small pamphlet the museum worker by the entrance handed him. The pamphlet had a small winged cherub on the cover, holding a bow. The title of the exhibit was emblazoned red beneath it.
As Trevor slowly moved into the crowded room, he absently shoved the pamphlet into his pocket, forgetting about it completely. He looked around, a little amazed as he took it all in. There was artwork on display everywhere. Paintings, priceless sculptures, even a few ancient books. The room was decorated almost with a party atmosphere. Red fabric streamers arced across the ceiling. Beneath them the crowd moved and buzzed with soft conversation. The entire exhibit was a mass of activity and color. There was even some sort of neon sculpture blinking in the corner. This exhibit was definitely not as staid as the rest of the museum.
Trevor slowly smiled, intrigued by it all, by all the exuberance and obsession with the things of love. He walked forward into the packed room.
Far behind him in the more quiet areas, Claire was running, speeding frantically along, skidding and sliding across the smooth floor tiles as she tried to round a corner. Scrambling to stay upright, she lost her footing, starting to fall. But a nearby man eagerly reached out to catch her, looking a little stunned that a beautiful woman had just fallen into his arms. For a moment, he felt like the luckiest man in the world as he quickly helped Claire stand again.
"There you go Miss. I'm, umm, I'm Rob by the way. Glad to get under you in time."
"Thanks," she breathed, already starting to sprint away, desperate to find Trevor.
The man saw his chance slipping away, so he knew he had to step forward and call out.
"Maybe I can get under you again sometime..."
Even as rushed as she was, Claire still stopped in her tracks, her shoulders tensing at his audacity, almost speechless as she looked back in shock at the man. "You... you really need to work on your pick up lines..."
With that admonishment hanging between them for a second, Claire suddenly jerked away, running through the halls calling out Trevor's name.
Left behind as he sadly lowered his head, the man spoke in a soft, embarrassed voice. "I know..."
Trevor stopped in the middle of the crowd and slowly turned in place. The Cupid exhibit seemed to slowly spin around him as he smiled. He noticed a priceless, virtually life like sculpture of unbelievable artistry before him, a statue of Cupid's muscular body lying prone, his wings sprawled on Psyche's lap as he died in her arms. Slowly and without realizing why, Trevor reached up, growing somber as he touched the small scar on his chest. For some reason he started thinking of Claire. The crowd continued to pass back and forth behind him. Then a space opened, and he felt something on his shoulder blades, somehow sensing the small statue on display in that space behind him. Slowly he turned to face it.
There, on a single pedestal, was the statue of a small winged cherub, it's child like face smiling serenely, content. It's wings behind it were locked in mid flight, as if frozen in stone. Slowly Trevor stepped closer as he looked at it, transfixed. Somehow it seemed as if everything else went quiet around him. He could almost hear a low ominous sound, like a deep chord of awe and anticipation in his mind, faintly humming with a strange sense of dread. The statue seemed to loom ever closer in his vision. The small arrow the smiling figure held was pointed right at his chest.
Trevor's lips slowly parted, awed by the statue. This meant something. Something important. But he didn't have a clue as to what it was. For some reason as he stood there he couldn't take his eyes off the Cupid statue, not moving.
Out of breath, Claire suddenly rushed into the Cupid exhibit. She looked down in bewilderment at the Cupid pamphlet the museum worker shoved into her inattentive hand, before tossing it aside. Claire pushed through the crowd, bobbing left and right as she searched all around, keeping her voice soft now as she called out Trevor's name.
Then finally she saw him, standing motionless as he looked up at a winged statue of Cupid in an apparent daze. Her hopes fell.
"Oh crap..." Claire whispered, quickly rushing over to him. Still a little out of breath, she came to a stop next to him, trying to stay calm, as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
"There you are, Trevor. I was afraid that you got away from me..."
Trevor was still staring at the statue, not looking at her.
Silently, Claire swallowed. "Umm, what--... What is it, Trevor?"
"This statue..." His voice was soft.
"What about it?"
"It's all wrong."
"Wrong? What's wrong with it Trevor?"
He slowly shook his head, still in a daze. "He should be taller..."
Claire had finally heard enough, pulling gently at his arm. "Come on, Trevor. Let's get out of here. I think we've had our fill of the museum for one day.
"Yeah..." Trevor said absently. Finally he looked away and started slowly moving, leaving her there.
Claire sighed, glad he was finally going, hoping against hope that his seeing this exhibit hadn't done much harm by potentially bringing back memories of his delusion. Relieved for the moment, she started to follow him out.
Ahead, Trevor had stopped again in front of the elaborate sculpture of Cupid dying in Psyche's arms. The scar on his chest almost seemed to throb as he touched it again. As Claire came up to stand beside him, he looked at the woman's face in the statue, and something stuck him about it.
"She looks like you, Claire..."
"Trevor..." Her eyes looked a little sad, and she gently held his shoulder. "Come on. Let's go home..."
Once she was finally certain Trevor was leaving, Claire looked back. The small cherub statue had it's arrow pointed at her, it's child like smile almost mocking her.
Blinking at it, she turned and followed Trevor. Together they walked out of the crowded room. Streamers still arced over the fanciful Cupid exhibit behind them once they were gone, as the crowd still moved through the displays.
Later that night, Taggerty's was loud and packed with customers during it's nightly rush. Music played over the crowd. Drinks were served in the soft light of the dim, noisy interior. Claire and Jaclyn were both seated at the crowded bar. Behind it, Trevor was working. Or more specifically, practicing from a book, distracted in the middle of all the chaos as he tried to regain a few of the bartending skills he had forgotten.
Champ was at work behind the bar as well. Whenever he passed Trevor, he tried to offer whatever help he could. But that wasn't much, since Champ was swamped with filling drink orders of his own.
Then Jaclyn smiled at him. Champ instantly found time to stop before he passed her. Jaclyn's eyes glittered up at him as he stepped closer. Gently, she teased him. "Kiss me right now Champoo. Or my lips start looking elsewhere..."
Champ didn't mind answering her challenge. He smiled as he leaned over the bar, sweeping Jaclyn's head into his palm and pulling her mouth to his. They kissed passionately, deeply, oblivious to everything else in the loud room. Her uplifted hand went slack on his wrist during the kiss, forgotten as it slowly dropped and their kiss extended. Trevor looked up from where he was reading his book of drink recipes. Across from him, Claire did the same from her seat. They both watched as Champ and Jaclyn's kiss went on, growing speechless and surprised by the intensity of what they were seeing. It wasn't a side of either of those two that they had ever really seen before. Suddenly Trevor and Claire felt a little uncomfortable sitting there, obviously not doing what Jaclyn and Champ were doing. For a moment they looked across at each other, considering the other, before subtly pulling back from each other, separating.
Finally breaking the kiss, Champ inhaled, looking into Jaclyn's eyes. "Sorry I haven't been paying you much attention tonight. We're just really busy. But believe me. I'll always have time for kissing you. I'll come over when it calms down, I promise."
"Sure..." Jaclyn was still a little dazed from his kiss, trying to gather her thoughts. She pulled her palm to her ear, her fingers delicately curling around across the back of her neck. She still felt herself swooning as she gently rubbed the tingling skin there. "Umm... Yeah. I'll... I'll be right here..."
With a small smile, Trevor playfully stepped between the two of them and started to prod Champ away. "Hey, get back to work. You two are melting the ice..."
Champ leaned in for another quick kiss off Jaclyn's lips, making her laugh as Trevor pushed him away. Grinning happily, he walked backwards as Trevor pushed him, watching her over his shoulder, eyes smoldering for her. "OK... I'm going, Trevor. Man I wish it wasn't Allison's night off. I could use the help. Who would have thought you'd ever forget how to make a drink?"
Trevor nodded. "Hey. Momentary lapse, I promise. It'll come back. I know I still remember. I just don't remember that I remember..."
Trying to follow that, Champ finally tapped Trevor's skull. "It never ceases to amaze me what passes for logic in there..."
Suddenly Linda appeared behind the bar, walking past both of them. Taggerty's manager and owner was busy too, swamped with work like everyone else. She leaned down to put away more drink glasses beneath the bar. Straightening, she tapped Champ's shoulder. "Drink orders are backing up, Champ..."
"Ok, Linda. I'm on it." With one last sparkling glance at Jaclyn, Champ forced himself to turn and walk away. In her seat, Jaclyn softly bit her lip as she watched him leave, her face flush and content.
Linda turned towards Trevor, who continued to carefully study the drink book in his hands. She sighed. "It's good to have you back, Trevor. This place didn't seem the same while you were gone. Just... start remembering quick, okay? I mean, Allison's a god send. A great bartender who's really cute and brings in the guys. But she can't be here every night. We could use the old you back..."
With a smile, Trevor lifted the book he was holding. "Working on it... By the way. Does anyone know how to make a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster?"
Linda exhaled, putting her hand fondly on Trevor's shoulder for a moment. Then she walked away, diving back into the work that awaited her throughout the crowded bar.
Ignoring the chaos all around him, Trevor turned back to Jaclyn and Claire, full of confidence as tossed the drink book into Claire's surprised hands. "Ok. Quiz me, shrink meister..."
Claire looked at him skeptically for a moment, before she opened up the small book. A smile crossed her face when she saw the entry, recognizing it. It would have to be that page, wouldn't it? She read it out.
For a moment, Trevor blinked as if he almost recognized the name too, straining to remember it from his past. Then he effortlessly started to recite. "Grenadine, Creme de Menthe, Cointreau and Cognac..."
Claire tried not to smile, feeling a little warm as she thought about that previous time, wondering if he remembered any of it. She asked her second question, just like before. "Slippery nipple..."
Beside her, Jaclyn's head turned from watching Champ when she heard that, watching as it dawned on her what they were re-enacting.
Glancing at her for a second, Claire saw the recognition in Jaclyn's eyes. They both remembering doing this before, with the positions reversed when Trevor had tested Claire's bartending skills instead. But the two women kept it to themselves, turning to watch Trevor, still struggling with the answer.
"I'm thinking.. Give me a sec...." Suddenly he had it. "Anisette, peppermint snaps, and Bailey's..."
"See... That was a yes or no question, Trevor." Claire smiled. "Sex on the Beach..."
Trevor leaned in closer. "Not tonight, thanks..."
She nodded, looking into his eyes warmly. He couldn't possibly remember this. "I'm back to quizzing you on exotic cocktails, Trevor."
He smiled. "Forgive me..."
They were silent, looking at each other for a moment. Beside them, Jaclyn glanced back and forth between them, wondering what would happen next.
Putting the book down, Claire tilted her head. "Trevor... do you really remember all that? Or did you simply learn it just now?"
"I don't know...." His voice was soft, not looking away from her. "Maybe some things are worth remembering..."
She nodded, a tender light in her eyes. "Maybe they are..."
Pleased with himself, he pulled back. "I barely learned it, Claire. Honestly..."
She didn't look like she believed him, still smiling.
Suddenly Linda's voice called out from across the bar. "Trevor, we could use a hand over here!"
"Alright!" He shouted back. Turning, he faced her again for a moment. "Gotta go..."
"Don't stray on my account..."
Trevor turned and paused before he walked away. Smiling, he spoke to himself, loud enough for them to hear, and perhaps on purpose. "Why do I suddenly feel like the daughter of a jazz guitarist?"
Not turning around, he left without another word. Claire watched him, a smile on her face.
Once he was gone, Jaclyn excitedly scooted over to her. "I can't believe it! Trevor remembered. Remembered that night..."
"Maybe..." Claire looked down, her smile fading until she almost seemed disappointed.
Jaclyn was still excited. "That night we met Don Quixote, when he quizzed you on how to make-"
"We didn't meet Don Quixote," Claire corrected her. "His name was Robert Cunningham. Yet another of the ohhh so many delusional men that have dropped into our lives, Jaclyn."
Her enthusiasm wasn't dulled by Claire's admonition. "But the point is Trevor remembered! Finally. That's a good thing... I mean.... isn't it?"
"I--" Claire paused, lowering her eyes. "I don't know sometimes..."
Silent, Jaclyn didn't understand.
Claire noticed, and this time her voice was softer. "It's just been that kind of day, Jaclyn. Little reminders here and there. For awhile I tried just to enjoy them. To revel in the nostalgia, I guess.. Trevor being Trevor. But maybe he's starting to remember too much..."
Jaclyn blinked at her. "What are you talking about, Claire?"
She exhaled. "At the museum today..."
"What at the museum?"
"Well... Trevor showed signs of," Claire looked around for a moment to see if he was anywhere near them. Finally she stood up. "Come on, Jaclyn. Let's go talk away from the bar, ok?"
Curious about what was going on, Jaclyn nodded. "Ok..."
Taking their drinks they walked through the crowd towards an open booth at the back. Jaclyn smiled as several men propositioned her when she passed, having seen that kiss at the bar. As she followed behind Claire, full of confidence, she batted their overtures down, realizing how stupid men were most of the time.
Behind the bar, Trevor looked up from where he was working, watching both of them until they sat down and started talking in one of the booths. Jaclyn and Claire were huddled together, talking, whispering. For a moment Trevor stopped what he was doing and wondered what they were talking about so intensely. But he pushed it out of his mind and went back to work.
Hours later, the bar was quiet. Most of the crowd had gone. The last remaining stragglers were being guided out between the empty tables. The room was quiet in the absence of all the blaring music. Everyone was readying for closing.
Jaclyn and Claire still sat in the booth, talking, their voices lowered.
Jaclyn couldn't believe it. "So there was actually an entire Cupid exhibit at the museum? The one day you decided to go?"
"Yes!" Claire nodded. "I mean, I had no idea... It's not something I even thought to check. I tried my best to steer Trevor away from it, but he eventually ended up there anyway. I don't know... It was almost as if was drawn there. But on the plus side, Trevor didn't appear to remember any of his delusion. So I'm grateful for that at least..."
"I don't know if that's the plus side. Personally, I wish he would remember..." Jaclyn looked up at Claire's silent gaze. "Look, I know how you feel about it, Claire. You didn't want him to remember and he didn't. Why are you concerned? Everything's okay. You got what you wanted. I don't see a problem..."
Claire sighed. "I know... But it's more than that. Even before the Cupid exhibit, Trevor was acting... familiar. He saw this couple at the museum. Two strangers, obviously attracted to each other. And Trevor couldn't help it. He introduced them. Just walked right over, did it without thinking. Without realizing it, he was acting just like Cupid, like his old delusional self. It worries me, Jaclyn. Lately it seems like Trevor is acting more and more like... Trevor."
Jaclyn didn't waver. "And that's necessarily bad?"
There was worry in Claire's eyes. "It could be... yeah." She thought about it ."I mean, here I am. Trying my best to hide that life from him. To give him a fighting chance at getting better... But I don't know how well I'm doing it. Jaclyn... I can't let him go back to that life. I can't. Trevor can't go around believing he's Cupid forever..."
Jaclyn was just about to argue the point with her when Champ walked up to their table, smiling at her. Claire pulled back, the conversation obviously over. She watched as Champ leaned down and kissed Jaclyn tenderly. Claire shifted in place a bit, and her eyes were suddenly sad as she looked at them. For a moment she wondered if she would ever have that in her life. If she would ever share that, feel that with someone. She had been wondering that a lot lately. Without a word Claire gathered her things as they continued to kiss, sliding out of the booth and standing up beside them.
"It's getting late. I better get going..." she said.
Stopping, Champ and Jaclyn looked up at her, breaking their embrace. Contently, Champ moved around and leaned over Jaclyn's shoulders, his arms wrapped around her as they faced Claire. "Glad you stayed awhile, Claire. It was nice having all of us here together again... Almost like old times."
Claire's voice was soft. "Yeah... almost..."
Champ straightened up, holding Jaclyn's hand in his and turning to her. "Look, I still gotta close up the bar. It'll take awhile longer, so I'll see you at home, okay?"
"Sure..." She gave him a quick kiss. "Can't wait. Look forward to getting home... because you should."
"Great." He smiled with understanding. "I will. I'll hurry, I promise."
Champ hurried back to the bar, a fresh incentive in his steps as he thought about going home to Jaclyn. Behind them, Claire was already leaving. "Goodnight, Jaclyn" she said softly.
"Night, Claire..." Jaclyn answered absently, preoccupied with what her and Claire had been talking about, not wanting to drop it yet. Finally she looked up, calling out to her.
"Hey Claire.... Wait. up. I'll walk out with you..."
Everyone else was gone. Most of the remaining work in the bar was done. Champ and Trevor finished cleaning up. Champ handed Trevor a tray of unused glasses from underneath the bar. "Trevor, these need to go back into the storeroom. I'll close down the registers and we're out of here."
"Sure. Got it." Trevor hefted the glasses onto his shoulder and started walking towards the swinging door into the back areas. As he crossed the quiet room, it was empty. The chairs were on top of the tables, the floors swept and clean. Champ worked on the register behind him.
Shoving hard with his free shoulder, Trevor pushed the swinging door open, taking the glasses into the rear storeroom. With a grunt he hefted the tray onto some empty shelf space, hearing the glasses clatter softly. Trevor took a breather, resting for a moment, tired from the long day. Slowly he started looking around the dim storeroom. There was a little bit of everything in there, more drink glasses, unopened boxes filled with liquor bottles, bar decorations. A few of those decorations caught his eye, stored in a box on the shelf.
Curious, he reached out, poking around in the box. Inside were various decorations in colors of white, red, and pink, some in the shape of hearts, others the outlines of winged cherubs holding bows. Valentine's day decorations. He touched them, slow and curious, and a jolt of static electricity snapped onto his skin, making him momentarily pulled his hand back. But after a moment he touched them again, his fingers grazing gently across them now that he knew what they were. Out of nowhere, he sensed that they were important to him somehow. He knew that much at least. Blinking, he started to search through the other contents of the box.
With a growing eagerness he rifled through them, touching, moving them all around in the quiet air of the storeroom. There were even more valentine decorations in there, along with some streamers and strings of colored lights. He pulled out a carefully piled stack of sketches. Leafing through them, he saw that they were drawings of various people and objects. The sheets had small holes in them, like they had been thumb nailed to a wall. Shifting the box to one side, he noticed there was something behind it. A heart shaped neon sign with the word Cupid written in its center was resting there, dark and unlit. Wondering what it all was, he moving the box over to see what was on its side, written in black marker. He recognized the words as his own writing.
"Cupid's day..." he read softly, thinking to himself.
The night air was cool as Jaclyn and Claire walked side by side down the sidewalk towards their respective homes. Far above them the stars glittered in a clear, flawless sky, watching them. As they passed under each streetlight, it's glow softly bathed them for a moment until they moved past, outlining them in the distance. Occasionally a car whizzed past on the street beside them. Neither woman was in any real hurry to get home, or to break the silence between them, walking casually down the sidewalk.
Finally Jaclyn sighed, her voice sounding a little reluctant. "Claire... I consider you my best friend. There's no easy way to say this, but... you've got to stop. You can't keep doing this."
She blinked. "Doing what?"
Jaclyn stopped on the sidewalk and turned to face her. "Lying to Trevor about his past. You can't do that to him..."
Claire sighed, realizing that they were going to have this argument again. "I'm just doing what I think is best. I'm trying to help him, Jaclyn."
"I know..." Jaclyn's said with empathy. Yet her conviction didn't waver. "But you're wrong..."
Trevor sat in the storeroom, looking at all the decorations gathering dust. They were just unwanted decorations, sitting there abandoned and forgotten. Almost like he felt for a moment. Somehow that box seemed like a death knell. Slowly reaching into his pocket, Trevor pulled out the museum pamphlet he had shoved in there from earlier in the day. He had forgotten all about it. As he looked at it, wrinkled in his hand, he saw the same small figurine emblazoned there, just like the decorations, just like the Cupid exhibit he had seen.
Outside in the bar, Champ was nearly finished when he heard the door to the back room swing open again. Without turning around, he called out. "All done Trevor. Ready to go?"
When he looked up Trevor was just standing there, staring at him as he held something behind his back. Champ paused. There was something in the way Trevor stood there, something in his expression. Something was going on, and he spoke more cautiously. "What--what is it, Trevor?"
Trevor's voice was somber. "Champ, I need to ask you something. And I think it's time somebody told me the truth..."
Jaclyn was pacing across the sidewalk as she pressed her point, her voice strong and adamant. "You don't see it! You just don't see it, Claire! You refuse to tell him he thought that he was Cupid. You refuse to tell him that the two of you were in love with each other.... You're keeping his own life away from him and it's wrong! You've been taking advantage of Trevor's memory loss since the day he got back. Trying to fix him, to change him. Because it's what you want Claire, not him! You're so afraid that Trevor will turn himself into something he's not, you don't see how that's exactly what you're doing instead! How can you do that to him Claire? How do you expect Trevor to ever be honest with you about who he is, if you're not honest with him yourself?"
Claire blinked at her intensity, surprised, but replying just a strongly. "Jaclyn, I know you don't approve of what I'm doing. You don't approve of hiding away his delusion. But it's for the best! Don't you think I'm doing this because I lo-... care about him? Trevor needs help. He needs to let go of Cupid and not look back. Cupid's his safety net, and a false one! He can't go back. He won't go back. Not as long as I can help it. And as long as he doesn't remember the Cupid delusion, he won't..."
"Tell me the truth, Champoo...." Trevor asked again.
Champ paused, thinking as Trevor walked up and stood across from him on the other side of the bar. Champ felt a sudden wariness fill him, but he tried not to let that show. His words were uncertain as he spoke. "The truth about what, Trevor?"
Trevor pulled his arms around, placing what he had hidden behind his back on top of the bar between them. Reaching over he plugged it into an electric socket, and it glowed brightly to life. It was a neon heart with the word Cupid written in the middle, it's bright colored light reflecting off the bar's surface between them.
"Umm..." Champ looked at it. His lips parted cautiously, wondering what to say. "Trevor... I'm not sure that I should be-"
Trevor interrupted him, motioning at the sign. "This. This is me. I did this. I know it. I feel it. But no one will tell me. No one. This is what I am somehow. This!"
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the crumpled museum pamphlet and shook it at him emphatically before slamming it down onto the bar. "I recognize this! I don't know why, but I recognize all this..."
Realizing what was happening, Champ was still reluctant. "Trevor, maybe you should talk to Claire about-"
"I'm not asking Claire. I'm asking you. You're my friend right? Friends shouldn't lie to each other. Be my friend." Trevor's eyes were pleading. "Tell me the truth..."
The silence stretched between them as they faced each other in the quiet bar, the neon sign glowing brightly between them. The air seemed to fill with anticipation.
Finally, Champ sighed. "Alright, Trevor. Grab a seat..."
Claire and Jaclyn were facing each other too as a streetlight glowed in the distance behind them. The two women were outlined against its light, arguing as Jaclyn stepped forward.
"Admit it, Claire. You've never once honestly considered that maybe Trevor is who he says he is. Maybe it's only what he needs, or maybe it's what he is, deep down..."
Claire scoffed, angry that she had to defend herself. "What... Cupid?! Come on, Jaclyn! Do you honestly believe he's some sort of fallen god? Tumbled down the side of Olympus, until he somehow managed to land all the way over here with us in Chicago? To all appearances, an ordinary man. Who just happens to look like every other average, ordinary, man down here! A god without wings, without power, and without magic. Deep down even you don't really believe that!"
Jaclyn tensed, her eyes flashing. "Trevor has magic... Every time he helps two people find each other. Believe me, I should know. You just refuse to see that magic because you don't approve of it. Besides... It doesn't really matter what I believe. Or what you believe. It's about what he believes! Maybe Cupid is what he really needs. I don't know who he's hiding underneath, but I do know he's never hid from you. Not in any way that matters! Don't you think I know what you're really doing? You're being selfish, Claire."
"Yes! You want to fix him because you love him and that's the only way someone rational like you would ever allow yourself to finally be with him! You're embarrassed by his delusion. You care more about your reputation than you do your heart! You don't want to cure him for him, you want to cure him for you!"
With a frustrated groan, Claire started walking away, annoyed and angry. "That's not it, Jaclyn..."
Jaclyn hurried to keep pace beside her, watching her expression. "Yes... It is, Claire! You want to turn him into some sort of normal societal standard. The perfect image of what a sane person like yourself should be with. But you can't! You have to let him make his own life! Not make it for him! Why can't you just love him the way he is? You're so hell bent on trying to fix him, that you never bother to ask yourself if you should!"
"Yes I am hell bent," Claire said with determination, still walking angrily down the sidewalk and not facing her. "Yes I am... Because in the end, even without his memories, Trevor's still a lot better off the way he is now."
Jaclyn reached out and stopped her, turning her around. "To strangers! Not to the people he loved! Or who loved him back! You don't get it, do you? Trevor's never cared about how the world sees him. It wasn't their approval he wanted! It was yours! Don't you see! Their rejection didn't hurt him, but yours did! You're the one hurting him, Claire. Not some delusion... YOU. Because even though you love him, you still can't accept him for who he is..."
Champ and Trevor were seated across from each other at the bar, tilting back bottles of beer. They took long drinks, exhaling as the alcohol's buzz worked through them. Putting their bottles down, they continued their conversation. The neon Cupid sign still glowed brightly behind them. A row of empty beer bottles was already lined up beside them. They had both known they were needed to continue this conversation. And perhaps more.
Trevor pushed his words through the tingle of the beer. "I was right all along. I thought I was insane thinking what I was thinking...."
Champ smiled, talking another sip. "Take a number..."
Trevor looked over at him, completely serious. "So I was a god before..."
"What the hell am I doing down here?"
Champ looked up. "Want my opinion?"
For a moment, he searched for words, trying to explain. "No one ever shoots the god of love, Trevor."
For a moment, Trevor touched the scar on his chest.
Champ continued. "There's no one around to make the god of love, fall in love. I don't know... Maybe you really did screw up the state of romance today because you didn't know what you were doing. Maybe you were banished here to be punished. Then again, maybe it's all in your head and it's only what you need to tell yourself. In the end, it doesn't matter if Cupid is some delusional metaphor or the real thing. Cause I think what you really needed, was to come down here and experience love for yourself."
Trevor smiled skeptically. "Yeah... With who?"
"That's all I'm telling you, Trevor. I'll confirm the little you've remembered, but I'm not saying anything more. The rest you'll have to figure out for yourself."
Trevor thought about, trying to make some sense of it. He spoke in amazement. "I'm Cupid..."
Champ nodded, not believing that he was going along with this "At least that's what you thought you were. That's what you told everyone..."
"I knew it!" Trevor seemed excited, his voice quick and soft. "I just knew it. I knew I couldn't just be this... small. I knew I couldn't have such a tiny, pathetic life..."
"Yeah..." Champ looked at him sadly. "No one ever wants to believe that, Trevor."
Claire took a breath of night air, moving closer to Jaclyn on the sidewalk. Her voice was softer, less angry, trying to make her understand as she looked tenderly into her eyes. "It's not just me, Jaclyn. You think I'm alone in this? The world will never accept a man claiming to be the Roman god of love. They won't. EVER... Do you think the hospital will wait around forever for him to get better? The only reason they haven't locked him up already as a flight risk is because of his memory loss.... And what then. What if he does remember his delusion. Who's to say he won't react exactly the same way he did before? He ran away once, what's to stop him from doing it again if he remembers?"
Jaclyn looked at her, insistent. "You..."
Looking at her for a long moment, Claire's eyes grew soft. "Jaclyn... you surprise me. You've changed so much..."
Jaclyn looked at her. "Being with Champ has changed me. Another something I'm grateful to Trevor for. Maybe you should change too..."
"I.... I can't...."
Claire sighed. "One person's already shot Trevor. Another tried to lock him in an institution. Trevor saw the danger and ran away. They won't accept him. Not today. Not tomorrow. His only chance is to get past this. That's why I have to lie to him..." Claire's voice broke, closing her eyes before the moisture there could show. "I can't let all that happen to him again. Not while there's still a chance to cure him."
"Claire, I know this is hurting you too. Can't you just stop? Can't you let both of you be happy?"
"That isn't the world we're in... I wish it was, Jaclyn. This is what I have to do."
"Even if he ends up hating you for lying to him?"
Claire looked down. "Even if... It's funny. I thought everything would be perfect if he just came back. It's not..."
Jaclyn stepped forward. "You can't cure what he doesn't want cured, Claire."
Determined, she inhaled. "Yes I can. I will. He still doesn't remember. If he starts to, then I don't know. Maybe then it's over. Maybe I'm standing in his way and I shouldn't be his doctor anymore. But I'm not there yet. I'm not giving up. Trevor hasn't gone back to the delusion. As long as that's true, I'm still holding onto some small hope... for both of us."
Jaclyn shook her head, unconvinced. "Then maybe you should ask yourself something, Claire. And be honest with the answer. All those weeks, all those months you were looking for him... Who were you actually hoping to find?"
Claire's lips parted, but she stopped, realizing it wasn't an easy question.
Without waiting for a response, Jaclyn turned and walked down the sidewalk alone, leaving Claire standing there, thinking under the glow of a streetlight.
Back at Taggerty's, Trevor and Champ raised their bottles for one last toast.
The next morning Claire sat quietly behind her desk, waiting for Trevor to show up for their next session. With an impatient sigh she looked at the clock again, checking for what seemed the fifth time in half as many minutes. He was definitely late. As the seconds passed, her expression hardened, annoyed. The office was still, silent around her as she waited alone.
Claire wasn't used to Trevor being late anymore. Since he had come back, he had always been on time. Tapping her fingers on the waiting notebook on her desk, she tried to stay calm and not think about it. She was finally about to rise out of her chair to recheck, when she heard the click of her office doorknob turning. She quickly sat down as the door opened.
Whatever caustic comment she had been about to utter died on her lips when she saw him enter. Trevor looked different, like he had changed from before. Smiling at her, he almost glowed with contentment, a playful glint in his eye. As he came in, there was a vibrancy in his features and his demeanor. A vaguely familiar vibrancy.
Claire looked at him, wondering at the change. As she spoke, it distracted her. "Trevor, you're... late."
Even as she said that, she suddenly found that fact disturbing.
He stepped enthusiastically over to her desk, pressing his palms down as he leaned in close over it. "And good morning to you too, Claire! I'll just assume that's what you said. Maybe I should have actually been listening..."
"Trevor, I..." She looked at him skeptically. "You're never late. Recently, I mean. What's.... what's going on?"
His smile grew. Excited, he stepped around the desk. He couldn't stop grinning at her. "Claire... I have great news."
"News..." She blinked. Why did that almost sound ominous? "Great news like what?"
Full of pent up energy, Trevor started pacing back and forth to release it, not losing his enthusiasm as he talked quickly, his words eager and almost a jumble. "The veil's finally starting to fall... I feel it. I don't have it all yet, at least not the specifics. There are still a lot of details I don't know but it came to me, Claire! It finally came to me like a bolt form the heavens it came. I couldn't believe it. It's all so clear now. Why didn't I see it before, Claire? I mean, it's so obvious who I am, when you think about it I really should have known right away."
She broke in. "What are you talking about?"
Stopping, he turned to face her, looking at her proudly. "I remember, Claire."
"Who I am..."
She almost smiled. This was what she had been waiting for. Her face started to take on the same enthusiasm he showed in his. "You remember?"
He nodded at her, still excited. "Oh yeah. I don't remember everything yet. In fact I don't remember any of the details at all, but I know who I am! I'm positive the rest will come back now. For awhile last night, Champ and I talked, and I thought I was someone else completely. Someone ridiculous. But now I know! There's still so much of my life that is this big whole nothing. This big blank. But now... there's something! A start. A beginning! A Chapter One instead of a Chapter None! I can't believe this! I really can't believe--"
"Trevor..." Claire spoke calmly, trying to temper him, just as she was tempering her own anticipation. "Slow down, Trevor. Take a deep breath and calm down. Now tell me... What is it that you remember?"
"My name! My identity! Who I really am! There's still a lot I need to fill in, but more and more is coming back all the time. I remember where I worked, I remember my old job.... I even remember a few vague images of growing up. I remember meeting you for the first time! But it's all still a jumble..."
Claire tried to stay calm, not letting her hopes get the best of her. Maybe this really was the breakthrough she had been waiting for. Anticipation in her gaze, she rose from her chair and walked over towards him. "Back up, Trevor. First thing's first. You said you remember your name? Who you are? Exactly?"
"Yes! Well... not everything. Not exactly. But I do remember my name again..."
Claire smiled in relief. She couldn't help it. Pen in hand she wrapped her arms enthusiastically around him and gave him a warm hug, smiling over his shoulder. "That's great news Trevor! What is it?"
He took a breath, caught off guard at her reaction, surprised that she was hugging him, and surprised he liked it so. He didn't pull out of her arms. "This is gonna sound amazing, but.... I'm Cupid...."
Her body changed against his. Stunned, she looked over his shoulder, her face blank with shock. Still holding him, she struggled to understand, ignoring the icy pit in her chest. The pen she held against his back fell to the floor from her motionless fingers.
"What...?" she whispered.
"Claire, I'm the god of love..."
Slowly she stepped back and out of his arms, looking into his excited face with dismay. The world seemed to twist and fall away beneath her. Her voice was soft, shocked and full of sadness. "No...."
For a moment, Trevor simply misunderstood her reaction as the same amazement he had felt earlier. "I know! I couldn't believe it either! Not at first. But now, now that I know... This is so great Claire! I mean, finally! I kept wondering why I felt so out of place here. Why I felt so lost. So small. Now I know. Because I was lost. I'm Cupid, Claire!"
Claire shook her head in disbelief, her voice still soft, speaking almost to herself. "No..."
The door to Claire's office was still open behind them. Cautiously, Jaclyn cautiously looked in, stopping at the doorway, having overheard. As she listened to Trevor continue, there was concern in Jaclyn's eyes as she saw Claire's reaction.
Starting to pace excitedly again, Trevor continued to babble. "I'm sure the rest will come back to me, Claire. Like our time together. Like what happened to me while I was here. How I got this scar on my chest... But right now I'm just happy that I finally know who I am! I am... the original Love Gun! The Sultan of Swoon, the one and only Roller Coaster of Love!"
Trevor began to sing, dancing around in celebration. "Roller coaster... of LOVE...."
Claire's expression fell more with his every pronouncement, losing hope.
He continued. "I feel so alive! I want to announce it to everybody in the world. Do you think sky writing over every major city would lack subtlety? Or maybe a Cupid festival! To celebrate my coming back from the brain dead! Streamers, strippers, dancers, booze, pin the tail on the scantily clad tail... Or maybe I should have some business cards made up. Something understated and tasteful, like gold lettering and flashing lights. Roller coaster... of love! I don't know. Maybe I--"
Looking up, Trevor stopped in mid sentence when he finally picked up on the stunned look on Claire's face. She seemed almost, tragic. He blinked, not understanding. He could almost see the tears glittering in her eyes, as if he had just announced that her best friend had died. "Claire... What... what is it?"
Her breath quivered softly, looking at him, eyes filled with all the despair washing through her, on the edge of tears, holding herself steady. She inhaled, finally allowing it to sink in. Trevor watched her with concern, stepping closer, but she didn't know what to tell him, what to say to him. She had to leave, had to get out of there. The room was spinning. It was over. It was all over. Her hopes, her hopes for... She couldn't let him see her like this.
Without a word, Claire stepped past him and left her office, giving no explanation as a tear fell down her cheek.
"Wha-" Dumbfounded, Trevor turned but she didn't stop, leaving him behind. At a complete loss, he looked over at Jaclyn standing in the doorway, trying to make sense of it all.
"Was it something I said?"
The door to the women's bathroom slammed open. Claire rushed in, sobbing, grateful that there was no one inside. She was alone. Panting, holding the torrent in, Claire tried to gather herself, but her vision blurred as tears formed in her eyes, gently falling down her cheeks. It was all spinning away, lost and out of control. It was over. It was all over. Her and Trevor. Any chance for them to be happy. To be together. It was gone. He would never get better. Claire struggled for what to do, turning in place. She almost dashed out of the restroom again, but she stopped herself. There was no where to go where out there, no where that the emotions churning chaotically through her wouldn't follow. No where to run. Not from this.
Not knowing what else to do, she leaned back against the wall. Slowly she began to slide down, covering her face with her hands. Settling downwards, her knees came up to her chest and she wrapped her arms around them, feeling awkward and discarded on the floor as she cried. Her sobs echoed softly in the bathroom. It was over. It was really over. All alone, Claire cried, the rest of the bathroom empty around her. as she curled up, sitting against the floor and the wall, she felt so small there, crying, rocking back and forth. There was no one there to comfort her.
The screen of a laptop computer blinked on.
A woman's hand flipped sadly through her notes.
There was a soft screech when a chair was pulled from the desk. A notebook was placed beside the computer.
The living room was dark. Twilight filled the windows. A woman's fingers reluctantly settled over the keyboard, waiting.
Claire took a deep breath to steady herself, still feeling the cool air on her face after her long crying, even though it had stopped now. The glow of the computer screen reflected off her small round glasses, blocking out the sadness in her eyes. On the screen the cursor waited, blinking. She lowered her head, despair and defeat in her shoulders. The house was empty, quiet around her. On the screen, the cursor blinked. Again. And again. It waited for her, for what she knew she had to do. Full of sadness, she looked up again. And finally she began to type.
So now we've come to this. This... which is most likely my last entry in Trevor's case file as his doctor. I'm no longer sure it is in Trevor's best interests for me to continue in that capacity, or that I should be the one to oversee his treatment. I wanted to help him, but my feelings got in the way. Now I don't know own what to do anymore.
Trevor's delusion returned today. He once again believes he is Cupid, the god of love. Despite my best efforts, despite my hopes. I couldn't help him. I failed Trevor. I failed us both. It's hard for me to accept. Harder for me to do. But I have to face that failure. Face that maybe it's time I let go of Trevor's treatment, and of him.
I feel like I've let him down. Like I've lost him. Like I've lost myself. I so much wanted to discover who he really was, but I couldn't. I couldn't break through the wall of his delusion. I love him. And now, with the return of Cupid, I feel like I've lost my last chance... of finding Trevor.
She stopped typing, looking sadly at what she was admitting, seeing the defeat in her words, seeing her own hopes shattered there. Slowly Claire lowered her head, realizing something. She wasn't ready for that yet. Not to face those conclusions, to face that reality. She couldn't accept that truth. Not yet. Reaching out, she turned the screen off without saving it, her outline dropping sadly into darkness.
Outside, the night was dark, bathing her doorstep in shadow at the foot of her closed front door.