Falling Home
A story about the tv show, Cupid
Part Eight of Five
by Steve 0yervidez
steveoyervidez@hotmail.com





            Trevor was nervous...

            He was seated in a sterile white conference room, fidgeting uncomfortably, morning light glowing bright behind him. Representatives of the hospital that was overseeing his treatment were silently walking in before him. Without explanation, they moved into position opposite the table Trevor was seated at, each of their expressions sullen, not saying a word as they remained standing, and immediately the air filled with tension. Warm morning rays of light were still falling in through the window behind Trevor and across his shoulders, but suddenly he couldn't feel it anymore. It was like the presence of the hospital reps was causing him to feel the confines of the hospital he so feared. All the sun's warmth seemed to drain away from around him. Trevor looked up at their faces and swallowed, worried thoughts rolling through his mind. Something was happening. Something serious. He could feel it so clearly in them, sense it as they stood there, see it in their watchful, concerned eyes.
            Exhaling, Trevor looked over at Claire, worry in his eyes. She was there with him too, sitting at the table in a chair by his side. Claire wore a very professional looking outfit, vividly contrasting Trevor's usual scruffy looking t-shirt and pants. She held his gaze with her own, and attempted to give Trevor a small, comforting smile, but she obviously felt just as nervous as he did. Neither of them knew why they had both been summoned so suddenly to this morning meeting. Considering what they had finally shared together last night, the timing was troublesome. Claire calmly reached over and squeezed his arm, the simple outward act of a doctor comforting her patient. But hidden beneath that touch, beneath her fingers, there was more. There was a squeeze, a gentle expression of what they had done and shared last night. An expression of the love they shared for each other, a love still secret, and still kept to themselves.
            They both looked towards the doorway at the sound of heavier footsteps.
            A hard looking man entered, dressed in full uniform. He was a police officer, a gun resting within easy reach in a black holster on his hip. The room went quiet in his wake, and even the hospital reps seemed suddenly apprehensive, eyes looking at the gun. No one spoke. The police officer moved to the back of the room and remained standing as well, staying out of the way. Finally, Dr. Greely came into the conference room. He was carrying a folder in his hands, and as he paused, the doctor's kindly old face flashed Trevor a friendly smile for a moment, but there was concern there too. With a sigh he took a chair at the table. Then behind him, one last pair of footsteps, and the sour face of Dr. Frechette appeared as he entered the room. His brow was hard and angry, stone carved from stone, looking like he wanted to take his frustrations out on anything handy.
            Pausing, Frechette glared at Trevor, revulsion obvious in his eyes. But despite that arrogance, he kept his silence, taking a seat beside Dr. Greely, both of them directly across the table from Trevor and Claire. Frechette leaned back, saying nothing. Dr. Greely slowly leaned forward to speak.
            "Trevor... I'm glad that we were able to get you safely here this morning."
            Trevor didn't move, waiting for a moment, suddenly feeling very exposed as he sat there with all those silent eyes watching him. His gaze shifted from face to face, growing more uncertain by the moment. "Ummm... what's going on here?" he asked.
            Greely lowered his eyes. "Something happened last night, Trevor. Something very serious. Something that we need to discuss. Your situation has changed rather drastically, Mr. Hale."
            A sudden coldness flowed through Trevor, and he looked over at Claire beside him. She felt it too. For a moment they shared one tiny nervous glance, wondering how much the others knew about the two of them, about their relationship, about their first night together. But how could...?
            Doing his best not to panic, Trevor looked back to Dr. Greely, his expression neutral. "Changed? Wha--... what do you think has changed?"
            "That's why we're here this morning, Trevor. We're here to discuss Faith."
            Trevor blinked in surprise. Now he really was confused. "Faith?"
            "Yes" Dr. Greely put the folder down on the table between them and opened it up, looking through it as he flipped a few pages. "Mary Simmons. The woman who shot you. Who... who became obsessed with you. With believing that you really are Cupid--"
            Trevor interrupted, his words coming fast, worried. "Yeah, cute, blond, homicidal. I remember who she is. Still have the scars and aches to prove it. What about her? What about Faith?"
            Looking straight into Trevor's eyes, Greely's voice was level. "She escaped."
            Claire blinked in alarm, leaning forward. "She what?"
            Greely's lips pursed silently at the shock in Claire's voice. Beside him, Frechette shifted in his chair, as if embarrassed that one of his patients had broken out, not looking them in the eye. After a moment, Dr. Greely spoke again, his voice more forceful. "Mary Simmons, the patient in this hospital known as Faith. The disturbed woman who tried to kill you because you're Cupid, and has never stopped obsessing about you... escaped the high security ward last night."
           His tone growing even more serious, Greely leaned grimly closer, looking worriedly into his eyes. "You're in danger, Trevor."
            Trevor was totally stunned as that sank in, his face going blank as if slammed with a wall out of the blue. He remained motionless, but his entire body tensed like a suddenly cornered animal, stomach twisting with the simple fact that Faith was free. Claire looked just as shocked, full of disbelief as she leaned forward beside Trevor searching for some explanation.
            "What? Faith escaped? She was still in the maximum security ward, wasn't she? H-How could something like this--... Does anyone know how this happened?"
            At her side, Trevor was still silent, lost in his own thoughts.
            Frechette seemed to scowl, obviously not happy that he had no clear or satisfactory answers. "Umm... we don't know exactly..."
            "You don't know?!" Claire was incredulous.
            Looking at her harshly, Frechette kept his voice level. "Last night there was some sort of unforeseeable weather event. A freak occurrence that--"
            Trevor suddenly came out of the shock and astonishment that was holding him silent to interrupt, his curiosity peaking at those words. "Weather?"
            "Unfortunately... yes." Frechette seemed even more uncomfortable if that was possible, as if all these highly unlikely events somehow reflected on him. "An unexplained wind storm struck last night. causing severe damage to one of the secured fire exits in the ward's common room. One with easy egress if opened, unfortunately. The force of last night's storm was powerful enough... to burst those doors open. There was an immediate lock down once the breach in the door seal was detected of course, but for some as yet unexplained reason... Mrs. Simmons was already in the room when it occurred. She escaped immediately."
            One of the orderlies wheeled over a television on a cart, a VCR already blinking on pause below it. The orderly pushed play, and the reason for the television suddenly lit up on the screen. It displayed some blurry, somewhat distant black and white surveillance footage from last night. The room seemed to hush, everyone anxiously watching the silent images. Vague on the screen was the image of Faith, seated far from the camera in a corner of the common area, doing something to one of her arms, something hidden out of view. Then, she was standing, walking calmly forwards... to stand before a pair of firmly locked doors, waiting for several seconds. Then without warning, the doors silently blew open before her, a strong wind whipping over Faith's hospital clothes and turning through the confines of the room, a storm of papers circling eerily around her.
            Trevor's face fell, a coldness filling his chest. The conference room was silent. He was watching the blurry black and white screen with dread, feeling as if the floor were falling beneath him.
            "We reviewed this on the surveillance tape last night. As is so shows, she easily managed to escape during this bizarre event..." Greely said.
            Claire tried to control her own stunned reactions, watching the uncanny images. Beside her, Trevor looked away from the recording, whispering softly to himself. "Weather...."
            Dr. Greely remained concerned, addressing Claire. "As you can see, Dr. Allen, this is a rather strange, and I daresay unique situation. There are obviously several questions that need to be resolved."
            Frechette was ready to pounce, leaning aggressively forward as he injected himself back into the conversation, a fiery glint in his eyes.
            "Actually... I also have certain questions for you, Mr. Hale."
            Frechette's face seemed even harder now as he said that, interlocking his fingers as he fixed Trevor in his silent, disdainful glare.
            Claire looked worriedly over at Trevor.
            "Questions?' Trevor asked.
            "Yes, Mr. Hale. Specifically, what sort of unsupervised interaction you've been having with my patient." Frechette said it like it was some sort of opening move, now simply waiting.
            Trevor gave him a wary look, not following Frechette's question. "I haven't... Why? Faith's been locked up the entire time. Least she was. Until the Keystone Cops over there started watching her." He waved a hand over at the orderlies.
            "So you claim to have had no contact with her?" Frechette was pushing his questions hard. "None at all?"
            "Look..." Annoyed, Trevor shook his head, his voice growing louder. "The last time I saw that nut job was from across the bullet end of the handgun she used to shoot me!"
            "Interesting. Because Mary Simmons still seems to know quite a lot about you, Mr. Hale. Throughout her treatment and incarceration she provided me with so much detail. Always about you... Your habits, your personal life. Your daily, sometimes even hourly schedule. I find that very... interesting. Faith knew," Frechette paused for a moment, his eyes lingering briefly on Claire seated beside Trevor, before looking back, "...all sorts of things. And then of course, there was the tattoo."
            Trevor went completely still again, hoping he wasn't letting his surprise show. "T-tattoo?" His words faltered, voice now full of caution.
            "Yes..." Frechette paused warily, Trevor's reaction made him instantly suspicious. "Mrs. Simmons has been drawing a tattoo on her arm for weeks. With whatever she could find. Pencil, ink... She nearly carved it into her skin, she'd written it there so much. Always the same arm. We could never get her to stop."
            Trevor shifted uncomfortably in his chair, feeling the skin of his sore arm sliding under the sleeve of his shirt. That thin fabric was the only thing concealing the tattoo he had gotten there last night from all the prying eyes around him. A heart tattoo, hidden on his arm with Claire's name on it.
            "In fact..." Frechette cued up the tape of the common room again. "When we reviewed the security footage, we noticed that before she escaped, Faith was doing something. Possibly carving the same tattoo into her arm. We found a bloody fork left behind. Of course, we can't be sure of that, but we have our suspicions..."
            Trevor watched, seeing Faith's arm move, hidden on the tape, feeling his heart fall through his body with dread. He tried to remain calm, again watching the blurry image, a cold pit opening up inside him, feeling as if the chair underneath him was the only thing holding him up when he finally noticed what she was doing. She seemed to know everything he did before he even did it. It was impossible. He hadn't even thought of getting any tattoo at all until yesterday. And she had been doing it for months, as if Trevor were on some unstoppable preordained course towards disaster. Finally he swallowed, looking back at Frechette.
            "So what does any of this have to do with me?"
            "The tattoo Faith was drawing was a heart. A heart your name on it. Specifically Cupid's name. "
            Trevor closed his eyes at the description. Claire quickly jumped back into the conversation, trying to change it's focus away from the tattoo and countering Frechette's statement. "This is nothing new. Faith has been obsessed with Trevor for some time. That's very well established."
            Not fazed, Frechette turned his eyes on her. "Perhaps, Dr. Allen. But it's more than that. Even while incarcerated, Faith seemed to know Trevor's movements. She described them to me. She constantly knew where he was as well as where he was going to be. Accounts I personally verified, once or twice... During all my sessions with Mr. Hale's mentally disturbed cult worshiper, she seemed to consistently know what Trevor was doing. Doesn't that seem strange to you, Dr. Allen? Always about him. Who he met, who he interacted with. Even who he.... loves. " Frechette looked pointedly at the two of them seated together.
            Trevor and Claire were both silent, not knowing how to respond.
            Satisfied, Frechette continued with a smug smile. "But my point is that Faith knew far more about Trevor than she should have been be capable of. So how did she receive this information? Tell me. The only conclusion I can see, is that by some means, Mr. Hale has remained in contact with my patient. Repeatedly. Perhaps even influencing her judgment and recent actions. Feeding her delusion with his own."
            "Now hold on!" Claire snapped back loudly. "Now you're just looking for any excuse for why Faith escaped. Or for your own failure in helping her condition. Hospital security and your own treatment tactics should be the issues here, not Trevor!"
            Frechette angrily grit his jaw as if Claire had hit too close to home. Eyes flashing, he could barely contain his fury, trying to control himself, speaking in a soft fast voice. "If it weren't for you Mrs. Allen, and your--"
            Seeing the fight that was about to erupt between the two doctors, Dr. Greely interceded. "Doctors..." They both went silent, pulling angrily back. Dr. Greely turned to Claire. "Regardless of the larger issues... the purpose of meeting this morning is to inform you and your patient of what has happened, Dr. Allen. Not to place blame. Faith has escaped. And she is still obviously obsessive and very dangerous."
            Claire snapped back, unsatisfied. "So that's it? No one is really accountable, but sorry anyway. We screwed up. Now Faith's out there somewhere roaming the streets?"
            Greely tried to calm her. "We will have her again, Dr. Allen. Given enough time, she will be back in our custody."
            "And the danger to my patient in the meantime?"
            "That's really why we're here today." Greely sighed. "Trevor... we'd like to place a guard on you."
            Trevor shook his head. "Don't want one."
            Greely tried to convince him. "Trevor, it's in your own best interests to let--"
            "I don't care! I won't have some knuckle dragging goon with a protruding forehead following me around everywhere."
            Resolute, Trevor looked away from Greely, locking gazes with Claire. His thoughts were clear in his eyes. If he had some sort of armed guard constantly following him around, then he and Claire would never... Claire immediately knew that was the reason. She opened her mouth to object to him, but instead remained silent, knowing she could say nothing surrounded by all the hospital representatives. Claire closed her lips, fear in her eyes as she looked at Trevor, sunlight still angling brightly down between them.
            Greely didn't comprehend Trevor's refusal at all. "Trevor... I urgently advise you to reconsider your decision. Accept our help. Please... For your own protection."
            Raising his gaze slowly, Frechette looked across the table at Trevor with distain. "Or at least consider staying on the ward, where we can monitor--"
            Trevor's chair screeched back slightly, rankled at the mere suggestion, now immediately animated. "Oh no! No way. No way I'm staying in the ward again. If your still trying to get me back in this place, you'll need to find a better excuse than that."
            Frechette paused.
            "Don't tempt me..."
            The white walled room went quiet for several uncomfortable moments.
            Frechette's voice was certain when he spoke again. "But know this, Mr. Hale. I still believe that you were in some way communicating with Mary Simmons. And I believe you somehow ignited her desire to escape. All because she still clings to this absurd idea that you really are Cupid. So believe me. If any harm ever comes to her because of your delusion... then I'll nail you to the wall for it."



-------------


            "Trevor wait!"
            Claire sped out of the front doors of Lakeview hospital with a concerned look, calling out as she stepped out into the sunlight, spotting him. Trevor was already pulling further away, moving quickly along the sidewalk in front of her. He was obviously upset, storming away from the hospital entrance. Claire sped up in pursuit, catching up to him. "Trevor... hold on!"
            When she reached him, Trevor stopped and faced her suddenly, his face heavy with guilt, spread his arms out to either side in frustration. "Wait? Wait for what, Claire. Wait for what! I know what I caused!"
            Claire tried to calm him, reaching slowly over and touching his arm. "Trevor... I know you're worried. But until Faith is caught, maybe you should have a guard. No matter what happens we--"
            "It won't make any difference!" Anxious, he pulled away just as quickly as he had stopped. Claire looked down at Trevor's steps as he began pacing with pent up emotions, his strides fast and quick on the sidewalk. She could feel the worry churning inside him, putting him on edge.
            "It's all my fault..." Trevor said sadly.
            "How-..." Claire didn't understand. "Trevor, Faith escaping is not in any way your fault."
            He looked her straight in the eyes, stepping closer. "It is my fault, Claire! Because I caused this. Just like Frechette said. Faith escaped. Last night of all nights."
            "I know you haven't had any contact with her, Trevor." She was standing in the sunlight before him, trying to calm him as he continued to pace in the darkened shade of the hospital looming beside them. "You haven't. No matter what Frechette says."
            "Faith got free last night..."
            Claire threw her arms out to either side, still struggling to understand what he meant. "So?"
            "She escaped! last night, Claire!" Trevor was almost frantic.
            Claire shook her head. "I'm still not seeing what--"
            Trevor's voice was low and desperate when he interrupted her. "We made love last night..."
            Caught off guard, she blinked, silent for a moment.
            His eyes were full of sadness, guilty as he looked over at her. "So you see it is my fault. Because... because of what I did."
            Watching him, her eyes were tender, finally understanding. Claire's voice grew softer, understanding what he was feeling. "What we did, Trevor... What we both did. Together."
            Pushing out an anxious breath, Trevor started to pace again. "What I wasn't allowed to do. Against the rules, remember? No sex with mortals. Now's it's all gone to hell. The gods have decided to punish me. Because last night I gave up on being Cupid."
            "Was that what we did last night, Trevor? Just sex with some mortal? I thought we made love."
            His steps were still quick, back and forth as he shook his head, not looking at her. "The gods won't see it that way. Believe me Claire. I've had 1000's of years of 'getting to know you' time. God types tend to have a more fire and brimstone sort of temperament."
            "Trevor, do you love me?"
            He was still pacing, not listening. "Course I do, Claire. That's not the point--"
            "Trevor, do you love me!"
            The insistence in her words made him pause. facing her, he came closer, reassuring her. "I do. Yes. You know I do, Claire. "
            "Ok." She stepped closer to him too, gently taking his hands. "Then what the two of us shared last night can't be wrong. We love each other. True love. It was right. We deserve to be together."
            Trevor pulled his hands gently away from hers. He nodded cynically towards the looming shape of the hospital in the shade behind him. "Yeah. Deserve it so much that we had to hide it in there."
            Claire blinked, looking down. "That's different."
            "Is it? There are all kinds of judgments, Claire. Gods and hospitals alike. They just condemn you in the end."
            "So now you doubt that you're still Cupid?"
            "Doesn't matter what I think, Claire. Or even what the hospital behind me thinks." Angry, Trevor jabbed a finger to the sky. "It's about what they think! You may not realize it, but to most of the gods up there, everyone down here might as well be insects they're trying not to step on. Sometimes trying anyway."
            "Trevor, you don't answer to them. The only opinion that really matters is yours."
            "Right. Remind me of that at my next hospital evaluation, Claire."
            "You make yourself, Trevor!" Claire exhaled, her voice certain, trying to get him to see. "You get to decide who you really are. All these years, banging my stubbornness against yours, trying to cure you, then falling in love with you... I learned something. About you. About us. I finally see, Trevor. We decide who we are together. I realized you don't need to be cured! Not by the hospital, not by the gods. And not by me. Not of this... I love you, Trevor. Exactly how you've always been. You still are Cupid. As long as you decide to be. No one can take that away."
            Trevor still looked unconvinced. "Or maybe they took that away last night."
            She exhaled, lowering her head, then watching him carefully. "So what now, Trevor? Live as a lonely bartender and be miserable all the rest of your life? Or are you going to let yourself be more?"
            "Claire maybe I don't have the choice anymore! Last night changed it all! Maybe I really am mortal now, able to hurt, able to die, so Faith's on the loose now to finish the job!"
            "Or maybe you're just feeling a little vulnerable. Feeling exposed, now that we've shared what we did last night. No longer invincible, for letting someone past your defenses. You let me in, we opened ourselves to each other. Doesn't change who we are. It's just something new for you, Trevor. And it's only natural."
            "Nothing natural about this, Claire! Come on, a weather incident? That has the gods written all over it!" Trevor shook his head. "I... I don't know.... Maybe I'm not him anymore. Not Cupid."
            She stepped closer. "regardless, Faith tried to kill you once, Trevor. Are you going to let her now? Or the hospital? If you stop what you believe, essentially kill who you are, then you're doing that job for them."
            "Ignoring the fact that Faith escaped the night we made love--" he said harshly.
            "It's a coincidence, Trevor. There are coincidences in life."
            "And Champ and Jaclyn broke up the night we made love..." His voice was soft.
            Claire paused for a long moment, looking suddenly doubtful. "Well... another coincidence..."
            "Claire you don't get it! You just don't get it. God, it's so obvious! We wake up in each other's arms this morning and, guess what. We find out Champ and Jaclyn broke up last night! Two people I care about. Two people I set up! Then the oh so happy call from the hospital to get up here right away so we can learn the oh so happy news that of all people... Faith escaped last night too! And she knew! She knew about us, about my tattoo. She knew what we were doing months before we even did it! Like someone imparted it to her. That's more than just a coincidence! It's a sign, Claire. Crashing down over my formerly immortal head."
            "There's no former. You still are the god of love."
            "Wish it were that easy. But it's not, Claire."
            "Yes it is!" Claire was adamant, moving closer to him. "How many times have you told two people that it doesn't matter what other people think? That what they have, what they feel is wonderful and beautiful and... and true love. Can't you listen to your own advice? What we feel, what we have together is beautiful."
            "They're human, Claire! I'm... I'm a god. I'm not like them." Trevor stepped back, waving at the people on the sidewalk in the distance, saying things he wished were different. "I didn't come into this as some hurting, mortal slob on the street. I came into this with more than that. I came into this as Cupid! The banished god of love, fallen far from home. And now... I don't even know if I'm that anymore! Inside me is this deep, amazing love I feel for you, Claire. This wonderful, amazing thing, like fire and rain and love and joy and nervousness and hope all at the same time. The only thing in this nonsensical world that makes any sense! But the gods won't see it that way. They don't care! In the eyes of the gods... all I have are responsibilities."
            Claire looked into in his eyes. "Trevor, I know you're scared. But you have responsibilities to yourself. To what you want. Last night you told me you weren't going to let the gods tell you who to love."
            "Things are different now."
            "Are they?" She tried to touch him, but he pulled away. She blinked, concerned. "What, now you're afraid to touch me? To make love to me?"
            "Claire, now ... in the morning light... all I see are costs."
            "Not costs, Trevor. Coincidences."
            "Coincidence that all I ever seem to do is screw up your life? I love you, Claire. But I almost got you fired. I almost destroyed your career, your reputation. I still could, if they found out you loved a crazy man. I hate putting you in danger, Claire."
            "Trevor, I accept the risks I'm taking."
            "Maybe I don't..." He seemed reluctant to speak.
            "Trevor..." she paused quietly. "What are you saying?"
            "I don't know anymore.... Claire, what if.... what if the costs are too high?"
            "Trevor tell me what you're saying...." She looked at him, pausing for a moment, finally hitting her. "Are you breaking up with me?"
            Trevor paused too.
            "Claire, after what happened with Champ and Jaclyn... Maybe I never really knew who was supposed to be with who... Maybe my matches are crumbling. Destined to fail, magic gone. Even you and me..." He couldn't look at her. "Maybe we're not supposed to be together."
            She stepped back, not believing he had said that, not believing he had even suggested that. Claire was stricken by what he thought, speechless. She was silent for a long moment, the sunlight on her face, a cold breeze wafting into her black hair as she looked at him with sad eyes. She swallowed, trying not to let a tear fall, her eyes glittering in silence.
            "Trevor... in the end you have to make your own decision about us. No one can make it for you. Not even the gods. After all we've been through, you still don't want to disobey the gods? Fine. That's your choice. But I love you. I will take the risk. I will wave my arms at the thunder, be the tallest thing for miles. Dive in and not see the water. You taught me that..." She looked him sadly in the eye. "So guess it's up to you. It's time for you to decide what you want and what you don't, Trevor. I want you. I love you. If you want us to be together, I'll be home. If you figure out what you want... you know where to find me..."
            Claire could think of nothing else to say, slowly turning from him, walking away without another word. Trevor watched her, not wanting her to leave like this, but not following her either. He started to reach out to stop her, feeling her pull away, feeling that distance growing even in his chest like a physical thing, wanting to take what he had said back. But then she was even farther, and growing farther still. He tried to say something more, opening his mouth to call out to her, but she didn't see him. And then she was gone.
            Indecisive, Trevor turned away, tears in his eyes, not knowing what to do. He paced alone in front of the hospital walls rising beside him, a solitary figure on the sidewalk, his expression full of doubt and worry. Out of nowhere he looked a up at the sky above him, frustrated eyes glittering, fed up, feeling cornered, trapped.
            "We did nothing wrong!" he yelled at that wide blue expanse above him.
            But the sky was silent and cold in response.
            Trevor lowered his head, and slowly walked away from the hospital, as a slow, sad song began to play...

            ...and as the music continued, the unexpected glow of a faint red light snapped on to illuminate the cramped corner of an abandoned room. After a moment, a woman`s hand came into view to set down something gray on a table. It waa a pan, shallow and square, like the kind used to develop pictures in liquid solution. The woman`s hand calmly placed a similiar pan next to the first, certain in her work. And just as calmly sher placed a stolen handgun beside the pan, followeed by a water speckled camera.
            The hands withdrew, leaving both there like any other pair of tools. Out of view, she continued to work, intent on her task.


            I`m standing on the bridge...

            Lost as he tried to make his decision, Trevor was walking across one of Chicago`s downtown bridges, wondering what to do, as through the air a dim rumble of thunder trailed him over the river. At the sound of the thunder he looked up at the gray clouds, tinged in late day sunlight, behind and high above him.


            I`m waiting in the dark...

            Alone, Claire gazed out of her living room window as the light of the setting sun faded on her face. Her eyes glittered in the light, searching out the window, watching, waiting, hoping Trevor would choose her, choose to stay with her. Sadness filled Claire`s face, feeling the window glass seperating her from the rest of the world, alone and in limbo as she waited for Trevor. Above, there was a flash of light from the storm clouds rolling towards the sunset, washing silently over her for a brief second.


            I thought you would be here by now...

            On the center of the bridge, Trevor was pacing, as thunder rolled over the skyline of Chicago towering around him. The sky was gray, filled with a moving sheet of clouds moving in. Lost in his thoughts, Trevor looked up at the sound of more thunder, just as a few drops of water started to fall out of the sky and rain down on him. Slowly the rain grew thicker, falling everywhere as far as the eye could see. People caught in the open hurried for cover, scattering in either direction past him. Face getting pelted, Trevor was still looking up, dejected, his shoulders slumping even further, getting soaked.
            "Figures..."


            There`s nothing but the rain, no footsteps on the ground...

            Claire was still at her window. She closed her eyes as a tear fell down her pale cheek. At that moment, rain began to fall outside too, drops pelting the glass, bright and golden in the glow of the last edge of the setting sun, distorting her image through the window.


            I'm listening but there's no sound...

            Bathed in the red of the dim room, the woman`s hands calmly filled the pan with the necessary chemicals, the handgun and camera still resting within easy reach. Almost reverently, she slipped a white sheet into the liquid to begin the developing process.


            Isn`t anyone trying to find me...

            Claire looked back from her living room clock, still standing by her rain pelted window. Hours had past already since they last spoke, but Trevor wasn`t there. She glanced over at her closed front door, listening. But there was still no sound of footsteps, no knock, no answer to her there, waiting, alone. Worried, she began to pace.


            Won`t somebody come take me home...

            In the rain, Trevor was doing the same, soaked to the bone as he paced on the bridge, suspended in mid air by it over the river, trying desperately to find the decision inside him.. His chest churned and twisted at the thought of letting Claire go. It did the same with the potential of finally ruining her life if he didn't. Suddenly Trevor felt as if he had been stuck here all along, undecided for all these years.
            As it grew darker, he didn`t notice that he wasn`t alone. At the far end of the bridge, there was a small outline of someone hiding, silently watching him.


            It`s a damn cold night...

            Another picture went in the darkened red room. After a few moments it quickly began to develop into an image.

            At the end of the bridge, the figure watching Trevor in the rain lifted a camera. A woman with startling blue eyes looked out from the hood over her head, keeping her dry. Her lovely gaze was silent and intent, as she brought the camera sight up. Droplets of rain speckled the camera`s surface as she held it.


            Tryin' to figure out this life...

            Through the downpour, the image in the camera`s sight shifted and focused until it caught Trevor standing in the rain. The woman's gaze held steady, not blinking, like a hunter. It was far too distant for a camera flash in the dim light. She didn`t need one. Instead she began to whisper to herself, certain, counting down, waiting for something. Just as she hit zero, she clicked at the exact same instant that there was a dazzling flash of bright lightning, illuminating everything for miles. Before her, the camera whirred quietly, mechanism moving to the next picture. Her gaze remained locked on Trevor, not blinking, before she began to whisper again finally, counting down to the next flash of lightning for the next piucture.
            In the darkened room of the abandoned house, the picture in the liquid finished developing into a clear image of Trevor standing alone on the bridge, deciding in the rain.


            Won't you... take me by the hand take me somewhere new...

            In her living room, Claire stopped and lowered her head, accepting the truth. It was getting late. He had decided. Trevor wasn`t coming. Wiping away the tears on her face, Claire turned off the lights in her house one by one. In the dark, she slowly went up the steps to bed.

            Downtown, the bridge over the river was empty. No one was there anymore as lighting flashed and rain poured out of the sky.


            I don't know who you are, but I...

            Under the red light, another undeveloped sheet of white slipped into the liquid, settling to the bottom of the pan, the gun on the table beside it. The submurged paper eventually began to darken, until outlines of another image began to emerge from the white. Soon it was almost recognizble, slowly growing more distinct in the liquid, looking almost like the shape of a step, a house, the vague outline of a front door...



            I'm with you...

            The stormy night sky was dark, rain falling past the streetlights in thick sheets. Walking underneath that glow, the shadowy figure of the hooded woman who had watched Trevor on the bridge passed silently. A few strands of blond hair swayed out from underneath the hood that kept the woman dry. Without a word, she walked down the center of the rain drenched steet, passing from light to shadow, moving towards Claire`s house in the distance. No one else was around her.



            I'm looking for a place...

            On a completely different street, Trevor was heading in the opposite direction, his shoe splashing through a puddle already rippling with raindrops. But he didn`t notice what he had done, eyes forward, striding confident towards home, absolutely certain in his decision.



            I'm searching for a face...
            Is anybody here I know?


            With light glowing through her bed room window projecting the image of rain on her face, Claire was lying on her bed as she closed her eyes and wept. She felt it. It was finally over between her and Trevor. He no longer accepted the costs, the risks. Tears glistening on her cheeks, Claire turned her face from the speckled light, crying into her pillow as rain continued to pelt her bedroom window



            Cause nothing's going right...
            And everything's a mess...


            Alone and outside in the pouring rain, the blond woman cast a glance over at the bedrrom window a few houses down where Claire was crying. The woman closed her eyes, waiting patiently. It was almost time now. It would happen soon. The rain didn`t seem to bother her at all. as she waited there, her heart hoping things didn`t have to happen this way, but inside already knowing better. It had to be this way.
            Behind her all around, water was cascading down the brick wall she was hiding against. The woman`s shoulders lifted in a sigh, already knowing what she had to do. She looked expectantly over at Claire`s front door. Then slowly, she began to move closer.



            And no one likes to be alone...

            Trevor`s foot splashed through another puddle, leaving ripples behind.

            Underneath the rippling liquid, the image in the pan coalesced, darkening even further into a house, growing even more distinct now. It began to show the figure of someone before the front door.



            Isn't someone trying to find me?

            Suddenly, Claire`s head lifted from her tear stained pillow, her cheeks wet as she listened more carefully. There it was again, someone was knocking. Someone was knocking on her front door. Looking over at the window, she saw it was still raining heavily outisde. Quickly wrapping a robe around her, Claire rushed downstairs.



            Won't someone come take me home...

            Walking further away into the distance, Trevor`s cheeks were wet with more than rain, realizing he had no other choice. He wondered why he had done any of this. In the end, it really was the only decision he could have ever made. Rain drops pelted hard against his tear covered face, finally feeling certain, moving away across the wet sidewalk.



            It's a damn cold night...

            Outside Claire`s front door, the woman waiting, lifting something slowly in her hands, her steely, beautiful blue eyes unblinking, steady like a hunter as rain pelted her too.



            Trying to figure out this life

            Claire rushed quickly down the stairs from the upper floor, thunder rumbling outside, her heart racing in her chest as she ran over to the front door...

            In the rain, the woman slowly lowered her dazzlying blue eyes, closing them, her breath pausing in anticipation, waiting for the moment to come...



            Take me by the hand...
            Take me somewhere new...


            Claire grabbed at her front door, pulling it open to find...

            Trevor was there. He was soaked, bathed in the light beside her front door. Hair wet and plastered against his dripping forehead, he looked at her sadly for a moment, everything in his eyes. He spoke softly, water dripping off his chin.
            "I'm sorry. It was crazy to doubt us. You`re everything. I only want you, Claire. I only want you..."


            I don't know who you are, But I...

            With a relieved sob, Claire rushed into Trevor`s arms, both kissing desperately as they wrapped their arms tightly around each other, water splashing from their embrace as the music swelled louder.



            I'm with you...I'm with you...

            Standing there, watching the two of them with a stunned expression of shock... was Faith. Slowly, she pushed the hood back off her blond hair, finally revealing her face from beneath it`s shadows. In the hevy rain, it became quickly soaked, motionless in her despair. She had hoped against hope, wishing, praying that what she had seen wouldn`t... But the truth was there in front of her. And deep down, she had always known that it had to be this way.
            Faith`s wet face crinkled with dismay, sobbing quietly in the rain. In her hand, she still held the camera, momentarily forgotten. But then she closed her eyes, tears flowing out onto her wet cheeks as she lifted the camera up and pointed it at Trevor and Claire kissing. As the rain pelted her face, she sobbed, her breath short and full of grief. No one heard her crying. No one saw her there. She was alone with her own certainty. Eyes still shut closed, she finally pushed the shutter button and in that exct same instant another lightning flash illuminated the scene for her.

            Benath the liquid in the developing pan, the darkening picture finally came into view. It was an image of a house, a step, a front door, and two figurres standing there. They were motionless, caught in one moment, kissing desperately in the rain and lit by a flash of lightning, Claire`s front door open behind them.



            Why is everything so confusing...

            The front door slammed shut, closing away the falling rain. Trevor and Claire stumbled into her living room as they kissed, and they began to remove each other`s wet clothing. They were quickly naked and against each other, skin glistening with moisture as their hands roamed and their mouths devoured each other. The wide living room eindow was pelted with rain, flshing with lightning.
            Trevor and Claire didn`t even see the window, no longer caring as they gave their bodies to each other without reservation. In one beautiful moment, the world outside ceased to exist, evaporating the fear of what anyone, either man or god, might think. They were both, finally certain. And all that matterred in that moment was what they felt for each other.
            Wrapped around each other, their naked bodies fell to the floor. Nothing would stop them anymore, as all that time, lightning flashed a dim unoticed shadow against the window.



            Maybe I`m just out of my mind...

            The glass outside was being feircely pelted with rain as Faith stood inches from it ,silently crying as she looked in. It really was over. Past the point of no return. Pausing, she quickly pulled off her raincoat, exposing her thin clothes underneath to the cold and the rain. Sobbing quietly, she watched them in Claire`s living room, tears falling freely down her face. She felt aslone, abandoned, her shoulders begining to shake. No one heard her, felt her pain. She lifted the camera angrily again, and began taking more pitures through the glass, not stopping as the rain bounced off the smooth metal. Picture after picture, each inexplicably matching a lightning flash, the whirr as it reset, while insdiee Trevor and Claire made love.
            Watching them with each picture, Faith finally accepted the awful certainty of what she had to do. The lightning flashed bright on her pale skin, the clothing on her shoulder was soaked and clinging to her, water dripping down her arm. It moved down over the freshly cut tatto of Trevor`s name in a heart, mixing there with her blood.



            It's a damn cold night...

            Coming out of the shadows and batheedd in the darkened room`s red light, a woamn`s hand went through a small stack of completed photographs, examining them in sequence. There was an image of Trevor and Claire arguing before the hospital doors. Aa very close image of Claire`s worried face as she passed nearby, unaware she was being photographed. A picture of Trevor on the bridge, alone in the rain. Trevor and Claire kissing on her doorstep. Then through the window... both of them naked, making love. A close up of Trevor`s arm, showing the tattoo there, a heart with Claire`s name in it.
            Each picture slipped past thew woman`s fingers, calmly going back into the stack. Then she slipped them all into a large brown envelope, a single word written on the outside.



            Trying to figure out this life...

            Bright, clear morning light was glowing in the window, bathing Trevor and Claire`s naked bodies, laying their in each other`s arms on her living room floor. They were gently caressing each other, happy in the soft, warm glow of morning. Lying contently next to him, Claire smiled, her fingers softly grazing the tattoo on his arm.

            Frechette walked into his office after unlocking the door, ready to start the day. But then he paused, his dour face looking down at the floor. A sinlge brown envelope was lying inexplicably there in the morning sunlight before his desk. Frechette blinked. He was certain the door had been locked when he entered. Slowly reaching down, he lifted the envelope. It had a single word written on the outside.

            Proof.

            Still laying together on her living room floor, faces next to each other in the sunlight, Claire looked into Trevor`s eyes. She carressed his face gently, her voice soft.
            "I love you, Trevor... No matter what happens..."



            Take me by the hand, take me somewhere new...

            Frechette was more stunned with every picture he saw, each more startling than the next. As he stood in disbelief in his office, he knew... it had to be Faith who had sent these. How had she done this ? And then he realized... what he finally had in his hands. This was it. Hard proof of what he had suspected all along.
            One picture paused in his hands. It was a close up of Trevor`s arm as he lay naked with Claire. It clearly showed a heart tatto with Claire`s name on it. The exact same pattern Faith had been emulating for months and months. Frechette looked away, a chill filling him.



            I don`t know who you are, but I...

            Darkness was falling as the sun set. Trevor stepped into his apartmenmt and closed the door behind him with a smile, having spent the day at Claire`s. He sighed as the night continued to deepen around him. everythign was right with the world. He walked happily across the shadows of his apartment, tossing his coat onto the couch as he clicked on a light. Then he noticed something.
            There was a brown envelope on the floor of his apartment, simply lying there. Trevor bent down and picked it up. A single word was written on the outside.

            Redemption.

            Frowning, Trevor emptied the contents into his hand. There was no stack of pictures. Only one photograph. A single close up image of Claire`s worried face, along with a handwritten not to him.

            In the red bathed developing room, the woman sealed all the pictures into the envelope marked proof. All except one. She kept that one in her hand, looking down at Claire`s worried expression silently. Holding that one, she lsowly reached over, and picked up the handgun from where it rested on the table.



            I'm with you,

            As he held the same picture in his hands, Trevor`s eyes shifted to the note, reading it. It was a woman`s writing, writing that he instantly recognized. A deep cold panic passed through him as he read.

            I love you, Eros. I know what I have to do mnow. To free you. To free us...

            Trevor`s mind turned, wondering what Faith could mean with the note, with the picture of Claire. Then in one horryfying instant, he knew. it was all so shockingly clear.

            "`Claire. Oh god... No."



            I'm with you...

            As the music cadenced and then faded to silence, Claire`s picture flutterred slowly to the ground. Trevor turned frantically, moving away out of view, already running.



to be continued on page 2...