PERIGEE
A story about the tv show, Cupid
Part Six of Five
by Steve 0yervidez
gumtuu@hotmail.com





            The light of a late afternoon filled the windows in front of Claire's singles group as they met at Cuppa Java.
            The whole scene seemed to slide sideways into view, moving from the dim shadowed walls of the hallway to the bright main room of the coffee bar. Arrayed across the floor, the groups occupants sat in several rows of chairs, and it was a full room as usual, everyone stationary and listening. One woman was standing in the middle of the group, talking excitedly, telling her tale. At the front of the room, presiding before them all, Claire Allen faced everyone with a smile on her face. As she continued to listen to the fairly explicit details of the group member's account, there was a small twinkle in Claire's eye.
            Claire watched the woman standing in the middle of the seated assemblage, a look of amusement on her face at the woman's tale, but still a little skeptical as to where it was going. Suddenly, the whole listening audience laughed as one, surprised by the audacity of the story the woman was telling. Even Claire herself felt her cheeks blush pink slightly in response, a little surprised at the woman's honesty.
            The attractive young woman didn't seem to mind that every eye was on her, eagerly gesturing with her hands as she told her story. "I can't explain how good it felt. It was like we were out of control, constantly putting our hands all over each other, we wanted each other so bad. We didn't care where we were, or who was watching. So... when we finally did hear the police sirens, we put our clothes back on and they continued with the fourth quarter. The Jumbotron had a field day..."
            Nick spoke up, recognizing her. "Wait, that was you? Bears game, last year? Oh, I gotta say. Bravo..."
            The woman looked back at Claire, seeming a little concerned. "It didn't last. After awhile, it seemed we didn't have anything more than great sex. Now I'm with a new guy, and it's sort of starting up the same way all over again, hot and heavy. It's scaring me. Is a ravenous appetite for non stop sex like that... normal?"
            The woman smiled, waiting in the middle of dazed faces.
            "Umm..." Claire paused for a moment, still stunned, her lips slightly parted.

            An energetic music began to play, fast and driving with a pounding electric bass line. Rock organs held chords over the driving bass, combining to play an up tempo song that seemed to hover over everything. A man's animated voice began to sing, lively over the organs, drums and guitars.

            Well my temperature's rising, and my feet left the floor
            Crazy people knockin' cause they're wanting some more


            Jaclyn was busy at her desk outside of Claire's office. Trevor was standing nearby, apparently for no reason, trying to look busy but not succeeding. Blinking, Jaclyn stared up from her work at him hovering there. He didn't look over at her, as if waiting. She was about to ask him if he needed something specific, when suddenly the door to Claire's office jerked eagerly open.
            For a moment Claire seemed to be running as she stepped out. But then she caught herself when she saw Jaclyn look over at her and became deliberately cool, calmly walking over to the reception desk and handing her some folders. "Umm, Jaclyn... could you please deliver these files which Dr. Greeley asked for to his office, please?"
            Jaclyn blinked at the sudden request. Trevor pretended not to notice at all, looking away. Slowly Jaclyn rose from her chair. "Uhh... sure, Claire."
            Claire handed them to her with an almost impatient smile.
            Flashing them a confused look at how they were acting, Jaclyn stepped between Claire and Trevor, taking the files and moving off down the hallway, leaving them behind. The two of them stayed there, calmly watching her leave. Then Claire touched her ear, turning slightly towards him, for all the world as if just remembering something. Her voice sounded like she was reciting something rehearsed. "That reminds me. Mr. Hale... Can I see you in my office for a moment?"
            Saying nothing, a barely perceptible smile crossed Trevor's face.

            Let me in baby, I don't know what I've got,

            Back at the singles group, Claire was still carefully searching for a way to answer the woman's question as to what was normal. But then out of nowhere there was a sudden sparkle in Claire's eyes, as if holding back some memory. Smiling, Claire grazed one of her fingers slowly across her neck, a little self conscious. "Well... normal might not be the operative word..."

            The door to Claire's office slammed shut.
            Trevor and Claire both took one calm step into her office, before they instantly whirled on each other, their bodies colliding as their mouths sealed together hungrily and they started to maul one another. With both of them panting and moaning, their bodies started to circle each other as they stood gripped tightly in the other's roaming embrace, not able to keep their hands off each other.

            But you better take it easy, 'cause this place is hot, and I'm--

            Claire's singles group was laughing in amazement. They were reacting to the continuation of the woman's explicit tale of her sex life and murmuring appreciatively, a new liveliness in the room. When the woman paused for another response from her, Claire swallowed, now certain her skin was a little heated, but from thinking of her and Trevor. "Well regardless... it's understandable. Sometimes it's really easy to let the heat and excitement of a new relationship go a little overboard..."

            Claire suddenly came into view as she was slammed back into her office wall. Trevor was instantly all over her as they both kissed each other hungrily. Neither of them seemed to notice or care about the crashing sound they made. Claire's arm darted absently out to the wall by her side to keep herself from falling over, but not wanting to stop... Her left leg seemed to snake around behind Trevor's leg of it's own will. With a moan Trevor reached down, hoisting her up, and her legs instantly wrapped around his waist, ankles crossing on his back. With her arm still sprayed out to one side, Claire moved her free hand on the wall to steady herself, sending some of her diplomas falling to the floor with a clatter. Their mouths parted for a split second, both panting heavily with her body pinned against the wall. She started unsuccessfully trying to remove Trevor's shirt. Trevor was doing the same to her, not having much success with the buttons on her blouse. There seemed to be infinite layers upon layers of clothing in their way. Trevor only managed to tear a few top buttons of the blouse free, sending them flying, before they were too busy kissing each other again. They both still very much had their clothes on, not wanting to take their mouths off each other for even a moment as they rolled along the wall, her legs still wrapped around his waist.

            So glad we made it,

            Sitting calmly in front of her group, Claire looked prim and proper, the model of composure. But there was the tiniest lift on her features, remembering, as she leaned forward and interlocked her fingers across her knees.
            "Feelings like that are normal. We've all become a little foolish during the heat of a new romance...."
            The woman who had brought up the topic thought she noticed something different in Claire's eyes. She tilted her head, curious. "Foolish how? What's wrong with being a little risky! Letting go, giving in because of how you feel?"
            Claire looked around at the group a little defensively, her face deliberately calm, almost as if she were trying to hide something, leaning back in retreat. "I didn't say anything was WRONG with it... Necessarily. As long as you keep it in... moderation."

            So glad we made it, you got to--

            Nearly every major object sitting on Claire's desk was suddenly propelled through the air as Claire's arm swept it aside. Trying to keep up, Trevor looked at her, surprised by her voraciousness. His clothes were wrinkled on his body, his hair pointing in every direction. Claire's blouse was missing a few buttons. But then she tackled him, both of them falling onto the desk, as more things there started falling loudly to the floor.

            The woman in the group shivered pleasurably at her own memory. From the looks on the faces behind her, the rest of the group agreed with her. Her voice was still insistent
            "Because it all felt so phenomenal..." the woman said.
            Blinking , Claire nodded rapidly, still trying to stay cool as she leaned back and calmly crossed her legs, embarrassed by her own reaction as all the remembered thoughts of her and Trevor ran through her head. "I... imagine a certain level of impulsiveness might feel that way..."

            Gimme some lovin'

            Jaclyn was walking back to her desk when she paused, hearing a crash come from inside Claire's office. Wondering about it, her brow furrowed as she came nearer. She noticed Claire's door was shut. It hadn't been before. Confused, she looked down at her watch. There were no appointments scheduled right now. And now Trevor was gone too. Where had he taken off to? Pausing next to the door, Jaclyn slowly leaned in, still curious, just in time to hear the crash of something else falling to the floor inside. Suddenly the muffled sound of Claire's voice could be heard, calling Trevor's name. Jaclyn's eyes went wide.
            The door on the other side of the hallway opposite Claire's suddenly opened, and a young male hospital intern walked out. Jaclyn quickly turned around, suddenly going stiff as a board in front of Claire's door, trying not to appear conspicuous. The intern gave her a strange look at her sudden stance, but was clueless as to what was going on. Jaclyn smiled sweetly at him, a tinge of panic in her eyes but saying nothing, watching him until he had walked away. She jumped a little as the door behind her rattled slightly, a dim shadow rolling by, visible through the hazy glass. Trevor and Claire had obviously moved back off the desk.

            Gimme some lovin'

            Claire smiled as her group listened to her. "Don't misunderstand me, I think passion's fine. As long as you don't let it adversely affect your life..."

            Still fully clothed, Trevor and Claire staggered around her office, facing each other, held in the other's arms. They were still not making much progress removing each others clothing. Wrapped in a close fumbling embrace, their upright bodies were pressed together tightly, mouths sealed, kissing and moaning together. Their hands roamed freely over each other's bodies as they inadvertently bounced all around the room in an uncoordinated dance, kissing passionately. Bumping into it, they finally collapsed on the desk again, fully dressed and overwhelmed by the other's touch.

            Gimme some lovin'
            every day, hey


            Able to hear the commotion they were making from outside, Jaclyn chuckled nervously to herself, looking around as she stood impromptu guard before the door. Her body tensed suddenly when she saw Dr. Greeley approaching down the hallway, a confused look on his face as he looked down at the files Claire had just had her deliver to him.
            Trying not to panic, Jaclyn darted over to intercept him as far away from Claire's office door as possible. She smiled, not knowing what to do.
            "Dr. Greeley!" she said too loudly, before giving him an awkward try at a playful punch on the arm in greeting. "Hey... you!"
            He looked at her, confused. "Hello again, Jaclyn. These files that Claire had you bring over... They're not the patient files I needed."
            "Oh? What are these?"
            "Secret Santa list from 1994..."
            "Oh great..." Jaclyn moaned softly, looking down. Catching herself, she tried to cover. "Oh... Great! I-I'll get those... For you. The files. You need. Don't move. Stay right there."
            Jaclyn rushed over to her desk, grabbing the appropriate files where they had waited on top of the desk and rushing back, moving as quickly as she could before Dr. Greeley could come any closer to Claire's door. She handed them to him with a smile, a little out of breath.
            "There you go..."
            Greeley stared blankly at her for a moment. "May I speak to Claire?"
            "Umm..." Jaclyn's mind raced, trying to think of something. She let out a coy laugh. "Did I mention how handsome that suit makes you look? That color just really looks great on you."
            He gave her a level look. "You mean... grey?"
            "Yeah... It brings out the color of your--" Jaclyn froze, searching. "--hair."
            He looked at her again, and Jaclyn thought she had just blown it.
            "Well thank you," he smiled in sudden appreciation. "I just got this suit from--"
            There was another crash from inside Claire's office behind them. Greeley looked over Jaclyn's shoulder at the closed office door. "What's going on in there?"
            "Claire's... with a patient. They're--" Jaclyn's eyes widened a little at the sound of another crash, her body going perfectly still. "... they're dialoguing..."
            Greeley nodded slowly, but not really understanding. He turned and started to walk away, going back to his office with the appropriate files. Jaclyn instantly rushed back to Claire's door. She slid a cushioned waiting area chair over in front of it and blocked it off. Taking a seat in the chair, she quickly crossed her legs, determined not to let anything past her. As Jaclyn sat guard there, her raised foot bouncing nervously.

            Well I feel so good, everything is gettin' hot
            You'd better take some time off 'cause this place is on fire


            Before her group, Claire looked down, sitting in front of the window at Cuppa Java. An appreciation tinged her words, as if conceding to some good memory. "Well... you have to admit there's something immensely exciting about secrets you can't tell anyone. The unexpected thrill you get from that sense of danger, the exhilaration and headiness that you might get caught at any moment..."
            There were confused murmurs across the singles group in front of her, wondering what she was talking about.
            Blinking at their reaction, Claire's face froze, petrified at what she had just let slip out. She subtly straightened her skirt and coughed. "Umm... never mind."
            The woman chuckled. "Well what would you do in my situation, Dr. Allen..."
            Claire paused for a moment, her lips parted as she considered.

            Better start baby 'cause I got so much to do
            We made it baby and it happened to you, and I'm--


            On the desk again, Claire rolled Trevor on to his back, finally ripping his shirt up over his head and off, exposing his chest. When he was free of it, she slammed him back down on to the desk, banging his head hard. Wincing, he didn't mind the throbbing pain, instead still swimming in her touch as she kissed him passionately again, letting out a deep series of moans. Except for his shirt, they were otherwise fully clothed, still too engrossed for the moment as their bodies writhed against each other, her lying on top of him. Sitting up, she squeezed her knees in tight against his hips, leaning forward to nibble on his ear with another moan.
            "Oh god, Trevor..."
            "Umm, Claire--"
            "I know. I feel it too..." Interrupting, she kissed him, yearning, moaning.
            He placed his fingers on her lips, stopping her, a look of concern on his face. His voice was a whisper. "Wait... Do you hear that?"
            "Hear what?"
            They both went quiet, Claire lying on top of him, both of them on top of her office desk, motionless. Then they heard it, a soft barely audible squeak, like something was being pushed repeatedly. Then they heard it again, and again, long sounds, in a slow driving rhythm.
            "Trevor... Is that--"
            "That's not me." he said.
            The long squeaks continued, not stopping their soft, relentless cycle, steady and faint.
            Slowly, with their bodies remaining completely still, they both turned their faces towards the office window until they were cheek to cheek, their hair disheveled and disorganized.

            So glad we made it...

            Outside Claire's office window, on a scaffolding hanging from the roof, a stunned window washer was staring at them through the glass. His eyes were frozen wide open from what he was seeing, for a moment thinking he was the luckiest window washer on the face of the planet. His right hand was still moving by itself in the sunlight, absently sliding a squeegee across the same, long since dry, three inch expanse of glass he had been working on when they had stumbled in. An unused bottle of window cleaner waited in his left hand, long forgotten.
            Claire and Trevor stared at him for a long moment, in total shock. With a jerk, they instantly rolled sideways off the desk, falling down in each other's arms behind it with a hard thud. Hidden there, after some whispers and curses, there was a new sound. Like someone scrambling along the floor. And suddenly from underneath the window Claire's arm fumbled upward, her hand groping around until it grabbed a string hanging down the side. She used it to start lowering the window's blinds, still hiding herself beneath it.
            Behind her, Trevor decided to make a dash for the door, running away from her desk with his back to the window. The window washer outside was still blank faced in awe, and as Claire lowered the blinds his body twisted down to keep the interior in view, before the blinds shut him completely out of sight.
            Jaclyn was just about to tape a crude sign she had scribbled onto the glass which said 'Construction In Progress' when the door suddenly opened and she jumped, startled as Trevor came running blindly past, pulling his shirt on.

            So glad we made it,
            you got to--


            Claire continued.
            "Of course, those are merely some generic, run of the mill suggestions, assuming there's a grocery nearby..."
            The entire stunned attention of the group was on Claire after what she had just proposed as she sat before them. The racy things the group member had related seemed like nothing in comparison to Claire's explicit suggestions. Not noticing, Claire carefully adjusted her skirt, pulling it lower on her knees for some reason.
            "On the other hand.." she said "Sometimes its better to just let things cool off for awhile..."

            Gimme some lovin'

            A showerhead sprang to life, shooting water down.
            Claire's face moved close into the hard spray, letting the ice cold water cascade against her Trevor heated skin as she tried to catch her breath. The freezing water bounced off of her as she kept her eyes closed, intentionally taking a little into her mouth before spitting it back out. The freezing liquid poured down her, and she shook her body gratefully for the icy affect.

            Sitting in her chair, Claire was still speaking to the group as they listened. "Or maybe it's better to find other ways of working it off..."

            Gimme gimme some lovin'

            Trevor was alone, his body covered in sweat.
            He was leaning forward on the chair in his bedroom, and his arm was aching with exertion, groaning as he flexed it repeatedly. Frantic about it, the heavy dumbbell he was holding came into view as he lifted it in an arm curl, his elbow popped on his knee as he grunted each time. The biceps in his arm were already burning, feeling like they were on fire, but he didn't stop, pressing on. Grunting, he wiped his forehead with is free hand, and his right arm continued with curl after curl, trying to burn off excess energy, and trying not to let his mind wander to where it inevitably kept wandering.

            The singles group shared glances with each other, still surprised at the unusually explicit things Claire was suggesting to them, seemingly out of character for her. They sat there, wondering what was going on.
            Claire still didn't seem to notice, looking wistfully into the air as she let her imagination run free. "A little exotic I know, but doable if you have good balance... And a sturdy table. See... Plentiful sex is a good thing. But I think the real crux of Sandra's problem, other than some possibly deeper intimacy issues, isn't really about appropriate reactions, but appropriate places where you can act on them..."

            Gimme some lovin'
            every day, hey


            Trevor and Claire stumbled into the men's bathroom at Taggerty's, oblivious to the world as their mouths consumed each other, hands slipping across the other's body. Moaning, they collapsed against a wall. That was when they finally noticed the shocked man standing beside them, pressed up against a urinal in mid use, unable to continue. The three of them stared at each other for a frozen moment, wondering what to do.
            Trevor and Claire stumbled into the women's bathroom at Taggerty's, equally oblivious to the world. This time no one else was there and Trevor shoved Claire up on to the wide sink counter as they kissed and moaned. He pressed his body up against hers. Curving forward against him, Claire gasped and started kissing his neck. She was looking over his shoulder, when suddenly a woman started walking casually in, before instantly stopping short at the sight of them.
            They both whirled to face the woman, speaking in unison.
            "Do you mind?!" they said.
            Too startled to argue, the woman slowly backed out the way she came.
            Frustration on her face, Claire was straightening her hair after she stormed out from the women's bathroom at Taggerty's. Champ was at the bar, and he blinked when Claire stormed past without a word. After she was gone, Champ suddenly noticed Trevor walking slowly past too, looking like he had been mauled by dogs.
            "Hey Trevor, where are you going?" He called out when Trevor didn't stop, walking past. "Hey! You're still on lunch shift!"
            Panting to cool off, Trevor swallowed, facing Champ as he pushed the front door open with his back. "Gotta go do some dumbbell curls..."

            Well I feel so good, everything is gettin' hot
            You better take some time off 'cause this place is on fire


            It was raining outside Claire's living room window.
            Claire and Trevor suddenly collapsed into view onto the cushions of Claire's sofa, wrapped in each other's arms. Her living room was quiet around them, and they took full advantage of the fact that they were finally alone. Their kissing and groping quickly became more intense, almost to the point of not stopping. Claire's blouse was quickly unbuttoned, sliding off to either side with Trevor laying on top of her, when there was suddenly a chime as the doorbell rang.
            Exasperated, Claire moaned towards the ceiling at the interruption. "Oh for the love of god!"
            Trevor closed his eyes, resting his forehead on her chin beneath him. "That's what I'm trying for..."
            Claire scrambled out from under his body, moving to her feet. As she walked over to the front door, Trevor tried to straighten his clothes behind her. Looking down, she realized her blouse was open, her black lace bra amply showing lots of her pale skin and curves. She quickly buttoned up, adjusting her blouse. Trevor remained seated on the couch.
            After running her fingers once through her hair, Claire took a deep breath to cool herself. She opened the front door, and stopped in her tracks at who was there.
            "Daddy..." she said softly.
            Bill Allen was standing on her doorstep, smiling at her. The handsome graying man stepped forward when he saw her, hugging her warmly. "Hello sweetie. Sorry about being last minute. But I thought I'd take you up on that offer you made last week after all, to stay here with you while I'm playing in town..."
            Surprised, Claire blinked as he hugged her, her body stiff under her father's arms. "Oh... Right... That's--that's great..."
            When he pulled back, she tried to give him the best smile she could.
            He noticed anyway. "Honey... wait are you okay? Is this a bad time? Are you here with someone?"
            "Yes. Yes, I'm--" Claire looked over towards her couch. But it was empty. Trevor was gone, nowhere in sight.
            "--not." she finished.
            Bill Allen smiled. "Great, baby. This is going to be great..."
            Claire sighed because Trevor had left. But then she turned to her father with smile, and was truly, genuinely happy to see him. "Come in out of the rain, dad..."
            Bill Allen picked up his suitcase and his guitar case and walked in, the door closing behind them.

            Back in front of the group, Claire rubbed her brow wearily. "Still... Sometimes finding an appropriate place is harder than you think..."

            It's been a hard day and nothin' went to good,
            I'm gonna relax now now, I think everybody should, and I'm--


            Trevor and Claire seemed uncomfortable.
            They were sitting on the couch in Trevor's apartment, but Allison was sitting there with them, wedged into the small space between their motionless bodies, a bowl of popcorn on her lap. With all three of them wedged onto the couch, Allison smiled happily, eating popcorn and watching the movie on the television before them, completely unaware that Claire and Trevor had hoped to be alone.

            Thinking about it, Claire continued from her seat before the group. "At then, inevitably, desperation sets in again. And you start to settle for any place you can get..."

            It was the exact same elevator where the two of them had kissed. Trevor stood patiently at one corner near the back, Claire at the other, watching an older gentleman standing between them near the closed elevator doors. After several moments, the doors slid open, the man stepped out, and they closed again. Instantly Claire and Trevor were in each other's arms, kissing. But after less than a few seconds the elevator chimed, reaching a new floor. Hurriedly they separated as the doors slid open and a woman stepped in.
            The doors opened. The doors closed. Quickly, over and over, repeating on several floors. But it continued the same way every time, a few moments of being alone only to be almost immediately interrupted again. With each cluster of passengers stepping in or out, Trevor and Claire were left behind them with their faces growing harder and more annoyed. It seemed like the Chicago marathon was being run through that single elevator, as busy as it was. The crowd separated Trevor and Claire even further, jostling them to the back.

            So glad we made it,

            For a moment they were alone again. As the elevator doors finally closed, Trevor rushed over to the elevator controls and pressed the emergency stop button, deciding not to take any more chances. Pleased with himself, he turned towards Claire. But just as they were about to tackle each other, a loud blaring alarm suddenly screamed out, braying and overwhelming, forcing them to cover their ears.
            Turning back around, Trevor started to punch frantically at all the elevator buttons, desperate to shut it off. Suddenly sprinklers in the ceiling went off from what he was doing, filling the elevator with an intense rain of water. Trevor suddenly noticed a tiny sign which read, This cab equipped with MOBILE FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEM. As the spray of water pounded down, empting the unseen water tank on the cab's roof, Trevor and Claire had no where to run, becoming drenched. With water dripping off their faces as the blaring alarm continued, the lights blinking, they both looked at each other in defeat.
            The elevator doors opened onto the ground floor with a chime.
            A man was waiting patiently to use the elevator, until the doors opened and he was forced to step aside, surprised. Trevor stepped out from the drenched interior, his wet clothes soaked and heavy on him, his hair caked against his forehead. With a smile towards the man staring at him, he walked past as if nothing was wrong, his pants splashing as he walked.
            "Morning..." Trevor offered politely, leaving wet tracks down the hallway as the elevator doors closed behind him.

            so glad we made it,
            you got to...
            Gimme some lovin'


            Claire ran her fingers back through her hair which was long dry, at the memory of that. She tried to get her thoughts back on to what she was talking to the group about, still seated in front of them. "And sometimes, when it's a little difficult finding that right time to consummate a relationship, there's nothing wrong with just exchanging innocent love letters. You know, to set the mood. Sweet, playful, completely non sexual bits of prose to heighten the anticipation..."

            Claire was behind her desk at her office, a gentle smile on her face as she read the love letter Trevor had written her. Holding it tenderly in her hands as she lovingly read the words, there was a serenic look in her soft brown eyes. She reached out, about to take a sip from a glass of water, her expression not changing, before she calmly splashed the contents of the glass whole into her face, trying to cool off from what Trevor had written.

            "But what if we're terrible at writing love letters," Sandra asked from the group.
            Claire shrugged, caught off guard, looking at the curious faces before her. "Well... there are always other sorts of reminders..."

            Gimme gimme some lovin'

            Trevor had a tray of glasses balanced expertly on his left shoulder as he walked out of the back room at Taggerty's. He moved through the crowded bar, confident with his balance and skill. Unobservant drunken revelers bumped him along his way, but he moved smoothly around them, unconcerned as he walked towards the bar where he needed to store them. Suddenly Claire walked across his path. They shared a glance, but both played it cool, even though they couldn't help smiling at each other. Neither was paying attention, eyes locked on each other when she accidentally bumped into him. The tray full of glasses tipped precariously for a moment, but Trevor leveled it expertly, relieved that he hadn't let them fall.
            Claire turned to face him as she walked away, a smug look on her face at the reaction she had caused. "Night, Trevor..."
            As she walked out of the bar, Trevor blinked at the mischievous glint in her eye, still standing there with his tray, wondering what was going on. But then he realized Claire had slipped something into his pant pocket when she had bumped into him. Using his free hand, he reached in and pulled the object out.
            It was a polaroid. Trevor's eyes went wide when he saw what was on it.
            Frozen in the crowd, he stood motionless as his body went numb. Still staring at the revealing Polaroid, the tray on his shoulder tilted slowly out of his grip, sending rows of glasses cascading down to shatter loudly at his feet. Trevor stood there, not moving, eyes locked on the picture and noticing nothing else as the crowd turned to look at him.

            Gimme some lovin'
            everyday, hey.


            The music came to a stop.
            There was a stunned silence in Claire' singles group.
            They all gazed at her in total amazement, watching Claire seated before them. The suggestions she had made were heated and explicit, shocking them all into silence. Claire didn't even seem to notice their reaction, still looking off into the air as she sighed contently, before turning towards the quiet group.
            Without a clue, she blinked at the fact that no one was moving, and all of them were staring at her.
            "Umm... Are there any questions?"
            Every arm in the room shot up in unison.

            Bright afternoon light filled the green bordered windows at Taggerty's. A tv was playing in the background, the announcer making some vague comment about next week's lunar perigee, and the strange things that people usually did during the time when the moon was closest to the earth. Beneath the television's glowing face, Trevor and Claire were seated across from each other at Taggerty's. Two ice filled glasses of soda were set on the table between them. In the rest of the bar, music was playing in the background thumping over an otherwise sparse afternoon crowd at Taggerty's. With lots of empty tables around them, both Claire and Trevor had their hands on the table as they sat across from each other, each moving their hands around as if to keep them busy. And to keep them off each other as they worked their minds over how to handle their current situation.
            Trevor's fingers were quickly rotating his full glass of soda, burning off excess energy. Both of them seemed restless as they talked, shifting in their seats from the feelings pent up inside them.
            Leaning forward, Trevor lowered his voice, quick fingers drumming softly on the tabletop. "Come on, Claire. I'm the god of love, infinite knowledge for millennia. You're Little Mrs. Organized. I know we can figure out a way to make this happen..."
            "We can, Trevor. It's just..." Claire looked around, but no one was near them. She leaned closer in for some semblance of secrecy. "We have to be careful, Trevor. We're still trying to keep this secret, remember?"
            He groaned. "For once I just wish we could both be out in the open about us..." The glass continued to spin in his anxious fingers on the table top.
            Claire nodded, her fingers deftly twisting at the straw in her drink to keep them busy as she thought of touching him. She stopped when she suddenly realized she had inexplicably managed to tie the straw into a complicated knot. Tossing it away, she continued. "We can't. You know that, Trevor. No one can know about us..."
            "Yeah, Claire. But if this keeps up even WE won't know about us." Frustrated, Trevor leaned back in his chair, fingers clicking frantically on the table top. "Seriously. At this rate, we'll both be getting less than a 30 year old trekkie at an abstinence convention."
            "Trevor, I know. I really do. I want this to happen between us too..." When she looked up at him, there was a tenderness in her brown eyes, and Trevor almost lost his breath. But beyond that tenderness, she also spoke with a heat, a simmering in her words. "I want you so much, Trevor. But with my father at my place and Allison at yours--"
            He smiled at her. "Then we're in luck. I have it on very good authority that neither of them is currently in one well secluded walk-in freezer in the back." His eyebrow lifted suggestively.
            She chuckled, looking down. "Oh I'm sure Linda would love to walk in on that..."
            "Hey who knows? She might..." He gave her another hopeful look, then he decided to try something else.
            "Sleazy motel around the corner?" he offered.
            "No."
            "Woman's dressing room at Macy's?"
            "No, Trevor."
            "Big secluded bush on the corner of 50th..."
            Losing patience, Claire couldn't help but smile at his eager attempts. "Trevor, when they did that brain scan on you--"
            He lifted a finger in his defense. "Hey, they promised me that was just for show--"
            She pressed on. "Did they get any results back that said 'this space for rent'? I want you just as bad as you want me. But maybe it's better this happened this way. So we have a chance to slow down, think things through..."
            "Here we go..." Trevor moaned, as if he should have expected this.
            "No..." Not caring who saw her, Claire reached over and touched his hand on the table, wanting him to understand. Strangely enough, the feel of the other's touch seemed to calm their listless movements, instead of increase them. His head spun at the soft touch of her hand. "It's not like that, Trevor. All I'm saying is that I don't want our first time together to be like that. I want it to be romantic, I don't want to treat you like some sort of sex object."
            Baffled, Trevor lifted his arms. "What's wrong with sex object? I'd love to be treated like a sex object. Come on, objectify me! Objectify my brains out--"
            "You know what I mean, Trevor."
            Nodding because he did, Trevor exhaled and leaned back. "You know, I've never had this much trouble with seduction before. Not when my usual approach always makes it so easy..."
            She teased him. "Let me guess... Awkward conversation and ether?"
            He smiled. "See there. There's nothing I enjoy more than a thorough lashing of my ego via your skilled tongue." Pausing, Trevor thought about what he had just said, before taking a large gulp of soda to cool down.
            Claire's hand rested lightly on his again as she looked into his eyes. "Ok. Let me put it in a language you understand. We be careful or you crazy go away looonng long time!"
            Lifting her hands, she motioned them through the air, making a whistling sound, tugging at her ear, wiggling her fingers in towards him and making a whizzing sound in a condescending Three Stooges routine.
            He looked at her for a long appreciative moment. "You are SO hot to me right now..."
            "Trevor... I'm not only talking about somewhere where we can keep us secret. I want our first time together to be better than some sleazy, hour rate motel."
            "Six hour rate..." he corrected.
            "Six hou-- Six? I'll hold you to that. I love you, Trevor. I know we're both frustrated, but we've waited years for this. We can wait a little longer. And like Winnie the Pooh says, the honey's sweet, but the anticipation is sweeter."
            "Never knew he was so kinky..."
            "Trevor, I just want it to be special."
            He blinked. "Special? Special how?"
            "Special like..." She gave him a sudden, mysterious look, before calmly reaching into her drink to pull out an ice cube. Seductively, she raised it to her lips, gently sucking the tip between her lips for a few moments, before biting a tiny part off as she smiled at him. Trevor was mesmerized, she was giving an expert performance. Her lips continuing their work, Claire spoke in a seductive tone. "Special like finding a day and a place.. where we can really... REALLY take our time..."
            Claire's eyes didn't wander off of his as her lips continued to suck leisurely on the ice cube.
            Trevor swallowed, his skin suddenly feeling warmer on his body.
            "Oh..." He nodded several times quickly. "Special's good."
            "Very good..." Finished with her piece of ice, Claire lifted her glass off the table and took a sip, a decidedly wicked glint in her eye.
            Still watching her lips intently, now on her glass, Trevor soon began to squirm in his seat. Clearing his throat, he looked away.
            "Ok... Time for me to get back to work."
            Starting to rise from his chair, he stopped himself about halfway up. Tilting his head, he suddenly stared off into space. After an awkward pause, he slowly lowered himself back down, trying not to look embarrassed. "I-I... I think it's better if I just wait in this chair for the next few minutes."
            Claire looked away with a smile, pleased with herself.
            Standing easily away from her chair, Claire gathered her coat and purse. Trevor remained seated, using a careful move to stiffly cross his legs.
            "Bye, Trevor..." With a touch of victory in her happy expression, Claire walked past him and away from the table.
            Trevor's shoulders were scrunched in tight, nodding to himself as he suddenly leaned forward. But then there was suddenly a fondness in his eyes once Claire was gone, and he smiled, waving himself cooler.
            "Love burns..." he said.

            Jaclyn and Champ were staring tiredly ahead.
            They were standing side by side in the glow of morning light coming in through the small window of the bathroom in Jaclyn's apartment, where they lived together. Both had bleary, bored looks on their sleepy faces, standing before the bathroom sink, trying to get started for the morning. The bathroom itself was too small for both of them, much like Jaclyn's apartment was itself, with two people living there. They both had to squeeze in side by side in front of the little sink, going through what had long ago become a cramped and difficult daily morning ritual, maneuvering as best as they could around each other so they could get ready to go to their separate jobs. But there really wasn't enough room or time, and they subtly jostled each other to position themselves.
            Lifting his arms, Champ sighed, all too used to the awkward maneuvering. It happened nearly every morning. Trying to keep his expression neutral, he continued to brush his teeth, fighting for viewing space in the small mirror on the wall. Beside him, Jaclyn was combing her short auburn hair. Even without makeup and it being early in the morning, without make up when she wasn't trying, she still looked incredibly cute. But Champ didn't seem to notice, simply trying not to bump her as he brushed his teeth. He wasn't wearing a shirt as he bent over the sink and rinsed his mouth, leaving his muscles exposed, firm and well defined, pleasing to the eye. But as Jaclyn combed her hair, she didn't seem to notice him either.
            As she turned to put down her hairbrush, her hip bumped Champ, making him pause over the sink, his mouth full of water. She looked over at him.
            "Sorry..." she said simply.
            Champ didn't say anything, spitting out the water in to the sink and finishing up. Having to squeeze past her, he reached up towards where he had left his clothes hanging from a hook on the back of the cramped bathroom's door. He sighed when he saw that Jaclyn had hung a bra there over his clothes. Moving it aside, he took his clothes down.
            Behind him, Jaclyn was getting ready for her turn to brush her teeth, already holding her toothbrush. When she reached for the tube of toothpaste in the usual tray where she always kept it, she found nothing. Looking around, she finally saw it nestled in the clutter of both their things along the sink's rim. Frowning when she saw it, she picked it up.
            "Champ... You left the top off the toothpaste again."
            "Oh... Sorry..."
            Deciding to say nothing further, Jaclyn looked annoyed as she reached for some toilet paper hanging on it's roll to clean up the mess where the toothpaste had spilled. Behind her, Champ was getting dressed, pulling on a clean shirt.
            Jaclyn blinked when she looked down at the toilet paper roll on its dispenser. It unspooled on the side closest to the wall. She hated it when it unspooled on the side closest to the wall, instead of the side closest to her. It was a minor thing, and she knew she shouldn't bother with it, but she nevertheless set about pulling off the roll and turning it to the way she preferred it. Jaclyn realized it was a hopeless battle. Champ was always turning it back anyway.
            There was a buzz behind her. Champ was motioning back and forth across his jaw, using an electric razor and not noticing she had changed the roll. As he stepped to one side, the shaver's electrical cord was pulled tightly across her back as he stretched it out.
            Ignoring it, Jaclyn started cleaning up the toothpaste mess. But each time she wiped, it was hard to keep the clutter on the sink from falling off.
            The buzz of the electric shaver was the only sound. Then Champ finished and turned it off.
            Standing in front of the sink, Jaclyn pulled off the simple night shirt she was wearing after her shower, slipping it up over her head, leaving her topless. Her back was to Champ, revealing only her soft, pale shoulders, and the delicate line of her spine. For a moment that neither of them noticed, she looked extremely beautiful and enticing. But when Champ's eyes slid past the familiar sight, he didn't blink even once.
            Having gone through the same routine every morning countless times before, Jaclyn didn't notice Champ's lack of reaction either, simply twisting back, arm reaching out to take her bra off the hook on the door. She nestled it gently across the curves of her soft body, buttoning it up behind her. Neither of them saw the beauty of the other through the drudgery of the morning routine, instead seeing only ways to get around each other in the small space.
            Jaclyn was quietly sliding a skirt up her legs, more in a hurry to get dressed now as time seemed to run short. She was always running late, ever since they had started to share the apartment. Champ was hurrying to finish up too, leaning over beside her, still struggling for space in the mirror.
            Looking around, Jaclyn blinked when she couldn't find the rest of her outfit. Still wearing the bra that inadvertently emphasized her figure, she reached down instead and started to button up her skirt.
            "Champ, could you check for me and see if I left my blouse out on the bed? Please?"
            Champ looked at her, exhaling slightly in frustration. She was using up most of the mirror again anyway, starting to brush her teeth.
            "Sure..." he said dryly, squeezing past her and knowing he would just have to wait to finish, as usual.
            Champ walked into their small bedroom, still feeling a little frustrated at the cramped spaces Jaclyn's tiny apartment had forced on them. It was mornings like these that he sometimes missed the single life, and the space of his old place, the apartment he had shared with Trevor. More room, more space, and more freedom to move. He didn't want it back, and he knew he still loved Jaclyn, but some mornings were just harder than most.
            With a sigh he scanned through the bedroom. The sheets were a rumpled mess on the bed. Jaclyn tossed a lot in her sleep. It looked like he would be the one making the bed again this morning. As he kept searching, there was no sign of Jaclyn's blouse.
            "Jackie, I don't see it out here..."
            "It's right there..."
            "Well, I don't see it."
            "The red one. It's gotta be there," Jaclyn called out from the bathroom. "Check the bottom right drawer of the dresser."
            Champ seemed a little more annoyed. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he opened the bottom right drawer of her dresser. Jaclyn had resorted to putting more of her clothes in drawers to make room for his things in the bedroom's small closet. Sure enough, there was the shimmering satin red blouse Jaclyn was looking for, sitting on top of several others.
            "Here it is..."
            "Thanks..." she said from the bathroom.
            As Champ pulled out the blouse, he held it up and suddenly smiled. It was his favorite blouse of hers. She always looked really stunning in it, and as he thought about it, those memories flashed back to him. Still smiling, he laid it gently on the bed, feeling better as he looked down on it. Then he realized how much he did love her. And how he wouldn't trade this for anything. Turning, Champ bent back down to close the drawer shut, looking down into it. But suddenly he paused, going completely still at what he saw at the bottom of the drawer.
            When he had pulled Jaclyn's blouse out, the stack of neatly folded clothes underneath it had shifted slightly, revealing something hidden beneath them. That was what had made him freeze, what had put a stunned look on his face.
            Reaching down under the clothes, he slowly slid it out. Holding it in his hands, he lifted the magazine, still in a complete state of shock.
            It was a bridal magazine.
            Champ sat motionless, not knowing what to think. He blinked, lips parted slightly. He couldn't have been more surprised if someone had suddenly dropped a bucket of cold water on him. His eyes were frozen wide open, making sure he was holding what he almost certainly seemed to be holding.
            Yep. It was still a bridal magazine.
            The magazine's glossy cover framed a picture of a young, blushing bride. With a look like a deer caught in the headlights, Champ opened the magazine and started to blankly leaf through it. He noticed that there was a yellow highlighter pen clipped to the back cover of the thick volume. And as his surprised hands cautiously flipped through the pages, he noticed that there were all sorts of articles and photos of bridal accoutrements. And on several pages, there was Jaclyn's handwriting on them. On page after page she had circled various little things she liked with the yellow highlighter pen. Some fancy champagne glasses here, some floral arrangements there...
            Champ's body went even colder.
            Near the middle of the magazine, Jaclyn had circled several potential wedding dresses, including one that she had circled twice, highly enthusiastic about it. There was a beautiful, smiling young woman modeling the dress, and the dress itself was stunning. Outside of her circles, Jaclyn had scribbled in large letters THIS IS THE ONE!!!
            Champ exhaled, finally remembering that he still needed to breathe. He looked down at the perfect image of the woman in the wedding dress, smiling like she had a flawless life ahead of her, and he suddenly didn't know how he could live up to that. Fear welled up deep inside him, slicing like ice beneath his skin as he sat there stunned, on the edge of the bed, holding the magazine. He wasn't ready for this, not so suddenly. He hadn't expected this at all. The air seemed to tighten around his body. The room was silent around him, except for the faint sound he could hear through the open bathroom door where Jaclyn was brushing her teeth, water running in the sink and unaware.
            In a daze Champ closed the bridal magazine, fingers grazing over the yellow highlighter Jaclyn had left on it's back. He sat there with his mouth hanging open, his mind racing.
            He didn't hear Jaclyn finishing up, didn't hear the water in the sink turning off. Suddenly she appeared in the doorway behind him, still in her bra and skirt as she leaned out, seeing him sitting there with his back to her, motionless.
            "Champ? My blouse?"
            He nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard her and realized she was standing there. Instantly he dropped the bridal magazine to the floor where she couldn't see, kicking it quickly underneath the bed, coming out of his daze.
            Leaning forward against the doorframe, Jaclyn tilted her head and looked at him, curious at his reaction. "Champ, are you okay? You look a little green."
            He stammered nervously for an answer. "Umm... Y-Yeah. I just.... I was just remembering. The first time I saw you in this blouse."
            Champ motioned to where the blouse was on the bed. "You always look great in it."
            Jaclyn smiled, and it lit up the room. "Really? Thanks... You're sweet."
            Walking over to the bed and picking it up, she paused and gave him another long look as he sat stiffly across from her, making her wonder what was going on. "You sure you're ok?"
            Champ sincerely hoped he wasn't sweating. "Yeah... I'm ok."
            Saying nothing else, Jaclyn went back into the bathroom to finish getting dressed.
            As soon as Jaclyn was gone Champ bent forward, reaching down in a flash and yanking the bridal magazine out from under the bed. As quickly as he could, he replaced it under the pile of clothes in the drawer where it had been hidden, his hands frantic, as if the magazine were hot to the touch. Once he replaced it, Champ slammed the drawer closed again.
            He sat there on the edge of the bed, a worried look in his eyes as he glanced over at the open bathroom door, tapping his fingers nervously on his knees. There was no reaction from the bathroom. Jaclyn didn't seem to notice that he had done anything at all.
            Champ finally let out a relieved breath. His head was still spinning, tumbling over the ramifications of what he had just found. His voice was a soft, stunned whisper.
            "Oh boy..." he said.

NEXT PAGE