There was a smile of anticipation on Trevor's face when he opened the front door of his apartment. He barely saw much of anything as he entered, pleased, introspective as he closed the door. Inside, the lights of the apartment were already lit, filling the space with a low home-like glow, warm against the early darkness outside the windows. Trevor's roommate Allison was moving around inside, busy with various nightly chores, currently washing dishes, a monotonous task and one that was constantly neglected by Trevor.
As Trevor stepped slowly into the center of the living room, he hardly heard her over there. He hardly noticed anything around him, standing there in a blissful daze, thinking of Claire. Wondering if it was too early to call her. She should be home by now. Suddenly, Trevor couldn't help but smile, thinking of her, as such sweet anticipation like he had never felt before filled him.
Still concentrating on her chores, Allison walked right past Trevor's oblivious form. But then she paused and looked back, noticing him standing there motionless, and she gave him a curious look for a moment.
"Hey Trevor..." she said softly.
Her face lit up in a smile, intrigued by Trevor as always, and happy he had finally made it home. She put down the towel she had been using and walked up to him. As she moved close, Allison playfully took both his hands in hers and pulled Trevor towards the couch, still smiling as she sat both of them down facing each other.
"I'm glad you're home, Trevor. I've been wanting to get you alone again. I want to talk to you."
Trevor was full of happy, distracting thoughts about Claire, so he was not really paying much attention when he answered. "Yeah? What about..."
Biting her lip, Allison almost blushed, a true rarity for her. "Well... About what we were discussing in the bar before. Remember? About you... helping me? Helping me with this one guy I'm crazy about?"
That perked up Trevor's interest a little, making him look over at her. "Right... How's that been going by the way?"
She gave him a long, direct look. "Well... I don't know yet."
Nodding, Trevor leaned in towards her. "Ok... Tell me what you need...."
She smiled seductively. "Oh I thought you'd never ask..."
Trevor's eyes were sparkling. He was in a good mood and eager to help as he rubbed his hands together. "Point me at who you want me to do and I'll do it."
Allison leaned forward, about to tell him, but she was stopped short as the phone rang in the living room behind them.
Trevor was up from the couch like a bolt, sprinting, eager and out of control towards the phone, leaving Allison blinking and alone on the couch behind him. Nearly falling, Trevor scrambled forward, almost losing his balance as he frantically slid to a stop and pulled the phone up to his ear.
Suddenly his voice was absolutely calm. "Hello?"
Turning into view, Claire smiled as she held the phone to the side of her face, alone in the dim romantic lighting of her house. She stepped forward, a glow in her eyes as she cradled the phone tenderly. The mere sound of Trevor's voice answering on the other end sent a quivering thrill through her.
"Trevor... Don't you think it's time you got over here and stopped playing hard to get?"
In his own apartment, Trevor was smiling too when he heard her voice. His eyes were sparkling just as brightly as hers. "Why Dr. Allen... I think you might be right for once. I do feel the need for a... session, with you coming on. Do you think you could find a place to squeeze me in?"
Leaning her head against the polished, vertical wooden column in her entryway, Claire chuckled. "Get over here, Trevor."
Trevor's lips parted, thrusting his lower jaw forward a little as he smiled. "On my way..."
When Trevor hung up, Claire sighed and looked around for a moment, her entire body tingling. Her gaze traveled over the elegant, familiar furnishings of her apartment, dim in the lowered lighting. But somehow it was as if she was seeing them all for the first time. Her every sense seemed heightened and alive, overly aware. The sensations almost felt like caresses, the clothes shifting against her body as she moved, the air cool on her skin, the rise and fall of her breasts as she breathed in soft anticipation. She smiled warmly, moving off to get ready.
Trevor hung up the phone, nearly bouncing and jumping in place with anticipation as he took an eager breath. Allison got up from the couch behind him, not sure what was going on but walking over to him again.
"So Trevor, about what we were talking about..." she began.
Trevor was totally not in a place to be listening, his voice quick. "I'm sorry Allison. It will have to wait. I have to go."
"Right now?" She blinked, frustrated.
"Oh yeah... Now."
"But I really need your help with this guy Trevor. You just got here. Couldn't we---"
"Sorry Allison. I have to go right now."
He was already stepping around her, smiling enigmatically to himself, but not stopping. "I wish I could help. But it's just going to have to wait and--"
Trevor was already opening the front door. "Hey who knows. Maybe the answer you need will present itself while I'm gone. See you Allison..."
Allison stepped forward, but Trevor shut the door between them, leaving her alone inside.
She pulled back from it, her shoulders dropping, her disappointment obvious.
"Damn..." she whispered.
Without anything further, Allison went back to the chores she had been doing, moving away in the solitude of the now empty apartment.
After a short while of waiting, there was a soft knock on Claire's front door.
Her hand reached forward, opening it. It was dark outside, the tree lined street beyond. Trevor was standing there casually on her doorstep, leaning to one side against the brick wall, his arms crossed, smiling at her.
"Hello lady. Did someone order a--"
Trevor never got to finish what he was going to say before Claire lurched forward. Her yearning mouth cut him off, sealing roughly on his.
With a moan Claire tackled him hard, her arms wrapped around him, kissing him desperately and without preamble. Her lips were eager and unafraid on his, opening his lips with hers as she pushed him back and slammed him roughly to the hard brick wall. Holding her in his arms, Trevor scrambled a little under the press of her assault as their mouths, bodies, and hands started roaming breathlessly over each other. Turning, twisting, the stumbled back and forth across her doorstep, on the verge of falling inside, before Claire broke the kiss, leaving them both panting heavily.
"Trevor... let's go inside..." she moaned.
As the held each other, kissing deeply again, they stumbled forward into her house. Their hands began roaming over the other's body, neither turning from the other, neither noticing that the front door was left wide open behind them. The rest of the world had ceased to exist. All they knew was the feel of each other's bodies, the taste of each other's mouths, as their hearts pounded faster, beating under heated and electrified skin. A fire of need and joy coursed down their backs, growing deeper and deeper as their fingers touched what they had always wanted to touch. As their mouths opened, kissed what they wanted to kiss, and didn't let go. All the while their soft moans finally mingled together.
Despite the heightened senses they felt, the room seemed a haze as they stumbled towards the staircase, not seeing the interior at all. But somehow they managed to ascend up towards Claire's bedroom. They were still in each other's desperate, moving arms, stepping haphazardly up and out of view.
The hallway on the second floor stretched before them as Trevor and Claire kissed and stumbled awkwardly into it, the fire in their bodies growing ever deeper as they lost themselves to it. With her arms holding Trevor tightly, Claire pressed her enticing curves against him. Trevor eagerly shoved her spine to the wall behind her, and she moaned gratefully against his mouth. And then her legs came up to wrap around his waist, her mouth still devouring his, kissing him, pressing against him, pulling him flush against her.
They remained there against the wall for a few moments, still fully clothed, reveling in the feel of each other as Trevor held her aloft, trapped between him and the wall. Her skirt slipped ever higher up a pale, beautiful thigh under Trevor's touch. Her bare feet were crossed over his shirt on the small of Trevor's back, one leg slipping down slightly to press to his firm back end, but still holding on as her ivory calf muscle pressed in, pulling him against her. Trevor's mouth was consuming hers greedily, both breathing heavily whenever their lips managed to break away from each other.
"Claire?" A soft distant voice called from below.
Trevor's chest was heaving for air as he leaned back from her, their waists still pressed together as she kept her legs wrapped around him in mid air. Her chest was heaving too as two sets of fumbling, desperate fingers began working on the other, Trevor's on her clothes and Claire's on his, trying to remove them as quickly as possible. Despite that fact, Claire's legs were not going to let go of their tight grip around his waist, and Trevor didn't want them to.
"Claire..?" The dim voice called again, but louder now.
Roughly, Claire pulled Trevor's shirt up over his head, making him wince unexpectedly with soreness in a moment of pain for some strange reason. But neither of them even really noticed why he winced, lost in their feelings as she tossed his shirt haphazardly away to land over a vase filled with yellow flowers on a hallway table next to them. Growing impatient, Trevor ripped the first few top buttons of Claire's blouse off, letting them clatter away since his anxious fingers seemed to have forgotten how to open them for some reason. He quickly exposed the soft, white expanse of skin just beneath her collarbone. Dropping his mouth eagerly, Trevor kissed her there, tasting her skin as Claire moaned and rocked her hips forward, her legs still tightly gripping his waist. Her hands roamed across the strong muscles of Trevor's now exposed back, wanting him, needing him.
Now behind them came the sound of rising footsteps... coming up the stairs.
And suddenly that fact finally broke through their over stimulated consciousnesses and they both froze, looking into each other's eyes, both whispering at the same time.
"--father." they said together.
Trevor rolled his eyes in complete disbelief. "Ok, this is now verging on cruel!"
The footsteps were closer, still out of sight but almost to the top of the stairs. Trevor and Claire scrambled apart from each other, him with his shirt still off, her with her blouse partially open.
Trevor looked frantically around, his voice nervous and quick. "What do I do, what do I do!"
Claire's mind worked quickly, grabbing him hard. "In here, in here Trevor!"
She slammed open a door to a hallway closet, already shoving him in.
Trevor's voice was an anxious whisper. "In here? Gods Claire, it's a total mess in here! Don't you ever--"
"Trevor!" she whispered angrily back, slamming the door shut to silence him inside. She had barely sealed him in when she whirled around to face the man that had just appeared at the top of the stairs.
Bill Allen smiled when he saw her standing there, walking over to her, totally without a clue. "Honey... there you are. Did you know you left your front door wide open?"
"Oh... Umm..." Her breath still short, Claire struggled for something to say as she straightened her clothing as discreetly as possible. "I guess... guess I didn't notice."
Her fingers were reaching blindly up, trying to button up the top of her blouse only to realize at last that the buttons weren't there anymore.
Bill Allen was looking at her, noticing how disheveled she looked, giving her a curious stare. "Claire... are you alright."
"Sure. Yes. Sure..." She blinked. "Why do you ask?"
Claire reached up, finding a thin residual sheen on her forehead.
"Oh..." She tried to laugh it off. "Oh that's... that's nothing. I was... I was just working out. That's all. Got a little carried away."
There was a dubious smile on his face when her father looked away. Noticing something, he reached slowly over and and his hand gently lifted a t-shirt from where it was draped over a vase of yellow flowers. "Quite a workout, it seems..."
"Oh that... that's nothing..."
Claire shrugged, but she didn't look very convincing.
Bill Allen walked up to her, amused. The sudden, knowing look in his eyes spoke volumes. "Honey, I understand. I didn't mean to... show up unannounced. But those players I told you about are still stuck in Philly tonight. They won't come in until tomorrow. And I just wanted to spend a little time with my daughter."
She touched his shoulder. "No, that's fine dad. It's okay. Really..."
"Oh no it's not. " He smiled at her. "You don't have to explain. I'll get out of the way of your... workout. I think I'll go to that friend of mine's house a little earlier than I thought."
Claire couldn't help but smile at his efforts. "Really?"
"Yeah. I'm happy for you. Have fun, honey. Don't worry. I understand." He handed her the discarded t-shirt he was holding with a small smile for her. "So I'll see you tomorrow, right?"
"Absolutely. Thank's dad..."
Turning, Bill Allen started walking back the way he had come. But before he had gone too far he stopped, his grin widening. Slowly he leaned in closer to the closed closet door beside them.
"Bye Trevor..." he said calmly.
Trevor's voice was soft from inside. "Bye Mr.. Allen..."
Claire covered her mouth, not believing her ears and trying not to laugh. She reached out before her father left, touching him, making him pause as she searched for words.
"Dad... You knew?"
"Yeah... " He looked at her tenderly. "For awhile now, sweetie..."
"How?" she sounded incredulous.
His face lit up. "Honey... Come on. My eyes are old. But they're not that old..."
Claire stepped forward and hugged her father. "Thanks Dad."
"No problem. Now let me get the hell out of here and I'll... I'll lock the front door for you on my way out. Bye Claire."
With that her father walked away down the hall, before disappearing down the stairs. The sound of his steps receded, growing fainter. After a few moments, the sound of the front door being closed and locked followed, and everything was quiet as Claire stood there, smiling.
Beside her, the closet door suddenly opened a crack, Trevor's voice cautious from inside.
"Can I come out now?"
Claire slowly opened the closet door with a smile, calming down as she let Trevor out. He looked at her with a sentimental light in his eyes. "Lovely man, your father..."
"Yes." Claire agreed softly. "He is."
"Just like his daughter..." She teased him, but her implication was clear, gazing heatedly at him. She stepped closer, touching his cheek with her hand.
"Yeah." Trevor agreed with a smile. "She sure is. Great gal. I really miss Mara sometimes..."
Chuckling, Claire reached down and pinched his exposed nipple hard for teasing her, making him twitch and howl. But he laughed a little too, his body contorting from what she was doing, inadvertently bringing his shirtless chest closer to hers to make her stop. With that they both paused, looking into each other's eyes, feeling the warmth of each other's skin, then stepping even closer.
"Trevor... nothing's stopping us now." Her voice was soft and yearning.
Tenderly, Trevor brought his face forward. They started to kiss. Claire's arms slipped past, slowly wrapping around him. The kiss continued, their bodies pressing forward against each other. The moans behind their sealed mouths grew, becoming louder as the sensations began to build, exploding through them again, growing even stronger, letting go as they lost themselves in the feel and caress of the other.
Quickly it became more intense, and they began to scrambled along the hallway in each other's embrace towards the door of Claire's bedroom.
As they moved into the bedroom, Trevor was removing Claire's blouse again, this time not waiting and ripping all the buttons free as he pushed it aside, kissing her neck. Claire rubbed her body forward against him, her exposed skin finally touching his. She was still wearing a delicate black lace bra. As they kissed and touched, they were moving, agonizingly slowly, closer to the waiting bed.
She moaned with need. "Trevor..."
His words were muffled against the skin of her neck, not wanting to pull his lips from it. "Umm-hmm?"
Closing her eyes, Claire arched her spine towards him, encouraging what he was doing. "Trevor--... Mmm... Trevor I need a little pretense..."
"Of course..." He was already slipping one bra strap off her shoulder.
Barely listening, Trevor lifted her body and Claire instinctively wrapped her legs around him again like it was the most natural thing in the world, holding his waist with a grateful moan. Off balance and not caring, they fell backwards upright against the bedroom wall behind Claire, crashing hard into it as they kissed.
She leaned forward, eagerly biting his earlobe as her breath came warm and quick against Trevor's skin. "No... I mean, I need pretense. I can't just do this at the drop of a hat..."
Beside them, a tall pole with pegs at the top teetered precariously, bumped and shoved as their bodies moved and shifted back and forth. Finally noticing, Trevor and Claire looked over at it, and one of the women's hats Claire kept on the pegs swung lose and fell silently to the floor, lying crumpled beside them.
Claire looked at Trevor for a moment, passion and need in her eyes. "Oh close enough..."
With a laugh they both fell towards the bed.
A new light was rising slowly into the night sky, preceding the bright glowing rim of a decades closest, full moon, slipping slowly up into the night sky. Delicate, almost serene, the shining orb ascended, filling the shadows below with a soft glow, the night streets growing gentle as they were bathed under its light.
And as the moon continued to rise, a piano began to play, soft and delicate. A few notes, full of longing, almost whispers of anticipation, that perigee had finally come. A woman's soft, delicate voice began to sing.
Tonight you're mine, completely...
Trevor was shirtless, his skin tingling with anticipation as he walked alone around the edge of Claire's bedroom, bending forward, lighting candles. A soft, golden light started to fill the room, flickering across his body, caressing the walls with tiny points of flame, glowing like stars. Slowly Trevor lifted the match, blowing it gently out before his lips, waving his hands carefully trough the wisp of smoke, watching it twist past his fingers.
There was a soft sound behind him. Trevor turned around, almost losing his breath. Claire was standing there in her bathroom doorway, watching him, wearing a thin purple silk robe barely draped over her, tied around the waist, and little else. Trevor's eyes traveled lovingly over her body, the front of the robe open and loose, revealing her skin down to her belly button, revealing the beautiful inner slopes of Claire's breasts, concealed loosely, but unencumbered. Revealing that she was wearing nothing at all underneath. The robe ended generously above mid thigh as she crossed her legs, looking so perfect. She was perfect. He hoped he remembered to breathe.
Claire leaned against the doorframe beside her, watching him intently as she kept one hand out of view behind her. Biting her lower lip, she brought it around with a smile, revealing a wine bottle. There were no glasses. She waved it slightly at him, remembering what he had told her before.
Trevor remembered too. And he smiled back.
You gave your love, so sweetly...
There was a knock on the front door of Trevor and Allison's apartment. Allison walked over, still finishing up her chores, but stopping to swing open the door and find--
"Champ..." she whispered in surprise.
Champ was standing there nervously in the hallway. His entire body looked tense, worried, like he was anxious about something. Face drawn tight with concern, he blinked when he saw it was Allison who had answered the door. His eyes shifted, looking beyond her for a moment, but he didn't move forward.
"Is... Trevor here?"
Allison's voice suddenly lifted, a new light coming into her eyes when she saw him. She gave him a warm smile. "No. He just left. Is something wrong?"
Champ almost seemed desperate, his voice trying to stay calm. "I... I just needed to talk to him about something important. I think I need his help..."
"Join the club," Allison gave him a wondering look. "Well... maybe I can help. Do... do you maybe want to come in?"
Her voice sounded hopeful, looking at him, waiting.
Champ looked at her standing there, thinking. His body finally seemed to relax a little. "Umm... Sure. Ok..."
Tonight, the light, of love is in your eyes...
Jaclyn was sitting at the kitchen table, alone in her apartment, waiting for Champ to come home. The note he had left her was sitting on the table beside her, but she let it be, having read it already dozens of times. She looked over at the clock. It was getting late. Where was he? It wasn't like Champ to be gone this long. She rippled her fingers nervously on top of her knees, releasing pent up energy, wondering what to do. Then she paused, thinking.
"Maybe he's at Taggerty's..." she whispered to herself.
Having decided, she instantly stood up, grabbing her keys and quickly leaving the apartment, closing the door behind her.
Dr. Frechette stepped quietly forward. He was moving down the darkened, sterile hallway of the medical trauma ward, powered down in the middle of its night shift. Frechette looked all business, walking straight towards the nurses station, holding a small slip of paper with a name on it. The nurse on duty behind the desk looked up, surprised to see anyone coming by the ward so late at night. She wondered what he wanted, when Dr. Frechette spoke, getting straight to the point.
"I need to speak to a nurse. A nurse named Dana Wilson who works here..."
The common room of the psych ward was dark, all the patients put away in their rooms for the night. The room was quiet and in shadow, no one there. Except for Faith. She wasn't in her room where everyone else thought she was. She was sitting in the shadows at one of the tables, having crept into the common room once bed check was done. No one was with her as she sat there. No one even knew. But Faith didn't care. She knew she had to be exactly there, tonight of all nights. And she was busy. Faith's hand moved at her side, out of view, her face intent as she worked. She never made a sound, never quickened her breathing or cried out. She only kept going, determined in her task as she sat there alone.
But will you still love me, tomorrow...
"Wow, Champ. It's beautiful."
"Yeah," he replied in a subdued voice.
Champ and Allison were sitting side by side on the couch, looking down at the engagement ring he was holding and turning carefully in his fingers. Their bodies were close together on the small couch as Champ poured his pent up worries out to her. Allison listened intently, glad he was there.
Champ took a breath. "So I've been walking around. Anywhere but home. I haven't been able to go back to the apartment to show her, to ask her THE question. I've tried, but something keeps holding me back. I just couldn't make myself walk home... I don't know why. It's a big step, I guess. Once I give her this, there's no turning back, you know? I just feel things are speeding forward too fast.... Out of our control, like... we're leaves. Scraps of paper on the wind, and there's no way to stop it..."
Dr. Frechette moved past the darkened, empty beds of ICU towards a nurse working at the far end of a room. When he stopped before her, she looked up, curious.
"Can I help you?" she asked cautiously.
"You're Dana Wilson." He stared at her, immediately judging. "Several months back, you cared after a patient named Trevor Hale. A unique patient, that I wanted to ask you about. Do you remember him?"
Going about her work again, the woman's face lit up, her memories growing fond. "Trevor? Of course.... Trevor is hard to forget. Quite a character. He was always going around trying to set people--"
Frechette interrupted, not really caring. He proceeded with what Faith had told him. "I needed to ask you about one of his visitors. About something you may have heard her say, or something she may have told you. A woman. Pretty, dark hair, pale skin, name of Claire Allen?"
The nurse thought for a moment, searching. And then a light went on in her mind. "Wait... Yes. I do remember her now..."
Is this a lasting... treasure?
A female voice continued to sing as delicate piano music played. Jaclyn walked into Taggerty's, a concerned look on her face. She moved over to the bar, ignoring the energetic crowd. She finally caught Linda's attention, quietly asking the blond bar manager if she had seen Champ. Linda shook her head, she hadn't seen him. Jaclyn exhaled, turning as Linda went back about her work. She looked over at the happy, laughing crowd, feeling alone, wondering where Champ was. Her mind worked, thinking, wondering what to do.
Still sitting next to Champ on the too small couch, Allison took a deep breath, as if reluctant to say her next words. But with one nervous look over at him sitting there beside her, she gathered her courage and finally did.
"Yeah, I know how you feel. Needing Trevor's advice. Not getting it. I've been asking him what to do for awhile. See..." she looked over at Champ for a long moment. "There's this guy. A friend who I've sort of been crazy about for awhile. His passion, his smile, how he's dedicated to his work... But he's with someone. I've wanted to tell him, but... Trevor told me to just show him. Let him know how I feel..."
Only half listening, Champ was looking at the engagement ring, chuckling. "Yeah? And how did he say you should do that?"
"Like... this...." Allison slowly reached over, and grazed her fingers up Champ's arm, the same move she had discussed with Trevor in the bar. Champ paused, looking down at her touching him, stroking his skin, watching with hidden surprise in his eyes. Then he looked over at Allison, seeing the desire in her eyes, desire she was no longer hiding, opening up her feelings to him. Champ blinked, finally understanding who she had meant all along.
Or just a moment's... pleasure
In the soft light of candles flickering in Claire's bedroom, Claire's fingers grazed tenderly up the side of Trevor's arm the way Allison's just had. But instead, she was watching in awe, amazed by what she saw there.
"Trevor, I... Wow. I didn't even notice before. When did--"
"Earlier this afternoon. It's still a little sore..."
They were kneeling on the bed before each other, arms reaching out, naked as Claire caressed the new addition to the skin of Trevor's arm. It was a tattoo. A tattoo of a heart. A heart with Claire's name in the middle of it, plain to see. Undeniable.
She blinked, totally caught unaware, in amazement at what he had done, knowing what he was risking. "Trevor, if anyone sees this, they'll know that--"
"They won't see it, Claire." He looked across to her, touching the side of her face, love in his gaze. "And if they do, I don't care."
She didn't know what to say. Leaning forward, Claire's lips touched his, kissing him softly, both kneeling naked before each other. Candles flickered in the distance behind as their arms reached out and embraced each other, the heart tattoo with Claire's name still visible on Trevor's skin.
Faith was still in the darkened common room, her hand working on something out of view when she looked up, a sudden glint in her eye. There was some unknown knowledge in her, as if she sensed something. Things were happening outside the confines of the shadowy room she was in. After a moment, she looked down again at her work, finished with it at last. Pulling the bloodied tip of a white plastic fork down from the side of her arm, she placed it reverently on the table, happy with what she had just done.
On the pale skin of her arm, in the same position where Trevor's was, drawn in thin red lines that were cut deep and starting to bleed in spots, she had carved a tattoo. Scraped it hard into her skin, knowing it would scar into that shape. Smiling, she looked at it, feeling complete now. Like she finally looked how she should look. It was a tattoo of a heart. An identical heart to Trevor's, like she had been drawing there all along, with a name in the middle. Plain to see. Undeniable. But as always, the name on her's read 'Cupid'.
Can I believe, the magic of your sigh...
Jaclyn opened the front door of her dark apartment and switched on the light, hurrying in, looking around. But the apartment was still empty. Champ wasn't there. Frustrated, she closed the front door, as her mind filled with worried thoughts. Champ had said he wanted to talk to her about something important. That had gotten her imagination going, wondering what it was about.
Anxious, she sat down on the chair by the kitchen table, feeling small as she looked across her apartment. Not knowing what to do, she looked over and saw the note on the kitchen table again. The note Champ had left. She picked it up, reading it.
"Trevor says hi..." she whispered. Pausing, Jaclyn thought about it, before coming to a conclusion.
She got up and left the apartment again.
Champ and Allison were facing each other, their eyes locked on each other, skin becoming warm. Her hand was still resting on his arm as she listened to him. But both felt it, both sensed it. There was a spark between them. A budding something, as if out of the blue. They felt it even as Champ continued to speak, talking absently about Jaclyn.
"So... after I saw the magazine, I freaked. Bought this ring, thinking it was what Jaclyn wants. What should happen. But... I don't know if it's what I want. I just don't want to hurt her, you know?"
Allison's lips parted, her voice soft. Did her face almost seem closer? "Hurt her how?" she asked.
Transfixed, Champ didn't pull away, watching her. Allison really was beautiful. Why was he feeling this way? "Well.... I always... I always seem to bolt from commitment, you know? Better now than at the altar. But there are... other reasons."
She was definitely closer, shifting nearer. Her eyes yearned, looking warmly into his. "Yeah... Like what."
Champ swallowed, enjoying Allison so near, wanting her nearer. "Well... Never getting to touch another woman..."
Raising her hand, Allison touched him, grazing the side of his attentive face.
He was almost in a daze from the effect she was having.
"Never... never getting to... kiss another--..." Her fingers were already grazing across his lips, admiring them even before he said it. With a cough, Champ continued. "Umm, never getting to... you know..."
His voice trailed off, looking at her, afraid he had said too much. Allison smiled, both sharing the same thought, and suddenly their faces were pulled together, as if drawn closer by gravity, out of their control. Surrendering, they kissed deeply. Before they knew it, they were blindly reaching to remove clothes.
Will you still love me... tomorrow.
Claire took a breath after she pulled her lips from Trevor's, leaning her forehead against his, panting deeply. They were still kneeling before each other as they caressed the other's face. "Trevor... I... I need to know something..."
She held his face, his warm, beautiful face, making him look at her. He looked so beautiful in the candlelight to her. She couldn't believe the joy she felt even though they had barely started touching. Or the doubts.
"What?" he asked gently, waiting.
She took a breath, looking nervous as she held his face, not letting go. "Trevor, you said you would never... You know the gods won't let you love a mortal."
Trevor smiled."I don't let some god tell me who to love..."
She shook her head. "What about giving up Cupid. How do you know that's not exactly what you're doing right now?"
"I don't care..." His voice was absolutely certain, unwavering.
Claire lowered her eyes. "Is that why you're doing this? You feel abandoned down here by the gods. Now you're rebelling against their rules. How do I know this isn't just some huge 'screw you' towards Mt. Olympus? What I'm really asking is... how do I know... you really love me?"
Trevor tried not to laugh, seeing the serious expression in her eyes. "Claire... if you ever truly knew how much I really DO love you..." He paused, watching her tenderly. "You'd never feel compelled to ask that question ever again..."
Claire gazed at him, loving him so much in that moment as she held Trevor's smile between her hands in the dancing light of the candles. And with that, she kissed him, speaking no more words between them, needing no more words as she leaned back, pulling Trevor on to her, offering themselves finally... to each other.
Tonight with words unspoken...
The streets of Chicago were empty, quiet, deeper shadows offset by the glow of the full moon. Slowly, a breeze began to rise, whispering softly down empty asphalt lanes. Then the wind grew stronger, blowing more forcefully as it flowed and rushed forward, kicking up loose debris, making trees sway until their branches were dancing in it's wake. It pushed forward in the night, papers dancing across the dark asphalt, sheets of white, twisting, turning...
Trevor and Claire turned, twisting under white sheets, holding each other, bodies together as they began...
Sitting in the darkened common room of the psych ward, Faith suddenly glanced up at nothing, sensing that futures... were finally changing forever. Slowly a smile spread across her face as she waited there, the sterile common room in shadows around her.
Frechette didn't even notice the tree dancing wildly in the window behind the ICU nurse he was listening to. Instead he was amazed at what he was hearing. Amazed by what the woman was relating to him without being aware of the implications. The nurse continued to make beds as she spoke.
"I had always known they must have been involved somehow, yeah. While he lay recovering from that gunshot to the chest, she hardly left his side, hour after hour . It was dedication, very sweet to see. She obviously felt a great deal for him." The nurse paused, remembering. "But I was never absolutely sure until I heard her say it. It was weird... Trevor was asleep, but fine. She on the other hand looked worried... So I talked to her. Tried to comfort her, you know? Told her he would be fine. But she said she had a bigger problem. That she thought she was in love with him. Strange thing to say... It stuck in my memory..."
Stunned, Frechette blinked, looking away. His mind whirled. Someone real. Someone he could confirm. Finally a witness, who had actually heard the words. "You're positive? She said she was in love with him?"
The nurse nodded. "Yeah. Absolutely sure."
Behind her, the trees continued to dance in the silent wind outside, as it blew towards--
You say that I'm... the only one.
--Jaclyn, walking alone down the street. The sudden breeze buffeted her, sending pieces of paper flying past her as she walked down the sidewalk. The trees were swaying in the breeze above her when she looked up, seeing the moon shining brightly down out of the night sky, making her stop there. It reminded her of her walk with Champ. And despite the sudden chill, she smiled, glad she was with him. Glad she had him in her life, knowing she loved him. Wrapping her arms tightly around herself, she hurried her steps, eager to find him again, hurrying forward.
Trevor and Claire were lost in each other, rolling in the other's embrace, their naked bodies pressed against each other as they caressed and made love, kissing tenderly. As their bodies moved, the white sheets curved around their forms, holding them, caressing them, the hint of their own curves underneath. The candles flickered like a field of stars as the sheets moved, twisting around their intertwined bodies, growing faster, the movements passionate, chaotic, unstoppable.
White sheets of paper twisted and turned through mid air, carried higher on a rising, buffeting wind, caught inside a tempest as if an angry thought was flowing visibly down the street. The swarm of debris was chaotic too, lost in the mere momentum of rushing onward, unstoppable.
The secluded out of the way corner of the hospital common room was still dark and empty, until Faith stepped into view. Her bare feet were silent on the tile floor, walking slowly forward. She walked closer towards where her eyes had locked their gaze. It was a strong, heavily bolted exterior double door out of the psych ward, locked up tight in the shadows. Full of certainty, Faith merely stood before it, waiting...
But will my heart, be broken, baby...
The couch in Trevor and Allison's apartment was empty.
No one was in the living room at all. As the piano played softly and the woman's voice continued the song, there were no other sounds. Except for one. The faint sound of pleasurable laughter, almost indiscernible, falling softly down the metal circular staircase which led to the rooms above.
Suddenly there was a soft knock on the front door.
"Leave it..." Champ's voice whispered playfully, trying to slow his heated breath.
"No, I'd better see who it is. Let me put something on..."
There was another polite knock on the door, still waiting patiently.
Her hair a mess, Allison quickly descended the circular staircase with a big smile on her face. She was only wearing a loose t-shirt that barely reached her hips, revealing long, beautiful legs, tanned and shapely.
In her bare feet, she ran over to the front door as quickly as she could, obviously eager to get back upstairs. Without a second thought, she opened it with a pleased laugh, and suddenly her smile dropped into absolute shock, her eyes widening.
"Jaclyn..." she whispered.
Jaclyn blinked at the barely dressed woman, surprised Allison was standing there so exposed. She immediately blushed, feeling nervous, like she was interrupting something. Looking past her, Jaclyn wondered why she was even asking now, since it was obvious he hadn't.
"Allison... has Champ been by here?"
"Umm... No.... No, uh.... Champ's not here." Allison couldn't hide the stunned fear in her eyes. Her entire body went still, trying not to move.
Jaclyn still felt uncomfortable standing next to a virtually naked woman. But then she finally looked more carefully at what Allison was wearing... and Jaclyn's face slowly began to change. Shock, then dismay slowly filled Jaclyn's expression, full of disbelief as she looked back up into Allison's eyes.
Allison realized she hadn't even noticed just exactly what she had thrown on. A sudden chill filled her. And as the two women looked into each other's eyes, in that one long moment, they both knew.
Jaclyn's voice sounded broken, starting to quiver as she swallowed and spoke more softly. "That's... that's Champ's shirt. The one he was wearing this afternoon..."
Allison blinked rapidly. "Wait... Jaclyn, I can explain--"
There was a flash of fury, of anger behind Jaclyn's eyes. They instantly began to glitter. Her face seemed merely held on to her body by sheer inertia, instead of falling apart.
And Allison saw. Saw the vivid play of hurt, deep in Jaclyn's face, something Allison would remember to the end of her days. Without saying another word, Jaclyn turned silently... and walked off.
"Jaclyn, wait..." Allison stepped helplessly out into the hallway, hand on the doorframe, calling out to her. But Jaclyn wasn't turning, her steps increasing in speed, almost to a sprint.
Suddenly Champ squeezed his way past Allison and out into the hallway, having overheard everything. He looked frantic, wearing only the pants he had managed to put on in a mad scramble, running, chasing after Jaclyn down the hallway. Calling out, desperation and fear filling him, feeling his world come apart.
"Jaclyn! Jaclyn, wait!"
When the night, meets the morning... sun.
Claire looked up with glazed eyes at Trevor's intense face moaning above hers, caressing it as their bodies moved together under the sheets. She moved too, moaning with him, their rhythms matching. As the sensations continued to burst through her, her skin started to glisten, rocking faster and faster against him, thrusting underneath him. She moved in union with the man she loved, holding him, making love to him, lost in the growing joy, blissful and pure, perfect inside her as Trevor moved the same way she was moving, both of them gazing lovingly into the other's eyes.
It was a thick swarm of paper debris now that was caught and pushed before the rushing wind, thrown helplessly along a grimy, worn down back street, like an angry breath of god. It flew down the alley asphalt, filling the air like a blizzard, the wind relentlessly sweeping the pale debris forward. Then the papers slammed into two bolted, impenetrable locked doors, plastered against them in protest as more papers followed in the fierce wind storm, buffeting the doors.
On the other side of the doors, sealed inside, everything was quiet. Faith simply stood there, listening to the wind hit the exterior, patient...
Claire moaned, rocking as her body was now overwhelmed and on fire. The sheets twisted around her as she rolled Trevor underneath her body, rising above him, looking down at him as she straddled him. The sheets twisted, slid across her lower back, the gentle candlelight flickering across the delicate skin of Claire's spine as Trevor lovingly caressed it. Her body rose and fell, her spine arching, making love to him, both of them moving ever faster now, the sheets dancing around them as something frantic took over, finally near the moment.
A single sheet of paper, plastered flat against the double doors in the hard flow of air, had one edge dancing free, flapping wildly, frantic and angry in the gale.
I'd like to know that your love...
Tears were falling freely down Jaclyn's face, her short red hair waving tumultuously in the wind as she walked out on the street, the strong breeze cold on her wet cheeks. Her steps were fast and desperate, almost running, running from what had happened. Running from what couldn't be run from. Her body, her senses seemed numb and drawn in, cut off from the world and everything buffeting her as she darted down the street alone.
A voice yelled out for her from behind, fighting the loud winds. "Jaclyn! Jaclyn wait!"
She didn't turn around as Champ ran frantically up behind her, grabbing her shoulder. She angrily batted it off, whirling to face him. Suddenly she released a torrent of pounding fists into his shirtless chest, making him step back.
"Champ how could you! How-could-you-how-could-you-how-could-you!"
She was in tears, barely able to see, barely aware of anything except hitting him, striking blindly out. Before her Champ was frantic too, trying to calm her.
"Jaclyn, I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" His hands fumbled around her blows, afraid to stop her.
With a growl at his apologies, small Jaclyn shoved him away hard, nearly knocking him over before she turned and started walking again, sobbing openly. Champ chased after her, trying to get her to hear.
"Jaclyn, please! Let me explain! We can get through this! We can--"
Hair flying in the wind, she turned and fixed him with a hate filled glare as tears flowed freely down her face, glittering on her skin. "Why. Tell me why."
Her words were soft, but Champ blinked. In that one moment he saw all the pain in her. He saw how much he had just hurt her. And suddenly, all his words seemed so pointless, shallow as they were, catching in his throat.
"I... I saw the bridal magazine. I freaked. I'm not ready for that..."
Jaclyn almost laughed bitterly, still in shock as what felt like shards twisted inside her. She bit her lip to stop it from quivering, but it didn't work. She glared at him as tears seemed to fall from her eyes without end, speaking in a soft, broken voice.
"The bridal magazine..." she repeated.
Champ felt how empty that sounded. "Yeah..."
Jaclyn closed her eyes, but even then the tears didn't stop. She couldn't bear to look at him anyway. "That magazine wasn't for me, Champ! It was for a friend of mine who's getting married... I only hid it because I knew you'd freak out about it."
"But... Then this is all just a misunderstanding--"
"No..." Her eyes were sparkling pools when she opened them, glaring with pain at him. "It proves you don't really love me. And that we don't belong together..."
"Jaclyn, I'm sorry. Whatever it takes, I'll--"
"Goodbye, Champ." There was no doubt in Jaclyn's voice. No hesitation as she turned and walked away, the tears still falling on her face, pushed this way and that on her skin from the strong wind. The loud night was empty around them under the full moon.
Champ blinked. "Jaclyn?"
She didn't turn around. Walking away, leaving him there alone on an empty city street, she never looked back.
Champ didn't move. He finally realized with absolute certainty, that it was over.
Is a love I can be sure of.
Frechette was back in his office again, his glasses reflecting the warm glow of his desktop lamp as he rested his chin on his curled fist. He was deep in thought, going over what the nurse had related to him. Faith was right. Everything she had said had been absolutely right. All of it. That knowledge filled him, hit him like a wall of stone, wondering how it could possibly be true. He would have to talk to her again tomorrow.
But for now he was looking at the long detailed notes he had taken of Faith's 'foretelling' during his sessions with her, notes on what she predicted would still yet happen. Frechette's eyes paused, looking over the words. Quietly he thought about it, then he shook his head, not believing he was doing this. Reaching over he picked up the phone, dialing up directory assistance.
"Yes... I need a number. A number in Las Vegas..."
The beautiful light of the candles was flickering across Claire's panting lips as intense pleasure flowed across her face, her body bobbing on Trevor beneath her. Moaning she looked down. Trevor watched her, transfixed by her expression as he lost himself in a wave of ecstasy too, loving her, wanting her, filling her as they both danced on the edge of final bliss...
Claire's moans became even louder, starting to cry out, her body growing increasingly frantic, the sheets sliding over the small of her back....
More papers angrily buffeted the stubborn double doors, and the wind seemed to increase, as if it's patience had finally run out.
She threw her head back, crying out as Trevor did the same below her. The air seemed to tense. They frantically climbed even higher together, joyful, blissful, unified as one until both their voices--
The double doors finally burst open under the assault, and what had been the darkened common room of the psyche ward instantly became a storm. The sudden angry gale buffeted Faith as she stood there patiently, waiting there before the doors even broke open, smiling slightly as her hospital clothes flapped against her body. Faith didn't move, enjoying the exhilarating new touch of the free wind from outside. Papers streamed past her into the room like a blizzard, circling and dancing behind her.
The doors bounced back against either wall in the strong gale, staying open before her. And as Faith stood there, bracketed by the doors, her blond hair streaming out behind, looking into that open space... she was finally happy. It was finally her time.
So tell me now, and I won't ask again...
Champ was fully dressed again, his eyes watery as he looked out at the silvery reflection of the full moon glistening on the wind blown water in downtown Chicago. He was alone in the wind and darkness, standing on the center expanse of one of many street bridges that crossed the river, looking down over the stone railing as he leaned on it. Punched by the cold wind blowing hard over him, flapping his coat, the tears rolled silently down his face.
Slowly, Champ pulled the glittering engagement ring out of his pocket. He turned it in his fingers as he looked down on it, realizing tragically.... he had never even shown it to Jaclyn. She didn't even have a clue to what he had almost asked her, what he probably would still ask her if he hadn't just--
Champ dropped his head.
Will you still love me, tomorrow...
Jaclyn was alone in her apartment, curled up in the shadows, her knees drawn up to her as she sat in a corner on the floor, weeping. Her body heaved and shook, crying loudly, alone and small, but no one was there to hear. She curled into herself, letting the pain flow out of her like a storm, lost in a gale of despair, lost in her heart... her wet face collapsed onto her knees, her body shaking... crying beyond all hope of being able to stop.
Champ was still looking out from the bridge, crying too, tears falling off his chin. He hated himself, hated what he had done to Jaclyn. Looking down, he watched the ring glitter in his grasp. Now.... she would never even see it. She would never know. He could still--... No. There are some things you can't fix.
As the tears rolled down his cheek, Champ pulled his arm back and threw the ring with all his might, letting it go.
It disappeared instantly into the dark. But after a few moments, he saw the small, insignificant splash as it sank into the unseen depths below the bridge. And then, the ripples faded, as if the ring had never existed.
Tell me now, and I won't ask again...
Dr. Frechette was still waiting in his office with the phone to his ear. Finally he got a response as someone on the other end of the phone finally answered. Frechette leaned forward in the dark of his office, eagerness glistening in his eyes.
"Yes. Hello... Dr. Ian Frechette. Sorry to disrupt your usual schedule of proceedings. I assume you're the manager of the establishment? And you... you live and remain in Vegas itself? Performing all the ceremonies personally? Yes... yes. Excellent. You are exactly who I needed to talk to. I need you to do something for me. I'll make it worthwhile monetarily. Simply put... I want you to contact me the second two particular individuals show up there. Great..."
Frechette smiled, pleased. This seemed like it was going to work after all. He would have to thank Faith personally. He looked for a pen, starting to write. "Thank you. I have the fax number. I'll reimburse you handsomely for this. This will be a great help to me, in case the 'tip' I received comes true. No, I don't know when. I wasn't told that. That's why you need to keep a keen eye out for them. I'll fax you those photos. And if this couple does show up at some point, they'll be going under the names of--"
Will you still love me...
Both of their still naked bodies were glistening under the soft romantic light of the candles. Chests heaving, they finally let their breathing slow, holding each other tenderly under the sheets. Resting warmly against his chest, Claire looked into mid air in total bliss, amazed beyond what she could believe she could feel, holding Trevor tenderly.
Trevor's breath was slowing too, his heart pounding in his chest, pounding against her cheek, happier than he had ever known was possible, simply holding Claire close. The tumult of residual sensations passing in their bodies faded to an electric contentment as they held each other, after glow tingling in their bodies as their sensations began to level.
Claire shifted her body and lifted the side of her face where it had rested on Trevor's chest, looking at him with love in her eyes, her lips coming forward, kissing him tenderly.
Trevor kissed her in return, loving her with everything he was or would ever be in that moment, regretting nothing as he took Claire's perfect, naked body closer in his arms, the tatto on his skin. . They kissed gently, lovers swimming in contentment. He knew this was what he wanted. What he had always wanted. To give himself to the woman he loved. No matter the cost. He wouldn't change this even if he could.
Outside, the buffeting winds had slowed even more, taking their time as they came to a rest. Papers blown up in the gale began to slowly twist and settle in the night, falling to the streets and sidewalks from on high. The trees finally went still under the bright light of a full moon.
Will you still love me...
The lights were bright over the chaotic mess that was the psych ward's common room. Several orderlies were walking through a carpet of discarded paper and blown in litter from outside that covered the floor of the once ordered room. They looked around in the harsh lighting at all tables and chairs overturned in the wind, now only a soft trickle as it circled the room. A few papers still floated back and forth behind one particular orderly. He looked up when he heard a soft banging, then he turned a corner.
The twin metal doors were still broken open, banging loosely against the wall as they were pushed by a soft, residual breeze. The alley in the night was dark beyond.
The orderly paused, wondering how this had happened. They had already looked everywhere to no avail. But as he examined those busted doors, swinging open, it finally hit him. They had been opened by the windstorm earlier. Opened for some time.
And with a sigh, the orderly finally accepted it.
Faith was gone.
Will you still love me... tomorrow...
Slowly... the full moon sank, its silver disk slipping quietly beneath the shadow of the horizon, disappearing into black.
The woman's voice finally stopped singing the sad music, as the lone piano cadenced downward, leaving a few gentle notes to linger softly, before they and the last thin edge of the dropping moon... faded into silence.
To be concluded in Part 8 of the series,