A story about the tv show, Cupid
and the tv show Beauty and the Beast
by Steve 0yervidez

            Snowflakes were falling over Central Park, covering the frozen ground in a wide blanket of white. Shining through the hazy deluge were the distant lights of the skyscrapers ringing the edges of the park's open expanse, glittering like towers made of candles as night fell. The snow caked the bare tree limbs as people walked underneath, wrapped against the cold and scurrying to the side whenever an errant breeze sent a shower of flakes sprinkling down upon them. The air was crisp. An overcast December sky loomed overhead with the threat of more snow. One figure approached. Trevor Hale. His breath misting before him, he wandered the park. Indecision played across his face. He was uncertain he should do what he had come to New York to do.
            He knew she was here. He had already passed by her apartment several times without finding the courage to knock on her door. It was a strange sensation for him. As the god of love, he had always been so confident, so forthright. Now he was reluctant, cautious. As he stood there amongst the bare trees, he realized for the first time why humans were sometimes so scared of love, so scared of the risks involved. He wanted to tell her. He had been miserable since she had left. But he didn't know how she would respond. Scenarios played out in his mind. Not all of them good. and thinking about them, he understood how hearts could break.
            Trevor shook his head. This is crazy, he thought to himself, smiling when he realized that Claire would catagorically agree with that assertion. What could he possibly hope to accomplish? He knew how she felt. He knew how she saw him. What possible chance did he have? But how could he not tell her? He thought about her night and day. Everything he saw, everything he did was context'd through her in his heart, his mind. Would she like this, would she like that, wanting to ask Claire's opinion even when he knew he would never follow it. He missed her. More than he had ever thought he could miss a mortal. Her eyes still burned in his mind.
            He didn't know what to do. All the advice he so freely gave seemed so much more complex when it was about him and Claire. He could hear his own voice berating himself in his mind. Just tell her ya pinhead! But still he waited, as the sky began to darken, and the park emptied out.
            Standing there stomping his feet in the cold he saw something. A lone figure walked quietly through the park. A large cloak protected the person from the wind, totally obscuring his face. He seemed to keep to the park backways, staying away from the sidewalks. Something about him caught Trevor's eye, and he turned to follow.
            It was a long and complex path that the unknown figure led Trevor on. First there was a storm drain in a back corner of the park. Trevor shrugged, assuming the man lived there. Something about the way the man walked spoke of a great sadness. The urge to help this person pulled at Trevor's chest, and heedless of the danger, he followed him in. In the darkness ahead he heard a grinding sound as if something heavy moved. When he finally moved towards it, he found nothing but a grate over a steel wall. He leaned against a brick beside it, wondering where the man had gone, when he felt one of the bricks shift. Pulling it, the wall began to slide away, revealing a dry, dim hallway beyond lit by a distant light. Trevor pulled open the grating and stepped through. This time he quickly found the corresponding switch on the door's other side.
            The passages he travelled through were varied and confusing. As he followed, he couldn't explain the senses that led him. More and more he was realizing that there was something different about the man. Something he couldn't place his finger on. The passage eventually lead to a broken wall. The room beyond glowed with a shaft of light falling from the ceiling. As Trevor passed through it, he had an image of a woman standing there waiting on the man in the cloak. But it passed quickly from his mind. Behind the shaft of light was a ladder, set into the wall. He climbed up, pushing open the covering and stepping into a building basement.
            As he looked around, trying to get a sense of his surroundings, he suddenly heard the whine of an elevator lifting. It was close, behind one of the nearby grates, and somehow he knew the man was on it, heading up. He took the door out of the basement and into the lobby.
            Wherever he was, it was definitely upscale. The lobby was ornate, and outside the glass doors to the street a doorman waited patiently. Trevor tried to blend in as much as he could. He walked over to the elevator, whistling to himself as he pushed the button to go up. A bell sounded and the doors opened. Trevor darted in and pressed for the top floor.
            When he finally made it to the rooftop, Trevor noticed the sky had gone dark, a dim gray as the city lights reflected onto the falling snow. Closing the door softly behind him, he looked around, certain the hooded figure was there somehow. Looking down he saw them. Boot prints in the snow. Trevor inched forward, following them with as much stealth as he could.
            A breeze whispered over the rooftop, sending a flurry of snowflakes into Trevor's face. He brushed them away, stepping forward and closer to the building's edge. Skyscraper lights glittered all around. The footsteps led un erringly to a small balcony one floor directly beneath Trevor. Looking down, he suddenly spotted him.
            The figure he had been following was there, standing in the shadows of the balcony as a soft light from the windows within fell warmly onto the empty space before him. Trevor blinked, not quite sure what he was seeing. The man was gazing through the window, forlornly watching what was happening inside. Trevor tilted his head to listen, and he could just make out the sounds of laughter. The laughter seemed to crush the watching man, his shoulders slumping in the shadows. Softly, the man touched the windowsill, face still hidden beneath his cloak. Trevor could see he wore strange gloves of some type.
            The hooded man pulled his hand back, and somehow Trevor sensed that he finally accepted what he saw in some fashion. But even from where Trevor stood, he could tell the man was heartbroken, as if were losing something or someone precious and dear to him. Snowflakes continued to flitter downward from Trevor to where the man stood, a delicate shower of quiet white. Calmly gathering his cloak tighter around him, the man said nothing. Then Trevor heard the shadowed figure whisper in a deep, rich voice that was full of compassion.
            "Goodbye, Catherine. Have a happy life."
            The man turned, about to climb up onto the roof once more, and Trevor scrambled away. He darted over to the door that accessed the rooftop, hiding behind the small structure enclosing the stairs leading downward. As Trevor placed his face against the cold wall, he heard footsteps in the snow. Cominging closer, Trevor waited for several seconds as they approached. At the last moment he took a breath, before calling softly out in a calm voice.
            "So who is she?"
            He could hear that the footsteps had stopped instantly.
            The air itself seemed to pause, as Trevor waited to see what would happen. The silence was deafening, filled with posibilities.             The man's voice was deep, soothing. "Who is there?"
            Trevor smiled. "A friend I hope. Who is she? The woman in the apartment back there?"
            The man said nothing for several moments, snowflakes still falling all around. Then he spoke, sounding surprised. "I thought I heard someone, but I was unsure. You could do Mouse proud. Still, I was careless."
            Trevor stepped into view from behind the small staircase housing. "It may surprise some people who know me, but I can be quiet when I have to be." He looked over to where the balcony was. "You miss her, whoever she is..."
            The hooded man watched patiently, face still hidden. "How did you find me? Who are you?"
            "I followed you. When I saw you in the park, something told me you could use a friend." Trevor blew into his hands to warm them.
            "You're a stranger to me," the man said. Even though he couldn't see his face, Trevor felt the man watching him carefully as he spoke, evaluating him. "But you're a stranger who is willing to help another stranger. A rare thing... in this city."
            Trevor nodded. "Some would say I'm a rare type of stranger." Laughing, he continued. "I doubt you've meet anyone like me before."
            The hooded man still seemed cautious, but Trevor could hear amusement in his voice. "The same could be said of me, I imagine."
            "Brothers in arms then!" Trevor flashed his best smile. "Maybe I can help you. What's you're name?"
            The hooded man paused, uncertain. But somehow he trusted this man, this stranger, who had followed him. "Vincent..."
            "Hi, I'm Trevor Hale, god of-" Trevor stopped himself, deciding that this man needed his help and not wanting to scare him off. "On second thought, just call me Trevor."
            "So what's her name? The woman in the window?"
            Vincent turned, face still hidden as he looked out over the city. He seemed reluctant to talk about it.
            Trevor pressed on. "Someone you know, right? Someone you love? Who is she?" he asked again.
            The man turned to face Trevor again, a shadow against the city lights. "She... is everything. Her name is Catherine."
            Trevor nodded. He looked down in understanding, recognizing the adoration in the man's voice. "I know the feeling..."
            Vincent watched Trevor's expression and felt a sudden empathy for him. In the shadows of his cloak he smiled to himself. "Trevor, if I may ask. What is her name?"
            Surprised, Trevor looked up, knowing instantly who Vincent referred to. He looked back down again as he got a far away look in his eyes. "Claire," he said simply. "Her name is Claire."
            "I see."
            Trevor glanced back at the roof edge where the balcony was, just out of view. "So why don't you go talk to Catherine? What's holding you back, out here alone in the snow?"
            "I am uncertain she should see me again. Or would even want to, given the choice."
            "Why not?"
            Vincent sighed. "I would complicate her life, as I did before. Or put her in danger. Looking back on all that's happened, sometimes I think it would have been better if she had never know me."
            "Did I just hear a bell ring, Mr. Bailey?" Trevor smiled but quickly he became more pensive. He thought about Claire, about how her life and his might have been different. "I think I can understand that," he said. "But maybe she does want to see you again. Why did you stop? Seeing her in the first place, I mean."
            "I thought she was dead."
            That took Trevor by surprise. "You know that once a day people tend to fall a sleep. That doesn't mean..."
            Vincent sighed. "Not like this sleep. A deep unexpected sleep, that no kiss could dispel. A sleep that I was made to believe was her death. Even as I stood over her grave, I did not know it was otherwise, and I should have. Catherine and I were connected. I could feel what she felt. I knew where she was, without looking. But when I looked down on her grave I felt... nothing. So I was certain."
            "But then you found out she was still alive?"
            Vincent nodded. "Yes. A ruse to protect her from some very dangerous men. A ruse that has cost her all memory of her past, and apparently of me. Once I sensed her again, sensed her near, I hardly believed it. When I realized it was true, I hoped she would find me. Remember our life together. But there was nothing. There is nothing. She never came."
            Trevor looked at Vincent, sadness emanating off of him. His next words to the shadowy figure were plain, as if it were all so simple in the end. "Did she love you?"
            "Yes," was the soft, aching reply. Trevor felt the loss in Vincent's voice.
            "Then how is it better for you not to be in her life?"
            Vincent gazed at Trevor with tired eyes, a wounded soul. "Because each life's journey is unique and unexpected. I would have never imagined being here again, on her rooftop. I would never have imagined a life without Catherine. But perhaps that is what should be."
            Trevor looked at the hooded man, surprised that in a way he faced the same questions himself when it came to bringing Claire back into his life. Should he tell her? Reveal how he felt? What good could come of it? Claire thought he was delusional, would she even believe him if he did? Could he stand her not believing?
            Vincent continued in a soft voice, almost speaking to himself. "I've come up here several times, to ask myself. Would she have been better off without me? It is a question that I must now answer again. And have answered." Sighing, he looked over at Trevor. "I have come only to say goodbye."
            As if that was all that was needed, Vincent turned to leave.
            "What was it like when she was gone, Vincent?"
            Vincent stopped. "What do you mean?"
            "When you thought she was dead. When she was no longer in your life. Did you feel like..." Trevor looked away as if remembering, "like part of you died as well?"
            The shadowed figure considered it. "Yes..."
            Trevor nodded. "Like suddenly your world didn't make any sense because the most important part of it was gone. And that not even your new therapist, or your work, your mission, could fill the empty space she left when she was no longer with you..."
            Vincent turned back to him. "Claire. I hear her in your voice. In your words. This Claire of yours. Why did she leave?"
            Trevor smiled sadly. "She got a new job. Here in New York. And one of her ex-boyfriends is here too. She was going to try to patch things up with him. I came to New York to see her, but I haven't yet. See, I don't really live here. I live in Chicago," Trevor explained, "at least temporarily until I can get back home."
            "And where is you're home?"
            Trevor laughed. "Very far away."
            Vincent looked at him. "Strange. From how you speak of her, I would have thought that home... would be where Claire is. Perhaps it is not as far as you think."
            Nodding, Trevor smiled in agreement. "Maybe. Yeah. It could be just around the corner." He gave Vincent a look. "Or just around the rooftop."
            Vincent chuckled. "Both are equally close. Or equally distant, from certain points of view. Since both of us are still just standing here."
            Trevor motioned towards the balcony. "I think she would like to see you."