The silent moment seemed frozen between the two men as they watched
each other, standing over Trevor's grave.
Trevor looked at the man, motionless.
The man looked at Trevor.
And then with a jolt he began to run.
Trevor watched in horror as the man sped away. "Wait! You don't--"
The man was drawing further away, stumbling and frantic as he fled
through the tombstones, screaming incoherently in a high pitched,
Trevor started chasing after him, calling out. "Hey you can't tell
The man was still pulling further away. Trevor cursed and rushed faster
after him, the world seeming to bouncy and blur in his eyes as he
started to come in close behind. Finally he dove forward towards the
sight of the
man's moving back before him, tackling him to the ground and feeling a
thud in his stomach.
"Ooh, that's gonna hurt..." Trevor moaned in self pity.
Underneath him the man was kicking, clawing and squirming, putting up a
fight as Trevor held him down on the icy grass.
"Get... get off me you damn ghost! " The man paused,
considering the situation. "Wait... Ghosts can't tackle people, can
Trevor sighed, holding him down. "Not a ghost, man."
"Yeah." Realization started to dawn across the drunken man's face.
"Yeah. You're a lot heavier. And you're kinda crushing me."
"Sorry. And... hey!" Trevor sounded offended as he got off him.
"Just saying." The man shrugged as he brushed himself off and rose to
his feet unsteadily. "Seems maybe you've put on a few pounds."
"Well, I've been stuck inside."
"Hmm." The man nodded. "A coffin?"
"Oh. And... why aren't you dead?
"Well..." Trevor seemed embarrassed, "...haven't really gotten around
to it, yet. Not on my 'to do' list. I'm a god. Immortal."
"Oh good," the man walked slowly forward. "Cause
of the two of us, for awhile there I
thought I was the crazy one."
Continuing, he decided to rest against a tombstone
as Trevor followed at his side.
Suddenly the man paused, a sober realization dawning on his face.
"Wait... you REALLY aren't dead."
Trevor nodded impatiently. "Really, really not. Thought we covered
that. Look, I need you not tell anyone about me being ali--"
Starting to look away, Trevor was unexpectedly punched hard across the
chin by the man without any warning, knocked back off his feet and onto
the grass, the seething figure of the man stepping forward and looming
over him, yelling out.
"Do you know the hell you've put me through?!"
Shaking his head to clear it, Trevor looked up, considering
him for several seconds as he rubbed his throbbing chin.
"Fair enough," he finally said. "Feel like getting some coffee?"
Surprised, the man blinked, not expecting that at all. After a long
moment of confusion, he finally reached down, offering his hand and
to his feet.
Trevor smiled at him, and the two of them started to walk away through
the field of tombstones, the cemetery dark all around.
"Hi. I'm Cupid," Trevor whispered softly.
The man looked over. "Rick."
"Come on, Rick. It's freezing out here."
The well lit interior of the downtown diner was bright against the
darkness of the busy Chicago street seen through the windows looking
outside. Inside people moved back and forth, ordering, eating, utensils
on flatware. Seated inconspicuously at one of the tables was Trevor and
the man he had found, the two of them over two cups of coffee and
trying to warm up. Trevor watched Rick with interest as the disheveled
man continued to tell his story, explaining why he had been at Trevor's
grave in the middle of the night.
"So I was lost, direction less... " Rick looked over at Trevor, an
sadness in his eyes. "You may have been the one who jumped, Trevor. But
I'm the one who fell. When me and the other officers cornered you on
that cliff, I was on point. I was the one who was trained
to talk to jumpers. So when you went over the edge... I took it pretty
hard. Never lost anyone before. When you fell off that cliff, I felt I
was watching you die right before my eyes. When I was certain I could
Across the table, Trevor's eyes dropped, starting to quietly realize
how much his leap had affected those around him.
Rick was looking at nothing now, remembering. "After that, I quit the
force .Your death pretty much shattered me. For awhile, the only
person I connected with was a female paramedic. She was there, at the
scene. At the cliff. Helped treat Mrs. Allen. We dated for a few
months. But then... I lost her. Lost yet another person, all over
Trevor nodded, watching him, sympathy in his voice. "Hey I understand,
man. And this may be an obvious question, but... did you look for her
last place you saw her?"
Smiling, Trevor watched and saw his attempt at levity fall on
deaf ears. Rick simply stared at him, his gaze desolate under the
bright diner lights.
"She left me, Trevor. I was in a downward spiral and I knew it. I was
rudderless, drifting, lost. Guess my life became too dark for her. So
I... she moved
away. Left the coast, came back home to Chicago. And... against my
better judgment, I followed her."
Trevor looked at Rick, his gaze pleased at Rick's initiative as patrons
passed behind him.
"Good for you, man. Most good things happen because someone goes
their better judgment."
For the first time. Rick smiled at Trevor too. He shrugged. "Been out
here searching for two months. Trying to find anything that might help
me. And I've been drinking
ever since. Walking the streets. Now it's February 1st, and I decided
go back to where my fall really started. I had heard it was here
somewhere. I decided to
see your grave."
Out of nowhere, Rick paused, looking at him as if finally realizing who
he was talking to. "And... why aren't you dead, again?"
Trevor grinned proudly. "Immortal. I'm a god, you see."
Rick turned his head slightly, giving him a dubious squint. "Right..."
Trevor didn't notice. "Long story. I was first banished here from
to set up a hundred couples and earn my way back. A string of beads
keeps my count. But then, I jumped off a cliff, tested my immortality,
went home early, now I'm back and here with Claire, the woman I'm in
Rick still seemed skeptical. "Uhh-huh. And the hundred couples thing,
that still apply?"
Trevor nodded, taking a sip of his coffee. "Absolutely. It's why I want
help you, man."
Suddenly Rick thought of something. "But won't you still be forced to
if you hit the century mark? Doesn't that still apply too?"
For a moment, Trevor shifted in his seat, looking uncomfortable.
"Umm, not really important." He looked over at Rick, impressed. "Wow...
most people are usually just awed by the entire God of Love part."
Rick chuckled good-naturedly. "Somehow I really doubt it. So let me get
Trevor leaned eagerly forward. "Fire away."
"You set people up." For a millisecond, it seemed there was a twinkle
of hope in Rick's eyes.
"Right." Trevor answered.
"With their true loves."
"Wow..." Trevor blinked at him, giving him the once over and framing
him in his hands. "It's like I'm looking in the mirror, man. Except I
always thought I was MUCH hotter than this. With less of that alcohol
Thinking, Rick ignored him. "But nobody knows you're alive."
Trevor shrugged. "Well..."
Rick stared straight at him, rubbing the stubble on his scraggily chin
as he considered it. "How can you do your job if nobody knows you're
"I've helped you humans for thousands of years, and most of THEM didn't
was alive." Trevor looked away. "Besides, after that shooting incident
last time I was in Chicago, there still may be some legal issues
"I don't think that's why." Rick interrupted simply.
An awkward, unspoken question passed between the two men in the silence
followed. The sounds of forks, plates and conversations from the rest
of the patrons in the diner were the only things that were heard.
Finally, Trevor spoke, answering him.
"It's complicated." The words sounded hollow even in his own ears.
Slowly Rick nodded. "Complicated. Right. I see."
"What do you see?"
Keeping his gaze locked on his, Rick didn't look away. "I see a scared
man, Trevor. I see a fake grave where the world thinks that some
delusional man who believed he was Cupid is buried.
And he's not. A fake grave on a fake history of a fake life."
"Hey!" Trevor snapped back, offended. "I'm still Cupid."
"Which part? The hiding part or the everyone thinks you're dead part?"
Trevor shook his head. "You don't understand. I just have to be more
Rick laughed. "Doesn't seem very honest. For an immortal and and god, I
mean. You. Immortal. You.
Yeah, right. I don't know how you survived that
fall, Trevor. But immortality? Sorry... from here I don't see it."
"I didn't fall. I flew. I am Cupid. And... I'll prove it to you. Tell
me. You and your girl. I'll show you. I'll help you get back together."
Rick scoffed. "How? By hiding in the day then anonymously roaming the
night like some sort of secret shadow Cupid?"
Trevor smiled, liking the image. "Sounds pretty cool the way you say
"I'm not following the advice of some guy who flitters around the
at night like some sort of vampire."
"Well... maybe a LOVE vampire. But believe me. Whatever it takes man. I
can do it. It will happen. I can get you two back together."
Rick blinked at his certainty. "You serious?"
"oh, 'I' serious. I have resources, man." Not bothered by Rick's
obvious skepticism, Trevor non-chalantly looked down
and took a sip of his coffee.
Rick turned his gaze and looked out the window behind Trevor.
Trevor pressed further. "Tell me where she is and I'll point one of my
love minions right at her. Before you know it, headboards will fall,
bedsprings will rise, and the two of you will be hot and heavy in
some apartment or dressing room or confessional booth as you eat Jell-O
shots off of her--"
Still looking past Trevor and out the window, Rick wasn't really
listening. His words were soft as he interrupted, almost as if talking
"Sun's coming up."
Turning around, Trevor looked through the glass over his shoulder and
to the street outside. His jaw dropped as he saw how bright the sky had
become. Fear in his eyes, he looked down at his watch.
"Oh crap..." he said softly, stunned.
It was the same hallway at the same radio studio. But this time Claire
walking it in the reverse direction, carrying her purse and putting on
her coat as the hallway walls slid by either shoulder. People passed
her occasionally, coming out of offices or store rooms, walking the
opposite direction. One spoke to her as Claire left work.
"Goodbye, Mrs. Allen. Good show tonight."
Claire smiled politely. "Thanks. See you tomorrow."
Finally the front door was sliding towards her, and she opened it to
step into the dim, early morning light, ready for her commute. Eager
to be back home, she headed for her car across the parking lot,
looking up at the same brightening sky Trevor had seen through the
diner window. Pointing her keys at the car, she triggered her remote
lock, the car clicking and flashing its headlights before she opened
the driver's side door and got in,
sitting down and fastening her seat belt.
At that moment inside the diner downtown, Trevor was freaking out.
He stood up, still panicking, moving one way then the other like a
cornered animal in approaching car headlights, trying to decide which
way to go. "Look, I really gotta go. I'm outta time! You have my cell
phone number, no time to explain! Stop asking questions! You have my
number I gotta go! You do have my number, right?"
Rick, who had said nothing at all, seemed confused by Trevor's sudden
change in demeanor. "Yeah. I got it, Trevor. But where are you--"
Trevor ducked away. "No time! Gonna get you and your girl back
together! You just watch!" As he moved further away from the table and
towards the door, he motioned a 'call me' sign and stormed out of
the diner in a frantic rush, every person in the room watching him,
a tornado had just passed.
Rick watched through the diner windows in amazement. Once Trevor darted
into the light, he cringed, ducking low and holding his hood over his
head to ward off the brightness like a vampire caught in sunlight, as
he ran past the window, obviously playing off of what Rick had called
As the commotion died down in the cafe, Rick paused, turning away from
the window and looking down at the small slip of paper with Trevor's
cell number scribbled on it, turning it in his fingers. He spoke softly
to himself, considering.
"God of love..."
Across the city, inside Claire Allen's home, Ian Frechette stood
anxiously by her large living room window, looking out, waiting,
watching. His eyes searched the street and driveway outside, worry
etched in his every feature as he saw the sky above brighten even
There was still no sign of Trevor. The bearded man sighed, worried that
time was slipping away, watching the way Trevor had gone last night.
Suddenly, a slender, pale hand gently touched his shoulder from behind.
Frechette turned at the sensation to see Faith standing there with him.
For a moment he watched her in wonder, amazed by how beautiful she was.
Her blond hair cascaded down her face to either side of dazzling
blue eyes that looked serenely at him. But then as he watched her, a
genuine concern returned to Frechette's face. He looked back out the
window, thinking of Trevor, of him out there all alone. After a
moment he gratefully placed his hand over hers on his shoulder without
turning towards her.
"It will be full daylight soon," he said softly, still searching.
"Where is he? He's never this late."
Standing behind him, Faith seemed to feel the tension in his shoulder.
"You're really worried, aren't you?"
He didn't turn. "If
Trevor gets caught..."
Stepping closer to his back, Faith gently reached her arms forward,
hugging him from behind.
"Don't worry, Ian. He'll be fine."
For a long moment, Frechette paused as he faced the glass. When he
spoke, his words were
"He has to be..."
Frechette kept looking out the window, searching. Behind him, Faith's
head dropped as she held him, resting on his back.
"Ian... do you think Trevor's right?
"About what?" He kept his gaze outside.
"You.... Needing someone."
"What? I don't need..."
Frechette still hadn't turned. "Well... of course, I'm.... Yes. I'm
sure. I have you in my life."
"We can't touch."
Faith paused, her face sad against his back. "We can't dance..."
"We can't dance. Not really dance."
Frechette didn't understand. "That's not true. You know that."
Faith continued, her eyes glittering with moisture. "We can't really
dance because of what I am. No one else sees me. What if... what if I'm
really just all in your head."
"Bliss saw you tonight."
"Bliss likes you, Ian. And kids love imaginary friends. Maybe she's
just playing along."
Frechette finally turned towards her, his face serious.
"She looked right at you, Faith. I saw it."
She couldn't keep the sadness from her eyes. "Maybe... Or maybe your
mind put me where she looked."
Blinking, Frechette seemed uncertain. "No that's... I don't... You
don't believe that, do you?"
"I feel real to myself," Faith
looked down at her hands in thought, turning them slowly. "But what if
feelings are yours and not my own?"
Stepping closer, with Trevor's living room quiet around them, he took
her hands into his own and looked into her eyes. "Faith, do you care
He smiled, squeezing her hands. "Then that's all that matters."
Turning back around, his eyes started looking for Trevor through the
window again, watching the brightness grow on the street outside like
been doing for hours. From behind him, Faith reached out and embraced
him a second time, her head still falling sadly onto his back.
"I do care for you, Ian... Enough to wonder if Trevor's right."
Several things happened nearly at once.
With a soft squeal of tires, Claire's car pulled up in the driveway
just as he turned around to see Faith and found only empty space.
Spinning his head back around to look outside, Frechette's eyes widened
as he saw her vehicle come to a stop. He was trapped in her home. Then
a loud bang cracked from the living
room behind him. He turned towards that noise just to in time to see
that one of the side windows had just been slammed up, opened. And with
something large coming through. Trevor was already tumbling through the
window, covered in twigs and icy dry leaves from the thick shrub just
Behind, the branches below the window ledge were still swirling.
Outside on the street, Claire got out of her car and started walking
towards the house.
Speechless, Frechette was frozen in place as Trevor wildly regained his
feet and scrambled over to the living room window, looking outside, out
breath, his face covered in red twig scratches.
"This one's gonna be close..." he said, eyes locked on Claire as she
walked past the car headlights and onto the entrance sidewalk, maybe
a dozen feet from the door.
Feeling a debilitating panic, Frechette's eyes widened even more as she
got closer, choking his words as they stumbled out. "Trevor, I--,
Watching Claire too, Trevor wasn't really listening, seeing her closer
than before, almost to the front door, and verbalizing it accordingly.
"Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap crap crap crap!"
"Trevor, we're caught! It's over! It's all o--"
Frechette's words were cut off as Trevor suddenly yanked him down and
out of sight of the window, ducking him down like he was now. Her
outside, Claire's shadow flashed across the glass, heading to the front
door. Trevor darted past Frechette, ducking low and quickly searching
for something in the drawer of a small nearby end table, fumbling
frantically through the objects inside.
"Trevor!" Beside him, Frechette ducked down even lower, speaking in a
loud whisper. "She's almost inside! We'll get caught! She's--"
Curious, Frechette paused as he watched Trevor, his next words more
"What are you looking for?"
Finally, Trevor found what he was looking for and held it up
Frechette blinked. "Car keys?"
Lifting one arm up over the edge of the living room window like a
periscope, Trevor tried to vaguely guess the direction where Claire's
car was. In the hallway beside them, Claire's house keys were already
clinking softly in the lock of the house's front door. Aiming
desperately, Trevor pushed the car's unlock remote several times in
Outside on the front doorstep, Claire paused when she saw her car
headlights flashed on and off out of the corner of her eye, hearing the
small musical chirp as the car unlocked behind her. Leaning back for a
clearer view, she looked directly at her car as it honked once, the
doors locking again, then chirped and flashed another time as it
unlocked once more. With a sigh she grabbed her ring of keys from the
front door and started walking back, finding her car key remote as she
walked past the living room window.
Inside the house, as Claire's shadow passed over the glass again,
Trevor started pushing Frechette deeper into the living room, away from
they could be seen.
"Go, go, go!" He whispered fiercely, like he was guiding them through
an enemy jungle. Keeping low and out of sight of the window, Trevor
scrambled Frechette across the living room, both of their knees
uncomfortably hitting their chests as they moved. Frechette tried to
catch his breath in the constricted position, crouched so low that
every step forward threatened to spill him flat on his face. But
however rough it was,
Trevor pushed him even faster.
"Go, go go!"
Voice full of panic now, Frechette looked back at him. "Go? Go where,
Outside, Claire's car honked as she locked it again. Not stopping their
progress, Trevor raised his arm and aimed wildly with his car remote,
looking pleased with the sound of another chirp as it unlocked again.
He rushed Frechette further away, until the older psychologist
finally did lose balance and fall on his face.
Exasperated by what was happening to her, Claire stood outside, next to
her car's front bumper. She
glared at it for several moments, before she decided to try again,
angrily lifting her car remote in two hands and pointing it like a gun.
and finally clicking, she watched as the car's parking lights flashed
and the car horn honked beyond her hands, the vehicle locking again.
Everything seemed fine. But then another chirp and flashing headlights
as for no reason it unlocked. And then the trunk popped open behind.
Claire sighed, walking back towards the house door. "I give
Inside, Trevor and Frechette stopped near a wall.
"Trevor, where are we going? How am I going to get out before comes
right in the--"
Looking around he saw that he had been lead to the open window
Trevor had tumbled through earlier. Frechette's eyes widened, both of
them standing up.
"No, Trevor! You can't be serious!"
"No time to argue, proxy man! She walking back here right now. Get in
there!" Trevor grabbed the larger man's shoulder and tried to wedge him
through as he resisted.
"Umm..." Looking over at him, Frechette saw there was still twigs and
leaves all over Trevor's coat, and several red scratches on his face
too where he had crawled through the shrub earlier. "Trevor, there's
still branches stuck to your--"
"Into the garbage chute flyboy! I don't care what you smell!"
Forcefully, Trevor shoved Frechette out the window and sent him
tumbling out of view with a thud.
Outside on the front doorstep, Claire paused, looking up and twisting
lower lip, thinking. Without turning around, she lifted her keys over
her shoulder and aimed impulsively at her car behind her, clicking one
time. There was a honk as her car locked, and nothing after that. With
a smile she switched to her house key and put it in the lock in the
Inside, Trevor slammed the side window shut, just as he heard Claire's
keys unlocking the door at the other end of the entry hall.
He turned and ran straight up the nearby stairs, aiming wildly with
his car remote, clicking away and no longer caring if it worked or not.
Still dressed like he had just gone out, he disappeared out of sight
the front door opened and Claire stepped in.
Upstairs, Trevor rushed into the bedroom, looking around, ignoring the
fact that his body and head was sprinkled with occasional dried twigs
and leaves from his crawl. Claire's footsteps were on the stairs. She
was coming up to check on him. The bed was still made, he was supposed
be asleep. Trevor turned quickly in place, wondering what to do. He
stumbled on one foot, taking off his shoes, pulling off his coat and
his hood, throwing them to the far side of the bed. Her steps were
louder, walking down the hall. Without thinking, Trevor threw himself
face forward on the bed, going motionless, before he started a loud,
A moment later, Claire gently opened the door and looked in.
She saw Trevor lying on the bed, quietly asleep, not having bothered to
changed for the night. He looked completely out of it. Smiling, she
closed the door with a soft sigh. Alone in the hallway, she
paused, thinking. Was that a twig she had just seen stuck in Trevor's
hair? She reached for the doorknob again.
Inside, Trevor cracked
open an eye the moment she had closed the door. But then he started
blinking uncomfortably, something digging into his skull. He batted it
wildly away behind the bed, before his head dropped back down and he
started loudly snoring again as Claire opened the bedroom door a second
Claire looked at Trevor again, asleep on the bed. He was in he exact
same position, snoring away, and there wasn't a branch in sight.
Twisting her lips, Claire considered what she thought she had seen,
"Weird..." she said softly to herself, finally closing the door.
On the bed inside, Trevor finally sighed, knowing he was in the clear.
"That really was close."
Claire walked quietly down the upstairs hallway and checked in on
Bliss, knowing she was never awake at this hour, unlike Trevor.
Cracking open the bedroom door, she saw the little girl was still
sleeping. She looked like an angel, and Claire's heart lifted, full of
love for her and Trevor's amazing little angel of joy. After a moment,
she tenderly blew
her daughter a kiss, before closing the door and heading downstairs.
She came down the steps, slipping her coat off and putting her keys
down on the end table in the living room. Tired, she stretched her
neck, rubbing it softly before she paused, going motionless when she
With a sigh, Claire walked slowly over. She moved towards the living
room window, where the taped outline of a heart had been placed onto
glass. Without any sense of surprise, she reached over and turned on
golden table lamp, watching as it glowed red onto the glass.
Slowly, Claire exhaled. "Ian..."
Like she had done it several times before, Claire carefully removed the
tape from the glass. She unscrewed the light bulb and replaced it with
the normal one. Finding Trevor's greek cigar box full of couple set up
notes on the dining room table, she carried
it and the red bulb over to his 'secret' spot on the wooden
pillar, which seemed closed and unnoticeable. Hitting it expertly in an
exact, certain way, Claire carefully placed the box and the light bulb
compartment, closing it gently until the pillar's base looked smooth
and uninterrupted again.
Claire looked over at the living room glass where the heart had been
taped, its outline now gone. She spoke softly to herself, staring at
the empty glass.
"Trevor has to come to his senses and stop doing this. I really hope
this will be the last
Walking away, she headed for the kitchen to eat, leaving everything
The living room was empty.
Outside, it seemed the
day shifted quickly, fading into shadows, the sun's angle rising then
falling again, cars and people passing by in a blur, until shadows
started covering the scene outside.
And slowly, fading into view on the glass, the taped outline of a heart
appeared the next night, bathed in the glow of the upturned table lamp.
Frechette was standing next to the dining room table again, Claire off
at work again. He was seething as he faced Trevor, completely furious.
"Trevor!" he said angrily, "This is what in the psychiatric field is
called NOT keeping a secret!"
Trevor shrugged, not understanding. "What?!"
Frechette nodded to Trevor's side.
Rick was standing there next to him, hands in his pockets, looking
Frechette glared at him. "Trevor, he's not supposed to be here!"
Trevor tried to calm Frechette down "It's okay, proxy man. Rick's going
to help us. Another love minion in the war of love!"
Not wanting to her any of it, Frechette shook his head. "Trevor, he
With a yawn, Rick nodded, already turing away. "Ok. I'll be going
Darting over, Trevor calmly grabbed Rick by the shoulders and turned
him around. He looked at Frechette as he guided him back. "Rick knows
about us. If he leaves, he's becomes a liability. But if he stays, he
becomes something far safer. He becomes an accessory."
Frechette looked down, his jaw hardening. Sarcasm dripped from his
"What's he going to do? Serve cookies? Keep the minutes of the
group?" Frechette lifted a notebook and shook it angrily at him, his
other free hand pushing a plate forward on the table. "I've
already done that!"
Curious, Rick leaned forward and looked at the notebook Frechette put
back down, seeing it filled
with detailed notes of past meetings. He looked at Frechette coldly.
"You keep notes?"
"For this?" Rick nodded towards the empty room.
Frechette glared at him. "Of course I do."
Rick stared for a long, silent moment, his face an empty expression.
"Ok, I'm outta
Trevor stopped him again, rubbing crumbs off his lips from the cookie
he had eaten from the plate on the table, before handing Rick a cookie
patting him on the back to keep him in place.
Rick looked at the cookie in his hand, blinking before lifting his eyes
to Frechette again. "So... what is all this? Why are you here?"
"I'm here to help Cupid, the god of love, through his mission on
Rick paused, uncertain how to respond. "Seriously?"
steadily at him, certain. "Without a doubt."
Trevor stepped in. "Look, 'chetty. I want Rick here. And I need you to
help him with this. So I have a mission for you."
Frechette instantly had his pen and notepad out and in hand, waiting.
"Yes. Tell me, master Cupid."
Rick's eyes froze, before looking over at Trevor. Trevor lowered his
"Please don't call me that."
chastised, but said nothing.
"Rick here, has lost
his girl. He needs to get her back. And he needs your help to do it."
started taking notes. "I
am at your service, Mast--" He paused, correcting himself. "...
god of love."
Something about that
was finally too much, and Rick shook his head, having heard enough.
"That's it! I'm outta here."
Trevor looked back and forth between the two men quickly as Rick
started to leave. "What? Why!"
Rick turned, speaking
to Trevor but jerking his head towards Frechette. "He's as nutty as you
are. I don't want any part of this little... circle of insanity in the
Trevor spread his
arms. "What insanity?"
wrinkled in utter frustration. "I can't work with this, Master Cupid!
not even a believer in your immortal divinity."
Rick pointed over at him. "That insanity! Goodbye, Trevor."
"Rick, wait. Wait!"
"Wait for what? To think I agonized over you dying. Over me not saving
you. Instead you're just some delusional man with his delusional
follower. I don't know who's crazier, you or him. I mean look at you!
Skulking in the shadows, clandestine secret meetings, your only self
worth is the absurd thought that the world is somehow out to get you. I
can't do this, Trevor!"
Frechette nodded. "Then go, you non-beliving, beer swilling, hygiene
Trevor tried to get things back on track, looking over. "You can't do
"This. Any of this. Trevor, my life is a train wreck as it is. I don't
need to get involved in your own personal crash and burn here."
"Look man, I need your help. Can I talk to you privately for a second?"
Rick blinked. "What?"
Trevor nodded. "It'll only take a second. Totally up to you. Your
call, man. Come on."
Trevor started guiding Rick away like he had already agreed even though
he had said nothing. "See, you're a good egg, Ricky boy. Let's go."
As he guided Rick into the hallway, Trevor looked over to see Frechette
packing his things and getting ready to leave as well.
"Frechette, what are you doing man?"
"I'm leaving, Trevor. I don't need this kind of abuse from some wasted
wash-out who's not even willing to believe. Or care about what we're
Trevor darted back over to him, pulling Frechette to the opposite
corner of the dining room. "Can I talk to you for a second?"
Whispering, Frechette's leaned angrily in. "Trevor what's the point of
here? If he doesn't believe, he can't help us!"
Trevor shook his head. "It's not about him helping us, it's about us
On the other side of the room, Trevor was suddenly talking privately to
Rick, standing alone before him. "Rick, I have to be honest here. This
isn't really about us helping you, it's about you helping Frechette."
Rick blinked, looking over at the man in the opposite corner. "Him?"
Standing with Trevor before him , Frechette looked over at Rick. "Him?
Trevor waved his hands. "Yes, 'him'. Look, I'll give him some absurd
story that he's helping you out..."
Trevor was talking to Rick, away from Frechette. "I'll tell him that
he's supposed to be helping you, he'll buy that, but it'll be the other
Rick thought about it. "The other way around, huh?"
Trevor nodded at the confusion in Frechette's eyes as the two of them
spoke again. "Believe me, proxy man, he won't have a clue."
Frechette blinked. "What is that supposed to mean?"
Trevor spoke conspiratorially to Rick. "It means you can never tell him
that he's your real mission."
Uncertain, Rick sighed wearily. "Why can't you do this?"
"You've seen how he is." Trevor mimicked his body becoming all tense
and contorted for a moment. "I'm glad for his help but Frechette's a
Trevor smiled. "Over zealous."
Trevor kept moving back and forth between the two camps, moving one
direction across the dining room, before eventually moving the other,
repeating over and over in a zig zag. It all blended into a quick
succession of images, always passing the dining table stationary in the
Trevor was talking to Frechette again, nodding over to where Rick was
standing across the room. "Do you want to help me or not? Do you
believe in what we're doing? Helping couples, true love, all that?"
Frechette seemed more subdued. "Of course I do, but--"
"This... is THAT. We need to help him."
Rick examined Frechette from across the room, listening to Trevor
standing before him. "I'll probably regret asking this, but how do you
want me to help him?"
Trevor nodded. "Old 'chetty over there thinks he's secretly helping
you. But you're
secretly helping him. I need you to find a woman for him. The man needs
to get laid!"
Rick sighed. "I do regret it."
Trevor continued. "You've seen how he is! All tense and on the verge.
this is all he has! I need to mellow him down a bit, get him out of my
what I'm asking you to do for him is to help him see that there are
things in life. Things of the feminine variety. Or in more poetic
terms... I want you to get him
Frechette blinked at what Trevor had just told him, trying to be clear.
"Rick? You want me to find Rick a match? Where? Bag lady?"
Trevor shook his head, his voice lower so Rick wouldn't hear. "Rick's
already got the girl. I just need you to get them together again."
"It'll never work." Frechette scowled at Trevor. "In my work, I've seen
his type before.
Complete train wrecks. Inpatients waiting to happen."
Suddenly Frechette seemed introspective.
"I could always try thorax-B on him..."
"No!" Trevor said adamantly, as if talking to a puppy. "No! Bad doctor.
How many times do I have to tell you. You can't find love through
Frechette shook his head. "He's not looking for love, Trevor. He's
looking for himself."
"Well, help him find his girl, and he'll be there too! His 'Self' is
found, problem solved. I'll convince him that he's helping you with my
beads, but extra super secretly, you'll be helping him. Beads gotta
start moving here."
"Beads?" Rick blinked as he asked the question, he and Trevor alone on
the other side of the room. "You mean that part's actually real?"
Scoffing, Trevor guided rick into the darkness of the living room and
showed him the string of beads hanging there, most on one side, some on
the other. "See those? That's why I'm here. That's my count. That's my
"I thought you were here to be with the woman you love."
"Well, that too..."
Rick looked at the beads in the shadows, before giving Trevor a
discerning glance out of the corner of his eye. "So... You
never answered me before. The 100 beads thing. That still apply?"
Trevor seemed uncomfortable and chose to ignore it.
"Proxy McBeardy over there thinks he's secretly trying to get you your
girl back. So he'll try to be clever and clandestine to keep the
secret. But I still want you to help him. Keep your eyes open. Spot any
prospects for him. Preferably with low standards. Or with low
Looking skeptical, Rick turned and faced Trevor, finally putting it all
on the table, his words cold and uncaring "Why should do any of this,
The light from the dining room was still falling on them in the dark.
Trevor calmly stepped forward, looking into Rick's face with a serious
glint. "Look at your life, man. You're a wreck. A mess. Even he knows
it. You need to
turn it around. And all that needs is a spark, a first step. Right
here. Right now.
You need to help someone to help yourself. To get your cajones back.
Because love is the one, rare thing in the universe, man. When you give
it gives back. Help Ian, you'll find your girl. And you'll find
Doesn't make sense, but it's true. You do want her back, don't you?"
"Well..." Rick paused. "She's..."
"I can help you do that."
Finally, Rick nodded in agreement. "Of course I want her back. Right
there with you, Trevor."
Nodding, Trevor still looked at him seriously. "Winning her back won't
be easy. You're going to have to do some stupid things."
"Things that scare you to death. Can you do that?"
For a moment, Rick paused, uncertain. "Yes... yes I can, Trevor."
Trevor was talking to Frechette again across the room, who was looking
steely into his eyes. "Why should I help this man? A man who's not
even willing to believe."
"Because it's what we do." With a smile, Trevor looked at
Frechette, speaking with absolute asuredness, like it was the most
obvious thing in the world. "It's
Frechette paused, thinking about that simple answer, before he seemed
to accept it. "Yes... Yes, it is."
Trevor's voice grew louder, his words more animated, going into
cheerleader mode. "So... you with me, proxy man?"
Frechette smiled at the image. "I'm with you."
"Wait, let me say it again. Are you with me?"
"I'm with you," Rick answered half heatedly, the two of them alone on
the other side of the room.
With a pleased expression, Trevor spoke even louder. "I can't hear you!
I said, ARE YOU WITH ME!"
Frechette smiled, buoyed by Trevor's energy as he spoke, a
spark in the bearded man's eye. "I'm with you!"
"Right! That's what I'm talking about!" Trevor gave a downward twin
thump of encouragement onto either of Frechette's shoulders. Frechette
returned the motion, almost knocking Trevor down, surprisingly strong.
""Ok," Trevor nodded. "Let's go get em..."
He motioned Frechette back to the dining room table, before following
behind him and pausing for a moment to silently wince at the hit
Frechette had given him while no one was watching.
Standing in the doorway of the darkened living room, Rick looked at
Trevor there with him, the two of them outlined against the light
beyond. His words were calmer. "I'm with you, Trevor."
Trevor pushed him into the dining room. "Ok. Get into it."
Trevor guided Rick back over the table, where Frechette was already
"Ok..." Trevor finally addressed the two of them as one again, standing
between them. "You both have cell phones, so I'll stay in contact with
you from here at LOVE CENTRAL. Stay close. Stay in contact. Be afraid.
Be very afraid. It's a love jungle out there, and it's time to eat. So
grab an apron and dive in. We have until daylight when Claire gets
back from work. But most of all, stay together! Hold hands if you like.
You are each there to back up the other. See that guy next to you?
That's your wing man. Let me check on Bliss for a second, then you guys
are heading out."
Trevor left the dining room, heading upstairs and leaving Rick and
Frechette alone in an awkward silence. They stood there motionless for
several moments, each staring at the strange man before them. Suddenly
they were less
sure about the prospect without Trevor's exuberance in the room.
Leaning forward and placing his palms on the dining room table,
Frechette exhaled deeply to steady himself, looking down. Suddenly a
slender hand slid up across his shoulder, comforting him. Faith was
there, looking up into his eyes. "It'll be okay, Ian."
Frechette turned to her gratefully. "Thank you. I know it will be."
With his head turned slightly, Rick watched Frechette suspiciously
from across the room. Frechette seemed to talk to empty space, smiling
at it and putting his hand up onto his own shoulder even though there
was nothing there.
"Who are you talking to?" He asked dubiously.
Frechette looked uncomfortable again, turning away. "Umm.... nobody."
After a moment, Frechette looked at Rick from across the dining room
table, coldly evaluating him as they waited for Trevor, giving Rick a
probing gaze. Finally he spoke.
"Trevor must really believe in you to bring you here. To break his
Not intimidated by his stare, Rick simply shrugged, not knowing how to
respond. "Umm... I guess so."
Frechette continued, his eyes not leaving him. "I just hope your worthy
of all this attention from the god of love."
Frechette nodded. "It's a great honor."
Rick tried not to smile. "You... you're really into this, aren't you."
Frechette scowled and played innocent, not being very helpful. "I don't
know what you're talking about."
Suddenly Trevor came eagerly storming back into the room, a fire in his
step as he gathered the two of them together, one in each arm and
started guiding quickly to the door.
"Ok you two, get out there! Move it! Bliss is asleep and it's time for
you two to grab some! CARPE NOCTURNA! So move it! We're burning
Standing by the front door, Trevor flipped it open like it was an
over a high drop, before moving to the side. With one hand he started
Rick and Frechette out of the house and onto the doorstep like they
were paratroopers jumping out of a World War 2 movie, as his other
hand repeatedly flicked the porch light on and off in a frantic rhythm.
"Go, go, go! You want to live forever?! Been there, done that! Go, go,
go! Fly my love minions, fly!"
Stumbling out and confused, Rick and Frechette took a few steps onto
the entry way, before the front door slammed shut and everything went
The porch light turned off, dropping everything into darkness.
Rick looked at Frechette. "Trevor told you to secretly help me while I
secretly help you, right?"
Frechette nodded, not wanting to play games. "Exactly."
"Good. Always preferred the straight approach."
"Agreed." Frechette answered, feeling getting to the point
was better as well.
After a moment, Rick sighed. "Let's get this over with."
Frechette shrugged not used to having a partner as he headed out. "How
are we going
"I have a car. I'll go get it."
As Rick walked away looking bored, Frechette followed more slowly
before he stopped when he heard a voice behind him.
Frechette turned around and saw Faith standing there in the shadows
outside Claire's home. With a start, he realized something was
different. She wasn't standing close to him, she was standing almost a
dozen feet away. Confused, he called over.
"Faith? What are you doing?"
Wanting to get closer, he took a step... and a chill went through him
when he saw her subtly step back from him. Frechette paused, concerned.
"What's going on," he asked.
Faith lowered her gaze. "I've been thinking, Or maybe you've been
thinking, I don't know. But I can't let things go on like everything's
the same. With what Trevor said, what he wants for you. I feel... I
feel I.... have to ask you a question, Ian."
He stood rooted to where he was, facing her in the dark, looking at
her pale and beautiful. But there was a sadness on her features.
"Umm... what kind of question?"
Faith looked at him, and she paused, as if knowing it came down to
this, almost afraid of his answer.
"Are you ashamed of me?"
He sputtered. "Faith, no I, of course not. Don't think that. It's just,
well... people just wouldn't--"
"Ian..." Tears glittered in her eyes. "Do you see us, you and me, as a
For a moment, Frechette was utterly speechless.
Finally he blinked, searching for words. His throat seemed to catch,
like it was constricted. He stammered, trying to find something to say.
Faith closed her eyes, a tear rolling down her cheek.
Frechette tried to step closer.
Another small step back by Faith.
"Ian... I think deep down you still think you might be crazy."
"Faith, no. I--"
"Deep down you still think I might not be real. But the worst part
is... maybe I'm starting to think that too."
"Faith, never think that! You should never--"
She wasn't listening, tears in her eyes as she looked at him again.
"Trevor is right, Ian. You do need someone in your life. All of your
Someone at your side and not in in your head. Someone in photographs
with you. Or at family gatherings. Walking down the sidewalk and seeing
two shadows ahead instead of one.
You need something... real."
"Faith, I don't care about that."
She turned away from him completely, her head low, and slowly she
started to walk away.
real, Ian. Someone you can love without shame. With who my question
isn't even a question."
"Faith. Faith no, wait. Faith!"
He moved to follow her as she left, but then there was a screech of
tires and the beams from two car headlights swept across the yard. The
light passed over where Faith was as she left and instantly she was
gone, the beams never touching her. Shocked, Frechette stopped.
From behind him came a car honk. Rick leaned his head out of the window
of his rusty, dilapidated compact car, calling out.
"Hey, come on! Let's get going!"
Frechette looked at the empty space where Faith had disappeared, but
there was only shadows there now. Feeling empty inside, he finally
turned away, heading towards the glowing car headlights shining onto