Looking up from the pile of work on her desk, Jaclyn finally saw something that made her smile for the first time all day.
Her face instantly lit up as he approached her reception desk. She sat in front of the
office of the new psychology department job Claire had helped her to get. Jaclyn's desk was cluttered with several teetering stacks of confused and disarrayed case files. She was trying to make some sense of it all, holding a file in each hand, when she finally saw Trevor approaching for the first time in a long time.
As he walked down the hall, Trevor grinned when he looked at her smiling face. It always surprised him how much her face changed whenever she saw him. Seeing Jaclyn smile like that was like a breath of fresh air as he came closer. He hadn't seen it in far too long.
Trevor rushed forward and leaned across her desk happily, like he had always done at Claire's office. "Jaclyn! Jackie ooohhh!" It was more of a sensual moan when he said it. "How have you been? How's my favorite water nymph?"
She laughed. "Trevor! It's so good to see you-" She was about to stand up and offer him a deep hug when the door to the psychologist's office suddenly opened beside them for what seemed to Jaclyn to be the hundredth time that day.
Both Jaclyn and Trevor looked over before either could say or do another thing. An older, slower moving man, his graying head perpetually bowed in absent thought, came out of the office door and towards Jaclyn's desk, already in mid sentence, as if he had been talking to Jaclyn from inside his closed office, or maybe had never stopped. His speech was soft and mumbled, almost indecipherable as the words seemed to blur together. The older doctor didn't seem to notice, lost in what he was saying and obviously feeling it was all absolutely clear, to him at least. Trevor blinked at the sound of the man's droning voice, his mouth hanging open as he tried to make out some of the old man's soft, mumbled stream of words, but only picking out a few.
The doctor's obscure speech continued. "So, when... know exactly... resolution of conflict-...ultimate results, of course... So, so important... elusive... resolved through the expos-.... need case file of previous analy-... became abated... resolution of primary psychosis not so-... right, right. My apolog-... You're absolutely right of course... The file number is-... You got all that, right?" The old man paused to look at Jaclyn.
Jaclyn gazed at him blankly. "Uhhh..."
"Great great great. Really.... great great that you're... not like previous girl... never understood... not like her.... no, no, no.... you're a really great, great assistant..."
The aging psychologist, still mumbling, absently dropped a file onto one of Jaclyn's piles, almost missing the mark as he nodded. Still talking in a soft, indecipherable mumble, the doctor turned away, walking slowly back to his office. The file stack he had just added to teetered precariously on the edge of collapse, and both Trevor and Jaclyn darted their hands out to steady it. Sharing a wide, exasperated look between them, they both looked over, not understanding a word of what the old man was still saying as he walked slowly away.
Jaclyn sighed, and simply replied generically over his continued mumbling, like she had been doing all day. "Absolutely Dr. Hazerman. I'll get on it right away..."
Still lost in his own world, the doctor paused and motioned vaguely towards her, making what he obviously felt was a vital and crucial point. "At three past-.... essential meeting then, and we-.... stay on top... really glad you're.... you're really great-.... great assis-..."
Nodding to himself, the doctor never broke his soft stream of words for a second as he went back into his office and shut the door, his voice fading away on the other side. Jaclyn sighed, knowing that if she were to peek in, he would still be prattling on at her from inside his office.
Trevor blinked, trying to comprehend what he had just heard. "Did he just compliment you on being a great assistant or on having a great ass?"
Jaclyn shrugged, looked at the closed door. "I have no idea...." Finally she turned to Trevor, forgetting the doctor completely. "Trevor! It's good to see you!" Jaclyn fondly squeezed his forearm with a big smile on her face a they both started unstacking the much too high files on her desk before they could fall over, moving them to a less perilous elevation. Several envelopes slipped to the floor anyway.
Trevor's face had brightened at Jaclyn's touch on hiss arm, happy to see that at least some things hadn't changed. He felt better in that moment than he had in a long time, seeing her smile. She always showed him such honest, earnest affection when she was flirting with him, even when it was presumably out of habit. "So..." Trevor looked sympathetically around, "this is your new... umm, job..."
"Yeah." Jaclyn didn't seem to care for the moment, instead smiling at him with a tilt of her head, laughing softly. "Such as it is..."
Trevor looked at her, eager to speak with her. He had been so preoccupied with Claire lately, that he hadn't realized that... he had missed her too. Missed seeing the light in her eyes when she looked at him. He wanted so much to ask her about Claire, but he was a little reluctant to bring it up so quickly.
Jaclyn was already busy trying to sort some of the piles of files, looking a little harried. "I'm really, really busy, Trevor. It takes a lot to keep up with..." she looked at all the confused files before her. "...whatever it is Dr. Hazerman has me doing..."
Trevor smiled at her. "I've missed you, Jaclyn."
Her hand stopped in mid air and she looked at him, as if an old memory, or yearning... was passing through her in that moment. Trying not to blush, she blinked at him, before looking shyly away. "I've missed you too, Trevor."
Trevor nodded. He had to ask her about Claire. "Jackie, I was wondering, how has-"
Suddenly the office door opened again, and Dr. Hazerman stepped out, still prattling on in mid sentence. He held an open book in his hands as he continued, pulled from the dusty, voluminous shelves inside his office, his finger grazing across the text he was reading as he spoke to Jaclyn. Coming halfway to her desk, he then started to walk down the hallway, leaving her behind, before finally motioning for her to follow, mumbling the whole time.
"Trevor..." Jaclyn began to look quickly around her desk for the files she thought he was talking about. She grabbed them and rose from her chair. "Trevor, I'm sorry. I'm really busy. I've got to go..."
Seeing his chance to talk to her slipping away, Trevor turned as she walked past him, her arms filled with envelopes. "But Jaclyn, I really wanted to talk to you about-"
Jaclyn turned to him in the hallway for only a brief moment. "I'm sorry, Trevor. Really. Come to my place tonight. We'll talk then, ok? I've wanted to see you too..."
She turned back. Dr. Hazerman was already several yards past her, having never stopped mumbling, not even aware that Jaclyn wasn't immediately behind him as he prattled on. Jaclyn trotted over to catch up, following behind and trying her best to keep up with him verbally, if not necessarily physically. She turned one last time, and with a tiny, shy smile, she waved good bye to Trevor, before following the aged doctor around a corner.
Trevor turned, and looked at all the files cluttering Jaclyn's desk. With the doctor gone, everything seemed so quiet now, absent of his incoherent mumble in the background. Trevor smiled, going behind Jaclyn' desk and beginning to organize her files a little. Looking at the time on the wall, he realized he really had to go too. Then, stopping, an idea came to him, and he grabbed a pad of post it notes on her desk. Picking up a pen, Trevor scribbled on the post it, before ripping it out of the pad and adhering it to the center of Jaclyn's desk where it would be easy to see. Smiling, Trevor turned and walked away, heading for Dr. Dehnt's office.
The post it note was left behind on her desk. It read:
Hey Jackie- I'll see you tonight. And in my opinion, I think Doctor Mumbles was complimenting you on both... Hey, baby got back! Trevor.
Trevor walked away, leaving her desk unattended behind him, as an abandoned stack of files that had been placed beside the desk collapsed onto the floor.
Trevor stood in the hallway, trying to psyche himself up. Taking a breath, he shook his shoulders as if preparing for a marathon. The closed door of Dr. Dehnt's office still waited before him.
"All right. I can do this..."
Trevor finally resolved himself, stepping forward and reaching for the doorknob. He instantly turned away before he could touch it, jerking his hand back quickly.
"I can't do this..." Trevor muttered. "I really, REALLY, hate this guy..."
Suddenly a building employee walked by in the hallway, giving Trevor a strange look for talking to himself. Trevor smiled sweetly at him.
"Good morning... Hi. How are you doing..." Trevor waved politely towards him, hand chopping forward as he nervously waited for him to walk past. Trevor watched as the man disappeared around the corner. Looking back to the Richard's closed office door, a sense of dread filled him again, not wanting to go in.
Dr. Dehnt was always so infuriating. So smug and sure of himself. So calm... like everything he said was completely reasonable, instead of the total crap it was. Trevor hated being in there.
Still doing his best to put the session off, Trevor started doing stretching exercises right there in the hallway, as if to limber up for the trial ahead. As he flung his arm out, it knocked a small potted fern over in the hallway. Trevor scrambled to set it upright it again, shaking his head. "Potted ferns. This guy is clueless. Is everybody else here blind?!" He yelled out down the hallway. Turning, he confronted the closed door again. Trevor took a deep breath, pausing, before starting to jog in place, as if to loosed up.
"Come on. I can do this. I'm the god of love. He's just a mortal. A speck on the rear end of reality. I can handle anything he can dish out..." Trevor looked at the door standing motionless before him for several long moments, before instantly turning to leave, walking away. Then, he stopped, somehow feeling like he was running away from that door. Running away from a... a mortal. Tongue pressed into his cheek with disdain, Trevor turned and came back, hands on his hips as he considered the door.
"I'm Eros. God of love. I can do this. I just... I just can't let myself get angry this time. Sure. Easy as tea in China. Wait... There is no 'T' in China..." With a deep breath, he was about to turn the doorknob, before turning away again. Finally, he turned and went straight in before he could think too much about it and change his mind. Trevor closed the door behind him, vowing silently to himself that he wouldn't let Dr. Dehnt get under his skin this time.
That lasted for about... oh, that long.
Having just settled himself down in his customary and mandatory chair, Trevor had barely looked up when Richard jumped right into the session.
"So, Trevor. Tell me which specific romantic entanglement from your past led to your current delusional state. Are there any women that you're sorry got away?"
Trevor's jaw hardened, already feeling an anger build up in him. His little vow was almost instantly forgotten in the time it took for him to glare at Richard. But suddenly his mind started to wander, honestly thinking about Richard's question.
Reaching up, Trevor knocked on her apartment door, taking a deep breath as he waited outside in the hallway, waiting for her to answer. He had missed the way she always flirted with him, and he was eager to see her again after so long.
Suddenly the door opened, and Jaclyn looked out from inside her apartment. Seeing him there, she smiled instantly, her expression brightening happily as she rushed forward and hugged him eagerly, her arms wrapping around hi back.
"Trevor! Hi! Come in!"
Taking himself reluctantly out of her arms, Trevor smiled back at Jaclyn, grateful for the affection that she had shown him in that hug... the affection that she had always shown him. Pulling him by the hand, Jaclyn led him playfully into her apartment even when he seemed a little reluctant. The door closed behind them.
Trevor looked back up at Dr. Dehnt sitting behind his desk, still in Richard's office as he finally answered Richard's question, eyes glaring at him in annoyance. "Romantic entanglements? I'm a god. There's no such thing for me as-... Wait. Why do you even want to know, anyway? How is that in any way relevant to the whole Cupid thing?"
Trevor was inside Jaclyn's apartment, seated in the well used recliner in front of her couch. Sitting across from him, Jaclyn was sprawled contently in Champ's arms as they both sat next to each other, resting there. Trevor looked at the two of them carefully, silently as he thought about them together and how that made him feel. They seemed so happy together. So perfectly at ease, holding each other close like that. Trevor didn't feel jealousy, exactly. More like... envy. Envy at what they had, at what Champ had, and he had passed up. Would he ever have something like that in his life? Would he ever have that sort of happiness? Looking at the smile on Jaclyn's face, he began to wonder about what he had missed, with her...
They both seemed to be talking to him, or at least their lips seemed to be moving. Both Champ and Jaclyn were eagerly explaining something to Trevor, talking in tandem as they spoke, laying out their case for something or other. Trevor wasn't really listening, thinking instead about the happiness on both of their faces. His eyes dropped to both their right hands, where their fingers were intertwined and resting on Jaclyn's lap. Trevor blinked, remembering Claire's hand holding his, standing there in the rain, before he had gone into his apartment building. To be shot by Faith. Closing his eyes, he could almost still hear the gun shot echoing loudly in his ears.
From across his office, Richard looked at Trevor, realizing that Trevor seemed distracted somehow. Had Trevor just flinched at some unheard sound? Richard decided to press further with his line of questioning, hoping to get an answer.
"Romantic entanglements may not be relevant to the god of love, but they're relevant to you, Trevor. To who you are. To who you've become. To why you decided to cling to the Cupid delusion in the first place. It's pretty obvious to me that your Cupid delusion is based on some sort of... romantic trauma from your past. Trauma you may be inadvertently prone to repeat. And, exploring aspects of that... well, I believe it could lead us to, to..."
Richard's voice trailed off. Usually by this point, Trevor would have provided some sort of confrontational counterpoint to Richard's 'theories'. And sometimes in his belligerence, Trevor would let things slip. Richard knew it was not the best system, but he'd take what he could get. But right now, he could see that Trevor wasn't really even listening to him, still distracted. Richard sighed, waiting patiently.
Trevor looked up, realizing he was supposed to answer, as he sat there in Jaclyn's apartment. Jaclyn and Champ were both smiling at him, looking at him with anticipation, eagerly waiting for his response.
Trevor shook his head, realizing that he hadn't heard anything that they had said at all. He looked at them directly, not understanding. "What?"
Neither of them seemed offended, too caught up in their enthusiasm for the subject. Jaclyn leaned closer toward Trevor, her eyes bright. "So... What do you think, Trevor? Give us your opinion. Should Champ and I move in together?"
Trevor was still a little distracted, but surprised by their statement, as if it had come out of the blue while his mind had been somewhere else. He had still only partially popped back into awareness, thinking of Claire, but he was surprised regardless. "Oh... OH! Live together. Umm... Yeah. Sure. Absolutely. You'd both be great for each other. Without a doubt. It's a great... great idea. I'm very happy for you two."
Champ and Jaclyn both leaned back with a relieved breaths, all smiles and happy for his approval. They didn't really notice how distracted Trevor was, instead merely happy that Trevor had took it so well.
"That's great, Trevor." Champ nodded, relieved himself. He looked a little sheepish as he looked away, before smiling at Trevor again. "Actually... neither of us was sure how you were going to take this, considering.... well, considering that I'll be moving in here and you'll have to find another roommate. But don't worry about that, Trevor. I know some really cool friends of mine that might be interested. Once I get them acclimated to your... umm, unique personality."
Trevor blinked at Champ, not really registering what he was saying, still in a daze. "Hey man, you don't... you don't have to worry about that, Champ. I'll... I'll be fine."
Trevor looked at the two of them, wondering for a brief moment what it would be like to live with Jaclyn. Wondering for an even briefer moment, why it wasn't him.
Jaclyn finally noticed how distracted Trevor seemed, how absently he was looking at them. She leaned forward, a concerned look in her eyes.
"Trevor? What's wrong?"
Trevor looked up at the question, before finally answering Dr. Dehnt, starting to squirm a little in the chair in Dr. Dehnt's office. "Umm... Nothing's wrong. See? There are no romantic entanglements to talk about. None at all..."
Richard was quiet for a moment, still considering him. "Yes. Yes there are, Trevor... Or there were. Somewhere, there was... It's why you embraced the Cupid delusion in the first place. It's why you hold on to it now."
Trevor didn't know how to answer that as he looked into Jaclyn's concerned face. "It's nothing, Jaclyn. I'm just a little... just a little distracted, that's all. Umm, Jaclyn... I've been meaning to ask you something..."
Richard nodded at what Trevor was saying, looking down as he scribbled a note.
Trevor took a breath and continued, looking into Jaclyn's eyes as he sat in her apartment. "There's something I just got to know. You... you still spend time with Claire, right?"
Champ lowered his eyes, still holding Jaclyn in his arms as they both listened to Trevor. Jaclyn suddenly seemed a little uncomfortable with Trevor's question about Claire, answering in a soft, reluctant voice, knowing she was in an awkward position between the two of them. "Yeah... I, I guess so. I saw her for lunch yesterday..."
Sadly, Trevor swallowed, looking at Jaclyn, afraid to ask his next question. Finally, he did, forcing out the words. "Does she ever ask about me?"
Jaclyn paused, pursing her lips, lowering her eyes as she remembered.
The restaurant had been loud and crowded, in the middle of the noon rush. Claire looked up as she sat at the table with Jaclyn, her expression subdued as they had lunch together. Jaclyn smiled at her, happy that they were still friends even after they had stopped working together, but realizing that something was on Claire's mind.
Claire's attempt at a pleasant smile wasn't very convincing, feeling a little uncomfortable. "So you really haven't seen much of Trevor then?" she asked.
Jaclyn shrugged, not sure what Claire wanted to hear. "Here and there. Why?"
"I just think..." Claire looked down at her plate, not able to look Jaclyn in the eye. "Jaclyn, if you could do me a favor. Don't... don't tell Trevor that I ask about him, ok? I just think that.... that it will help him to move on. Get on with his life, if he doesn't know..." Claire looked up at her again.
Jaclyn looked at her, seeing how hard that was for Claire to ask. With sympathy on her face, Jaclyn silently nodded, not saying a word, looking at Claire with a touch of sadness in her eyes.
Glaring at Dr. Dehnt as he sat in his therapy session, Trevor angrily shook his head. "Romantic entanglements! Relationship trauma! Cupid delusions! It's all the same to you, isn't it? I can't believe that you-... That' all that you see when you look at me! That's all you've ever wanted to see. You shrinks are all alike!"
Richard spoke in a soft voice, curious. "Have you encountered many shrinks in the past, Trevor?"
Trevor didn't seem to hear, or pretended not to, as he barreled angrily on. "It's always this trauma, or that delusion with you people! Cookie cutter counseling! Fitting everything into predetermined, pre-defined shapes. You guys could twist a pickle into a pear, turn a mountain into simply a mole hill with unresolved issues with rock, and then charge out the butt to do it! Well you can't twist me into a shape! It's all so easy for you, isn't it? Just ask a few, really intensely personal questions and you're there! Fine! Let's see how you like it. So tell me Doc. Does Claire still like to come to bed in that little black nighty? And if she does, how does that make you feel?" Trevor's voice was full of sarcasm.
Richard's face suddenly grew hard, glaring back at Trevor, angry and suspicious. "That information is none of your business..."
Trevor nodded. "See? It's really a pain when other people, complete strangers even, try to butt into your personal life. But, hey. Why am I telling you. That's your bread and butter, right?"
Richard was still glaring at Trevor, an unexpected tinge of jealousy in his voice as he softly asked his next question. "How... how do you know about Claire's black nighty, Trevor?"
Jaclyn finally took a breath. She had dreaded hearing that question from Trevor, even though she knew it would come. She hated what she was going to have to do now. Keeping her voice level, Jaclyn looked Trevor straight in the eyes, trying to tell as convincing a lie as she could, just like Claire had asked her to.
"No, Trevor. She... she never mentions you."
Trevor's eyes widened when he realized what he had just let slip, yet again, in Richard's office. The jealousy he had allowed to creep into his voice. Hopefully Richard hadn't noticed. Mouth hanging open a little with worry, he did his best to try and cover how close he and Claire had been in the past.
"Nothing... It's... It's nothing. Her old boyfriend Alex gave it to her. He told me about it. Loved rubbing my face in it every time he could..." Trevor sounded bitter.
Richard nodded, growing a little calmer. His anger dissipated, turning instead from a heat to a deep, hard coldness. Obviously Trevor was lying. But there was some truth to the lie as well. He could hear the jealousy in Trevor's voice when he mentioned Alex, Claire's old boyfriend. A few tiny fragments were starting to fall into place. Thinking about it for a moment, Richard started writing in his notepad, out of sight from Trevor.
Was Mr. Hale attracted to Claire?
Looking down at what he had written, Richard circled it with his pen.