Dr. Dehnt was exasperated as he dropped his pen down onto his list of scribbled shorthand notes from the current session. Fed up, he glared angrily across his desk.
"You're not being honest with me, Trevor."
Trevor didn't seem to concerned as he sat in his mandatory chair in front or Richard's desk. 'I'm being as honest as the truth will allow..."
Richard glared at Trevor silently, wanting to strangle him. Trevor was being particularly obtuse and stubborn today. And especially about this subject.
Trevor glared back at Richard from his chair. He looked a little smug, pleased with himself and obviously glad to have turned the tables, since it seemed it was him for once getting under Dr. Dehnt's skin instead of the other way around.
Richard took a breath, trying to calm himself. Everything was like a wrestling match when he had these sessions with Trevor. But no matter how uncooperative Trevor was being, Richard knew he shouldn't allow himself to get angry. However on this subject, he realized that would be difficult for him to do. He could still hear Claire's voice as they had walked that night by the river, hear her asking him about Trevor. He couldn't get her concern out of his mind, his suspicions twisting and growing in his thoughts. There was something between Trevor and Claire that neither were talking about. So what he was asking was actually important to him, on a personal level. He knew he couldn't keep his personal feelings out of this, but he didn't care. He had to know the truth. So he asked the question again, his voice full of an anger and suspicion which he couldn't hide.
"You have feelings for Dr. Allen, Trevor."
"No I don't." He answered simply. Trevor's jaw hardened, and he looked disdainfully away. He would be damned if he was going to talk about this. And definitely not with him, of all people, Claire's current boyfriend.
Richard nodded, ignoring Trevor's denial as he barreled stubbornly forward. "Trevor, these feelings you have for Claire. I need to know about them..."
Trevor smiled sweetly in response. "How can I tell you about feelings I don't have?"
"Then tell me about the feelings you do have."
Trevor sighed angrily, crossing his arms in a stubborn gesture, being deliberately uncooperative. "You're the supposed expert in mind shrinking. Why don't you tell me the feelings that I have. A mind shrinker and a mid reader to boot. Come on, wow me with your... well, let's call it a 'skill' for now ..."
Richard didn't pause. "You were romantically attracted to Claire Allen while she was treating you, ironically enough, of the delusion of being the god of love. We both know that's true, Trevor. So what's the harm in admitting it?"
Trevor blinked, getting a little angrier. The pleased smugness he had felt at annoying Richard, which he had never tired of before, was now long gone. Trevor squinted dangerously at Richard, considering him. Richard almost sounded... frantic for answers about this. Perhaps too much so. There was a tinge of desperation in his voice. Certainly more than was warranted on a purely professional level. Trevor began to connect the dots of Dr. Dehnt's interest, remembering what Jaclyn had said about Richard and Claire's problems.
"Wait..." Trevor said slowly. "Why do you care how I feel-" Trevor corrected his slip, "-how I felt, about Claire. What possible difference would that make in curing me of being Cupid? You aren't... you aren't feeling a little insecure in your own relationship, are you doctor? A little trouble in paradise? You and Claire not happy? What's the reason? I don't know... maybe, I'd be willing to bet on some sort of embarrassing performance problem finally rearing its ugly hea-"
Richard's eyes were hard as he slammed his hand loudly down onto his notebook, cutting Trevor off. Trevor smiled slowly in triumph, watching the good doctor lose control.
Hiss voice was soft and simmering, Richard spoke again, having calmed himself. "First of all.. I'm not here to cure you of being Cupid. I'm here to cure you of your Cupid delusion. That I can make that distinction, is why I'm the one on this side of the desk who's here voluntarily."
Trevor smiled. "Did you just say voluntarily or volatively?"
Richard ignored him. "And secondly... if you do have feelings for Claire, believe me I have to know about them. And I will. And whatever those feelings are, Trevor... I'm sure they're not genuine. Because delusional constructs such as yours tend to reinforce themselves with further delusional-"
Trevor exhaled in angry disbelief, shaking his head and interrupting, not letting him continue. "I can't believe you! You actually think any feelings I could possible have for Claire would-, would just be a... a tool to reinforce my supposed delusion?! Wow. That's... that's quite a telling statement coming from you of all people. Amazing. I mean, you are the one who's dating her." Trevor leaned forward to make his point, his expression hard and bitter. "You, of all people, who's lucky enough to know how many countless reasons someone could feel that way about her."
Richard's voice was calm, but he didn't sound like he agreed with that assesment. "Oh really? What's so great? Reasons like what exactly...?" Richard spoke almost casually, disdainfully.
Trevor's mouth hung open, not believing what he was hearing. The apathy in Richard's voice was evident as he talked about Claire. Trevor shook his stunned head as if the answer should have been as obvious to Richard as day being day and night being night. He fumbled his words out, shocked he even had to explain to someone who was with her. "Are you kidding me?! Claire's warm. She's caring. She's smart. She's beautiful. I know for certain that she's far more than you'll ever deserve-"
Richard calmly interrupted him, his voice softening, and for once genuinely agreeing. "Yes. She is Trevor. She's all those things. But tell me. What do any of those things have to do with how you feel about her?"
Angrily, Trevor exhaled. He sounded defensive, answering without really thinking. "My point is that maybe you should step out of that little psychological box you live in and look at your own life once and awhile! If I had feelings for Claire, then it could be for a multitude of reasons! And not just because of what you prefer to call a delusion! I can't believe I have to explain this to you! You of all people who's lucky enough to be in her life!"
Richard smiled slightly, feeling he had scored a point on some level. Trevor paused, pulling back slightly when he saw the look on Richard's face. And in that moment he knew he had just been baited, knowing what was coming next even before Richard could speak.
"So you do have feelings for-"
Trevor interrupted him, looking angrily away. "No I don't."
Obviously still pleased with himself, Richard said nothing.
Trevor looked at him for a long moment, before finally speaking, his voice almost bitter. "I'm a god. She's a mortal. The gods would never allow it. Besides, I can;t fall in love. I AM love. I'm..." Trevor paused. "I'm above all that."
Richard lowered his eyes, voice growing sympathetic. "Trevor, it sounds like... you almost wish that lie were the truth..."
Trevor shook his head angrily and rose to stand and simmer on the other side of the room.
Hearing the knock, Claire walked across her living room with a sigh and opened her front door. She pulled back, blinking slightly when she realized Jaclyn was there, surprised to see her standing on her doorstep.
"Jaclyn. Hi... Come in."
"Thank's Claire." Jaclyn stepped inside as Claire closed the door behind her. Jaclyn seemed uncomfortable for a moment as she looked at Claire, her eyes a little sad, holding something back.
Claire noticed, wondering why Jaclyn looked like that. "Jaclyn... What's wrong?"
The words hovered reluctantly at the back of Jaclyn's throat as she looked at Claire, before she finally forced them out in a rush before she could change her mind. "Claire, I can't do this anymore! It's just too hard... I can't lie to him anymore, Claire. He's so miserable, and I-"
Claire still wasn't sure what Jaclyn was talking about, but she put a hand on her shoulder and guided her into the living room. "Jaclyn, slow down... ok? Let's just go over and sit down... and than you can tell me. Who's miserable? Who are you talking about?"
They both took a seat on Claire's couch. Soft light flowed in from her living room window, tinting one side of Jaclyn's worried face as she looked at Claire sitting across from her. Jaclyn took a breath in the quiet room. She wasn't certain this would be what Claire wanted to hear. Finally she resolved herself and looked up, speaking softly.
"It's Trevor..." Jaclyn said.
Claire's lips parted slightly, her face growing a little sadder as she thought about him. She slowly nodded, looking down. "Trevor... right."
Jaclyn leaned forward slightly, desperately trying to make her see. "Claire, he's miserable. He misses you so much. He's... he always has this... this sadness in his eyes now. This hurt..."
Claire looked away, feelings Jaclyn's words cut into her, knowing she was the cause. She nodded again, unable to face Jaclyn, and looking instead out the living room window as it's diffuse light reflected softly in her sad eyes.
Claire's reply was quiet. "I know..."
Jaclyn pushed on with what she had to say. "Claire, he asks about you all the time! I know he's miserable without you. He's not the same Trevor... somehow. Like he's lost a part of himself. Claire, please... You've put me in a really awkward position between the two of you because I care so much about you both. And you've asked me to lie to him, to make it seem like you don't ask about him, or even care about him anymore. And that lie is making him miserable! I just... I just can't do that anymore, Claire. I don't want to. I... I just want Trevor to be happy..."
Claire looked over at Jaclyn quietly and tried to keep the sadness from her face. But in the end Claire couldn't, feeling it flow through her. She exhaled at what Jaclyn said, hearing the emotion and concern in her words. She could feel each of Jaclyn's word swimming coldly through her chest. She could even almost see Trevor's sadness... see it reflected in Jaclyn's eyes. Claire wiped the corner of her own glittering eyes suddenly, overcome, looking at her. Finally she reached out, laying her hand softly over Jaclyn's.
"I know, Jaclyn. Really, I do... I want Trevor to be happy too..."
Jaclyn tilted her head, silent for a moment as she watched Claire. Her voice was soft, cautious. "You know that... that I told you that Trevor's in love with you..."
"I know..." Claire nodded sadly, trying to keep her composure. "I know, Jaclyn. I knew even before you told me. I was... just never willing to admit it, I guess..."
Jaclyn leaned forward even more. "Then why won't you see him? Why... why have you cut him out of your life? You've never told me why you stopped being his doctor. Or why it seems that now you can't even... can't even be his friend. Claire, please... Talk to Trevor. I don't want to lie to him anymore. He love's you Claire. Why is that such a bad thing?"
Claire sighed, lowering her eyes, still holding Jaclyn's hand. "It's not a bad thing. It's not... And that's not the reason why I don't want to see him anymore. Well, not directly..." She closed her eyes for a moment, thinking about the pain she had caused him, before opening them again.
Jaclyn looked up at her, not understanding. "Then... what is it, Claire?"
Claire took a deep breath, feeling it all well up inside her. She had kept the secret inside for so long, even from herself. But she couldn't keep it inside any more. Her eyes began to moisten over as she looked at Jaclyn, before turning away nervously, and then looking back. Claire seemed a little uncomfortable, not used to opening herself up this way. She smiled, and sniffed slightly, trying not to cry. Claire's hand squeezed Jaclyn's hand tighter beneath hers. Taking another deep breath, she tried to explain.
"Jaclyn... You know that Trevor thinks he's Cupid. I mean, you know it. You know it's not an act, not some false front. He really, really believes he's the god of love. You know that. But we both know, deep down in our hearts, that... it's a delusion. A fairy tale he can't hold on to forever. Not without someday, somehow... finally letting it break. I want Trevor... to get well. I want him to get well, Jaclyn. You saw what happened with Faith. How she was never able to really let go of the delusion..." Claire paused, thinking about all that had happened, thinking about Trevor being shot. "I don't want that to happen to Trevor. I don't... I won't, be the one who stands in the way of him getting better. I won't do that, Jaclyn. I won't give in to the delusion at the expense of the man underneath..."
Jaclyn could see how upset this was making Claire, but she knew there was more than she was saying. She didn't understand. "But how are you standing in his way? How is talking to him standing in his way?"
"Because Jaclyn, I-" Claire paused, taking a deep breath. "Jaclyn please. You can't tell any one this. Jaclyn, I think that I... I love him..." A tear fell down Claire's cheek as she said it, looking over at Jaclyn, her heart and her feelings exposed at last.
Jaclyn pulled back slightly, speechless. It all made a little more sense now.
Claire continued, trying not to cry. "You can't tell anyone, Jaclyn. I'm in love with Trevor. With the flawed, delusional man that he is... But the man he is now... he can't be. He can't stay that way, living in a dream world. If I were to stay in his life, I'm... not so sure I would even want him to change. Or even help him to. And he needs to change, Jaclyn. Before the world does to him what it did to Faith. He needs to get better."
Claire looked at her. "Jaclyn, I've fallen in love with a delusion. It's impossible to ignore, I'm his doctor. If he knew I loved him, if I let myself... love him, it would only entrench his fascade. Or worse. I can't do that. I won't be the one who... who stands in the way of Trevor being cured. Of getting better. Of... finally coming to realize that... that he needs to let go of being Cupid. That he finally has to be, the man he is... And not the god of love he wants to be. So that's why I stepped aside. Because... I do love him...."
"But why not just tell him-"
"No." Claire interrupted, wiping her eyes and leaning forward. "Jaclyn, Trevor can never know, ok? He can never know how I feel. I won't be a validation of what he believes. I fell in love with a fantasy. A man who believes he's Cupid. I mean, who did I fall in love with? The delusion or the Trevor underhneath? How can I ever be objective about him again without how I feel tainting that? I won't give in to his 'persona', or be a validation of his delusion. Because if he knew, he wouldn't be able to let that delusion go. Ok? I know he's in love with me. I know that. But he can never know that I love him back. Not if you want him to get better. Please, Jaclyn. Promise me... You can't tell him, alright?"
Jaclyn looked at Claire, uncertain what to say, sitting there in Claire's quiet living room. She could see the tears in Claire's eyes. And somehow... she knew this wasn't going to have a happy ending. She could feel it in the air.
Jaclyn lowered her concerned eyes, before sadly nodding once, saying nothing.
The two women sat there in silence for several moments, outlined against Claire's living room window, as Claire slowly pulled her hand back from Jaclyn's.
The continuing session between Richard and Trevor had degenerated further, into a shouting match.
Trevor would be damned if he was going to sit in his chair. He was pacing angrily back and forth behind it, his voice raised.
"Love! You have no idea what that word even means! No clue!"
Richard was also standing, facing Trevor from behind his desk as he fumed. His voice was full of anger and accusation, his eyes hard as he glared at Trevor. "Just answer the question! You're in love with Claire, aren't you?"
Trevor shook his head in disgust as he turned away. Then just as quickly, he turned back and stepped towards Richard again, his voice almost a shout as he pointed an angry, accusatory finger towards him.
"You! You're all alike! You see something... someone, who's unique! Who's different, and you label him! You categorize him as, as 'psychotic'! Just because he doesn't fit your pre-ordained standards of what a person should be. And people say I'm the one with delusions of godhood. Look at yourself! You can't toy with people's lives to try to make them into what you want them to be! Whether it's love, a person's sanity, it doesn't matter! Because people have the annoying little habit of having entire lives of their own that you know nothing about! Believe me, if I've learned anything down here, I've learned that!"
Richard shook his head. "Trevor, there is no 'down here', so-"
Trevor continued with his loud rant, ignoring him. "But you people! You lynch me because I don't fit in with your plan! Your view of what the world should be! At least in old times... well, old to you, they had the honesty to carry torches and pitchforks instead of doctorates!"
Even though he himself was still fuming, Richard did his best to try and calm him down. "I'm not out to get you, Trevor. The fictional 'gods' aren't out to get you. I'm just trying to make you well..." Richard recognized the jealousy he was feeling about Trevor and Claire's previous association, but he pushed that aside, believing it was just because of Trevor's feelings for Claire.
"Make me well?!" Trevor's loud voice was full of disbelief. "You ever think that maybe the way I am now is beneficial to me? You can't just let me believe what I believe? And why not. Because it's not what you believe, that's why! What kind of life is that for someone to have? Limiting... limiting the world to your own set of rules and ignoring the rest. Like walking around with one eye closed all day! Trying to fix things with me that I'm fine with, while ignoring the problems in your own relationship right under your nose! When you look at it like that, which one of us is really crazy here?!"
With that last little jab at his relationship with Claire, Richard had heard enough. He was fed up with Trevor for not having made any progress. He was fed up with Trevor period. Closing up his case files, he looked up at Trevor, his eyes glittering angrily and his voice soft.
"This session is over, Trevor."
Night had fallen outside her window as Claire typed busily away on her laptop computer, the screen's glow filling her face as she typed out her weekly newspaper column. She thought about what she was writing, as she doled out advice on love and relationships, and being true to one's feelings. She was the expert on such things, after all. She knew what she was talking about.
Suddenly, Claire stopped, her fingers pausing on the keyboard. Taking a breath, she raised her head and looked around at her empty, quiet house. She was sitting there alone. She began to realize just how big her house was. There was so much space around her. Empty space. It was a large house. Large enough for several people. Yet she was there, alone. Suddenly, as she looked at all she had written, she felt like a hypocrite. And deep down, she knew it wasn't simply because her house was empty.
It was because of Trevor.
Claire sighed and closed her eyes. She hadn't been able to stop thinking about him after Jaclyn's visit today, after what Jaclyn had told her. Claire thought about it, opening her eyes as she leaned back, stretching her neck. Maybe she was being a hypocrite. Here she was, giving out all this advice about love and being true to your feelings, and she wasn't taking that advice herself. Claire was silent for a moment, staring at nothing, before she suddenly got up and left her chair, determined.
The door to her darkened bedroom closet suddenly opened, casting back the pitch black shadows inside. Claire stepped in and looked up, her arms reaching for the small box of Trevor's things at the back of the top shelf. The collection of things he had given her over the years, and which she had pushed into hiding inside of her closet so she wouldn't have to look at them.
Pulling the box into her arms, she slowly stepped into her bedroom, leaving the closet door open. Her expression was introspective as she settled down to sit on the edge of her bed, placing the box before her. Claire looked at it, uncertain.
"Well..." Claire whispered to herself. "Guess I should see what I'm feeling..." Taking a deep breath, she reached into the box.
Slowly, object after object came out in her hands, and Claire became lost in her memories. She delicately placed each item on the bed around her, making an ever growing canvas of... of Trevor. Of what he meant to her. First she lifted the christmas card that Trevor had given her, with the words 'who luvs ya, baby' on the cover and Trevor's smiling face on the inside. Next, the small plastic bottle of bubbles for blowing, with the small wand inside, that Trevor had left swinging outside her front door when her then secret admirer had turned out to be after someone else. She could still remember blowing those bubbles in the park, the sunlight in her smiling face, feeling like a kid again. Next, she lifted the teddy bear Trevor had won for her at the carnival, where inexplicably, he had been a master shot at the ring toss game, like he had been doing it all his life. She placed it aside, thinking of that night, when he had playfully chased her, laughing through the crowd to get it unsuccessfully back.
Claire's hand reached in again. Her fingers turned, delicately holding the small heart shaped necklace as it's diamonds glittered in the soft light of her bedroom. She knew it was from Trevor. Given secretly to her one valentine's day in a vain attempt to keep her and Alex together when they had been drifting apart. She thought about that for a second. Thought about why Trevor would do that, knowing now how he felt about her. It was actually quite a selfless act, showing how much he cared about her. A warmth flowed through Claire at the thought of Trevor's feelings, and her own.
Then finally, both of her hands reached in, and lifted the small, exquisite music box Trevor had given her for Christmas that same year. She held it nostalgically in her hands, fingers tenderly grazing the small, winged figurine on it's top. She gently placed it on the bed with all the other items, and lifted the lid.
The soft, delicate music played in her quiet bedroom, and Claire closed her eyes, thinking about him. She lost herself in her thoughts, feeling momentarily weightless, arms stretched out to either side as she remembered, a small smile on her face as her back slowly settled against the bed sheets. She stretched contently out on her bed, all the things Trevor had given her surrounding her. They were happy memories, all of them. Until suddenly her mind flashed with the image of Trevor, lying in the hospital operating room, moments away from losing his life. And she suddenly remembered... how close she had been then to losing him. She could almost picture what had happened in her mind. Trevor climbing the steps up to his apartment. The flash of the gun. Trevor falling back-
Claire opened her eyes and snapped out of it, not liking the image. She looked at the things that Trevor had given her, things that in a way were both hers and his, spread out on the bed all around. She missed him. She had been so close to losing him. Suddenly her eyes fixed on the night stand beside her bed, where one of the room's table lamps glowed softly. Under it's light, her phone rested, waiting...
Claire slowly sat up, thinking. She knew that inside, she was still torn. Torn between her feelings for Trevor, and all the things she knew that were keeping them apart. She couldn't feed into his delusion. But she couldn't deny that she loved him exactly the way he was. She couldn't be certain of anything. But one thought kept coming back. How close she had been to losing him, when he had been shot.
Maybe it was time to tell him. Get it all out in the open. Reluctant, Claire reached forward and slowly picked up her phone. Holding it against her chest for a moment, she took a deep breath, before dialing in a number before she could stop herself.
Trevor was in his apartment alone. Champ was at Jaclyn's again, something that Trevor knew he might as well start getting used to. Night sky filled the windows outside the apartment as he walked slowly through his living room, looking around. Champ had already moved a few things over to Jaclyn's. There were already a few empty spaces in the unusually quiet apartment.
Trevor sighed, realizing how quiet it really was. He knew that eventually, all Champs things would be gone. But even now, the apartment already seemed.... bigger somehow. And smaller too. Trevor wondered if he would ever really get used to being alone.
Suddenly, his phone rang.
Trevor looked over, wondering who it was. Still a little depressed, he walked over and picked it up, his voice a little tired as he answered.
Claire took a breath, hearing Trevor's voice in her ear. She closed her eyes, her mind racing.
Trevor blinked when he heard the silence on the phone line. But he could tell there was someone there. He could hear them on the other end.
"Hello? Is anybody there?" he asked.
Claire opened her mouth to answer him... but she couldn't. She exhaled sadly, trying to find the courage to speak.
Confused at the silence, Trevor started walking across his living room with a casual stride, the phone against his ear. "Hey, if this is an obscene phone call, let me tell you, it's the worst one ever..."
Suddenly Trevor stopped, listening to the silence on the phone line for several more seconds, wondering what was going on. Then somehow, out of nowhere, he knew. He sensed it on some level he couldn't explain.
Claire's eyes widened, and she instantly hung up the phone, jamming it down onto it's cradle as she finally remembered to breath again. She looked at her phone like it was an alien artifact, realizing what had just happened. Her eyes shifted over beside it, where her book manuscript was still resting on her nightstand, where she had left it, sealed and ready to be sent, but still undelivered by her phone.
Claire shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.
"What am I doing?" she whispered.