Dr. Greeley cautiously squeezed his way through the raucous crowd, smiling as he lifted his beer a little higher, trying not to spill it on his suit as he moved away from the bar.
            Everyone was there at Taggerty's, celebrating. Night filled the windows and people filled the interior. Laughing, happy people. Talking, drinking, dancing people, as loud music from the jukebox thumped above it all.
            Some of the staff from the hospital were there, and Dr. Greeley walked over to join them. Most of Claire's singles group was there too. Mike, Nick, and Lawrence were standing together, checking out the women they hadn't seen before. Nick finally elbowed Lawrence reluctantly forward, but the woman Lawrence approached walked right past him without stopping, leaving him there with his mouth open before he could speak. All of Trevor's friends and well wishers had come to Taggerty's, happy with today's result, and grateful for the excuse to have a good time.
            The dance floor was full. Claire laughed and clapped in approval, sitting at a table as she watched Champ dip Jaclyn with an elaborate flourish, making her grip his arms tightly and yelp in delight on the dance floor. Across the room at his table, Trevor smiled at the couple too, hooting and hollering as Champ and Jaclyn continued to dance together in the enthusiastic crowd.
            Smiling, Claire looked over at Trevor and saw that an attractive woman had joined him, whispering into his ear. He was grinning as he listened, and Claire recognized the woman, an intern at the hospital. She watched their happy, animated faces as they spoke openly back and forth, but she couldn't hear what they were saying. She smiled contently to herself at the image. Trevor seemed happier than he had in a long time. But she could see it in his eyes. Something was bothering him, and she wished she knew what it was.
            For a moment Claire's view was obstructed as some people passed between her table and Trevor's, the music still blaring loudly overhead. When she caught site of them again, the woman was giving Trevor a congratulatory hug. Trevor hugged her gratefully back, smiling when she stood up and left him sitting there alone. Then he looked over, and saw that Claire was watching him.
            After a few moments, warm expressions spread across both their faces. As they looked at each other, but neither got up from their table, eyes not leaving each other. The music seemed to fall away, and in its blissful absence, it was just the two of them. People passed between them as that contented span of moments stretched on, but neither broke the gentle gaze that was passing between them. Or made any attempt to move closer together. It had been that way all night, as they had discreetly kept their distance from each other.
            Jaclyn appeared out of nowhere and collapsed into the chair next to Claire, smiling as she tried to catch her breath from all the dancing. After a few deep breaths, she paused when she realized Claire was looking at someone, and she looked over herself. Her face brightened even more as she watched Trevor and Claire drink in the sight of each other, looking back and forth between them as they continued. Even with a whole room of people between them, they couldn't get enough of each other.
            "Umm... Claire..."
            Finally realizing someone was sitting beside her, Claire came out of it and all the sound in the room seemed to come back to her ears. "Jaclyn... I'm sorry, I didn't hear you...."
            Her eyes bright, Jaclyn nodded slowly. "So I noticed..."

            Across the room, Champ walked up to Trevor's table. He turned a chair around and straddled it as he sat down, out of breath and staring happily at Trevor for a moment, until a knowing look came in his eye. "So how's our resident fallen god holding up? You were a regular Houdini today..."
            Trevor laughed, a beer still sitting on the table before him, long untouched. "Maybe my opponent just wasn't that bright. But I did end up pulling the wool over the eyes of the review board, didn't I?"
            "I suppose... " Champ smiled. "But I thought you really gave up on being Cupid."
            "I did..." Trevor looked down.
            "Yeah... Right..." Champ chuckled. He took a sip of the beer he had brought with him, tilting the bottle up against his lips.

            Jaclyn was still blithely saying nothing, smiling over at Claire as they sat at her table. Claire finally noticed what she was doing, her gaze shifting towards her out of the corner of her eye, but otherwise ignoring her. After a few moments, Claire looked at her again, not turning her face. Jaclyn's lips parted into a larger smile, her eyes glittering happily. Trying awkwardly to be subtle, she bobbed her head towards the far end of the room where Trevor was, as if to urge Claire over there, but she didn't say a word.
            Claire blinked, not really getting it. "Jaclyn, what are you doing?"
            She exhaled, her voice still sounding hopeful. "Sooo...?"
            "So what...?" Claire looked away, feeling foolish when she realized what Jaclyn was doing, and trying to hide her smile.
            Tilting her head as if it was obvious, Jaclyn looked at her playfully. "Don't make me say it..."
            "Say what?"
            "Why are you here, Claire?"
            "We're celebrating..."
            "You know that's not what I meant. Why are you here and not over there? With him."
            Claire finally did smile at that, admonishing her. "Jaclyn..."
            "You two haven't said two words to each other since the hearing. What's going on?"
            "Nothing's going on..."
            "And yet..." Jaclyn looked at her quizzically. "... you're still not moving."
            Claire paused, looking down. "It's... it's complicated."
            "Actually it's not. You stand up, point yourself in his direction and you keep stepping until--"
            "Complicated how?"
            Claire thought about it. "I don't know..." she said softly.
            Jaclyn looked at her with sympathy. "Yes you do..."

            Champ took another sip of his beer, leaning closer to Trevor. The room was crowded and loud behind them as he spoke.
            "Can I give the former god of love some advice?"
            "Is this about those magazines I found hidden in your closet? Because I understand perfectly how sometimes--"
            "Trevor, why don't you just go over there and talk to her?"
            Trevor stared at Champ for a moment, amused. But slowly it fell away from his face, and with a sigh he finally lifted the full bottle of beer in front of him, taking a drink and not looking at Champ. "It's not that simple, man."
            "Yes it is." Champ laughed. "Wait... Me giving you romantic advice. Can you feel the irony? It is simple, Trevor. There's nothing to it. What's the problem?"
            Trevor looked over at Claire, a thoughtful expression on his face. "Maybe... we're both asking questions we were always too afraid to ask before..."
            Champ looked at him. "Then why don't you ask them together?"
            Trevor shook his head, taking another very long drink of his beer. "If the hospital review taught me anything today... it's that somebody is always watching..."
            "Yeah... And they might actually approve."
            Trevor looked serious. "And they might not. Doesn't matter, anyway. I can't do that to her, man..."
            Champ nodded, taking another sip. "Maybe it's not your call..."
            Trevor thought about that. "Maybe..."
            Shaking his head, Champ finally rose from his chair, finished with his beer. "Look Trevor, no one can make you go over there. The ex-god of love and a renowned relationship expert. And neither of you see what's right under your noses. Stop finding excuses not to be together Trevor, and just do it. Someday both of you are going to have to stop running away from each other and face this. I guess you both just have to figure out what you want." Champ looked across the room with a smile. "I know I have..."
            Champ stood up, walking away from the table and across the bar. Trevor's eyes slowly followed him across the crowded room as he went straight up to Jaclyn and pulled her out of her seat. Laughing, she slipped easily into his arms, both of them so comfortable in the other's embrace. Smiling seductively at him, Jaclyn turned and walked backwards as she held his hands, leading him onto the dance floor again.
            Trevor and Claire were suddenly on their own again, alone in the crowded bar. For a while they both watched Champ and jaclyn, wanting what they had. Trevor smiled as Claire looked back to him, as other people in the bar passed between them. After a few moments, he looked down at his hand on the table, and slowly... he slid it forward, as if wanting to be the slightest bit closer to her, even though she was across the room.
            Claire's lip curled up in amusement, watching him from her table. And then... slowly, she did the same thing, her hand sliding across the table towards Trevor too. She looked back up into his eyes.
            On his table, Trevor turned his hand upwards, palm towards the ceiling, almost as if waiting for hers.
            Claire's palm lifted slightly from where it rested against the table, fingers curling underneath.
            His fingers gently curled upward in response, as if their hands were held together, touching even though there was a room between them.
            They stayed that way fo a long time, watching each other, and wondering. But then, they both exhaled and pulled their hands back, ending their little exploration of 'what if'. They looked away from each other, turning their heads as a sadness crossed both of their faces, realizing how truly far apart they were.
            They sat that way for the rest of the night, happy but separate, two small figures at different tables, as they watched the laughing crowd dance and move all around them.

            It was later that night, and Claire was standing alone in her living room, the soft glow of her laptop computer display bathing her face. She sat down at her desk, thinking. Thinking about Trevor, and all that had happened. Her hands reached cautiously out to the keys and called up the last page of her book.
            It was still there, just like she had left it. But as she read the words, they still seemed wrong somehow. She still didn't like the ending. She never had. So she highlighted and deleted the last section. And then, with a small smile, she began to type a new ending to the text, the words coming fast and smoothly onto her screen.

            It was another cold, overcast morning in Chicago. Some of the pedestrians on the street below looked up at the pale sky, wondering if the snow that was hovering up there would ever finally come down.
            High above the noisy streets, Claire took a step forward, pausing as she breathed in the cold, crisp air. Wrapped tightly against the chill, she looked out over the city, the ornate stone railing of the skyscraper's observation deck before her. There was an arched and domed structure on the roof behind her. Claire was there because she knew Trevor liked to come here to think sometimes, and to feel closer to the heights of Olympus, she assumed. But as she looked around at the few others looking out at the city with her, all standing a discreet distance away, she didn't see him anywhere. She smiled at the city sprawled beneath her, knowing that finding Trevor hadn't really been why she had come. She needed to do some thinking herself, to figure out what she was feeling and what she should do next. It was easier to put things in perspective up here. This place just always reminded her of him.
            Reluctantly, Claire looked down at the thick, newly sealed manuscript envelope she held in her hands. She had tried to deliver it again today, the latest version of her book with last night's revisions. It was weeks overdue. But like before, she couldn't bring herself to do it. She just couldn't let the book go, no matter how hard she tried. Her eyes were indecisive as they looked out at the city again, thoughts filled with Trevor.

            The same white glow filled the windows of Trevor's living room as he walked across it. He was heading for the kitchen, trying to yawn himself awake, when he noticed something by his front door. Something that had not been there the night before.
            Wearily, Trevor rubbed his eyes, blinking. The box was still there. And it hadn't been before. Curious, he walked over to it.
            Trevor knelt... and slowly picked up the newly discovered box. Someone had come into his apartment last night without his knowing about it. Someone had come in and left it there.
            Trevor carried the closed box over to the kitchen table, knowing who it had to be, even before he read the note taped to its side. Someone who would still have a door key.
            Putting the box down on the table top, Trevor pulled off the note, reading it.

            Thought you might want these back. Amazing what kind of stuff people are throwing away these days. Be true to yourself, Trevor.

            Putting the note down, Trevor broke the seal and pulled open the top flaps of the box.

            Breaking the seal on the envelope of her manuscript, Claire pulled out the neatly stacked type filled pages inside, looking down at the title page as a soft breeze blew across the observation deck. It read, THE SEARCH FOR CUPID. BY Dr. Claire Allen.
            The page fluttered slightly in the cold breeze blowing over her from the dizzying drop beyond the railing. Claire held the page down, as if it wanted to jump off the stack while she looked at it. Her unpublished book. All of it. It had taken her over two years to write. Hours and hours of work, with her editor breathing down her neck for weeks, prompting her to finish it. The publisher was already waiting to go to print. All of that worry and attention, concentrated down to what she was holding. Just a small stack of paper in her hands.
            And suddenly... Claire accepted it. Accepted why she couldn't deliver the manuscript, stopping herself over and over again. She didn't want to let go of Trevor. She didn't want him out of her life. A fantasy swirled across her vision, of giving it all up. Her book, her career, all of it, to be with him. Or of the alternative, where she finally came to her senses, published her book, and let him go.
            Both those possibilities hovered behind her features as she stood there, looking sadly out at the city. Claire closed her eyes as the breeze caressed her face, before it finally slowed, fading under the cold white sky above her.
            Opening them again, her hands shifted to pull out the newly added pages at the bottom of her book manuscript, placing them on top of the stack, needing to see them again. Standing there on that cold observation deck, the city's skyline as a backdrop behind her, she began to read, the pages shaking softly in the breeze as she held them down.

            And so at long last, I had come to the end of the fairy tale. I had come to the end of my own personal search for Cupid. I had come full circle, arguing before the same review board that had assigned me to him in the first place....

            Trevor reached into the box, and pulled out... his discarded string of beads. He lifted them up in wonder, looking at them with a smile, turning them before his face. Champ had taken them out of the garbage before they had been hauled away. Trevor hadn't thought that he would ever see them again. Ironic, since Champ had never really believed he was Cupid anyway. But friends were friends, no matter what they believed. And as he gratefully held those familiar beads, touched by what Champ had done, he paused... suddenly realizing something. Something deep inside. He was lying. Lying to the board, to Richard, but most of all, lying to himself. As he held the string carefully, his free hand reached up to touch the scar on his chest through his shirt, feeling the small bump where Faith had shot him. He had been through so much, doubted so much. But Champ had still saved his beads for him, despite all that.
            Amazed, Trevor thought bout it. "He doesn't believe, but he still has more faith in me than I've had in myself recently..."
            And then, Trevor laughed, realizing how foolish he had been.

            Claire's voice continued as if it were in the room with him.

            There I was before the board, arguing not to change him, but to let him be who he is. Arguing for his right to be... Trevor.

            Spreading his arms out, Trevor stretched the string out above him, holding it over his head. Looking happily up at the beads hanging there, Trevor turned and carried them back to his bedroom, ready to hang them up again.

            Claire was still reading on the observation deck, lost in her words. Behind her people walked past, looking at her out of curiosity for a moment, but she didn't notice. The pages fluttered in the breeze as she read, but finally the air seemed to go completely still as if in anticipation. Claire listened to the words in her mind.

            But maybe the fairy tale never ends. The possibility of Trevor being committed for what he's done, for what he believes, is still very real. Still hanging there, over his head. Damocles doesn't have a monopoly on swords. Whoever his next therapist is, they might not be as forgiving. They might not be as willing to accept Trevor the way he is. They may not even want to believe in fairy tales anymore...

            In his bedroom, Trevor was hammering the second end of the string into the wall, finally leaving it hanging in mid air above him. Trevor stepped down to the floor, turning around to look up at it, smiling.
            "Nosce ti epsum..." he whispered.

            Claire's voice continued.

            Trevor needs someone who... who cares about him. Someone who will handle his treatment without hurting him in the process. Someone who can protect him from those who don't understand and can't believe. Someone who... would love him, no matter what he is. And who would be willing to sacrifice as much to keep him that way. Whatever the personal costs...

            Trevor sat down on his recliner, the beads still hanging above him. With a deeply contented sight, he finally picked up the singles adds again, lifting the phone at his side. And for the first time in a long time, it felt right. He dialed a number from the page. Then the call picked up, and his lips began moving as he started the first of several interlinking messages to the answering machines of the people in the ads.

            Claire looked out over the city, no longer reading, but knowing the words by heart.

            Funny thing is, in the process of writing this book, I realized something. All this time, it wasn't really Cupid I was looking for. It was myself. I was looking for the small part of Cupid inside all of us. That small part... that still believes in true love and fairy tales, in someone for everyone, and happily ever after. I was looking for something to believe, something to cherish, and something to protect.
            Trevor needs protection from a jaded and uncaring world. I wish the truth wasn't like that, but it is. And deep down, as much as I wish things were different between us, I still know what I have to do. And what I have to give up...

            Claire sounded surprised as she said it, not expecting the words. "I can't be with him if I want to protect him..."
            Thinking, her eyes starting to moisten as she looked out over the city. And it dawned on her. She knew exactly what she needed to do. What she needed to give up, and what she needed to let go. It all seemed so clear, for the first time.
            "I love you, Trevor..." Her voice was a soft whisper in the still air of the observation deck as she held her book manuscript in her hands.
            And then without warning, she instantly flung the thick stack of papers she held out into the air before her without hesitation, smiling wide as she cast them past the stone railing. The sheets of her book scattered apart with a wide flourish, and Claire gleefully watched them twist and fall downward into the chasm beneath her, spreading out upon the air like a cloud.
            She felt felt something land lightly on the tip of her nose. Surprised, she looking up. Turning her face towards the sky, Claire laughed as icy flakes came tumbling down after the falling sheets of paper, and it finally began to snow.

            The pages seemed to tumble slowly down in the silence, a twisting, fluttering cloud of pristine paper sheets dropping out of the sky as snowflakes came falling behind. Harried pedestrians on the sidewalk below looked up, wondering what was going on as the tumbling sheets descended all around them like confetti, coming to a rest all over the street. Large, slow falling snowflakes began to thickly fill the air as far as the eye could see. In that gentle moment as the snow fell, the sounds of the street faded away, and music began to play. It was quiet and beautiful, as a woman with a voice like honey... sadly began to sing.

            The leaves must turn...
            the wind must blow...

            One of the business men walking by saw the last of the manuscript pages flutter down to the sidewalk before him. The calm air was filled with gently falling snow, icy flakes landing on his shoulders. Curious, the man bent down and picked up the sheet of paper at his feet, reading it. THE SEARCH FOR CUPID. By Dr. Claire Allen.
            Blinking, the man looked at all the other sheets of paper laying haphazardly all over the street, kicked up in the wake of cars driving through them and scattering even more. Confused, he looked up at the buildings towering above him in the hazy deluge, wondering where the pages had come from.

            The heart must learn...
            when it's time for the heart to let go...

            Trevor was sitting on his bedroom recliner, thinking as he gazed out of his window at the falling snow. He looked sad, thinking about Claire, and what should happen next between them, now that he had hung up his string of beads again, hovering there over him. His mind kept coming back to the uncomfortable questions Claire had been put through during the review hearing... because of him. Because she had to hide her feelings. Because they loved each other.
            With no clear answers, Trevor slowly got up and slipped on his coat, realizing that he needed to take a walk to clear his head.

            But when I think of you, my heart knows why...
            I don't know how to say goodbye...

            The snow was still falling as Trevor walked down the sidewalk, the gentle deluge coming down even heavier now. Pausing, he stopped in place for a moment, looking over through the window of the bookstore he was walking beside. Slowly he stepped closer, his bare hands wrapping around the ornate iron security gate across the glass of the locked front door.
            Several copies of Claire's first book, LOVE: A USER'S MANUAL were on display just inside the bookstore. Trevor looked up. Above the display a promotional poster with her picture on it was hanging in mid air. There was text beneath it. Chicago's own best-selling author, Dr. Claire Allen. Read her first hit book, before the follow up hits the shelves. Second book, coming soon...
            Trevor smiled as he looked up at her image above him, realizing how successful a career she had in front of her.
            But the smile slowly faded, realizing what would happen to her if the two of them were ever together. He wanted to be with her more than anything. But what would the world think of Claire falling in love with one of her delusional outpatients? Suddenly the iron bars Trevor was holding felt cold against his palms, and his eyes shifted to them. Vertical bars, between him and Claire. Like he was in a cell.
            Jaw hardening at the thought, Trevor lowered his head.
            "It'll happen sooner or later... But I can't change who I am." Trevor whispered to himself, before looking back up at Claire's picture. "And I'm not waiting anymore..."
            Trevor let the bars go and turned away, leaving them behind as he slowly walked away through the falling snow, finally knowing what to do.
            As he moved away, a few sheets of Claire's discarded book manuscript fluttered down the middle of the street, dancing between the dropping snowflakes.

            The world moves on...
            with no regret...

            It was the same room at the hospital, and the same review board. It's members were all sitting in attendance at their bench. But this time Claire was alone as she sat at the desk before them. The room behind her was empty. Morning filled the windows to her right as she faced the review board, snow still falling gently outside. A man seated on the board leaned forward, a pleased expression on his face.
            "That's wonderful news. Are you certain about this decision, Dr. Allen?"
            Claire nodded, confident in her answer.

            Trevor's hands came into view in his bedroom, putting things away. As he continued to work, the room was empty behind him, and the corner where his string of beads had been hanging, was empty.

            "Then this review board is in agreement, and pleased to unanimously welcome you back to your previous position on our hospital staff, Dr. Allen. And per your request, we gladly reassign you to Trevor Hale for further treatment and prognosis. Unless circumstances change, of course..."
            Claire exhaled in relief. "Thank you..."
            With a smile she rose from her chair, hoping that now Trevor was finally safe. A deep, happy feeling coursed through her, and she turned and left, knowing she had to tell him what had happened.

            And though you're gone...
            there are feelings I'll never forget....

            The front door swung closed with a thump. Inside the apartment, everything was quiet. The living room floor was clean and bare, except for a few boxes. Nothing was in sight on the tables or the shelves. Everything else was missing.
            In Trevor's bedroom, his closet door was open, but the interior was empty.

            Claire smiled as Jaclyn gave her an enthusiastic hug, both of them standing in the hallway outside Dr. Hazerman's office.
            "That's so great, Claire! So Trevor won't be committed?"
            Laughing, Claire pulled back. "Not as long as I can help it. And I was wondering, Jaclyn. Would you like your old job back?"
            "Yes, yes, yes..." Pausing, Jaclyn looked cautiously back at Dr. Hazerman, who was watching them from his doorway. "If it... would be okay?"
            Dr. Hazerman mumbled happily, a smile on his face. Both women exhaled when they heard, neither needing a translation to know what he meant that time.
            Claire looked pleased. "That's great, Jaclyn. I'll be moving back into my old office tomorrow. I still have to chase down some of my old case files..."
            Jaclyn nodded. "I'll come by to help."
            "Thanks, Jaclyn. Umm, by the way... do you know where Trevor is?"

            So I remember you, and though I try...
            I don't know how to say goodbye...

            Keys rattled in the lock of the front door as Champ opened Trevor's apartment. Swinging the door open he stepped in, a pretty blond following behind him. She was tanned and athletic, petite and curvy with an attractive, likeable face. As they both moved into the living room, the cute ash blond young woman looked around, smiling appreciatively.
            "Hey... really nice place. I absolutely adore high ceilings." She tilted her head up to take it all in, before she started searching through the room. "Is he here?"
            "I don't know..." Champ looked around, a little confused as he called out. "Trevor, I brought Allison to meet you. Remember? She wanted to see if she could be your new roommate. Trevor...?"
            Allison stepped off by herself, blinking as she took in the emptiness of the room. "Doesn't he usually have more stuff here than this?"
            "Yeah..." Champ was suddenly concerned. "He usually does... Trevor!"
            With a worried expression, he walked into Trevor's bedroom.

            "He did what?" Claire was incredulous as she stood in Taggerty's.
            The man behind the bar shrugged. "He quit today. Damn shame. We're gonna miss him around here..."
            "But why would Trevor-" Claire stopped, thinking for a moment. Then fear suddenly blossomed on her eyes as she thought of something.
            "He's trying to protect me..."
            She looked nervously around the bar for a second, before she turned and quickly ran out the front door, heading for Trevor's apartment. The man she had been talking to turned away, moving to the far side of the bar as Claire ran past the front windows, snow falling ambivalently outside.

            The house we used to share...
            still looks as if you're there...

            Claire heard two people talking through Trevor's open front door. Rushing forward, she darted into the apartment, stopping when she saw Champ and some woman she had never met before sitting on some large boxes in Trevor's empty living room.
            Worried, Claire stepped towards them. "Where's Trevor?"
            Champ stood when he saw her, a sadness on his face.
            "Claire, I..."
            "Where is he? Champ, what's wrong?"
            "He's gone..."
            Champ's voice was soft. "Trevor left. He's gone. Gave away all his stuff to the neighbors. The rest he left for me..."
            Claire's face went blank, stunned, stepping slowly back as she looked at Champ. Speechless, an icy feeling opened like a pit in the middle of her chest. The world seemed to freeze into that incomprehensible moment, and her heart dropped away inside her.
            "No... no, he couldn't have.."
            "I'm sorry Claire." Champ extended his hand. "He left this for you..."
            In a daze, Claire looked down at the small piece of paper in Champ's hand. Slowly she took it from him, lifting it closer, her fingers shaking a little as she read it.

            Goodbye, Claire. This is the way it has to be. Richard was right about one thing. I can't let myself be the one to hurt you or ruin your life. I love you too much to do that. I really do love you so much Claire. I can't go around pretending that I don't anymore. Or that I'm not Cupid. I have to be true to myself... on both counts.

            Claire's lip quivered as she closed her eyes, exhaling a fragile breath out. Her brown eyes were glittering with moisture when she finally opened them again, and continued to read Trevor's letter.

            It all comes down to what you think is worth believing in, Claire. You don't believe in me, but I believe in you. I know that I'm Cupid. I can't change that. Maybe the gods have abandoned me down here. I don't know. Maybe that's why they didn't help me when I was shot. But I won't abandon myself. If they sent me here to die, I choose to live. On my terms.
            I'm Cupid, Claire. And I love you and always will. Until I met you, I never really understood what that meant. But now I do. And I don't know if I'm running away from how I feel out of fear, or if I'm just trying to protect you. But either way, you deserve better than the life I would give you if we were together. It doesn't matter if I'm delusional or not anymore. Because your love makes me real. Even if I make it back to Olympus, my home will be where you are, Claire. Because that's where my heart is. Where my heart will always be.
            The review board was a close call. For both of us. I won't just sit around waiting to be committed someday. And I can't let myself hurt you anymore. Sometimes it's better just to move on. You and me. That was a great fantasy for a while. An echo of an image of a dream. But it's time to wake up. I'll miss you Claire. Everyday of my life.
                                                                                                Love forever,

            A tear fell slowly down Claire's cheek when she realized Trevor was really gone. For good. Her voice was a fragile whisper. "He left me..."
            Standing there for a moment, she finally turned away from Champ and Allison, crying softly to herself. In the bright, overcast sky outside, snow gently fell in the window as she looked out at the cold city. She reached up as more tears fell off her chin and onto her neck, the warm drops falling on a small heart shaped diamond necklace. It was supposedly from Alex, but she had always known deep down that it was really from Trevor, given on Alex's behalf. Her fingers tenderly lifted the diamond heart off her moist skin, sparkling like snow in sunlight, holding it and thinking of Trevor.

            And I won't change a single thing...
            not even the wedding ring I wear...

            With a squeal the door to the greyhound bus slammed open as the driver looked down the steps to the line of people waiting to get on, their breaths misting in the cold air. As they all started to board, snow fell out of the sky all around them.
            When everyone else had moved onto the bus, the shoe of one man at the back of the line crunched to a stop on the snow covered sidewalk, not getting on.
            The driver looked down impatiently, calling out. "Hey buddy. You gettin' on or what?"
            "Yeah... Umm... Give me a minute..."
            Trevor turned in place, sadly taking one last look at the city of Chicago behind him. Taking in a deep breath of the cold air, he tilted his head back and closed his eyes, letting the snow land softly against his upturned face.
            Trevor looked smaller from above, as the snow fell spinning down towards him, gentle in that quiet moment as the world seemed to rotate slowly around him.

            The evening falls, much harder now...

            "Hey buddy..."
            Opening his eyes, Trevor nodded, not turning around. "Hold on..." he answered.
            With one last look, Trevor whispered softly. "Goodbye, Claire..."
            Finally Trevor turned and stepped up into the interior, the bus door slamming shut behind him. The engine revved loudly as thick, snow encrusted tires began to turn. The bus slowly pulling away from the curb, moving out into the street.

            The stars grow small...
            and the moon seems so different somehow...

            The aisle rattled beneath him as Trevor made his way towards the back. The bright moving glare from the windows slid backwards over the passengers to either side of him on the crowded bus.
            Putting his things away into a bin overhead, Trevor finally took one of the back seats, his string of beads draped over one shoulder of his coat. He squeezed by the older woman sitting along the aisle. Once he was settled, he turned towards the woman with a smile, extending his hand.
            "Hi there. Trevor Hale. God of Love..."
            The woman gave Trevor a strange look, before clutching her purse tighter to her body, scooting further away from him in her chair. Trevor didn't seem to mind, smiling as he reached over to clip his string of beads to the wire of the emergency brake above the window, hanging them up. He shoved all the beads to one side, a fresh start.
            Reaching down into the clothes bag on his lap, Trevor searching through it. He pulled out a severely bent paper, unfolding it several times, until it was rather large and spread out. The corners were affixed with masking tape. Trevor plastered the homemade poster up against the interior of the bus window, the text on the sheet facing outward. He finally got the sheet to stay up, by accidentally jostling the woman next to him.
            "Sorry..." Trevor apologized.
            Finished, Trevor leaned back in his chair, looking out of the window at the city moving past for a few moments, his eyes growing sad. Slowly he reached out, his fingers gently touching the cold glass. Leaning closer, he breathed on it, moisture condensing against the cold. Gently, with one finger, he traced the shape of a heart punctured by an arrow into the moisture.

            But every time I think of you, the moon and I...
            know you're the only reason why....

            In Trevor's apartment, Claire was till crying, now completely alone after Champ and Allison had left. She stepped closer to the window. Tears were silently streaming down her cheeks as she looked out at the cold sky. Still weeping, her shoulders shook as her hand reached out and touched the cold glass like Trevor was doing, snow continuing to fall beyond it. Then out of nowhere, her fingers began.... to absently trace the shape of a heart and arrow, not knowing why she was doing it, thinking of Trevor.

            Blinking as if he felt something, Trevor pulled his hand back from the glass in surprise, snow still streaming past the bus. He looked at his tingling fingers, amazed. But then he took a deep breath, letting it all go. Turning eagerly towards the older woman sitting next to him, he smiled.
            "So tell me. Your ideal guy, Describe what you like and I'll see what I can do..."

            I don't know how to say... goodbye...

            Outside the moving bus, the sign that Trevor had pasted up could be seen clearly as the bus moved out of Chicago. It read 'OLYMPUS OR BUST'. The bus continued down the highway, moving out of sight in the gently falling snow, getting smaller and smaller, finally leaving the city far behind as the music came to an end, and everything faded to black.


            Author's note: This was where I originally intended to end the story...
but then I realized I couldn't do it.

            So this story will continue in part 6 of 5 (I know, don't ask...)


Coming soon...