A story about the tv show, Cupid
Part One of Five
by Steve 0yervidez
Jaclyn sat at her desk, writing. Her playful cursive flowed over the page as she thought about the events of the last week. Events she hadn't anticipated. She tried to put her feelings into words as best as she could. And although she knew they would always be inadequate, she tried anyway.
Unrequited. One of the harshest words in the language, if you ask me. It's just so... final. So absolute. Nothing can change it. There are no situations in life where it can't someday rear its ugly head. Love, hopes, dreams, ambition... all can, in the end, be one-sided and doomed to failure. But sometimes that doesn't matter. Sometimes unrequited love is the best love. The hopeless love, that exists despite what the world will allow. Pure, unto itself.
Jaclyn stopped as Claire approached down the hallway. She dropped the pen onto the notebook and tried her best to cover what was written there as discreetly as possible. Flashing her most convincing, nothing out of the ordinary smile, she waited as Claire walked straight up to her desk.
He claims to be the god of love, but no one believes he is. He follows the ideals in his heart, despite the labels that society places on him. Delusional outpatient, charming psychotic. The world wants him to be normal, ordinary. To be what they are... boring. But he want's more. In a way, I suppose his love is unrequited too. No one shares in his quest, his passion. But he doesn't stop. Ever. That's what drew me towards him. That's what made me love him.
"Hello, Jaclyn." Claire paused, pre-occupied with the case file she was reading. "Have those journal articles come in yet? I really need them for the Saunder's presentation..." She flipped through several pages before realizing Jaclyn hadn't responded. Claire looked up. "Jaclyn?"
Jaclyn froze. She had been so intent on keeping an innocent face, that she had forgot to answer Claire's question. "Oh. No, Dr. Allen. They haven't come in yet." her smile was almost overdone as she placed her chin into her palm, her elbow trying to cover her notebook as she calmly drummed her fingers on the desk.
Claire noticed, and she stretched her head forward a little to glance at what Jaclyn had written. But she could see nothing clearly. Smiling to herself, she looked back to her file. It must be a romance novel, she thought, or a love letter. "Well, please tell me the second they arrive. I really need them by tonight. I'm going to be in my office, but if Frank comes by, send him right in."
Jaclyn nodded, approving of the flush that came over Claire's cheeks when she spoke about Frank. She was happy for the two of them. Claire had been lonely since Alex had left. Frank and her were definitely a cute couple. He was a complete hotie. But regardless, she waited impatiently for Claire to leave.
Claire started for her office door, stopping before she got there. As she turned around Jaclyn's arms darted over her notebook again. Claire kept her voice level, hiding her mirth behind a small smile. "Do you think I could read your story... sometime? I'd love to see what you've written." Claire sounded genuinely interested.
"Sure... maybe." Jaclyn held her smile, unwilling to say more. She waited, her eyes wandering the room in the silence, hoping Claire would leave.
Claire chuckled. "OK Jaclyn, if ever your ready. When you want me to, I really do want to read it. Honestly."
Jaclyn nodded non-commitally. "Thank you, Dr. Allen. I'll keep that in mind." But Claire was still hovering over her desk. Jaclyn finally thought of something that might work. "Uh... I think it's from Frank." Claire didn't understand and Jaclyn glanced towards her desk. "He left you something in your office when he came by. A gift, I think..."
"Really? Thank you, Jaclyn." Claire darted into her office to see what it was. Jaclyn let out a breath as she smiled, happy Frank had shown up earlier so she could get Claire out of her hair. His gift would quench Claire's curiosity. For a while, anyway. She listened carefully to the sounds coming from within the office. Once she heard Claire's on the phone with Frank, thanking him as she gushed over him, she went back to her writing.
He think's he's Cupid, and I believe him. But not always. Sometimes he can be as mortal as anyone. But that's part of his charm. He doesn't let that stand in his way. His heart's big enough for any god.
Jaclyn paused as she wrote, smiling. It had been a hectic week. But in the end it had turned out for the best. For everyone. Well, almost everyone. Some things were always unrequited. Her mind wandered as she remembered.
And even though Dr. Allen is a insightful writer, its important for people to see that she won't emphasize those qualities. Claire's a friend. She's a wonderful person. The best psychologist I know. But she doesn't see Trevor the way I do. And I know the book she's writing about him won't either. Because in the end, she doesn't believe he's Cupid. So I thought I'd offer a second opinion. My own perspective on the life of Trevor Hale, a.k.a. CUPID: God of Love. Because sometimes I believe. Sometimes the facade is real...
SEVEN DAYS EARLIER...
The bar was almost empty as Jaclyn sat across a table from Champ at Taggerty's. Light pouring in from the windows flickered as cars sped by outside. The cool, shaded air hummed with the beat of a rock song, pulsing energetically as it hovered in the background. Champ leaned in close, smiling as he told his tale, excited by how interested Jaclyn seemed to be to hear it. He revelled and strutted as he sat with her, providing nuance and inflection to every word, every description. It was quite a performance.
Several feet from them were Trevor and Claire, her on a barstool and Trevor behind the bar. The appeared to be caught in a friendly argument, each trying to out-wit or out insult the other. Claire's face beamed as she felt she had scored a point, sipping her drink with satisfaction. With a smug look, Trevor said something which made her moan and drop her head onto the bar out of exasperation. Then it was Trevor's turn to appear satisfied. Suddenly the air was filled with raucous laughter from Champ and Jaclyn, causing Trevor and Claire to look across the bar at them, momentarily curious before continuing their conversation.
"So," Champ was saying at an animated pace, "he made the director reshoot the whole scene, after forcing the grips to move the dolly twenty degrees to the left-"
Jaclyn giggled. "Only twenty?"
"To not exceed twenty. Anything greater would have shattered his already wounded pride. Anyway, he wouldn't't do another take until he had his pants reinforced and the DP's sworn oath that he would keep the camera of his 'problem area'."
Jaclyn laughed again, shaking her head in wonder. "Wow. I never would have imagined that the lead actor of Sunset and Vaughn could be so... flighty." The image of the insecure star made her smile.
"Not to mention bulgy. You wouldn't believe the things they can do with body doubles, costumes, and camera angles. After a few years they had become experts at hiding his assets."
Jaclyn playfully swiped at his arm. As she giggled she glanced quickly over at Trevor and Claire at the bar with as much subtlety as she could muster, which wasn't much. Champ noticed but tried to pretend he didn't as he looked away, amused. She had been doing that all afternoon and it didn't surprise him. He had figured out Jaclyn's feelings for Trevor long ago. As he asked her about it, he couldn't look into her eyes, charming though they were.
"You've got a thing for... Trevor. Don't you?"
Jaclyn smiled, realizing it was obvious. "Me? A thing for Trevor? No... well, yes. No! Absolutely no. Mostly... I think." She groaned, feeling foolish.
"Finally a woman who's truly in touch with herself." Champ teased. Raising an eyebrow, Jaclyn gave him a look, misunderstanding his meaning on purpose. He caught her implication. "Emotionally, I mean. So why don't you tell him?"
Jaclyn sighed as she playfully glanced at the ceiling, her mood still jovial but resigned to her answer. "I think we both know why." She nodded to Claire and Trevor sitting together.
Champ glanced back over his shoulder at them before looking at her again. "Yeah, I guess we do. You know it's funny. Everyone seems to know it but the two who really should." Jaclyn looked at him as her smile widened, sharing in that knowledge like a secret.
"Regardless, edible underwear chafes if you wear it two long." Claire was saying.
Trevor blinked. "The fact that you know that warms my-"
"Watch it..." Claire warned.
"-cockles. I'm sorry. I know what I was going to say but, where was your mind just now?"
Claire smiled, bringing the glass to her lips. "You'll never know, Trevor."
Trevor glanced at the table where Jaclyn and Champ sat. Claire saw him doing it and darted a quick look of her own as they started laughing again. She leaned forward to whisper to Trevor, who leaned in more than enough in response.
"You know Trevor, I think Champ might have a thing for Jaclyn..." Claire smiled, sort of enjoying this Cupid stuff.
Trevor nodded, having seen it too. "I think that goes both ways. They're definitely looking for carte blanche at each other's love buffet. Why is it the two who should see it the easiest, never clearly do?"
Claire smiled. "I don't know Trevor. I mean the signs are obvious. Talking for hours on end in some empty bar, enjoying each other's company." They kept whispering with their heads close as Claire looked back over her shoulder at them. Trevor took the opportunity to admire her face, just inches from his. As he whispered he seemed to refer to someone other then Champ and Jaclyn.
"Next thing you know, they'll be whispering cheek to cheek..."
Claire didn't catch the implication. "Well, if they do, that will cinch it, don't you think?" She looked back at him and Trevor sub-consciously pulled his face back faster than he should have, having found himself drifting closer. Claire didn't notice.
Champ looked at the sparkle in Jaclyn's eyes as she described Trevor. He felt himself caught up in her hopes, her optimism. He leaned in towards her and Jaclyn leaned in to hear him. "So Jaclyn, why don't you do something about it?" he whispered.
The loud bang of a hand slamming down onto the bar was followed a split-second later by Trevor's voice as it rang out. "Yes! There it is!" Jaclyn and Champ slowly turned their heads to look over at him. Both Trevor and Claire looked away quickly, embarrassed that they had been caught watching. Champ shook his head and turned back to Jaclyn.
At the bar, Claire was muttering softly under her breath, trying to look nonchalant as she carefully pushed her hair back from her ear.
"Smooth, Trevor. Very smooth."
Trevor shrugged. "Hey, even gods can have a bad day, OK. How else do you explain the spice girls? Casual. Just act casual." he prodded her with a false smile.
Claire's face stretched with forced casualness."Casual. This is casual. I'm... I'm doing casual."
"No, your not. You have to be... no, not like that. More like... Wait. Which one of us has actually worked on Sunset and Vaughn again?" Trevor spoke through the closed teeth of a smile, his face mock cheerful.
"Trevor, I'm doing casual better than you. I have just as much thespian experience as you'll ever-"
Trevor's smile said it all. "Oh really? How did that experience go, actually? Be explicit."
"Oh grow up, Trevor." Claire said.
Champ took a sip from his drink. "What's up with those two?" He motioned his head behind him.
Jaclyn continued to watch as Trevor and Claire quickly looked away whenever they caught her eye. It suddenly hit her.
"I think... they're watching us."
Champ frowned, still smiling. "I know that..."
"No. I think they're watching us."
Champ finally got it. "You mean us? Romantically?"
She nodded. "They think we're flirting."
Champ almost coughed into his drink but caught himself. His face lit up. "Really?"
"Uh-huh. Stop emoting so much. You'll give it away."
Champ was confused. "Give what away?"
"That we're on to them. Act normal."
"This is normal."
"Act more normal. Overdo normal. Shatnerize it."Jaclyn kept her focus on Champ, but still watched the bar out of the corner of her eye.
Champ spread his palms out to her as if pleading. "Why... are we..." he paused reaching for the emotion, "doing this at this time at all?" He said the last in a rush, overly dramatic. All in all, a pretty good Shatner impersonation.
Jaclyn had to hide her giggle behind her drink. "Because I think they think we think we're flirting."
Now Champ really was confused. "Wait, let me see if I get this. You think we think they-"
"Ssshh. They're looking again. Normal. Be normal."
"Normal," he said sarcastically. "Right."
Trevor leaned in to Claire again. "Look at the two of them. Do you see how nervous they are? They're embarrassed they've been caught. What is it with you mortals and love? You're always so afraid someone will see you in it. I mean, who care's if others are watching you. Some people consider that an aphrodisiac. Why not seize the-" He made a cupping motion.
Claire stopped him. "Well, if they got embarrassed, who's fault is that? You seem to have lost a step or two in your 3000 years, Eros. Or maybe my reality therapy is starting to kick in."
"There's all kinds of therapy Dr. Allen. I always think of a more interactive approach whenever you wear that tight blue tank top. Don't know what it would do for you, but that particular dose of reality would help me right along." He glanced down quickly before looking up. "The quicker picker upper."
"Trevor, we're concentrating on Jaclyn and Champ. Not another of your delusions."
"No delusions. Right."
"Jaclyn, I think you're imagining things." Champ was saying.
"No..." She waited, watching further. "My god they are. They're embarrassed they got caught watching us. They really do think we're attracted to each other."
"Well, you do have the cutest..." he moaned when he caught what he was saying. "Ugh. I need far more of a life. I've been hanging around Trevor too much."
"Champ, reach out and softly touch my hand."
"Be subtle about it, I want to test them."
Champ's voice rose as if for an audience. "So I went straight up to him and reached out-" he reached across the table and touched his fingers to the back of her hand, lingering for the briefest of moments. Jaclyn felt a quick sensation sweep through her. She rotated her shoulder almost imperceptibly and stretched her neck. Very subtly, very seductive. Champ almost lost his train of thought.
"And I told him that just wasn't done in a Shakespearean play..."
At the bar, Claire and Trevor both nodded, satisfied that they had been right.
"That's my PADAWAN apprentice. He's reeling her in." Trevor said approvingly.
"Your apprentice? It's all Jaclyn. My girl's reeling him in."
"Come on, Claire. It's obvious who's at the wheel and revving their collective motors. I'm not saying she doesn't toast his oats, but she's-"
"-the one in the driver's seat, Trevor." Claire said it simply, smiling in the certainty that she was right.
Trevor smirked, not believing it. "Yeah, right. Look at her. She's drooling all over him."
"He's the one who's fawning all over her." She almost laughed. "Why are you so afraid of women in power?"
"I LOVE women in power! Once I was tied up by this kinky warrior princess..."
"You know, I think you're right." Champ looked into Jaclyn's eyes.
"Just play along..." Jaclyn grazed her ankle up the side of Champ's calf muscle, making him jump. His chair screeched as it moved a few millimeters.
"Gee, that was subtle," Champ tried to regain his composure. "I never knew you were so... direct."
"Hey, at least Trevor's noticing me." She smiled at him. "What's wrong with having a little fun at his expense?"
Champ could find no reason to object.
Jaclyn suddenly got a serious look, her mind working. "Champ, let me ask you something. You know how I feel about Trevor."
"He's a great guy. He goes out of his way to set people up with each other. But who is there to set him up? Who plays god of love to the god of love?"
Champ blinked. "I suppose I've never thought about it..."
"Exactly. I care about him. It's in the realm of possibility he could love me someday, don't you think?" she asked cautiously
"I mean, we both know he has no shot with Claire. She's lovey-dovey with Frank. And even then she would never... well, him being her patient and all, I doubt she would even consider... even if she wanted too."
"You're probably right." Champ agreed.
"Claire can only hurt him. I would never hurt him. So, maybe it's time he realized there are other women here on earth besides Claire. Mortal or otherwise."
"It would be good for him to get a life. Good for me to."
"I never really get to spend time with Trevor. He's always with Claire or on his mission. But if I were part of that mission..."
Champ smiled, starting to understand. "You could spend time with him. Maybe even win him over."
"Exactly. But for this to work, I would have to set it up with a co-conspirator, to keep it going as long as possible from both ends. You're an actor. Mind if hire you?"
"To give Trevor a dose of his own medicine... I'll do it for free."
"Great." She smiled. "I can't do this without you. But we have to be convincing. Do you think you can convince Trevor You're attracted to me?"
Champ smiled as he sipped his drink. "Yeah, I think I can do that."
"Well, they need to think we need convincing..."
He understood. "We'll have to start from scratch..."
Back at the bar Claire turned towards Trevor. "Well, I don't think they'll need any prodding from the god of love. They seem to be well on their way despite you."
Trevor smiled. "Good for them."
Suddenly Jaclyn got up from the table and walked to the front door, leaving Champ abruptly. Trevor noticed. Trying to salvage the situation he darted out from behind the bar and called to her as she passed. "Hey, Jackie whoa. Hold on! Where are you going?" Trevor motioned to Champ.
"I'm going home, Trevor." She smiled wickedly. as she nodded towards the table. "I hope you enjoyed the show."
Trevor blinked rapidly. "Show?"
"You're not the only actor around here, Trevor." With a satisfied smile she turned to leave, holding back laughter. "I'll see you at the office, Claire."
Trevor stood there stunned, trying to catch up. "But, but... I-"
Next it was Champ who walked by. "Later you two. I'm out of here."
Trevor couldn't understand what had happened. Champ didn't even seem upset. "Hey, what went wrong? For a second there I thought we were going to have to hose the two of you down before the sprinklers went off."
"Who? Oh, me and Jaclyn? We were just having fun because you were watching us. Don't tell me you believed that? Huh. I thought the god of love would be more adept."
"Now wait a second," Trevor said. "That wasn't acting. That was-"
"Acting, Trevor. It didn't mean anything. I mean, I'll admit, Jaclyn's very cute and all. We have a lot of fun together, but I'm still a little gun-shy after Lorna. Besides, I don't think she's interested." Champ headed for the door, giving nothing away."Bye, Claire. Bye, Trevor."
As he left, Trevor stood there speechless. Claire commiserated with him. "I think we've been had, Trevor."
"No, that was real. Even looking through human eyes I could see that."
"Maybe it was, Trevor. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe their not willing to admit their feelings for each other." She couldn't look at him as she said it.
"But they're good together!" he said.
"Sometimes that's not enough." Claire said soberly.
"Wouldn't you like to see them together, Claire?" He looked at her, serious about it.
"Fine. I officially deputize you. We'll save the body paint initiation till later. You and me are going to be Cupid together."
Claire shook her head. "What would possess me to do that, Trevor?"
"Oh. I see. Can't hold up your end of the bargain." He started wiping the bar, as if he should have expected that from a mere mortal
"Who, Jaclyn? I guarantee I'll have more success than you and Champ." she challenged
Trevor smiled. He had her where he wanted her. "You're on then. Deal?"
They both raised their drinks and took a sip to seal the arrangement.