Outside, Trevor and Jaclyn walked beside each other slowly, neither saying a word. The sky above continued to darken as they moved through the dimness around the sidewalk. Trevor smiled over at her.
"Can I ask you something, Jaclyn?"
He looked at her carefully. "How important do you think true love is?"
She smiled warmly at him. "The most important thing in the world..."
Trevor nodded. "But how important? I mean, more important than money?"
"Yes and... yes." She said brightly, enjoying that she was alone with him.
Trevor smiled at her. "More important than a delusion?"
Jaclyn's brow furrowed, not understanding. "What do you mean?"
"Is real love more important than a fantasy?"
"I guess..." Jaclyn spoke carefully, unsure what he referred to.
"Jaclyn, who do you think I am?"
She replied without hesitation. "You're Cupid, the god of love. Who else?"
"No, be honest with me."
"I am being honest, Trevor." Jaclyn said simply.
He had to smile at her faith in him. "You mean you honestly believe I'm Cupid? You never question it?"
She teased him. "Well, maybe sometimes..."
Trevor nodded. "Claire questions it all the time. Kinda what she does for a living. I don't think she's ever believed me for a second. Not even one. Sometimes I wish... she were more like you."
A warmth passed through her. Jaclyn looked at him closely, leaning in, sincerity in her eyes. "I'm not Claire, Trevor. I'll never treat you like she does. Maybe because I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt."
Trevor smiled to himself as he thought about it. "Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if Claire did believe me. If I could change things to where she was certain I was Cupid. But then it hits me. If she did believe, she wouldn't be... Claire. Not really. Not the Claire I know..."
"I guess..." Jaclyn said softly. "Trevor, there will always be people who'll never see you as anything more than a psychotic. That's part of being mortal. Part of being human. Part of just being. People who's mind you'll never change, and... there will be people who's mind doesn't need changing in the first place. Because they believe. Because they care about you. They see more. More than a delusion. Because they like you for who you are now, not for what they want you to be." Jaclyn looked away. "Like me..."
"So you're saying that if I cling to the image of what I want Claire to be, instead of who she is, then that would be a fantasy."
Jaclyn paused, thinking about what he was saying. She wondered if Trevor were finally questioning his unacknowledged feelings for Claire.
Trevor looked at Jaclyn, waiting for an answer. Momentarily lost in his eyes, she finally remembered to give one.
"Umm...yeah, Trevor. I think so."
Trevor hoped he was making her see. Making her understand how Champ felt about her, how important it was. And about how Jaclyn felt in return. "Jaclyn, is loving a fantasy more important than accepting a 'real' person, a real love right under your nose? Even if that person isn't the one in your mind?"
Jaclyn looked at him. Maybe Trevor really was ready to get over Claire after all, get over his expectations. "Absolutely, Trevor. Sometimes what's 'real' between two people is more important than what we wished were there with someone else."
Trevor looked away. "I've seen a lot of things. That does tend to happen when you're immortal. I've seen a lot of people live entire lives... alone. Without love." Trevor seemed distarcted for a moment, but he blinked it off. "Love's a precious thing, Jaclyn. Fragile. Unexplainable. Unstoppable. Wonderful. Someone should think hard, before turning their back on it. When someone truly loves you, don't just ignore it."
Jaclyn smiled. "Exactly."
Trevor smiled back, hoping he had made his point. "Good to remember..."
Happily, she agreed. "For both of us..." She looked away, still enjoying his company. "True love, Trevor. I'll find it someday. You will too."
Trevor laughed. "Not in this mortality."
"Don't be so sure," Jaclyn looked up into his eyes. "Sometimes all it takes is faith. Sometimes you just have to believe."
"Maybe..." he said with a smile.
Jaclyn looked down, going into what she and Champ had worked out to tell Trevor. "I needed to ask a favor, Trevor. I spoke a little with Champ, ummm.... earlier. He said he wanted to meet me. Tomorrow at Taggerty's. He wanted you to come too. Something about it being time we worked all this out. Get what we feel for each other out in the open. Will you come?"
Jaclyn could already see the 'breakup' scene she and Champ had worked on playing out in her head.
"Sure. I'll be there Jackie whoa. Count on it. I wouldn't be the god of love if I wasn't." He smiled at her.
"Thank you, Trevor."
Jaclyn looked at the darkened street around them, both of them alone. "You know, I sort of like this. Being here with you, Trevor. Without all the light, all the noise, all the people."
"Being out here with you is a good thing, Jaclyn. There's a lot that can be said for peace and quiet." Trevor leaned casually back against the front of a car parked on the curb.
Suddenly a blaring car alarm screeched loudly from under the hood as Trevor jumped back from it. The car's headlights began to flash on and off. Jaclyn and Trevor stood exposed in the glare, frozen in surprise.
"Trevor what, what do we...?" Jaclyn laughed, not knowing what to say.
Trevor couldn't decide. "Ummm, I think we'd... we'd better go. Come on. Just walk fast!" He held her by the shoulders as he led her away stiffly. Finally they couldn't help it, breaking into a run down the middle of the street, laughing all the way back to Jaclyn's building. Behind them the car continued to blare and flash repeatedly as the confused owner came out of the building it was parked in front of, wondering what had happened.
Trevor walked into Taggerty's the next day. Champ was already there. The rest of the bar was basically empty, only a few other employees cleaning up after a noon rush. Looking around, Trevor saw that Champ was the only one to arrive so far, so he moved over to him.
"Champ! The big Champ. Summer camp Champ! My man! I'm here. So what's up? Why did you ask me to come? Everything okay with the lovey and the dovey between the two love birds? Where's Jaclyn?"
"Umm, she's not here yet, Trevor. I'm glad you came. I wanted to tell you both something. So I could come clean."
"Ok..." Trevor said carefully as he took off his coat and tossed it onto the bar. "Fire away. Lay it on me."
"That woman in the restaurant a couple of nights ago. Remember? Debbie?"
"Yeah. You're sheer stocking stalker alien space wife slash scrambled egg?"
"Yeah, that one. I told you she was crazy. She's not."
"That's a judgement call if I ever-"
"Trevor, I mean that we're... we're really dating."
"Dating? You and Debbie?"
Trevor tried to sound encouraging. "Hey, so you were playing the field before, big deal. But you don't need to any more. It's over. I'm sure Jaclyn will understand that. No problem."
"You don't understand, Trevor. I made up all that stuff about her being a crazy ex-girlfriend. She's a crazy current girlfriend. I know I should have told Jaclyn I was already involved. But I wanted to.... I guess I wanted to see how I felt about... I wanted to give Jaclyn a shot, you know?"
"Yeah," Trevor said softly. "Hey, I understand. You're following your heart, man."
Champ looked at him. "That's why I have to tell Jaclyn the truth. That I'm going back to Debbie."
"You're what?" Trevor tried to sound surprised, doing an acting job of his own. "No. That's can't be right."
"It is right," Champ did his best to put some sincerity in his voice. "I'm going back to Debbie. I wanted to tell everyone at once. Look, I'm sorry, Trevor. This didn't end up like you had planned. Wait... she's here." Champ looked over to the front door.
Claire and Jaclyn entered Taggerty's together, laughing softly as they came through the door. Claire stayed back as Jaclyn came forward and walked eagerly up to Champ.
Trevor began to move over to the bar as he watched the two of them carefully, studying their expressions. Champ's face seemed to light up when Jaclyn had entered the room. Trevor could also so the affection in Jaclyn's eyes as she looked at Champ. Trevor smiled slightly as he seated himself on a barstool, liking what he saw. Claire slowly walked a discreet perimeter around Champ and Jaclyn so as not to interrupt. Moving closer to Trevor, she slid onto the barstool next to his, watching Champ and Jaclyn patiently.
"Champ. Hi." Jaclyn felt nervous as she looked up into Champ's eyes, smiling at his familiar face. He was sweet for doing this. She just hoped she didn't flub her lines. "I'm here. What did you want to see me about?" Jaclyn looked at him, expression hopeful.
Champ smiled, realizing she was playing her part fairly well. "Not yet. I'm still waiting for someone else."
Jaclyn pretended to not understand. "Who?"
Champ looked up, spotting someone. "Her." His voice sounded almost disappointed as he watched Debbie come into Taggerty's. He had almost wished she wouldn't come. "Guess we won't have to wait after all."
Jaclyn turned around, looking back at Champ with a mixture of confusion and a little bit of hurt in her eyes. A very convincing performance. "You invited Debbie?"
"Yeah. It's time to clear all this up." Champ looked over Jaclyn's shoulder as Debbie walked over to them. "Hello, Debbie. I'm glad you agreed to come."
"I must be insane, since I'm technically not talking to either of you." Debbie tried her best to sound angry, but it wasn't quite coming across, instead sounding stilted and hollow. Without pause, she went past the lines they had planned, obviously opting for a bigger part. "You're lucky I came at all. After the humiliation you two have put me through. There's only so much I can take, Champ. SO whatever you think it is that is important enough to drag me into the same room with her, get on with it. Let me tell you, it had better be good."
Champ paused, rolling his eyes. "....right. Could you just sit down please? There's something I need to say."
With a dissapointed look, Debbie stepped away from him to take a seat. She had wanted to say more, but oh well. Champ stood in front of the four of them. Trevor and Claire were at the bar. Jaclyn and Debbie sat at different tables, a noticeable space between them.
As Claire and Trevor sat side by side, he leaned over to whisper softly into her ear. "Trust me, Claire. Jaclyn will stop this or Champ won't be able to go through with it. One of them will crack."
She whispered back. "I really hope so, Trevor."
Everyone waited patiently as Champ stood there, trying to compose his thoughts.
Champ finally looked up at all of them. He had acted in plays before. Recited lines in front of hundreds of people. Even worked on a television show. But somehow he found that doing this was harder. His heart warmed when he saw Jaclyn watching him. He knew what he had to say, but he didn't want to. It felt as if he were losing something. Something important. Something precious.
"Well, I guess... I brought you all here because... First off, to apologize to Debbie. And to you too, Jaclyn. Because I've been lying to you. I lied when I said Debbie was a nut I'm not dating any more. I actually have been dating her. Still am. Have been the entire time. We never stopped."
Jaclyn looked nervously over at Debbie, as if afraid she knew what was coming. "But...why? Why didn't you... You could have been honest with me, Champ. You could have just told me I wasn't as important to you as you are to me. Why did you lie about it? I... I don't understand." Her voice sounded worried.
"Because," Champ was saying what they had agreed to in general terms. But for this part at least he found that he didn't have to work too hard to sound sincere as he took a step towards her. "Because I wanted to find out, Jaclyn. About you and me. Because I wanted to see... if there could be anything between us. I think the world of you. I'm happier when I'm around you. So I took a chance, risked my feelings, to see if you felt the same way."
Jaclyn managed to seem hurt at what apparently was coming. "But?"
Champ continued, not looking at either of them. "I tried. I really did. I tried everything I could to make the relationship work. But sometimes it doesn't. No matter how much you want it to. And I realized something. In the end you just have to accept things the way they are. And I had to tell you. Tell all of you."
Champ looked at Debbie. "So... Debbie." Champ took her hands, bringing her out of her seat and standing her in front of him. Debbie took a breath, preparing for her joyous outburst where she would take him back. Champ swallowed as he faced her. "Debbie. I've got to be honest with you. What I wanted to tell you is..."
Trevor tensed slightly. He could see the indecision in Champ's face right up to the end. The moment had come. The moment when Champ would either follow his heart, or lock it away, unrequited.
Champ tried again. "Well, what I wanted to tell you was..." He looked deeply into Debbie's eyes, searching for several seconds. Searching for himself. "Debbie, I... don't love you. I'm in love with Jaclyn..."
Trevor smiled. Claire sighed, realizing they had gone past the point of no return. Jaclyn looked up at Champ in total shock, not saying a word. She didn't know what was happening, what she was hearing.
Champ waited, looking into Debbie's face. After a few moments her entire face seemed to somehow crumble without changing one iota, stunned by what he had just said. She looked at Champ with genuine hurt in her eyes as her face changed subtly, almost invisible to view. She didn't speak. Shocked, her eyes seemed to wilt, glittering tears just beginning to well up. Debbie's lip quivered almost imperceptibly. She would never be this good an actress. Her whispered words were soft, desperate.
Champ looked sadly into her eyes. "I'm sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I really didn't. But I can't do this any more. I can't lie to you. I think... I love Jaclyn."
Debbie looked away, for once speechless.
Trevor blinked in surprise, not realizing how hurt Debbie would be. Claire's face was sad as she felt Debbie's reaction.
Debbie turned from Champ, wiping her cheek. "I was right, wasn't I? You weren't faking what I saw."
"No," Champ looked down, not knowing how to phrase it delicately. "No, I wasn't."
Jaclyn rose from her chair, walking over to Champ's side and grabbing his arm. "Champ... can I talk to you for a second?"
"No," Debbie interrupted softly. "No, you don't need to, Jaclyn. I think I knew. Deep down... I knew." More tears fell down Debbie's face as she slowly grabbed her coat and purse.
"I... think I'd better go," Debbie said. She didn't even look at Champ as she headed for the door.
"Debbie, wait. I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm-"
Before Champ could finish, Debbie was gone. Suddenly Jaclyn grabbed him by the arm and dragged him to the side, whispering frantically. "Champ! What are you doing?"
"Jaclyn, please listen. I was being totally honest-"
"Honesty wasn't in the plan! What were you thinking?"
"That I love you, Jaclyn. That I had to tell you because I can't stop thinking about you. So maybe I wasn't thinking, but I wanted you to know."
Jaclyn shook her head in worry and confusion, not knowing what to do, what to say. "So you tell me here? What about the plan? What if Trevor finds out?"
Trevor finally spoke up, having overheard from where he remained seated. "Jaclyn I already know. I knew all along."
Jaclyn's eyes went wide when she looked at Trevor, not expecting that. It seemed like shock after shock was being directed her way. Assumption after assumption shattered around her, taking away anything solid under her feet. "You knew all along how I felt about you, Trevor?"
Awkwardly, Trevor tried to explain. "Well... I knew you had a crush on me-"
Jaclyn closed her eyes, wounded by that statement. She looked down. "A crush," she said softly. "All you saw...was a crush."
"Yeah," Trevor said. "But I also saw how you and Champ felt about each other. Don't you see how great that is? A wonderful thing has just presented itself to both of you. Love. You two belong together. I just wanted to help you see that. You do see that... don't you?" Trevor called out to her when she didn't answer. "Jaclyn?"
When Jaclyn looked back up at all of them, they all realized that she was crying. Her face was filled with sorrow and devastation.
Champ tried to reach a comforting hand to her, but held back, surprised. "Jaclyn... what's..."
Jaclyn couldn't stop the soft sob that broke past her lips, feeling it rise inside her from the pit of her stomach. She was so overcome she could barely think. It had all fallen apart. Her hopes, her dreams of being with Trevor, they were all a lie from the start. Like all of it had been. It hit her with a force that made her sob again. It would never happen. Her and Trevor. Ever. It had all meant nothing. Her feelings, her heart, had meant nothing. The tears filled her eyes even more, she could barely see.
"Trevor, I thought that..." her whisper was anguished, almost indiscernible. "I thought you.... that we...."
Jaclyn couldn't take any more, and she stepped away from Champ and ran from the bar, weeping openly. Champ stood there, feeling totally helpless, unable to take it back or make it better.
Trevor and Claire watched Jaclyn leave, running outside. His hand gripped the bar as he leaned forward as if to follow, but he paused, not knowing if he should. Blinking several times, his lips hung slightly open in shock, not having expected Jaclyn's reaction. Claire turned to him when he spoke.
"Wha... what just happened?" he asked her.
"Game's over, Trevor." She whispered acidly at him. "Well played, Eros." Without another word Claire quickly got up, going after Jaclyn.
Champ and Trevor were left alone in the bar, both of them still stunned. Slowly, Trevor rose from his seat and walked over to Champ. Champ was silent for a moment, trying to take it all in. It was over. He had tried desperately for it not to be, but it still was. He looked over at Trevor.
Trevor still seemed shell shocked as he watched where Jaclyn had gone. He thought about how badly his entire plan had turned out. He had misjudged from the beginning. And people had gotten hurt because of it. Some god of love he was. Sadly, Trevor turned to Champ. Champ spoke softly.
"Trevor, I didn't expect this. I... I thought she liked me... felt the same wayI did."
"So did I, Champ." Trevor said in surprise, shocked he had been wrong.
Jaclyn walked quickly down the street as Taggerty's fell away behind her. The afternoon sun was dropping ever lower, shining red and golden in her face and sparkling on the wetness in her eyes, eyes still filled with tears. Jaclyn felt miserable and embarrassed, feeling despair fill her completely. She tried to hold it in, knowing she was in the middle of a busy street. But she felt totally helpless to stop the tears. Just like she couldn't completely let herself cry either. The crash of events writhed in her chest as she tried to blink away the moisture in her eyes. At least enough to see where she was stepping. Her vision was filled with shapes and colors dancing through water.
On the busy sidewalk behind a figure came running after her. Claire followed after Jaclyn's retreating form swiftly, calling out her name.
Falling in to step beside her, Claire moved her legs quickly to keep up with Jaclyn's determined pace. Looking over, she could see Jaclyn was still very upset. Jaclyn didn't turn her head, striding forcefully forward, growing a little annoyed at her presence. Claire really wasn't someone she wanted to talk to right now.
"Jaclyn, wait," Claire pleaded. "Jaclyn, please talk to me."
She said nothing in reply, her lips tightening in a mixture of anger and sadness as she wiped a tear from her cheek.
"Jaclyn I know you're hurting right now. If you could just stop for a second..." When she said nothing, Claire pressed on.
"Look, Trevor made a mistake. That's obvious. We all made mistakes. But maybe it's better to get all of this out in the open..."
Jaclyn closed her eyes as she walked blindly ahead, new tears falling down her cheeks.
Claire stayed at her side, walking quickly. "I know you think you love Trevor. That right now it feels very real to you. But you don't really know him. Listen to me, Jaclyn. I don't think... any of us really do."
Jaclyn laughed bitterly, a small laugh for herself, eyes still glittering in the sun. She shook her head in disbelief. What Claire was saying sounded like only so many platitudes to her. Platitudes Claire probably used on herself, and her feelings. Jaclyn wondered who she was trying to convince.
Getting no response, Claire was almost in tears herself. "Jaclyn, please. I know you think you love Trevor, but you don't. There's no way you can. He's not real. He's an illusion. Trevor's a fairy tale. A Cupid facade that he's built up to hide himself. There's no real way for you to love him because there's no 'real' Trevor for you to love. I wish it were different, I really do. Believe me, I understand how you feel."
Having heard enough, Jaclyn stopped suddenly and whirled angrily on Claire.
"Jealous!?" she said bitterly.
Claire blinked, hurt by the accusation as tears finally filled her eyes. She stepped back slightly under Jaclyn's glare, wondering how she had angered someone she considered one of her closest friends.
Almost instantly, Jaclyn regretted what she said, seeing Claire's face. She wished she could take it back. Words caught in Jaclyn's throat as it all overwhelmed her again, filling her eyes with fresh tears.
"Claire... I'm sorry, I'm..."
Claire knew there was really nothing she could say.
Expression wilting, Jaclyn rushed over and fell into Claire's arms, crying openly. Claire held her close, trying to comfort her as Jaclyn sobbed into her shoulder. Pedestrians walked past. Cars sped along the street. But as they stood there, the two women didn't notice. Claire held Jaclyn's weeping form, rocking her softly.
Jaclyn looked past Claire's shoulder, holding her tightly, grateful to grasp someone solid as she hugged her desperately. Her whisper was filled with sadness.
"I love him, Claire..." Jaclyn sobbed.
Claire hugged her closer, trying to comfort her as she carefully held Jaclyn's head against her, stroking her hair softly. She paused only to wipe a tear off her own cheek.
"I know, Jaclyn..."
Claire spoke simply, voice full of empathy as she held Jaclyn. Looking away, Claire didn't explain exactly what she meant. She wasn't really sure she knew herself.
They both stood in each other's arms on the sidewalk, bathed in the golden red of the setting sun. Two small figures in all that hectic bustle of a late afternoon on the streets of Chicago.
Hours later, Trevor slowly pushed open the door to his apartment. The entire room was covered in darkness, no lights on because no one was home. Night filled the windows looking outside. Sadly, Trevor closed the door behind him as he stepped in, not bothering to turn on the light switch as he sighed in the shadows.
Trevor stood there alone, thinking silently. He had gone looking for Jaclyn, hoping to talk to her and to make things better somehow. He hadn't found her, and he had come home after deciding to try again tomorrow. He could still see her face. Still see the pain he had caused in it. It still cut through him even now. Trevor sighed as he stepped away from the door, rubbing his eyes as they adjusted to the dim light.
Then he saw her, outlined in the dim blue glow from the distant steetlights as it flowed in through the windows. She was sitting alone on the couch, not saying a word, waiting.
"Jaclyn! There you are. I've been looking all over Chicago for you. Where have you been?"
In one smooth motion Jaclyn rose to her feet, walking carefully towards Trevor. She seemed distracted and introspective as she came closer, not really looking at him as she spoke.
"You know... Trevor. I've been thinking."
"I know. So have I." Trevor spoke softly as he stepped closer to her. "I'm sorry about what happened. It was a lot to take in. I'll admit I didn't handle it very well. But it will all seem better once everything settles down, I promise."
She continued as if she hadn't heard. "I've been thinking about what Champ said, Trevor." Jaclyn looked into his eyes. "About how he felt about me. It took a lot of... courage, revealing himself like that. Offering up his feelings to me without caring about the risks, without knowing the consequences..."
"Jaclyn, once you understand why he did it, once you get past all the crap and the clutter, then you'll realize-"
Jaclyn finished his sentence. "I'll realize that maybe I should give my feelings a shot too, just like he did. Take the same risks. See what's... there." She walked closer to him.
Trevor didn't notice, enthused by her apparent turnaround in her feelings for Champ. "Exactly! You and Champ. It can still work out. Absolutely! I don't know where he is right now, but we can find him and-"
Cautious, Jaclyn stepped even closer as he continued.
Trevor's mind was racing, filled with ideas to fix what had gone wrong, thinking about how to get them back together. He talked excitedly, almost to himself. "-when we find Champ we'll set everything right. First thing, when he comes home, we'll all sit down and work it all out. I'm sure he'll be psyched that you-"
Jaclyn suddenly rushed forward out of nowhere and kissed Trevor full on the mouth, holding his face gently but firmly.
Trevor was caught completely off guard, surprised to find Jaclyn's face against his, kissing him. Blinking as his shoulders stiffened, he didn't reciprocate the kiss as he stood there, not knowing what to do. After a few moments when Jaclyn didn't stop, he carefully placed his hands on her arms, pulling her gently back.
"Jaclyn... don't," he said softly.
She smiled, not really listening as she breathed and leaned in for another kiss. "I love you Trevor. I know you could love me..."
"If you would just give me a chance..." She came forward until her lips were against his again, kissing him tenderly.
"Jaclyn." Struggling to be heard, his words fell on her lips as she pressed them against his. "You don't... you don't love me Jaclyn."
"Yes I do, Trevor," she continued to kiss him repeatedly, light touches on his lips.
Trevor wanted to be gentle, but in the end he spoke with a more forceful tone as he pulled away from her. "Jaclyn. Stop."
Quickly she turned away, knowing that she was kidding herself. She was crying when she faced him again, arms wrapped tightly around herself as if she felt naked.
"Why? Why should I stop, Trevor?" She pleaded for a reason. "What makes me so... horrible?"
Trevor shook his head, trying to make her understand. "Jaclyn, it's not anything like that..."
Her voice was sad, desperate for answers. "Then what is it like, Trevor? Am I not pretty enough? Not smart enough? Wait. I remember. Not enough boom in my box? Not enough tiger in my tank? What is it that says we can't be together, Trevor?"
"Jaclyn, none of that is true. You're beautiful. Very beautiful. You're smart. You're sexy... charming..."
"Then... what?" Jaclyn's whisper was full of hurt, soft in the shadows.
Trevor sighed and closed his eyes. He didn't want to say it, but he knew he had to. He looked at her again.
"Because I don't... I don't love you."
A hole seemed to open in her chest and Jaclyn's eyes melted in fresh despair. Tears now flowed freely down her face as she listened to the finality of Trevor's words. He could see their glittering tracks rolling downwards in the dim light as she whispered back.
"Because you love her?"
Trevor wiped away his own tear, seeing how much he had managed to hurt her again. It seemed to be all he'd been able to do for her lately.
He answered in a soft, sad voice. "Yeah. Yeah, I guess I do." He was surprised that he had finally admitted it.
Jaclyn closed her eyes and took a quivering breath, as if wanting in that moment to be anywhere else, wanting to be anyone else. Wanting the world to somehow be different, even though she knew it never would be. She opened her eyes. Sometimes there was nothing that could be said. After a few silent moments, she started to walk slowly past Trevor, heading for the front door.
As Trevor turned towards her he was suddenly bathed in light from the hallway outside when Jaclyn opened the front door. She didn't stop as Trevor started to follow her. The door closed behind her, leaving Trevor in the shadows once more. With that she was gone.
Trevor stood there in the dark, head hanging down miserably, all alone in the empty apartment.
A moment later there was the sound of a scrape, causing Trevor to look over at the circular staircase. The outline of a man was coming down the metal steps. It was Champ. Trevor could smell the alcohol a second before he saw Champ raise the bottle to his lips. Champ took a drink, before seating himself on a step halfway down the staircase with a tired moan. After a few moments of silence, Champ finally looked up at him.
"Champ? You mean you were here the whole time?"
"Yeah. Yeah I was." He offered the bottle to Trevor for a drink, but Trevor waved it off.
"But... didn't Jaclyn know you were here?"
"No, she didn't." Champ stared sadly ahead at nothing as he took another drink and thought about it. "You know what? That makes sense to me. There was no reason for her to know I was here. I should have seen it all along."
Trevor didn't understand. "Seen what?" he asked softly.
Champ looked over at him. "She didn't come here looking for me in the first place, Trevor. She only came to wait for you. And... maybe... I could have saved us all a lot of heartache if I had realized that from the beginning..."
Champ nodded slowly. Without another word he stood up and sadly stepped back up the staircase into the dark rooms above, leaving Trevor where he was.
Trevor stood there, thinking about how wrong it had all gone. But a small part of him couldn't accept that. Somehow he could still salvage some small part of this. He knew he could. But first he had to find Jaclyn. He had to console her somehow.
Trevor resolved himself, stepping quickly to his front door. Jaclyn couldn't have gotten very far. He opened the door quickly, and stopped in his tracks.
Jaclyn was standing in the hallway directly in front of his door, waiting patiently. Trevor could still see the tears on her face, but she didn't move an inch. Jaclyn spoke before Trevor could utter another word.
"Tell her, Trevor."
Jaclyn turned and began to leave again, saying nothing further. She made no effort to return.
Trevor followed her out into the hall. He didn't have to ask who Jaclyn meant. Starting to follow after her he thought better of it. Jaclyn didn't stop. As he stood in front of his door, Trevor called out to her.
"Why should I do that, Jaclyn?"
Jaclyn turned to look at him. She seemed calm and more composed, but there was no denying the sadness in her eyes. She didn't come any closer.
"Champ had the courage to admit his feelings today, Trevor. So did I. We both did. Even if in the end it only broke our hearts. Think about that. I mean, we're just two small mortals, Trevor. Two small, fragile human beings. The god of love should find the courage... to leave up to our example. Tell her, Trevor."
Silent now, she turned and walked away. Her footsteps sounded loud in the quiet of the hallway. They echoed slightly as Trevor watched her leave. He didn't follow. Standing there with a somber expression, Trevor thought about what she had said, as he looked up again to watch her leave.
Jaclyn turned the corner, heading down the first flight of steps, not looking back. Trevor was left alone in the empty hallway. And for once, he didn't have a clue what to do next.