Dismissing his last comment, she turned away from him and put her back to the fire. She closed her eyes, imagining herself completely beating Trevor at his own reindeer games. Slowly opening her eyes, the living room window came into hazy focus. Opening her eyes wider and leaning forward she couldn’t believe what she saw. The scene outside her window was white. It was as if someone had painted the glass with white, icy frosting and had swirled it sideways. Glancing at Trevor, who was staring at the dancing flames, she got up and turned her radio on.
”Again, Chicago and surrounding areas are under a severe winter storm watch. We are expecting anywhere from six to twelve inches of snow tonight with more of it on the way for tomorrow. The snow advisory board cautions that all the streets in the down town area and surrounding suburbs are closed to travel. We have reports of over thirty accidents around the area directly related to the weather. Again, please stay inside until the roads have been cleared and sanded. The county expects that it will have the major roads cleared by morning and hope to have bus service back and running on emergency schedule by tomorrow morning to mid-afternoon. So all of you out there listening make sure you have plenty of candles, firewood, and food ready. If you needed to do holiday shopping this weekend rather then hitting the malls why don’t you try your hand at the internet….”
There went Claire’s hopes of holiday shopping and getting Trevor gone with in the next hour. If she were to let him out to walk home in that weather the chances of him not even making it home were pretty likely. Thinking of that made Claire perk up. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea she thought. It would certainly get him out of her hair, permanently. But then again, if the hospital board ever found out that she had allowed a patient to go out in weather like that and they were killed she could lose her practice.
Looking outside she knew that she would never do anything like that to Trevor. It was amusing to think about him not being around any more but she would never wish him gone permanently. He may annoy the hell out of her at times, get her so worked up that she wanted to kick him in the shins but that would never make her wish Trevor gone. Frowning, she looked down feeling guilty about even thinking about it. This made her feel even worse then the time she went on a road trip with Trevor, Champ, and Champ’s friend.
“You are a god, right?” Claire asked Trevor.
“Of course. Do you think any mere mortal could look as good as I do when they are over five thousand years old? Hah! I think not!” he said, not even taking his eyes away from the flames.
“So what was I just thinking?” she asked, silently praying that he was all mortal and no trace of godlike qualities lingered on in his present form.
Turning his gaze away from the fire, he looked at Claire. There was a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as he began. “You were thinking how nice it would be to get snowed in with the god of love incarnate. To test out his theory on bed springs and the amount of bouncing they can withstand. You know that I am the all-time champ of that Greco-Roman sport, dontcha?”
“I don’t think bed springs were invented until much later.” She said thinking about it.
“Okay, so I pushed it back a couple of thousand of years. What is time to a god?” He asked her.
“You never let go of that delusional fantasy of yours for one minute, do you?”
“Hmm, let me think.” He said, placing one finger to his forehead in mock concentration. “Never. I want to go home.” And saying that, he turned his gaze back to the fire. “Its never cold there. There are no car accidents, no shootings, no real violence.”
Rather then trying to analyze that statement to see if she could find some subconsciously buried truth she let it go. “Well, since you can’t get back to Olympus tonight because of the roads it appears you won’t be getting back to your apartment in downtown either.”
“So you do want to test out my bed spring theory?” he said breaking into a smile.
Shaking her head, Claire went into the closet to pull out extra blankets and pillows for him. Reaching on to the top shelf to get one more blanket something fell out of the closet, hit her on the head, and fell to the floor. Dropping the blankets and pillows she bent down to look at what had dropped out of the closet. Leaning in to look, she saw a small box no bigger then a loaf of bread. It was made out of wood and had been polished and lacquered but well worn in spots, especially above the lock on the side.
Hearing the clatter in the hallway, Trevor poked his head around. “Need any help with that?” he asked Claire, who by this time was sitting amidst the pile of blankets and pillows on the floor.
“No,no.” She said, half dazed from the sore spot on her head. Coming out of her reverie she handed the box to Trevor. “Look at this.”
“I didn’t know you were into antiques, Sparky!”
“I am not into antiques, Trevor.” Claire said.
Trevor took the box and held it up to his eyes. Putting the box to his ear, he shook it listening to it rattle. Running his fingers over the hinges, he came to the lock. He tried opening it but it appeared to be locked. “So where did you buy it?” Trevor asked her, handing the box back to her.
“I didn’t buy the box, Trevor.” Holding eye contact with him, Claire said, “I have never seen it before.”
Out in the yard, the children had all gone inside to have hot chocolate, eat soup, and get warm for the afternoon save the two little children who still sat catching snowflakes on their tongues. A couple of houses away a door opened up and yelled out for the little girl. “Catherine, come inside and have some soup. You will freeze to death out there.”
Coming back to reality, the little girl shouted back, “Coming, grandma!” Jumping off the snowdrift, she started to run for home but she stopped mid-run. Turning around, she ran back to the little boy and kissed him on his cheek. The little boy sat there in utter astonishment. As the reality sunk in that he had been kissed, a bright, rosy blush started to spread from his nose to his little chubby cheeks. Noticing that it had indeed gotten cold out, he decided to go inside as well and get a cup of hot chocolate.
“Well, Trevor, what do you want to do with the box? Smash it open like a piggy bank to see what is inside?” Claire said, again sitting in front of the fire, bundled up in a blanket. She had a ice pack against her head where a nice, rosy bump was just beginning to show its head. Grabbing a marshmallow, she speared it on a stick and stuck it into the fire.
“Yes, I think that we should do that. Do you have a better idea, my favorite head-shrinker, my little queen of the witch doctor’s ball.” Trevor said, snatching a marshmallow out of the bag and popping one into his mouth. Thinking it over, he kept shoveling marshmallows into his mouth until he looked like his cheeks would pop.
“I just think that there is a better way to open the box rather then permanently destroying it.” Claire took her stick out of the fire and blew on the now black marshmallow to cool it down. She popped it into her mouth and continued to think about the fate of the box. Snapping her fingers, she jumped up and ran to her junk drawer in her kitchen. Rummaging around, she found what she was looking for.
“What are you doing with that screw driver, Claire? Are you using a little Freudian symbolism to tell me something?”
“Not on your life, Trevor. I am going to pop off the hinges to not damage the box. Once we have got it open we can reattach them easily with a couple of screws.”
“Ohh! Ohh! Good idea, Sparky!” Trevor said, while clapping. He jumped up and ran to the dining room table, placing the box down with a, ‘thunk’.
“Here goes nothing.” She said as she set about popping the hinges off.Taking the screwdriver she placed the tip next to the hinge and paused. “You know, this is someone’s personal property. I don’t think we have the right to open this.”
“What? Come on, Claire! Where is your sense of adventure, your sense of fun. Aren’t you the least bit curious to see what is inside of the box? And besides, the people this box belonged to is probably long gone by now, living la vida loca on the banks of the river Styx. If they are lucky, they will be playing dodge ball up in the Elysian fields, but you…”
“No, Trevor, I am not going to do that. And I am not going to let you either. Let’s just leave at that.” She said. Looking past Trevor to the outside, she could see that the snow had let up and that the children were back out playing again. Turning her attention once more to Trevor, she raised an eyebrow, challenging his pouting lips. “Forget it, Trevor.” She stood up, taking the box with her. “It appears that the snow has let up enough for you to leave and I know that your clothes are dry as well.”
“But its still well below zero out there! Do you want me to end up frozen, found defrosting on a snowdrift? Better yet, why not give me a team of sled dogs and turn me into Nanook of the North to get home.”
“Trevor, I think that you have stayed past your welcome and it looks safe enough for you to walk home. You are only 10 minutes away by foot. You will be fine.” She said as she gathered his clothes up from the mantel and handed them to him.
“Okay, fine, I can understand when someone is giving me the queue to exit.” Trevor said.
“Just call me when you get home. I am still your doctor and I have to look out for your well-being.”
“Mental well-being…”he said, tugging his socks on.
“And physical, too!”
“If you wanted to take care of my physical ailments all you needed to do was say so. I have this itch down here that I can’t scratch and I was wondering if…” he said as began unbuttoning his pants that he had just pulled on to show her.
Turning her face to the side and holding out her hand to stop him she said, “No, Trevor. Just put your clothes on and get a move on. I am really busy tonight. I have charts to review, a column to write, and people to see.”
“If you plan on seeing people, I would recommend a change of clothes. Your outfit makes you seem a little fun, a little flirty, and you normally dress like an uptight, executive type. Thinking about it, you should dress like that more often. It may help to make you more of people person.” He said, while tying his boots.
“People person? Trevor, THAT is my JOB!” she said as she opened the door, waiting for him to leave.
“Sure, Sparky, whatever you say.” He said as he walked out onto the porch. Looking behind, Claire stood with her arms crossed, frowning down at him. Waving at her, he turned and started his long, cold walk home.
Claire watched him until he turned the corner at the end of her street and then shut and bolter her door. Looking at herself in the mirror, she frowned. It always made her a little on edge when Trevor was around. He just couldn’t stop picking on her. It always seemed like he was not just picking on her but was picking her apart, trying to see who she really was. The walls she built around herself was to protect her from getting to know her patients too well. It usually worked on most of her patients but not with him. He continued to delve deeper, testing her, trying to know her inner psyche. Shaking her head, she turned away from the mirror and sat down at her kitchen table. She sat looking at the box, questions running around in her head, the voice of her conscience starting to sound strikingly similar to Trevor’s.
She decided to put the box back in the closet where it came from. She wasn’t about to open her own kind of ‘Pandora’s Box’ and let Trevor get the best of her.