Dream Walker

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Chapter 7 - Trevor


He sits in the middle of his couch, sipping slowly on a steaming cup of caffeinated bliss that he had just made. His mind was all over the place this morning and he needed to bring it down a few notches so he could focus. Another sip warrants a small sigh as the hot, flavorful liquid warms his mouth before he swallows it. His eyelids close over his sky blue eyes and reopen slowly as he stares out over the narrow coffee table in front of him, replaying the events of Friday night.

Stazi’s eyelids had begun to drop while she was chewing a piece of pepperoni, the pizza on her plate starting its slow slide towards the floor as her hands began to relax. Devon was sitting next to her and caught her plate before she dropped it, the movement making her eyes pop open as she looked around to his group of friends and himself.

“What? Did I miss something?”

Trevor gives her a lopsided grin as she sits there blinking her tired eyes. “I think you should go to bed. You fell asleep sitting up in mid chew.” He gives her a softer smile this time and sets his plate down on the coffee table before holding his hand out to Devon for her plate. “Come on, I’ll cover your plate and then take it over and put it in your fridge. You get to bed.”

He doesn't give her a chance to answer him as he walks quickly to his kitchen and gets another plate to cover hers before going out of his own apartment and crossing the hall. He trots across to her room and pulls back her top cover and sheet while holding her pizza plate with the other hand. Trevor then half skips and half jogs the few steps to her kitchen and places the plate into a practically empty refrigerator. He can hear her saying something to the group but doesn’t catch what it is as he wonders to himself if the woman ever cooks for herself. He closes the door in time to hear her trudging down her short hallway and he exits the room to find her standing in the hallway just outside of her kitchen doorway.

“I already turned your blankets down for you. Get some sleep, ok?”

“You are too good to me Trevor. You know that right?”

He gives her a smirk and a pat on the cheek. Her sleepy voice was so cute he couldn’t help himself. “Of course I am. I have to set the bar high for whoever takes my place you know. Now shut your face and go lay down. I’ll try to keep the heathens quiet.”

Stazi chuckles. “As worn out as I am, I doubt you could wake me.”

“Well that’s either a good thing, or a disturbing thing.” He smiles brightly and gives her other cheek a quick smooch, realizing she smelled a lot like the art gallery below. “Get your butt in bed or I’ll tie you to it.”

She snorts loudly and motions him towards her front door, following behind and then closing the door behind him. He stands there for a few seconds as he hears her tired footfalls go back to her room followed by the barely muffled sound of squeaky springs as she gets into her bed. Judging by the squeak she probably fell into her bed and he hoped she stayed in it. The bed itself was fairly high off the floor and without carpet that would be a rather abrupt way to wake up. With a shake of his head and a soft snicker to himself, Trevor straightens up and walks back into his apartment like a man on a mission. Or quest. However you wanted to see it.

Trevor sets his Critical Role designed coffee mug down on a coaster that sported the design of a 20-sided die on it and pulls his left knee up. His head leans down to rest his chin on it, tanned and toned arms wrapping around the bent leg to hold him steady. His eyes roam over the apartment walls where all his pictures hang, showing off all the photo evidence of his outdoor excursions. His bright smiling face is in most of them, accompanied by another girl with similar features.

Her skin is fair and splattered with a few rose colored freckles across her nose, her blond hair slung over one shoulder in a tight braid. She wore it that way to keep it from thumping against her back while she rode her dirt bike over the rough countryside that surrounds the small town where they grew up in Iceland. Her eyes were the same striking sky blue as the rest of his family, her smile bright, vibrant and infectious. His cousin was his best friend when they were growing up and they had both been bitten by the ‘adventure bug’, as her father had put it, when they had gotten old enough to walk. Or run. Trevor was fairly certain they had just been born with it and the bug had bit them when they had opened their eyes for the first time at birth.

Whether it was dirt bike riding across terrain that wasn’t meant for bikes or climbing barehanded up the sides of cliffs, they were both there together. Broken bones and stitches were a common occurrence every summer and they would often get caught comparing ‘battle wounds’. But then his father had gotten a better job offer overseas and when he moved it was a bittersweet parting. He wanted her to come along and both of their dads had told them no.

It hadn’t gone over well.

The private plane had to be rerouted back to the small airstrip outside of town because he had tried to smuggle her on board to go with them.

Trevor and Sigurd hadn’t gotten into too much trouble about it, but it had made everyone a little more wary about what the two of them did together. He missed his cousin. He missed her company and easy going attitude, horribly dirty mind and her wicked sense of humor. He had been in the states for a good ten years before he had been old enough, and mature enough, to move out of the house and go out on his own.

The first thing he had done was to go back to his original home and see how Sigurd was doing, perhaps even see if she wanted to go with him back to the states. Their reunion was intense as the first thing she did was wrap him in an almost windpipe crushing headlock, taking him down to the ground to wrestle with him. It would have been a lot more fun if the big guys she worked with didn’t come out and think she was trying to fend off an assailant. Yeah, her headlock was something else. But getting grabbed by a guy who had biceps bigger than your thighs was another thing entirely.

It took a lot of convincing from her to make them let him go. It wasn’t until she told them who he was that they let go and gave a multitude of apologies to him, and her, then offering to escort them out to go climbing. Sigurd had wanted to take him on a trek across the ice, but he had arrived a little too late in the season and with the melt happening it wasn’t safe to try. That and after the tussle with the guys she worked with, who were all freaking huge, he was afraid they would break him in half.

Not that he would have cared. They were all built like solid walls of muscle and it was all he could do not to try and dry hump a leg or two. Or four. They had all thought he was absolutely nuts when he got a little tipsy and tried to do just that on the biggest guy there. Sigurd stopped him before he had done something really embarrassing, considering the guy was like his dad’s age. Yeah. Um, oops? Thank God for Sigurd and her quick thinking.

With a bit of a groan, he moves his left arm over his knee, clasping his hands in front of him and stretching out as far as he can go. His bent leg stays there as he leans down to stretch out further, his body now almost perfectly horizontal to the floor below him. After holding it for a few seconds and leaving his arms outstretched, Trevor brings himself back up to a sitting position and pushes his hands upwards towards the ceiling. He can feel the tug of his muscles in his back, chest and sides as he does and it felt great.

Maybe when I get all this crap cleared up I can go back to my usual routine, he thinks to himself. It had been Thursday night since he had gotten any sleep and the sun was rising on a Sunday morning. It was no wonder that his brain was beginning to give him more issues than usual. While he made it a point to eat nothing but healthy foods, aside from his weakness to pizza that he only indulged in on game nights, he had a serious coffee addiction. There was no other way to put it other than addiction. Brain foggy? Coffee. Can’t focus? Triple espresso. Can’t sleep? Cappuccino. Coffee was his go to drink for everything other than water when he needed to just make his brain slow down.

When he was younger, his parents had always marvelled at how much energy he had, but then he started to have his outbursts and had times when he had so much energy that being focused on anything was practically impossible. Many different doctors, therapists and medications later found that coffee did more for his focus than Ritalin or Adderall did and THC made him sick to his stomach. So began his obsession for coffee at age eleven.

Trevor experimented with different strengths and flavor combinations, as well as made it his duty to make sure that everyone in the house got a decent cup of java in the mornings. It was a long running joke that he would open up the first, and only, barista in his town and the surrounding areas. But when the move happened that dream was squashed and he had to deal with motel coffee for almost three months before he and his dad got settled. Motel coffee was an affront to every coffee in existence as far as he was concerned. It sucked.

With his stretch done, he stands up and walks around his large sectional couch into the open area that was his kitchen. This early in the morning he usually loved the feel of the sun on his skin as he made his coffee, but this morning he just wanted to lay down and go to sleep. First things first though, he had to go check on his friend and see how she was doing. As he pulls out the small coffee basin and taps out the contents, he fills it back up with his own private blend before pushing it down into the small bowl and placing it back into the espresso machine.

He remembered she liked cream but no foam, a little sweet but not overpowering. Just enough to sweeten the coffee but keep it strong and eye popping. He’d made sure that there was only a single shot of coffee in it this time as he went about finishing her cup of java. The last thing he needed was to push her brain into a caffeine overload right after waking up. Of course, that all depended on if she was awake or not. He truly hoped so and his recollection continues as he waits for the coffee to brew.

It was Devon that had heard it first, even over all the loud bantering everyone was doing over their defeat of the monster that had originally tried to destroy them. Apparently, a well-rested party is a living party...who knew. Trevor had been trying to clean up the aftermath of pizza, breadsticks, spilled sauce and coffee in his open air kitchen when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

“Hey Trev, don’t mean to sound like a creeper or anything but I’m hearing some weird noises from your friend's apartment. Does she have a cat? Cuz if she does, it sounds mad.”

“A cat? Nah, she doesn’t have pets or anything like that. Are you sure it
wasn’t just an alleycat outside or something?” Trevor sets down the mug he had been washing in the sink and wipes his hands on a nearby towel.

“I’m pretty sure it came from her apartment.” Devon shrugs. “I didn’t think you had strays in this part of town.”

Trevor makes a snorting noise from his nose as he walks by his friend, giving him a slight pat on the side of his arm. “Dude, we have a kick ass steak restaurant just down the block from us. You can’t tell me we don’t have strays.”

He was about to say something else when the sound of a very angry cat-like screeching was heard through the entire floor. Venora and Brenda looked towards the hallway with faces that had lost all color while Rainer and Haiken both held mouthfuls of coffee and eyes almost as wide as the paper plates that held their leftover breadsticks. They both swallow the liquid they held in their mouths before setting their cups down on the table, looking over to the girls.

Trevor had never seen his friends move that fast in his life. They moved like, as his dad would say, someone had set their pants on fire and said the water bucket was empty. All of them were shoving their books and dice into their backpacks, not even caring if the loose papers were getting mangled in the process. If one of them was done with theirs, they were over helping someone else stuff things and trying to zip it shut.

“Hey guys, it’s ok. It’s just a cat or something. No need to freak out about it.” He held his hands up in an effort to try and stop them. “I am sure they will stop screeching when someone breaks them up or something.”

“Just a cat… Just a cat… “ Brenda mutters as she comes over and wags a tiny finger at him and he backs up a bit from her. “That… wherever it is… is definitely NOT ‘just a cat’.” Her small fingers make the quotes in the air before getting on her tiptoes to whisper in his ear. For a moment Trevor swore he felt something like whiskers against his cheek as she whispers. “That screech came from an Alph-”

“Brenda! Come on!”

Venora tugs on her sister's sleeve hard enough to pull her away from him even though the smaller girl was still wearing her wizard robes. As she backs away, her tiny nose wiggles oddly and her face almost resembles something like a rabbit face. Trevor blinks a few times and when he looks at her again he doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary. He was still confused as to why all four of them seemed to be so freaked out over the noise. Maybe he was just hallucinating. Too much coffee? Too many carbs? What the hell was in that pizza sauce?

“Guys, seriously!” He looks at Devon, who offers nothing to help but a shrug of his shoulders while holding his hands up.

“Don’t ask me, dude. It just sounded like kitty screeches to me.”

Trevor sighs and looks over to see all of them practically running out of his apartment, making it quite apparent that they were leaving in a rush and without any of the usual goodbyes. With any luck they didn’t wake up Stazi, but he was still at a loss for words as the door downstairs closed with a loud bang. They both stand there in the deafening quiet for a few moments before looking at each other with confused expressions.

“Sooooo… I guess game time is done tonight, huh?”

“Yeah, Devon. I guess it is. See you next week? Same time?” Trevor holds out his fist and gets a bump back.

“Oh, most definitely. If anything, just to see if your friend across the way will play.” He flashes a toothy grin. “She’s kinda cute.”

“She’s also kinda older than you, dude.” Trevor raises an eyebrow and chuckles as Devon has a slight bit of color fill up his face.

“Nothing wrong with that.” He mumbles as he clears his throat and grabs his already stuffed backpack, slinging it over his left shoulder. “See you next week, man. Put in a good word for me, yeah?”

“Sure. But don’t hold your breath. Not too sure she’s into dating yet. Especially ones who haven’t hit legal drinking age.” He follows his friend down the hall and stands at the top of the stairs, watching him go down and open the door. “Make sure the door closes behind you, ok?”

Devon gives him a thumbs up as he adjusts the handle to the foam battle axe that was sticking out of his backpack. When the door was closed, he could hear the click but the young man outside of the door gave it a yank just to make sure. With another thumbs up, Trevor watches him walk off and turns to go down the hall to his friend's apartment. The events of the last couple of minutes were weird, even for him. Why were all of his friends, with the exception of Devon, so freaked out over an angry cat? And why had he thought Brenda’s face was distorted?

When he gets to her apartment door, he can hear something
like thumping on the floor followed by heaving breathing that was audible even through the closed door. It sounded like she was gasping for air, like he used to when he first started working out and got out of breath. Considering the fact that she wasn’t awake, that he knew of anyway, the thought of her trying to catch her breath in her sleep was on the alarming side.

“Stazi! You ok? Stazi?!”

Trevor pounds on the door, calling out her name a few more times and still doesn’t get an answer. He turns the doorknob easily and pushes as hard as he can to open it and he can’t. He leans his shoulder into the door and pushes a bit harder on it with a loud grunt and the door refuses to even wiggle. At this point his brain goes straight into overdrive. Something was going on with her and he needed to get in there and help his friend out.

He knew that his shoulder was going to be sore later but he didn’t care. Trying to put his weight into the door, he bangs against it with his shoulder to try and get it to budge but nothing happens. Backing up to his own doorway, he charges forward to try and burst through the door with a bit more momentum. When he hits the door, he has a moment of thinking he made it before his body gets thrown back almost into the coffee table in his apartment.

Trevor is too shocked to realize his right arm had clipped the side of his door frame as he stares at the ripple effect stretching across her door. It was like when you throw stones into a pond and where they land the ripples go out and join in with each other and then out across the water. He sat there and watched until they were all gone, his heart pounding in his chest so hard he thought it might come out and land in his lap.

His thoughts are interrupted by the last remaining water filtering into the cup on the machine with a soft whine as it completes its cycle. He rubs absentmindedly at the soft bruise on his forearm, thanking whatever beings were in this building that he hadn’t broken it. After seeing that crap on her door he was convinced that there was some higher power having a great time messing with his head. Doors didn’t do that. Wizard spells did, perhaps even supernatural events that defy explanations did. But regular doors? That would be a hard no.

Trevor finishes stirring in the sweetener and cream and walks to the coffee table where he had sat his own mug down, picking it up and heading to his friend's apartment. He had left her door open as he was afraid it wouldn’t open for him if he closed it again. That and when he had finally got the door to open...he shook his head as he walked into her silent apartment. He really hoped she wouldn’t be angry with him. I mean, really...it’s not like you could really defend yourself if she decided to go all Sabertooth on your ass, he thought to himself as he walked silently towards her kitchen.

He stood there for a moment, staring into her darkened room and noticed she was still in bed. Letting out a breath he had been holding, he goes into her kitchen and sets the cups on the round table which still had the red gingham tablecloth he had lent to her when she first moved in. He stands there in the dimly lit kitchen and rubs his hands together nervously.

Maybe he would just wait in her living room and see if she woke up. Or should he wake her up? He hadn’t realized he had been pacing in her hallway when the sounds of groans accompanied by the telltale squeak of bed springs made him stop. Not making a move, he just stands there and waits to see if what came out of her room was going to be his friend Stazi...or the other one he had found in a crumpled furry heap on her bedroom floor Friday night.
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