Snow gently trickled down from the sky, adding to the growing piles on the earth below. The houses were warm inside. Trevor slept peacefully into the morning. He had wonderful dreams for the first time in years. As he flickered open his eyes, he was made aware of the cause. He and Heather had fallen asleep on the couch the previous night. They had their arms around each other, and her head was on his chest. He smiled softly as he looked at her, a warm feeling enveloping him. This was what he wanted. It was the only thing he needed. And it had been her doing! He was not responsible. She had made it all possible. He was content simply gazing at her while she slept.
As he became more awake, Trevor could better reflect on what had occurred the previous night. He had failed. He had tried to keep Heather away from him to protect her and he had failed. He was not sure where he had gone wrong, and he did not feel particularly up to figuring it out. It did not matter, anyway. The truth was out. Heather wanted to be with him. He had to figure out what to do.
Part of him wanted to give into her and see where a relationship would take them. She had said herself that the responsibility was not his. And yet, he knew he would never be able to forgive himself if he ended up hurting her in any way. Even if he would not hurt her like she said he would not, that did not mean that he was the best guy for her. Some other man would be able to make her much happier than he could. Was he supposed to just go along and wait until someone like that appeared? It was a possibility, and it was one that she would accept. Yet, knew it would cause him a great deal of pain to have Heather and then be forced to give her up. He was not sure if he would be strong enough to do the right thing once he started down that path, and he also did not want to be disillusioned. He decided to mull it over a bit. He had time to decide. Neither of them was going anywhere.
Trevor’s attention was back on Heather when she opened her eyes. She seemed confused at first, but then she smiled and said, “Good morning, Trevor.”
“Good morning, Heather,” Trevor said calmly. He moved his arms out of the way so she could sit up.
“I can’t believe we fell asleep,” she said, looking around.
Trevor moved so he was sitting next to her. “Do you want anything? Breakfast or coffee?” He was surprisingly calm as he gazed at her, longing in his eyes.
Heather shook her head. “No, I should go. I’ve got some work to do later.”
“Ok,” Trevor said. They stood up and faced each other. He did not want her to go; he did not know what their relationship would be like the next time they met.
Heather smiled at him warmly. “We’ll talk, later, ok?”
He nodded. That was something they would need to do. Perhaps they could figure out a solution together, if she was still willing to negotiate anything different from what she said the previous night.
“Goodbye, Trevor.” She stepped forward and kissed him softly on the lips. Trevor closed his eyes, letting the happiness take over him. When she pulled away, she had a look on her face that gave him the impression that she was asserting her ownership over him.
He watched her leave, feeling hopelessly mixed up.
The chance to talk came on Monday night, the second of January. Liam was already in bed when Trevor invited Heather over. He wanted them to have a chance to talk in private. This did not concern the kid, but Trevor knew Liam would be excited to see her, so he wanted to avoid them seeing each other.
“Trevor,” Heather said with a smile before walking in.
“Heather,” Trevor said, nodding. He had to keep this cool and formal. He could not let his emotions get in the way.
That kind of thinking was thrown out the window as Heather wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled his head down for a kiss. Trevor was unable to resister her. How could he? He had dreamed of kissing her for years. He kept his hands on her waist as he melted into her.
He was able to break away from her mouth, but his feet and arms could not move. He leaned his forehead against hers and breathed heavily. “Heather,” he said. “We can’t do this.”
“I know you think that,” Heather said just as quietly, “but I disagree.”
Trevor was silent for a moment. Then he said, “Let’s talk about it. But not like this. I can’t think like this.”
Heather hesitated before saying, “Alright. Let’s go sit down.”
They reluctantly entangled themselves from each other. Trevor frowned as Heather took hold of his hand and led him to the couch. When they had sat down, he made sure there was sufficient space between them. He had to keep a clear head. Heather folded her hands neatly in her lap and smiled at him. “Well,” she said, “do you have something to say?”
Trevor shook his head and sighed. “I’ve said a lot already, but you won’t listen to me. I’m not the good guy you think I am. I get into trouble. I pick fights. If I didn’t have hockey to pursue as the sole focus of my life, I would have gotten into drugs or joined a gang or committed some crime by the time I was in high school. Hockey saved me, but that does not make me any good. I know who I am.”
Heather pursed her lips. “I’m not sure you do. Everyone has good and bad points. Most people ignore their bad sides, which is wrong and unhealthy. But what you’re doing is equally wrong, and may be worse for you. You have to embrace your strengths so you can become a better person.”
Heather appeared thoughtful. “Well, you know how to love, and apparently very deeply and in the truest sense of the word, which it takes most people a long term to learn, if it all. You’re very protective and you have a good sense of justice. You have a lot of determination once you actually care about something. I think you could do great things if you gave yourself the chance.”
Trevor wanted to believe what she was saying, but experience pushed him in the other direction. He let out a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how. I don’t think I can.”
“You haven’t been doing a terrible job since you’ve been in Minnesota. You haven’t gotten into any fights – except that one time.” She looked at him earnestly. “You’ve been great with Liam… and with me.”
Trevor shrugged. “That’s the best I can do, and I don’t think it’s enough.” He paused. “It’s different with you two, and with Justin. You’re all from a different world. I wouldn’t treat most people like I treat you. Most people aren’t much good either. The world isn’t a great place. People lie, cheat, steal. The few people who don’t, like you three, need to be protected from the rest of the world so that you don’t become like us.”
Heather looked thought. “So, your problem is your whole world view.”
“Am I wrong?”
“I think so,” Heather said slowly. “I’ve seen a lot more good than you, and I don’t think it’s because I’m from a ‘different world.’ I’m not perfect, Trevor. No one is. The best we can do is forgive each other and try to help each other together. We’re all in this together.”
Trevor shook his head. “I just can’t believe that.”
“Perhaps your problem is in your mind. You have to change your thinking. Do you want to see my brother?”
“I don’t need a psychiatrist,” Trevor said, looking away.
“I think everyone could benefit from a little therapy.”
Trevor looked back at her wearily. “Well, not me. It wouldn’t do me any good.” Why could she not see the truth? It would be better for her if she would just give up on him, but he doubted that would happen.
Heather frowned. “There’s your problem. Do you know how powerful the human mind is? What you think and believe can influence what actually happens. It’s amazing. If you continue to think you’re no good, then your mind will influence your actions and prove you right. But if you think positively and believe in yourself, then you will be able to do great things. You have to believe it first.”
Trevor stared at her seriously. “How do I believe it?” He did not understand how he could just accept a whole new system of thinking just like that. There was too much engrained in his mind, even if he did happen to be wrong. If change was possible, it was extremely hard and, therefore, not worth the effort.
Heather bit her lip. “I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist.”
Trevor looked away.
“I still think it would help for you to have a friend,” Heather said, and he looked at her. ‘I understand if you think it’s a bad idea to start a romantic relationship right now. We can work up to that. Just let us be friends. Open up to me a little. We’ll see where this can go.”
Trevor looked away. They were back to this then? Fine, if there was no other way to deter her. “Ok,” he said, glancing back at her. “But don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Heather smiled slightly. “Give yourself, and us, a chance, and you’ll be surprised what you will find.” She stood up. “I should go. “I’ll see you later.”
Trevor stood up and nodded. As he watched her leave, he knew that neither of them had gotten out of the conversation what they truly desired.