((I looked around to see if you'd posted something like that, but I didn't see it. My apologies for being pushy..))
Jefferson gulped down a hard breath. "I can't tell you..." He thought about it for moment. If she ran, then he'd know to not show himself anymore. He may even be able to let her go and find Micheal. "I can show you... if you want?"
Jefferson didn't wait for her answer but, watching her eyes, he slipped his visibility. "When I'm like this- I can mend the broken pieces and give broken-hearted people something to hope for." He shrugged even though she couldn't see him.
"Some people call us cupid... But that's not quite what it is. We don't get to choose who falls in love with who."
((It's fine, I completely understand!))
Lila's eyes widened and she staggered back a little in fear. "Jefferson? What... what are you doing?" she said, panicking. "Sh-show yourself."
To cover up her nervousness, Lila began to talk, quickly and pointlessly. "I'm going to wake up in a minute. I'm going to wake up and Jess will be there with a mug of coffee and she'll hit me over the head with a pillow and there won't be any handsome Cupids with the power to turn invisible randomly with no warning whatsoever and scare the living daylights out of peopls and everything will just be normal again! I know I hate normal, but this is too much, too much." She took short, laboured breaths, completely freaking out.
Jefferson cautiuosly slipped back into his visibility and back up against the wall. He watched Lila with wide, terrified eyes. What had I done? She was a mess and he couldn't think of anything to do.
"Lila," Jefferson's voice was dripping honey, it was so sweet. With his palms up and out he appealed to her senses again. "I'm just trying to answer your question. I'll stay over here and you can stay over there, okay?" Lila calling him handsome hadn't been lost on him, but he couldn't focus on the compliment while she was in this state.
Very gently, he pressed on. "You're not dreaming."
Lila didn't know why, but she felt compelled to trust Jefferson. Or at least calm down enough to hear him out. Slowly, she backed away and took a seat on the table edge again. Her breathing became more regular, if not completely returned to normal.
"If I'm not dreaming, then what's happening?" she asked eventually. "I daydream all the time and that's the only explanation for" - she gestured with her hand - "all this. Nobody real could have the power to do what you say you do."
"Remember my drawing of you? That... energy that I'd drawn around you? That's what I see around everybody." Jefferson said it slowly, picking his words carefully. The wispy manipulation in the air around Lila wasn't half as annoying as it usually was to see. On other people, he hated the aura... It meant they were his charges.
Jefferson relaxed against the wall. "I'm very real," A small smile played around his lips. "I promise."
Jefferson's voice calmed her, and she felt more cautiously curious than scared. "So... my aura... what does it look like?" she asked. Jess was into psychics and horoscopes and auras - she'd kill to be here right now with someone who could actually see them. Then Lila shook her head. She was here with a guy who worked as a matchmaker and could do all sort of funky magic, and she was asking what her aura looked like? What was wrong with her?
"Sorry..." she murmured. "Perhaps you could tell me a bit more about what your job actually is. Like, who do you work for?"
Jefferson caught himself before he could smile. "It's a bit like... Do you know what heat waves look like? It's sort of like that. Yours is silver though, and kind of wispy." He shrugged one shoulder.
"I can't...tell you who I work for. I can tell you that he really hates me. He always gives me charges that don't make sense." Jefferson rambled and his brain-to-mouth filter snapped off. "Like your match. I don't understand why they want you to be with-" He cut off and stared at Lila, wishing he could rewind five minutes and not share that information.
Lila knew that she probably should feel freaked out by the information, but all she felt was a mixture of disappointment and excitement. Disappointment that probably the only reason Jefferson was even talking to her was because of his job. And excitement because she had always dreamed of falling in love.
Ever since she was a kid, Lila had imagined who she'd end up with. It had always been her biggest worry - that maybe no one would ever love her like that. She almost couldn't contain her exuberance that she had a definite match, whoever he was. "So what's he like? Will I like him? Oooh, what does he look like?" Lila said quickly.
((Just keeping this bumped...))
Jefferson had to work hard not to tell her that she'd hate Micheal. No matter how hard he tried though, he couldn't help the grimace that crossed his face. "He's... he's not bad looking, per se. I'm not able to give my opinion objectively, though."
Lila had a dreamy look in her eyes and it honestly made him angry. Jefferson wanted to be the reason that look was in her eyes. But no- it was Micheal.
Lila caught Jefferson's grimace. "Wait..." she said, the smile falling a little from her face. "You don't like him, do you?" Suddenly, her heart clenched. What if this guy was horrible?
She found herself wishing that Jefferson was her match. He was perfect. Kind, handsome and wise beyond his years. Probably too perfect, at least for her.
The question caught Jefferson off gaurd and he stumbled over the beginning of his answer. "I- I don't know him... personally. I don't have any take on him really. The poor old man has lost everything, so I understand why they're trying to make up for it."
Jefferson's arms tried to runaway into the sky. It was a bad habit that he could usually hide. Now, though, it seemed that Lila had brought out the knee-jerk reactions he hadn't had since he was a boy. "I don't like him, no." He finally admitted.
Lila looked at the floor. "You don't get any say in who you match?" she asked sadly. "You're going to have to make us fall for each other regardless. Is there any way out?"
A nagging voice at the back of her head said that she was being selfish. If what Jefferson said was true, the man had lost everything. Surely he deserved another chance at love. But not with her, she thought desperately.
"I... no. No, I don't. I wish I did." Jefferson's heart was heavy in his eyes and that was the only reason he was happy Lila continued to look at the floor. "It's selfish of me to want that, though. Who am I to say who is to be with who?"
Jefferson ground his teeth, trying futilely to keep in any confession. "I wish they'd let me go." His voice was tiny and he sounded like a small child to his own ears. Why wouldn't they let him go? He'd been on longer than almost all of his higher-ups- definitely longer than any of the other Matchers. Wasn't he due some freedom to love as freely as the others?
Jefferson knew of only one Matcher who had fallen for one of their charges. Claire had been in a similar situation as Lila and so Benji had made the choice to free her from it. He hadn't gotten in trouble for it either, they'd just let him go. But not Jefferson- no, they wanted to keep him around.
Lila's eyes filled with pity. She might not like her life now too much, but at least it was better than... whatever Jefferson had.
She moved to lean against the wall beside him. "Why did you start doing it in the first place?" she asked quietly.
"When I was a boy everything about love fascinated me." Jefferson's voice took on a bitter edge. "It was my favorite thing in the known world to watch people fall in love. I knew," The last bit he could barely say, his teeth were clenched so tight "they were meant to be."
Jefferson sent Lila a small smile. "When I had my accident- years later; I was till in the same mindset. I still thought that love was never orchestrated and that everyone was made for that one special person." He shook his head, bowing it. "When I met Gabriel for the first time and he told me what he was... What I was- I didn't believe him. I'd practically laughed in his face."
Jefferson scuffed the toe of his shoe across the floor in front of him. "Then he set me loose into the world... and I believed him. The point though, is that I didn't choose this. It's a second chance to live and love... But I don't want this life anymore."
"Then leave it," Lila said, confidence in her voice. "Nobody should have the right to control what you do." She looked at him for a second, deciding whether she trusted him.
"I do sort of know where you're coming from you know," she told him, a slight hesitation in her voice. She hadn't really told anyone this before. "It's not as bad as you - not nearly as bad - but at least I can begin to understand." She took a breath and looked him straight in the eyes. "I used to live with my parents. They were both rich, full-time lawyers and that was what they wanted for me too. But I could see how unhappy their lives were. They hated each other, they spent all their lives working. It was horrible. I'd go for days without seeing them. They paid for me to go to boarding school and it was there I started doing art. I decided that was what I wanted to do with my life. So I told them. They were furious. They basically said I had to be the daughter they wanted me to be or I had to get out and never see them again. So I did. It was hard, but the point is that I wasn't happy until I did. Can't you escape too?"
"I've tried," Jefferson's voice held defeat but it also held awe in the face of Lila's confession. "I can't. I petitioned them for my freedom and got....nothing. I tried just not answering their call, but eventually my body takes over and rips me from wherever I am."
His voice was apologetic when he glanced over, trying to catch Lila's eyes. "Like earlier. I wanted to stay, if you saw me... I didn't naturally get out of the chair. I've seen others resist and they look like tangled up marionette dolls. It's a horrible feeling, not being in control of your own body."
"Thank you, Lila, for telling me that. You didn't have to." Jefferson offered up a wide smile that almost reached his eyes.
"Just forget about it," Lila sniffed, still not meeting Jefferson's eyes. "It's not nearly as bad as the situation you're in. At least I was physically able to get out of it, even if it sucked that I had to."
She looked up at him, finally. "I wish there was something I could do. You'll let me know if there is, won't you?" she asked earnestly. "Where do you live at the moment?"
Jefferson chewed his lip. "I don't really live anywhere. I'm just around. I slept outside of another one of my charge's windows last night. But usually I'm working almost 24/7." A bitter laugh escaped despite his usual control. "Love doesn't have a sleeping schedule, and so neither do the Matchers."
He grumbled, partially under his breath. "Five hundred years and they won't let out. I just want to leave."