"Just wondering… I’ve got a rather important question…
what are you all doing here?"
I looked at Lionel seriously and said,"Well you see Lionel... we're not actually here. At the moment we are simply creations of your subconscious."
Lionel stared hard at me, Claudia, and Charles in turn. Luckily for me neither of them moved, smiled, or gave away the joke. We were trying to get Lionel to admit something to himself, and he wouldn't do it if he thought he was fully awake. It was risky but we figured we'd give it a go.
"You're... I'm... in a dream is what you're saying?"
Charles spoke next, "Not exactly mate. You are in a dream in the sense that you are able to project things that your mind needs into the real world. It's... kinda like an advanced sort of hallucination."
"Why is this happening?"
"When you 'Woke up' your mind filled in the parts of your life that were missing... things that you were missing and desperately wanted back. In a way it also explains why you might feel pain if you were to pinch yourself. Your mind is filling in the things it identifies as 'normal.'"
Lionel looked back at me and said, "Then why is he here?"
Claudia and Charles looked at me, then back at Lionel. I spoke.
"I'm here because your mind says I should be here. You... need me."
"So what then... am I supposed to confess my darkest desires and secrets to you guys?"
We all shrugged at the same time, which looked pretty cool.
"Not if you don't want to. We're here because your mind wants us to be here, for what reason that might be... that's up to you to decide."
Lionel put his hands to his head and sighed.
"To tell you the truth... I do think I know why you are here."
"An' why would that be mate?"
"Because I want to know what we are."
"What do you mean by that?" Claudia asked softly.
"Well... It's... we're supposed to all be best friends. But it doesn't seem like we are anymore."
"Because of me?" said Claudia.
"I don't... It's not... Yes."
Claudia nodded and looked to me.
"Lionel you're in love. Would you say that?"
"Then why do you care so much if I'm with Claudia?"
Lionel was silent. Just silent.
"That's why we are here Lionel. To help you admit to yourself that you have feelings and you've been... ignoring them? Repressing them? One way or the other... you've been bottling things up. That's not healthy."
"Well Claudia... you... you don't care! The only person you think about is him!" Lionel accused, pointing a finger straight at me.
"That's because Daniel admitted to himself and to me, that he had feelings! You can't expect anyone to know and react to what you want if you don't tell them!"
Lionel opened his mouth to argue, but no words came out. Slowly his mouth closed, and his brow furrowed.
"So you're saying f I admit my feelings... Claudia will... she'll say yes?"
"I'm not saying that. I am, after all, a part of you... not her."
"She... she kissed me. Maybe she...?"
Claudia shrugged and stood up. Our plan was coming to a close.
"Listen mate, I'll always be here for you, and so will Daniel. you know he'll help if you ask."
"If he is such a friend, why doesn't he come to me?"
Charles paused for a second... then spoke in a whisper,
"Because you won't let 'im."
And with that, the three of us walked out.
Charles, Claudia, and I walked in a few hours later. As we hoped, Lionel was sleeping.
I walked up to him and gently shook his shoulder,
"Hey Lionel... hey... how do you feel?"
Slowly his eyes opened, he yawned and stretched, and then his eyes settled on the three of us.
His eyes widened.
"I had the craziest dream."