Part 3: Witches behaving worse
"The good ended happily,
and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means."
Phoebe smiled happily to herself. It seemed she was cured of Spite attack because all morning all she had done was think about Cole and thinking about Cole made her feel warm all over, but most particularly in her loins. She ran her hand over Pookie and sighed happily and wondered if she could convince Cole that lunch in one of the rooms at the Emerald hotel was a good choice. Probably she decided with a happy smile. She sent Cole a text message suggesting he come and take her there and then settled reluctantly down to work on her article about fidelity, explaining that sharing a life with someone was the most exciting way you could love them.
Cheryl came in and snakily told Phoebe not to forget she had a meeting with a new marketing group. Phoebe nodded and checked her cell before she went. There was a message on it from Cole saying he had to see Correja, the publishing client who paid a regular retainer to check libel issues, about another problem and lunch was the only time he could do it and he knew she would understand.
Phoebe frowned at the message, then replied she understood only to well, movie star gossip was more important than her, and quickly transferred the phone to message bank in case he answered immediately.
She hissed out loud no perfect husband would put a little thing like a meeting with a client above meeting her for lunch, especially when she was planning on lunch in bed. But then Cole was by no means the perfect fantasy husband. And in her head she started again running through the virtues of the perfect husband.
Phoebe left her office and headed for the meeting room that was usually used to impress guests to the paper. This was another meeting with some advertising types. Phoebe had been through the routine before. The advertising types who feigned how they were impressed by her writing and her integrity and her insight when what they wanted was to really get her to promote something which she frequently found was totally unethical or immoral . This inevitably lead to a fight with Elise and the paper managers where she had to thump on the table the contract that Cole had carefully written and negotiated to protect her from such use and abuse. There was always considerable name calling and bad will and then the Mirror managers had to concede they could not ask Phoebe to do it. Phoebe hated these meetings and had dragged Cole to the last one. Only he was in court now and could not come. A perfect husband would have walked out of court to be there for her, regardless of any threats of contempt from a silly judge.
In the meeting room Phoebe was confronted by the vice president in charge of publicity and marketing and three of his assistants There were several visitors, 3 marketing type males in expensive and loud suits and 2 women in very efficient and short skirted business suits. There were also 3 staff members from the human interest section, including Jasmine. The marketing types were a group Phoebe had never met and as she entered the room she was introduced to them as representatives of a high powered marketing and advertising firm who had just won the contract to market the Bay Mirror. Jasmine the Arts reporter who had shared last night's John Cotton experience with Phoebe's assistant Cheryl was sitting at the end of the table with a cheesy smile of satisfaction on her face, as a blond, gorgeous looking man gently pushed her chair in for her.
Phoebe was Phoebe. She could not help herself. There was a truly dazzling man fussing a woman. As he looked up she batted her eyes toward him and licked he lips and smiled a coy little girl smile and he returned it with a dazzling white teeth smile. He then came to make something of a grand gesture to assist her while to Phoebe's pleasure Jasmine seethed. As the gorgeous man pushed her chair in he bowed slightly and took a seat himself.
Phoebe snuck a good look at him. He was gorgeous in an non-aggressive, disarming way. His face was boyishly charming but with just enough lines to be interesting. He looked thirtyish, maybe a little more. His light blondish hair was cut in an interesting artfully styled disarray. He was tallish with brown eyes and a tannish complexion that may not have been entirely natural. He had a slenderish build but broadish shoulders. He wore a creamish suit clearly cut to display his shoulders that was also artfully casual.
The marketing vice president introduced him as George Williams the new vice president of the marketing company who had a hot shot record of creating some the most vibrant media marketing strategies in New York City.
Gorgeous George smiled modestly at the introduction and said something terribly nice about how he had worked with some excellent people. The marketing vice president nodded telling George that is why he was being asked to run the Bay Mirror campaign. They wanted to create the image of a paper, a media organisation, that cared about people; that put people first.
"That is why I think" George said smiling his dazzling white-teeth smile "that a campaign around such special ladies, as the two ladies I see here" and both Phoebe and Jasmine positively glowed, is the way to do it. Phoebe bestowed on Gorgeous George the special smile that had made her the most popular girl in New York in her getting-more-distant youth and which usually had the effect of making Cole grind his teeth when he saw it.
Phoebe was on most days, inclined to think that such marketing gurus were vultures living of other people's abilities. However Gorgeous George gave her a gentle caring nod and leant over the table to shake hands and made the hand shake almost a caress. Normally, if she was not dreaming of gorgeous sophisticated man who knew how to make her feel wonderful, Phoebe was street smart enough to recognise the gesture was a little calculated. This time she sighed deeply and smiled back at him, shaking his hand in her most sophisticated and sweet manner.
Normally Phoebe, no stranger to sleazy types would also have detected a certain slyness as Gorgeous George smiled and held her hand shake just a little long and with a little to much familiarly. However, Phoebe was far to smitten to notice. All she was aware apart from the fact that George was extremely good looking, was that and Jasmine was glowering at her. Phoebe absent minded ran her hand across Pookie and remembered Pookie's father was not perfect. And George was gorgeous.
Throughout the meeting Phoebe was totally aware of George's open admiration. She received his flowery and extravagant compliments with a graciousness that matched his and extravagantly acknowledged each one. She smiled at him, made a point of allowing him to hand her things with over done politeness and bestowed her best and most winsome smile when he deferred to her every thought and especially when he with an assumed civility, argued her point for her, George also played on the vice president marketing's obvious need to justify his decision to employ the New York fiem, convinced the meeting that the way to increase the paper's profile was to promote the ladies of the paper in glamorous and sexy shots.
Phoebe smugly agreed with George and thoroughly enjoyed herself as Jasmine, who was over 40 and quite attractive but had to work at it, snakily pointed out that the Bay Mirror was not a tabloid and did not need its staff to look like Page 3 girls posing mostly nude to promote the human interest. Phoebe preening under George's admiration and approval suggested that if it was done with good taste it could really cause a stir and get some wonderful publicity.
"What this paper needs is a semi nude pregnant woman to advertise its family appeal" said Jasmine scornfully.
Phoebe caught the marketing vice president eyeing her off and clearly considering the possibilities.
"But look what a cover with Demi Moore eight months pregnant and naked did for that magazine's circulation" Gorgeous George pointed out, earning a big smile from Phoebe. "Just beautiful" George added "Demi was just beautiful. It was art and every-one knew it."
The vice president of marketing became positively ecstatic at the thought. "It would have to be tasteful," he said "But it has possibilities.'
"Of course it would be tasteful" said Gorgeous George '"how could it be anything else with Phoebe as the focus of the campaign."
Phoebe beamed as Jasmine erupted spitting out reasons, some actually good, why this would not work. Phoebe excused herself from listening to most of it as Pookie's pressure on her bladder won out over the attractions of Gorgeous George. As she left the room George stood up and extravagantly bowed and she bestowed upon him another of her most winsome smiles. She flitted into the bathroom happily fanaticizing about the world admiring her taut beautiful pregnant body and seeing her as the sexy embodiment of all that was beautiful about pregnancy.
She conveniently forgot that she was already enormous for four months and by the time she was six months pregnant with Patsy she had looked like a bloated cow. She ad been swollen all over, she had been clumsy and if she had tried to pose herself into a sexy back arched position the strain on her bladder would have caused her to pee herself. And she was bigger with Pookie than Patsy and her bladder was weaker.
On her way back from the bathroom sighing over the power of a campaign based around her sexuality and earth mother image, Phoebe also forgot that she had a husband. A husband who could be as possessive as hell when he wanted to be, and was going to have a decided opinion about her in her full pregnant glory, to say nothing of Pookie, being splashed around the city as advertising fodder.
And if he did not get pissy about that, the lawyer in him was really going to have something to say about the wisdom of allowing such photographs to become public property , and he would not say it kindly. And whatever Cole had to say it was going to be nothing to what her admittedly straight laced elder sister would say. And she put aside any premonitions of the two of them telling her precisely what they thought of the idea while Leo sucked on his angel face and sided with Cole, and Paige pointed out that Phoebe was not a movie star but a columnist who relied on her perceived ethical values to keep her readership. But Phoebe was not interested in thinking about that. All she thought about was the admiration of Gorgeous George as her smiled at her and his approval of her beauty.
Phoebe came back to the meeting room and George stood up and walked around the table to hold her chair for her making a comment about how the room lit up when she returned. Because she was totally smitten Phoebe did not notice Gorgeous George's admiration somehow was not quite the genuine respect and devotion that irritated the hell out of Cole when Therold gave it to her.
While the marketing gurus seemed to approve of George, and the vice president Marketing was clearly besotted with a new sexy image of the paper, it was not only Jasmine who was becoming irritated with George's showy manners. The three assistants were also looking decidedly peeved.
If Phoebe had had not been under the influence of evil she would have recognised that the old fashioned manners that Cole had, such as standing for women, holding doors and helping with chairs was done in a genuine way that never intimidated those around him, often inspired them to do the same. Even though Cole treated her with affection and courtesy he never behaved in such a way that he made the other women in the room uncomfortable and he never smirked or made other men uncomfortable with his extravagance. Unlike Gorgeous George.
When the meeting was finished with a resolution to explore a campaign based around Phoebe's beauty and charisma which made her positively preen as George said it, George slowly gathered his things together as Phoebe found an excuse to wait.
He clearly recognised that she was waiting and smiled his brilliant white teethed smile as she artfully suggested she buy him a coffee to discuss the campaign.
Still smiling, his brown eyes lit with admiration and maybe a certain smug satisfaction, George shook his head and refused on the grounds that he could never let a lady pay in his presence. He could however take her to lunch at the Firefly, a super expensive and exclusive restaurant. In his most charming voice he explained he knew the manager well so he could always get reservations.
Phoebe swallowing weakly agreed, her legs all but collapsing under her with excitement. She explained she had to go back to her office and check messages first and George gallantly offered his arm as she they walked down the corridor to the elevator.
In Phoebe'soffice her phone was flashing with two messages. The first was a quick reply from Cole to her message that she understood only to well why clients were more important than having lunch with her. He was in a hurry while his the judge had called a recession for a ten minute break.
"Stop bitching baby" Cole had said with a mock patience "You ditched lunch with me the other day for the Neanderthal. See you tonight, and we can argue or make up or whatever you want," he told her a little too sure of her moods and changes.
Phoebe glowered at the phone then looked up to see Gorgeous George watching with his brilliant white tooth smile in place
"Ready for lunch, beautiful lady?" George asked
The second message was from Piper.
"Just as soon as I call my sister" Phoebe said, rapidly thinking of excuses why she was not going demon hunting. She smiled at George, hugging to herself the rich warm feeling of being spoilt and made special, the fantasy feeling of knowing she was having lunch with an attractive man did not see her as she really was.
Piper picked up the phone, feeling odd and confused. She was light headed and her heart was beating hard and she was very frightened. "What "she said into the phone, her tone tense.
"What was the urgent message?" Phoebe asked. "Geztalt?"
"No bloody Geztalt "Piper told her nastily "Took you long enough to call."
"I was in a meeting" Phoebe told her with feigned innocence.
"Was he good looking? "Piper asked her voice tense.
"I" said Phoebe.
"That's what I thought?" said Piper and slammed the phone down. Two seconds later it rang again.
"No Phoebe don't apologise for putting your fantasies ahead of my daughter" Piper hissed
"What's the emergency?" said Paige. "What's wrong with Melinda?"
"There isn't one" said Piper nastily. "Melinda's fine."
"Then why did you call?" demanded Paige.
"To get your nose out of porn" Piper snipped "didn't work I guess."
"Glock turn you down?" asked Paige sweetly "so you're spoiling everybody else's fun."
"No Glock didn't turn me down" Piper whispered.
"Stop being a bitch then" Paige told her and hung up.
Piper stared at the phone then slowly hung up. Melinda had retrieved Big Cat and was sitting on the steps of the landing cuddling him. Piper took her hand to and went into her bedroom where she retrieved a spare anti orbing bracelet and made sure it had a super knot that was three year old proof. Wyatt and Patsy were fortunately still safe in their play pen. She picked up a baby wipe and none to gently wiped Melinda's chocolate covered face .
Glock had returned to staring at the television but as he heard Piper moving about he looked up and half smiled and she shuddered with something she did not want to name.
"Thank you" Piper said simply as Glock nodded.
Then she jumped as Cole shimmered in wearing his lawyer suit and looking decidedly peeved.
"What's the emergency?" he demanded
"There isn't one" Piper insisted.
"Then why the hell did you call?" Cole asked exasperation in every word..
''To see what you were doing" Piper answered and Cole glared at her but was stopped from replying by the sound of orbs and Mark appeared.
"I came as soon as I could" Mark said, his plain face concerned "What's the emergency?"
"Bloody whitelighter," said Piper.
Mark looked at Cole.
"Welcome to the family," said Cole.
Cole saw Glock watching the television. He went over and awkwardly indicated the television. "Its different here" he said to Glock.
"I noticed" Glock told him. "It is green" he said with a slight twitching of his nose.
"Its not as easy here as it looks" Cole said rubbing his hands uncomfortably.
"I didn't say it was better" Glock replied
Cole nodded not sure what to say.
"Have you been back to Burvjara?" Glock asked Cole.
"No "Cole told him "There was no call on the spiritwinds. Nothing. Nothing seems to be happening there."
"Why is nothing happening?" Glock asked carefully.
"I do not know "Cole told him "and I fear if I go back right now, something may happen and I would cause it."
"No fighting, no war, no Good and Evil provoking?'" Glock asked.
"Nothing on the spirit winds" Cole replied.
"What has changed?" Glock asked although he knew the answer.
Cole looked at him with Guardian eyes and answered softly "You're not there" he said.
Glock's trunk like nose twitched and his skin darkened orange. "Are you saying my presence caused the fighting?"'
Cole shook his head "No I am saying your absence has stopped it."
He put his hand out and touched Glock's arm. "I will find out what I can but I feel .patience is our ally."
Glock shook his head. "Usually I distrust my allies more than my enemies."
"That is why you live" Cole told him.
"One of the reasons" Glock conceded.
"I have to go "Cole said "I'm supposed to be in court. We were on a five minute break while the client is in the bathroom. "
"Why would your client chose to bath at this time" Glock asked suddenly curious.
Cole shook his head "Its a way of saying he's peeing."
"Why don't you say that?" Glock asked.
"I have no idea" Cole grinned. He stopped and shuffled awkwardly "Piper has not been a problem?" he asked.
"No" Glock replied glancing to where she was berating Mark, who had still managed to keep a gentle smile on his face although it looked slightly forced. "Your mate's sister has cared for the offspring and not been a problem for me. She cares for them well. How the females care for the offspring, some things are the same everywhere," he said, then frowned slightly.
Cole nodded and shimmered as orbs sounded and Glock looked up to see Leo orb in.
"What's wrong?" Leo demanded of Piper while Mark looked relieved to have some-one come between him and Piper.
"Nothing" Piper said between her teeth.
"Have you been harassing Glock?" Leo accused not missing that Glock was keeping his distance.
Piper put her hands on her hips. "Go fuck yourself Leo" she hissed "because it's going to be a hell of a time before you fuck me.'" Leo turned on his heel and stalked away as Mark watched her.
"Leo's the angel. I'm not" Piper said defensively as Mark watched her, a bemused expression in his grey eyes.
"I know "said Mark gently before he orbed.
In the afternoon Cole returned to his office after along hard morning battling the judicial system, with mixed success. Successful in that neither he nor his client was in jail for contempt of court, less successful in that they were clearly facing months in court and the longer the case went the less profitable the case was going to be.
Eduardo, his normally very supportive assistant ,was clearly annoyed with him because he was well aware that Cole's recent absences and his court appearances were all affecting the profitability of Cole's small law firm and the probability Eduardo would maintain paid employment. Cole contritely promised he was going to devote the whole afternoon to money making concerns and went to his office to face an in tray full of contracts, legal opinions, threatening letters and will amendments.
In the last month, with the drama of Burvjara, Cole had managed somehow to keep up with the court cases and preparation and with the urgent requests but the mundane stuff was piling up.
When Cole moaned about it Paige simply said get help, and he went into a long ramble about how any unemployed lawyer she knew was not going to be some-one he was interested in employing when he had to rely on them so much .
"So" said Piper "you admit you need help"
"I do not need help" Cole bit out through his teeth.
"Like you didn't need Eduardo" said Paige smugly because she had forced Cole to employ his assistant, and Cole now freely admitted he could not get by without Eduardo .
Cole had ground his teeth and cursed "I do not need help "he had repeated nastily.
Weeks later stuck in his office, Cole stared at the pile of paper on his desk. "I need help" he said out loud.
He put his head down and determinedly pulled the first pile of paper toward him and started drafting a letter to credit card company that was threatening to sue over unpaid funds from a stolen credit card.
Cole finished the letter then started looking at a franchise deal for hotdog stands that read to him like indented slavery. On page 3 Cole looked longingly at the office door he had shut and fought hard to fight the temptation to go out and talk to Eduardo, or even shimmer home to play with the kids and reassure Glock that he would fix Burvjara. He conceded to himself that probably not a good idea when he had no idea how to do that. He then was decided that he would shimmer over and snatch Phoebe away from her office, abduct her to a favourite beach in Fiji and make mad crazy love all afternoon until she confessed she could not remember the Neanderthal existed let alone what his name was..He went as far as calling her and swore to himself when he got her answering service.
Cole scribbled some notes on the contract and put a stick it on it so Eduardo would organise an appointment with the client then pulled another contract towards him, this one for a young singer who often worked at P3. It was with a recording company and he read the first three lines and wrote no way on it and put a stick it on it to get an appointment.
Cole pulled a letter from a fund trustee threatening to withhold funds from an eighty year old client and started to write Dear then stared at the door sighing unhappily as he looked around the room and his reality.
He was trapped in his own office with a pile of paperwork awaiting fro clients who wanted contracts done, wills written and land titles searched, and no magic in sight.
"I do not need help" Cole caught between the closed office door and the pile of paper told himself with almost no conviction whatever. He tried calling Phoebe again. She still was not answering and he resisted shimmering straight over to see if she was really unavailable. Trying hard he buried himself in a contract for another witch with her insurance company and for a few minutes was able to find some interest in scratching and rewriting clauses to her advantage and making notes to use some things he knew about the irregularity of some other contracts the insurance company had made, to ensure they would be agreeable about the contract.
He picked up the next bit of paper, the 27th rewrite of will for one of his little old lady clients. This time she was cutting her nephew out in favour of her gardener and distributing the income of her government bonds more equally between her two cats and dog. In the previous will the dog had got half. The dog was inclined to get a little spiteful when she spent a night away from it and chew up something she treasured. Half of the rewrites Cole had done for her were because the dog had destroyed another treasure.
Cole prayed for relief. The worst of it was that no matter how much fun he had in court, and he did enjoy being an arsehole lawyer in court, the wills and paper work was what kept his small law office in business. As more than half his court appearance not only did not pay, they cost him money, the pile of paper in front of him was what mostly paid Eduardo's wages, the rent on the office and enough money so he could hold his head up and contribute to the upkeep of the manor, raising his children and sneak off to beaches and small hideaways and the occasional city with Phoebe.
He glared at the pile of paper seeing an eternity or at least the lifetime he spent with Phoebe, chained to that desk with a never ending pile of paper in front of him.
He prayed for escape, but the paper stayed there and he pulled out the insurance papers for a witch friend of Phoebe's whose car had been destroyed by a warlock and started examining it for an out clause.
Cole's prayer for relief was answered when he felt some movement of the spirit winds announced the presence of one of his brother guardians. Cole frowned bitterly, because facing another session with Therold suddenly made the pile of paper in his in tray began to look more interesting.
However knowing that he was not going to be able to escape, because Therold would not be put off by a closed door, Cole stood up and went to the outer office his face twisted into what he hoped was a polite smile. As Cole had neve been good at hiding his feelings, which Phoebe often claimed was one of his most endearing traits, the smile would not have fooled anyone. It certainly did not fool the guardian watcher Proctor who was waiting in the outer office, his long dark presence overwhelming it. Proctor the watcher, the guardian who saw much, and kept most of it to himself, interrupted an hospitable but nervous greeting from Eduardo, to mockingly return Cole's grimaced smile.
Eduardo mostly coped with the assorted characters who came through Cole's office but on the few occasions Proctor had visited he was completely intimidated him. Proctor easily observed this and his thin demonic lips were pursed in what could have been amusement. He wore his habitual black, a long coat over dark trousers and some form of black shirt. What he was wearing could have passed for demonic robes in another place. They fell loosely on his thin frame and his lank dark hair fell around his face, making it appear even more satanic.
Cole greeted Proctor with more warmth than he usually did because he was relieved Proctor was not Therold. Proctor noticed this. Without asking he preceded Cole to his office and made himself comfortable on Cole's sofa.
Cole remembering the guardian rules of hospitality made coffee, very strong black coffee and put it and a sugar bowl on the coffee table in front of Proctor and managed to pretend he did not notice as Proctor spooned 5 spoons of sugar into it.
"Well met Brother Proctor" Cole said using the demonic greeting "What can I do for you?"
"Or do you mean why do I visit" Proctor asked testing the coffee for sweetness, then adding more sugar.
"I mean why do you visit." Cole conceded sitting on his desk opposite Proctor holding his own coffee in his hand. "It is not my Brother's way to visit without a purpose" he said. "Unlike my brother Arturo" Cole added.
"You truly believe Friend Arturo visits because he happened to be in the neighbourhood?" Proctor asked dryly.
"No" said Cole
"I am glad" said Proctor "I feared for a second that the legends of the cunning of my Brother Belthezor were .exaggerated."
"What do you want brother?" Cole asked getting back to the purpose of the visit knowing that Proctor could play his games for a very long time.
"I visited my friend Therold today" Proctor said "I observe he does not care for you Brother.
"I know" Cole said "I feel nothing in the spirit winds that says I have to be my brother's friend."
"I have never felt such a dictum" Proctor answered carefully "Although I have long been able to call Therold my friend."
"Each to his own "Cole said shrugging, almost source like "Therold is a prissy pedantic, anal..."
"We all have our calling Brother" Proctor interrupted, staring into his coffee cup then looking up to meet Cole's gaze.
"Are you here o plead his case?" Cole demanded.
"I never plead" said Proctor with a hint of a sneer. "I merely...observe.'
"And I have observed the type antagonism between my brothers" Proctor said firmly "that I have seen split other families apart." He watched Cole carefully as he finished speaking. "Therold performs his role with honour" Proctor added.
Cole snorted. "You call it honourable to seduce another man's wife. Is it part of Therold's role to become so besotted with my wife he acts like a lovesick puppy instead of a guardian of awe and power?" he added sarcastically.
"'It is possible to be both" Proctor replied cryptically. "And I believe the dishonour to be acting on one's affections .inappropriately" Proctor told Cole darkly. "I have never seen it to be a dishonour to hold affection. Quite the opposite" Proctor added and a small flush came across his face.
Cole snorted as having shared some of Proctor's lifetime during the Great Eclipse he had a good idea of what drove Proctor.
"I don't see why he has to fall in love with my wife" Cole complained deciding he would lose any argument with Proctor about passion and honour. '"I don't see why he has to turn Phoebe into some fantasy of everything he is missing out on" he snarled.
"I don't suppose he has fallen in love with her as much as he holds her in admiration and respect" Proctor explained. "I doubt he has ever considered consummation with her."
'"Good" snarled Cole.
"In my observation, Brother Therold regards your wife as a heroine" Proctor explained "Therold regards your wife as some-one special, a legend, worthy of admiration and protection "
"He doesn't see her as she is" Cole muttered.
"He does not see her for all she is, I agree" Proctor agreed. "But then do you?"
"I know and love Phoebe" Cole insisted.
"And yet you say she is no heroine "Proctor pushed "when undoubtedly she played the heroine just so Belthezor could find his fate."
"She vanquished me" Cole snorted. "How heroic is that?"
"She did what was necessary" Proctor told him firmly "and broke her heart to do it. I observed."
"Therold wouldn't think she was a heroine if he had to live with her fits and starts" Cole who loved Phoebe for them, snapped. Proctor eyed him "Well she can be a heroine "Cole conceded, "but she is just bloody annoying about it."
"You are indeed soulmates" Proctor observed with a satanic smile. "This makes her a heroine Friend Belthezor" Proctor informed Cole, his voice satanic "No matter how hard it is for you to live with. No matter how much you put it aside."
Cole bit his lip. "I know Phoebe is a heroine" he conceded "I know it everyday when I see her try so hard to make a life together work with what I am. It is just it's not something to make a life around. Being heroic." and then he frowned "and reminding her, can take me to some very bad places. I know Phoebe" he added.
"Perhaps but you cannot blame her for seeking reassurance of a certain part of her nature elsewhere.'" Proctor pointed out with a demonic smile "and you cannot blame Brother Therold for worshipping her for who she is. Especially when it gives him so much pleasure at no cost to you."
Cole took it in . He turned away then turned back "I still wish he would choose to worship some-one else's wife, or maybe find a real woman. Its unnatural you know being alone with all those cats."
"It's his nature to worship from afar" said Proctor said dryly "The sins of some demons are such they have no rewards of closer gratification, such as you and Arturo have earned.
"He waited a hell of a long time to find some-one to worship" Cole said.
'"He did once before" Proctor informed Cole.
"How did her husband react?" Cole muttered.
"Less than impressed with devotion of one of her monk like staff" Proctor mused, smiling at the memory. "Given the man was womaniser of the first order his jealousy was not without its amusing side. He pushed Therold into the Thames river once, and he was not a violent man."
"Therold annoyed him?" Cole asked.
"As I observed it yes" Proctor told him sneer in place and waited.
"Who?" asked Cole realising he was going to have to ask.
"Queen Catherine of England" Proctor sighed "The lady was in much danger through her marriage and Therold formed part of her entourage, disguised himself as a monk I believe, in order to be her champion; in order to protect the balance. It was felt at the time the preservation of her life was essential to the balance. It proved to be correct. It was a time of religious ... issues and witch burning. It was of great concern to Guardians."
"Never heard of her" muttered Cole.
"You should read history "Proctor informed Cole "King Charles Stuart's wife, 17th century. It was the time the Geztalt fell from grace "Proctor added "Not the least because of some surprising integrity on the part of her husband King Charles. It is generally believed Queen Catherine had some influence on him, his womanising ways not withstanding. "
"So she was a heroine" Cole snorted
"I believe in certain circumstances she could be described as such" Proctor considered the question. "Queen Catherine introduced tea to England" he added.
"I hate her" said Cole who had suffered through Therold's tea rituals.
"I do not thank her for it," agreed Proctor dryly.
"Phoebe is not unhappily married" Cole bit out. "Therold should leave her alone.
"He offers her no harm and perhaps" Proctor said carefully "Every heroine needs a champion."
"She had me" said Cole "irritated
"You're her husband" Proctor pointed out and he offered Queen Catherine no harm. He as devoted to Queen Catherine I recall. Concerned only with her well being"
"Well I'm not a philanderer "Cole bit out. "So Phoebe does not need him. She has a happy marriage."
"Queen Catherine's marriage was not unhappy. She just resented sharing the man with his mistresses. As I recall the King behaved very well to her in other respects, even taking considerable risks to protect her." said Proctor "and of course we got rid of the Geztalt for some time, no small thanks to the fact on one level the marriage had a certain success."
"And the Geztalt are now back" Cole nodded
"Exactly "said Proctor satanic sneer in place "You understand the point of my visit.
Cole took a deep breath "I do" he said.
"Then it is time for me to go" Proctor said standing up. He turned to the door and hesitated and then turned back.
"There is something else I can do for you Brother?" Cole asked.
Proctor hesitated then without a hint of any satanic sneer or smile almost hesitantly as if he had been leading up to the comment "I observe the spites have been using their magic with The Charmed Ones. And the witches have been indulging their fantasies."
"It's driving me crazy" Cole admitted "Not doing much for my brother in law Leo or " he stopped "Paige's' boyfriend either." he said carefully.
"I have seen the results of their dances over a number of years" Proctor told Cole "San Francisco in the sixties, Chicago in the twenties. I did not observe their activities in the 19th century but I recall their efforts were rewarded in the French court I the 18ty century, and I remember Queen Catherine was one of their victims. Legends of the fantasies she indulged still persist"
'"Therold's paramour?" 'Cole asked surprised.
"Ah no "said Proctor shaking his head "The Russian Catherine, the one they called Great" Proctor explained.
"There were stories about her" Proctor told Cole "And a horse."
"Horse" said Cole trying to remove the image from his brain.
"Untrue I believe" said Proctor "But the lady's reputation gave it validity. I have seen that the magic of spites can be very powerful when used on females.'
"The females don't seem to mind" said Cole irritated
"That is what I have observed" said Proctor "And the spite magic is highly contagious" he added
"I've noticed Cole said between his teeth. "What is your point, Brother?"
"Francesca has visited you recently?" Proctor asked finally pushed into asking what he wanted to know.
''Yes" said Cole suspicious.
"In certain conditions all females, even sages are not invulnerable" Proctor said carefully.
"Mrs Rinaldi she was very interested in some of Phoebe's books" Cole said "The ones Phoebe likes. Impossible sex and situation, pretend historical garbage."
"I have seen them" said Proctor the watcher . He thought about it. "Francesca seems to have made herself, unavailable " he mused.
"Hell you dont think she is holed up somewhere giggling over those books?" asked Cole.
Proctor looked at him. "That would be my conclusion" he said and laughed demonically.
Cole shuddered "God " said "Thinking of Francesca giggling over those books is like thinking of your parents having sex. Not not something you want to think about, even if you know they had to have done it just to have you" he added.
Proctor managed to stop himself laughing "I am sure you have been confronted with the situation of one of your parents having sex."
"To often" Cole said frowning "if you knew my mother"
"I have had an acquaintance with the demon Elisheeva" said Proctor.
Cole stared at him "I don't need to know hat "he said shuddering.
"Alas " muttered Proctor "She apparently considered me below her standards Regardless of any attraction I had and I must admit at a level she is an attractive demon. It took some effort to remember I was being tempted and had a . higher expectation and that I must resist" he said.
"Oh" said Cole thinking about It "I think My brother may have been lucky he was strong enough to resist"
"That was my conclusion" said Proctor dryly "I am gone brother" he said. He went to the door and stopped "Those books how bad are they?"
"Very" said Cole"
Proctor shook his head but his eyes lit up
"Be well "said Cole.