The Life and Times

Part 3: Rhymes and Reasons

Chapter 28

"To expostulate why day is day, night night, and time is time, 
were nothing but to waste night, day, and time"
Hamlet, Act ii, Sc.2

Arturo sat on the edge of a table in the demon Guardian Therold's cottage drumming his fingers irritably. Patience was something that never came easily to Arturo even after a thousand years following his calling.

Therold was fussing around in his kitchen making the perfect cup of tea. Arturo knew from experience no creature existed who was powerful enough to force Therold to concentrate on the issues of Guardians until the tea was made. The table Arturo sat on was uncomfortable and he eyed the chair Therold had offered him somewhat longingly. It was a big easy arm chair covered in shabby blue velvet. The blue velvet chair cover also had a considerable addition of white/grey cat hair.

The chair had recently been vacated by one of Therold's cats, a very large slothful chinchilla that eyed Arturo in such a superior way he wondered if it was a witch's  familiar. Arturo glanced down at the extremely expensive and beautifully tailored dark grey trousers he was wearing and regretfully decided against chair.

Arturo who had never held much affection for cats since his demon days when they had spat and heralded his appearance to good witches, always found Therold's affection for them was inexplicable. He did recall that Therold had crossed to the light and began collecting them around the time of the witch hunts when cats had suffered only slightly less than witches and suspected mortals. Nearly all Therold's cats were strays of some sort, none of the other guardians ever got an exact count and Therold was always in a state about one or other of them, as they lived out short lives, in guardian terms. But it never stopped him taking in more strays.

Therold finally came out of the kitchen with a silver tray, on which was a small fine china teapot, a dish with sugar and a small old fashioned milk jug covered by a beaded doily.

"Thank you " Arturo said pouring the tea and waited impatiently as Therold fixed his own tea.

The little monk like guardian finally bought in another tray and pushed a space for it on his over-crowded desk. He lifted a large tabby cat off his leather desk chair and sat down with the animal in his lap.

"To business" said Therold "and the business as usual seems to be Belthezor. You have succeeded in deflecting any of the rumours and concerns that Belthezor escaped the fate Good had wished on him."

"I have convinced the powers of good to view mention of Belthezor with a little cynicism," Arturo said "And avoided out right lying. I have played the part of the power of darkness, and the grateful conspirator. I have played the perplexed vigilant and eased the fears that rumours of his presence may arouse but not enough to foster any accusations of betrayal when the moment comes for him to show his presence."

"I admire you wisdom Arturo, " Therold told him "in leaving room to not deny Belthezor's existence. And" added Therold " it would be impossible to deny him. As far as I can tell there are just to many records of him to be able to doit. All we can do, is to obviate the real truth of him, create a mirage a cloud."

Arturo nodded quietly "Far to many know, and we cannot tell what is being passed on during this damned eclipse."

"So his legend is created and his reality becomes more and more hidden" Therold said " that is good."

"As long as we can avert the immediate problem of them discovering his reality," murmured Arturo. "Even those who know well what I am... react badly at the thought of him surviving. Sometimes I feel good….lack flexibility. They have rigidity of view that prevents them seeing the Great Plan for what it is."

"They certainly see things in simple concepts, one thing or the other, no understanding of complexity." agreed Therold stroking the cat and Arturo laughed.

"If the legend is created correctly then the time comes for Belthezor to announce his presence some can satisfy  their belief in their astuteness by saying 'I knew it I knew it.' and encourage good to accept a few less rigid possibilities." Arturo continued.

"Francesca would tell you the rigidity of good, the unwillingness to concede or accept  evil is as necessary to the Great Plan as Guardians." Therold warned him.

"Thus proving by contradiction that not all good are incapable of more complex visions" Arturo agreed.

"Think how much harder it would be to hide our secrets if more than a few of them were capable of such less rigid views" Therold stroking the tabby cat, reminded Arturo.

"It is balanced by evil being just as rigid." The smile on Arturo's lips had a slightly demonic quality.

"Belthezor's legend grows in the underworld too." Therold informed Arturo "Already there are those who question the recordings of the Book of Deeds. They feel he was a greater evil than is revealed."

"As one who had to interfere in the damage he did to the balance when evil" said Arturo "I can honestly say, what is recorded is evil enough."

"Well they have to account for how a half human bred for service and fated for destruction became the Source" Therold answered "Tempus the new source sees him as some sort of nemesis, or at least his memory. Tempus is less than rational about Belthezor, or his witch for that matter."

"Phoebe has caused Tempus great discomfort" agreed Arturo. "I do not believe that this Willem will be the last to call Belthezor's legend in that case."

"Assuming the Charmed One's succeed in vanquishing Willem." remarked Therold.

"I have little doubts there " Arturo replied " Sooner or later this warlock will be just another name on the list of dishonourable vanquished. And some things will be lost and some gained, and perhaps a change will be heralded, that none of us recognise at the time. Or not." he added.

Arturo put his cup down, finding the right moment.

"You know the time of your calling will be upon you" he asked Therold because this is what he had come to enquire. "After the Eclipse finishes. You are prepared?"

"I helped Evald after the last Eclipse" Therold answered " before he passed on. He taught me well. I know what to do."

"It is the time after the eclipse, when the exchanges of the future are recorded and written as prophecy, where the exchanges of magic experienced become legends and fairytales and mythology." Arturo said.

"And cautionary and morality tales. I know Arturo " said the little monk like guardian. "I know where to seek and I know the secret places magic creatures good and evil, record their thoughts, and I know how to inspire the muses to inspire them to do so."

"You are certain " insisted Arturo.

"My business is my business," answered Therold firmly.

"My business is to ask," said Arturo wryly.

"Your business is done Brother Arturo " Therold replied.

"Yes" agreed Arturo" It is a difficult task you take, given how important the legend and mythology is to the balance of the Great Plan. It was different when my legend was created. Mortals were more isolated, there was a greater belief in superstition. The story tellers and song singers, the minstrels, made it more palatable, less connected to reality."

"And these times there are newspapers, and television and other technologies which can be used to disconnect the legends from reality and make them myths. And there is a belief in science instead of superstition. The means have changed but not the process Arturo" explained Therold "Very little difference from the time of your legend."

"My brother knows his business" acknowledged Arturo, bowing his head to Therold.

"You speak the truth," Therold replied with no false modesty. "Have you had any great visions?" he asked Arturo.

"I have managed to avoid visions great and small," Arturo answered.

"You know your own wisdom," said Therold. "It would not be my wisdom" he added "Brother Proctor has informed me of several enlightening ...experiences. Friend Durand has told me of some interesting but perhaps not as enlightening ones, but my judgement may be at fault. Has Belthezor, do you know, had any vision?"

"None he has told to Francesca" Arturo answered a little grim "I know my own wisdom" he said a touch defensively.

"I think the time comes when I should meet Belthezor and his witch," Therold said "I have always trusted my Brother Arturo's understanding of his wisdom" he added.

"Better wait until the bastard retriever has moved on from his home" suggested Arturo happy to change he subject.

Therold finished his tea and crossed his hands monk like in front of him "There was a time" he said wistfully folding his hands monk like across his chest, "There was a time when I would have smite the little bastard's existence for the pleasure of watching him go."

"Me also" said Arturo grimly "and it was last week."

"Your power to resist temptation is great," commented Therold dryly, giving Arturo some absolution he failed to give himself. "Do you know if Belthezor enjoys tea?" Therold asked hopefully.

Arturo was well aware Therold looked forward to having a captive audience that he could introduce to all the intricacies of tea making. He had had also had spent far to much time dealing with Belthezor's problems And he had once been a very evil demon " Francesca tells me Belthezor said tea was his favourite beverage," he smiled smoothly as Therold's eyes lit up.

"And his witch?" asked Therold almost excited.

"I believe she prefers herbal varieties," said Arturo knowing he must not lie to his brother guardian.

"Oh" sighed Therold deflated, and then he brightened. "I am sure I can find something that will give her the flavour of herbal tea but introduce her to the virtues of the true variety."

"Can you?" said Arturo wondering if Phoebe would believe the gift of a jade bowl was sufficient trade off for the terrors she would have to face because of what he had told Therold.

"What does Belthezor prefer?" asked Therold.

Arturo thought for a second "I believe his wife told me he has a fondness for lemon," he answered straight faced.

"Good, good," said Therold rubbing his hands "Do you know that tea flavoured with lemons from the southern hemisphere has a different taste even to the lay person than tea flavoured with lemons grown in the northern hemisphere. More tea?" he asked Arturo.

"I didn't know that " said Arturo accepting that Therold's small pleasures were few and nodding " but I am sure Belthezor will be fascinated to learn."


Phoebe sat on the end of the bed just watching Cole undress a soft small smile on her face.

"You've seen me undress before," he said enjoying the expression but catching out of her aura a flicker of an odd shadow. "Is it only you watching me?" he asked, feeling slightly invaded, and leaving his pants on.

"Got a feeling its not," she said wryly but still watching "I think, I have this feeling for days again of shadows, just fleeting you know?"

"I do," he said sitting on the bed beside her and catching her hand "Nothing we can do about it. Unless we do nothing."

 "You could pick those clothes up," she said sweetly. "What the hell. Who cares if legend and myth knows it wasn't…spiritual, just great sex."

"I will pick them up," he promised .

"Liar" she told him because she knew him well. "Ever regret connecting with my aura?" she asked.

"No" he said simply. "This been happening often?" he asked "Shadows."

"You know I really think we'd be doing better than okay if you start picking things up off the floor," she said and he grinned. She shrugged. "I'm pretty sure these last few days, when I hear your voice or see you, or something I've been getting this jump like I was feeling it for the first time. I keep wonder if some-body or something is… experiencing it for the first time."

"So you don't jump when you see me anymore, don't go thud when you hear me." He shook his head with a hurt expression " It sorts hurts to be taken for granted." he said primly but his eyes were laughing.

She whacked his shoulder "Being taken for granted means we are really doing okay."

"Okay," he said and she hit him again.

"Its" she said slowly trying to find the words "I just feel like you being here, being with you, I feel its okay, it normal. It's the way it ought to be. I used to be mostly surprised it happened to me, and I'm feeling that…a bit at odd times, like I have just fallen in love and couldn't believe it. A shadow feeling it." She turned her nose up. You understand?" she asked hopefully. "I was hoping that last time was just once but..What am I Eclipse central. Every magic voyeur finds me.

He put his out to touch her face and she put her hand on his. "Felt that a few time myself, like a shadow jumps, when I look at you." he told her and shrugged.

"Well whatever is connecting, knows about us " Phoebe ask. "I hope to god it is from the future and not just now."

"Yeah, who knows " he said. He stood up to look down at her and she met his eyes. " I've felt this before." He winced "Only just realised why it seemed familiar."

"So its not the eclipse : she said frightened.

"Francesca said things could jump into your past." he reminded her.

"When?" she asked "When did you feel it?" thinking of all the things, good and bad, that should have been just between them.

"Quite few time " he answered pulling a face" You know some of those moments in the mausoleum, the zoltar, the goodbyes, the odd…. ah argument."

"Oh hell," said Phoebe standing up walking away and then coming back to stand in front of him. "Does this mean something from the future is going to tell tales about this great tragic romance not knowing how it ended."

"Well something around now is telling tales it wasn't a great romance, just a small life where all they did was bitch about money, and jobs and who was doing the washing up," he shrugged.

"Damn them," said Phoebe getting mad. "It's my life. Who the hell are they to judge me and why I do things and decide…Stop laughing" She ordered him. She walked to the mirror, hiked up the red pyjamas which were falling to half mast and stared at herself "Pervert. Get your own life," she yelled.

Cole gave up and started laughing.

She swallowed "Hope to god they understand about Belthezor? " Phoebe said quietly.

"Which is why you are telling them about him," said Cole coming up behind her to put his arms around her.

Phoebe rubbed herself against him and they stood just enjoying the feel "That secret has more leaks." She turned "Did Paige tell you?" she asked " about Jade knowing."

"Yes " he said " I can't. I mustn't do anything about it." he said shrugging helplessly.

"Anyway" said Phoebe "with whoever is sharing this what does one more creature knowing matter. " She giggled "For all we know Marly might be sharing sex with us tonight."

"Not even remotely funny " he said as she laughed at his horrified expression. "Maybe Proctor? " he said tongue in cheek.

"Hell" she sighed "You know just last month I was feeling my world was just, I was on top of it, loved the magic, loved my job, felt… loved you. Patsy, and he was just Patsy, no magic core scaring me, nothing to worry about. Now the Elders are half threatening to take away my magic, Elise wants to take away my job."

"You've still got the me part of it no matter what," he said little boy and smiled at her the one he saved for her.

"How long do you think it can last?" she asked.

Cole shook his head then suddenly turned away to walk over and watch Patsy sleeping breathing gently as he slept. Phoebe watched him watching her…their son, a slight tear forming. She wiped it away hiked up the red pyjamas and moved to his side.

"He's so perfect " she sighed "Sometimes I can't believe he's mine... ours."

"He's got time to unperfect " Cole grinned. "You know Halliwell temper and all."

"To say nothing of demonic soul core," said Phoebe "And his daddy can be a right arsehole."

"Over coming disadvantages develops character," Cole said reaching for her.

 "Need to pee," she said a few minutes later.

"Well I hope our romantic friend from the future or anywhere else notes kissing me makes you want to pee," Cole called after her.

Cole finished undressing as Phoebe came to the bathroom door. The pyjama pants had gone and the jacket was half open. She leant again the jamb one leg loosely crossed, pelvis thrust at him.

Cole looked up at her smiling softly the one he saved for her, as some shadow inside him jumped at the strength of what he felt or her. "I love you," he whispered as he just stood watching, taking in the beauty of her, feeling how much he loved her.

"I know " she said smiling, seductive "And I discovered something about me."

"What?" he asked his voice rasping as he was  lost in the wave of emotion.

"I think I've inherited some of my son's demon genes" she said crossing her legs and uncrossing then slowly undoing the pyjama top button so she was fully exposed to him " I've got it all " she said little girl innocent, sexual "But I want more."

"Whatever you want baby" he whispered hoarsely coming to her.

"I'm not taking the pill tonight " she whispered back sexily pouting and he stopped cold "I forgot to take it for the last two days and you forgot to ask if I did for the last two days so I figure it's a sign." she said licking her lips and pouting at him again.

He froze for a full three seconds. Phoebe glanced behind him to see if Piper had sneaked in "Don't be stupid " he finally said because it was the first ting that came into his head.

Phoebe licked her lips and stuck her tongue out at him trying to be reasonable.

"We are going to discuss this." He told her firmly as with a supreme effort he stepped away.

"No we're not" Phoebe smirked. She flashed big brown eyes and the pout got serious. She leant on the other door jamb and recrossed her legs and thrust her groin, making sure she arched her breasts in his direction "Because we'll discuss until I'm eighty and you'll never be okay with it. So I'm just telling you."

The smile wiped off his face, he said nothing but pushed past her by putting his hand around her waist and moving her out the way. He yanked open the bathroom cabinet, and starting pulling things apart.

"Looking for these " Phoebe said behind him licking her lips and holding up the remains of a cut up packet of rubbers. She struck another extremely sexy pose and was pleased to see it was working "Leo doesn't use 'em and Paige doesn't keep them any more since Mark went" she informed him.

"You think I won't shimmer out to a drug store " Cole all but spat caught between anger and frustration. He moved her out the way and started found the pants he had dropped on the floor. He pulled them on but to Phoebe's great delight did not risk zipping them up.

"Rodik might feel the magic " Phoebe answered falling on to the bed, lying so her whole body was exposed, rubbing a leg against the other.

"A bit of my magic confuses Rodik." Cole hissed as she smirked, knowing he wouldn't risk it. "You think I won't drive to a drugstore " Cole asked, not able to hide he was affected.

Phoebe beckoned "Come on baby " she whispered, staring at the unzipped pants, "Big baby, come to bed."

"I'm going to a drug store ," he said heading for door but still not zipping the pants up.

"Only place you'll be going to is jail, if you go out like that " she said smiling happily as he stopped, and flushed and turned around.

Phoebe half sat up legs apart and pelvis and breasts arched at him, licking her lips "Its nothing or nothing." she simpered.

"Be sensible," he begged getting desperate. "We were lucky with Whosit. Even if at the very least it as another boy with magic, how would you explain it"

"Leo can't control himself," she giggled.

"That's not even remotely funny " Cole hissed getting angry. "We're not having another kid." He said. "This is a choice we both make."

"I've chosen, now all you have to chose is nothing or nothing" Phoebe explained enjoying herself. "I could have not told you I wasn't taking the pill." She added sensibly and spread her legs then patted the bed beside her.

He glared at her groaned then moaned, then stomped across the room to the dresser and pulling open drawers and throwing underwear and tee shirts over the floor.

"What are you looking for?" Phoebe asked making sure she sat without blankets over he so he could see, everything he wanted, if he cared to look.

"Those pyjamas Paige gave me for Christmas " Cole muttered as more clothes hit the floor."

"You're going to put those away aren't you?" Phoebe purred lying on her side head resting on one arm watching him. "In my bottom drawer. They won't work baby " she pouted, "I've charmed the pants of you before." And giggled happily when she realised he almost laughed.

He choked back the laughter and turned back to the drawers. Clothes went flying from her drawer as he finally found the pyjama bottoms, bright blue ones with pink kittens on them, a joke the family had enjoyed when he had opened Paige's present, and pulled them on.

"You're going to put those things away aren't you?" Phoebe asked sweetly.

In irritation and frustration he picked up her clothes that had hit the floor and stuffed them in the drawer. He stalked over to the bed and threw himself in putting out the light out and lying with his back to Phoebe.

"Nothing" she murmured. "Kay but you know the rules. Its nothing or nothing."

He rolled over to see her face. "Be sensible." he said "It's a…a risky stupid thing Phoebe " he said " we have Patsy and we are damned lucky. We're two steps away from bankruptcy, Piper's not well and magic is …you're busy with magic, your job."

"Well magic and my job may be giving up on me and I'm not getting any younger," Phoebe said with a catch in her voice, "so if I want more than one kid… "

Cole groaned.

"Its never going to be a good time, something will always be in the way." she said "So the only reason not to do it, is not doing it. I want more."

"Take it from some-one who knows" Cole drawled, resorting to sarcasm in desperation "Getting more means you never get enough."

"I know," whispered Phoebe "I love Patsy and I love being a mother. Nearly as much as you love being a father" she added knowing by his hissed breath she had him "I like big families." Phoebe said "And magic is not going to stop me… us having more kids. It stopped Grams being able to have more, it stopped Piper but it isn't stopping me… us."

"Yes it is Phoebe," Cole said sensibly turning away.

"So its nothing," she said accepting it "Personally I don't think you can last twenty years without sex."

"You think you can?" he challenged over his shoulder.

"I won't have to," she answered.

"Goodnight Phoebe Patricia" he said as frustrated with her attitude as anything else.

"Goodnight Mr Turner" she answered primly.

"Phoebe" he said suspicious when she calmly accepted his choice "Phoebe" he said in a different voice as she started to lick his shoulder and bite at his neck.

He arched and she caught her hand around his shoulder. Her leg came over him and she slide down under the blankets her tongue moving down his back. He tried to stay still and his rigid body made her giggle. She put her hand around and undid the pyjama bottoms and then she moved way down under the blanket her mouth on his backside.

He moaned with some irritation, exasperation and a great deal of pleasure and slowly turned over.


The next morning, a Saturday, Rodik was pulled up to see the Elders, to be warned off causing trouble when they finally confronted Willem, the witches hoped. They had all had a bad night with Melinda waking up screaming from nightmares and Leo promising he was going to kill Rodik or go after the warlock king himself, to hasten Rodik's departure. Piper went to P3 for the morning taking Wyatt with her. When Melinda finally settled, Leo was to restless himself so he spent the rest of the night in some far off library, and finally fell into bed as the others were having breakfast. Cole took advantage of the time without clients calling him to go into the office and check accounts.

All the witches needed to get Willem, or at least try the potion on Willem was to find the warlock king. However to the frustration of all the witches Willem was keeping well out of the realm and resisting any summoning spells which meant they were no closer to getting rid to get rid of Rodik and just move on. In the absence of Rodik, Phoebe and Paige went to the attic to try and track Willem on the realm map.

"Do you think he was at Jade's place?" asked Phoebe concerned. "And knows what we're planning."

"If he was he would have come back and got her" Paige reasoned. "Maybe not with three witch daughters in the house as well as Jade."

"He was somewhere he found out what we are up to" Phoebe replied and Paige nodded.

Paige with some help from Melinda continued scrying on the realm map " Watch for purple" she told Melinda.

"Purple," said Melinda as the map flashed all colours but purple.

Phoebe sat on the sofa with Whosit Patrick on her knee pretending to leaf through the Book of Shadows. Patsy kept swinging his hand mimicking Melinda scrying and kicking hard when nothing happened. Phoebe cuddled him tightly and he protested with a loud screech so she let him go and he toddled over to Auntie Paige to sit on her knee and hold her hand and then when he got bored with that he plopped himself on the floor with a plastic bat and started to hit one of Melinda's teddies.

"Isn't he cute " murmured Phoebe. She watched him whack the teddy on the floor and sighed longingly. He was growing up and she was missing her baby. Cole after the seduction of last night had flatly refused to make love that morning. He also lied when he said he had urgent work at the office. He just did not trust himself around her. Phoebe was so cross at him for hiding, she thought she might forget to tell him her period started that morning. She caught her breath with a little sigh of disappointment.

"What's wrong?"  Paige asked thinking of the fun she had last night as the Ceffyl-Dwr.

"Cramps " said Phoebe bitterly.

"Well at least we don't have to worry about you being pregnant " Paige replied and did not notice Phoebe sniff. Paige grimanced "No warlocks showing" she said, "must be somewhere evil, or hiding somewhere protected from my magic. Pity we can't get to see evil realms on this thing." As she was having no luck with the crystal Paige gave it to Melinda so she could practices scrying and watch the colours. 

"I guess the fairies who made it did not have a real understanding of the demonic world." Phoebe murmured wondering how soon after a period she could get pregnant.

"My betting is they didn't want to" said Paige wondering what sort of magic she could cross with if she played Ravel's Bolero.

"Purple " said Melinda.

"Warlocks are purple" Paige agreed glancing at the map flashing all colours but purple.

"There" said Melinda pointing at something that looked green.

"No, purple " said Paige and took the crystal from her and watched all the not purple colours flash.

Melinda stamped her foot. "Purple" she insisted and she put her hand on Paige's and deep purple clearly showed in one of the darker realms.

"Now we know how to find him" said Paige slowly. " Clever Melinda " she said.

"Clever" said Melinda.

"She's getting to be one powerful little witch agreed " Phoebe winced not unconcerned.

Piper called out from downstairs.

"Attic" yelled Paige "

Piper came in dressed her best charcoal grey in control business lady suit which both Phoebe and Paige noticed was not quite as close a fit as it once had been. She carried a sleeping Wyatt in his baby capsule.

"All you need is magic witch's hat and you would be the perfect picture of the witch who has everything, " Phoebe told Piper smiling.

"What?" said Piper.

"You know witch, mother business lady." Phoebe grinned. "The perfect picture."

"The perfect picture would have a pillow in it "Piper said, putting Wyatt down dropping onto the sofa and hiding a yawn.

"Melinda found the warlock" Paige told Piper. "When I couldn't."

"Clever Melinda" winced Piper not unconcerned.

"Clever " said Melinda proud of herself.

"What do you think of these?" Piper said tossing some photocopied sheets at her sisters.

Paige looked them " They're menus " she said.

"I know that " Piper rolled her eyes" what do you think of them? If you were out clubbing and wanted to eat first or even later."

"Not that one " said Paige "I do not want to go clubbing on 'exotic' food."

"I like the fancy burger and fry place," said Phoebe. "Except its a hell of lot to pay for burger."

"Classic high class burger." Piper said.

"Reads like Hobos " said Paige naming the most expensive restaurant of its type in San Francisco, located just near some of the big water front nightclubs and something of a sore point with Piper because it drew patron's to the waterfront and away from P3.

"What do you think of the other-one?" Piper asked.

"Not bad " said Paige "Interesting, different, reasonable price, not a dive. Okay."

"Just okay " said Piper.

"Depend what the place looked like," Paige mused, "You know ambiance."

"Vaguely Russian," Piper told them.

"Different " said Phoebe. "Looks, you know okay, and wouldn't make me run down town to get something else. These the ones who want to lease the upstairs at P3."

"Yes" Piper replied disappointed.

"Only three? " Paige asked disappointed.

"Yeah " said Piper. "Only three that are viable. The rest are either pie in the sky dreamers or…."

"Not interested?" Phoebe asked.

"All scared off by that lease Cole drew up" Piper said.

"Cole drew up that lease to protect you " Phoebe said getting ready to protect Cole, even if she was cross at him "so you wouldn't be screwed not being able to get a bad client out, so….."

"I know why he did it " Piper interrupted.

"So I guess it's the faux Hobos" asked Paige. She read the menu again. "They willing to take all the restrictions Cole put in?"

"No " said Piper " But they are willing to pay me to compensate for my concerns."

"How much?" asked Phoebe.

Piper told them.

"Wow " said Paige fallen back. "Wow" I mean that …wow"

"Yeah " said Piper.

"Wow" said Paige.

"If it looks to good to be true, it probably is," said Phoebe snippily "Even if it looks just right it's probably to good to be true."

Piper and Paige stared at her in annoyance.

"And don't tell me to shut up. "Phoebe said. "Cole didn't make that contract tight to be annoying. He did it to protect you so you ought to listen." she glared at Piper.

"I know " said Piper sitting on her favourite chair. "Don't hit Melinda Patsy," she said with not a lot of conviction, so Melinda pinched Patsy back "and I'm not telling you to shut up."

"The other offer" asked Paige quietly " The Russian one. What do they say?"

"Said they thought I had a smart lawyer" Piper noted "they are Russian at least their parents are. Two sisters and a brother, been in the restaurant trade all their lives. One of the sisters just finished training as chef and they want to sink the inheritance into a business of their own. Sound like decent people and pretty interesting ideas, not hip hop fashionable but okay" she explained.

Paige read their menu again." You know it may not be the most out there menu but…."

"I was a chef. I ran a restaurant " Piper nodded. "It isn't bad" she said shaking her head. "I mean it's a really sensible business plan….and they sound like they know what they are doing and. The other one. Its good. Its perfect. And the bonus they offer on the contract. I don't know just..

"To good " snapped Phoebe. "And it isn't a bonus it's a bribe."

"It's alot of money " said Piper " kid's college fund, Paige's car, not worrying for a long time."

"How can hey afford it?" asked Paige curiously.

"Hobos is a goldmine "said Piper. "This looks as good,"

"To damned good" snapped Phoebe. "that's why Cole put all that stuff in, weed out the big time guys would make a lot of money and ruin you and I…"

"I know " said Piper dubiously. "You're probably right. I think you are but knocking it back. It's the kid's college fund."

Paige thought about it "If you took the money and, they screwed you, Cole would spend the next fifty years pointing out he was right and how stupid you were not to listen to him."

Piper grinned suddenly. "Oh well in that case" she shrugged. "My gut feeling is you know…not right. I just wanted to know your reaction. Maybe I can ask the Russian guys to put some American burger type stuff on the menu" she said.

"Maybe they will." Paige said.

"Anyway what's the point being faux hobos" said Phoebe snippily. "Better to be original."

Reggie's going to be awfully mad " sighed Piper "Faux Hobos is exactly what he thinks we need. He thinks original sucks."

"That's why you're the owner and he's the manager" said Phoebe "you got the original idea for P3."