The Life and Times

Part 4: The truth will set them free. More or less.

Chapter 38

"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

Cole had two early visits from clients. One never–paying pick pocket who wanted some help with his probation officer and the other a19 year old waitress from the coffee shop on the first floor of the building whose uninsured car had been stolen. The owner of the house it was crashed into, or at least the insurance company, was suing her because they had discovered she had some money in trust, put aside by a grandmother for colleague fees. Cole figuring he already had Eduardo's wages and the monthly tax bill in the bank sighed and said he would look into both cases.

After they had gone, he settled down to some paper work, leaving the door to his office open because it felt a bit like a prison cell when it was shut. He could call out to Eduardo, passing snide comments about the client he was doing paper work for or simply listen to Eduardo's stories about family and try and work out what the hell the rest of the world meant by normal family life. He therefore saw Francesca enter before Eduardo and suddenly felt a shudder of huge discomfort.

He had not seen her since changing with Proctor, technically had not seen her then he supposed. All he had done was unwittingly share in the secret of her life that even she did not know. And he wondered if he could ever see her in the same way again.

She eyed him severely clearly remembering how snaky he had been the last time she spoke to him at Proctor 's Himalayan hideaway.

He stood up on his best behaviour and politely wished her good morning which she answered just as politely, and business like ushered her into his office shutting the door almost hesitantly.

She put her head on her side and pursed her lips as turned and glared at her.

"I've been calling you" he spat petulantly.

"Don't even think of saying what took you so long" Francesca told him calmly.

"Coffee" he challenged. "Or would that be a little to friendly " and then he thought of her unwittingly leading Proctor to the fire of his own making and swallowed uncomfortably, which Francesca did not miss.

"How long are you going to keep this up?": she asked taking up the challenge.

"Eternity" he said grinning suddenly "Or until Rodik goes whichever comes first. You heard about my problem with Rodik " he asked "That why you're here/"

"No " she replied. "Leo wants me to meet him here. You haven't killed Rodik?" she asked.

"No "Cole said brightly "Broke his jaw though, for calling Phoebe a whore. Got sick of it " he said. "What does Leo want?" he asked.

"Ever the romantic Francesca replied. "I assume he'll tell me when he gets here."

"You'll come when Leo calls and not me" Cole challenged. "Rodik outed me in front of some damned elder."

She nodded quietly "And?"

"One of the whitelighters interfered, pointed out he claimed Arturo was me I mean Belthezor, suggested he was just being vindictive" Cole said with a grin.

"Which is true, only he was right " Francesca" said "Arturo was less than amused.

"I know" said Cole "This secret is leaking like sieve."

"My experience with secrets" Francesca told him " is misdirection is a considerable improvement over buried. Inevitably some smart.."

"Arse" Cole interrupted.

She gave him her school marm glare "Person snoops too much and finds the grave when they are buried. Aren't you the one who always says some passionate truth is the best way to lie convincingly?"

"Yes but I'm a terrible liar.": he said wondering why some-one as smart as Francesca never understood that Proctor was speaking the truth when he told of his pleasure in of her company.

"I don't know where this will end" Cole said calmly " Phoebe is under some pressure about me."

Francesca nodded "But I though we had discussed her choices are her choices. Why aren't you more worried?" she asked suspiciously.

"Damned eclipse" he said "I.." he winced "Sort of know it will be okay. Figure some-one fixes it. Not me. Haven't got a clue how to."

"That's wise" said Francesca primly.

He told her a cliff notes version of his two changes with his future self. "Looks like we manage to have some more kids" he said with a grin. "Everything was okay… will be okay."

"That only prove sit was okay once or maybe you adopt," Francesca told him" It doesn't prove it was okay other times, and don't damn me for pointing out the obvious," she said as the word started to form on his lips.

"I hate this bloody eclipse" Cole told her passionately "I keep finding thing I don't want to know."

"What things?" asked Francesca suspiciously."

"Secrets" he said firmly, flushing and looking away which she did not miss.

"You switched?" he asked, then stopped. "If it was with Phoebe don't tell me?"

Francesca swallowed "With Phoebe? What in earth would I have in common with Phoebe. " She thought about the implication and shuddered "Thank god I was spared that." she said.

"Some-one wasn't" he said "Phoebe keeps feeling shadows, at bloody inconvenient times. What have you exchanged with?" he asked curiously.

Francesca looked away then back "Nothing of interest" she said in her most disapproving tone.

Cole raised his eyebrows.

"Romantic nonsense" Francesca said impatiently.

"Oh" he said.

"People in love are foolish, irresponsible and totally self centred" she said tartly "How is Phoebe by the way?"

"In love" he answered ruefully.

"I'll have another cup of coffee" Francesca said straight faced.

"Couldn't that be considered friendly?" Cole asked falling back on sarcasm, because he was embarrassed. "Seeing you have no other business with me."

Francesca narrowed her eyes but was stopped from answering by Leo orbing in. Cole glanced toward the shuttered window but his demonic hearing picked up nothing unusual from Eduardo."

Francesca wished Leo good morning a wry expression that made it clear she knew she had won but far to wise to press it as Cole ground his teeth.

"What" he snarled finding an easier victim in Leo.

"Ignoring brats is best" Francesca advised Leo.

"Just makes Melinda worse. She's out of control" said her father.

"In the long run" said Francesca. "Or focus on the behaviour but make sure they understand you care for them ."

"Oh" said Leo turning his back on Cole. "Thanks for coming" he said awkwardly to Francesca" I just had to check a few things. And I had to see Durand this morning."

"Rodik?" asked Francesca."

"Partly said Leo. "And something else. The whitelighter Angela knows for certain about Cole. It seems she swapped with me in the eclipse and was there when I talked to Arturo about crystals and…things." he explained. And then stopped speaking, annoyed, as Cole started to laugh.

Finally he stopped "Leaking like a sieve" he said "Is there any-one who doesn't know?" he asked.

"Why isn't he upset? " Leo asked Francesca.

"It seems he saw some vision of the future where it all right. Unfortunately he can't tell us how it got to be all right" Francesca added.

"I can" said Leo. "Angela told me when she left Rodik she was frightened he was telling the truth. But she had another 'vision' this time very vague one of the future where she as an Elder managed to convince Greater Powers that be that Belthezor appearance as an.. Ogre" and Leo smirked at Cole "was the natural order."

"What's to worry about then?" said Cole smugly as Leo frowned at him.

"I'm not to sure you are more annoying when you’re being a brat or when you’re ‘being wise or when you are both" Francesca told him. "What did Durand say about Rodik?" she asked Leo.

"That it would be wrong to kill him. The witches died doing their duty. It's not an… not a good corrupting into evil situation " Leo swallowed" he’s not leading good astray or anything like that."

"I'm sure the witches who died will be pleased to know that" snipped Cole.

"They should just let one of the warlocks kill him" said Leo as he bitterly thought of all the problems Rodik caused.

"Can you think of a good reason why they shouldn't?" asked Francesca as both Cole and Leo stared at her in shock.

"Why shouldn't they just let the warlocks get him?" she asked ignoring their disbelief. "He seems to have fulfilled some useful function in the scheme of things, setting the wheels in motion for it appears good not to implode over Belthezor."

"Good needs retrievers" said Leo desperate because he felt that being good there must be a reason not to kill something.

"It needs retrievers" Francesca answered "Does it need that particular.. gentleman?"

"Didn't you say less than a few weeks ago all of them were a pack of shits" asked Cole sweetly.

"I am very certain I did not." Francesca answered schoolmarm in place, giving him an extra special dirty look.

"You implied it" Cole muttered not chastened. "I can't think of a damn reason not to let the warlocks get him."

"Me either" said Leo.

"Except killing him would be revenge or murder not justice" said Cole bitterly.

"Which means it would be evil" Leo said. "And some nasty ogre would have to go after whoever killed him."

"Then I suggest you find some way of stopping Good wanting to kill the gentleman?" Francesca told them schoolmarm.

"So" said Cole . "What do you advise?"

"Me. Nothing " said Francesca "Except oh be nice to your family and treat every-one a you wished to be treated." she added showing she was not beyond temptation.

"Very funny" said Cole "About Belthezor?"

"I have no advice" Francesca answered, then she smiled slyly "You tell me some-one fixes it. I believe you" she smiled. "Both of you can expect a visit from Therold."

"Why?" asked Cole ."

"It's his business to collect and guard the visions of the future from the eclipse, the prophesy" said Francesca.

"Not the past?" Cole said getting nervous.

"It's not his business to gossip." Francesca answered prickly "He has enough responsibility guarding the visions. Back in the 15th century a demon stole the works from the guardian Evain, the ones that had been collected from 400 years early. Gave them to a rather foolish mortal sage who decided to write them down and allow mortals to see them."

"How did you get them back? " asked Cole gullible to mortal history.

"We didn't" Francesca answered her annoyance at the incident still apparent " But Arturo managed to shuffle them so they were incomprehensible."

"So I don't get the problem," Cole muttered.

"Nostradamus," sighed Leo.

"Exactly" said Francesca " as she left making sure Eduardo could not see Leo in Cole's office.

"Does that mean we are supposed to find a way to justify protecting Rodik?" Leo asked.

"I hope not" Cole answered. "Because I want to kill the little shit."

"Me too" Leo nodded

"Breaking his jaw was not enough?" Cole grimaced.

"No" said Leo sadly " the least you could have done was broken his whole head" then he laughed.

"I'll do better next time," Cole promised.

"What’s up with you and Francesca?" Leo asked.

"Adjusting relationships. The honeymoon’s over" Cole explained far from happy about it "I guess the warts are showing."

"What do you mean?" Leo asked ."

"Francesca does not know everything " Cole said almost sadly. " she isn't perfect."

"Well you know how it is, when you find out some-one is not perfect is the real test of any relationship, friend, lover, whitelighter."

"I know" said Cole sighing " You know Phoebe's not perfect don't you Leo.

"I know"" said Leo who had lived with her a long time. "Neither is Piper."

Ï know "said Cole.

"Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides," quoted Leo.

"Shut up Leo" said Cole as Leo grinned and orbed..

Later that morning Eduardo looked up warily as the office door opened. They had no appointments. Cole was due in court in the afternoon and he was supposed to be rushing paper work through. In an effort to concentrate on things he hated doing he had finally shut the office door, to avoid letting himself be distracted.

Eduardo eyed the man in front of him, somewhat dubiously. The man had cop written all over him and the last time a cop had come into the office saying he knew Cole well enough to just walk into a shut office, what the cop had wanted to do was explain to Cole how he was going to pull his balls out through his throat.

"He's a friend," said Darryl Morris caught between amusement, annoyance and bewilderment that that those around Cole were so protective of an ex demon.

Before Eduardo could intervene Darryl walked into Cole 's office. He had not seen it since the first week Cole had moved in. Then Cole had been working on a card table and out of cardboard boxes and all he could do was bitch about the injustice of the girls making him move out of the Manor to work..

The office was not bad considering it had mostly been furnished with cast-offs from the manor, second hand furniture and on sale items from Offices on a Budget. Cole was sitting in his office staring out the window at the parking courtyard below. The rent was cheaper because the window looked over a parking courtyard.

"Do you think if I studied hard I could get to be an arsehole lawyer and stare out the window all day too?" Darryl asked.

Cole spun the chair around "I was thinking " he said a little embarrassed at being caught. "Don't even say it " he added as Darryl grinned. He glanced at Eduardo hovering in the background. "Its okay " he said " he's a friend. Sort of."

Darryl planted himself on the sofa and then waited until Cole finally came around and sat opposite him. Still grinning he glanced round at he office " Place looks...okay. I thought Phoebe would have…."

 "Phoebe would have what?" said Cole narrowing his eyes.

"Had more influence," Darryl answered raising his eyes..

"I love Phoebe," said Cole bluntly .

"I know that "agreed Darryl not giving.

"I'm not blind to her... excesses," said Cole giving in.

"So you told her to butt out about furnishing the place " said Darryl "I'm impressed.

"Sort of " said Cole .

"And she just accepted that " said Darryl in obvious disbelief..

"She did when Piper told her too " Cole grinned .

"Wow you and Piper must really be getting on these days " Darryl snarked.

Cole shrugged and nodded then he laughed. "Piper was scared if she let Phoebe decorate the place, no-one would trust me enough to be their lawyer " he said. "You said you would call in earlier.

"Night shift ran late. Ä few problems and I wanted to ditch the partner before I saw you."

"What do you want?" asked Cole .

"Why do you always think I want something" Darryl grinned "Okay. Should I be worried about arson, down near the all American cheese and dairy outlet? You know lots of fire reported all last night, but nothing seems to have gone up. Guys are getting pretty peeved about being called."

"Hmmmmm, arson in the dairy outlets " said " Cole "Ask Leo."

"Witches? " asked Darryl. "The big warlock war."

"No Leo's business" said Cole .

"Do I want t know?" said Darryl.

"Cheese making dragons" said Cole "Its Leo's business not mine."

"Cheese making dragons." mused Darryl shaking his head. "Don't need to know." He added hastily "Nothing to do with the big war, going on between warlocks. We haven't had any reports of women beating up on men last week so I figured it was over. Good guys won ?" he asked hopefully.

"Change of focus. Not yet" Cole  told him.

"Good guys will win?" asked Daryl still hopeful "Back at the station they are getting mighty peeved about non existent arson calls."

"I figure good guys will win" said Cole "You can always tell them to ignore any arson report near dairy produce outlets," Cole suggested.

"What if one turns out not to be cheese making dragons?" Darryl ."

:"You've got a problem" said Cole .

"So let them waste their time on these calls," Darryl decided.

"Unless you ant to tell them the truth" Cole answer "Or tell them to contact Leo."

"I guess I better let them waste their time " said Darryl. "You sure the good guys are going to win the big battle."

"Hope" said Cole "Not looking so okay at the moment but the girls will find a way. You just never know what difference one small thing can make. ."

"No" agreed Darryl.

They sat in silence for almost a minute before he half stood then sat down again. "Talking about small things making a difference," he said deliberately "That's something I came to tell you. Tommy Hicks the extortionist you got off on a technicality. " Darryl said.

Cole looked at him. "Paige got him a job helping in a garden shop" he said "Convinced him to retire from the extortion business, wish she had also convinced him to pay me." He added.

"I know" said Darryl "You'll probably get a thank you from Harry Santo about getting him off."

Cole for once was speechless. Harry Santo was one of he detective who had investigated, such as it was, Tommy Hicks" case when Hicks tried played his game of stealing heirlooms, and then trying to exhort a reward for their return on a relative of Cole's ex-colleague in the DA's office. Santo was a tough old school cop approaching retirement age and he had a very definite opinion of arsehole lawyers who betrayed their former colleagues in the DA's office and got criminals back on the street.

"Why?" said Cole suspiciously. "Why are you telling me this?"

"Because I wanted to see your face as I told you " Darryl grinned. "Tommy Hicks is in hospital, serious but looks like he'll recover."

Cole winced "Why?" he asked. "How bad."

Darryl continued "Broken arm, leg, some back injury but he "Walk concussion, a couple of broken ribs."

"How?" asked Cole .

"Yeah" said Darryl "You may not have heard but an old guy had a heart attack driving and his car wen through the window of the garden shop."

"I see" said Cole."

"Yeah " said Darryl. "There was a pusher with a couple of kids in it right in the path of the car. Tommy Hicks jumped in front said and got the kids to safety."

"I see" said Cole thoughtfully .

"Yeah " said Darryl " the kids were Harry Santo's grand kids."

"I see" said Cole shaking his head.

"And of course all Harry can say is what would have happened if you had not been an arsehole lawyer and got Tommy Hicks off" Darryl said amused.

Cole thought about it "Yeah well in all fairness. I didn't get him of so he could save Harry Santo's grand kids " Cole frowned " I don't have any gift of premonition. I got him off because there was a legal technicality."

Darryl shrugged.

"What does Tommy say " asked Cole not hiding a grin.

"He says it was 'Nuttin' " Darryl said matching Cole's grin "He says it was what any decent person would have done. Which when you think that he's a thief and an extortionist." alleged " he added as Cole raised his eyes "is an interesting viewpoint.."

"I guess the two aren't mutually exclusive" Cole shrugged. "You never know the way things happen. One small thing that leads to something very different. Even petty crooks and extortionists can make the world a better place."

"So maybe it's a good idea not to let individuals get lost in the great scheme of things " said Darryl.

"That my friend is the truth" Cole nodded.

"I better go " said Darryl. "Only wanted to see your face when you found out, you're now Harry Santo's best buddy."

Cole pulled a face "There goes my livelihood as a tough defender" he said.

"What livelihood?" Darryl asked. "Any of those crooks ever pay you?" He stood up "Sheila and I haven't caught up with the girls or Leo for a while. Paige told Sheila not to come the other week because you have the visitor from hell. "

" And beyond. Don't get me started on the shit retriever " said Cole."  Patsy's first birthday soon " Cole told Darryl " if we can get rid of the bastard retriever from hell, we'll try and have a party."

"Do I want to know about the bastard retriever from hell?" Darryl asked.

"I wish I didn't know about the shit" sighed Cole .

" Patsy's a year old. You and Phoebe have made it a whole year married and Phoebe hasn't tried a runner" said Darryl in mock surprise" Having a party for that."

"A very private one" said Cole smiling gently. "No great surprise at all to me " he added. "I won't let her do a runner, no matter what she says" he explained before Darryl could ask.

Darryl left and Cole determinedly turned his back on the window and tried to read the documents in front of him and thought that he was looking forward to the afternoon in court, appearing before Judge Fogarty.

Fogarty was a judge Cole enjoyed appearing before, even in his DA days. He was fuzzy about the law, vague about people and had very rigid views on many subjects. As an ADA and a defence lawyer the demon in Cole always enjoyed baiting him and making him look foolish on points of law. Fogarty hated him.

.At least the part of being a lawyer where he got to stand and argue was fun, not like reading documents and wondering if the language used was careful enough and exact enough, and boring enough.

He sighed as he read and was glad when the phone ran.

"Hi" said Phoebe.

"Hi baby " he said just enjoying her voice. He often called just to hear her voice often and was not embarrassed that the family knew he did it.

"What you doing? " she asked.

"Carefully reading boring contracts for Joe Hanson's house extensions" Cole replied his boredom showing in his voice.

"Boring or hard " Phoebe asked knowing how Cole worked.

"I hate being lawyer " he sighed.

"Only the boring part " she said " You love screwing bad guys and idiots in court., "Can you come to lunch?" she asked with a little gulp.

"Have to be in court at 2" he said.

"Come now" she said a pain in her voice.

"What’s wrong " he said. "You're not asking me out to tell me to get lost, because I'm not going" he added.

"I wouldn't do that" Phoebe told him conveniently forgetting she once had and sniffed "Just work. I need sympathy and a hug, which seeing you won't leave when I tell you to go, you can do."

"Yeah" he laughed.

"Cheddars in 10 minutes" she told him, naming the small café popular with people from the Bay Mirror in a building next to her workplace, where they often met because he could shimmer and she could wait.

"Yes" he said " ten minutes."

"Thanks baby " she said hanging up.

Cole stood up. Phoebe saying thanks and asking not ordering meant she was not bitching she was upset. He threw some paperwork he needed in his briefcase and told Eduardo he was taking a long lunch with Phoebe. Eduardo nodded trying to hide annoyance. Cole 's willingness to drop everything for Phoebe was one of the little quirks that made his job… difficult. Cole caught the irritation and grinned.

As Phoebe's workplace was 20 minutes away from him and a good thirty minutes plus parking from the courts in afternoon traffic, Cole walked past the receptionist telling her his car would still be in the parking, he was taken a taxi. He then shimmered from the elevator, thinking for about the millionth time how complicated magic made living mortal.

He shimmered into the lane beside the building and went in to the café to see Phoebe already sitting in their favourite booth. She had a look on her face that reminded Cole of  Patsy's when things were not going the way he wanted.

"What’s wrong?" he said bending to kiss her.

She looked up with an expression of relief on her face "Hug first " she demanded standing up and he smiled and reached for her. She sighed almost content, safe against his shoulder.

"Not just a game to see me then?" he asked sympathetically "You really needed the hug."

"I'd have met you at home if it was sex" she smiled a little weepy.

"You mean the only place we can have sex is at home now, " he asked as she giggled "What if the bastard living there catches us out?"

"I need lunch " she said " but you know we can always meet at Esmeralda's if you're worried about being caught out by the bastard at home."

"I have some very happy memories of Esmeralda's," he said, his expression making it evident.

"Hi Phoebe:" said female voice.

 "Oh hi Lori " Phoebe answered as a brown-haired bohemian looking woman in her late twenties levered past them. She sucked her lips after smiling in a slough eyed highly sexual manner at Cole and made her way to a booth opposite and a few down.

Cole looked enquiringly at Phoebe.

"New editor for art " she said. "Started a couple of months ago.

He nodded "Not a friend?" he asked.

"Not really " said Phoebe. "Why?"

"Good " said Cole .

"Why?" said Phoebe distracted  from her problems. "What’s wrong? Demon?."

"Lost soul," he said his empathy kicking in. He glanced down the aisle where the art editor was engrossed in an animated conversation with three young women who were clearly under her influence t.

"Can we help her?" Phoebe asked jumping in.

"I wouldn't bother at this stage " said Cole not interested as he noticed the woman staring at him from her booth and licking her lips. "Why did you need he hug?" he asked Phoebe picked up her purse and pulled out a page from the Bay Mirror's opposition.

Cole read the page and was caught between amusement and annoyance. It was a sly and insinuating article that said that the lady from the mirror who you can ask anything wasn't telling everything. It suggested this married and divorced and remarried lady had been noticed looking in greener pastures before and seemed to be following all her old habits.

"Want me to sue them?" he asked smiling and trying unsuccessfully not to laugh. "Its rubbish Phoebe" he said "Ignore it. I'm more than happy to swear under any oath you like that we aren't separating."

"I think the implication is you don't know" she sighed.

"You want me to tell them how I do" he asked.

She giggled. "Elise thinks you're the devil any way. May as well confirm it. Damnit " she said. "What pisses me off is they think any-one who isn't…. like the stereotype who doesn't mind being… you know honest about who she is can't possibly be happily married. " and Phoebe reached over and hit at Cole as he really struggled to keep a straight face."

"I love you for who you are?" he said "Doesn't that count?"

Phoebe smiled. "I love you for who you are too " she said "But if the world found about you… Not good."

"Hmm " he smiled "So I can't tell them about you, how special you are." Phoebe said and looked up as Lori walked past her toward the rest room.

"Flatterer" he smiled, the special one. The one he saved for her.

Phoebe reached for Cole 's hands. "I'm not the domestic type, I mean I like being married but I have to have excitement on the side," she said "As long as you're part of the excitement."

"Glad to be of service" said her husband who understand her "Consider it my contribution to keeping…. your marriage safe, making sure you get excitement and fun outside domesticity."

"Don't tease" Phoebe smiled looking into his eyes. "So my marriage isn't what every-one thinks is normal. I'm happy."

"Phoebe" said Lori pushing past again.

"But Elise won't believe me. She hit the roof when she saw that article." Phoebe moaned nodding to Lori.

"Screw Elise " said Cole. "Perhaps not " he said thinking about it and shuddering.

Phoebe laughed, letting him coax her out of her fears "It's still your fault, " she said teasing.

"I know" he said "I should have let you fireball her when  you could. But then it's your fault too. You could have asked. I'd have got some-one to do if you asked." He smiled "Just goes to show. Take advantages of chances while you have them. You may not get them again."

"Don't make me laugh " said Phoebe spluttering coffee and happy because he was there and not caring who knew it.

"Now aren't you glad I didn't go when you told me to " Cole said.

At about ten to two Lori walked by " see you at the 2 o'clock meeting Phoebe " she said panting a little as she looked at Cole "Unless you have something better to do."

"I really have to go " said Cole glancing at his watch. "I have to be in court in 10 minutes "I'm paying " he said.

"You're broke" said Phoebe "What’s the point in being a kept man if you won't let me keep you ?"

"You'll keep me " he smiled as he leant over to kiss her teasing provocative while she sighed happily and vaguely noticed Lori watching them as she paid her bill.

Phoebe followed Cole out "Enjoy yourself in court" she said. She took one more quick kiss before glancing around to see no-one was watching, he shimmered.

Phoebe went to the staff meeting, feeling she could now face Elise's glare. She sat down defiantly, as Lori came in and sat opposite her.

While they were waiting for guest speaker so Lori asked " who was tall dark and gorgeous you were having lunch with asked, glancing at Elise who immediately tuned in.

"My husband " said Phoebe slightly defensively " I had lunch with Cole."

"Husband" said Lori sucking her lips. "Honey that ain't husband material. Husbands don't act like that over lunch " she added." And they don't stand up for you when you go to the bathroom."

"It was Cole," Phoebe said firmly glancing at Elise  who looked decidedly peeved.

"Sure," smirked Lori "like husbands joke about excitement outside marriage, sneaking off to hotel's to avoid bastards at home, and are worried about the world knowing who they are."

"I had lunch with my husband" said Phoebe with some dignity as Elise sent her a dirty glare and called the meeting to order.

Bay Mirror dinner next week" she said "You'll all be there."

"Everyone around the table nodded with varying levels of enthusiasm, Phoebe the least,.

"You'll bring your husband"?" Elise asked Phoebe..

"Does this mean I finally get to met him? " Lori enquired self-righteously.

"You have" said Phoebe getting angry."

"The CEO's wife listens to your radio show" said Elise" she wants to met this paragon you're married to. Make sure she does" she ordered Phoebe

"It's our anniversary " said Phoebe.

"Then I don't suppose he's planing on working " said Elise" so he's got no excuse not to come with you."