How Quaint the Ways of Paradox
Part 2: Promises,promises,promises
"How quaint the ways of paradox; At common sense she gaily mocks"
(Gilbert and Sullivan. Pirates of Penzance)
We must learn to endure what we cannot avoid. Our life is composed, like the harmony of the world, of contrary things, also of different tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud. If a musician liked only one kind, what would he have to say?
Montaigne (1533–1592), French essayistt
was very glad for small mercies, at least the confrontation with Francesca had
been on a Friday and it would be a full two days before he had any reason to see
her. He and Phoebe spent Saturday on mundane things such as shopping and house
keeping and spent the night at P3 with Leo and Piper while Paige baby sat. On
Sunday Cole woke up at dawn to find Phoebe leaning back on the pillow
staring at the ceiling.
“What’s wrong?” he asked
nervously wondering frantically if the time line had changed. Phoebe was not one
to lie awake pondering. Phoebe was one to be sound asleep and almost impossible
to get out of bed in the morning.
“Morning baby“ she said distracted
leaning over to peck his lips. She fell back on the pillow. “Baby have you got
any time powers?” she asked trying to be casual.
“Why are you asking?” he asked
"I.. once when Tempus changed the time I got this really strong feeling of Déjà vu and you remember . way back before we got together again, you warned me about time changes and because Tempus was the leader of the underworld. Well" Phoebe said "I seem to have been getting some very strong time feelings for days"
“What sort of time feelings?” he
asked even more carefully.
”Like I was being dragged back to
places I don’t want to go“ she said. “Really strong no matter how much I
“ Are you sure baby“ Cole said
bending over Phoebe to kiss her lightly. He threw back the quilt and got out of
bed reaching for the track pants that he kept close by, because Phoebe’s
sisters kept invading their bedroom and he had been caught huddling under the
quilt to many times.
“I’ve just got one thing to
say.” he said pulling the pants on.
“Baby what are you talking about“
Phoebe said getting annoyed.
He stood up “When you get mad at me
because I didn’t tell you just remember Piper wouldn’t let me.” he said
gutlessly, then he stepped back opened the door and roared “Piper “ at the
top of his voice.
When Piper did not come immediately he
went to Piper and Leo’s room and opened the door. Piper was scrambling awake
and Leo jumped up.
“What’s wrong?” Piper said
“ Phoebe’s getting time
feelings“ Cole said.
“ I’m coming“
Phoebe had jumped out of bed pulling a
kimono around her and Paige appeared in the passage drowsily rubbing sleep out
of her eyes. “Can’t this wait?” she muttered shoving Cole away as
he tried to make sure she was between him and Phoebe.
“ I’ll make some coffee“ he said
heading for the stairs.
“Gutless“ muttered Paige.
“What’s wrong?” Phoebe demanded
watching him go.
“We know there is a time problem“
Piper said “We’ve just been waiting for you to verify it. “
They sat around the parlour drinking
coffee. Leo and Piper on the sofa, Paige in her favourite chair and Phoebe in
the one opposite. Cole had decided to take the risk and sat on the chair arm
beside Phoebe. He usually found it impossible to be in a room and not be in
touching distance of Phoebe. He invariably sat on sofas so she could curl up
against him or chair arms next to her. For a while when he first returned to the
manor Paige took great delight in putting herself between him and Phoebe and
watching the ways he found to get close to Phoebe.
“Okay what gives?” said Phoebe.
“Cole thinks the time line changed
early this week then changed back“ Piper
“Cole knows it changed“ Cole
“It changed,” said Leo.
“And just how did Cole know it
changed?” Phoebe pushed.
“I didn’t change timelines“
Cole answered. “I guess I’m outside Tempus control. I woke up one day
and it had changed, I woke up the next day and it hadn’t.”
“What do you remember about Monday
and Tuesday?” Leo asked.
“If Tempus changed the timeline why
did he change it back?” Phoebe asked.
“He either got what he wanted and
changed it back or he didn’t get what he wanted and he thinks he can have
another attempt later on. “ Leo said.
Phoebe shook her head. "Okay I went to
work on Monday. Did the radio show. Came home. Piper and Paige and I went and
had cake and coffee for my birthday. “ Paige
and Piper were nodding Cole came home. “ We went out for dinner, on a harbour
cruise, came home. Next morning she glanced up at Cole you went to work, I slept
in. In the afternoon those demons the ammom thingy ones, the ones all made of
“Amomitines“ said Paige.
“Yeah those things“
said Phoebe “attacked down at the churches. The ones who like to go to
places where good inhabits and let off stink bombs. We got the suckers. Piper
and Paige got stink bombed. “
“So did you“
Paige put in.
“Okay I did. Okay“
Phoebe admitted. “Then we came home. I showered for about 2 hours, met
Cole after work went and saw a film.”
“Retro. Beaches" Phoebe said.
“Oh God Phoebe you didn’t?”
Paige said “Poor Cole.”
said Phoebe and Cole.
“Whoever said good does not come out
of evil was wrong“ Piper said.
“What are you talking about?” Cole
said looking around. He hated it when they talked about human things like old TV
shows and movies he did not understand.
“She can’t make you see it
again“ Paige explained “ You’ve seen it.”
“What?” said Cole.
“Chick flick, big time“
Phoebe glared at them. “ Then we
went to a sleazy bar over on the north side, Red Lantern, just for fun. “
She saw her sisters horrified expressions “What? I was with Cole.
Nothing nasty could happen and then we came home. Cole was going to stay home on
Wednesday. Francesca rang and made you go to work. What changed? “
Cole answered hastily “You had brown hair.”
“Is that the only thing that
changed?” Phoebe demanded “You’re all carrying on because my hair was a
“Did you and Cole make out?” Piper
“What?” said Phoebe.
“You and Cole make out, screw, have
sex in that time?” Piper asked impatiently.
“None of your damned business“
Cole winced “Yeah it is baby“
Phoebe shook her head “You’re nuts“ she said Monday night, okay. Big Time.” She glanced at Cole “I was feeling a bit off on Tuesday morning, Tuesday night. Pretty good. A couple of times. Wednesday morning. What?” she said looking at Piper who had her nose in the air. “What? “ Phoebe said.
“I didn’t say anything“
“What changed Cole?” Phoebe
“Not a lot“
Cole answered carefully. `
“What changed?” Phoebe demanded
again, her voice becoming angry.
Piper met her sisters confused eyes
“As near as we can figure, when you and Prue had that fight when you were 18,
the one about running away to New York, you went to New York and did not come
back until after Prue died. Paige was the sister who found the Book of
Shadows.” She answered.
“What else changed?” Phoebe
demanded her anger turning cold.
“Nothing big not the destiny thing
just us, personal things“ Piper said.
“You three weren’t as friendly as
you are now“ Cole said. Leo made a choking sound.
“Phoebe“ Leo asked “ iI there
something in the feelings you are getting that you keep coming back to, thinking
about even when you don’t want to?”
Phoebe nodded “Yes“
she started to say.
“Don’t tell us“ Paige
“Why not?” Piper challenged her
“How does Tempus change time
Cole?” Paige asked.
“I don’t know a lot“
Cole answered. “He has some means of viewing the past, particularly the
evil past and as I understand it, if there is enough evil, he can influence
decisions made and change timelines. “
“Could he view this time, what
we’re talking about?” Paige asked in the near future, “ like in an
“Perhaps possibly, if there is
something evil here “ Cole answered “Why?
Paige said “Because I just thought,
maybe Tempus changed the timeline back because he knew Phoebe would realise
about the change and we might talk about it. He might
be hoping he could get his answer if we talk about. “
Phoebe stood up and walked to the
bureau and took out a notebook and pen and wrote. “I can’t stop thinking
about when we took the Grimoire from the Underworld“ and handed it to Paige
who handed it to Cole who handed it to Piper who handed it to Leo.
“I knew it“
said Piper grimly “I knew it was going to be that. “
Leo sighed “I’ll go check“
“Go somewhere else first Leo“
Cole said “I don’t want to know, I really don’t want to know
Leo nodded and orbed off.
“There’s nothing evil here“
Piper said as she glanced around at the expressions of her sisters.
“What changed Cole?” Phoebe asked
He took a deep breath “Piper and Leo
were divorced“ he said, “we
she said “so we didn’t…. make out then.”
He couldn’t lie to her. He had
touched their auras once in moment when he desperately needed her trust him, to
give them a chance to be together and because of that he could not lie to her,
she would always know he lied to her while she loved him.
“Yeah we did“ he answered just as quietly.
“Why?” she asked.
“Near as I can figure you picked me
up in one of the night clubs down by the pier on Monday night. I returned the
favour on Tuesday night, picked you up at the Red Lantern“
he said “We came back here both times.”
Phoebe said and started to leave. “So there is evil here.”
Paige caught her arm “Phoebe“ she
said “You can’t blame him for being unfaithful when it was you he was
“Can’t I?” she said and went
Cole watched her go “Damn“
he said under his breath and followed her upstairs.
Phoebe went into the bedroom and flung
herself on the bed. She lay on her side, her back to the door. Cole followed her
into the bedroom. He stood at the door and said “Phoebe.”
“Go to hell“ she muttered into the
pillow. He came into the room and walked around the bed and sat on the edge
putting his hand gently on her arm "Phoebe" he said.
“I hate you“
she muttered into her pillow.
He sucked his breath in “So much you
can’t even talk to me?” he asked hurting.
She rolled onto her back, tear stained
brown eyes looking into aching blue ones. “Why did you do it Cole?” she
demanded “Why did you do it?”
“Because “ he said “I woke up
with you that morning, the timeline was changed but I woke up with you. I got
scared I thought if I couldn’t find a way to be with you, wake up with you, it
might all get screwed around and the line might change so we weren’t ever
together. “ he sighed “I thought it was for the best. “
“Do you know how betrayed I feel?”
she asked “Have you any idea how you betrayed me. “
And because he had touched their
auras, and the only way they could be separated was if she fell out of love with
him, he knew, he knew just how betrayed she felt.
“I thought it was for the best“
“That’s what you do isn’t it?”
she said through her tears “Demon, mortal, who knows what, its still Cole and
you still betray, don’t you? Because its for the best.“
“I couldn’t bear to lose you now
Phoebe“ he said “And what I saw of you without me. You’re better
off with me Phoebe“ he said.
“So you betrayed me“
she said bitterly. “You betrayed me, for all the right reasons.
You betrayed me. You did what you always do. You betray and you do it so
damned well. “
“And you can’t forgive me“
he said frightened, realising how close he was to losing her when all he
had wanted to do was protect her.
“I love you" she said "I told you I
would forgive you anything as long as you weren’t evil. “
She sat up“ I hate you. I hate you so much. “
he said because he did not know what else to say.
“No you’re not“ she sniffed
“You’d do it again tomorrow if you thought it was for the best.”
“What do you want Phoebe“ he asked
uncertain of her, uncertain of where they were going.
“I want you to hold me you stinking
bastard, I want you to hold me like you will never let me go. “ she cried.
nodded slightly, reached for her and pulled her against him, letting her cry her
pain and hurt out, her face buried against his naked shoulder.