How Quaint the Ways of Paradox

Part 2: Promises,promises,promises

Chapter 15


"How quaint the ways of paradox;  At common sense she gaily mocks"

(Gilbert and Sullivan. Pirates of Penzance)

Cole, followed Phoebe into the cinema. Hanging back carefully so she would not notice him, he watched as she bought a ticket then went the candy counter and bought a chocolate ice cream. Somethings never changed.


She walked into the cinema.


” Shit” he gulped as he realised it was a retro film. Beaches.


He waited until she went into the theatre and slipped in when it was dark and sat behind and a little to one side. He did not know whether to be amused or irritated that on her own Phoebe cried her way through the last 45 minutes of the film.


She left the theatre and he followed her into a small coffee shop opposite and watched her sit down at a table against the wall and order a latte and chocolate muffin. Somethings did not change.


She sat at the table staring into space and choking back some tears and Cole decided he could risk it and approached her. It took her a second or two to be aware of him and she looked up a little apprehensively and gasped as she realised who it was.


”Phoebe” he smirked ”Long time no see” Phoebe glanced around at the crowded café and he wondered what she would do. When she hesitated after glancing at the large number of people in the café he slide into the seat opposite her.


”Piss off demon” she hissed.


”I’m surprised you recognise me“ Cole said blandly “Its not like you got a close look this morning.“


”Piss off Belthezor or whoever you are pretending to be” she snarled again.


”How do you know I’m Belthezor?” he asked curiously.


”You’re not” she snarled ”We vanquished Belthezor or the Source or whatever you call yourself so whatever you are. Piss off ”she snapped as a waitress came up. 


The woman looked at Phoebe’s angry defensive face and Cole’s charming smile ”Lover’s quarrel” Cole said to the waitress ”She adores me, go to hell and back for me. On my honour” he said smiling.


The waitress glanced at Phoebe and then into his intense blue eyes and nodded. He ordered a coffee and something lemon and sat back ready to shimmer if Phoebe ran. But she must have decided she was safer in a public café than running. Not a risk taker.


”If you were Belthezor you would know I levitate and kick very hard and I’m wearing high heels” she said braving it out.


”I am or at least I was Belthezor and I do know it Phoebe” he said ”or Cole if you like. That ‘s what you call me now.“


”That’s what I called you when I first knew you” Phoebe answered without emotion ”But we called you Belthezor when you became the Source and I don’t know you now. Who are you? Actually what are you” she said in an even, emotionless voice.


Cole found himself having to strongly resist the urge to shake the sanctimonious complacency out of her.


”I’m Cole” he said quietly ”You stuffed up the vanquish. I got out, demon powers intact. Source gone.“


”Damn” she said calmly ”I told Paige that spell wouldn’t work properly. Source gone hmm. You’re telling the truth aren’t you demon guy?”


Cole’s heart leapt.


”Which does not explain what you were doing in my bed this morning” Phoebe added as if it was no big deal and Cole was imagining the ringing her screaming had left in his ear.


”If you’re so unconcerned about it ”he said ”why in the hell did you start screaming this morning.“


”Any one would start screaming if they woke up and found a strange naked man in their bed” she said just a little defensively.


”Not necessarily” he answered quietly but it gave him hope that somewhere in the person who screamed when she found naked men in her bed and the one who cried in sad movies that he could reach Phoebe’s passionate soul locked in this cold girl.


”You haven’t explained what you were doing there” Phoebe said with minimum amount of expression in her voice.


”I don’t suppose you’d believe the bleeding obvious, I wanted to be with you” he said letting his frustration with this soulless girl into his voice.


Phoebe laughed and for a second Cole bitterly hated her for killing the music he heard when Phoebe laughed, when he suddenly caught just a note.


”I went to bed not all that late last night, by myself“ Phoebe said. Cole wondered why she did not add of course. ”Read for a while and woke up with you there, naked. I was little surprised.“


Cole almost laughed. He touched his left ear. ”Ah well that’s where we differ“ Cole trying to match her tone ”I went to bed last night with my… I never quite know how to say this, ex wife, current shack up, lady I live with, love of my life. She was really pissed at me and she wouldn’t make love , very unusual, so I went to sleep and I woke up with you screaming in my ear.“


”How did I get changed with some demon?” Phoebe for the first time started to show agitation. ”You tried that before we vanquished you. Tried to get some demon to seduce me and turn me evil.“


”Did it work?” Cole asked conversationally.


”Of course not” Phoebe said her voice getting a little shrill. ”It didn’t work then. It won’t work now”


”Doesn’t surprise me” Cole muttered, blue eyes dancing. Very deliberately he said, ”My ex wife is a witch called Phoebe Halliwell and I’ve lived with her at the manor for the last 5 months and I think a demon called Tempus is stuffing around with time lines.“ He added ”What was the book?”


”Pride and Prejudice” Phoebe answered. Cole smiled and a little of what he felt for her showed in his face. Somethings did not change.  Big brown eyes flew open, wide, innocent and for a split second almost with passion ”I know who Tempus is“ she said ”He’s the new pretender for the Source’s throne and if we were married once and are back together in your time line why aren’t we married again?”


”Gee I don’t know” Cole said ”maybe you never asked me.“


”You’ve got a sense of humour Mr demon man” she said in a voice totally lacking one. ”Why was I pissed at you?”


”Female hissy fit” he said. ”You don’t believe I live with you, do you?”


She did not quite deny it.


”You’ve got three sugars in that coffee” he told her ”but you always say you have two because you’re scared people will think your greedy if you say three. You steal mine in the time line I come from.“ He pursed his lips “I’d tell you what you do when we make love but I guess that wouldn’t prove anything but I can tell you, that you always put your bra on backward, do up the clips in front and turn it around” that ritual always amused Cole “and you put panties on left leg first even though you’re right handed.”


”I do not“ she said and then stopped and thought for a second ”I do“ and suddenly she almost froze and then relaxed and this time the passion in her eyes was more than fleeting ”You’re telling the truth” she breathed.


He nodded.


”Why do I know that?” she demanded opting for the safety of cold.


”Because I can’t lie to you. I joined out auras when I desperately needed you to believe me and I can’t break it.“ he told her.


”That could be very inconvenient” she said.


”Has its useful points” he shrugged.


Phoebe contemplated Cole, watching him with a blank expression. ”Why did we get married in your time line?” Phoebe asked flat voiced.


”I asked you” Cole said.


”Why did we get divorced?” Phoebe asked.


”You vanquished me” Cole said.


”That’s a good reason” Phoebe answered still calm.


The coldness was more than Cole could stand ”Tell me” he said ”Are you a virgin because you’re picky or totally incapable of passion?”


Phoebe instead of getting angry, eyed him carefully. ”Why is that men always like to accuse you of being frigid if you don’t sleep around?” she asked calmly.


Cole fighting not to jump up and shake her said not bothering to hide his rising anger” I never gave a stuff whether you slept with one man, no man or a hundred. All I cared about was the fire in your soul. You Miss..ed Halliwell don’t have enough to spark a match.“ He leaned back happily feeling he had won.


Phoebe did not bother to answer but stood up as if she was going to leave, while Cole stood to follow her. She walked past him, stopped, turned around and bitch slapped him so hard he fell back against the bench.


”Just picky if you want to know” she said.


Cole staggered to his feet and took off after her. He caught her wrist as she paid the bill and Phoebe started to struggle as the cashier looked concerned. ”She thinks I’m screwing around but I’m not” Cole explained to the woman all innocent blue eyes ”She’s the only girl I ever cared about.“


The cashier looked into bright blue eyes, smiled understanding, wishing just a little.


Outside the café, Phoebe glanced around at the people, and glared at Cole’s hand still holding her wrist. She stamped her foot ”Piss off demon guy” she hissed.


”Okay” Cole said and shimmered.


Phoebe’s screaming as he came out of the shimmer on the walk way of the harbour bridge nearly finished his other ear. ‘


”Phoebe” he pleaded.


”That was fantaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaastic” ” she screamed, not even caring there were people further along the bridge I”t felt like .. it felt like.. ” she added struggling for words.


”I know what it felt like” Cole interrupted.


”Do you?” she said at the top of her voice while Cole glanced at the people further down the bridge. ”How?”


”Because I feel it too“ Cole said ”And you told me once.“


”Well it does” Phoebe said, big brown eyes shining, innocent, passionate.


Cole looked down at the girl in front of him, innocent eyes staring up at him and smiled and it was just about the smile he saved for Phoebe. He put a hand on the rail on either side of her. ”Which reminds me” he said trying to ease the moment down. ”What is it with Paige?” he asked.


”What’s with Paige?” said Phoebe.


”The gutter mouth” Cole said.


”Isn’t she like that in your time line?” Phoebe asked.


”No” Cole said in my timeline ”She’s …sweet.“


”I never notice it any more” Phoebe said ”She had a hard time after her adopted parents died, and I feel a bit guilty actually,” Phoebe said, “she came looking for a family after Grams died and Prue threw her out, thought she was after a share in the house. I think she talks like that just to prove she does not need any one ”said Phoebe who had a psychology major in all time lines. ”She’s a lot better since we got her off the booze.“


Cole snorted.


Phoebe turned in the space he left her and leant against the rail to look over the night view of the harbour ”How did you know I love this view?” she said.


”I love it to” he whispered in her ear ”We have a lot in common.“


”Not that much” Phoebe said ”I’m not evil.“


”Neither am I” Cole breathed.


”I believe you” she said.


He took a risk ”What happened between Leo and Piper?” he asked quietly.


Phoebe froze in his arms ”That shit” she said ”What do you want to know for demon guy?” she said struggling.


Cole backed away giving her as much room as he could ”In my time line Leo and Piper are still happily married” he said quietly.


Phoebe snorted ”Perhaps Piper hasn’t found out what a traitorous shit he is” she said. She was silent but she moved back against Cole and felt the warmth of his body, became aware of the scent of him, and somewhere in her rapidly thawing soul she touched on a connection with him.


”In your time line how did we get together” Phoebe asked taking advantage of him moving forward to snuggle against him.


”When was the last time you saw me?” he asked “as Cole?”


She hesitated and then said ”At the Manor, at home. We went on a lunch date and you broke us up. Told me I would know why. I did you bastard” she added getting angry.


”Oh” he said.


”Oh what” she said suspicious.


”In my time line you came knocking on my apartment door a few hours later” ” he explained carefully. ”You said you came to tell me you were better at show than tell” he said ”You pretty well proved it” he added.


”How did I do that?” she said


He gulped ”As I recall, you walked into my apartment, threw your arms around my necked, jumped up so your legs were around my waist, your tongue was down my throat and the rest was pretty magical.“


”I did that” she said wistfully.


”Mm” he said feeling her warmth him.


”Was it ..good?” she asked almost sadly.


”Turned me away from evil” he said.


”Oh” said Phoebe. She turned around leaning a little on the rail ”So in your time line. Paige is sweet, Piper and Leo are happily married and we have great sex. A lot.” she said.


”Yeah I guess that does sum it up” he said.


”Oh” said Phoebe thoughtfully. ”I think I like your time line.“


She leant back and looked up, into gentle, loving and very safe blue eyes. She put her arms around his neck and jumped. He caught his arms around her behind and lifted her while she clasped her legs around his waist. She stuck her tongue down his mouth and took, took everything she had waited for, waited for 14 years. And he gave, gave her everything she asked and more.  And he shuddered a little with relief and deep inside of him because he was male, congratulated himself on the fact that the likelihood of being where he was supposed to be that night was getting very good.


”Where to?” he whispered when she let him get some air.


”Home” she said firmly. The Phoebe in this time line was not taking the risk of wandering into hotels with demon guys.


”Okay” he said relieved.


”Shimmer” she said hopefully ”These shoes aren’t made for walking.“


He laughed.


”Yoweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” she screamed in his ear, arms around his neck, legs tight around his waist, as he shimmered.


He shimmered into her bedroom.


”We could have walked up the stairs” she whispered because it was after 11 and Piper had probably cried her self to sleep in the next bedroom, as she did nearly every night, when she did not collapse from exhaustion.


”The fifth stair creaks” said very softly.


”It does?” Phoebe said.


”Trust me” he answered.


Phoebe nervously undressed, Cole watched her with amusement as she carefully put underwear in the delicates section of her laundry basket and dropped her jeans and dark shirt into the other section. She still had the high heels on.


”Aren’t you going to get undressed?” she said calmly but her body was shaking. From nerves. From excitement. From anticipation. From all three.


He undressed while Phoebe watched him sitting on the end of her bed, naked, a little huddled. Very vulnerable. He let his clothes fall on the floor.


”Do I let you do that when we live together?” she asked her voice catching.


”No” he said ”you bitch.“ He moved to stand over her and she sighed happily. ”They can come off” he said indicating the shoes. ”What is it with you and high heels?” Big brown eyes flew to his but he was laughing. He knelt down and pulled the shoes off her.


”Cole I ”she said ”You know I haven’t done this.“


He nodded.


”I tried once to have sex when I was 15 and it was horrible“ she whispered.


”We’re not going to have sex” he said laying beside her ”we’re going to make love” .“


”I don’t know how to do that” she said.


”I’ll teach you baby” he promised.




Tempus glancing at the changed timeline of the life of the witch who he thought would not be Belthezor’s witch paid little attention until the hated Trio of Accursed Sister witches found their way to their destiny in a cage at the coronation of the lamented Seer and caused the Great Immolation of the Underworld.


Underworld Coronation Chamber.


Paige put her foot to the iron bars and kicked hard . The door gave way and the three witches moved out. 


”Did you have to drag me into a damned cage?” Piper asked.


”Fucking hell Piper” said Paige ”We needed the Power of Three, you me and the Virgin princess there.“


”Paige!!! ” said Piper.


”What?” said Paige.


”Nothing” said Piper ”Not a damned thing sweetie” she said understanding.


”Shit” said Paige ”Did you see those fucking demons explode. It was like they were farting… ”


”Paige!!!!!!!!! ” said Phoebe.


”What?” said Paige.


”Nothing sweetie” Phoebe said, understanding.


“Wow“ said Paige “Look at the fucking Grimoire still there.”


“It looks like the balance between good and evil just swung in our favour.” said Piper.


Phoebe looked at it. “Perhaps” she said flat voiced quietly” Its time to get rid of that book once and for all. “


”Phoebe!!! ” said Paige and Piper together.


“Why are you so fucking brave all of a sudden? Paige asked.


”Do you really think that is a good idea?” Piper said raising her eyes.


Tempus watching the time line gasped as hope overwhelmed him.


The three witches stared at the book.


”Perhaps we should leave it?” Phoebe said.


”Your first fucking idea was better” Paige said.


”Paige!!! ” said Piper automatically.


“What?” said Paige ”Piper even a virgin princess has to get it right once in her fucking life.“


”You think” Piper mused dryly. ”I suppose once she has to get it right” Piper said straight-faced.


”I hate you two” Phoebe said without passion ”Its time to get rid of that book once and for all. “



Tempus watching the changed timeline of Belthezor’s witch, screamed his agony, his pain, and his disgust. He cursed, he vowed vengeance, he damned Belthezor and the witches and the fates and he cried for his all but lost destiny. Gasping for breath hurting, tortured and in agony Tempus glanced in his mirror.


He saw a witch lying alone on a bed. It was not Belthezor’s witch but the dark haired older sister. She was sobbing, hysterical, writhing in agony. ”You shit Leo“ she sobbed ”I hate you fucking traitorous shit.“ She screamed ”I hate you, I hate evil and I hate you and I wish I had never heard of the fucking Grimoire. You god damned traitorous shit Leo. I hate you. Fuck you.“


Tempus suddenly smiled. Enjoying the sight. The pure demonic thrill of hope surged through the demon Tempus who was not the Source of All Evil. Merely the leader of the underworld.


Tempus summoned his dark priest. ”The Grimoire” he said ”It is safe.“


The priest glanced around and fell to the floor. ”My Liege” it whimpered ” The Grimoire was lost my Liege. It was lost in the Great Immolation, destroyed by the Accursed Trio.“


Tempus waved his hand stopping the babbling of the dark priest. “Destroyed by the Accursed Trio, ” he snarled in disgust as hope departed.


Tempus still disgusted returned to his mirror to watch again the life of Belthezor’s witch.


Phoebe found herself lying on May Anne’s parents bed. Her jeans and panties had been pulled off and her shirt was open and her breasts were pulled out of her bra.. Elmer was pushing his tongue in her mouth, horrible ugly nasty sickening.


He moved down, his hands grabbed her breasts and she whimpered as he caught her nipples and squeezed so hard it hurt.. He then collapsed on her and his full weight knocked the breath out of her. He started to move against her and it felt horrible, he was clumsy ugly and he was hurting.


”Spread your legs” he wheezed at her.


And Phoebe understood, she could lie there and let him do it. She was not a fool she knew what was coming, it was sex and after all the others all did it, she must have been the only virgin in her class, so what it was horrible, so what if it wasn’t a fantasy lover, tender and sweet and taking her to the heights of ecstasy, loving her, caring for her, wanting her beyond life itself, it was sex and all the girls did it and at least she would not be a freak.




And Tempus watching Belthezor’s witch in his dark mirror of time waved his hand and the blue light mixed in the dark of the mirror 




”You got a rubber” Phoebe muttered at Elmer.


” Aww ”He whimpered ”I hate using rubbers.“


”Find a rubber” she spat ”or get stuffed.“


When Prue arrived to pick her little sister up from the party at 12.45 she found Phoebe dancing drunkenly her shirt done up wrongly and not tucked in, all her makeup blurred and mascara streaks down her face.


Phoebe saw her big sister but told her she wasn’t ready to go. Prue with her jaundiced 19 year old eyes summed up the situation and led her sister away.


In Gram's car, Prue dragged out of Phoebe what had happened


”It sure wasn’t anything to get excited about” Phoebe said starting to cry.


Prue as gently as she could explained it wasn’t the end of the world, it happened to everyone and good or bad, the first time easy or hard, every one survived it and moved on.


”Its was horrible” Phoebe declared thinking of the stale sweaty body, the brandy breath, the painful clumsy hands and the rough discomfort.


”It’ll get better” Prue said caught between amusement and irritation ”Its only sex Phoebe, something you do with a man, its fun and its okay and then its over. It isn’t fairy tale romance, it isn’t ever after passion, it isn’t ecstasy and it isn’t mind boggling over the top ever, after soul mates eternal love. Its great when you really like the guy” she said from the wisdom of her 19 year old experience ”but if you do or you don’t.. Its just sex and its fun. It is” she said in the face of Phoebe’s disbelief. Phoebe Prue said as her 15 year old sister lifted herself into a rigid stubborn stance. ”Its just sex Phoebe, fun, nice, exciting but its only sex with a man. You need to stop reading those stupid romance books, its doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes it happens great and sometimes it happens not so great but its just sex not the end of the world either way.“


”Well it was horrible” Phoebe said ”it made me sick. If that’s what its like I don’t want it again.“


”It isn’t like that all the time I promise you” Prue muttered exasperated.


”Promises, promises, promises” Phoebe sulked.


And Phoebe huddled in a corner of Grams car kept her secret to herself, because no matter how horrible it had been with Elmer, somewhere deep inside her she had felt the first glimmer of a gasping, passionate, spiralling, excitement that was aching to be fulfilled. All it needed was the right man.