To know Phoebe is to...
Part 2:Phoebe being Phoebe
Cole arrived back in his office totally unaware of the stares he received in the corridor because the gossip had already flown about the firm that Turner’s wife was around and he was being erratic again.
Francesca was still their office. Cole asked not all that interested “ Have the clients arrived yet? “
“No” she answered “they called to say they would be ten minute late”
“Good” he said
“Yes’ Francesca said “and lucky” She looked Cole in the eye and demanded, “What happened?”
He stopped “What happened?” he repeated. Then he continued in a bemused voice “I don’t know “
“Did you sort everything out” Francesca persisted
“I’m not sure” Cole answered sounding even more puzzled
“You didn’t do anything to her?” Francesca said getting concerned.
“Of course not” he said horrified she would ask, and vaguely wondering why “ I agreed to what she wanted “
“What did she want?” Francesca asked
“I don’t know Cole answered. “I think she wanted to get back together or she might have wanted to have an excusive be there for each other thing or she may have just want me there for stud when she wants to screw, I m not sure I agreed though” he said sadly.
Francesca could barely hold back her laughter.
Cole sighed and then added confidentially “She ‘s taking me out to dinner to night. I guess she’ll tell me then what I agreed to”
He went into the office and Francesca gave way to laughter Cole returned a few seconds later carrying the folder for the meeting and observed Francesca laughing balefully.
“It’s all right for you” he said bitterly “She's taking me to dinner, I bet it will be vegetarian. I hate vegetarian.”
When he returned from the meeting nearly an hour and half later Phoebe was in his office talking happily to Francesca which Cole, could only regard as not good. He had fully expected her not to come back, or that some demon was playing with him again and the argument in the car park never happened.
Cole’ senior partner, Carter was behind him, needing papers after the meeting. He openly eyed Phoebe and Cole forced into a corner had to introduce her to him “you may remember my wife. My ex wife Phoebe.”
Phoebe held out her hand all sweetness and light She chatted in a friendly manner to Cole’s boss while he went to get the folder which he handed to Carter. Cole was very suspicious of what Phoebe was up to. He noted some shopping bags she had not had earlier.
“Where have you been?” he asked curiously
“I brought you a present” Phoebe answered
“What” he asked even more apprehensively.
She reached in the bag and pulled out a sheer see through very short black nightdress. “Do you like it, I bought some suspenders too. Do you want to see them?“she asked holding the nightdress up against her.
Cole groaned but still felt the warmth rush to his lower body, Francesca laughed openly and Carter looked surprised and very interested,
They left Cole’s workplace together, both of them decidedly awkward with each other. In deciding that they were getting back together Phoebe had steeled herself to batter down any resistance or rejection Cole might throw at her, but she had not quite worked out what do or say when she did not have anger, or fear to carry her through the moment. She was suddenly a very shy little girl, not sure what to say to him.
Cole also was feeling very disorientated. Two hours ago, he was hanging onto threads to keep a life going and suddenly he had it all and he did not know what to do with it. Once he would have caught Phoebe‘s arm or hand or crowded close to her for the pleasure of touching her, while they talked about little things between them, or magic or shared dreams. He followed behind her feeling very unsure.
Everything had been so big between them, they had lost all the small things. They had many bridges to build. Cole asked Phoebe where her car was and she said at work, and he gave her an odd sideways glance. Cole was not driving the same car as last year, to Phoebe’s relief. This one was a dark green Mercedes.
“I hated that Porche” he said catching her expression.
He came around to open the door for her. He pulled it open and she went to step in and he pushed the door shut so she was caught with her back against the door. With his hand s on either side of her head, she stood there looking up at him eyes wide and bright and he lowered his mouth with a smile and a sigh. She gave herself to him, her lips, her mouth, her heart She tasted sweet. He allowed her enough room and she threw her arms around his neck and she pulled him to her so she could give him everything he asked.
When he finally lifted his mouth off hers, still keeping his lips with only an inch from hers, he whispered, “I missed that”
And she giggled.
Cole was wrong. Phoebe had booked a table at a very cosy Italian restaurant in not far from Chinatown. The awkwardness was still there between them, but when they entered the restaurant with Phoebe walking ahead of Cole, she put her hand behind her back and he caught it as he followed her. They sat down and Phoebe made a big thing about being the one who ordered and choosing the wine. The waiter, who kept glancing at Cole while she fussed got nothing but a sardonic raised eyebrow for his trouble.
“This is more up market than the last time you bought me Italian” Cole smiled. It had been over 18 months ago when they were both unemployed.
“I like Jo’s Pizza” Phoebe said. “You can take me there next week” she smiled.
“Next week” he repeated, still not quite comprehending there was going to be next week for them.
“Think you’re going to wake up and this won’t be true” she asked.
He nodded. She reached over the table to take his hand. “It’s conditional Cole“ she breathed.
“I know” he said, “You don’t have to say it.”
“I do” she said “Its conditional on you not being evil.”
He suddenly laughed “You got me” he said.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I thought it was going to be on me being good.” he sounded surprised.
She shook her head “I’ve learnt that even the best of us have problems with being that all the time” she said.
She talked about work at first awkwardly to fill the gap and then because it was just Cole, and she began to fall into old familiar comfortable habits with him. As she chatted away about her job, the problems of people he did not know, the politics in an office he did not care about, he sat opposite her listening to her voice, taking in every facial expression, every change in tone, every movement of her body.
He did not ask her what she meant by together, mostly because he suspected she did not know. Over dessert, Cole ordered lemon glazed tart, Phoebe had gone to a great deal of trouble to make sure there was something lemon on the menu. He did ask her if she was sure there was a future for them.
She met his eyes “We’re stuck with other Cole. There is no moving away or finding someone else. I saw my future and it just isn’t pleasant I don’t have to see your future to know that you won’t find a way to be happy without me. I just have to see you, the way I have in the last few days.
“Being stuck with each other isn’t exactly the greatest reason to be together” he said but he softened it by reaching for her hand.
She was intense “Maybe for other people but what we had, we aren’t going get any better and it seems neither of us can live with anything worse.” She glanced at him uneasily from under her lashes. He knew about Miles, what he knew about the other two or dating she had no idea.
Nervously she added, “I know I looked “she said.
He sucked his breath” – and I didn't”. He smiled gently and reached for her hand. “Phoebe” he said, “Just so we have no problems with this. I don’t care what you did or who you did it with. If they made you decide to come to me I’m in their debt.”
“Well it’s the only time I’ll say it, you were smarter.” She put her head on the side and wet her lips in an invitation “I hate sex with some-one who..”
“Some-one who what? “ he asked warily but his eyes where gentle.
“Who at the very least won’t fight his way back from the wastelands of hell for me” she smirked.
He lifted her hand and kissed it ”That answers that question” he said.
And they laughed together, comfortable with each other for the very first time in a very long while.
Cole even relaxed enough to tease her about her determined assault in the car park. “You never thought to just ask me” he said.
“You wouldn’t talk to me” she said primly.
“That’ll learn me” he smiled “I won’t do that again”
“Good”” she muttered and his blue eyes flashed with a promise that took her breath away then very coyly she said “Tell me something “she said.
“What”” he said, wary.
“That you love me and want to be with me” she said.
He reached over and took her hands. “I love you and I don’t know what the future is but whatever it is I want to spend it with you” he said meaning it but still suspicious.
“Thank you” she said like a little girl taking to much candy. “Now I’ll tell why I stood so close to you when we were ..talking in the car park.
“Why?” he asked smiling at the word talking.
“Because I thought you would shimmer off and if you did I was going to jump you. So you didn't have a hope of running” She answered artfully ” I love you” she added.