To know Phoebe is to...
Part 2:Phoebe being Phoebe
“What now” Phoebe asked.
“We’re together tonight” Cole said it was a statement not a question.
“The manor?” Phoebe asked not meaning it. Which was just as well from the expression on Cole’s face.
“The apartment?” he said.
And Phoebe nervously said “I hate that place. I don’t want to start this off there.”
”I thought we did” Cole said and Phoebe hit him.
They walked back to where the car was parked. A few doors up from the restaurant was a small old fashioned hotel in one of San Francisco’s older buildings. They could see in the glass revolving door to an elegant and old fashioned foyer. Cole indicated with a nod of his head and Phoebe agreed with little hesitation but she refused to go there without a bag.
“They’ll think we are just going there for sex” she said.
“Aren’t we?” Cole asked. Phoebe hit him again.
He said he would go back to is place and get a bag and a few things. He asked Phoebe to come and she said no because she hated the apartment and did not want it to be even part of their beginning.
Cole shimmered off and Phoebe called home. Leo answered the phone.
Phoebe shrieked “Leo you’re home. You’re all right.”
Leo confirmed he was and she told him that she was spending the night with her guy. Leo was plainly not thrilled “You’re off with some stranger” he muttered “and Paige is off with some married guy.”
“Married guy?” Phoebe asked
“He says he’s separated’ Leo answered “but I don’t believe it.” Then he made some noises about Phoebe’s safety but Phoebe said to call her cell if they needed her and she laughed at what Leo’s reaction would be if he came looking for her.
Leo turned to Piper who was checking P3 accounts and told her Phoebe was at the old Esmeralda hotel with her new boyfriend
“Are you worried?” he asked.
“ What Phoebe? Knowing Phoebe’s record of men. Of course I’m worried.” Piper answered, with an expression that said she was sick to death of Phoebe and men.
She smiled across to Leo. “It’s to quick with Phoebe. A week ago she was wondering if she would be alone all her life and suddenly she is saying there’s a man and it she thinks its forever. Sisters” Piper sighed “I wish Phoebe would stop falling in love and I wish Paige would.”
“What about Cole” Leo asked ‘Does he know?”
Piper shrugged and that guilty shadow fell over her again. There she was sitting at the dining room table looking at accounts while her husband sat opposite ,catching up on reading the weeks newspapers. Leo looked over the top of the paper and smiled at her. When he had orbed in that afternoon Piper had just finished changing Melinda. She had thrust Melinda at Paige and ran to Leo, and hugged him with relief.
There she was sitting comfortably at home with her husband and daughter thanks to Cole, and Phoebe was about to tear him to pieces. Piper bitterly resented that the price of Cole helping them always seemed to be that she felt perpetually guilty because she was happy and he wasn’t. She wished for a second that Cole would be happy and leave her free but the only thing that would make Cole happy was to be with Phoebe and Piper buried the thought because could not make that happen. Her happiness was not at the cost of Cole’s so she had no reason to feel guilty. Only she did.
Phoebe almost excitedly told Cole Leo was all right when he returned with a small overnight bag. He did not seem to share her joy.
They went to the hotel and had a small dispute over who paid for the room. Cole won because he found his wallet faster than she could dig around in her purse for hers. In the elevator up to their room, she arched against him, reaching up to pull his mouth to hers. A tear rolled down her face afterward.
“What’s wrong?” he said nervously.
She shook her head “Nothing” she said “I’m happy.”
If an ex demon could have had a prayer answered, Cole would have said thank you to have Phoebe beside him and happy.
They went upstairs to the room, Cole carrying his bag, and Phoebe’s shopping bags. He opened the door and went to go in.
Phoebe refused to move “Aren’t you going to carry me in?” she asked coyly.
Cole looked at the one hand full of bags, the key card in the other. He smiled politely said to Phoebe hold this, and gave her the card. He bent to put his right arm under her behind and hoisted her over his shoulder while she clutched at his jacket not to fall. She kicked and squealed to let go but he just walked into the room kicked the door shut and headed for the bed.
He pretended to drop her quite hard on the bed but bent low as he put her down and she did not have far to fall down. Phoebe caught hold of the back of his collar and pulled Cole down on to her as the bags went flying. He protected her from his full weight. They rolled around on the bed wrestling and laughing until they ended it in a deep and satisfying kiss.
When they finally came up for air, Cole leant on his arms smiling gently, his face so close to Phoebe she could fell his every breath.
“I do love you” he promised.
“I know” she whispered back, as his hand played with her hair and gently stroked her face. They had all the time in the world to play and laugh, to tease, to pet, to explore, to learn about each other again, to share and to give. They had all the time in the world for Phoebe to dance around the room in a short sheer black nightdress, to argue about clothes on the floor. All the time in to world to be together.
Phoebe for the first time in a very long while slept all night but she woke wondering why her pillow was hard and tickled until she realised she was actually snuggled against Cole’s bare chest. He was awake just lying back on the pillow, stroking her. He had not slept all night. He was to scared to sleep in case when he woke it was all a dream and she was not really with him.
He smiled gently into those big brown eyes, the smile he saved for her. The smile froze on his face because she suddenly flung herself back away from him. She was half off the bed, as the tears came.
She screamed “I’m not here. I can’t bear this any more I can’t” then she glanced around, taking in the hotel room, the view across the roofs, the hotel opposite, clothes and bags thrown across chairs and she choked back another scream.
“Oh baby” she bit out “ Baby I’m so sorry”
Cole was freaking. “This had better be good “he said his voice wavering
She threw herself on the bed and touched his face. “Baby, I’m so sorry.”
He was freaking so much he barely registered she called him baby.
She gulped “I have this nightmare where I wake up with you. I keep going back to it, I wake up and feel safe for a second but then it turns out to be the source, not you and he always turns into some monster trying to kill me, trying to destroy me.
She held his eyes pleading fro understanding “Baby I’m sorry I thought was there again.”
“Phoebe the monster’s gone” Cole said, “Nobody left but me”.
She looked at him, still expecting his eyes to go black, for him to turn into a dark miss-shapen monster. But even though she stared and stared, all she saw was Cole, hair tousled, bare-chested and in need of a shave, sitting upright watching her with frightened intensity. Finally he put his hand out to hers, taking it gently. “Phoebe honey” he said very slowly “the nightmare’s over.”
She nodded a little tremulously, and then decided this was not the moment for another bout of tears. She pulled the cover s back and straddled him.
“Oh its that is it” he sighed and gave into pleasure as she touched him, feeling happy, free, safe to do what she wanted.
Phoebe was sitting on the bed, crossed legged wearing a hotel towelling robe and drinking coffee with the remains of a breakfast on the tray, and enjoying watching Cole dress.. Normal life interrupted them. Cole had to go to a meeting. She tried to talk him out of it.
“You can miss one meeting” she pouted.
“I miss lots of meetings and don’t give a stuff” he said “but this is a client out at the gaol and he needs help.”
“Is he an innocent ?” she asked.
“He’s innocent of what he is accused” Cole told her
And she pulled a face “I know almost nothing of what your life is. We’ve got a long way to go haven’t we?”
“A long way to go, many, many things to deal with” he agreed, glancing out of the window at the light coming into the room. The cold hard light of day.
“I know” she said. She flicked her finger at him, summoning him to her.
“What? “he said as he leant forward.
“Your tie is crooked” she said fixing it and patting him on the cheek. Then she pulled him down to sit on the bed beside her.
She took a deep breath “Cole I’ve thought about what happened and I.." she smiled "I fanaticised about the advice I would give me if I wrote to me about this.”
“I can hardly wait to hear it” he said pretending to be flippant and failing.
She hit him but caught his hand and looked down at it as she said “I would tell me to deal with the problems it caused when they happen, I would write don’t forget it happened but it can’t be changed. I would say if you talked about it for a lifetime you would never really understand why and all you would have done is talked for a life time instead of having a life time.”
She looked into his face, meeting the intensity of his gaze “I would say to me” she continued “Can you forgive him, can he forgive you. If both of you can say that and mean it then damn it, put it behind you, get together and make a life .”
She clutched tightly at his hand, never taking her eyes off his face “Can we talk about it when have to Cole. Not deny it but just accept it happened, it effected us and leave it at that. If I say I forgive you, is that enough. Can you say you can forgive me?”
He sighed “You’re really are good at what you do aren’t you?”
He leant forward to kiss her. She stopped him “Say you forgive me” she said.
“I forgive you” he said.
She pulled back a little “Say it like you mean you really do. Not like you are trying to take on all the responsibility. Let me be responsible for me” she demanded.
He kissed her feeling the taste of her, the life of her. She felt the tears well up. Then he separated himself from her
He stood up and said in a different voice “I forgive you.”
“Thank you” she smiled through tears. Then in a different voice she said, “Go to work baby.”
“You’ll be here tonight?” he asked stopping at the door
“There is nothing in this realm or any other that would keep me away” she promised and because she knew this goodbye could drag all day she picked up her glasses and the morning paper and started to read it.
Cole opened the door to leave but he turned back to look at her one more time.
To look at his witch, sitting cross legged on a bed , not even remotely covered by a hotel robe, hair lose and tangled, big brown eyes, not hidden behind the glasses. His witch. A vision of her to store, to remember all day, to remember for a lifetime; to remember for an eternity.
He sat on a
deserted beach on an island paradise, as waves lapped gently on a white sandy
beach. So many years ago and the vision was as clear to him as if he had just
shut the door. She came to him on beaches. His witch.
Did he know
everything about love or nothing? He saw so clearly the vision of his witch and
he knew as much as he needed to know about love. He saw his witch and he knew he
had loved and he had been loved.