To know Phoebe is to...


Part 3:Keeping it in the Family


Chapter 20


They went back to the hotel, easier and more comfortable, than they had been the night before. Phoebe spent most of the drive back to the hotel impressing on Cole how she was totally pissed at him, but even that was safe. He said he was sorry three times and she knew perfectly well he did not mean it. She wondered quizzically if she would ever convince him, not to believe he always knew best. She doubted it.


This time it was Cole who wanted sex badly and did not wait to ask or seduce. Phoebe gave way to his tension and passion and somewhere in the wildness and crazy thrill was aware she was touching a darkness in him that she had never touched before. It wasn’t evil and it left her more exited than anything she had felt with him.


Afterward they lay on the bed naked, both quiet but it was peaceful, comfortable, safe.


“What you thinking?“ Cole asked.


“Don’t you know?“ she snarked.


“You really are pissed at me aren’t you?“ he said sighing.


“Yeah“ she said happily “Why were you thinking you could get away with being an arsehole?“


“I’m not.“ he said and was not lying.


“Good“ she said turning and snuggling up to him. “Still pinching yourself. Can’t believe its happened?“ she asked smugly “You just made me break a promise to myself“ she said.


“What?“ he asked.


“I promised myself I wasn’t ever going to fuck you again and look what you just made me do.“ she pouted.


“Yeah well Saturday night ago I promised myself I was going to get out of the past find a future. “ He smiled  “Go to New York, live as a human, have a life away from you“ he answered.


“New York“ she said I ran away to there once.“


“I know.“ he said.


“That was stupid“ she added. “I came back. You would have only had to come back“ she added confidently.


“I know“ he said.


“Anyway you are keeping the promise“ she said “You are going to having a future, just with me not without. “


He was quiet for a little while then said “What sort of future is it Phoebe?“


She looked up and smiled shyly but shook her head. “I’m not sure.“ she said. She thought “That’s the trouble when all your future depended on winning one thing, having a life, a future, future was a word without a real meaning. “


Phoebe woke up at dawn. She was lying on her back and Cole was on his side His face buried into her neck and one leg over hers and arm across her, almost pining he down as if he thought she would run, if he did not hold her there. She had to prove it, she moved a little and his am tightened across. He had a case to think she might run and then she smiled ruefully he also had an answer. The times she had run from him and he stopped her, found a way to keep her, even if it was to get himself into her memory and her feelings and heart so she only felt half alive without him.


Fated together, her hold on the deeper recesses of her soul so tied to his. She wriggled a little to move so she could look at his face as he slept. When he slept she saw something that never showed when he was awake and laughing or exasperated or angry. His face showed the care of the 120 years he had lived; the hardness of his life was a shadow that made him look wilder, older; something ,some one outside her world but in spite of the age weariness that showed, as she looked and tried hard to see something else, as she felt his breath evenly on her shoulder all she could see in his face was the good man she loved.


After half an hour just watching him she wriggled out from under him. He woke and muttered “Where are you going?“


“Bathroom.“ she said.


“Coming back?“ he asked only half joking.


“No“ she said “I‘m climbing out the 10-storey window and parasailing down the wall. “ He sent her on her way with harder smack across her bottom than she thought necessary.


She glared at him over her shoulder but when she came he was well awake, resting on his arm. She slide in beside him and they had a short wrestling match while he caught her hands either side of her head and he caught her lip in his and then teased and played as she wrapped her legs tightly around him. The sort of sex you had with some when you felt very safe.


Cole was once again late getting to work. Francesca gave him a fishy stare


“I’ve come to the conclusion you’re more erratic when you’re happy than when you’re unhappy.“ she told Cole.


He just laughed and said “You can’t ruin my day. “


She handed him some messages, one each from Jackman and Carter each asking why the Rodriguez case had not gone away yet and one from the DA’s office asking to be contacted about Rodriguez


“That’s the one I‘ve been waiting for“ Cole said happily.


“You worry me when you enjoy your work“ Francesca told him “You only ever enjoy it when you think you are being very smart.“


He dialled the number and worked his way through a conversation where the ADA who made an offer that if Rodriquez was willing to plead guilty and testify against his boss, they would not ask for gaol time.


“It’s a good offer“ the ADA said “it will make the case go right away for the kid?“


He had barely put the phone down when Francesca said that the partners wanted to see him.


“You had better come to keep me behaving myself" he told Francesca. Cole followed by Francesca went over to Jackman's office where he was not even offered a seat. They asked him very bluntly why the case was taking to long to go away.


“These things take time.“ Cole answered very politely


“Well they shouldn’t“ Jackman snapped. “You need to fix this and fix it fast. “


“Had any offers?“ Carter asked, sitting on the sofa in Jackman's office, making himself at home, Cole turned very slowly to him and said he had just had one but he knew Rodriguez would not accept it.


“Talk some sense into him.“ Carter recommended bluntly.


“He does not want to plead to something he isn’t guilty of. “Cole replied meekly. Francesca thought he was overdoing it.


“Talk down to no contest.“ Carter insisted.


“I doubt he’ll do it.“ Cole answered politely while Jackman snapped at him, “You can talk them down in other cases, find a way to do it this time. “


“We need to make sure Reynolds understands the choices“ Carter said.


“It isn’t Reynolds case.“ Cole said and this time he wasn’t as polite.


“Make it go away.“ both partners said. Cole turned to leave.


Carter stopped him “How’s your marriage?“ he asked.


“Over.“ Cole answered pleasantly


“That wasn’t a reconciliation I saw the other night?“ Carter pushed. “Your wife is a very attractive woman” 


“Is she?“ Cole answered surprised to find Francesca had lightly touched the back of his hand. “Phoebe’s not a girl to fool around with” he said, “Trust me”


Jackman leaned forward “I’ll give you some advice young man“ he said. “Get your life together professionally and personally. “


“You really need to look at your options for the future“ Carter added.


Cole nodded as he turned out of the office and back to his own Francesca followed.


“That in case you don’t know it was a threat“ Francesca told him.


“I don’t have to be um empathic to know that.“ Cole answered not very flustered.


“Are you going to tell me what that was all about? “ She said.


“Hmm“ Cole answered “Are you sure you want to know?“


Francesca nodded. Cole sat down on her visitor’s chair. “That was about Jackman’s being a sanctimonious prig and Carter making me an offer I um at least he thinks I can’t refuse. One to be friendly with some very bad people he knows, to make the case going away.“


“Can you refuse it?“ Francesca asked quietly.


“Yeah“ Cole answered leaning back. “The case is about to go away but not the way they expect it. “


And what exactly is the case?“ Francesca asked.


“The short version.“ Cole asked as she nodded. “Tom Reynolds used his shipping company to import things that he never pays excise or duty on, but he stays away from some hard drugs, or even soft ones. Some very bad people want to use his system to bring in some very bad items, the addictive sort. They got some crooked customs officers to plant some on the ship, on Rodriguez but made sure an honest officer found them. Then they got Carter who does quite a bit of their dirty work to make Reynolds an offer where the case could go away. Reynolds knows the bad boys are dealing but he does not suspect this lawyer of being with the bad boys. The case is handed over to a junior partner in the firm who has so many problems they can put pressure on him to fix it. So much pressure, he’ll do anything to fix it including talk Rodriguez intro pleading guilty to something he didn’t do, and incriminating Reynolds in drug smuggling, to keep out of gaol. Although I wouldn’t give much for Eddie Rodriguez chances of survival afterwards. Then the bad guys get to Reynolds and really talk about making the case go away, if he makes his resources available. But you guessed most of that didn’t you?“ Cole smiled.


Francesca acknowledged that by putting her head on the side. “And the pressure on you?“ she asked.


“You may have noticed that I don’t give stuff about the expectations of Messrs Jackman, Carter and Kline.“ Cole answered happily.


“I noticed.“ Francesca said “And you can make it go away.“ she added.


“Yes“ Cole said “I just need to find a way that the bad boys don’t extract some vengeance on some of the not so innocents, much as it tempts me to let them. Maybe I should let Carter try his luck with Phoebe too? That would learn him“


Francesca did not find the idea as amusing as Cole did. “And you“ Francesca said “What happens to you in all this?“


“Oh me“ said Cole “I keep my job and get the girl.”


“And why do you care if you keep your job?” Francesca asked. “Is it really worth, the.. all the garbage just to help an innocent person”


Sometimes the choices of a lifetime sneak up without any warning. Francesca watched Cole intently. He hesitated a couple of seconds “Yes” he answered with only a hint of a smile.