To know Phoebe is to...
Part 2:Phoebe being Phoebe
On an island beach at a time that was far away from what some called the present, a man sat quietly, appreciating the feeling of paradise, the warmth of the sun, the view of palm trees and white sands, and the sound of waves from a crystal blue sea lapping on the beach. His thoughts were gentle, looking back because he had no gift to look forward. Because she came to him on beaches he thought of Phoebe and when he thought of Phoebe the thought of love.
He smiled wryly, thinking of a little girl he had tried to help not so long ago. She had not appreciated his help.
She had screamed at him” When I see you all I see is a dark angel.” In agony she had demanded, ‘What do you know of love?”
And he had thought of Phoebe, her big brown eyes looking into his as she told him she would always love him
“What do I know about love? Everything” he had answered the girl firmly.
And then he had thought of Phoebe in all her contradictions, demanding, loving, loyal, unyielding, teasing, passionate, understanding and unreasonable and then he had smiled, not to the girl, but a smile he saved for Phoebe. “What do I know about love” he had said to the girl “Not a damned thing”
At the manor, while the whitelighter healed Paige after the attack of the soul sucker demons, Phoebe had been aware that Cole shimmered in. She looked up at him, registered with amusement the whitelighter’s shock and sobered as she saw Piper’s grim face. She noticed the greyness of Cole’s face, the dullness of his eyes and the drawn haunted expression. She stared at him and Piper must have noticed it too because she was staring as Cole hard as if she was wondering momentarily what the effort had cost him. Paige moaned and Phoebe was distracted by her sister and it was only when she heard Piper call Cole twice that she realised that Cole had gone.
Paige was very ill that night and to help her Piper grimly tried to keep her concern about Leo under control. The whitelighter firmly told them that the soul suckers talons had done some serious damage and it would be a few days before Leo would be healed. He needed magic and the power of the Elders and he would have to stay with them until then and Piper had to be satisfied with that.
Phoebe ran between her sisters, looking after Paige and comforting Piper and around 10 was relieved that the herbal tea they had made foe Paige had finally allowed her to sleep and not very long after both Phoebe and Piper tired and aching both feel into bed and asleep. Phoebe kept having this nagging feeling she had forgotten something. She woke up a couple ogf hours later as she heard Piper feeding Melinda. She went into Piper’s room and stayed with her sister as she fed Melinda. Melinda finally finished and gurgled and Piper’s eyes shut, tired worn out emotionally finished.
Phoebe took Melinda out of her mother’s arms and burped her, then she changed the baby and put out her back in her cot, when the baby finally settled she gently kissed Melinda she went out to Piper’s bedroom where found her sister asleep in a heap on top of the quilt. Phoebe carefully moved her until she was stretched in the bed and then covered her. She gently kissed her Piper on the forehead then it suddenly hit her what she had forgotten. OMG she thought. She glanced at Piper finally exhaustedly asleep, she checked Melinda again and she was asleep . She left the room and turned out the lights and walked across the hall. Paige was sleeping soundly. Phoebe went across to her own room, pulled on the first clothes she could find snuck downstairs into the kitchen, took the keys to Paige’s car which was the last one in the drive and let herself out the house.
Cole finally arrived back at the apartment at midnight and went straight to bed, giving into his human nature, which was protesting at the battering it had taken during the day. He woke up a little while later and saw the bed clock that said 2.10. While he was still orientating himself the elevator bell rang and he jumped out of bed wondering who in the hell knew the code. He heard Phoebe call his name. He would have thought he was dreaming except she sounded pissed.
He snapped on the bedroom light and headed for the door, dragging on a pair of track pants that were conveniently on the floor beside the bed. It took him about five seconds. He turned on the living room light to see Phoebe was already out of the elevator, her hands on her hips, expressing her annoyance. For a second it crossed Cole’s mind he would give a great deal to see her happy in his presence just once more. He sighed and leaned against the bedroom door. She was dressed in jeans and a T shirt, her hair uncombed. As if she had fallen out of bed and dragged her clothes on
“Paige gave me the code” she said in answer to his unspoken question.
Cole just raised his eyebrows. He could think of nothing to say.
He stood at the bedroom door from her just staring. He remembered the last time she had charged into the apartment, to tell him she would kill….vanquish him. Phoebe stood just inside the elevator, the apartment suddenly seemed huge, and the distance between them a world a universe apart.
Finally Cole bit out “What do you want Phoebe” harder, harsher than he meant.
She shuffled her feet then with an effort met his eyes. “I woke up” she said” I realised I had forgotten something”
He hesitated awkwardly “I didn’t know anything of yours was still here” he said “but if you wait I’ll look.”
She moved deliberately across the room and the distance between them was so close, Cole was nearly overwhelmed by the scent of her then took a deep breath “I realised I forgot to say thank you” she said.
Cole’s world spun. The room went around, the universe went around. He tried to think of a hundred things to say and then all he could do was sigh and smile, the smile he saved for her “You’re welcome” he answered.
“I better go” she replied suddenly awkward, embarrassed. “What did you think he would do” Phoebe asked herself” Be so grateful for two little words he’d sweep you into his arms, play Prince Charming”
He nodded. “Good idea”
She turned to go and he watched her back and then he could not help himself. Just for a little while Phoebe was being sweet around him, caring, like she used to be, sometimes. Against all good sense he wanted to hold the memory, to drag out the moment. He asked, “Want a coffee or something, for friendship’s sake”
“ No” she answered, but saw his face, his disappointment. “Yes just a coffee.”
Cole smiled, trying to keep it neutral, easy “Put it on” he said “ Everything is in the same place” He indicated his shirtless state. “I’ll just get dressed.” He was like a little boy, grateful for a crumb of her company, wanting, caring, trying so hard.
Phoebe looked at him. She had had a day, really a week of him in her life. They had shared some good moments, then joined through shimmering and it had brought all the remembrance of happier time and besides there was the nagging itch she had had all week. Hope welled up and made her brain and her body ache with longing and Phoebe being Phoebe acted on her thoughts. She suddenly stared as if she was seeing Cole for the first time or the last. She shuddered, and her eyes were suddenly teary. She turned away and then looked back at him.
“Why bother?” she asked provocatively I’ve seen you naked. She stood arching her hips and wet her lips intentionally, or other wise he had no idea.
Cole stopped in his tracks, not the least because he felt a warmth flow though his lower body, that almost hurt. “Phoebe” he said slowly “Don’t. Its been a long day and an emotional week. Stop teasing because I’m not that sure I can say no.”
She pouted, provocatively, suggestively, innocently, naively, knowing precisely what she was asking.
“Phoebe” he sighed, No other words could come. Phoebe would always be Phoebe. Wanting what she wanted, when, how, on her terms He also knew Phoebe well enough to know what she wanted now was not always what she wanted tomorrow. Say yes to her now, tomorrow it would be his fault. “Phoebe” he sighed again.
“Aren’t you interested” she asked the pout getting stronger. Her hips arched so far forward she was touching against him, her breasts, with nipple clearly protruding through the T-shirt right in his sight. She moved her hand so she touched his groin lightly, then eyes bright and tongue protruding through her lips, she moved her hand to his face.
He caught it and held it away from him, “Phoebe” he sighed again “Stop it! This is not us. Its just because I’m here and you want to make a point”
“I want. You” Phoebe bit out.
“You want sex Phoebe” he said, his voice wavering. He knew her well. “We had a day of shimmering and fighting demons and you want to finish the day the way we used to, Old habits die hard”
“I thought you wanted me” she sulked.
“I want you,” he said “but getting what you want isn’t always…good.”
“Aren’t you still in love with me” she pouted, a little girl demanding sweets.
He could honestly deny that, what he felt for her was something so far beyond being in love and there was a little thrill in him that saying no would hurt her, just a little the way she hurt him. “No” he said “I’m not IN love with you, but I want you badly.” She glanced down and then looked into his face and happily smiled seeing how badly he wanted her.
“Go” he said. In agony “Just get out of here” he snapped.
He shouldn’t have said it. No to Phoebe was an invitation to do anything she could, just to get her own way, at least it always was when she was with him. She moved even closer to him standing on tiptoe to rub herself against him.
Cole sighed mightily. He put his hands on her shoulders and deliberately pushed her away and stepped back “Go home” he said
And just for a second Phoebe ached. She saw him hurting and a little of the Phoebe who loved him so dearly whispered “Cole”
He stopped, then walked back to her gently touching her face “Honey. You had better go” he said firmly, never wanting to harm her again “ Go for your sake, if not for me”
She stood still and he hesitated and then moving behind her gently put his hands on her shoulders, turned her around and steered her to the elevator “Honey, go “ he said. He pushed her into it.
When she was safely in the back of it, Cole quietly said ”Thank you.”
“For what ”she asked
“For the thanks” he answered simply.
The doors shut, he turned away. She was gone leaving Cole relieved, angry, aching with the need of her, bemused. Then he laughed out loud Phoebe would always be Phoebe. Thankfully. He had barely reached the bedroom door when the bell on the elevator again and the doors opened she ran across the room so that he had to catch her and lift her in self defence.
She kissed his mouth, his face, She caught her hand in his hair and he held his arm under her arms and was a foot off the ground as she dragged him down to her. Then he just ran out of strength to fight her as she offered what he had wanted so badly, dreamed off and then he pulled back his mouth against hers very still.
“ I need to feel you one more time” she whispered.
“Oh Phoebe” he muttered as the vague hope it wasn’t just sex faded.
“You sound like Piper” she giggled.
“Bitch” he sighed
He wanted her, she was offering and she knew what she wanted, even if tomorrow, she was going to claim he seduced her, or she was overwrought or whatever reason she could come up with that would make it his fault. He gave in to the tide, one more time, something to remember for eternity.
He moved into the bedroom, while she was still wrapped around him. He threw himself on the bed and took her with him, just turning enough to make sure she did not take his full weight. He ripped the t shirt off her. and leant down so he could feel he breasts pressed against him. She kicked her shoes off and the pants went the same way. She felt him inside her, she had cried for him to be inside her and her whole body responded. She ripped her nails into him And gave way to the sheer overwhelming relief of being desired, wanted again, being loved again. Only afterwards instead of teasing, pleasing wonderful words of love Cole rolled off Phoebe breathing hard and lay on his back staring at the ceiling.
“If you dare say you're sorry I’m going to kill you” she breathed at him and when he did not respond she moved as far away from him as she could.
Neither spoke nor looked each other. Time stopped spinning and the sobering fact of what they had done hit them.
Phoebe broke first. She sat up. ”I’m going" she announced. Then almost accusingly she said ” I tasted blood. What happened to the acid?” she demanded accusingly
Cole sat up to and sighed “it’s just another power Phoebe. I can control it. It doesn’t control me. Ever”
She snorted, whether from derision, disgust or disbelief he wasn’t sure.
“You know where the shower is” he said.
Phoebe moved off the bed and started shuffling around. “That’s okay” she said. “Where are my clothes?”
Cole put on the bedside light and she looked.
“This place is a pigsty” she announced looking at his clothes around the floor, the bed that had not been made in days and another pile of clothes on the bedroom chair.
Cole tense was pushed into saying “None of your business.”
Phoebe gave him a filthy glare and he lay back watching as she crawled naked around the floor, looking for clothes and shoes. She did not find her t shirt but she found one of Cole’s on the floor and put it on. “This stinks” she told him sniffing at it and tuning up her nose, but she kept it.
Cole did not get out of bed. Phoebe found her car keys in her jeans pocket. She prayed for him to say it, but pride, ego, fear kept the words away. All he did was silently watch her dress, taking in every movement. She walked away, for the moment just angry that she had given into the need, her head determinedly up.
“Thanks” she said sarcastically over her shoulder not looking back
“Glad to be of …service” Cole drawled.
He heard the elevator go and lent back against the pillow, feeling disturbed and more hurt than he had been by all the bitter words that had passed between them. That he knew Phoebe had left hating herself for giving into the ache was just one more nail in the coffin of their relationship.
He finally got up and showered and shaved and found clean clothes. He did have some in the closet but he glumly thought his laundry bills were getting beyond a joke and wandered around the apartment for a while, only staying long enough to see the dawn, and then felt the need strongly to be somewhere else. He found his wallet, he remembered shimmering off once without it and it damnably inconvenient. He hoped he never had to answer in court why his credit card bills stretched all around the world.
He found a beach in Ireland that was deserted and wandered along it, watching craggy cliffs and wild seas even though it a summer. The cold and the green hills, and the peace took a little while to get into his soul but between at least touching Phoebe and the seeing the sea and breathing the salty air, surprisingly his soul was doing fairly well after yesterday, better than he would have thought. His body was still feeling the effects. He had a number of bite and scratch marks on his back and chest and neck and not all were from the soul suckers. He was very reluctant to heal them.
The beach gave him time to find his thoughts. God was it less than 12 hours ago that he had sat on another beach and made up his mind to walk away from it all. The last 24 hours seemed to be a micro spectrum of his whole relationship with Phoebe and her family, from servant to saviour, to background shadow to stud to a source of all evil. Nothing had changed.
He looked at the waves crashing on the beach thinking how beaches never really changed and then as he watched he was distracted by a noise when a small part of the high cliff cracked and slide to the beach. And in ever such a small way the beach had changed. He stared at the pile of rock on the sand and watched as the water lapped around it taking some smaller pieces out to seas. And it occurred to Cole in ever such a small way, something had changed yesterday. He had set limits, and he had said no to Phoebe. Okay she did not listen but he did say no. And she said thank you and meant it.
It was evening Irish time when Cole left the beach, although mid morning in San Francisco. He was not that far from a small town, big enough for locals not to notice he had not driven in so he shimmered over and found a pub where he had a breakfast of two Guinness beers and watched the local show in the pub .As he watched, people playing music and heard the music, he felt lonelier than he could ever recall in his whole very long life. He watched the noise and the fellowship around him and eternity seemed a very long time.
One of the local girls came around selling hand made jewellery to the tourists. He bought a cross. A present for Phoebe. He had a drawer full of presents for Phoebe He collected them from all the beaches and far places he had run to in the last year to recover from every soul destroying, painful meeting with a Halliwell where he was told he was evil, or Phoebe hated him, or lately where he had gone to avoid running to her and begging her to love him again.
It was the middle of the afternoon in San Francisco when he arrived back at his apartment. The answering machine was flashing. Phoebe!! He knew that last night, early this morning was not going to be the last he heard from Phoebe. Knowing Phoebe this was going to be a drawn out drag it down, push as far as it could, ending. There was no way known she would let it go before she took the opportunity to make sure he knew exactly why he was to blame for last night and why it meant nothing and probably would want a repeat performance just to make doubly sure he knew.
While Cole knew Phoebe well enough to know the thank you was both genuine and unconditional, he had also so often been the satisfied recipient of what he privately called Phoebe's "in heat" mood, he had no doubts regarding what last night was about. Feeling it all one more time. Scratching the itch, exorcising old demons or ex demon husbands. And he knew he was going to call back, just so Phoebe would make the whole process as difficult a possible. He had great faith in Phoebe’s ability to make things difficult.
It crossed his mind to shimmer away and not come back, then he remembered innocents who depended on him for unfinished court cases and almost convinced himself that was the reason he stayed.