A Matter of Relativity
Part 2: Shame and Scandal in the Family
"They do not love that do
not show their love"
The situation between Paige and Phoebe became so frosty for a few days, that Phoebe started going to work with Cole just to get away from Paige, to Arlene's not hidden irritation. Phoebe relieved some of her boredom by baiting Arlene at every turn. When Phoebe was on one of her frequent bathroom visits Arlene with a venom that could have been demonic told Cole, Phoebe would be sorry, they would both be sorry. She was not quite brave enough to say it in front of Phoebe.
Finally Piper who had had quite enough of family dramas lost it completely with both her sisters and told them both her sister's they were going to make nice or else. That the premonition was not a vision, it was a warning to change things.
"If Cole says Whosit isn't evil then I guess its not" Paige muttered grudgingly.
"And me" said Phoebe challenging.
Paige turned her nose up "I guess not" she said. "But you were last time, and I knew it when no-one else did."
Cole was somewhat relieved to get to work and leave Piper to deal with her sisters. At least until he was called into Jackman's office where Kline was sitting in the usual chair to the side.
"Arlene said I did what " Cole said in total belief when Jackman repeated what he had just said.
Kline snorted" Are you trying to say Arlene is lying?" he said.
Cole had a vision of Arlene dancing around a demon stone, pendulous naked breasts swinging out of rhythm to her movement "She'd have to be wouldn't she" he said slowly "If I wanted to grab a cow's tits I know where there's a dairy farm close to San Francisco.'" The demon in him enjoyed the sheer disgust in Kline and Jackman's expression.
"You may think winning that case in the higher court's gives you some sort of impunity against inappropriate behaviour but it does not." Jackman said prissily
Suddenly it wasn't worth it. Cole just shook his head. After everything, despite four cases scheduled, despite Benedict Haslett forthcoming trial despite, having recently accepted two pro bono cases, he remembered what Francesca had told him. "You always had to leave some things unfinished."
"Are you saying that you're prepared to fire me for having seen Arlene's tits" he asked calmly.
"Such behaviour would be totally beyond what could be accepted in this firm": Jackman said.
"Well" Cole drawled "I guess I have to admit it. I've seen Arlene's tits, and they aren't that good but at least I know I'm leaving for a good reason."
Jackman suddenly remembering the five cases he had taken on the strength of Cole's performance in the disabled appeal said, "Consider this was a warning"
"No I consider this was a threat, " Cole answered "consider it accepted. Sue me if you want but I agree there are some things that are totally unacceptable" and he started laughing at the wonderful feeling of freedom, regardless of consequences. "Good luck Henry," he said to Kline "remember seeing Arlene's tits can get you fired."
He left leaving Jackman and Kline gasping and not certain what happened.
He went back to his office and ignored Arlene skulking in the corner of the outer office. He went into the inner one and with great deliberation started pulling his personal belongings out of his desk, surprised how little there was. The notebook with its files was his, the paper work on 5 prop bono cases he happily appropriated, regardless of the ethics and some photos of family, a diary and a few law books, all that to show for more than two years.
Cole went into outer office carrying his bag that had taken him five minutes to pack, while partners were still probably not believing he meant to walk out. Arlene looked at him recognising almost to late that the dancing light she saw in those intense blue eyes was something beyond her comprehension. She cowered in fear.
"Its okay" Cole said in his normal voice and frightened the hell out of her "I mean it, thanks. You finally got me to do what I should have done months ago. Realise it just isn't worth working here."
"You don't blame me" she whispered terrified for no reason other than an unreasonable fear she was confronting something beyond her understanding.
"I'm not blaming you" Cole said, pleasantly and she reacted as if he had produced a fireball "I'm thanking you. I'm grateful. So you understand, when I tell you those friends you are playing with in the forests at night are very dangerous, its for your own good."
"How did you, I mean, how could you, I mean" She looked into smiling cynical and amused blue eyes, Arlene flushed and whispered terrified "Its" she said not denying, "Its .I wouldn't do anything…b.bad".
"Trust me," said Cole "Its dangerous, not because its a game but because it isn't, you're playing with some very dangerous beings and you’re playing with your immortal soul."
"What do you know: about that?" Arlene whispered gasping.
"I used to be the devil " Cole, answered with a smile deliberately focusing on the breasts that were jutted at such an angle they most have been supported by understeel rather than underwire. " I have to tell you Arlene," he said with his best demonic smile "You picked the wrong reason. I'm not interested. I've got bloody fantastic waiting for me at home."
The Manor seemed very quiet because only Piper and Phoebe were home. Piper was in the kitchen and Phoebe sat at the table in Cole's corner of the conservatory and slammed the top to her notebook shut. She had finished her column once again nearly 6 weeks ahead of deadline. She had decide to be responsible and keep the column ahead so when Whosit was born, she could devote the weeks to her baby without worrying about outside things like work contacts. Phoebe was feeling seriously aggrieved. In fact she was feeling downright irritated.
Since Cole brought her back to get manor, most of the time it seemed to her Cole and Piper and Leo had decided to treat her as an incubator or an idiot. And Paige was just plain suspicious, whatever Cole said, she and Whosit were evil. Phoebe could understand that they were cross at her and was even prepared to do penance for the problems she caused but she at least it could have got better and it was getting worse.
She had tried protesting to Piper as Piper washed up, by demanding they stop treating her like an idiot, she had a brain and they should recognise it. Piper had drawled that she needed to see evidence of Phoebe using her brain before anyone believed she had one. Phoebe flounced out of the kitchen to complain to Leo who was trying to weather seal the conservatory windows. "Listen to Piper" he said having had enough of dealing with Phoebe's moods to last him several lifetimes.
And at supper last night, Phoebe fumed when she thought about it. Piper had served fruit and custard as a desert. Melinda had taken one look at it and turned up her nose and Piper asked resigned "Melinda do you want Jell-O" and received a big smile from her daughter. When Phoebe had looked at the fruit and custard and said no thanks Piper firmly told her to eat it, it was good for her. Phoebe had appealed to Cole who was in conversation with Leo and just paused to say "Do as Piper tells you" and went back to talking Leo. Phoebe in fury realised in the Halliwell household a toddler got more choices than she did.
She sat staring at the closed notebooks working herself into a fury at the way her family was treating her and feeling like the walls of the manor were closing in on her. She had screamed last night that they were going to drive her to evil. Paige had drawn her breath in quickly. Leo without looking up from the carpentry book he was reading said "Don't be ridiculous" and Cole and Piper had exchanged glances. That had really infuriated Phoebe. Because since she came home she knew something had changed and it finally dawned on her it was that Cole was no longer the outsider who joined the family because he was her partner. He was part of the family with or without her and it should have pleased her but part of her was really, really annoyed about it because it made her feel like the outsider.
Alone with him that night, she had tried to start a fight with him over it but he had apparently decided to humour her mood changes and it was only when she yelled he was treating her like Melinda, and he gave her an exasperated wack across her behind and proceeded to treat her not like he treated Melinda that she conceded.
"You don't think I'm being moody because of some evil influence" she whispered snuggled against him afterward.
"Phoebe " he said in a strained patient voice "trust me there isn't evil in you. I think you're being moody because.."
"I'm pregnant" Phoebe sighed.
"Because you're Phoebe," he sighed "you do know I happen to love Phoebe beyond.., forever, more than…"
"I know," she said.
"Good" he said, "Come her" and she snuggled up.
Phoebe sighed. It could be worse, a great deal worse. She could be without Cole, but she was still bored out of her brain stuck in the house. She heard the phone ring and Piper came in and said she was going to the club to because one of the suppliers was giving trouble. She told Phoebe not to leave the house and to look after Melinda. Piper left 20 minutes late and Phoebe eyed Melinda playing farmyards n the conservatory. "I love you sweetie," she told Melinda "but just this once Aunt Phoebe and Whosit have somewhere else to be."
She called Marly and when Marly said she could be there in half an hour. Phoebe picked up Melinda to keep her in sight while she showered and changed for an illicit morning shopping. She left Melinda with Marly and slipped out the house feeling a little like she had when she was12 year old and wagged school.
"Honest" she told Whosit "If they didn't want me to leave the house, they shouldn't have told me not to." She promised Whosit to be a responsible Mommy when Whosit was born but just for the moment she was going to be Phoebe and not a Mommy and Whosit promised not to tell Daddy.
Phoebe walked into the lingerie store, or at least she waddled. It did not seem fair to her. At five months Piper had barely shown, at five months she was the size of a house. Bu the time she was seven months she was not even going to be able to see reach around he belly and she had long since lost sight of her toes.
She began looking at the lingerie. She would have liked to sneak over and look at baby things but as she had promised Cole that was something they could do together. As the subject of what he had missed out was very touchy with him, she, with a real effort refrained from looking, without him. Besides which, in a house that had only recently had a baby, and in a family where things had been handed down for generations, there was not much to buy. With prams, pushers and a supply of baby clothes, it was only going to be specials for Whosit. Poor kid stuck for a good part of its life with Melinda hand me downs. Phoebe who had been a younger sister commiserated with her baby. She hoped Whosit was a boy because at least there would be a limit to Melinda's and-me-downs.
Quite a number of women seeing the belly, openly stared at her sorting through sexy lingerie, and the collection she was putting in her hand. Phoebe scowled. Piper had bitterly complained about people touching her belly and she now understood why. And even strangers had done so. She was starting to feel like a belly attached to Phoebe. She inspected thongs and small lacy bras, sadly as a matter of necessity, more or less out of contention except maybe for Cole's amusement. A small dark women well into her fifties came up to her, lightly touched the belly and said smiling "Lucky girl." Phoebe sighed but smiled.
She found a very sexy very stretchy lace teddy that looked like it could have some possibilities and a short puce coloured almost sheer nightdress that would do at stretch. Garter belts seemed out for a while.
She took her selection toward the counter, and stopped to look at some maternity silk pyjamas with a tight stretch top. She was vaguely aware of a tall attractive blond woman with a peekaboo hairstyle beside her. The woman moved toward Phoebe, holding out pink maternity pyjamas. "What do you think?" she asked
"Well" said Phoebe politely, "Not my taste."
The woman sighed "No" she said hanging the pyjamas up in the wrong place. "I thought my daughter in law might like them but if you don't she won't." she turned to Phoebe. "How far are you" she asked.
Phoebe took a deep breath "Five months" she said trying to move off.
"Only five months" ‘ said the woman " Oh my goodness is that all" and put her hand out toward Phoebe's belly. Phoebe started to say don’t touch when the woman firmly caught her arm, and Phoebe found herself lost in a shimmer and this one had none of the protection or security she felt when she was with Cole.
Cole shimmered into the Manor, having left the Mercedes at Jackman, Kline and Carter hall and called " hey"
When he heard only a whispered answer he went into the kitchen and found Marly
"Where's Phoebe" Cole demanded.
"She went shopping " Marly whispered.
"Damn her." He said and dialled her cell. There was no answer. He called the club and Leo said he would orb check if the Elder's had a sense on Phoebe. Leo enjoyed demonstrating to the Elders that they no longer had control of him.
He orbed into the kitchen ten minutes later and said concerned " She's off their radar. She's not dead Cole " he said as he saw Cole's face.
Piper arrived home ten minutes later and tried scrying the realm map and the world map but had no luck.
"Which means she can only be up there or the Underworld." Piper said.
Cole roared for Francesca who must have understood the urgency because she appeared seconds later and in the face of his angry disbelief calmly said Phoebe was not up there. She orbed away and came back half an hour later and told them that Arturo was adamant there were no innocents in the Underworld and he was fairly certain she was not in any of the above word realms either.
"Can you feel anything on the spirit winds about innocents, being in the Underworld?" Francesca asked Cole gently when he demanded to know if she had misunderstood Arturo. Cole lips pressed together shook his head. "I'll keep looking" Francesca said and orbed.
Paige arrived home to see Leo sitting at the kitchen table worried and concerned, Piper leaning against the kitchen sink legs crossed, uncertainty on her face Cole pacing the floor.
"If she isn't 'up there " he said "and she isn't in any of the realms, and there aren't any innocents in the Underworld, where the hell is she?"
Paige walked into the kitchen. "She's in the Underworld Cole, " she said. "Only Phoebe isn't an innocent and neither is the kid."
"Phoebe isn't evil, and neither is Whosit " Cole said "I'd know" and he looked around at the concerned and dubious faces surrounding him.
"Would you know Cole" Paige asked "Things have worked out pretty good for it so far. We've seen magic babies, good and bad use their mother's power, combine it with their own. Look at Melinda, look at Phoebe's last pregnancy. Maybe this one used Phoebe's innocence to protect itself. Didn't Francesca say if it was evil it would find a way …home. Seems to me that's what it's done. I mean first time its left alone, Phoebe's left alone and it makes it to the Underworld."
"You don't know she's there " Cole said angry.
"Don't I" said Paige.
Cole shook his head "That was Phoebe being bored" he said. "You know what she's like, tell her she has to stay in and she'll immediately want to get out no matter the risk." He looked around. "If she's there, Elisheeva, my mother caught her." He said. "and I need to get Phoebe and ..Whosit out of there."
"Catch her or find her." Paige demanded "Find her with some help. That demon seems to have a magnet for her. And it seemed damned friendly with her when we vanquished Taskeel. And Phoebe didn't even try and fight it. Don't look at me like that Cole. I was right about the last kid she carried."
Piper sighed "Cole, Phoebe did keep talking about going evil through boredom."
Leo said. "She kept saying the safest place for the baby was the Underworld. Maybe it was the baby talking, trying to find a way there. It wasn't strong enough to hide her innocence the first time I took her down there, a Guardian nearly found us. So she, so it, found a place to hide from you to stop you finding out the baby was evil and reason to get out of 'up there' when it became dangerous, to an evil baby."
"Innocent people do and say very stupid things, because they don't believe any-one would not think them innocent " Cole the lawyer. "Phoebe's just being Phoebe, contrary enjoying herself making everything difficult,making a drama out of things."
"And not innocent people do and say things because they're not innocent" Piper replied. "Phoebe said she would do anything to protect her baby. Maybe that includes turning evil."
"Neither of them are evil," Cole said certain.
"Maybe you just don't want them to be Cole" Piper said." You just don't want to believe you could father anything evil, and the kid and Phoebe, evil Phoebe played on it."
Phoebe awoke lying on a bed that just smelt of evil, like the air she was breathing. As she fought down nausea she realised she had fainted from shock and fright, or just because her body could not stand the evil of the shimmer. She knew where she was as she recognised the green and ochre rock caverns lit by strange red light. She was in a living nightmare, the Underworld where upper level demons ruled. She was back, back when she had reigned as queen, back where evil had controlled what she did and who she was.
Phoebe slowly sat up; she was not bound for a second she wondered why until she felt a choking sensation around her neck. She put her hand up to feel a metal collar with three she thought, skull pendants attached.
"They're Medusa pendants" said the demon Elisheeva standing at the end of the bed. The demon was in her human form, wearing a long black robe with a deep v neck revealing very pert breasts, her peak a boo blond-hair falling over brilliant blue eyes that seemed to mock the blue eyes Phoebe loved so. Elisheeva smiled gently amused laughing. "They're masks, absorb evil souls and use them to mask innocents. So no nasty ogres and demons looking to advance themselves up the hierarchy can complain about breaking the rules bringing innocents to the underworld. Its taken nearly every evil soul I've collected in the last six months to hide you but it will be worth it to have my grandchild with me. The ogres and that useless son of mine can't find you while you're wearing it chickadee." Elisabeth smiled "Be a good little chickadee and just accept you're stuck with your mamma in law."
Phoebe gulped "What do you want " she said in fear remembering the Seer tearing the spawn of the source from her belly.
"Chickadee I want my grand child," Elisabeth said, " I want the child of my son. I want to know that everything I did for him wasn't lost. I want to know that what I am is not lost. I want to use the power my grandchild will get from its witchy mamma to return a few favours to some demons I know."
"What d you want with me" Phoebe asked moving to sit on the edge of the bed, eyeing he surroundings, checking her choices.
"To incubate my grandchild of course chickadee, " Elisabeth answered smiling. Phoebe already decided she hated that smile. "I'm not that hag the Seer. You think I want to incubate my own grandchild." She laughed and it sounded a little like Cole and Phoebe wondered why the laughter seemed so evil coming from Elisheeva." Good has a very peculiar idea of morality" she said "and what is right. Always leaves me bewildered " said Elisabeth with a knowing smile and a toss of her hair, cheeky, sexy, boobs bouncing. Not your average grandmother.
Phoebe thought of her choices and her chances to protect herself and Whosit "What make you think I'm good " she said.
"You're a Charmed One" Elisabeth replied.
"I used to be the queen of hell until Cole let my sisters vanquish him:" Phoebe said taking a chance. "I'd rather be a queen than a servant" and she smiled, the smile of some-one who knew evil.
"Good try chickadee' Elisabeth said. "We'll see what you really want. But for the moment my little Quillon, it means fearsome" Elisabeth explained "needs an incubator and you're it" Elisabeth looked Phoebe up and down" What does he see in you. You're nothing like me" Elisabeth sighed, "Sometime I think I should have name Belthezor Cameron" she said sadly " It means bewitched." She explained to Phoebe.
"Screwing is one way to power" Phoebe replied trying to look unconcerned, frantically trying to remember everything Cole had told her about demons and their desires.
"Good try chickadee," said Elisabeth. "Didn't you help vanquish him? That upset me you know, when I heard."
"Cole wasn't any use any longer" Phoebe said with a knowing smile "but then he came back, just as bewitched and I thought there was something in it for me. I got your grandchild. This one's of use to me" She made a big sigh. "It better be after what I had to go through to get it" Phoebe smirked " Now we need to discuss what I want for incubating your grandchild": Phoebe said.
"Very good try chickadee," said Elisabeth
"My baby has a heritage of evil"; Phoebe pushed " A right to the power. Its Daddy was after all the Source. Not a very good one granted but nevertheless, we all want our children to be an improvement on their parents." She looked at the cynical smile on Elisabeth's face "Do you think I want my child treated like some sort of mongrel in earth realms when it could rule down here. With a little help from you and me."
"Very good, chickadee," said Elisabeth considering the possibilities. She bent down to pinch Phoebe's chin, " Sweetie I'm starting to understand why you bewitched my boy. Understand maybe don’t like. Poor chickadee." She said and shimmered.
"Well if it wasn't the archangel Gabriel it wasn't a bad imitation of a demon" Phoebe told Whosit. She lay exhausted back on the bed. She put her hand on he belly " It's not fair: Whosit " she whimpered. "Other people say they get stuck with the mother in law from hell. Huh. What do they know?" She took a deep breath trying to keep calm for her baby's sake. "I swear," she told Whosit "When this is over, if Daddy ever makes one complaint about in-law's I will make his life hell."
Phoebe swallowed "Daddy's gonna be really pissed we went shopping" she told Whosit "I'll hear about it for the next fifty years" Phoebe thought about all her promises to Cole "Maybe the next thousand. Daddy can be a real arsehole" and then said certainty in her voice, no doubts at all "He’ll come Whosit, don't you worry. We're in no trouble. All we have to do is keep safe. He’ll find a way, we can trust him."
You are the air I need to breathe
the river of life inside of me
you are the half that made me whole
you are the anchor of my soul
and you are strong when I am weak
you are the words when I can't speak
you never fail to see me through
that's the love I found in you
you are my shelter from the storm
you are the road that leads me home
and baby with you here face to face
Oh I know I've found my place
and you are strong when I am weak
you are the words when I can't speak
you never fail to see me through
that's the love I found in you
and once in every life
you find the one that's right
and when you say forever it's true
That's the love I found in youYou are strong when I am weak you are the words when I can't speak you never fail to see me through That's the love I found in you
"The Love I Found In You" Jim Brickman