A Matter of Relativity
Part 1: Home is where the Heart is
"They do not love that do
not show their love"
Paige’s new job, which she had been doing for the last two months, had not been intentional. She had felt that with the new order and Tempus keeping his distance from the Charmed Ones that the need for her to be a full time witch was passing but every time she thought about another job, sure enough another crisis happened.
It worried her though that her family were supporting her and she was still living off her savings and felt there had to be some sort of compromise. However as Phoebe knew well, jobs that had flexible hours, jobs that were concerned only with getting the work done and not the hours were hard to find.
And when she looked the part time work was not there. She tried a couple of jobs but in each one the witch work got in her way.
Then this one as a not well paid employment counsellor happened by accident. Two months ago Marly the very shy witch baby sitter had gingerly approached Paige, to nervous to ask Piper directly, if Piper would give her a reference. Paige had gulped and said in horror you aren’t leaving and Marly in a whispered voice had said no she had just seen another job offered as an irregular child minder in an area not that far away from Prescott street and she knew it might be an inconvenience but she was sure she could manage .If ..
Paige understood perfectly well. Marly low level witch that she was, was painfully shy and insecure. Paige wondered sometimes what the witch heritage did to women. In Marly’s case it had made her feel such a freak that she was literally frozen with fear at facing normal people. Marly lived in small one room apartment that had a kitchenette and tiny bathroom, in the basement of one of the houses twenty minutes from Prescott St. It was owned by a witch who was often called away and offered her the apartment in exchange for house-sitting and a little gardening and she earned what little money she got from baby sitting for Piper and helping out in emergencies in another witch's bookshop.
Marly was good in the bookshop, she hid back and did not interfere with people browsing for hours and she was so retiring never made them feel uncomfortable with the books they bought. She thought the other job child minding might be possible but she promised Paige that Melinda would always be her first consideration. Paige assured Marly that Piper would give her an outstanding reference and sent Marly away quite happy. Two days later when Paige and Piper came home after a regular demon chase Paige asked Marly how she went with a job and Marly refusing to look at her said she decided it would clash with looking after Melinda and she didn’t really need another and, and…
Paige pursed her lips:" You did not even try did you Marly" she said severely. Marly hung her head.
"That does it" said Paige "I’m taking you home to change into your best going for a job outfit and then we are going to get you that job."
"I ..I" said Marly.
"No arguments" Paige interrupted.
"Well if you’re doing that" Piper said looking at Paige’s brief hipster pants and crop top. "You better change into your best go for a job outfit so they blame Marly by association."
"Yeah. Okay" Paige said and ran upstairs after ordering Piper not to let Marly out of her sight.
" I" said Marly nervously to Piper "I don’t need a…You know what you do is so important."
"You do" said Piper" any way if you don’t go now Paige will be furious with me. Say I was selfish and talked you out of it for my sake."
Paige came downstairs twenty minutes later wearing one of her more conservative outfits she had worn to her work in social services two years ago and feeling a little odd. She bundled Marly in her car, took her home and told her exactly what to wear then drove her down to the community centre employment agency.
It was afternoon and Marly flatly refuse to go in without her. Paige went in with Marly traipsing behind. Marly nervously whispered "the job had probably gone" and Paige ordered her to go and check.
The centre wasn’t fancy. It was one large waiting room and a reception desk that had 4 other desks behind and another door off it. It looked shabby, the grey carpet was old and although the waiting chairs all matched they were all covered with a faded material that was about 20 years old, but it had a shabby cared for look. There were pictures flowers and a small coffee bar. It had a look as if some-one tried to make the best of a very tight budget. Behind the reception desk there were more with desks had mounds of paper. There were 4 large filing cabinets and a variety of not new computers on the desks. In the waiting area was a table with newspaper, large board with many pinned up cards.
It was also empty. There was a bell on the counter at the reception desk and Paige rang it and waited but no-one came. After a few minutes with Marly nervously hanging back, Paige walked through the swing gate beside reception and called out "Any-one here."
A minute later a man appeared from the closed door. He was above average height and had lank sandy hair that was receding. He wore a tweed jacket over somewhat ill fitting brown trousers and an off white shirt. The tie had a picture of Daffy Duck on it. Paige blinked. He looked at her. "You’re from central" he said "about time you got here. If they want me up there, on time then they could get you here on time."
"Where is everybody?" Paige asked.
"Personal time" he shrugged "it happens." Paige blinked and wondered what workplace let everybody have personal time at the same time.
"You’ve never filled before" he said. " Computer’s on". He indicated the one at the reception.
"Anyone rings with a job just fill in the screens. Every field" he said.
"I got rid of appointments but if any-one comes in for a job , check the personal details and if it matches., call the job straight away and see if you an send them. Manuals there if you need it. Taxi vouchers in the top drawer but try not to use them unless you have to"" he said digging in his pocket for car keys.
"What’s your name" he asked.
"Paige Matthews" she answered" and.."
"Gotta go," he said and spied Marly hovering "Marly, glad to see you in. I missed you yesterday." Marly went bright red but when he smiled she managed to get out a hello. "Paige will fix up for you to go see about the baby sitting job" he said firmly shepherding her to the counter before he left.
Paige decided she had to admire the personal skills of any man who could get within shepherding distance of Marly.
Marly came up to Paige trying to work her way through the computer which was not as easy as the man had said. "What are you doing?" Marly whispered.
"What I was told" Paige said. She found the job number with a little an read that it was casual childminding for a 7 and 4 year old boys in the bay area and that the employer was a couple who ran a shop and the wife was called in at odd times to run the business. The people had apparently offered jobs to the community centre on a regular basis. She checked the file on Marly and was surprise to see a very accurate listing and assessment of her.
Paige rang the number and a woman who did not sound very young answered was pleasant but she said "I thought it over. I don't mind helping Mark out, with jobs in the shop but I think I want more professional care for my children." Paige did some fast talking, explaining Marly was very shy and difficult to interview but very responsible and had excellent references. The woman reluctantly agreed to see Marly, immediately at Paige's insistence. Paige gave Marly the keys to her car and then rang Piper and the witch in the bookshop and told them to contact Marly's potential employer.
For the next two hours she answered phones and sent 3 people out to jobs. It was apparent that the centre ran a thriving business on matching almost seemingly unemployable people to jobs. Not many full time ones but it appeared., that Mark as all potential employers kept saying put a strong pressure on all local small and casual businesses to employ the people from the centre wherever possible. In the time Paige was there she sent a man who severely handicapped with arthritis to a job with the tourist ferry helping with information, an intellectually disabled girl to a job with a cleaners business and a man in his sixties to supervise a delivery service, all of them apparently organised through personal contacts. Each time she organised immediate interviews and contacted references herself.
Marly came back an hour later to say she had the job, shaking ands nervous and Paige understood what the possibility of a few dollars extra income meant to her. The woman who had interviewed Marly called to say if the security check was good then Marly had the job. Paige assured her there was no difficulty there. As Marly nervously prowled around the centre Paige told Marly to take her car home she would orb and waited.
The sandy haired man arrived back about 2 hours later he walked over sucking thin lips, grey eyes serious. "Who are you?" he demanded. "You aren’t from central."
" Paige Matthews" Paige said "No.'"
"What are you doing here?" he said.
"Came to help Marly get job:" Paige said "She got it."
Mark winced thinking of all the confidential material he had left accessible to a stranger. "Sorry" he said "Bad day. Central pissed me of demanding information about budgets." But for all his pleasantness he did insist on seeing some Id before he offered Paige a cup of coffee.
"Nice " she thought "but not stupid."
"You work here alone" Paige asked over coffee.
"No there are 4 of us" He sighed "But we all have pretty erratic hours and Alex's hours have been really bad because his daughter is ill."
Mark checked the records and work Paige had done "You’re not bad" he said.
Paige explained she was a qualified social worker. "Thanks," she said.
Mark called Paige a week later and offered her a job. Paige found herself becoming the fifth part time supposedly part time member of the community employment centre. Mark and the three other counsellors, Alex, a man in his early 40’s who was a highly qualified psychologist and was the person who undertook such expert profiles on clients, Ella, an ex school teacher in her fifties who had worked with difficult teenagers and Jayne, a qualified social worker were all passionately committed to finding work for people who were largely considered unemployable.
For Mark it was a mission, he believed that work was not only a right but a matter of dignity and self respect. The centre’s clients were people who for one reason or another were just not capable of getting jobs, which was not the same thing as holding down jobs. Many like Marly had problems interviewing, others lacked essential skills or experience, others had physical disabilities that made them overlooked.
It was Mark’s passion
and he inspired those people who worked with him. It became a
triumph for every job, every person whose self respect
and independence they saved. Paige got caught up in the passion of the
work. No-one at the centre questioned her work hours, all of them came and went
as they pleased. It was concession Mark made because of the poor pay and extra
work hours they put in. If she had to leave early they just smiled said see you
tomorrow when she would work longer hours and her sisters noted how happy she
was. Piper founds a down side. It seemed if she needed any staff Paige also
seemed to have the right person just waiting for a job. And there were the
disastrous words as far as the family at manor was concerned Mark says.
Paige caught up in the passion of her job enthusiasticly kept talking about it and almost every time she opened her mouth it was to say Mark says. This would have been all right if Leo had not started using it as a joke. Piper had one of her periodic everyone will be there for breakfast mornings and for about twenty minutes they all had a running commentary on Mark say this and Mark says that. Paige then ran upstairs to get her purse for work and Piper and Cole for no other reason than to have a good argument started to bicker over the exact definition of personal gain. Things start to get heated while Phoebe sighed into her coffee and Leo hid behind the paper.
When Piper insisted that the personal gain issue extended past witches Cole demanded to know what her authority was, Leo from behind the newspaper answered "Mark says."
Phoebe promptly snorted half a cup of coffee though her nose and Cole and Piper started to laugh. After that almost any argument in the manor ended with someone declaring when Paige was not around "Mark says" and it got so bad the when Paige said it Phoebe was running from the room, whole Cole kept pushing Paige to explain what Mark said which usually sent Leo running from the room too. And Paige was so lost in the enthusiasm of the new world she never noticed her families response.
The week before going to the wedding with Cole, Paige had, over a coffee break with Ella found herself moaning at her sisters making her go to the family wedding with as she described Cole her not-brother-in-law. As she told Ella that it served her not-brother-in-law right being made to go with her after the hard time he gave her dates, Mark joined them.
"Who gives your dates a hard time" he asked Paige and Paige explained what Cole was doing to her love life, somehow or other making it a joke.
"He scares them all witless" Paige said.
"How on earth does he do that?" Mark laughed.
"I don’t know" Paige said "it’s a guy thing I think. Cole’s an arsehole lawyer" she explained" he asks all these questions with a smile on his face and they run like hell."
The week after the wedding, she was working back late with Mark trying to get the paper work done that central demanded. Mark was Paige decided the most amazing boss she had ever worked for. He readily accepted that his staff tried their best, and covered when their best had some limitations, like staying back and doing all the paper work. The consequence was that his staff worshipped the ground he walked on and would do almost anything for him.
Because they worked so late, Mark offered to buy her dinner and Paige said only if they went dutch and he agreed. Over dinner he asked her about the wedding and she took great delight in telling him about Cole’s decided unhappiness at being put through the third degree by her mother’s family.
Mark asked her a little about her family, and she explained about being adopted and moving in with her sisters a few years, which he accepted calmly but he did say, so you live with your sisters and not brother in law. Paige explained one of her sisters was married and had a daughter,.
"And is your real brother in law an arsehole too?" Mark asked.
"Leo" Paige said, "No Leo’s an angel."
Paige and Mark talked over supper about music mostly and films and a couple of days later he asked if she wanted to go see one they had talked about on Saturday night, if her arsehole not brother in law had scared off all her dates. Paige sighed and said he had so she agreed to see the film as long as they went dutch. Mark was after all more than 14 years older than her and she would not like him to think going to see a movie they had talked about was anything remotely like a date.
When Paige told Piper she was going on not-a-date with Mark Piper said wistfully "Mark always strikes me as a really good name for a guy. " She smiled lost in a memory "I fell in love with a guy called Mark once" she added.
"What?"" said Paige.
"Before I met Leo" Piper explained "I mean."
"What happened?" said Paige "I know about Dan but I never thought there was anyone really serious before Leo."
"He was dead" Piper said sadly.
"He died" Paige said "that has to be the saddest thing. Magic?" she asked.
"No" answered Piper "He was dead when I met him."
"What is it with you and dead guys." Paige asked in exasperation "Actually what is it with this family and dead guys. You, Phoebe, Mum and Sam, Prue. I know they always say women fall in love with the same type of guy but isn’t the main criteria being they are dead a bit extreme, even for this family."
"Prue didn’t fall in love with a dead guy. Andy was pretty much alive when she fell in love with him as I recall" Piper said.
"When did she tell him she loved him?" Paige demanded.
Piper winced "After he was dead."
"See" said Paige in the voice of some-one who won an argument.
"Anyway Mark wasn’t anything like Leo" Piper said "He was Chinese."
"If he was dead he was like Leo" Paige answered.
Since Tempus had been coronated Source more than six months ago, the Charmed Ones and the Halliwell sisters lives had been restored to a sort of normalcy. In terms of magic at least. They fought the demons and warlocks and creatures of evil who were molesting innocents, just the age old battle between Good and Evil. In some ways to Phoebe and Piper it seemed very much like the time before Prue died, before they knew the Triad was after them, when evil was just a collection of creatures and monsters out to create havoc. But in those days they had believed in the wisdom of the Elders and had no doubts about their role and why they did things. In those days they knew they were good and they protected innocents and that was all they needed to know.
But now every action, whether destroying monsters, keeping innocents from demon plots or stopping warlocks from stealing witches powers, made the Charmed Ones careful, caused them to examine patterns of suspicious behaviour, and question motives and question their own responses. Unlike the time before they understood about upper level demons, and hierarchies and Triads and Sources.
"God we were naive then" Piper sighed.
"Stupid" said Phoebe
"Innocent" said Paige
"To bloody trusting" said Piper.
In the last months the work of the Charmed Ones had been consistent. The Source Tempus whatever he called himself was rebuilding his domain and apparently taking on the Charmed Ones was not at this stage part of his plan. To Cole’s relief because he had the decided feeling that the Great Plan did not revolve around a battle between two opposing powerful individuals or group of individuals.
"What are you saying" Piper demanded when he said as much.
"Look after innocents and don’t start trying to get individual demons because they are there" Cole answered. " It may not be me" he said "But some-one will stop it"
"And if individual demons get in the way of helping innocents" Piper demanded hands on hips.
"Get ‘em of course" Cole said exasperated.
They had enough to occupy them. There was a number of plots that made it clear Tempus had resurrected some form of brotherhood to once again finance his rule. Paige and Piper became almost paranoid about rats after three encounters with rat demons. The Charmed Ones had dealt with two business men and a number of influential officials in San Francisco who had been tempted for the price of their souls and Leo had charges in other places who reported dealing similar incidents with innocents.
Cole made a determined effort not to become involved in the business of witches. He was aware when they were fighting, he checked on their wellbeing but he kept out of the proceedings.
"If I need to know, I’ll know" he told her "I hear enough in my head without hearing things I don’t need to hear."
"What do you hear in your head?" Paige asked.
"That I ought to keep out of the business of witches," Cole retorted. "You want to know the business of guardians."
"I’d love to," said Paige.
"No you wouldn’t" Cole answered firmly.
Phoebe missed the days when she and Cole had gone to battle together, when he had fought with them. When she said that to him wistfully, he smiled the one he saved for her and put his arms around her and then answered, "There’s lots of things we do together." he said "Me doing what I did, interfering with the order. It was not wise, very dangerous in fact."
She looked up at his narrowing blue eyes. "You miss it too don’t you?" she said.
"Yeah" he answered ruefully before he kissed her.
One of the changes was the witches found themselves moving more and more out of San Francisco. Piper promised herself that one day she would visit the places where she went to chase demons and monsters just to see what they looked like. Paige or sometimes Leo orbing them around the world was not without its hazards. They nearly had a disaster in a small village in France when Phoebe and Paige misunderstood what the word interdire meant and came with an orb’s breath of being squashed under a very fast moving train.
The girls muttered and discussed the personal gain issues of using a variation of the smart spell that Phoebe had once used to learn other languages very quickly. When they decided that it was personal gain, Cole who had been half listening to the discussion while he worked on a case summing up, without lifting his eyes from his computer screen flicked his finger and all three girls jerked.
"What the hell did you do?" Phoebe demanded.
"Now you’ll know when signs tell you not to cross railway tracks because fast trains come by" Cole answered not looking up.
"That’s personal gain," Piper protested.
"I don’t have a problem with personal gain" Cole answered" I’m not into necrophilia. I like Phoebe alive and kicking"
Phoebe stalked over to him and stood glaring down. He reached up pulled her onto his lap and as she pretended to struggle he took what he wanted. "Definitely I like alive and kicking" he said smiling at her.
Piper and Paige exchanged disgusted glances.
After the next demon attack Piper came charging back at Cole. " What you did" she yelled "I can understand demonese."
"Of course, I used a demonic power" Cole answered in the same voice he used to talk to Melinda. "But you can understand whitelightese too so it all balances out."
There were also a number of random incidents where artefacts from museums and collections all over the world disappeared and some of them very odd things and not very valuable from antique shops and magic places. There were also reports of missing manuscripts and books and all of them with occult connection. Paige finally began pulling out some of Prue’s old books and material from her days as a museum assessor and frowned.
The girls were watching the late news one night, while Cole read and Leo who had returned from a very trying few days with some charges who argued with every piece of advice the Elders sent them, sometimes justified in Leo's view, was asleep in one of the chairs. Both Piper and Phoebe gasped eek as a reporter interviewed the director of a San Francisco museum that had just been robbed of some ceremonial swords that the director considered were highly significant items from ancient demonic worship.
"Demons I’ll bet" said Paige half watching. "What’s wrong with you two" she asked as Phoebe and Piper both snorted at the screen.
"That’s Roger" Piper said her lip curling.
"Whose Roger?" Paige asked.
"Prue’s bastard ex- fiancé" Phoebe answered from the sofa curled up with her head on Cole’s lap.
"God" said Piper sitting up straight "I just realised, if Roger had been around when we started on the Charmed One thing, we could have been stuck living with Roger."
"You mean I’m not the worst possible choice you could have had as an in law?" Cole asked without looking up from the book he was reading.
"Hmm " said Piper slyly mimicking balancing with her hands "Demon arsehole against chauvinistic pig arsehole. Its all relative isn’t it?"
"Ha" said Cole still not looking up.
"Nah wouldn’t have happened," said Phoebe " Prue would have killed him."
"I wonder why demons are so into artefacts and manuscripts at the moment" Piper mused.
"Because there is some big demon conspiracy or plot happening" Phoebe the truth speaker answered carelessly without really considering what she was saying.
Paige and Piper stared at her "Damn you Phoebe" said Piper.
"What did I say?" Phoebe asked confused.
"The truth damn you, honey" said Paige.
"What sort of plot" Paige muttered, then she said leant over to whack Leo and wake him up.
"What?" he muttered, not really waking up.
"Phoebe thinks all these demon artefacts being pinched are a demon plot" Paige told him "You should go up and ask the Elders what they think."
"They’ll think the same in the morning" Leo murmured not opening his eyes.
"It’s a demon plot Leo" Paige said.
"Its always a demon plot" Leo answered refusing to open his eyes and refusing to move.
That night as Phoebe came to the door of the ensuite still cleaning her teeth. She watched Cole turn the bed down. "You don't think now we’re just, just happy we’re getting boring" she asked apprehensively. "You know we used to have a drama a night between us. Now we just slouch about the house and agree. And we used to find out about a demon plots when really interesting magical creatures orbed appeared and then we rushed out to help them. Now we find out about them from TV and we say we can wait until tomorrow to fix them."
"We’re not getting boring" Cole said but he didn’t sound certain "we’re just happy."
"That’s what I mean" Phoebe said "Leo and Piper are happy and she makes clothes for Melinda and cooks and Leo sleeps."
"We aren’t Leo and Piper " Cole said but he didn‘t sound certain.
"No" Phoebe called from the ensuite "Its just a stage, we’ll find a way to make some drama." She came from the bathroom "Leo is really disillusioned with the Elders isn’t he."
"It’s hard part of growing up." Cole said quietly" Finding out the grownups make mistakes or the Elders."
"That almost sounds bitchy" Phoebe said throwing herself on the bed.
"It wasn’t meant to be" Cole answered joining her.
Leo over the past months had as Cole well knew, was the one who was the most disillusioned by the events of the last few years. For nearly sixty years he had followed a calling and a belief in the importance of that calling. He had abided by the wisdom of the Elders and if over the last years he had acted outside that judgment, he had never before questioned the intent of that judgment, the inherent goodness of that judgment, and for some time after the Grimoire had been returned he had genuinely questioned his calling.
He tried talking to Piper about it but she was inclined these days to just say stuff the Elders and doubt everything they said and did not quite understand that Leo was questioning his own calling not just the Elders.
Leo under the pretext of escaping the female environment dragged Cole off for a beer to talk about it. Piper and Phoebe never understood why male needed to leave the house to drink and talk.
"There’s beer in the house," Piper said as she handed them glasses. "Anyway you never talk. You just sit there and drink and grunt occasionally."
Neither were capable of explaining that the joys of drinking beer from a bottle without having a glass put down in front of them, long silences and answers that were just nods or one word yeahs .Cole could not lie and tell Phoebe he and Leo just needed a break from women so Leo lied to both Piper and Phoebe and said they were discussing magic outside the earth realm, not witch's business.
Cole when Leo said he had a lot of doubts about his calling shrugged "Dunno" he said" Ask Francesca, Mrs Rinaldi"
"She’s a Great Power" Leo said. "I just can’t approach her and ask."
"She’s just my whitelighter" said Cole primly. "Only don’t do the big I nearly fell to evil confession thing if you talk to her."
"Why do you feel I need to be protected from her judgement?" Leo asked huffily.
"It isn’t you" Cole answered seriously "its her. She can guide. She doesn’t need to have to be your conscience. It’s not fair to her."
"When did you learn that sort of wisdom?" Leo asked.
Cole grinned and then shrugged, "This bloody voice in my head" he said "I know off the spirit winds and I hate it. Ever since they dragged yes out of me" Cole was still not up to believing he said yes by his own accord, "I hear things I know are right and it pisses me off."
After a few minutes silence Cole asked, " by the way did you know that Margaret thinks our communal living arrangements extend to something more than a shared bank account for housekeeping expenses."
"What?" said Leo.
"She thinks its shared beds," Cole told Leo who gagged mid swallow and promptly spat beer over himself the table and Cole.
"That's what I did when I heard her." Cole said.
It took Cole about two days to contact Francesca. He called her every time he remembered or Leo’s taut face reminded him but it was late at night when he was working fixing up contracts that Arlene had stuffed up typing when Francesca arrived.
"I still want to strangle Arlene:" Cole said.
Francesca seated herself on his sofa. She was wearing her whitelighter robe and her pock marked face contorted into a frown and Cole suddenly realised how much he missed her nagging at him daily.
Francesca said "It wouldn’t be .. good. "
"I want to do it so badly" Cole said coming around and sitting on the edge of his desk.
"Resist the temptation" Francesca advised.
"Being a guardian sucks" Cole grizzled sulkily. "I need a favour" he said .
"And the word please fell out of your vocabulary when?" Francesca asked smarmily.
Cole suddenly grinned and she laughed "What?" she said.
"Nothing" he replied. "My brother... Leo seems to be having some problems along with disillusionment about the Elders" Cole said "he won’t ask your advice, seems to think he would be out of line, to ask some..a power of your unm eminence. Will you talk to him?"
Francesca just looked at Cole. She nodded "Yes."
"You took a while to come when I called" Cole said.
"I knew it wasn’t urgent" she smiled. "I had some pressing problems."
"No crisis of good and evil." Cole smiled. "I didn’t feel anything. Do you know how much I hate feeling this stuff" he said.
"You’ll get used to it" Francesca answered unsympathetically. "Guardian problems" she said sadly "Durand. "
"I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Durand" Cole answered mimicking her voice.
"It isn’t a pleasure," Francesca said. " Ever come across wood nymphs."
"No" Cole said, "They tend to avoid demons. "
"If they didn’t, they will from now on," Francesca said "and Guardians."
"Oh" said Cole.
"There were some problems with demons using mortals to destroy their forests, their realm almost" she said.
"Trees are a touchy subject with some mortals" Cole replied like a good little boy. "Demons know that and use it. I would have… once."
‘Yes" sighed Francesca "well those who fail to understand subtlety, can often be persuaded by the force of Durand’s ..er…personality. He understands right and wrong," she said.
"So the balance is preserved" Cole smiled. "What’s the problem?"
"If you haven’t seen a wood nymph" Francesca said, "They live naked, very ethereal, very pretty, very female," she sighed again" Durand commented."
"Oh" said Cole.
"The nymphs were offended," Francesca said. "One who had observed mortals these last years told Durand he was a chauvinistic pig."
"He was offended?" Cole asked trying not to laugh at Francesca’s distress.
"No" said Francesca "he was encouraged to tell them about a demonic experience involving a succubus and a pig."
"Oh" said Cole.
"I have existed a long time" Francesca said" I could have happily existed a lot longer without hearing stories from mortified wood nymphs about demonic bestiality, succubus and pigs" She glared at Cole as he started to laugh. " I used to like pork," she said
"Come to supper one night and I’ll make sure pork is off the menu" Cole said dissolving.
’Its not funny" Francesca said severely and then she started to laugh. "You have no idea how offended an offended wood nymph can be," she said "I’ll talk to Leo" she said "Not as a favour as a responsibility."
Phoebe was furious with Cole that night when he told her about Francesca and Durand because he had not actually got Francesca to tell him what the story about the demon and the pig really was.