A Matter of Relativity
Part 4: All truth is relative
"They do not love that do
not show their love"
Part 4 of 4 Parts
Cole and Phoebe were still laughing when Cole shimmered back into the kitchen.
"Congratulations" Piper said casually as Cole shimmered in. "Enjoy yourselves," she asked sarcastically seeing they were still laughing
"Are you two married?" Leo asked curiously as he noticed the absence of wedding rings."
"No," said Phoebe "I changed my mind."
"And I'm out $225," Cole muttered "And no bride to show for it."
Leo and Piper exchanged glances.
"I just decided," said Phoebe glancing at Cole "I.. we are not running away to get married." She bit her lip as his blue eyes narrowed.
"Good," said Leo.
Phoebe walked over to the year planner they kept on the freezer. Piper with her usual efficiency had the planner already marked with birthdays and tax payment dates.
Phoebe tapped it. "I want it to have a point," she said "I want to get married on that day," she said pointing at the anniversary of their last wedding, "in a church with family and friends there and an organ playing" she said. "I want to walk down the aisle with Dad and I want to enjoy it. I want to be happy. Any problems," she said to Cole.
He walked over to her and put his arm around. He smiled gently "I'm flattered" he said, "But baby that's not a good idea."
"Yes it is," she said "Its the best idea I've had. That day was supposed to be the happiest of my life and the last two years, on that day, all I've remembered is how miserable I was because of it. I'm..we're taking it back. I am not going spend the next fifty years being miserable when that day comes around. I am going to be happy on that day."
"Baby" he said "I understand I really do, but you'll be 2 weeks off giving birth on that day."
"Phoebe" said Piper you can't walk down the aisle 8 and a 1/2 months pregnant. "
"You just watch me," Phoebe said.
Leo sighed" Look " he said into the phone. It's like this Joe. All the renovations at P3 are going to be finished in two weeks or the next person you speak to will be my wife." He raised his eyes to Piper. "I thought that might be the case" he said and Piper stuck out her tongue.
"It appears P3 will be completely renovation free for your wedding," he smiled at Phoebe.
'"Good. Reception okay," said Paige marking off her list. Paige had spent a teary and comforting ten days with Beryl. When she came home to find another wedding planned she had about two seconds of almost resentment flash in her eyes and then decided she was taking over as planner in chief of the wedding.
"I'll mail the wedding invitations out today," she promised.
The guest list had caused no end of arguments in the last 3 days. Firstly because Cole had been fairly insistent he was paying for the wedding, and said he could not afford to feed more than fifty guests. Phoebe who knew how much he was spending on setting up his own practice, and thanks to Paige's snooping six months ago, knew that almost everything else he had was in a trust fund for her, said she would pay.
"No you're not," Cole muttered stung.
"We're getting married. What's mine is yours, what does it matter," she said.
"It matters after last time" he said getting the stubborn expression on his face.
So they compromised on a 150 odd guests and a simple buffet dinner at P3, and a band who felt they owed the Charmed Ones a favour for getting rid of their demon manager and Phoebe slipped the rest of the money into Paige's account without telling Cole. Fortunately for both of them Cole had no real understanding how much a wedding cost.
Even then who was coming became a problem.
"Aunt Beryl is coming," said Paige "she wouldn't miss it."
"We have to have all eighty people who were at the last one." said Piper joining in.
"Well the damned Seer won't be there" said Phoebe " and" she said "that reminds me. I better know every-one on your side of the church," she told Cole.
"Who the hell do I know that you don't?" said Cole.
"I think that's what she means," Piper explained.
"Where do Is send Francesca's invitation?" asked Paige ."Do I put 'and friend' on it."
"She already accepted," Cole sighed.
"You asked her?" said Piper.
"No" said Cole. "She just accepted without me asking. Its seems she enjoys weddings nearly as much as she enjoys Christmas."
Which was apparently true because from the time Francesca found out about the wedding, she was popping in and out with exceptionally good advice about organising things and seemed extraordinarily happy about the whole thing.
"I wonder what the chances are" Leo said "that anything in our lives can be done without drama, no big deal, just normal ordinary” he grinned “ Like other people have, weddings that aren't life and death, just ordinary every day drama."
Phoebe giggled “Us, we can't have a wedding, a birth, a romance without it becoming life and death.” She caught Paige's expression. “Honey” she said.
“But Mark was ordinary” Paige answered “ and she walked over and stood between Leo and Cole putting her arms around them “Anyway“ she said a little teary “being dead doesn't mean forever."
”Ordinary it will be," said Phoebe.
"Just a normal little family" said Piper as she started to stack dishes into the washer. She turned to run water into the sink and put the glasses in the sink. Leo picked up the coffee pot and poured Cole and him another coffee. "Two moms, two dads, sister and three kids."
“Why is it so important that it's normal?" Paige asked.
Leo still holding the coffee pot shrugged. “I don't know just once I would love a family moment without magic.” He laughed, “Never happen.”
"Two kids," said Phoebe laughing.
Piper slammed the door of the dish washer shut. She reached up to the cupboard and put the jelly and the peanut butter away, then she turned and lent against the bench wiping her hands on the tea towel. “Three kids " she said "I'm pregnant “ she added as if it needed explanation.
The silence that greeted her was shattered by Leo dropping the coffee pot.
The four of them stared at her
“I missed a period” she said, “I took a test. I'm pregnant. No drama. Leo “ she said "Leo?”
"Wow" said Cole "Sam was right. Whitelighters really have knocked witches up three times. And they said once was impossible."
Cole and Paige and Phoebe were sitting around having lunch the next day. Phoebe was trying to balance not very successfully on a stool and drinking fruit tea and sniffing with longing the smell of Cole's coffee.
Melinda was on the floor playing rock the baby with one of her dolls. Whosit's impending arrival and its effect on Melinda had nearly become a serious issue for Piper and Phoebe. When everything settled down, Phoebe very strongly felt Melinda ought to be involved in planning for the new baby but was terrified Piper would think she was interfering with raising Melinda. So when Piper was not a around Phoebe happily encouraged the little girl to help sort baby clothes and made promises of playing with a new baby cousin.
Piper and Leo thought that Melinda should be involved with the new baby's arrival but felt very awkward about insisting Melinda was included in planing for Whosit and somewhat helpless that their daughter's well being depended on her aunt and uncle being willing to share their child.
Piper finally caught Phoebe teaching Melinda to rock a doll like a baby. It should have been one of the family's happiest moments but it erupted into a full scale row between Cole and Leo and Piper because Cole was bitterly hurt that Piper and Leo would think he and Phoebe would not be concerned about Melinda's welfare.
As it went ten rounds, no rules involved and every insult between the three of them was revisited, Paige picked up Melinda. "Want chocolate ice cream at Ozzie's" she asked Melinda who nodded happily "What about you?" Paige asked Phoebe.
"With triple choc drops," said Phoebe and held out her hand so Paige could orb them.
Paige smiled at the memory as she watched Melinda play with her doll. "Hope Leo and Piper are enjoying themselves" Paige said drinking coffee and ignoring Phoebe's longing looks.
"Piper loves Paris," said Phoebe "a nice romantic night in Paris is just the thing to celebrate the new baby."
"What could be more perfect?" sighed Paige.
Almost on cue there was the sound of orbs and Piper and Leo appeared.
"I'm going to be sick," Piper screamed. "I'm so disgusted. It was so .. I don't see how you could let it happen " she yelled at Leo who was looking contrite and confused.
"I don't see," he started to say.
"You did see and you didn't do ANYTHING," Piper screamed as the three in the kitchen stared.
"Piper honey" Leo started to say.
"What happened?" Phoebe asked stunned.
"You tell them," Piper screamed at Leo "You just tell them."
"Umm "Leo started to say "we um."
"We met Durand," Piper said "Or at least he met us. No Cole" she snarled before he could say it " it wasn't a pleasure."
Cole shut his mouth before the words came out.
"What was he like?" Paige asked curiously.
"He was DISGUSTING," Piper screamed.
"Oh " said Cole and Phoebe and Paige,
"He learnt how to behave 700 years ago" Leo tried to excuse him.
"700 years ago he'd have a had an athame stuck where it hurts if he said that, did that," Piper declared.
"What did he say?" Paige asked curiously then bit her lip after a sideways glance at Cole and Phoebe who were both avoiding each others eyes.
"He," Leo said and stopped looking at Piper. "He's" Leo said awkwardly.
"It couldn't have been that bad," Phoebes said.
"Ha" said Piper.
"It was..interesting" Leo sighed repentantly looking at Piper.
"What happened?" Cole asked wondering how this was going to be his fault.
"I " said Piper. She relented " We had this great night, dinner near the Eiffel tower, went up and saw the view and then we took a boat down the Seine to Notre Dame. Notre Dame is beautiful with the lights and the mist." She sighed then looked at Leo
He smiled happy at the memory.
"We were sitting in a café having a coffee in this gorgeous little left bank café" Piper explained "Well Leo had a coffee. I had tea. Just us together," Piper said and Leo nodded. "Then this huge, this huge big bear of a bald man, being, whatever comes up and stands in front of Leo and he says 'well met whitelighter.' He sounded like Lurch" Piper added.
"Its an old demonic greeting," Cole explained. "Who's Lurch?"
"I don't care what it is" said Piper ignoring the question."He says "I am Durand and the time has come to meet whitelighter' "
"He said Francesca told him I was going to ..be his guide and when he felt my presence in Paris, he thought he should introduce himself." Leo explained.
"He said he smelt you, " said Piper.
"Demons value different senses," explained Cole.
"Ha" said Piper "then he asks Leo if he likes Paris.
"I said it was one of my favourite cities," explained Leo
"Then he says" said Piper "that Paris is not his favourite place. He liked it better a few hundred years ago when the whores all had big tits." Piper looked at Leo "then her asked Leo who I am and Leo introduces me as his wife."
"That's nice" said Paige.
"Ha" said Piper "Then he says like I can't hear 'Your little woman. We'll talk about the Great Plan another time. The womenfolk get hissy when you talk about business' "
"He comes from another time," said Leo.
"And then" said Piper her voice rising in hysteria, "then he whispers really loud to Leo in French so all the café can hear him 'You can tell all much about a woman by her parts,' and then "she gulped "he leans over grabs my breast and squeezes around my nipple."
"Oh" said Cole and Paige and Phoebe.
"And then" screeched Pipier "He leans over to Leo and says "Little tits, big cunt. I'm guessing that what you like about her'."
"Oh" said Cole and Paige and Phoebe who all stared away from each other and then Paige started to laugh as Piper looked more and more offended.
"I'm sorry" she said to Piper as the tears poured "I am so sorry" and she collapsed laughing while Cole and Phoebe joined and Leo started to laugh. Piper glared at them all stalked off. She turned back.
"Its your fault Cole " she said. "If it wasn't for you, Leo would never have known anything about bloody damned guardians."
Cole rolled his eyes.
Leo saw it "It is your fault Cole," he said "If you hadn't used magic so she could understand other languages, Piper would never have understood what Durand said."
About 30 minutes later when Piper stepped out of the shower, hair wet and having scrubbed herself 10 times over and massaged her nipples with five different skin lotions, Phoebe come into the bathroom.
"Its not funny," Piper declared.
"It is," Phoebe said.
"He was disgusting," Piper said.
"He may be disgusting." said Phoebe "but I think I like him."
"What" screamed Piper.
"He made Paige laugh" Phoebe said.
Francesca orbed into the conservatory where Paige was surrounded by a large amount of paper and carefully adding up figures.
"All quiet on the western front?" she asked Paige.
"All in their corners resting up for the next round," Paige told Francesca.
"What was it this time?" Francesca asked picking up ribbon samples. "Not that one. That one" she told Paige dismissing a particularly pretty and sugary shade of pink.
"Can I tell Phoebe Francesca says it has to be that colour?" Paige asked.
"By all means," Francesca smiled." What were they fighting about?"
Paige said "New whitelighter, the girl scout, what's her name Frederica. Got all ra ra about the new baby and Piper hit the roof about not breeding soldiers for the cause. Leo tried to say what's her name, Frederica, didn't mean it that way."
"Piper has a point" said Francesca.
"Doesn't it affect the balance," Paige said. "Powerful magic beings. What if they are outside the Great Plan."
"I have no gift of vision" Francesca said. "Thank god, but experience tells me evil will find a way or is planning a way to become more powerful."
"I guess its nothing to worry about " Paige smiled. "Cole found out how much the cars are going to cost."
"Ouch," said Francesca. "Did they decide about the vows?"
"Yeah. Eventually. Last man standing won. Phoebe." said Paige "Traditional ones. She says they're romantic."
"Oh" said Francesca "Not the obey bit I hope. Without trying I can think of ten things that make Phoebe promising to obey Cole inadvisable."
"So can I," Said Paige. "Cole rose from the ashes long enough to win that one." and giggled as Francesca smiled "Told her,she was not making promises she had no intention of keeping."
"Oh" said Francesca.
"Phoebe said she intended to keep the vows. At least while she was saying them." Paige laugher. "I was on Cole's side. Oh well with all the things going wrong maybe it will be one of those everything will be all right on the day things,"
"I wouldn't plan on it dear," said Francesca "Don't bother getting that. Its expensive and everybody always says how nice but never eats it.
"Just as long as we keep it clear of demons and magic," said Paige. "Can I quote you on that to Piper. She thinks people love the stuff."
"Certainly" said Francesca. "Who are you taking as a date?" she asked Paige.
"I'm going on my own, " Paige said "I'm standing up for my rights to say I loved Mark and I'm not planning on replacing him in the near future, maybe the whole future."
"Good for you dear," said Francesca as she orbed.
Cole glanced around the small and exclusive pub in Soho. The sort of pub that very rich people hung out in, pretending they were slumming it. The atmosphere was dark and there was a constant hum of voices and laughter. A jazz band was being ignored in one corner. He looked around the dark room straining and finally smiled wryly as he saw her.
She was sitting at table, one of the better positioned tables, long legs crossed and a considerable view of upper thigh elegantly revealed. She was smoking and the peekaboo hairstyle was falling forward as she leaned toward a young man, a very pretty young man, licking her lips suggestively and laughing in that soft wild breathy way that even from where Cole was standing he could sent the boy in frenzied excitement.
Cole walked up to the table and stood over it.
Elisabeth breathed "Belthezor" while the boy bristled ready to fight for his territory.
"Piss off sonny," Cole said quietly.
The boy looked at Cole ready to fight and then saw the amused and dangerous blue eyes as he glanced at the similar blue eyes opposite him and decided that he was no hero and with an air of offended dignity shuffled away.
"Right out the door," Cole said softly and the boy decided he really was no hero and ran the last few steps, cannoning into a couple of young men as he rushed out the door.
Cole raised his eyebrows "Oh mamma" he said.
"Just a comfort toy dear, " Elisabeth said sucking on the cigarette " just a toy to play with. I need something to comfort me." Brilliant blue eyes met brilliant blue eyes. "I have no family, no son, no grandchild to comfort me."
Cole snorted. "Your toys don't always survive playtime very well," he said.
"The odd one is a little fragile," Elisabeth acknowledged "I also have no drink," she said holding up her glass. "You know what I like."
Cole nodded, went to the bar and ordered two very expensive brandies. He brought them back to the table.
"I don't suppose you came to tell me you miss me," Elisabeth said almost flirting behind the blond hair as she lit another cigarette ignoring Cole's glare.
"I didn't come to tell you that," Cole said smiling softly "but I will say mamma there are times when I do miss you."
Elisabeth's blue eyes lit up with satisfaction.
"If you don't already know it the coven of the witch Lara Haslett are out to get you. Made it a life time thing." Cole told her.
"I know," Elisabeth said. "Damn irritating little gnats. And I didn't even get to kill the bitch."
"Good luck convincing them that," Cole said.
"If I ever catch the demon that set me up," Elisabeth breathed "its gone to the mores of hell."
"Good luck," said Cole.
"Its very ..sweet you came to warn me," Elisabeth said. "You do love me Belthezor," she purred.
"You know mamma," Cole agreed, "I suppose I do but that's not why I came. I came to tell you" he said, " to keep out of my life and out of my way and out of San Francisco."
"And how are you going to stop me?" Elisabeth asked conversationally. "You're not a demon any longer."
"With magic, with my powers " he said just as conversationally.
"What powers?" she asked interested "you're not a demon any more. What are you?"
"Not a demon." Cole answered.
"And when you came own to visit the Chickadee. You said you had no powers" Elisabeth smiled wryly. "And we were in the underworld. I felt no power which is more to the point."
"I didn't then," Cole said "I do now."
"I think you're a terrible liar Belthezor," Elisabeth said sadly "Care to prove you've got them."
"No " he said "I wouldn't. "But I did get rid of the fireball from you. Remember."
Elisabeth put her brandy down. She started to form a fireball on her hand. "Would you stop me her?" she asked "Could you? she asked. Blue eyes met blue eyes. There was silence.
"Damn you Belthezor," Elisabeth said and put the fireball out. "Get me another drink " she ordered Cole.
When he came back with the brandy she smiled as he sat down. "Was any of that garbage you and the little Chickadee told me true?" Elisabeth asked sitting up straight and flicking the hair out of her eyes so she could meet his.
"A little," he conceded. "But you know as well as I do mamma that all truth is relative to the needs of the truth teller. I have no powers of my own and that is the truth. I have to borrow and steal them to even exist and that is also the truth."
"Are you good?" she asked almost fearful of his answer.
"I wouldn't say that exactly," Cole said.
"Not evil," she asked hopefully.
"Definitely not evil," he smiled.
"Damn," she said "What are you? " she asked again.
"Not a demon, " he smiled. "The sum of the powers I borrowed and stole just to exist and that is the truth."
"And the little Chickadee knows this?" Elisabeth asked.
"Yes" Cole said "She loves me. She accepts me for what I am." He said the smile on his face, the one he saved for Phoebe.
"You really are pathetic Belthezor," Elisabeth said "The great evil you had, the potential and you threw it away for that damned witch. You are pathetic. And that is the truth."
"I know," said Cole. "She isn't rotting in hell and neither is Whosit, in case you didn't know."
"I heard that " Elisabeth answered stubbing the cigarette. "Clever lying little bitch" She added.
"Phoebe has her moments " Cole smiled, the special one, the one that was for Phoebe. Cole added. "That was very bad mamma to condemn the child."
"Not that bad " said Elisabeth "I know how to rescue its soul from the mores of hell. That is the truth."
"The little Chickadee and I are getting married..again," Cole told his mother. "
"Damn the pair of you," said Elisabeth sucking on a cigarette. " Dam you both to hell."
"I do love you mamma," Cole smiled " and that is the truth."
The smile was matched by the sneer on Elisabeth's face. Then her eyes became damp and she looked at her son, with the shroud of evil hanging over her beautiful face, showing all the ugliness of the being she really was and no control over being that being. Hating herself, ugly frightened weak, she asked "Just once, tell me the truth, Belthezor, son, " she asked in pain. "is the brat yours."
"Yes" he said.
She swallowed, sipped the brandy, lit another cigarette, and rested her chin on her hand, hiding behind her peekaboo hair. "You deserve the Chickadee bitch" Elisabeth said in her whispery breathy Boston accent.
"I do mamma," he said grinning. "I finally believe I really do."
"What are you calling it?" She asked ignoring his answer.
"Not Quillon " Cole answered. He drained the brandy in his glass and stood up "I will tell you this only once " he said pleasantly "Stay away from my wife, stay away from my child, or I will splat you like a sludge. I will smite you to the mores of hell. I can do that mamma" he said.
"Truthfully you can do that" she asked and Cole smiled. "Oh but at what cost " she said taking his challenge.
"It will damn me," he said. "Do you not to do that mamma, do you want to damn the son of your womb?"
“After everything I did for you”, Elisabeth said bitterly. "You speak to me like that."
“Oh for god's sake you're still alive aren't you, “ Cole snapped.
Elisabeth Turner, the demon Elisheeva, met the brilliant blue eyes of her son, then she stubbed the cigarette she held "You son of a bitch" she said calmly.
"I most certainly am mamma," Cole said. Cole looked down at her. He bent over to kiss her check. "See you around some time," he said. And walked away.
Elisabeth watched him go, pursing her lips. She took another sip of brandy, as her body shook, then looked around the room. She spied a well known soccer player making a play for a pert red headed girl. Elisabeth sighed, loud enough to catch his attention, she turned and then leaning back, crossed and recrossed her legs, then licked her lips. The soccer player made his way to stand in front of her.
"Where have you been al my life?" asked the soccer player.
"In your dreams" Elisabeth whispered in breathy Boston accent " in your dreams." She had no trouble recognising the whisper went straight to his groin.