A Matter of Relativity
Part 1: Home is where the Heart is
"They do not love that do
not show their love"
Because she was not called out for demon attacks, Phoebe spent the afternoon after Melinda woke up, playing with her, dancing around the parlour with the little girl in her arms and teaching her to move to the music. Cole from the security of the conservatory watched Phoebe dance around with Melinda in her arms and then his heart almost stopped, painfully as he saw Phoebe, suddenly gather Melinda to her and catch the little girl in a tight, tight hug, her eyes teary.
Phoebe looked up and saw him watching and quickly lifted Melinda above her head, trying to pretend the moment had not happened. And because it was not something they could not easily talk about, Cole nodded awkwardly and left Phoebe, who he loved far, far more than life itself, playing with the baby. He sat quietly reminded again what loving him had cost Phoebe, and no matter how much he loved her, he could not fix what had been lost.
Leo returned from Europe where Solstice had already passed and reported no serious instances, which left Phoebe and Cole free to drive north and seriously celebrate having made a year together, this time.
When it was finally certain, there was no danger to the cause of Good if she had three days and nights away with the love of her life, Phoebe went up to their bedroom to make sure they had packed everything. Phoebe’s bag was on the bed, already packed last night because she half expected to have to just grab and run. Cole’s was on the floor. She picked his up and carefully went through it, not trusting him completely to have remembered what she thought he needed, which was not always the same as what he thought he needed.
After adding a couple of sweaters, and the hair conditioner Cole claimed he never used but was mysteriously half empty, Phoebe went into the ensuite to take the last things she needed, her extra expensive night skin creme and her pill packet. She went to throw them into her toilet bag and then froze in horror as she did a frantic count. There were five more pills in the packet than there should have been. And she thought of the night before last and this morning and decided Cole was going to kill her, or bitch like hell or both. Or maybe Piper would kill her if she knew. And Piper would know if she told Cole because with the thin walls of the manor Piper would hear Cole yelling if she told him she had forgotten to take the pill for five days. And neither Cole nor Piper would consider demon attacks an adequate excuse.
Phoebe gulped and sat on the edge of the toilet, staring at the packet. She had forgotten… again. And this of all times. Phoebe had gone to some special effort to make sure that this whole trip was going to be spontaneous, because it was the start of good anniversaries, good dates, even to the point of organising her natural cycle when it had threatened to interfere.
She stared at the pack. Her brain said tell him, but it also said he’d only bitch and tell her she was stupid and probably get very intense about the consequences of the last couple of days. And a nagging little voice said she had "forgot" before; and to the disappointment of her soul if not her brain nothing had happened, because nothing could happen. In fact she did not know why she bothered taking precautions, because nothing could happen and Cole would bitch and call her stupid and it would stuff the trip up and for no good reason because nothing could happen.
And other women took ages for anything to happen even when they were really trying and if it could happen it would have and besides which Cole would bitch and call her stupid and she wanted to enjoy this trip, and besides it couldn’t happen. And she ignored the little voice that said she desperately wanted it to happen regardless of any consequences.
So Phoebe hastily swallowed two of the pills and shoved the rest of the pack in the bag. Because after all she was only making it better for Cole, so they could have the spontaneous romance of the moment during this trip not brought down to earth by the mechanics of taking precautions. Which would just make him bitch and call her stupid and stuff the trip. And if anything was going to happen it would have happened long since given how many times she had "forgotten".
And if a part of her soul rejoiced at the opportunity to let fate takes its chances, if it had not already, and a corner of her brain told her that the consequences could be traumatic to her whole family Phoebe determinedly turned a deaf ear to both.
Cole came into the room with an expression that was almost excited, celebrating a year, getting past the horror anniversaries. "Ready?" he asked her, eyes bright smiling but male like, trying to pretend he was blasé.
"Oh yeah" Phoebe said "ready willing and able."
"That’s nice" Cole said blasé, except the smile in his eyes gave him away. He picked up the bags and Phoebe skipped ahead of him down the stairs.
They drove up the coast for about an hour, staying at the same B & B they had stayed at last year. They bickered for most of the trip, mostly over Cole driving without even asking Phoebe if she wanted to. They were still bickering when they got to same room they had shared last year, when Cole stopped suddenly mid bicker.
"What’s wrong" Phoebe asked.
"Do you know we always start trips off bitching" he said clearly disturbed "you don’t think we’re getting into a pattern do you, you don’t think we’re getting boring do you?"
Phoebe flung herself at Cole, knocking him backwards onto the bed.
"No" she said. "You’re so goddamned special, and I am so goddamned in love with you, you and me are never going to be boring."
They drove on up the coast next day, stopping at every interesting beach they could find, paddling, swimming, even though to Phoebe the water was freezing. They finally stopped at a B & B just over the Oregon border and spent 3 nights there, wandering down to the redwoods, during the day. Cole was keen to shimmer there at night but Phoebe to his disappointment she could not make love when she was frightened she was going to be eaten by a bear, not even with him.
"You would have when we first met" he said "Are you sure this is not the start of safe and boring?"
"No" Phoebe told him "I just want to survive making love to you. Getting eaten by a bear while you are having sex is icky."
"Damn you Phoebe" Cole said.
"Why?" she asked.
"You’re right" he said.
They shimmered down to an isolated beach at three o’clock n the morning, alone and with the smell of sea and the salt and the noise of the Pacific Ocean lapping on the beach, Phoebe and Cole declared their love, their need and their trust. They loved and loving was enough, enough for the present and enough for eternity. And if Phoebe had a quick anxious moment that the spontaneity of the moment might have a cost she pushed it out of her brain and just gave way to joy, the unconditional happiness of being loved.
Later on during the last night, with the window open and the smell of the sea coming into the room, Phoebe lay on her stomach half across the bed. She used Cole’s chest as a pillow resting her chin on her cross arms, happy content and almost but not quite sated. "Gotta go back tomorrow" she sighed.
‘I know" he sighed leaning back against the pillow so he could look into her eyes, gently stroking her hair.
"Then back to work" Phoebe said.
"I know," he said. "I hate Arlene, and I hate that firm. I want to be with you."
Phoebe sighed contentedly.
"You don't want to go home?" she asked.
"I am home" he said. "With you."
She glanced around the room, and then sighed again" I wonder if Darryl would call this epic" she said.
"What?" he said
"The happy ever after bit" she answered.
"Been pretty epic a few times over the last few days" Cole said content.
Phoebe giggled "Funny how all the stories stop at happy ever after, like people being happy aren’t very interesting. They have to stuff it up to make it interesting."
"Happy is interesting" Cole said.
"Piper’s happy" Phoebe said
"So" Cole said.
"She and Leo were having this long conversation last week" Phoebe said "About onions."
"Onions are interesting to some people" Cole said. "Leo’s happy with Piper." After a few minutes Cole said "Leo talks about varnish alot."
"Some people find varnish interesting" Phoebe said.
Phoebe said "We might be doing the happy ever after thing but we’re still interesting."
"We talk about interesting things" Cole said.
"We talk about chocolate" Phoebe said.
"You talk about chocolate" Cole said" I like lemon."
"Lemon is okay. Its just that we agree a lot now" Phoebe said.
"We do?" Cole said.
"I think you’re a damned smart lawyer" Phoebe said, "so do you."
"That true" Cole said.
"You think Arlene is a bitch" Phoebe said, "so do I"
"That’s true" Cole said. "I think you’re very brave, very cute, so do you."
"That’s true" Phoebe said pulling herself over him "Nothing boring about being happy"
"Anyway" Cole said "if they think happy is boring, their loss. Stuff ‘em" Cole had been living with Piper to long.
Phoebe caught his lip in hers and slowly and happily took what she wanted.
A little late, her mouth inches away from his, she said. "I wonder if they will ever tell stories about the demon who fought his way from evil to be with a good witch".
Cole rolled to his side, gently pushing her under him. His mouth inches away from hers he said" They aren’t ever going to know. Who’s going to tell them about us?" He buried his mouth against her neck and moved down to her breast.
When he finally lifted his head, Phoebe sighed, long and deep. He finally lifted his head and leaning on an elbow ,rested head on his hand, so he could look at her, the smile on his face, the one she loved so, the special one , the one for her alone.
A little teary Phoebe whispered" Sometimes I wish they could know, just know how special you are, so they can say if he did that for her she must be really special too."
The blue eyes looking into hers brightened and softened "Isn’t me knowing how special you are enough?"
As she saw everything he felt for her in those blue eyes, Phoebe lifted her hand and put it behind his head. As she pulled him down to her she whispered. "Oh yeah."
Piper leant back against the bench, drinking coffee, keeping one careful eye on Melinda sitting on a toy horse and whizzing around the kitchen and watching Leo trying to pull the taps off the sink. He was cursing and muttering annoyed as he struggled to get them off. Holding onto one wrench" he muttered "I need that one."
"Which one?" said Piper hand hovering over the tool box, not certain.
"That one there" Leo said trying to point and not lose his grip on the washer at the same time.
After three tries Piper found the right wrench and muttering Leo struggled to get the grip to move.
"Do you think I’m boring," Piper asked suddenly" I mean do you think we’re getting boring?"
"What, no" said Leo concentrating. " Same as we always were."
"I mean all I ever do, is witch stuff, and look after Melinda and when we go out its mostly to P3" Piper said, P3 had another new manager about 6 months ago. Reggie. Cole and Leo had considerable enjoyment out of a manager called Reggie but he was a find. He was the first one who had been able to keep his eye on the long term success, watch the cents and still be innovative. Piper checked in on the club about 3 afternoons a week and was there on either Friday or Saturday nights and one other night a week which meant she was able to be home quite a lot.
"We went out to dinner last week" Leo muttering damn under his breath.
"That was with Dad and Margaret" Piper said, "It doesn’t count. Can’t you say shit like any-one else."
"I’m an angel," Leo answered smugly.
"I mean Paige is always out dating having fun and Cole and Phoebe just shoot off for romantic anniversary trips. What did we do for our last anniversary?" Piper asked.
"Went to dinner at Barry’s" Leo said.
"Yeah" said Piper "and then we were up all night because Melinda was had a temperature"
"Cole and Phoebe don’t have kids" Leo said. "If they had a kid they wouldn’t be sneaking off to Paris on a whim either."
"Well as having kids is out for them" Piper said. "I suppose … Paris doesn’t make up for it" she said putting her mug down and rescuing Melinda from pushing wooden horse her into a bench.
"I still think it’s a bit rough not to try" Leo said.
"Leo" said Piper in horror " Don’t even put that idea in their heads."
Leo made a snorting noise which may have been about struggling with the tap.
" We’re a family." Piper took breath "Its not like they can’t enjoy Melinda" she added a little guiltily.
"Not quite the same" Leo said "Yeah but you’re right, its something."
"We are doing okay as a family" Piper said picking up her coffee again "even if Darryl still thinks we’re dysfunctional. Aren’t we Leo?" she said when he did not answer.
Leo grunted "We would be if you could stop Cole trying to fix things with magic when he doesn’t know anything about them. Damn" muttered as the wrench slipped. "Haven’t you got some spell that can take off the magic from things he tried to fix" Leo asked.
‘If I do that the chandelier might fall down" Piper said.
"Just make it since last week" Leo said sweating.
"Isn’t that personal gain" Piper asked.
"No" Leo muttered" it survival."
Piper shrugged and recited the spell she and Paige had jokingly made up a couple of weeks a go when Cole was muttering about using magic to fix something.
The wrench suddenly moved and the tap came off easily in Leo’s hand.
"Pheww" he sighed when suddenly from upstairs there was a mighty bang followed by a thud followed by a whoosh.
"Shit" swore Piper and Leo in unison. Piper grabbed Melinda and they ran upstairs.
"What the hell did he try and fix up there?" yelled Piper.
Cole and Phoebe arrived home after suppertime. Phoebe ran up the steps to the manor and went to open the door but it was pulled away and she was a little surprised to see a sandy haired balding man of more than average height holding it open, as Paige started to step though.
"Hi" Phoebe said interested
"Oh hi" said Paige. "I’m going out" she said unnecessarily.
Mark looked at Paige and then Phoebe.
"My sister Phoebe" Paige said," this is Mark. I think I mentioned him. I work for, with him."
Phoebe gulped "I think you did honey" she said. "Once or twice."
Paige glanced nervously down the stair and winced as Cole came up carrying his and Phoebe’s bags.
"We have to go" she said firmly to Mark.
Cole arrived on the top of the stairs. He looked at Mark suspiciously and put the bags down as Paige grabbed Mark by the arm anxious to get him away before Cole gave him the third degree.
"This is Mark, Cole" Phoebe said before Paige could get away "Paige has mentioned him once or twice, you remember."
"I vaguely recall her mentioning Mark" Cole said with a sardonic smile and held out his hand to Mark, who with an amused smile shook hands.
"You going out" Cole asked Paige.
"We’re on our way" Paige said pulling at Mark. "Now, she said, "We have a table booked. We’re late."
"Not that late" Mark said "You're Paige’s brother in law" he said to Cole.
"More or less" Cole drawled.
"I’ve heard about quite a bit about the brothers in law" Mark added with an easy smile in place "which one are you, the angel or the arsehole?"
"Well I’ve heard a bit about you" Cole said grinning "I guess I’m the arsehole" he said watching Paige flush.
"Nice to meet you" Mark answered. "We’ll have to get together one time and compare notes on what we heard about each other." Paige stopped pulling at him and Mark reached for her hand "We'd better go Paige" he said calmly" or we will miss that booking."
Paige a little tremulously took his hand and started to walk down the steps with him. She turned for second and stuck her tongue out at Cole. Cole reached to pick up the bags he had put down. Phoebe leaning on the door jam smirked "You got got Baby" she said happily.
Cole laughed "You know I" he said "I think I did. First time that’s happened. Want to know something else?" he asked."I just touched that guy’s aura just to check him out" he said.
"Cole you shouldn’t" Phoebe protested. "What did you find out?" she asked.
"That he’s head over heal in love with Paige," Cole said.
"Woooooow" Phoebe breathed.
"And he’s very good’ Cole said "As in not bad, as in no evil"
"Lucky Paige" Phoebe said.
"I hope so" Cole said but did not sound convinced.