The doorbell rang. Olivia stared at the door, wondering who could be her new visitor. Certainly not Paige, who could have simply orbed back inside the apartment. Could it be . . .? Olivia held her breath in anticipation, as she walked toward the door.
She peered through the peephole and felt a slight twinge of disappointment. It was Cole's mother - Nimue. Olivia fixed a faux smile on her face and opened the door. "Nimue. Hello. Is there something else I can do for you?"
The demoness entered the apartment. "Oh no, not really," she answered. "I just wanted to thank you. For helping me deal with Belthazor."
"It was nothing. I thought he was making a mistake and wanted him to reconsider his actions." Olivia sighed. "I suppose Phoebe will have to live with the fact that the man she loves will never be completely mortal."
Nimue snorted with derision. "That is a dilemma that Miss Halliwell will not have to face very long."
"Meaning?" Olivia frowned.
"My dear, isn't it obvious? Belthazor's relationship with his former wife will not last. Especially after his decision to remain a demon." A wry smile touched Nimue's lips. "And he's still in love with you. I certainly could tell. I assure you - he will return to your arms in no time." Her smile widened.
Annoyed by the other woman's assumption, Olivia retorted, "What makes you think I care about reconciling with Cole?"
"If you didn't, why did you bother to try to stop him from removing his powers in the first place?" The demoness' blue eyes widened.
Olivia hesitated. "I . . ." She realized that lying to Nimue seemed futile. "Never mind." She gave the demoness an appraising stare. "Why are you so anxious for Cole and I to be together?"
"I don't care who Belthazor ends up with . . . as long as she can make him happy." Nimue paused. "I feel that you can make him happy. Accept him for himself. You seem like an open-minded young woman. Or perhaps I have a fondness for . . ."
The doorbell rang. Olivia stared at Nimue. "Fondness for what?" Before the demoness could answer, the doorbell rang for the second time. Still frowning, Olivia made her way toward the door. She glanced through the peephole. It was Cole. The red-haired witch opened the door and stared at the half-demon. "Cole! What . . . what are you doing here?"
Cole glanced at his feet, as if reluctant to meet Olivia's eyes. "I . . . uh, I wanted to thank you. For stopping me from making a big mistake. I also . . ." He glanced up and stared past Olivia's shoulder. A frown appeared on his face. "Mother?"
"Belthazor." Nimue coolly strode forward.
Suspicion now glimmered in Cole's eyes. "What are you doing here?"
"For the same reason as you. To thank Miss McNeill for helping you."
Nimue heaved an exasperated sigh. "Really Belthazor! You need to keep that paranoia of yours, under control. I've told you so, many times in the past. There is nothing . . . sinister . . . about my visit. Understand?"
Cole's face turned red. "Sorry," he muttered.
The demoness faced Olivia and smiled. "Again, thank you for your help, Miss McNeill. And good day. Who knows? We might see each other again." She faced Cole. "Good-bye Belthazor. For now. I might be dropping by for another visit sometime in the near future." She shimmered out of the apartment, with that same smile stamped on her face.
Silence filled the apartment. Olivia stepped aside, allowing Cole to enter. They seemed reluctant to look at each other. Then Cole finally said, "Well, I better get going. I only dropped by to thank you . . . for your help." He paused. "Uh . . . thanks."
"Back to Phoebe, huh?" The words left Olivia's mouth before she could stop herself.
Cole's eyes narrowed, as he gave her a hard stare. "No," he coolly replied. "No, I won't be going back to Phoebe. It's over between us."
The news not only stunned Olivia. It filled her heart with joy. And hope. Until she began to speculate on who was responsible for the break-up. Cole seemed to have read her mind, for he added, "Before you ask, I was the one who ended it."
"I didn't ask," Olivia snapped.
Cole shot back, "You were about to."
Heaving a sigh, Olivia began, "Cole . . ."
"Olivia, the real reason I'm here is . . ." The half-demon sighed. "I wanted to ask if we could start over again. I want you back."
Struggling to keep her emotions in check, Olivia demanded, "Why? Because you're no longer with Phoebe?" She felt a little bitter that it took the half-demon three weeks to want her back.
"Did you think I had enjoyed being with Phoebe again?" Cole cried out in a fit of anger. "Because I didn't! It was a pain in my ass dealing with her possessiveness and her family's self-righteous bullshit!"
Now angry herself, Olivia retorted, "Then why did you stay with her FOR THREE WEEKS?"
"Because I was desperate to be with someone! Especially after you first dumped me, and then ran out on me with you tail tucked between your legs, after Margolin's spell had ended!"
"I'm not the one who had rebounded with my ex!"
"And I'm supposed to be condemned for that . . . forever?" Cole demanded. "My God, Olivia! It was a mistake! I was in a world of pain, when you dumped me! And since Phoebe and I had recently made our peace over the whole Source thing, I went back to her. Well . . ." Cole lowered his voice, ". . . actually, she was the one who had suggested we give it a last chance. And considering what happened between us, I thought . . . why not? Especially since I thought we were through."
Olivia added, "And then?"
Cole sighed. "I found out about Margolin's spell. And when you showed up at the penthouse that day . . . Shit! I was in such a state of shock that I couldn't say a word. Then Phoebe let the cat out of the bag about our relationship." He paused. "And you left."
His last words brought back memories of that awful moment to Olivia. And her subsequent reaction. "Okay. Maybe I shouldn't have done that," she murmured. "But seeing you with Phoebe . . ."
"Yeah, I understand." Cole shook his head. "Those three weeks with Phoebe were . . . I had no idea that it would be so difficult. She tried to pick up where we had left off. Before the Source had possessed me. But I guess I wasn't in the mood. And dealing with Piper and Leo was no picnic. But the last straw was when Phoebe had suggested I get rid of my powers. I wanted to tell her to shove that idea up her ass . . ."
Olivia snickered, amused by the image in her mind.
Cole continued, "But after a year and four months of silent warfare between us, I . . . I just gave in. I surrendered. I think our divorce may have taken a toll on me. I just didn't feel like fighting Phoebe over the whole powers issue. And she would have bugged me to death, if I had said no."
"So, your mother and I came to your rescue."
"In a way." Cole fell silent. Olivia glanced away, aware of his eyes upon her. "So . . . like I had asked before . . . I mean . . ." He shook his head in self-disgust.
Olivia quietly asked, "You mean what?"
Cole sighed. "I don't know. Pick up where we had left off. Start all over again? I'm still in love with you, Olivia. I miss you. I just . . . I guess I just want to be with you, again."
"Oh." Olivia stared into those blue eyes that expressed love and passion . . . and nearly drowned. "I . . ."
Cole took a step forward. "Yeah?"
Olivia let out a slight gust of breath. "I feel the same. About you."
Typical Cole. Always needed details for everything. Olivia glared at him . . . half-heartedly. "God, you're such an asshole! Sometimes I wonder . . ." She paused.
Once more, Cole took a step closer. "Wondered what?" he murmured.
Olivia inhaled, reveling in his scent. "Sometimes I wonder why I'm in love with you. Why I still want to be with you."
"Well, let me remind you." Olivia became breathless, as Cole lowered his mouth upon hers. The touch of his lips seemed like water, after a week in the desert. She moaned lightly, as he gently slipped his tongue into her mouth. While they continued to kiss, she reveled in his hard body pressed against hers. His hand then slid underneath her blouse and caressed her waist. Another moan left her mouth. And when he lifted her off the floor and into his arms, she gasped with surprise.
Olivia protested softly, "Hey!"
Cole lifted an eyebrow. "Moving too fast?"
A wide smile curved Olivia's lips. "How about . . . not fast enough?"
"It has been too long, hasn't it?"
"Hmmmm." Olivia giggled. Then she pressed her lips against Cole's for a quick, hard kiss. "Definitely too long."
"Well, I have a solution for that." Cole kissed her again, as he carried her toward the bedroom.