SUMMARY: Cole's encounter with a former lover brings back old memories just a few days before his wedding.
FEEDBACK: - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: Cole Turner and other characters related to Charmed to Spelling Productions, Brad Kern and Constance Burge. Olivia McNeill, Christine Broome and Idril are my creations.
NOTE: Takes place about a few days after "The Uninvited" - Alternate Universe Season 6.
"STRANGE BEDFELLOWS" by RFK
The intercom on Cole Turner's desk buzzed. The half-demon heaved a sigh and moved away from his computer screen, which displayed a legal contract, partially written by him. Cole rubbed his eyes and snapped on the intercom. "Yes?"
"You have a visitor, Mr. Turner," his assistant, Eleanor Read, replied. "A Miss Diane Moore. She hopes to become a new client."
As if he did not have enough clients. Cole had no desire to add another to his list of clients. Not while he was trying to finish this contract before his wedding. But he also knew that his employers would not take kindly to him turning away a new client for their firm. Especially since he happened to be Jackman, Carter and Kline's poster boy. "All right. Send her in."
Seconds later, Eleanor entered the office. "Miss Diane Moore," she announced. Cole's assistant stepped aside and ushered in the visitor. Cole gaped at the familiar figure, who brushed past Eleanor.
"What the . . .?" Cole stared at the new visitor in disbelief.
Eleanor asked, "Shall I bring a drink for Miss Moore?"
"An Apple Martini would be lovely," the guest replied. Eleanor regarded the visitor with dubious eyes, before she left the office. Cole glared. Once they were alone, she declared, "Belthazor, it's great to see you. As always."
Cole growled, "Apple Martini? Before noon? Good grief, Idril! And what the hell are you doing here?"
The dark-haired demoness' mouth formed a pretty smile. "I thought it would be nice for us to have lunch, together. Seeing you at your engagement party brought back old memories."
"Memories that I would rather forget," Cole retorted.
Idril eased into an empty chair. "But you can't, can you?"
Flashes of their brief affairs illuminated Cole's thoughts. He sighed. "No, I guess I can't." A triumphant smile curved Idril's mouth. "I can't forget . . . us, anymore than I can't forget Christine Bloome from the Triple Six Club, in London. How is she, by the way? I haven't heard from her in years."
Idril's mouth tightened. "I wouldn't know." She seared Cole with a death glare, before Eleanor returned with her Apple Martini. Once his assistant had left, Idril took a sip of her drink. "What about lunch, Belthazor? Still interested? I thought Caruso's at the Westin St. Francis would be nice."
Cole gave his former paramour a hard look. "And what else did you have in mind for us at the St. Regis? A room for the afternoon?"
"I don't anything wrong with re-capturing old times." Idril's smile returned. "Do you?"
A derisive snort escaped from Cole's mouth. "I don't recall any 'old times' at the St. Regis or any other hotel," he retorted. "Besides, I still have some work to finish."
Humiliating anger briefly flashed in Idril's hazel-brown eyes. "What's the matter, Belthazor? Afraid that I might seduce you, again? And that the little lady will find out?" she said with a sneer.
Cole leaned forward, smiling coldly. Contempt oozed from his voice. "The 'little lady' is a good two inches taller than you. And what makes you think that I had allowed myself to be seduced by you? Maybe there was another reason why I had stuck it out with you for nearly a month."
Idril gasped, as her face turned pale. "Wha . . .?"
Someone knocked on the door, startling the pair. Seconds later, it swung open. Cole felt a slight twinge of anxiety as his fiancée, Olivia McNeill, entered the office. She shot a quick glance at the other guest. "Oh. I didn't realize you already had a guest."
"Didn't Eleanor . . .?" Cole began.
Olivia continued, "She wasn't at her desk." She stared at Idril and smiled politely. "Idril, it's nice to see you, again. How long has it been? A few days?"
Idril drained the last of her martini and set the glass on Cole's desk. Then she gave Olivia a tight smile. "And it's . . . nice to see you too, Miss McNeill. I . . . um, . . . I just came by to say hello to Belthazor." She stood up and turned to Cole. "Well, I guess I better get going. You've certainly given me something to think about, Belthazor. Bye."
"Good-bye Idril." Cole allowed himself a brief, triumphant smile, as he watched the demoness leave the room.
Olivia sat down in the chair previously occupied by Idril and brushed a few curls from her forehead. "Wow! What was that all about?" she asked.
Panic filled Cole. "Huh?"
"You and Idril. I had noticed a . . . distinct chill in the air. Coming from you. What happened?"
Cole sighed. "Idril had asked me out for lunch, in some puerile attempt to revive our relationship. She had suggested the St. Regis Hotel."
Green eyes flew open. "So, that's where you two . . ."
"No!" Cole said sharply. "We were never at any hotel, together."
Another sigh left his mouth. "Look," Cole began, "I didn't mean to sound sharp. It's just that I've always found Idril annoying. In fact, I'm beginning to regret that I had anything to do with her, in the first place."
Olivia stood up and headed for the liquor cabinet. She poured herself a glass of club soda. "Didn't you once tell me that you only went out with her to satisfy an itch?"
Cole leaned back into his leather chair. "That's how it had started. But I eventually became involved with her . . . to piss off my mother."
"Huh?" The glass paused just an away from Olivia's mouth. "Are you . . . there's nothing Oedipal about all of this?"
Glancing at his watch, Cole mildly retorted, "Of course not! You know, we better get going, if you still want to have lunch. How about the Daily Grill?"
Olivia nodded. "Sounds great." She swallowed the last of her club soda. "Ready?"
Cole stood up and donned his jacket. He then linked arms with his fiancée and seconds later, they materialized in an alley just off Union Square. Once they were seated in a booth, inside the Daily Grill. After the couple had ordered their meals, Cole began his story.
"It all began after I had finished an assignment in Montreal," he said. "Around the late spring of '69."
Olivia frowned slightly. "Assignment in Montreal?"
"It was about a book," Cole murmured. He sighed. "A wizard's book on spells and rituals . . ."
End of Prologue