SUMMARY: Phoebe deals with the consequences of her breakup with Jason Dean.
FEEDBACK: - Be my guest. But please, be kind. DISCLAIMER: The Charmed Ones, Cole Turner, Chris Halliwell, Jason Dean, Darryl Morris and other characters related to Charmed belong to Spelling Productions, Brad Kern and Constance Burge. Olivia McNeill Turner, Harry McNeill and a few other characters are my creations.
NOTE: Takes place about three weeks following "Breath of the Undead". Alternate Universe Season 6.
LIES AND CONSEQUENCE by RFK
While San Francisco soaked from a mid-winter downpour, Harry McNeill drove his silver-blue Mazda down Prescott Street. He finally came upon a parking space several yards away from the Halliwells' salmon-colored manor. After he eased the car into the parking space, he switched off the engine.
"Is this really necessary?" Harry's passenger demanded. "I've already apologized to Phoebe for what happened."
Harry gave the dark-haired young man a pointed look. "As I recall, all you did was give Jason the potion to vanquish the spirit from Phoebe's body. I don't recall an apology coming out of your mouth."
Richard Montana opened his mouth. Then he closed it. "Well, I . . . I figured you and Paige would be pissed after I had promised not to use magic again. Especially Paige. But I only wanted to free myself from my family's bad karma. How was I to know that I would end up channeling Mata Hari's spirit into Phoebe?"
A long suffering sigh left Harry's mouth. He and Paige had met Richard at Ostera's last fall. They learned that he came from a witch family embroiled in a feud with another magical family named Callaways. The young couple had befriended the male witch, when they helped him deal with the ghost of his former love. What they had not bargain was Richard's addictive use of magic to deal with his personal problems.
"Look Richard," Harry finally said, "I understand. But unless you want Paige and her sisters to be pissed at you forever, I suggest that you apologize in person. And then we'll try to do something about your . . . problem." He reached for his umbrella in the backseat, before climbing out of the car. Richard, who already carried an umbrella, did the same.
The two men dashed through the heavy rain and toward the Halliwell manor. Once they reached the top of the stoop, Harry rang the doorbell. Minutes passed before Piper Halliwell opened the door. "Harry!" she greeted with a friendly smile. Then her eyes fell upon the other male witch and chilled slightly. "Richard, what are you doing here?"
"I came to speak to Phoebe," Richard replied nervously. "To all of you."
Coolly, Piper replied, "Phoebe hasn't returned home, yet."
"May we enter anyway?" Harry begged. "It's wet out here." He indicated the downpour with a quick nod.
Piper opened the door further. "Sure. Come on in." Paige just got home from work. She's in the kitchen, fixing a cup of hot chocolate. Do you two want a cup?"
"Considering this wet weather, it sounds like a great idea," Harry said, after he and Richard entered the manor.
The oldest Charmed One led the two men into the kitchen. They found Paige sitting at the table, rocking a sleeping Wyatt in her arms. A steaming mug of hot chocolate sat on the table in front of her. "Hey Harry," she warmly greeted her red-haired boyfriend. Her eyes chilled slightly at the sight of Richard. "Oh, it's you. Here to clean up your mess?"
Richard opened his mouth, but Harry spoke instead. "I believe that Richard has already cleaned up his mess, when he gave Jason that potion to use on Phoebe. By the way, was Phoebe speaking with a French accent, when she was possessed?"
Piper shrugged her shoulders. "I guess so. Why? Wasn't Mata Hari a spy in Paris?"
"She was Javanese born," Richard explained. "Mata Hari came from a family of Dutch colonists in Indonesia."
"Thanks for the history lesson, Richard," Paige acidly retorted. The male witch's face turned red.
Harry felt sorry for Richard. He knew that the other man harbored a slight infatuation of Paige. But he did not worry about, since Paige had never shown any interest in Richard.
Piper went to the stove and began to prepare hot chocolate for the visitors. "By the way, Richard, don't you have something to say?"
Richard cleared his throat. "Uh . . . yeah. Um, Piper . . . Paige, I want to apologize for what happened to Phoebe. Like I had told Harry before, I was only trying to rid myself of my family's bad karma. I had no idea that I would end up channeling Mata Hari's spirit. And I certainly didn't realize that Phoebe was in the house, at the time."
Paige retorted, "You weren't supposed to be using in the first place! Remember? I should have insisted that you leave before we left the house. And not leave you in the attic all alone."
"But I thought if I . . ."
Piper added, "Richard, if you're having such a big problem with using your magic, why don't you simply bound or strip away your powers?"
Nodding, Paige said, "That's what I've been saying."
"I disagree." Everyone stared at Harry.
Paige demanded, "You've got a better idea?"
Harry thanked Piper, after she handed him a mug of chocolate. "Yeah, I do." He turned to the other man. "Richard, you need to seek help. Badly. Bounding or stripping your powers won't help you. You'll simply find something else to use as a means to hide from your problems - booze, drugs, food, or maybe sex. You need someone to help you deal with your problems. Face them. And since a psychiatrist is out of the question, maybe this witch coven in Vermont can help."
"More witches?" Paige asked. "What can they do that we can't?"
Richard frowned. "How? I mean . . . why recommend them?"
Harry explained, "The Blue Wave Coven are a group of witches trained in both psychiatric and spiritual guidance. Not only can they help you deal with your personal problems, they can also help you control your magic."
"And I won't have to strip my powers?" an incredulous Richard asked.
Harry replied, "I don't think the Blue Wave Coven would recommend it. But I might be wrong. Why don't you pay them a visit, first? They were a big help to Olivia, after her . . ." From the corner of his eye, he saw Richard wince. Harry sighed. "Dude, you've got to stop reacting every time my sister's name is mentioned."
Richard inhaled sharply. "I'm sorry, but I just find it weird that your sister's name is the same as my Olivia. And that her former fiancé's name was Richard."
"Yeah . . . whatever," Paige muttered. "About this Blue Wave Coven . . . are you going to Vermont to check them out?"
The two sisters and Harry stared at Richard. Who sighed. "I really should consider this coven, should I?"
"I think you should," Harry replied.
Richard took a sip of hot chocolate. "Well, before I contact them, I still need to apologize to Phoebe. Where is she?"
"Probably still at work," Paige answered.
Piper shook her head. "No, she's not. Phoebe told me that she had planned to leave the office early. To see Jason." She sighed. "I wonder how that panned out."
Her hands stuffed inside her coat pockets and her shoulders hunched forward, Phoebe dejectedly made her way toward the bus stop. She had visited Jason's penthouse in the hopes of winning his forgiveness . . . and winning him back. Although she had succeeded in the first task, she failed in the second.
The middle Charmed One found herself wishing that her Mata Hari persona had also went after Richard Montana. That moron had messed up her chances of reconciling with Jason, because of his stupid spell. She would have never become Mata Hari, never ruined Jason's business conference with a scourge of frogs and would have never sent demons after him. Granted, Richard had given Jason a potion to exorcise Mata Hari's spirit from her. But the damage caused by his karma spell outweighed his one good deed.
The downpour literally became a wall of water by the time Phoebe reached the bus stop. She found it increasingly difficult to see ahead. She could have also kicked herself for not borrowing Piper's SUV or Paige's green VW. Her own car was in the shop for some reason she could not fathom. Fortunately for her, the sign indicating the bus stop finally came into view.
A car's honk caught Phoebe's attention. She glanced to her left and saw a familiar black Porsche trailing her. The Charmed One's heartbeat increased. She would recognize Cole's convertible anywhere. Sure enough, the Porsche came to a halt and a door swung open, revealing her ex-husband's face. "Phoebe?" he said with a slight frown.
The Charmed One sighed as she wiped the rain from her eyes. "Yeah, it's me. What are you doing here, Cole?"
"I'm on my way home." Cole peered up at the sky. "You're walking in this wet weather?"
"My car is in the shop."
Cole suggested, "Why don't you hop in? I can give you a lift."
Phoebe hesitated. Normally, she would jump at the chance to accept a ride in this weather. But after her emotional meeting with Jason, spending time with an ex-husband might prove to be a bit too much for her. "Um, I'm sure that the bus will be here, any . . ."
"Phoebe, if you hang out here any longer, you'll end up with a bad cold. Or worse. Hop in."
Realizing that the half-demon made sense, Phoebe climbed inside the car. "Thanks for the ride," she said.
"No problem." Cole continued driving along the wet street. "What are you doing here, anyway? The BAY-MIRROR isn't exactly close by. And you're a long way from your house."
After a brief hesitation, Phoebe revealed that she had just paid a visit to Jason's hotel suite. "I guess you might as well know, if you don't already. It's over between Jason and me." She sneaked a glance at the half-demon to gauge his reaction.
Cole's blue eyes expressed curiosity and sympathy. Nothing else. Phoebe felt slightly disappointed. She had hoped to sense some glee or relief at her recent breakup. "I'm sorry to hear that," Cole said. "After all, you two had been together for nearly a year. What happened?"
Phoebe told him about the disaster that had befallen a family dinner party, a few nights ago. "Paige and I had invited Jason, Harry and Richard for dinner. Paige and I were . . . uh, summoned by Piper and Chris to help them deal with Swarm demons. Paige had orbed us back to the manor, when . . . Jason caught us."
"Oooops," Cole murmured.
"No kidding. He didn't take it that well. In fact, Jason had fainted at the sight of their magical arrival in the kitchen. But Phoebe kept that fact to herself. "I'm surprised that you didn't know," she added. "Especially since Harry was there."
Cole replied that he had not seen Harry since the previous Friday. "Olivia and I were in Carmel for the weekend. At some antiquity auction."
"For her new store?"
"Yeah." Cole made a sharp left on XXXXX, causing Phoebe to inhale sharply. "You know, I just saw something on the news about Jason. Apparently, a large number of frogs mysteriously appeared at his business conference, thanks to some crazy French woman who . . ."
Phoebe groaned out loud. "Oh God! That was me."
A frown appeared on Cole's face. "You were the crazy French woman responsible for the frogs?"
"Yes, it was me," Phoebe confessed in a tight voice. "It's a long story and it has to do with that friend of Paige and Harry's . . . Richard Montana."
Cole's jaw tightened. "The one who always overreact every time he sees Olivia?"
Sensing the jealousy rising inside her ex-husband, Phoebe grumbled morosely, "That's him." She recalled how Paige and Harry had to deal with the spirit of Richard Montana's ex-lover, a dead witch named Olivia Caldwell. It all seemed ironic, considering that the name of Olivia McNeill Turner's late fiancé happened to be Richard.
Cole let out a sigh. "What does Mr. Montana have to do with this whole mess?"
"He started it," Phoebe replied darkly. She told him about the karma spell that Richard had cast. "Talk about incompetent! You know, if he had not cast that stupid spell, Jason and me would have reconciled."
Something like a cross between a snort and a grunt escaped from Cole's mouth. "If you say so."
Phoebe frowned at the half-demon. "What do you mean by that?"
Another sigh left Cole's mouth. "Phoebe, if you don't understand what I had meant, then I feel sorry for you." He paused. "By the way, how long will Dean be staying in San Francisco?"
"He's leaving for Hong Kong, today."
END OF PART I