More Than She Bargained For

Chapter One: Introductions of a Fiery Kind

The first person I ever met in San Francisco was a brunette woman who was storming out of my new apartment building, muttering about "vanquishing that damn scumbag" and "making sure it sticks." I looked at her and she shook her head. "Never mind."

Once I was in the elevator and had set my Wal-Mart suitcases down, I sighed. "What am I doing here?" I asked as I punched the button for the sixth floor. "I have almost no money. What do I have? A stupid apartment."

Yep, that's me. Eddi Arbess, eternal pessimist.

The elevator's doors opened and I stepped out. Apartment 6D was at the end of the hallway, and when I opened the door, I groaned.

My furniture was nowhere to be seen.

"I do not believe this," I groaned. "How long can it take to drive a moving van from Modesto to San Francisco?" I rummaged around in my purse for my phone. Only when I'd gotten it out did I remember that I didn't have the movers' number. I don't think anyone did. (Rule Number One of Foster Moving Services: "Your cell phone numbers are to be kept secret. No exceptions."

I slammed the door and stormed back to the elevator. Jabbing a button, I crossed my arms. I'd go back downstairs, call a cab, and find a hotel for the night. Tomorrow, when (and if) the movers came, I'd yell at them. With luck, I wouldn't have to pay them for being late. My apartment at The Towers had eaten up most of my savings and, until I found a decent job, I would be basically broke.

The elevator doors opened and I was facing not the lobby, but the penthouse. I must've hit the wrong button, I decided as I stepped out. Oh well. Maybe somebody up here will have a phone book.

There was a smash. I screeched. A ball of lightning ricocheted off of a mirror.

"Who the hell are you?"

"What?" I backed up to get back in the elevator, but the doors had closed.

The scruffy-looking (albeit handsome) man who'd thrown the…whatever it had been squinted at me. "Who're you?"

"Eddi. Eddi Arbess. Edwina actually, but only my parents and Zinnia call me that. I just moved here from Modesto and I really don't want to because I've never been to the Atlantic Ocean and that's one of my life goals. See, when my grandparents came here form Norway, their ship sank, and they were two of the only ten who made it out alive, and someday I want to see the port where their ship came in. Pardon the cliché. But-"

The man shook his head. "I asked who you were, not for your life story."

"If anyone should be asking questions, it's me."

"I'm sorry, but I thought this was my penthouse."

"You almost killed me!"

"I'm a lawyer. I could have you arrested for breaking and entering."

"And I could turn you in for attempted murder." I crossed my arms, mainly to stop shaking. "So. What was that thing you threw at me?"

"It's called an energy ball."

"Uh-huh. And the purpose of it is…"

"What are you, a reporter? Just leave me alone. I've got plans to make, a witch to win back, and, if that fails, I've got to vanquish myself."

"Okay, everyone says that San Francisco is strange, but I never thought it was this strange. Did you say 'witch'?"

An energy ball formed in the man's hand. "Get out."

I hit the "down" button on the elevator, not eager to dodge one of those things again. "I'm going. I'm going. I'm…not going."

"What?"

"I don't hear the elevator moving."

"Great. The damn thing must be broken again."

"Again? I pay more than my car down payment to live here and the elevator breaks on a regular basis?" I demanded.

"Maybe I should put you out of your misery."

I ducked and there was a crash. "Missed," I said, getting up from the floor. "Who are you?"

"Name's Cole Turner, formerly the Source of All Evil, formerly Belthazor."

"Explain?"

"I'm a demon. An insane demon. Completely insane. Cuckoo. Off my rocker."

"No argument there. But you're a…a demon?"

"Ex-demon, actually."

I hit the down arrow again in a wild hope that the doors would open and I could get back to reality. No such luck. "Ex-demon?" I repeated.

"Not 'ex' enough for Phoebe."

I moved closer to this man. While this was one of the strangest things I'd ever seen, it was also one of the most interesting. "Is she the witch?"

"Give the woman a prize. She's a genius." The former Source of All Evil (whatever that was, although I had a hunch it was nothing good) sat down on the couch.

"She shouldn't be that hard to win back. After all, aren't witches and demons on the same side?"

"A witch can be either good or evil. The general population has the 'ugly hag flying on a broomstick' impression. Mine is one of the most powerful good witches of all time. Not good enough, apparently," he added under his breath, "because I'm still here."

"Mr. Turner," I began, "you don't know who I am—neither do I right now, but that's beside the point—but I'd like to interview you."

"Interview? You're crazy."

"Well, you said that you are too."

"Listen to me." Cole stood up. "I'm trying to get the love of my life back, and I don't need anyone around to complicate it."

"Who says I'd be complicating it?"

"Me."

I shrugged. "I'm a wonderful schemer."

"Oh?"

"I'll help you if you'll help me."

"I'm beyond help," Cole said.

"I don't believe that."

"Save the psychological crap for someone who cares."

Before I could say anything in response, the elevator doors opened.

"I'd suggest leaving," said Cole.

I got into the elevator and hit the button for the lobby. "I'll be back."

"I'll be ready."

XXX

After find a decent hotel and checking in (it was the Holiday Inn, in case you were wondering), I digested what I'd learned from Cole Turner. The house I grew up in was haunted (or at least that's what my younger sister claimed), so I was pretty sure that the supernatural was real. I was a little shaken up by the whole "energy ball" thing, but I'd get over it…hopefully.

The witch part was a little harder to think about. Good witches? Besides Glinda in The Wizard of Oz, I hadn't heard about many. And to me, witches didn't seem like the falling-in-love type (although Bewitched was an exception).

I had to get to know Cole Turner.

A/N: This story is a bit of a first for me—it's entirely written out. The idea came to me about three weeks ago and I wrote about sixty pages in, oh, twenty days or so.

Does anyone else think it's warm in here?

that was random.

Anyway…moving on…reviews give me great joy!