“Neighbors” [PG] – 10/11

“NEIGHBORS”

Part 10

The following morning saw Olivia among the first in her squad to report for work. However, there seemed to be one person who had already arrived. Namely Darryl Morris. 

“Good morning!” she greeted her colleague with a cheerful smile. “You’re bright and early, for once.” Olivia knew that Darryl had never been considered an early bird in their squad. Which meant he wanted to speak with her. She smirked. “Oh, oh! You must have been waiting for me.”

Darryl placed a sheet of paper on Olivia’s desk. “That’s right, I have.”

“What’s this?” Olivia picked up the sheet of paper.

“A report from a patrolman. I found it in Thompson’s out-box before I went home, last night. Apparently, he and his partner were driving along Bayshore Drive, when they saw unusual lights from the Tower Bay warehouse. When they went to investigate, Thompson and his partner heard more sounds of explosions and a scream. You know, that sort of thing.”

Green eyes widened. “Really?”

Darryl rolled his eyes. “Yes, really. When Thompson checked inside the warehouse, he and his partner found nothing.” He paused dramatically. “Except for a scorch mark on the east wall.” A sigh left Darryl’s mouth. “Now, I’m glad that you’re all safe. Or else you wouldn’t be here, smiling like a cat with canaries in her mouth. I just . . .” Both he and Olivia spotted a clerk entered the squad room. “I just want to know what happened.”

Olivia glanced at the newcomer. She sat on the chair behind her desk. “If you must know, we got rid of the warlocks.”

“You and the Charmed Ones?”

A loud scoff escaped from Olivia’s mouth. “No, actually it was my brother Harry, Cole Turner, and me.”

“What happened to . . .?” A knowing look creased Darryl’s face. “Wait. Don’t tell me. You had to rescue the Halliwells.”

Olivia sighed. “I’m afraid so. It’s a good thing that Harry was able to read Phoebe’s premonition. He’s telepathic.”

Darryl shook his head. “Please. Don’t tell me. I don’t wanna know anymore than I do.”

“But I thought you wanted to know everything.”

Darryl shot back, “I wanted to know what happened inside that warehouse. Not about your brother.”

A tall figure strode into the squad room. It belonged to their supervisor, Captain McPherson. He glanced at the two inspectors. “Morris, McNeill, I’m glad to see you both here. See me in my office. In five minutes.” The he continued on toward his office.

The two friends glanced at each other. “What was that about?” Olivia asked.

“You got me,” Darryl said as he shrugged. “Getting back to the subject, you say that Cole helped you rescue the Halliwells? I guess this will finally put him back in Phoebe’s good graces.”

Darryl’s words hit Olivia like a punch in the gut. “Oh. I never thought about that.” Nor did she really want to.

* * * *

The telephone rang three times before a voice on the other end of the receiver announced, “Hello?”

Phoebe took a deep breath. “Cole?”

A pause followed. Then, “Phoebe? Is that you?”

“Yeah.”

Cole’s voice hesitated. “Uh, is there something wrong? Why did you call?”

Now it was Phoebe’s turn to hesitate. Why could she say? Cole called out her name again. “Phoebe? Are you there?”

She sighed. “Yeah. I . . . uh, I just wanted to thank you, again. For saving us from those warlocks.”

“You’re welcome. Although I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Olivia or Harry’s help.”

Phoebe grunted. “Yeah. Well . . . with or without their help, thanks.”

Silence greeted Phoebe’s last words. Then Cole said, “Was there any other reason why you called?” Phoebe thought she heard hope in his voice.

Was there another reason? Why was she calling him anyway? To reunite with him? It was the last thing she wanted. After all of the trauma over the Source, Phoebe realized that she could not deal with the uncertainly of Cole turning evil again. Not while he possessed those powers he had received from the Wasteland. But she could not say so over the telephone. Besides, Cole knew how she felt.

Phoebe took a deep breath. “No. I just wanted to say thanks. Again.”

“You’re welcome.” Cole’s voice now sounded flat. “Good-bye Phoebe.”

The telephone receiver went dead. Phoebe whispered, “Good-bye.” And she hung up the telephone.

“Who was that?” a cheerful Paige asked, as she and Piper entered the Solarium.

Phoebe murmured, “Cole.”

Her sisters’ expressions sobered at the mention of her ex-husband. Especially Paige’s. Piper’s eyes also radiated concern. “Oh? What did he want?” She sat down on the sofa, next to Phoebe.

“He didn’t call. I did.”

Paige demanded, “And why did you do that?”

“This has nothing to do with yesterday, does it?” Piper asked, shooting the youngest with a quick glare.

Phoebe took a deep breath. “Well, I figured that he deserved a thank you for saving us from those warlocks. After all, we practically ignored him, yesterday.”

The other two Halliwells looked slightly abashed. Piper spoke up. “Maybe we did seem a little ungrateful. But Phoebe, are you sure there’s nothing more to your phone call?”

“Like what?” Phoebe warily asked.

Piper glanced at Paige, who shrugged. The former continued, “Like Cole . . . and Olivia McNeill.” Piper paused. “And the way they sort of . . . well, smiled at each other. Maybe you don’t like the idea of Cole becoming close with another woman.”

Paige added, “Yeah. Especially with Olivia. Heck, they almost seemed like kindred spirits.”

“Paige!” Piper’s eyes flashed with irritation. “Could you please not . . .?”

But the youngest Halliwell continued on with her usual bluntness. “What? I mean, we all noticed! I know I did. And Phoebe? Don’t take this the wrong way, but maybe this is a sign that you and Cole aren’t simply made to be together. Maybe it’s time to move on, like you keep telling him.”

Once more, Piper admonished Paige. But the latter’s words further twist the knife Phoebe has been feeling in her gut, since yesterday evening. As she struggled to overcome her quixotic feelings about Cole, she asked in a trembling voice, “Where’s Leo? I haven’t seen him since yesterday morning.”

“Meeting with the bosses, I suppose,” Piper muttered. The moment she had spoken, her husband appeared in his familiar sea of blue lights. “Oh! Speak of the devil.”

Leo planted a light kiss on Piper’s forehead. “I don’t know if I like the idea of being referred to as a devil.”

“Where have you been?” Piper demanded.

Leo replied, “Sorry, but I was with a charge in London.”

“London? Cool!” Paige expressed excitement.

“Yeah. And I was also with the Elders. They’re very relieved that the Crozat Coven was prevented from becoming the major power in the Underworld. They were pretty powerful, you know. And large.”

Piper caustically remarked, “Shouldn’t you be at Olivia McNeill’s apartment, telling all her this? After all, she was the one responsible for stopping them.”

“Oh. Well, yeah. I had also heard about that,” Leo added. “That’s why I plan to see her, this evening.”

Ever since she saw the red-haired witch in action, Phoebe had a question in her mind. “Speaking of Olivia, remember when you told us about her powers? Well, exactly how strong is she? I mean, you should have seen her, Leo. Not even Prue’s telekinesis was that strong.”

“That’s because Prue’s power had not been fully developed when she died,” Leo replied. “And Olivia has been developing her power for a longer period of time. Come to think of it, she still isn’t fully developed yet. The same goes for Bruce and Harry.”

Piper stared at her husband in shock. “You’ve got to be kidding! Both she and Harry were like super witches! Or something like that.”

Leo gave his wife what looked like a chastising stare. “That’s because they both took the time to not only control their powers, but to also develop them.” Piper rolled her eyes. “Besides, like I said before, all of you are only slightly more powerful than the McNeills. And I do mean slightly.” Leo hesitated. “Only as the Power of Three, I mean. And there’s also the prophecy.”

Phoebe and the other Charmed Ones frowned at their whitelighter. “Prophecy? What are you talking about?” Phoebe asked.

The whitelighter paused. He seemed very reluctant to continue.

“Come on, Leo! Give,” Phoebe argued. “The genie is already out of the bottle.”

After a heartfelt sigh, Leo finally continued, “There’s a rumor about a prophecy that concerns both the Warren and McNeill lines. It’s rumored that both lines will eventually come together in marriage and produce the most powerful magical being ever.”

“What are you talking about?” Paige demanded. “I thought we were supposed to be the most powerful witches, ever.”

“I said the most powerful magical being, not witch.”

Leo’s words reminded Phoebe of the Seer. The former demon had once revealed that if she and Cole – when he was the Source – had been married by a regular priest or minister, their baby would have been a powerful force of good. Phoebe still doubted the Seer’s words. She simply could not comprehend the idea of a witch and a demon producing such a child. Not while there was the demonic element to consider.

“So, does anyone have an idea which one of us will help bring about this prophecy?” Paige asked, interrupting Phoebe’s thoughts.

Leo shrugged. “Who knows?”

“Speaking of the McNeills . . .” Piper raced out of the room, perplexing her sisters and husband. A few minutes later, she returned, holding a cake encased inside a plastic covering. “This is Grams’ famous Coconut cake. Sort of a peace offering to old Mrs. McNeill for what happened on Sunday. Since you’ll be seeing Olivia, could you give it to her, so she can give it to her grandmother?” Piper handed the cake to Leo.

Who handed the cake back to Piper. “Why don’t you give it to Mrs. McNeill, herself? We can stop by the McNeill manor after we see Olivia. Shouldn’t you all present this cake to Mrs. McNeill? In person?”

The three sisters exchanged long-suffering looks. Eating crow has never been a Halliwell forte.

END OF PART 10