Wednesday, January 6, 2010
"Obssessions" [PG] - Chapter 3
Inspector Darryl Morris sat opposite Captain McPherson, inside the latter's office. He stared in silent shock, as the older man revealed some news. "Uh, could you . . . could you repeat that again, Captain?" he mumbled. Had he heard right?
"I said," McPherson's deep voice rumbled, "that you have received a promotion." He tossed a badge over to Darryl. "Congratulations, Lieutenant Morris."
Numbly, Darryl nodded. "Thanks . . . Captain. Uh," his partner's face flashed in his mind, "what about Olivia? Will she . . .?"
"No, she wasn't in line for a promotion." McPherson leaned forward. "But she will continue working with you. If you want. You'll be heading your own task force. One that investigates the more . . . difficult cases."
Darryl had a pretty good idea what kind of difficult cases he would be handling. Those of the supernatural kind. The freaky cases. He sighed. And wondered if this meant he would end up spending the rest of his career as a lieutenant.
McPherson cut into Darryl's thoughts. "About your unit . . . McNeill will be part of it. As sergeant, she'll be your second-in-command. The others include Scott Yi, Marcus Anderson and Carmen Trujillo. The task force goes into effect at the beginning of next month."
Nodding, Darryl continued, "Got it. Anything else?"
"One last thing. Just received word from the DA's Office. There will be a new ADA assigned to the DiMatteo case. Someone named Paul Margolin from Buffalo. From what I hear, he's good. You and McNeill will be seeing a lot of him over the next month or so. Other than that," McPherson smiled, "congratulations."
Darryl returned the captain's smile. "Thanks." Then he rose from his chair and left McPherson's office, clutching his new badge. The first place he headed for was Olivia's desk. "I've got some news," he announced.
The red-haired woman glanced up, smiling. "Is it about your new promotion?" she asked, taking his breath away.
"How did you . . .?"
Olivia's smile widened. "A little tip I had received from Hugo." She referred to one of the precinct's clerks. Olivia stood up and enveloped Darryl into a bear hug. "Congratulations, partner!"
"Yeah, thanks," Darryl said, feeling a touch dazed.
"Since we don't have anything urgent at the moment," Olivia continued, "why don't we celebrate with a lunch at Morgan's? Or better yet, dinner tonight at the Golden Horn? You, me, Sheila and . . ."
A voice interrupted. "Excuse me, are you Inspector Darryl Morris?"
Darryl turned around and faced a very attractive-looking man with chestnut hair and hazel green eyes. "Yeah. May I help . . .?"
"Paul?" Olivia's outburst took Darryl by surprise. She grabbed the stranger's hand and shook it. I wondered when we would see each other, again. You must be here about the DiMatteo case. Darryl, this is Paul Margolin, the new ADA. He's . . ."
"Yeah, I know," Darryl added. "He's the new prosecutor for the DiMatteo case. The captain had just told me. Nice to meet you." He held out his hand.
Margolin shook Darryl's hand. "Same here. By the way, congratulations on your promotion. I overheard."
Olivia continued, "Darryl here, is the only one who knows I'm a W-I-T-C-H. If you know what I mean."
Astounded by his partner's revelation, Darryl stared at her. "Wait a minute! He knows that you're a," he added in sotto voice, "a witch? Does that mean Mr. Margolin, here, is also one? How did you two . . .?"
Olivia grabbed her partner's arm. "I'll explain it during lunch, Darryl."
Before she and Darryl could leave, a fourth figure appeared before the trio. "Explain what?" Cole Turner asked.
* * * *
Thank goodness he had called in sick, today. This gave Nick the opportunity to not only summon the succubus, but also prepare some kind of protection for himself. Protection that called for some Angelica Root. Knowing that Barbara usually went to lunch around one o'clock, Nick headed for Ostera's around a half hour, before noon. He found the shop's two assistants helping customers with their purchases. Nick drifted toward one of the shelves and began his search for the root.
One minute later, Nick overheard Paige bid the last customer, good-bye. He continued his search, until a voice behind him asked, "What are you looking for?" It was Paige.
Nick hesitated before he answered, "Oh nothing in particular. Just some Angelica Root, if you have any."
"Hmmm." Paige searched the shelves for the herb in question. Nick followed closely behind. However, the search ended in failure. "Sorry Nick. Looks like I couldn't find any. Hey Maddy?" she called to the other assistant, "could you check the shelves again for some Angelica Root? I'll be in the stockroom."
While Paige headed for the stockroom, Nick and Madeline Oser, the shop's other assistant, continued the search for the Angelica Root. He asked Maddy if Barbara was in today. Before the young woman could answer, Paige returned, along with the person in question, beside her. "We found it!" Paige crowed in a triumphant voice. "Actually, Barbara found it." She handed the package to Nick. "Here you go - one jar of Angelica Root. What do you need it for? A protection potion?"
Caught off guard by Paige's question, Nick hesitated. Then he answered, "Uh, no . . . actually . . . yeah. Yeah, it's for a protection . . . potion."
"Protection from what?" Maddy asked. The youngest of Ostera's staff, she was a pretty, dark-haired twenty-three year-old who had recently graduated from college.
Nick stared at her. "Huh? Oh, uh . . . I'm trying to create this new potion." He paused, until an idea came to him. "A . . . a traveling potion. A strong one." Again he paused. With all eyes upon him, he felt like an idiot. Or that something was wrong with him. "And I need a protection spell . . . uh, potion . . . just in case something goes . . . wrong." Desperate to change the subject, he asked Barbara what she was doing in the storeroom.
"Checking the Internet on my plant," she answered. "You know, the one we told you about."
"The Soma plant that your friend gave you, last Friday? The one that warlock was after?"
Barbara nodded. "Yeah. Well, I finally learned something about it." According to the blond-haired witch, the Soma plant happened to be a shrub from Hindu mythology. Its leaves not only cured diseases of all kinds, but also granted immortality. "Which is probably why that warlock was after it."
"At least you won't have to worry about a demon coming after it," Paige added. "Especially since they're already immortal." Silence filled the shop. Everyone smiled at Paige. Even in his nervous state, Nick could not help but smile at the Charmed One's naivety. "What?" she demanded. "Did I say something wrong?"
Barbara patted her shoulder. "No, it's just that not all of us believe that daemons are completely immortal. I mean, yes they have very long life spans and cannot be killed by . . . say, a bullet. But even something ordinary like a knife or sword can kill them. In my book that does not make them immortal."
"Of course, it's only my opinion. And the opinions of others. We all have our different interpretations." Barbara sighed. "Also, the last thing anyone want is any magical being becoming immune to any kind of death . . . supernatural or otherwise. That's why I have the plant at Bruce's house. His family is strong enough to protect it."
While the others continued to discuss the Soma plant, Nick allowed his mind to wander. Or to be more accurate, contemplate upon what he had just heard. Soma plant. Immortality. Perhaps this plant might turn out to be the perfect bargaining unit to use with the succubus.
"Oh! Hey!" Paige cried out, interrupting Nick's thoughts. "Speaking of Bruce, did you hear the news? The BAY-MIRROR columnist, DeWolfe Mann, will be interviewing him and Mrs. McNeill for an article on the Golden Horn. You know, for its 25th anniversary. Phoebe told me."
Hip-hip-hooray, Nick thought sourly. The 'Golden Man' strikes again. He could not care less about Bruce McNeill or any other McNeill's stroke of good luck. Especially since the bastard will not be around long enough to enjoy it. Hopefully.
* * * *
Four people gathered inside a booth at Morgan's to celebrate one Inspector Darryl Morris' promotion to lieutenant. One person too many, as far as Cole was concerned.
After learning about Darryl's promotion from Olivia, Cole had volunteered to treat the two partners to a celebration lunch at Morgan's - the McNeill family's second restaurant. An unpleasant surprise awaited him upon arriving at the police station. A surprise in the form of a handsome, chestnut-haired man exchanging smiles with Olivia. One glance at the pair and an uncomfortable feeling struck Cole that this burgeoning friendship could easily develop into something more serious. He saw fascination in the ADA's eyes and interest in Olivia's.
Cole had to struggle to maintain his emotions, when Olivia introduced him Paul Margolin. Who turned out to be the newly hired Assistant District Attorney. New ADA, huh? Cole would have laughed at the irony, if he was not feeling on edge at the moment. He received a bigger shock when Olivia revealed that Margolin happened to be a witch. One of Leo's charges, whom she had just met last night. He finally understood why the whitelighter's dinner invitation had not been extended to him.
"Paul had just moved from Buffalo," Olivia explained with a smile. "He was a . . . a public prosecutor. Right?" She directed her last word to the New Yorker.
Margolin returned Olivia's smile. "Right."
Cole's lips formed an arch smile. "No kidding," he commented with a slight sardonic tone. "And now you're an ADA. So what made you decide to move here to San Francisco?"
"I heard about the new position of ADA," Margolin replied. "Through a friend."
"A friend, huh? Leo?"
Darryl frowned at Cole. "How would Leo know about job openings in the DA's Office?"
Cole responded with a shrug. "Well, since Leo happens to be the only person that Mar . . . uh, Paul knew here in Frisco, I simply made the connection."
Paul quickly added, "Actually, I heard about it through another friend."
Silence enveloped the booth. A waitress approached to take orders. After she left, Olivia said to Margolin, "Speaking of the DA's Office, did you know that Cole used to be a ADA? About two-and-a-half years ago?"
One of Margolin's brows lifted out of curiosity. "Really? Why did you leave?" he asked Cole. "Better job offer?"
Cole replied coolly, "Out of necessity. Actually, I had no choice. The Charmed Ones had discovered that I was a daemon sent by the old Triad to kill them."
More silence followed. Cole noted with pleasure that Margolin's eyes grew wide with shock. A sigh left Darryl's mouth and Olivia glared at the half-daemon. "Um," the new ADA began nervously, "did you just say . . .?"
". . . that I'm a daemon?" Cole finished. "Yeah. Actually, half-daemon. My father was a mortal. But the reason I really left was due to the fact that I had failed to kill Phoebe and her sisters, and killed the Triad, instead. So, I ended up on the run from the Source's zoltars." He paused, wearing an innocent expression - and relishing the witch's discomfort. "What? Didn't Leo and the others tell you about me?"
Margolin's mouth merely hung open in silence. Then he turned to Olivia and Darryl. "Um, did you two . . .? I mean, how long have you kn . . .?"
Olivia immediately replied, "Since I first met Cole, five months ago. He had saved me from a warlock. And Darryl has known him longer."
The new police lieutenant shot his partner a resentful look. "Yeah, I've known about Cole, ever since the Halliwells first found out that he was a de . . . a half-demon."
"Belthazor," Cole added, barely containing a smirk. "I was known as Belthazor. You know, one of the Source's top assassins. To make a long story short, I ended up helping the Charmed Ones, lost my powers, got possessed by the Source's essence and ruled the Underworld for a few months. Then the Halliwells killed me, I acquired new powers to escape the Wasteland and now I'm back. With new powers. I'm sure that Leo could fill in the details."
Margolin responded with a numb nod. "So, uh . . . Leo and his family . . . they know about you? I mean, they . . . worked with you . . . even . . ."
"Well, yes," Cole answered. "I was also married to the middle sister. Phoebe. Didn't last very long."
This time, the ADA remained silent. He reached for his glass of water. Took a few gulps. "I don't . . ." Margolin took a deep breath. "This is . . . all so, um . . . interesting."
Cole's pleasure in Margolin's discomfort soured, as he watched Olivia regard the other man with concerned eyes. "Paul? Are you okay? Would you like me to explain everything?"
"I guess I better talk to Leo," Margolin said. Cole looked away in disgust. The man was an experienced witch, for crying out loud! Surely he had been taught to expect the unexpected? And now here he was, freaking out over meeting a half-daemon.
To avoid the sickening scene unfolding between Olivia and Margolin, Cole's gaze turned away and swept over the restaurant's dining room. He spotted a familiar pair weaving their way between tables. A knot formed in his stomach, as he recognized Phoebe and her newest paramour - Jason Dean. Oh shit!
END OF PART 3