"A WEDDING IN FOUR ACTS
SUMMARY: A Wiccan wedding is invaded by a succubus and a witch, bent on revenge. Sequel to "Obssession".
FEEDBACK: firstname.lastname@example.org - Be my guest. But please, be kind.
DISCLAIMER: Cole Turner, Darryl Morris, Leo Wyatt and the Charmed Ones and other characters are related to Charmed to Spelling Productions, Brad Kern and Constance Burge. The McNeills and a few other characters are my own creation.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: To understand certain parts of this story, please read "A Day in the Life of Paige Matthews", "Obssession" and "Whatever You Desire"
"A WEDDING IN FOUR ACTS"
ACT I - Part 1
A tall, well-dressed man strolled across the terrace that overlooked the blue Mediterranean Sea. He paused beside one of the lounge chairs and kneeled down to speak to a dark-haired woman, sipping a glass of Sangria. "Padronessa," he murmured to her, "I finally have the news that you require."
The glass hovered less than an inch from the woman's lips. "Tell me," she ordered.
"I have discovered the name of the Streghore who had summoned your sister."
Disbelief radiated from the woman's voice. "A Streghore? It was a witch who had summoned Portia?"
The man, who happened to be a low-level daemon named Leonardo, trembled with fear. "Si, Padronessa. A Streghore named Nichola Marcano. I learned this from the seer, Venusia. This Marcano witch had summoned your sister, nearly a month ago. For what reason, I do not know."
"For sex, of course," Claudia Della Scalla retorted. "What else? This Streghore was probably desperate for sex and summoned Portia. After they had sex, he vanquished her before she could kill him. Simple." Her expression hardened. "Only he had vanquished the wrong succubus. Where can I find him?"
Leonardo replied, "San Francisco, California. Only . . ." he hesitated.
Claudia heaved a frustrated sigh. "Only what?"
"After Venusia gave me the name of the Streghore, I discovered a few things about him. For example, he was arrested by the authorities for murder and attempting kidnapping. He is now incarcerated in the local jail."
The news took the beautiful succubus by surprise. "He is in jail for murder? Hmmm, this witch sounds very promising. It is a shame I will have to kill him."
Doubt glimmered in Leonardo's eyes. "Before you do, Padronessa, perhaps you should talk to the witch. Find out what really happened. Something tells me that your sister may have been involved in his crimes."
Claudia nodded. "Good idea. Meanwhile, have Gia pack my belongings. We are off to San Francisco."
"We?" Leonardo hesitated. "Shall I inform the other members of the boschetto?"
The succubus took another sip of her Sangria. "No, I will only need you and Giancarlo to get this Streghore for me. Once I am rid of him, perhaps we can remain in San Francisco for a few days. It has always been one of my favorite cities."
Leonardo rose to his feet, bowed and marched back to the villa. Heaving a satisfied sigh, Claudia returned her attention to her drink and the view, beyond.
* * * *
Cecile Dubois glanced at the grandfather clock standing in one corner of the living room, inside her Garden District house. It read five-eighteen. "Where is he?" she demanded, glancing at her handsome boyfriend. "He's late."
"Only by eighteen minutes," Andre Morell protested. "C'mon, cherie! Be patient. It's not like we have a plane to catch."
The third person inside the room grumbled, "Considering that he hasn't even shown up yet, I'm beginning to think that we should catch a plane." At fifty-five years old, Vivian Reyes Dubois had maintained her good looks and vitality. She and her daughter shared the same bronze-colored skin, high cheekbones, dark eyes reminiscent of ancient Egyptians and diminutive form. "I wonder if there's a plane available for San Francisco, in the next hour or two."
Andre demanded, "Why are you in such a hurry? Once Cole gets here, it should take us at least a second to arrive."
"Because I plan to do a little shopping."
Cecile added, "So do I. Olivia told me about a sale going on at Macy's."
A sigh left Andre's mouth. "Shopping? We're going to San Francisco for a wedding, and all you can think about is shopping? I thought you two had already bought wedding gifts."
Vivian rolled her eyes in disgust. "You don't understand women very much, do you boy?"
Before Andre could reply, a tall figure clad in a dark business suit, materialized in the middle of the living room. Cecile sighed with relief. Andre rushed forward to greet the newcomer with a bear hug. "Cole! Glad you could finally make it, man!" he said cheerfully. "We were beginning to get a little worried."
"We were more than beginning to worry," Cecile added caustically. "Another twenty minutes and we would have ended up going to the airport." She walked toward him and pecked his cheek.
Cole graced the Vodoun priestess with a charming smile. "And it's good to see you too, Ms. Dubois." He returned her kiss with one of his own. Then he turned to Cecile's mother. "Mrs. Dubois. It's good to see you."
"Nice to see you again, Cole," Vivian responded. "Now, what took you so long?"
A heavy sigh left Cole's mouth. "I'm sorry that I'm late, but the Senior Partners' staff meeting took longer than I had expected. Is everyone ready?" He glanced at the pile of luggage near the fireplace. "Oh, I guess so."
The others gathered around the half-daemon. "Is this going to take long?" Cecile's mother asked, uneasily. "I've never teleported, before."
"Don't worry Mama," Cecile reassured the older woman. "Like Andre said, it'll be over within a second." Sure enough, the four people disappeared from the New Orleans house and reappeared in the middle of the McNeill foyer, a second later.
Vivian released a gust of breath. Then she glanced around and frowned. "Is that it?" she demanded. "What happened to our luggage?" No sooner had she spoken, the Dubois and Andre's belongings materialized.
The McNeills' manservant, Davies, appeared in the foyer. "Oh, I see that you've all arrived."
"Afternoon Davies," Cole greeted. "I finally got them here. You can tell both Mrs. McNeill and the others."
Nodding, Davies replied, "Yes sir. Mr. Morell, Mrs. Dubois and Miss Dubois, it's good to see you, again. If you will all follow me, I will take you to the others in the drawing-room. Carmen and Liam will take care of your luggage."
"Leave my baggage in here, Davies," Andre said. "I'll be leaving with Cole."
Cecile added that she will be leaving with Olivia. "That is after she gets here."
"Miss Olivia is in the drawing-room with the others," Davies announced.
Cole frowned. "She's here?" He glanced at his watch. "This early?"
"Yes sir." Davies led the quartet toward the drawing-room. "Miss Olivia is here, along with both Mrs. McNeills and Mr. Bruce."
Vivian murmured to her daughter, "Why is it that every time I'm around that man, I feel as if I'm in the middle of a Merchant-Ivory movie and I'm about to meet Helena Bonham-Carter?"
"You and me both," Cecile shot back.
The manservant opened the drawing-room's double doors and ushered the visitors inside. They found both Elise and Gweneth McNeill observing the other two McNeills engage in a heated conversation. "Why are you asking me, Livy?" Bruce McNeill was saying. "Harry's the one who is planning this party."
Bruce's red-haired sister replied, "Because Harry told me to ask you. After all, it's your bachelor party."
"Okay. Then the answer is no," Bruce answered coolly.
Davies interrupted the conversation with a slight cough. "Excuse me, but the Dubois, Mr. Morell and Mr. Turner are all here."
The McNeills' attention became riveted upon the visitors. Gweneth McNeill let out a cry of delight. "Well, look who's here! Vi, darling! How are you?" She rushed forward to envelop Cecile's mother into a bear hug.
Cecile found herself being hugged by Olivia. Soon, everyone - sans Cole and Davies - were exchanging hugs, kisses and handshakes. The younger Mrs. McNeill then turned to Cole and thanked him for giving the visitors from New Orleans a supernatural lift.
"No problem at all," Cole replied genially. He shot a quick glance at Olivia, who immediately looked away. Much to Cecile's surprise. "Unfortunately, I was a little late. The meeting at the firm ended a bit later than I had expected." He turned to face both Olivia and Bruce. "Don't let me stop you, two. What were you talking about?"
Bruce replied, "My bachelor party. It seems Olivia wants me to add a certain someone to the guest list."
"That certain someone is Paul," Olivia retorted, glaring at her older brother.
"And I said . . . no."
Cecile asked, "You mean that attorney, who happens to be a witch? One of Leo's charges?"
Cole rolled his eyes. "Oh. Him. He's going to be at the bachelor party?"
Olivia diverted her glare to Cole "And what exactly, is wrong with . . . him?"
"Well, for one thing, he's a bore," Bruce replied. Both Cole and Andre snickered.
Green eyes now focused upon Cecile's significant other half. "Gee Andre, I didn't realize that you knew Paul."
"Uh, I don't," Andre said. "I just . . . heard . . ." Cecile surreptiously squeezed his arm. "Never mind."
Vivian piped up, "Does anyone know what time the department stores close in this town? I need to do some last minute shopping."
"Macy's should be open until nine, tonight," old Mrs. McNeill replied. "Perhaps Davies can drive you over . . ."
Olivia cut in. "I'll take her. I have some shopping to do, myself."
"And I'm going with you," Cecile added.
"Okay." Olivia paused and glanced at Bruce. "What about Paul?"
Bruce sighed. "What about him?"
Impatience radiated from Olivia's eyes. "The bachelor's party. Is it okay for Harry to invite him?"
Rolling his eyes, the oldest McNeill sibling coolly replied, "Let me think about it."
"Think about it fast, huh Bruce? The bachelor party is in two days." Olivia nodded at both Cecile and Vivian. "Ready ladies?" She started toward the doorway. Daughter and mother followed. As the former glanced behind her, she noticed the pained expression on Cole's face. Interesting.
* * * *
Piper picked up a stainless steel saucepan and held it up in front of her husband's eyes. "What about this?" she asked. "Would this do?"
The oldest Charmed One and her whitelighter husband stood in the middle of the Appliance Department, inside Macy's department store. Leo shook his head in dismay. "A saucepan? Piper, we're shopping for a wedding gift, not a housewarming party!"
"What's wrong with a saucepan?" Piper protested. "Maybe Bruce and Barbara will like it. He's a chef, after all."
An exasperated sigh left Leo's mouth. "Don't you think we should get them something with a little more class? Like silver, for instance."
"Too expensive," Piper curtly replied.
Leo shot back, "Piper, you own a nightclub that's . . ."
". . . that has been losing a little business, ever since Wyatt was born."
Undaunted, Leo continued, "But we still have enough money. And I've been earning a few bucks with some carpentry jobs on the side."
"Leo . . ."
"C'mon Piper. I don't want to give Bruce and Barbara a . . . saucepan." Leo paused, as he squirmed with discomfort. "I mean he's a friend and one of my former charges."
Rolling her eyes, Piper replied caustically, "Then why did we receive our wedding invitations at least a week after Paige had received hers? Can you explain that?"
"What is there to explain?" Leo protested. "Our invitations probably got lost in the mail."
Again, Piper rolled her eyes. "If that's what you want to believe, Leo, go ahead. It seems obvious to me that Bruce and Barbara only wanted to invite Paige. So, I see no reason why I should spend my money on something better than a saucepan."
"Look, maybe you're right. Maybe Bruce didn't want us at the wedding. Can you blame him?"
Piper blinked. Had she heard right? "Excuse me?"
"Well, we didn't invite him, Olivia or Harry to our wedding. And aside from you and your sisters, they're the only friends I have here in San Francisco. It even took them a while to forgive me for not inviting them."
With a scoff, Piper replied, "Well, at least you now believe me that we were excluded from the guest list."
"Piper! Please!" Leo pleaded. "Let's just buy something better than a saucepan. Okay?"
Piper opened her mouth for a retort, when three women appeared. She recognized Olivia McNeill and the latter's friend from New Orleans, whom she remembered from last December. The third woman seemed to be an older version of Olivia's friend. "Leo!" Olivia greeted cheerfully. "And Piper. Fancy meeting you two, here. Shopping for wedding gifts?"
"Uh," Leo began, hesitating, "yeah. We, uh . . . didn't have much time for shopping. Until today."
Olivia's smile widened. Piper began to wonder if she was mocking them. "Well, that's nice. By the way, I'm sure that both of you remember Cecile Dubois. She's here for the wedding." Both Piper and Leo nodded at the Vodoun priestess, who returned their nods. "And this," Olivia continued, "is Vivian Dubois, Cecile's mom. She's also a close friend of my mother's."
Piper smiled politely at the older woman. "Nice to meet you. Are you a Voodoo . . ." She saw Leo grimace from the corner of her eye. "I mean, a Vodoun priestess also, Mrs. Dubois?"
"Yes, I am," the older woman replied. "Both Cecile and I hold the title of Mami."
What the hell "Mami?"
Cecile spoke up. "That's the title for all women who are priestesses."
Leo asked, "Do you have a power like Cecile?"
Mrs. Dubois frowned. "Sorry?"
Again, Cecile explained, "He wants to know if you have a psychic ability, Mama. Like my telepathy and visions."
"Oh." Mrs. Dubois nodded. "I suppose I do. I'm a metamorph. What you would call a shapeshifter."
Olivia added, "Like Bruce and Dad, only Mrs. Dubois can morph into anything - other people, animals, plants and any other object."
"Like Cole," Piper added. "Or a chameleon demon." Everyone stared at her. "My sisters and I had an encounter with one, nearly two years ago."
The older woman wore a confused expression. "I share a power with a demon? There's a spirit out there that changes form?"
Now it was Piper and Leo's turn to look confused. "Huh?" the Charmed One asked. "What do you mean by spirit?"
A salesgirl appeared. "Excuse me, miss." All talk of the supernatural and magic ceased between the five people. The salesgirl continued, "Do you need any help with that saucepan?"
"Huh?" Piper glanced at the object in her hand. She also noticed the others staring at it, as well. Especially Olivia. "Oh, um do you know where I can find some candlesticks?" she asked lamely. "Preferably silver ones?"
END OF ACT I - Part 1