Pre Edit Count – 1,445 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Dangerous by Big Data
With his hands in front of his face, Cole nods once, “The next time she comes through call me. It is time to end this.”
Beyond time, his Bella has more important things to learn before he comes to her again. This is now a footnote in their lives to come.
There are many things happening over the next month and a half: The weather is turning colder, but the personal relationships of people are warming up.
Gregory and Bella became friends, and she enjoyed the company of someone that didn’t think of her as girlfriend material. Gregory, never Greg, told her that he wanted a friend; it didn’t matter if they were male or female. It mattered more what they are on the inside. She could admire that. She was sick of Mike and his constant attention grabbing to get her to go out with him.
For himself, Gregory continues to grow disenchanted with the reasoning the Elders gave for him being there. Bella needs no protection, in fact, if anyone messes with her; it is the other beings that should be protected! He has seen some mysterious accidents happen to some of the people who annoy Bella: Jessica and Lauren are two of the biggest that come to mind.
Though he wonders why nothing has been done to Mike Newton since the kid gets on his nerves with his never-ending pursuit of Bella. That boy doesn’t seem to know the meaning of no!
Just because the Elders think Cole has plans for her does not mean that he is going to hurt her. In fact, it seems to have him leaning the other direction! He fights to do the right thing, even though he is the Source of all Evil. He has done it for love in the past, and it looks like he is traveling down the same road again.
In fact, the more Gregory asks questions, the more he finds that the Elders made many mistakes with the Charmed Ones. It seems like they would rather control everything around them, and it had made them prevent a lot of good with their plans.
Gregory rolls his eyes as he sits in the coffee shop waiting on Bella, thinking that the reasoning for the greater good as a motive has as many serious issues as it did in that children’s book series about wizards.
In particular, keeping Leo separated from Piper did more harm in the long run. They had left a lasting impression on the Charmed Ones that it is not always best to trust them, that they would hesitate if told of something that went against what they thought was right. If not, a word or two to the wise would quickly shift their perceptions.
Also, to him, love seems to be against the plans for the Elders when it comes to the Charmed Ones. If they fall in love, more often than not, there is interference. They always seem to have reasons to go against it, no matter how much that love may change the game. To them, it is all black and white, with no gray, and there is no chance for any supernatural to be able to be with a Charmed One.
Charmed Ones are human, and they were never meant to be led by the Elders of the Whitelighters, nor to have them making decisions for them. It is their humanity that makes them so powerful: Their love for each other. Moreover, the Elders wanted them to only be around the ones they approve of. However, the Whitelighter they chose for them wasn’t good enough for Piper to love and marry!
Gregory shakes his head as he watches out the coffee shop window as he waits for Bella. He is keeping his research hidden: Easy for him, with his abilities. He wants to find out what is going on; since he is now getting to the point where he is questioning everything the Elders told him. Things were not adding up, and haven’t for a while, but this assignment is showing him a lot more of the issues than the previous ones in his life.
When he sees Bella, in a coat, making her way toward him, he can’t help the smile that crosses his face. He enjoys her enthusiasm for life. He loves the fact that Cole is being careful to encourage her self-worth in the small ways he has. He tells her openly that she is making a huge difference, and is willing to show her and others how much he values her. It has made a huge change.
So much in fact, Gregory has also worked to do the same. She only deserves it; she does work hard, often with no thanks given.
Bella sits down across from him as the barista brings her the pumpkin spice latté that she so loves in the fall. That it is November is something, she tells him, that she enjoys that much more since it will be ending soon.
With a smile on his face remembering that conversation, Gregory raises an eyebrow, “So how is your last year of school so far?” He knows she is really done, but no matter how he argues that she should graduate early and get out of this town, she has told him that she will think on it. Determined to get her out of the area, he asks her each and every time. This place depresses him, much less her!
She rolls her eyes at the common question and decides to tell him, “I should be done in December. Thank goodness! I am so sick of this area, and with the deaths in Seattle, I am uneasy.” She takes a sip of her latté, waiting for him to react to her finally giving in to his suggestion.
He raises an eyebrow at her, waiting for her to tell him. He had long ago sussed out the information about the Cullens, just from what he had observed, and given her the information. He knew she kept the secret as few humans could. Moreover, he respected it. Nevertheless, as he pointed out when he showed her his research, something was odd about them. Anyone could tell that they were other: Humans were just being lazy and not looking into things more as she had. He would not be surprised that others suspected and never said anything that the common townsfolk could hear.
She had given in after he kept bringing her the information, and that day had been important to them both. Gregory also knows she hasn’t said anything she suspects about Cole and his group. She would slowly go insane if she couldn’t confide in someone, and Gregory has decided that he would be that someone. However, Cole has never asked her to keep her work secret; she has done so of her own violation.
Still nervous about speaking to another about these types of things, Bella looks away, fingering the side of her drink, “There are too many deaths. I suspect that there is a vampire at the core of it. Charlie has been tapped by the force in Seattle to help with figuring out who might be behind the attacks. Before they just had him talking with them, but now he is going up there every other weekend to follow leads. Now they are talking about bringing the FBI into it,” which would possibly lead to a death toll for the officials not heard of since Waco.
Gregory nods as he leans back in the seat, watching everyone around them. “And that would not help either, with a clean-up crew coming to hide this from their side. Have you heard anything else?” He gives her a look letting her know that he means the other source of supernaturals in this area.
Giving him a look of disgust, Bella retorts sarcastically to him, “No, Jacob refuses to talk to me, saying that there are extenuating circumstances that he cannot go into more detail. He hates that I figured out he turns into a wolf!!!” She rolls her eyes, sick of the whole ‘keep everything from Bella’ game that seems to be going on around her.
Snorting to himself, Gregory reaches out to play with the remains of a sugar packet she used in her coffee. “So, what does that leave you?” He looks up through his dark eyelashes at her, waiting to hear more on this plan to leave in December. If she is being serious.
She glances at him, and seeing his body posture, Bella lifts her eyebrow as she answers, “It leaves US with a plan to leave the state. I won’t leave without you, Gregory.” Her voice is hard at the end, letting him know this is not up for one of their normal debates. She wants them both gone, nowhere close to the massive FUBAR that is about to happen.
He chuckles to himself. “Well, there is that. But I can’t just hang out in a place waiting for you to finish your schooling like a good little housewife.” The gleam in his eye allows her to know he is just spoiling for an argument for argument’s sake.
She covers her mouth as she snorts. “I call bull shit! It’s what you do now, researching away on your own projects. I imagine you would have more cases if you were in a bigger city. Nice try though, I really liked the mental picture of you in an apron waiting at the door with a martini when I got home!”
Enjoying the banter, he looks away, “But then I would have to go out among people! You know you are the only one I can stand being around. The rest are idiots.” The last is said with all the disdain he truly feels for what he calls sheeple.
Bella loves the way they often tease each other on these little things, so she plays along while her mind is actually busy on what Cole has asked her to do. He has asked for the colleges she wants to apply to, and has already offered a scholarship to her, and one other of her classmates of her choice if she takes the one he is proposing.
Angela has talked about wanting to go out of state, and with the incentives Cole is offering, Bella has already asked her when she could graduate.
It will give her only other friend, one who is a truly someone she can count on, a chance to go to college, with her, and give her a female friend. Cole had even offered to get a big enough house if her Gregory friend checks out. He would rather have a male in the house to make sure they are safe.
Thinking over the proposal, Bella knows she would be stupid not to agree to it. She sighs, then turning back to Gregory, she informs him of the offer, “If Angela agrees, I will have a place to stay for all three of us. Cole has offered it so I can take advantage of the scholarship he wants me to take from him.”
An eyebrow raises at this information. “Really?” Again, proof that Cole actually cares for her.
She nods, “A house, everything paid for, including the utilities, books and our needs. The limits are that you and Angela come along. Seems Cole trusts you and would rather have a male there, and another female to keep me company.” Especially after he had wryly commented that Gregory seemed more of a brother than anything else.
Musing over the information, there is again proof that Cole is not all evil as they had told him. What would be the point of having two friends with her when isolating her would be better for any plans he would have for her. Instead, he is thinking of her well-being, as well as making sure she will take what he is offering. There are some selfish reasons behind it, but the way he is making it happen shows his true worries.
Across the table, Bella nods. “He wants me at Harvard and has offered to make sure the person me and the person I choose will be allowed there. Something about inside networking.” With a shrug Bella dismisses the information, not knowing that it is hard to get into the school even with normal networking. But then, Gregory suspects Cole’s networking would be more effective than massive amounts of money being donated. “Either way, Angela is looking to see if she can graduate this December with me. I figured it would make moving that much easier for you.” She then glances at him, wanting him to go with her.
He takes a breath and lets it out. Here it is. At least he has a firm friendship with her. Hopefully, it will last once Cole is around. However, he has been shocked that even though the man has conversed with her often, even over the computer, they haven’t seen each other in person since that night.
Maybe it will be a bit longer. He agrees. “Okay. Let me know the particulars when you know them, and if it is okay with you both, I will see about setting up everything.” This way he can see what else is around them, and know if there is anything that could threaten her. With her luck, they would move in next to a coven of warlocks that Cole could not control.
She smiles, men around the cafe turning to look at her, watching her as they always do. Gregory sighs internally. So much to look after her, and all she is doing is being herself. His thinking nudges more into that area that he is watching over Bella more as a friend than someone who is his charge.
And that moment will later be pinpointed as the moment when everything changed.
Final count: 2,344