Title: Best of Intentions
Summary: Mrs. Chase’s serious illness brings about an unexpected relationship adjustment for Cordelia and Angel.
Spoilers: Somewhere between S1 and S2.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: I don’t care where, just let me know.
Notes: I have a sneaky suspicion that my “great idea” for this fic may have already been done by somebody else. If so, I apologize to the writer(s) of the other fic(s) and say: I didn’t steal from you, honest! It’s just that great minds think alike. A/N: This is based on a challenge submitted byTactlessBruenette: “I know there are a few fics out there where CCs parents come and visit, but I want another! Basically, CC’s parents come and somehow they think C/A are together. Whatever after that. I know this is a pretty vague challenge but…oh, well!” Hope you like it, TB!
Feedback: It’s a darn good thing, and I want lots of it!!!
Wednesday, 6:32 p.m.
The continuous beeping of the heart monitor was soothing, if only in its regularity. That sound meant that the patient was alive, heart beating steadily, a chance for recovery in the future. Cordelia took solace in that small, repetitive noise as she looked into the sleeping face of her mother.
Cordelia sat near her mother’s bed in a drab, once-blue hospital chair. It was the kind that are apparently mandatory for hospitals: vinyl, cracked, lumpy in all the wrong places, and impossible to sleep in no matter how many pillows and blankets one has. The discomfort went unnoticed by her; her only concern was her mother’s health. Nothing else mattered.
Just two days earlier, Cordelia had been living the life of a woman at peace with herself and confident in her future. She’d taken the small Angel Investigations staff under her protection, housing the boss and mothering her co-worker. They’d all been uprooted when Angel’s building had been bombed, but the comfort of Cordelia’s apartment had become a restful temporary home for the company. Cordelia took pride in the fact that she was tightening and strengthening the weave of their small family, especially since it seemed like her blood-relations had all but abandoned her.
A phone call on Monday morning had jarred her out of her beauty sleep. She enjoyed the fact that she had no commute, and she was very stingy with her extra sleep-in time. Because of that, she answered the phone with a less-than-cordial attitude.
“What?” she greeted grumpily.
“Cordelia, honey, it’s your Dad,” the distantly familiar voice of her father came booming back at her.
“Daddy?” Cordelia asked, confused. Weren’t they supposed to be in the Caribbean someplace?
“Yes. Listen, your mother is in the hospital and I need you to look after her,” he said. Her father was never one for small talk; he said that time was money and he didn’t have any of either to waste.
“The hospital?” Cordelia squeaked as she sat up, completely awake now. “Is she—what’s wrong with her?” She couldn’t help the worry that crept into her voice.
“She’s sick, sweetie.” He sounded tired. “A doctor here diagnosed her with some type of malignant cancer and they sent her back home for treatment. It doesn’t look good.”
“Oh, Daddy—,” Cordelia’s voice broke. She hadn’t been close to her parents in the last few years, but it didn’t change the fact that she loved them despite their poor parenting skills.
He got right back to business. He’d never been one for “emotional females,” as he called them, either. “I’m still here in the Cayman Islands, and you know that I can’t leave. Your mother’s name isn’t on any of the paperwork, so she’s not in danger of being arrested, but I can’t come back.” He paused, and Cordelia could almost see him rubbing the bridge of his nose as he tried to deal with the stress.
“I need you to be with her, Cordy, when I can’t.”
“Of course, Daddy,” she had agreed softly. She knew that there was no other option. Her mother needed her; she wouldn’t ignore that.
Now, looking at her mother’s hollow features, Cordelia knew she’d made the right decision. In a private conference with her mother’s doctors, Cordelia had learned that her mother’s chances for survival were minimal, and the doctors didn’t even consider the extenuating circumstances. Cordy knew that leaving Sunnydale society, a place where her mother was a reigning social queen, had nearly killed her as it was. Now being separated from Cordelia’s father, the love of her life, left her little to live for. Cordelia knew it was only a matter of time before she’d say goodbye to her mother forever.
Teary at her somber thoughts, Cordelia was surprised to see her mother’s eyes open and focus on hers. Her mother smiled softly, reaching a weak hand up to cup her daughter’s face.
“You’re so beautiful, Cordelia,” she said, her tone full of the pure pride only a parent can manage. Her smile faded as she continued, “I worry about you, sweetie. Your future is so uncertain.”
Cordelia rushed to reassure her mom. “I’m okay, Mama, really. I have a good job and friends that care about me. I’ll be fine.” She smiled encouragingly, trying to smooth the worry lines from her face so she could put up a strong front.
“Oh, I know that. It’s just that—,” she paused as if trying to decide whether Cordelia would take offense at her next words. “You’re not married,” she stated plainly.
“No, Mom, I’m not. What’s that have to do with my well-being?” Cordelia asked, her eyebrow raised.
Her mother’s eyes drifted away from Cordelia’s face, misting and getting that faraway look she had when thinking of her younger days with Cordelia’s father.
“Marriage can bring so much happiness, Cordelia.”
“And so much heartache,” Cordelia countered.
“Oh, but it’s worth every minute. Passionate, all-consuming true love is something that I don’t want you to live without, Cordelia. You’re such a vibrant, beautiful young woman, and I don’t want to die knowing you’ll never experience that.”
“You’re not going to die, Mom,” Cordelia said automatically. They’d had this back-and-forth since she’d first come to the hospital.
“Oh, but I am,” her mother said firmly. “And I want you to be happy.”
“But, Mom—,” Cordelia began, interrupted as her mother’s face contorted in pain and she pressed a hand to her abdomen.
Cordelia quickly reached for the button on the IV that released morphine into her mother’s bloodstream. As the medicine flowed through her, her mother let her breath out slowly and turned again to face Cordelia.
“The pain is so much worse when I’m worried,” her mother commented. The statement sounded innocent, but Cordelia knew that her mother was trying to play on her sympathies. She’d always done that, but the knowledge didn’t do anything to lessen Cordelia’s guilt.
There was silence for a moment as each thought about what they’d said.
Her mother tried again, her voice imploring Cordelia to understand a mother’s concerns. “I just want to die knowing that my daughter is happy and totally head-over-heels in love with a wonderful man.”
“But, Mom—I,” Cordelia stopped, a stroke of genius hitting her like a smack in the face.
Might as well. What could it hurt?
“I am happy, Mom, and I’m in love with someone, a great guy with a good heart. It happened so recently and with you being sick, I didn’t know if I should bother you with it.”
“Bother me? What kind of mother would be bothered by such fantastic news?” she scolded, her excitement palpable. “Who is he? Why haven’t you called us and told us about him? You’re such a sneaky little girl.” Her mother’s smile was reminiscent of Cordelia’s childhood, full of the mischief and fun of secrets between mother and daughter.
Oh boy, no going back now. Cordelia took a deep, calming breath.
This was for her mother’s health. Lying in this case was okay, wasn’t it?
“It’s Angel, Mom, my boss. We’re engaged.”
Wednesday 9:42 p.m.
Slowly opening the door to her apartment, Cordelia entered and shut it softly behind her. She leaned back against the strong panel, the firm wood supporting her weary body as her bags slipped from her fingers and fell in a soft ‘plop’ to the floor. Raising her hands to cradle her head, she closed her eyes and groaned.
How could she make such a mess of her life in just a few short hours?
The admission in the hospital about her “engagement” to Angel had seemed like a stroke of genius at the time, but it quickly turned into a dilemma of epic proportions. Her mother had immediately demanded to know everything about her future son-in-law, and Cordelia had tried to tell as much truth as possible. She knew from past experience that lying was only effective if it was partially true; otherwise, she couldn’t keep track of it and no one believed her anyway.
So she told her mother that Angel was a 28-year-old private detective who specialized in cases involving the darker side of life. She reminded her mother that Buffy Summers had dated Angel in high school and that’s how Cordelia had met him, but the relationship with Buffy hadn’t worked out. Angel had come to LA and they’d renewed their friendship. Working together closely had deepened their bond and they’d fallen in love with each other.
Even as she told the story, Cordelia almost believed it herself. It was so close to the truth it was eerie. Of course, she’d left out the fact that Angel was a vampire, that she got visions, and that they frequently fought demons and risked their lives. She’d also added a minor fabrication that Angel was very stable financially.
But other than those minor omissions, she’d told the truth.
The ease with which Cordelia had been able to talk about her “love” for Angel had convinced her that this charade might actually work. She could come and visit her mom at the hospital, gush about Angel and how great he was, or cry about some minor thing he’d done that upset her. Trivial, engaged couple stuff.
She’d never have to tell Angel what she’d done, and since her mother wasn’t going to be released from the hospital, she wouldn’t ever find out the truth.
Everyone would be happy.
Then her mother said one thing that took Cordelia’s well-balanced plan and toppled it like a house of cards: “So when can I meet this wonderful love of your life?”
Stammering and stuttering, Cordy had made some inane excuses about Angel having to work, or Angel not liking hospitals, or Angel being nervous about meeting Cordy’s mom. Her mother had shot each excuse down with an annoying clarity of common sense and Cordelia was stuck. Again. Wrapped up in a tangled web of her own good intentions.
Now, leaning against her front door, Cordelia scrambled to figure out a way to make this work. She would have no trouble telling Angel what she’d done. She knew he’d be irritated, maybe even angry, but he’d accept it. He always did when she smiled and batted her eyelashes at him. The surefire way to get him to comply was to have a vision in the middle of her request. He’d see the pain and agree to anything. She couldn’t depend on that, though; visions weren’t exactly predictable.
The thing that scared her was trying to convince him to play along, to pretend that he loved her. He had to act like Cordelia was the light of his life and suppress the fact that he was heartbroken for a love lost in Sunnydale.
And he couldn’t just say it, either; her mother would see through that in an instant. Her mother had this uncanny knack of looking into a person’s eyes and baring them to the soul. The only reason Cordelia had ever gotten anything past her mother was because her mother thought the sun rose and set on Cordelia.
No, Angel would have to play the doting fiancée to the hilt. He’d have to act like he couldn’t keep his hands off her, act like everything she said was golden and that he was the luckiest man alive to have found her. His eyes would have to shine with his love for her. Her mother wouldn’t accept anything less.
So how does a girl go about asking her boss for a public suck-face session?
Pushing away from the door, she paced in front of it, going through a dozen variations in her mind.
She tried self-deprecating: “I know I’m not blonde, but I think you could suffer through it.”
She tried sweet: “Please, Angel? It’s so important to me.”
She tried guilt: “I put up with these vision migraines for you; it’s the least you can do. You owe me!”
She tried suggestive: “Haven’t you ever thought about tasting me, Angel?” (She imagined running a finger down his chest and winking saucily.)
The mental images that last version inspired made her groan and throw up her hands in frustration.
“I cannot ask Angel that!!”
“Ask me what, Cordelia?” Angel’s voice came from behind her.
She froze, then spun around to look at his questioning face.
She said the first thing that popped into her head.
“Will you make out with me, Angel?”
Wednesday, 10:02 p.m.
“Will I what?” Angel answered, stunned by her question.
Cordelia’s mind was in a whirl. Oh, god, I didn’t just ask him that. I didn’t. I’m not that stupid.
“Uh,” she stuttered, trying to think up something to say instead. Her mind was a complete blank.
Okay, so she *was* that stupid. She conceded defeat.
In a small voice, she confessed, “I asked if you would make out with me?”
“Make out with you.”
“As in kissing.”
“Yup, that’s it.”
“Well,” Angel could think of nothing else to say. His seer had caught him off guard before, but this was a new level. He suddenly recalled the time when she had kissed him in an attempt to transfer the visions. Not that the kiss wasn’t nice, because it was. It was just, well, unexpected.
He weighed the memory against this conversation and was still uncertain as to which was more astonishing. Cordelia was unconventional if she was anything. She was constantly dragging him into trouble, but he couldn’t seem to get angry about it anymore. She was just being Cordelia. That didn’t stop him from being irritated with her, though.
At least she hadn’t put anyone’s life in danger this time.
Cordelia sighed. She was totally going about this the wrong way, obviously. She should have gone with the practical approach. Now she’d done it all backwards.
At least he wasn’t mad. Was he? With Angel it was so hard to tell sometimes.
“Why do you want to ‘make out’ with me, exactly?” Angel said, still perplexed by this request.
Her explanation came out in a rush. “Well, my mom said that she wanted me to be happy and in love and I was afraid that she’d get worse if she worried about me so I made up a story and told her that you and I are in love and that we’re getting married.”
She held her breath nervously as she waited for Angel to catch up.
“So, let me get this straight,” Angel said, his tone revealing a hint of his irritation at her backwards explanation. “Your mother is worried about your future because you aren’t married, so you told her that we’re engaged to make her feel better?”
Cordelia nodded. “That’s it.”
“And where does the making out come in?” Angel prodded.
“Well, my mother wants to meet you.”
“And we have to kiss in front of her?”
“Angel, you don’t understand my mother,” Cordelia’s eyes begged him to comprehend. “She’d take one look at you and your broodiness and realize that something was wrong.”
He frowned, not sure if he should be insulted.
Cordelia sighed again. Might as well start all over.
“Look, Angel. All I need for you to do is play along. My mother wants to meet my fiancée. I told her it was you. I also lied through my teeth about who you are, so all you’re doing is playing a role. You’re Angel, but you’re not ‘broody, I’m a tortured, immortal vampire with a soul’ Angel. You’re ‘I think Cordelia Chase is the most amazing, beautiful woman on the face of the earth and I would die without her’ Angel.”
Amazingly, he had followed her twisted logic. “So I pretend to be in love with you and lie to your mother.”
“Geez, don’t make it sound so bad. It’s just a little fib, that’s all. I’m doing it for her; she doesn’t need any more stress.”
Angel stopped for a moment to contemplate, and suddenly the answer was very clear to him.
“Okay, what? You’ll do it?”
Silence ensued as they stared at each other, both imagining the havoc that playing these roles could cause. Cordelia was wary of his easy acceptance. This wasn’t the Angel she knew. Something was wrong, but she couldn’t put her finger on it.
Irritation aside, Angel had agreed mainly because he was intrigued. As Angelus, he’d had plenty of opportunities to play a role in the luring of his prey. As Angel, though, he was trying to atone for his sins and didn’t have time to playact. That role playing had always made life more exciting, and sometimes he still yearned for it.
This summer had been really slow, and he’d been brooding a lot more than he usually did. This fiasco Cordelia had gotten herself into would let him play the hero and he could forget about the guilt for a little while.
Not to mention that she would owe him. Big time.
If he were truthful with himself, Angel would also admit that he’d agreed partly because of Cordelia herself. She was a loving, beautiful woman and he could think of worse things than kissing her repeatedly. Besides, flustering his seer was always good entertainment, and here was a golden opportunity.
A small smile stole over Angel’s face. All of those years of experience torturing people shouldn’t go to waste just because he had a soul. She’d gotten him into this mess, and now she was going to pay. Exacting that payment was going to be a helluva lot of fun.
Might as well get started.
He schooled his features into an unreadable mask and said, “So don’t you think we should practice?”
Wednesday, 10:21 p.m.
“Practice?” Cordelia squeaked. What is wrong with him? Why isn’t he upset? she thought worriedly.
Angel smiled inwardly at her discomfort. He’d forgotten how fun torture could be. “Yes, practice. Don’t you think your mother would notice if we were awkward around each other?”
Angel moved a step closer and Cordelia backed up instinctively. She didn’t like the look on his face.
She eyed him suspiciously. “Why aren’t you angry with me about this?”
He shrugged, moving again, closing the distance between them. “I’ve learned to expect this kind of thing from you, Cordelia. Don’t change the subject.”
She tried to be logical. “We’re comfortable with each other already. We don’t need to practice, we just need to expand on what we already have.”
Her back hit the door.
“Uh-huh,” Angel said noncommittally, now inches from her face. Leisurely, he raised a hand and placed it on the door beside her head. The other touched the door near her hip, effectively trapping her.
“So you want me to kiss you?” He said, his mouth inches from hers, his lips twisted into a slightly evil smile, eyes dark and unreadable.
“Uh—,” Cordelia’s mind went blank. Again. In an effort to escape the magnetic pull of his gaze, her eyes drifted down to his lips.
It didn’t help.
Noticing the direction of her stare, he darted his tongue out, drawing it along his bottom lip. Cordelia’s jaw dropped, the seemingly innocent motion making her mouth go dry and her body throb.
Slowly, he closed the remaining distance between them. The silence in the room was powerful, rushing in Cordelia’s ears. Her heartbeat pounded frantically.
The second before his lips touched hers, Cordelia bolted. She ducked quickly under his arm and escaped.
“We can—um, we can talk about this tomorrow,” She said in a rush. Nervously, her eyes darted back to him. “’Night.”
Angel smiled at her retreating figure. “Goodnight, sweetheart,” Angel said, emphasizing the endearment.
As the door to her bedroom shut forcefully, Angel let his smile change from sadistic to as close to gleeful as he ever got.
Now this was going to be fun.
Thursday, 8:16 p.m.
Cordelia’s stomach was tied in knots as she paced in the hospital’s main waiting room and waited for Angel to park the car. He’d dropped her off at the front door because it was raining heavily, and she was thankful for his thoughtfulness. She just wasn’t sure this whole “pretending to be in love” thing was a good idea after all.
Aside from not having slept well the night before because of Angel’s peculiar behavior, Cordelia kept having strong pangs of guilt for lying to her mother about something so major. It was one thing to tell her parents that she had a fantastic job and was making lots of money, but it was quite another to completely fabricate a fiancée.
If her mother ever found out about this lie, Cordelia feared the shock and disappointment might kill her. For that reason alone, Cordelia knew she had to be as convincing as possible if she was going to do this at all. That meant being close to Angel.
Until last night when he’d almost kissed her, Angel had been a non-entity to Cordelia where dating was concerned. Sure, he was a handsome guy, but he was so totally unattainable that he didn’t even show up on Cordelia’s radar. She’d thought of him as “Buffy’s Angel” or “the no-sex, broody grr-guy,” but never date worthy. And most definitely not a prospective lover, especially with Angelus to consider.
Then he’d gone and gotten all sexy on her, licking his lips seductively and smiling that wickedly sensual smile she’d never seen on him before. Her lower body had liquefied at such a blatantly sexual gesture, and it shook her.
Cordelia wasn’t sure she wanted to know that side of Angel. Part of her was screaming eeeewwwww!! and the other part, the part that Cordelia was refusing to recognize right now, was saying, yeah, baby, bring me some of that!
Too frazzled to continue the stressful line of thought, Cordelia began reciting her self-esteem boosting mantra in her head. I’m a wonderful actress. I was born for moments like these. Her eyes drifted to the window just in time to watch Angel run through the downpour to the building and stop near the door.
As she continued her silent chanting, Angel shook out his coat and ran his fingers through his hair, trying to remove the excess water. I can be anything, do anyone.
She paused, frowning. Wait, that wasn’t right. She sighed, trying to start over again. Angel moved towards the door, pausing to let an elderly couple exit before he entered.
I am a wonderful actress. I can be anyone, do. . . “Angel!” Cordelia interrupted herself, calling him over. It was no use; she’d just have to do without the self-esteem boost before she had to face her mother.
“You ready?” he asked.
Cordelia pasted on a bright smile. “Yup. Let’s go.”
A few minutes later, they were standing outside of her mother’s room, waiting for the nurse to leave so they could enter. Angel hadn’t said a thing since the lobby, and that only increased Cordelia’s nervousness. She’d never been able to tell what he was thinking before, and now it was impossible. She couldn’t figure out why he was flustering her so much; he never used to.
Angel, underneath his stoic countenance, was having a grand time. He was enjoying Cordelia’s discomfort and he knew he should feel bad about that, but he just couldn’t bring himself to feel guilty. Cordelia had more than given him his share of embarrassment due to her big mouth and her hasty actions over the past year, and payback was getting sweeter by the minute. He fully intended to play his part to the max. Cordelia was going to get exactly what she asked for: a fiancée who thought she was the light of his life.
Some of the joy of the game went out of Angel when he realized that she actually was the light in his life now. She was the heart of their small, new agency, and she didn’t really mean to act rashly; she was just being herself. He squashed his pesky conscience, though, and prepared to thoroughly charm her mother.
The rotund nurse exited Mrs. Chase’s room, smiling at Cordelia and Angel.
“This must be your young man,” she gushed, grabbing on to Angel’s elbow like they were old friends. “Mrs. Chase hasn’t been able to talk about anything else.”
She stepped back, holding Angel out at arm’s length. “Well, let me take a look at you, young man,” she said, moving her eyes slowly up and down his length with the appreciation of a woman whose been around the block a few times. “My, my. Aren’t you a mouthwatering hunk of man?” She winked at him, and he smiled back wickedly. The nurse laughed at his return of her wink.
The nurse turned her attention fully to Cordelia. “Shame on you, girl, for not telling your mama sooner. Her health has improved so much since she found out the happy news. Get in there, now!” She motioned them into the room. “Shoo! Your mama’s waitin’ anxiously.” She was practically shoving them in the door, beaming as if she were personally responsible for their upcoming wedded bliss.
“Showtime,” Cordelia muttered under her breath. She was startled when Angel grabbed her hand right before they came into her mother’s view, then berated herself for being caught off guard. Of course he would do that.
“Hi, Mom,” Cordelia said, walking over to her mother and planting a quick kiss on her cheek. She turned to look at Angel, plastering a huge, adoring smile on her face.
“This is my Angel, Mom. Angel, this is my mother.”
Angel broke away from Cordelia, taking her mother’s hand and kissing it gracefully. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Chase. I can see where Cordelia gets her breathtaking beauty.” He winked at Cordelia’s mother and smiled winningly.
Cordelia valiantly struggled against an overwhelming desire to roll her eyes and Pfft.
Mrs. Chase blushed, looking down at the hand he’d released. “Why thank you, Angel.” She grinned at him, her bright smile a replica of her daughter’s.
Ever the hostess, Mrs. Chase gestured to a couple of chairs nearest her bed. “Please, sit down.”
“Thank you,” Angel said. He sat in the blue chair, and before Cordelia could react, he pulled her down onto his lap, wrapping his arms around her waist. One hand rested firmly on Cordelia’s hip, the other on the small of her back, brushing the bare skin between her shirt and her pants. His cool hand made Cordelia sit up straighter. She allowed herself a brief, surreptitious glare at him, then wrapped her arm around his neck and leaned against him.
“So, Angel,” Mrs. Chase said, beginning her interrogation. “Cordelia tells me that you’re a private detective. What kinds of cases do you investigate?”
Angel smiled, confident and at ease. He had prepared for this. “My agency is geared towards helping the less fortunate in our community—those who are unable to help themselves.”
“That doesn’t sound like it pays very well,” Mrs. Chase said, her tone disapproving but her eyes erasing any negativity.
“It doesn’t, usually,” Angel agreed. “But we’ve had a select few high paying clients who needed a firm that specialized in thwarting LA’s seedier citizens. Their payments have allowed us stay in business and help those who cannot afford to pay.”
Cordelia was shocked. Angel sounded like Wesley, only without the British accent. He was speaking in complete sentences, whole paragraphs even, and he had a smile on his face.
A smile, damn it!
Her eyes narrowed as Angel continued. “If you’re concerned about Cordelia’s financial future, you shouldn’t be. I’ve also inherited a rather substantial sum of money from my family. It is accruing interest and is available if the agency falls on hard times.”
Are you going to break out the pie charts and financial statements now, show off? Cordelia snarked silently, irritated that he seemed so at ease while her nerves were twisted like a pretzel.
“Well, Angel, you seem to be very knowledgeable about your business,” Mrs. Chase congratulated him. “Mr. Chase will be anxious to speak with you about your assets.”
He looked at Cordelia, love shining in his eyes. He squeezed her waist. “Mr. Chase already knows all about my best asset.”
Cordelia was forced to play along. She unclenched her teeth long enough to say silkily, “Oh, Angel. You’re too good to me.”
Angel continued looking into Cordelia’s eyes, acting as if everything had disappeared but the two of them. Mrs. Chase, caught up in the melodrama, didn’t realize what was really going on. She gazed adoringly at her daughter and wonderful, charming future son-in-law, superimposing her own romantic thoughts on their silent visual conversation. In reality, that silent conversation looked more like this:
Angel: How am I doing, Cordelia? *smirk*
Cordelia: I am so going to kill you when we get home.
Angel could feel her irritation and decided that she was going to ruin her own plan if he didn’t do something about it. With her mother still looking on, he reached up, gently grasped the back of her head and drew her mouth to his.
Cordelia’s first thought was What the hell is he doing? My MOTHER is watching this!!, forgetting that this is exactly what she’d tactlessly requested from him. After that, she didn’t have two coherent thoughts to rub together.
His mouth was firm, moving tenderly on hers, his tongue gently tracing her lips, tasting her briefly and then retreating. He was gentle and loving for the sake of their audience, but it was for that very reason that the contact moved Cordelia so much. There was none of the squishiness of Wesley’s kiss, none of the inexperienced Hoover-action of Xander’s. Angel’s kiss was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. The last time she’d kissed him, he was only concerned with getting her to stop. Now that he was willingly initiating it, he was in complete control, doing things to her mouth that she felt all the way to her toes.
As Angel ended the contact, he rested his forehead against hers and stared into her eyes.
Gone was the smirk in Angel’s eyes and the irritation in Cordelia’s. They had been replaced by surprise and desire: an awakening in both of them.
Angel’s mind was racing, his body aching from the brief contact. It would be an understatement to say that this was not quite what he’d had in mind. He hadn’t expected to actually feel anything when he kissed Cordelia. He’d expected fun kissing, a pleasant diversion, nothing more. He hadn’t expected her to taste so good or to set his body on fire like she had.
Cordelia’s thoughts were right along the same path. The kiss had lasted mere seconds, but it had felt like a lifetime of sensation. This can’t be happening, Cordelia thought. Not with Angel. I am not feeling this. You’re acting, Cordelia Chase. Focus. Erase the melty goodness and concentrate!
Damn, I’m in trouble, Angel thought wryly. But it’s too late to back out now. . .