Author: Cordelia’s Destiny
Content: C/A angst w/ resolution
Summary: Angel is forced to face his feelings for Cordy.
Spoilers: Mid-Season 3, post WITW
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Notes: I actually owe this idea to a JAG fanfic I once read. I can’t for the life of me remember the author and the name of the story, but I loved the concept so much it wouldn’t leave me alone. If the author is here reading it and recognizes it, please consider it flattery.
Notes 2:Don’t let the first scene make you stop reading. This story isn’t what it appears to be at first.
Feedback:Will keep me writing. No feedback, no stories. How’z that for an ultimatum?
Choking rain drowned the evening of Cordelia Chase’s funeral. It poured down in sheets that soaked in seconds all it touched. Billowing, angry clouds the color of charcoal lined the sky, blocking any hint of sunlight, but it seemed fitting to those standing somberly by her graveside.
The minister’s voice droned unheard as the small crowd stood solemnly out of respect for the woman by whom they’d all been deeply touched. She had been too young to die; too loved, too cherished to be taken so cruelly. Too full of promise and life to have been denied fulfillment of her potential.
Black and gaping, her grave seemed bottomless, but even so it would be insufficient to contain the grief of her friends standing beside it. Gunn held Fred tightly in his arms, her gloved fingers clutching an umbrella that seemed to do little to keep them dry. Her thin frame shivered, Gunn’s strong warmth behind her doing nothing to ease the cold clutching her heart at the loss of an only too recently gained friend.
Wesley stood near them, his hooded jacket ineffective at shielding the rain. Icy drops of water clung to his eyelashes and cheeks, mingling with the hot tears that flowed freely at the loss of a woman who was more beloved baby sister than friend. There were few others, some familiar, some nearly faceless, gathered in huddled groups for warmth.
One lone figure stood apart from the group, feet planted just at the edge of her grave as if he planned to follow the shining casket inside. A strong hand lay on the casket, fingers curled as if touching the precious face that rested beneath the wood.
Angel stood uncovered, broad shoulders straight and solid as if he were impervious to rain, his brown hair plastered to his head as rivulets of water trickled down his face like tears. Brown eyes were empty as they stared at the flowers laying limply on her tomb, ears unhearing as the minister finished his words and closed the black book in his hands.
He didn’t move as the mourners shuffled back to allow the grave attendants to do their grim but necessary work. The mahogany box was lowered, inch by inch, until it disappeared from view to all but him. With a gentle thud, it settled on the bottom. Friends trickled by one by one, their hands clutching clumps of dirt to sprinkle over her grave, but the mud they offered thumped unmercifully when it hit her coffin.
Wesley flinched as his handful landed, feeling disrespectful for treating one he loved so callously.
Fred’s tears obscured her vision, so she and Gunn paid their respects together.
And as the crowd walked away, Angel remained, mud clutched in his fingers, unable to let it drop, knowing that his would be the final covering, that she would truly be gone when he released it. It would be his fault. Just like it was when she died. It was his fault she was gone.
Sharp pain made Angel clutch his hand to his chest as he bolted upright in bed, gasping for breath he didn’t need. Panic had obscured years of undead habit as his mind swam with fractured images from his horrific dream of Cordelia’s funeral. Instantly, he reached for the phone, desperately needing some reassurance.
Ms. Grumpypants answered him on the fifth ring. “Whoever the hell this is better have a good reason for calling me at,” there was a pause and a shuffle of noise, “oh, my God. It’s four-thirty a.m. Angel?” The last was said suspiciously.
Angel couldn’t help the relieved grin that formed at hearing her voice, never mind the irk factor. “Yeah, it’s me.”
She sighed, yawned, and groaned. “Geez, Angel. I know you’re all nocturnal and crap, but c’mon. Some of us need our beauty sleep.”
It was hard to bite back the contradiction that immediately sprang to his mind: for Cordy, beauty sleep would be superfluous. “I’m sorry for waking you up. But I just . . .” He frowned, trying to figure out how to excuse his calling without telling her he had a nightmare. No need to sound like a sissy. “I just had a bad feeling. You haven’t had a vision, have you?”
“Hmmm. . . Wait, let me check,” she answered sarcastically. “Demony images and gross smells? Massive migraine? None of the above. Seriously pissed off seer who’s about to slam the phone down on her champion? Check.”
An involuntary chuckle escaped him. “Okay. Good. Sorry to wake you.”
“Kay,” she mumbled, and he could picture her snuggling closer to her pillow. Lucky pillow.
His voice was gentle as he answered, “See you tomorrow.”
“’Kay,” she repeated, yawning hugely. “Night.”
“Goodnight,” he whispered, and hung the phone up with the softness of a caress.
It was with a relieved but still troubled spirit that Angel stretched back out on his bed. This dream of his wasn’t the first he’d had about Cordy, but it was the first that had such an overwhelming feel of desperation and loss. Never had he had such conflicting emotions about her.
Ever since Connor’s birth, he’d had more and more opportunities to analyze his relationship with her, but each analysis brought up more questions. Then they’d gone to the ballet and he’d kissed her as they’d been possessed by the spirit of dead lovers, and he couldn’t forget the taste of her. It didn’t seem to matter that they hadn’t been the ones behind the wheel; he’d felt every kiss and caress as if he’d initiated it intentionally and she’d willingly responded whole-heartedly.
Every day, he caught himself staring at her when she wasn’t looking, and sometimes even when she was. Brown eyes would lock with hazel as they found themselves in another world where everything around them faded away. It seemed clichéd, but he’d lived it for the past week and still couldn’t quite believe it was happening.
Despite the number of heated glances they’d shared, he still didn’t know what she was feeling. Sometimes he could swear that she was at least lusting for him, the way her mouth would be slightly open, her eyes a bit glazed as she stared places other than his eyes. Once he’d been putting his sword away in the weapons cabinet and he caught sight of her reflection in the glass as he closed it, her stare trained dreamily on his backside. The feeling that swept through him was indescribable, and all he wanted to do was walk over to her and gather her into his arms to fulfill every fantasy he’d had and a few he hadn’t thought of yet.
Angel tossed in his bed a bit as negative feelings began to invade his musings. After only a few minutes of staring at the ceiling, he sat up again abruptly in his bed and threw his legs over the edge.
There was really only one way to deal with frustrations like this: a long, sweaty session with the punching bag.
“You’re what?” The sword nearly dropped from his grip as he gaped at her. Something about the look on her face told him that she wasn’t talking about making a run to the grocery store. The bulging suitcase at her side was kind of a big clue, too.
“Leaving. Exiting. Vamoose. Hasta la vista, baby. I’m flying out of the cuckoo’s nest once and for all.”
He stared at her, nonplussed. “I don’t get it. Why? What did I do?”
Incredulity was written over every inch of her face. “What did you do?” She rolled her eyes to the ceiling and held them there, raising her hands as if beseeching the gods for answers. “He asks what he did. Hmmm, let’s see. He uses me, fires me and shuts me out, sleeps with his ex–a skanky vamp ho, by the way–and then lies about it, only to bribe me with clothes for forgiveness. Geez, I don’t know, I think that’s kind of a good reason, huh?” Her gaze dropped as she glared at him, tiny slivers of hurt mixed in with the pure anger in her eyes.
Angel’s gut tightened painfully. He thought they’d gotten past this, and he said as much.
“Past this? Are you kidding?” She looked at him as if he’d lost his marbles. “You think I’d take one look at Connor and the apology in your eyes and forgive you?”
“Well, yeah,” he answered, confused.
“You’re delusional. I stayed long enough to make sure Connor was okay. I don’t hold it against him who his parents are. But I can’t stay here. I can’t stay here with a liar and a jerk who I thought was my closest friend.”
“Don’t even try, Angel. You’re not going to change my mind.”
“But the visions!” It was his last hope.
“I’ve already arranged with Wesley to contact him about them.” She looked up, and this time there were tears in her eyes. “You broke my heart, Angel. I can’t take it anymore. I’m sorry.”
He gaped helplessly as she picked up her suitcase and disappeared out the door and into the sunlight.
“Geez, we might as well call you grumpy Gus. What’s with the ‘tude today, big guy?” Cordelia nudged Angel’s side with her elbow as he leaned against the counter with a cup of warmed blood and a frown that seemed cemented in place.
Internally, Angel groaned as Cordelia tried to cajole him out of his black mood. The last thing he needed was her cheerfulness. Not when she’d abandoned him so callously. His jaw ticced. Didn’t matter that it was just a damn dream. She still left him. His Cordelia abandoned him. The real-life one was going to, too. He just knew it, deep in his gut. Everyone left him. Why should she be different?
Outwardly, the reason for his broodiness was indecipherable. His only answer was a shrug, to which she groaned and rolled her eyes.
“Look, Angel, it’s not like we need you around here or anything. I mean, there’s only this little dinky group of goth junkies who are about to become Hostess Twinkies for some really nasty vamps. No big. Only innocent lives at stake.” She backed away from him and sighed when her words didn’t seem to register. “So go ahead. Stand there. Since you can’t seem to take time out of your quality depress-o-rama.“
There was silence, and as Angel stared into his mug, he hoped she was done.
She wasn’t. “Are you brooding about Buffy again? Cause I thought we were free of that Dawson‘s Creek knockoff.”
His gaze shot to hers as Buffy’s name was mentioned. How could she think he was still thinking about Buffy? That was years ago. Or at least it felt like it. Cordy was his obsession now. Only she didn’t know it.
“No,” he answered her question. “It’s not Buffy. I’m just not sleeping well, that’s all.”
Concern furrowed her forehead. “I knew it was something like that. You’ve been looking kind of pale. More pasty-white than alabaster. Not a good shade, I might add. You could seriously use some sun.” At his glare she added, “Or not.”
“Okay,” she sighed. “Tell you what. You finish your piggy juice there, take care of our little rebel vamp problem, and you and I will have a little fun tonight.”
“What kind of fun?”
“Ah-ha!” she smirked, pointing a knowing finger at him despite the reluctance in his voice. “I knew it. No man can resist the charms of Cordelia Chase.”
He smiled a bit in spite of himself. “What did you have in mind?”
“Just a little getting’ down with your bad self at Caritas. We haven’t paid Lorne a visit in awhile and he’s been begging me to see his redecorating.”
“Okay,“ he said, sighing. “Deal.”
“Fabulous!” Before he knew what hit him, she’d hit-and-runned him with a bear hug. He was still tingling from the feel of her squeezing him when she disappeared into Wesley’s office. To his surprise, his black mood was receding.
Now if he could only get the dreams to stop.
Angel awoke to the feel of warmth on the side of his face and chest. Bleary eyes blinked rapidly at the sunlight that was pouring over him, and a feeling of utter panic had him vaulting from the bed with the swiftness of Superman escaping from kryptonite. It took only seconds of cowering in a shadowy corner for him to realize that he wasn’t burned. He wasn’t even singed. And he was alive! At least the rapid gasps and pounding heartbeat pointed in that direction.
Shaking his head rapidly a few times to clear it, he blinked as the room came into focus. His eyes widened as he realized that this wasn’t his room at the Hyperion. This was the mansion in Sunnydale. And all the window coverings were gone.
“Hiya, sleepyhead,” Cordelia’s soft voice jolted him but not nearly as much as what she was carrying.
“Your babies wanted to come say hi,” her smile was huge, and the infant in her arms had one to match. “Wave to Daddy,” Cordy said, and took the little girl’s arm in her hand to wave it at him. Trailing beside her, chubby fingers clutching at her pants, was another little angel. One look at him and Angel’s breath caught; this was Connor, no doubt in his mind.
As if to confirm it, the little boy began talking in a language that sounded something like English but was completely unintelligible, but the “daddy” mixed in was crystal clear. So was the love in the tiny arms that clutched around his neck to hug him.
His daughter’s giggle echoed in his ears as he rose from the floor, Connor cradled in his arms, and stared, mesmerized by the sight in front of him. Thick, curly dark hair covered the little girl’s head, and deep brown eyes stared back at him. It was like looking at a tiny version of Cordelia with his eyes. Slowly he approached them, fearful that they would disappear if he moved too fast. Tentatively, he reached a finger out and stroked the baby’s soft cheek and she grabbed at his finger, jabbering as she clutched it in her tiny fist.
Just as he was about to reach for her, the baby began to fuss.
Cordy frowned and sighed, but the sound was contented. “She’s hungry,” was her simple explanation. “Geez, I don’t know where she gets it from, eating non-stop. It’s not like I have an appetite like that.” She settled herself into a nearby armchair and raised her shirt to feed the baby.
Angel felt his chest grow tight as he took in the beautiful sight of the baby suckling greedily, her fist gently tapping Cordelia’s breast. He walked over and knelt beside them, setting Connor gently on the ground and looking deeply into Cordelia’s eyes.
“Something wrong, baby?” Cordy asked, her hand coming up to cup his jaw.
He couldn’t help himself as he leaned into her touch and shook his head. “Just so thankful for you both.”
“We love you, too,” Cordy said softly, and Angel immediately rose and took her mouth with his in a kiss that was both demanding and sweet, flavored with just a hint of desperation.
“Say it again,” he breathed when he pulled back and stared wildly into her eyes, his hand reaching down to cup his daughter’s head.
She didn’t hesitate. “I love you, Angel.”
The sharp ring of the telephone jarred Angel out of his dream. This one, he didn’t want to let go. Groaning, he clutched his pillow as he willed the evil invention to disappear.
It didn’t. With a growl, he grabbed the phone and answered it gruffly.
“Angel?” Cordy’s voice was weak, and immediately, Angel was wide awake.
“Vision,” she said simply, and he could tell she was clenching her teeth from the pain. “You need to get downtown ASAP. There’s a Cholek demon rising and it’s going to head straight for a 7-11 nearby. Something about the neon lights.”
“I’ve got it,” he answered, pulling his pants on as he talked. “You gonna be okay? You want me to bring Fred over?”
“No,” she was quick to answer. “I’ll be okay. Take care of it and presto! I’m off the head transplant list.”
He chuckled. “Take your medicine and go back to sleep.”
“Yes, mother,” she snapped. “Oh! Watch out for the puncture thingies.“
“Okay. Bye,“ he grinned as they hung up.
Two hours later found him surrounded by his staff in the lobby as Cordy peeled his shirt away to reveal a particularly nasty puncture wound.
“Dork!” She glared at him as she tore open packets from the first aid kit. “I told you there were puncture thingies. But did he listen? Noooo! Mr. Dark Avenger thinks he‘s impervious.”
“You should’ve called us, Angel,” Wesley admonished, handing Cordelia the antiseptic.
Gunn added, “I wasn’t busy.”
Angel frowned his answer. “It was one demon. I’m handy with an axe. I just slipped on a little slime and lost my balance for a sec. No problem.”
“No problem! There‘s a four-inch hole in your chest.“ As she poked at his wound with no apparent regard for his pain, he growled. “Dammit, Cordy! That stings!”
“Pfft,” she answered with a flutter of her bangs. “Quit being such a baby, Angel.”
He froze at the word “baby” as images from his dream flooded him. With those pictures came the feelings that had distracted him during the fight. He’d lied; there wasn’t any slime, only his preoccupied mind. He just couldn’t quash the image of her feeding his child, holding his daughter with such love and tenderness in her eyes.
With one surreptitious glance up at her, Angel had the desperate urge to yank her into his arms and carry her off like some romantic hero. But would this Cordy, the real one, be willing to take the next step? Was there an echo in her heart of the love he was discovering in his?
“There ya go,” she said, interrupting his thoughts with a final slap to secure the tape. “Good as new. And listen to me next time, Broody. Coulda got yourself killed. And then where would we be?”
Where would you be? He wanted to ask. Would you be mourning me? Would you be wracked with guilt over what might have been, if we’d only taken a chance? Where would you really be, Cordelia?
But he couldn’t ask that question, not with such uncertainty between them. He had to know for sure before he asked, but he had to ask to know. It was an untenable situation.
“Oh, gosh, Cordy, it’s gorgeous!” Fred’s feet might as well have been attached to a pogo stick for al the jumping around she was doing. “When did y’all set the date?”
Cordy hooked her arm though her fiancé’s. With a dreamy smile up at him, she answered, “June. I’ve always wanted a summer wedding.“ Eyes flicking across the lobby briefly, she added, “We’ll have an evening wedding, of course. Just in case everyone wants to come. Xander and I want all our friends to be there with us.”
Xander grinned but rolled his eyes as he patted Cordelia’s hand where it rested in the crook of his elbow. “Can’t offend the vamp guests, now can we? With the bleached wonder and dead boy over there, we’ll have to order up the blood pudding by the truckloads.”
Cordy and Fred groaned at his bad joke and Fred dragged her away, her mouth moving a mile a minute as she demanded every tiny little detail. Wesley and Gunn clapped Xander on the back and said their congratulations more out of duty than heartfelt expression, their eyes glancing nervously at the silent figure just a few yards away.
Across the room, Angel glared with eyes like daggers at the sight of them. Nausea, a condition he didn’t know he could experience, welled up in his stomach and throat. It felt as though a vise were clamping down on his heart, crushing his hope into such tiny pieces that he doubted he’d ever get it back. He should’ve known this would happen.
It had started innocently enough. A few phone calls back and forth with Cordelia and Xander on each end, trading news and a few helpful facts about demons both fronts were fighting. Then the phone calls got longer, e-mails were exchanged, and before Angel knew it, every time he came into the office Cordelia was gushing about Xander this and Xander that, and how much he’d changed since high school. He wasn’t the dork he used to be, she’d said; he was still funny, but deep and loyal and caring. And then she’d be on the phone for hours on end, her flirtatious giggles grating on Angel’s nerves like a knife scraped across glass.
They’d had their first fight and Angel thought it was over. But Xander had come barging through the door of the Hyperion, roses clutched in his hands, a plea on his face and tears in his eyes, and Cordelia had fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. Before Angel knew it, a glittery ring was on her finger and the farcical tableau across the room seemed to mock him.
“I have to show you my planning book,” Cordy was saying to Fred when Angel unwillingly tuned back into the conversation. “It’s upstairs. Don’t talk about me while I’m gone!”
With that, she breezed past Angel and took the stairs two at a time. He waited for a split second, and noting that the others had gone back to their conversations, he followed her.
Cordy shrieked as his fingers roughly grabbed her elbow and swung her around in the hall upstairs.
“Geez, Angel! What do you want? Let go!” Her eyes flashed in her anger, cheeks tinged with pink as she pouted her annoyance at him. Much to his chagrin, Angel thought she’d never looked more beautiful.
His grip didn’t let up. “Don’t tell me you’re actually going to marry that idiot.”
Shoulders stiffening in indignation, she ineffectively tried to yank her elbow away from him. “I am going to marry that idiot. And he’s not an idiot!”
A scoff was his first answer. Then his grip relaxed as his voice softened, dropping to a deep, intimate tone. “You have to know he‘s wrong for you, Cordy. You don‘t really want to marry him; you know you don‘t.”
She could see there was something beyond anger and disgust in his eyes. “Why wouldn‘t I want to?” she asked simply. “Xander loves me; he‘s proven it. No one else has ever wanted me enough to fight for me,” she added pointedly.
Cordelia shook her head sadly when his silence spoke volumes. “No one else has claimed they love me.”
His mouth opened and closed as the feelings washed over him. Oh, God. He was losing her, but he couldn’t tell her he loved her. He couldn’t make the words come out. What did fall from his lips was far from enticing.
“You won’t do it,” he shook his head. “You have more sense than that. Xander’s a loser, and you know it.”
With that callous statement, Cordelia‘s sympathy vanished and her anger returned full force. With a toss of her hair, she arched an eyebrow and retorted, “I won’t do it, huh? Just watch me!”
Helplessly, he watched her stride away from him, her steps purposeful as she took the stairs like a conqueror. Only when she reached the bottom did his feet come unglued from his spot. He took off after her.
“Cordy! Cordelia, wait!” But she wasn’t listening. He took the stairs rapidly but she was dragging Xander across the lobby toward the door. “Cordelia! Stop. Wait!”
She gave one last glare back at him, marching out the door with her head held high.
His bellow made the windows rattle. “Cordelia!”
Groaning, Angel tossed, calling Cordelia’s name, begging her to come back.
“Angel!” The voice was insistent, right in his ear this time, small hands clutching at his writhing shoulders. “Geez, dumbass. Wake up, Angel!”
Brown eyes popped open in disbelief and he shot upright, clutching her into a breath-stealing bear hug.
Cordy squeaked and gasped. “Breathe! Can’t . . . breathe!” Her fists beat his shoulders weakly.
Her plea wormed its way through the din in his mind and he released her slightly.
“Okay, now you’re scaring me,” she stared at him, wide-eyed. “That must’ve been some dream.”
He opened his mouth to explain, only to clamp it shut again without speaking. “It was nothing.”
She rolled her eyes. “Please. Like I’m going to fall for that macho man line.”
Slowly, his hands slid away from her and he inched his way back toward the headboard. Leaning against it, he crossed his arms over his chest and tried to be nonchalant. “Seriously, Cordy, it was nothing. Forget it.”
“No,” she said, her gaze turning suspicious. “You’ve been all weird lately, and I want to know what’s gong on. You’re not getting enough sleep. You’re grumpier than usual, and believe me, I thought you had the brood market cornered. Then I come up here because you’re sleeping way later than usual and you’re thrashing around like someone’s attacking you. What gives?”
He contemplated her for a moment before sighing and letting his shoulders droop. “Just bad dreams.”
“So talk about ‘em.”
“Pfft,” she scoffed. “There you go, being all macho man again. It’s not bad to share your feelings. And I do know you have some, as hard as you try to hide them.” She took his ongoing silence as an invitation to continue. “C’mon. Best friend here. Perfect opportunity.”
“But I can’t talk to you about them.”
A hurt look crossed her features. “And why the hell not? Am I not good enough or something?”
“That’s not what I meant! I meant–I just–Oh, to hell with it. They’re about you, Cordy.”
“Oh.” After a split second, her eyes widened. “OH! Ewwww, Angel! You perv!”
He couldn’t help but laugh. “Not sex dreams.”
“Oh, okay.” She sounded relieved, but there was a look of disappointment in her eyes. “Wait, you haven’t had sex dreams about me? Not any?”
“Cordy!” he tried to sound stern but he couldn’t make eye contact. Okay, so he’d had a few, but they weren’t related to his recent nightmares, and could she blame him? She was hot, and he was a guy.
The look on his face gave him away and she tried to hide a smirk before she got back on topic. “So these dreams were different?”
He nodded, slipping out of bed to pace next to it, tying the string of his pajama pants as he walked. “You left me,” he said flatly. “First you died, then you got mad and left, then you had my baby, but after that you married Xander–”
At that she laughed outright. “Me? Marry Xander? Oh, god, that is a nightmare.” She froze. “Wait, baby? What baby?”
He continued as if he hadn’t heard her. “You left. And I couldn’t stop you. I couldn’t tell you–”
She stood, taking his arm and pulling him to a stop to stand in front of her, laying her warm hand on his bare chest. “Hey, time out, buddy. First of all, still alive. Second, I get mad at you all the time, but I never leave. That should tell you something. Third, a baby? Okay, I plan to have some someday maybe, but not pregnant now.”
Her fingers curled on his chest as she brought her other hand up to cup his face. “And you couldn’t tell me what?”
Angel’s head swam as he felt her hand on his cheek and relived the life he dreamt about with her and his baby and him as a human. In front of him now, her eyes questioning but unfathomable, and he knew this was his chance, probably the only one he would have. If he didn’t tell her how he felt, she would leave him someday, he knew it in his gut. But what if she said no? What if she left him anyway? What if she–
“Angel? What couldn’t you tell me?”
He swallowed convulsively before he finally answered hoarsely, “I couldn’t tell you that I love you.”
“In the dreams you loved me?” Her voice had dropped to a whisper, and there was a look of hopeful apprehension on her face.
“No,” he whispered, his fingers wrapping around her wrist, stroking her pulse point. “I love you now. In real life.”
Her breath caught and tears glistened in her eyes. “You do?”
“I do,” he whispered, and lowered his forehead to lean against hers.
They stood there for a minute or two, and then Cordelia moved, cupping his face in both her hands and brushing her mouth across his in a feather-light kiss. She returned for a few more, never deepening them, just touching their mouths together as if verifying that this was really happening. When she pulled back, there was a smile on her face that lit up the room.
“So what do you say we take this back to the bed for a little while?” Angel’s eyes sparkled mischievously.
She cocked a haughty eyebrow at him. “Oh, I get it, just after a freebie, huh? No declarations of love here, just a horny vamp trying to get into my pants.”
He laughed and clutched her tightly to him, leaning down to nuzzle her neck. “You know you love me,” he cajoled, the breath sending shivers down Cordelia’s spine.
“You know, I kinda do love you,” she answered, clutching him to herself, toying with the hair at his nape. “I kinda love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone else.”
She could feel him smile against her skin before he raised his head and said, “So I can tie you up and have my wicked way with you then?”
“Pfft, in your dreams,” she scoffed, rolling her eyes and smirking. “But how about if I tie you up?”