Cordelia hadn’t always hated Sundays, quite the opposite actually, there was nothing finer then a Sunday spent lazily by the pool in the company of Cosmo. Shallow and decadent and utterly blissful. So no, Cordelia hadn’t always hated Sundays.
But now she did.
When her father had lost the Chase’s money the first few Sundays Cordelia had spent in the dingy motel room were hell, there could be no pretending on a Sunday, no hiding away from her life in the mall, no hours spent as top dog at school. Just twenty four hours of constant reminder that whilst she was on her own everyone else were sitting down to a meal with their family.
She missed her Mom. Not the indoor heated pool, not the crisp new copy of Cosmo, not the money. Her Mom. Cordelia missed the hypnotic feel of her mom brushing her hair in the late evening as they talked about nothing and everything, she missed the smell of her mothers moisturiser and perfume in the morning. Small things that Cordelia had never really cherished until she’d found the hastily scribbled note telling her her life as she knew it was over.
Sundays were when she missed her Mom the most…but on this particular Sunday the only thing in her mind had been a tall dark vampire with a soul.
Damn vampire thoughts muscling in on my self pity time….
The brunette paced the length of the small room, the worn carpet rough on her naked feet. The day had slouched by at a maddeningly slow pace, she had tried to read, tried to watch tv, gone for a run, had a shower, gone for another run….but nothing could keep her mind from wandering back to Angel no matter how hard she tried. So she’d given up as the small clock on the wall declared it was five thirty and had been wearing a groove in the floor ever since. Day had slipped into night but Cordelia hadn’t noticed.
I wonder what he’s doing…I bet he’s spent the day sulking in some corner over Buffy…I wonder if he’s thought about me…stop thinking about him! Last night was so weird…was I imagining the weirdness…is weirdness actually a word? Twice he looked like he was going to kiss me…did he want to kiss me? Did I want to kiss him? Duh. But we’re friends. Friends. We shouldn’t ruin that. And hello? Buffy! Stupid blonde midget. I can’t believe what she said to me…I can’t believe I didn’t kick her ass for it…I wonder what Angel thought about what she said…. And so went her train of thought for most of the day.
“ARGHH!” Cordelia growled in annoyance at herself. She crossed her arms and tapped her foot against the floor willing herself to quit thinking.
I’m not thinking about him. I’m not thinking about him. Nope. Not. At. All.
When he touched me it was…electric…I really need to stop reading Jackie Collins…he’s funny and handsome and mysterious and handsome and clever and handsome and so completely not mine. Friends. Goddamn peroxide dwarf. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. STOP IT! STOP THINKING ABOUT ANGEL!
His hands weren’t as cold as I thought they’d be….
“I’ve actually lost my mind.” Cordelia whimpered and dragged her hands through her curling hair in desperation. When she’d closed her door on him the night before she’d thought any fuzzy feelings she was having about the vampire would have disappeared by the morning, simply labelled the feelings as the result of a long and confusing day. Nothing more than that.
Then why am I still thinking about him huh?
“Brain you’re really not helping me right now.” She told off her reflection in the mirror. Oooh I look cute today.
All her thoughts ground to a halt as three familiar knocks sounded on her door.
Oh. Cordelia stared at the door but she didn’t have to see through it to know who it was. The cheerleader bit her lip and tried to figure out what she should do. Again the knocking sounded, more insistent this time.
Open the door you idiot! Cordelia shook her head and bounded over to the door, unlocking it and swinging it open before she could think of a reason not to.
“I bought you a present.” Angel smiled at her by way of greeting, his hands hidden mysteriously behind his back.
“If it’s shoes I’ll be your slave for life.” Cordelia grinned at him.
“It’s way better then shoes.” The vampire whipped one arm around in front of him revealing…
“Scrabble?” Cordelia arched an eyebrow at him.
“That’s not all.” The other hand whipped around revealing…
“A dictionary? You bought me Scrabble and a dictionary? Why on earth have you bought me Scrabble and a dictionary?”
“Fancy a game?” He ignored her question completely.
“You’re a very strange man Angel.” Cordelia laughed and moved aside to let him in, her earlier thoughts completely forgotten.
Angel watched Cordelia as she stared intently at her letters, she was tapping her fingernail against her teeth in concentration. As soon as Angel had decided to turn up unannounced on the cheerleaders door step his day had improved ten fold.
He had spent the daylight hours scowling at the wall of his apartment, trying to understand the feelings that had erupted the night before. He drifted from being angry, confused, horny, happy and irritated. The vampire wasn’t used to having so many conflicting emotions swimming around inside himself, add to that his demons dark whispers and Angel was sure he was losing it. As the sun slipped under the horizon the vampire had donned his jacket and escaped his apartment without making a conscious decision to do so.
As he’d stalked down the high street in a storm of barely restrained danger he growled at any fool stupid enough to stumble his way, Cordelia Chase had invaded his thoughts and his body wouldn’t let him forget it.
But then he’d seen the board game in a shop window and his mood had changed in a blink of an eye. He didn’t know why he’d wanted to buy it for her, he didn’t know why the thought of spending the evening with her playing Scrabble pleased him so much, he didn’t know why he walked to her Motel grinning like an idiot…but he decided to just go with it.
When he’d watched Cordelia slip through her door the night before Angel had been well aware that there was a weird tension between them, an unspoken desire that had the capacity to hurt everyone around them so he had walked away. But a night and day without seeing, without talking to Cordelia was driving him insane so he had decided to pretend the weirdness had never happened, deny what he brewing up inside of him and go see his friend.
As simple as that.
So here he was, a two hundred and forty one year old vampire with a dark side his girlfriend pretended wasn’t there losing at scrabble to a girl he had really only known for a few days. It was comfortable and fun and he hardly even noticed the fact that Cordelia toenails were polished red or that she smelt of soap and girl or that every time she leant over the board he had a perfect view down her vest. He hardly noticed it at all.
Who exactly do you think you’re convincing? His demon mocked him as Angel watched Cordelia lean over the board to place her letters down. If you want her then just take her, you know she wants you too. You could smell it on her last night…the sweet honey smell of desire, the flush of her skin, the hum of her blood as it raced around her body….
“DKNY isn’t a word Cordy.” Angel said to shut up the whispers in his brain.
“No, it’s a way of life.” Cordelia grinned at him, crossing her legs beneath her, sitting Indian style on the bed.
“You’re cheating….” He pinched the her big toe cheekily.
“It’s called winning actually.” The brunette stuck her tongue out at him. “But while we’re on the subject of contesting words what exactly is a Ybbag?” Cordelia arched an amused eyebrow at him, her earlier confusion had dissipated as soon as she had opened the door to the vampire. There was still a strange atmosphere between them but it paled in comparison to the light hearted revelry.
“It’s a demon.” Angel mumbled as he shifted his letters around on their stand, he was stretched out on his side on the bed, his jacket and boots discarded in favour of comfort. Only the Scrabble board separated them on the double bed and Angel tried not to pay too much attention to that.
“It is!” The vampire huffed.
“Sure.” Cordelia winked at him.
“Ybbag: A demon prevalent in the early eighteen hundreds, known for its relentless stalking of its victims and silver tongued charm. Often takes the form of a young woman…” Angel rattled off what he could remember of the demon he had once come across.
“OK you weird photographic memory guy, it’s a demon, I believe you!” Cordelia laughed and threw a random w at him hitting him squarely on the chest.
“Ouch.” Angel grimaced and rubbed his chest.
“Ya big baby.” She rolled her eyes at him. “I’ll let you have your demon just this once but that’s it, no more hell beasts I don’t know about stealing points that should be mine.”
“Why Miss Chase, are you a sore loser?” He flashed her a feral smile.
“Loser? I’m sorry, are you playing a different game to me? Exactly who is it that’s winning by twenty points here?” She sassed him.
“That would be you.” Angel relented happily.
“Damn straight, and don’t you forget it.” Cordelia poked his shoulder with her finger.
“I still say DKNY isn’t a word.” Angel muttered trying to hide the smile on his face as he tried to make a word out of pitiful collection of letters.
“Read Vogue once in a while, it’ll open up a whole new world for you.” Cordelia flashed him a hundred watt smile, Angel was pretty sure that alone could make his dead heart beat.
“I’ll do that next time I pick up my blood of the month magazine.” The vampire deadpanned, trying to distract the attention away from the word he’d just put down on the board. It didn’t work.
“Cat? Two hundred years of knowledge and the best you can come up with is cat?”
“You try making a word with all the Q’s and T’s I have, I’m a vampire, not a miracle worker.”
“What’s it like?”
“What’s what like?” Angel blinked dumbly at her.
“Being a vampire, hell being a vampire with a soul? I mean what, one day you were wandering around all happy with the killing and bloodlust and then BAM! Soul. How did it feel?” Cordelia’s abrupt change in subject startled the vampire slightly but he was beginning to understand that this was how Cordelia Chase was, she said exactly what was on her mind.
“It felt…confusing I guess. I’d been one thing for so long then all of a sudden what I was gone and replaced with this other thing…I was Angelus and I revelled in pain and destruction but when the gypsies gave me my soul…for a while I tried to ignore it, tried to ignore the things I had done…but in the end I just couldn’t.” Angel knew he probably wasn’t making a lot of sense, no one had ever asked him how it felt to have a soul when before there was nothing.
Cordelia was watching him intently, her head tilted to the side as she listened to him. No one but Cordelia Chase had ever asked him how he felt before and it made him want to smile.
“But the demon hasn’t gone away right? It’s what you are.”
“Yeah.” Angel frowned, the familiar bitter taste of guilt in his mouth.
“Hey now mister don’t go all taciturn, I just want to understand. You’re a vampire, a demon, all down with your grrr self…but at the same time you have a soul and you care about people and you love and you’re here playing scrabble and…you’re my friend…I guess what I’m trying to say is that you’re very complicated.”
“As are you Cordy.” The vampire smiled at her, the word friend rattling around his brain.
“One of my many charms.” Cordelia gave him another perfect smile.
“Does it bother you that I’m a vampire?” He asked her what he had never been able to bring himself to ask any one else, already aware of what most people’s answer would be, but with Cordelia Chase he wasn’t sure and he desperately needed to know.
“Pfft, would I be sitting here if it did? Don’t get me wrong Angel, I’m not going to go out and make friends with every Tom Dick and Vamp that comes my way, the next vampire I see I intend on screaming very loud at while running away. But you…” Cordelia shrugged. “…I’ll make an exception for.”
“I’m honoured.” Angel said sincerely, his smile matching hers. When their eyes met and glued this time neither looked away, unable and unwilling to break the connection. His thumb brushed the instep of her foot, Cordelia hadn’t even realised he was still touching her. She bit her lip as goosebumps prickled her skin, Angel felt a very male pride that his touch could elicit such a reaction in the young woman.
“That tickles….” She tilted her head, a secret smile tugging at her lips. Cordelia’s hair fell over her shoulders but not concealing her beautiful face from Angel this time, she didn’t want to look away from him, she didn’t want to listen to her brain. She wanted to brush her thumb across the light stubble of his jaw, she wanted to taste the skin where his neck met his shoulders, she wanted to run her nails down the broad expanse of his back….
“Cordy….” The vampire’s eyes were black with want, the same heated gaze he had drowned her in the night before in the cemetery. Angel’s hand itched to bury itself in her thick hair, to wind the curling strands around his fingers and pull her lips to his, his mouth wanted to capture the sigh that would slip from her mouth as his fingers walked the landscape of her breasts….
They were on dangerous ground, the line between friends and more becoming increasingly translucent with every second that ticked by.
“One more question.” Cordelia said suddenly, nervous tension forcing her to fill the silence with the first thing she could think of.
“Why do I feel like I should have studied?” Angel groaned, his thumb still greedily mapping the delicate skin, he couldn’t bring himself to stop and Cordelia didn’t want him to. Most of the sudden tension that had reared its head was depleting but it was still there, just beneath the surface waiting for its time to break free.
“Seriously, that weird thing your hair does, is that a vampire deal too?”
“What weird thing?” Angel’s hand shot up and in a panic tentatively touching his spiky mane, after a moment he could see the amusement in the cheerleaders eyes. “Ha ha, funny Chase, very funny.”
The board game was discarded after a while, Cordelia the smug victor, Angel the pouting loser. The easy conversation continued well into the evening as they settled companionably on the bed to watch television, but neither paid very much attention to whatever programme was on though, more intent on the conversation.
They sat closer than was needed, closer than they should be. Angel found himself laughing and smiling as Cordelia told him tales of growing up on the Hellmouth with Willow and Xander, stories about Harmony’s vacuous blonde moments. His heart had twisted when she’d briefly mourned over her current state of affairs but she’d changed the subject quickly, obviously not wanting to think about her life too much.
When the conversation had taken a darker turn Cordelia’s hand would snake out of its own free will and touch Angel’s arm as he spoke about the man he use to be, the vampire wasn’t familiar with telling another person so much about himself, in fact he wasn’t familiar with talking so much at all but with Cordelia it wasn’t so difficult. Angel hadn’t wanted to tell her about his past, of the atrocities he had delivered to so many innocents but he found the words falling from his mouth and hoped that his history wouldn’t cost him the friendship of the beautiful young woman in front of him.
Cordelia hadn’t said a word as he spoke about Spike Druscilla and Darla, had listened with quiet tongue as he told her about the gypsy girl that had changed the course of his life forever. She had sat next to one of the most feared vampires to ever walk the earth and once he had finished said….
“So I’m guessing there aren’t many funny anecdotes about donkeys and nuns in your past huh?”
Angel laughed, a full chest rumble of relief that she hadn’t driven a stake through his heart. “Actually there are but you have to be over 21 to hear them.”
“I’ll hold you to that.” Cordelia curled her legs up beneath her, unconsciously shifting closer to Angel. “Well your past makes my life look like a walk through the roses, I guess it puts my little problems into perspective. A hundred years of badass craziness compared to a few months of slumming it? You definitely win in the woe is me contest.” She said dryly.
“Have you heard from your parents yet?” Angel broached the topic gently.
“Nope, a big ole’ nothing from mommy and daddy dearest, jeez, like it would kill them to send a postcard or something, you know, just to know they were alive.” She muttered sarcastically.
“Do you miss them?”
“My Mom I do…big time.” Cordelia frowned, she’d been able to forget about her situation for a while but it all came crashing back to her. “Me and Dad, well, we never really got on, but my Mom…I miss my Mom so much….” The Sunnydale super bitch bit the inside of her cheek and forced back the tears that had suddenly begun to prick at her eyes.
On seeing how upset the mention of her absent parents made the brunette Angel felt a fervent desire to comfort her, to make everything better for this lost young woman whose life had been turned upside down.
“I’m sure you’ll hear from her soon.” Angel brushed her hair out of her face, a caress that he was quickly becoming addicted to. The comforting gesture threatened to topple every wall Cordelia Chase had ever laboured to build, she closed her eyes and cursed the tear she felt slide down her cheek. A careful thumb brushed it away and Cordelia turned towards the cool palm that cradled the side of her face seeking solace in a storm.
“You’ll be OK Cordy.” Angel told Cordelia as silent tears trickled down her face.
“Do you promise?” Cordelia opened her eyes, she hated the way her voice begged him to make everything better but she saw no judgement in his eyes.
“I promise.” The vampire swore with his entire soul, Angel finally did what he’d been wanting to do for the last hour not caring about the consequences any more because Cordelia Chase was scared and alone and he needed to make her feel better.
With all the vampire grace he could muster he snaked his arm around Cordelia’s slender shoulders and pulled her into his side. “You’ll be ok.” Angel pressed a kiss to the top of her head and felt the cheerleader let out a long ragged sigh as she relaxed against him.
Cordelia closed her eyes and settled her head against his solid chest, not even noticing that it didn’t rise and fall with breathing or that his heart wasn’t drumming in her ear. Just the quiet calm of Angel’s arms surrounding her as she thought about her mother. Angel rested his chin on her head and closed his eyes, breathing in the sweet aroma of Cordelia’s hair into his dead lungs.
The line between friendship and more was gossamer thin….
“I can’t believe you didn’t put Buffy in her place, I mean, everyone saw it Cor, everyone, it’s the only thing people were talking about this morning. That and why the hell were you sitting with those freaks in the first place? Do you have geek tendencies you haven’t told us about? Are you going to start wearing loafers and green tights like Rosenberg?” Harmony finally stopped momentarily for air.
Cordelia listened with one ear, her friend’s vitriolic rant barely registering on her radar as she strolled down the corridor after last period. There had been only one thing on her mind the entire day, actually make that one person on her mind the entire day.
She had fallen asleep in his arms and when she awoke he was gone, as she knew he would, sunlight forcing the vampire into the shadows for another day. Cordelia felt happy, confused, scared, calm and hungry because her stomach was in so many knots just the smell of lunch made her feel green. She was having very un-friend like feeling towards Angel and now Harmony was making her head spin. All in all Cordelia was ready to punch someone in the nose.
“Are you going to be dating losers now? Cordelia Chase friend of the common people? Or is this charity work, helping the down and out? You can’t be fraternising with those geeks of your own free will!! It’s all so….skanky. And, ok, I wasn’t going to say anything earlier because I didn’t want to judge you in front of the other girls but Cordelia, are you wearing jeans? Non designer jeans?” Harmony’s face scrunched up into a scowl. “Did I miss the copy of Cosmo that said grunge was in again?”
Cordelia rolled her eyes and continued to ignore her, the corridors were busy with students fleeing from another day of school enforced hell. A familiar red head hurried passed them, Cordelia caught her eye and smiled before she even realised she was doing it. Willow looked surprised for a moment then waved happily, the cheerleader returned her greeting.
“OK, what the hell was that about?” Harmony barked loudly causing the people around them to stop and stare.
“Harmony do you ever shut up?” Cordelia barked at her in annoyance.
“Where are you going?!” Harmony screeched.
“Hopefully somewhere you aren’t!” She shot at her not waiting for her reply as she followed the retreating nerd into the library.
“Can somebody please tell me what’s going on here?!” Harmony called out to know one in particular.
“Naw…too easy.” Xander grinned at her as he jogged past her.
“Freak!” The blonde yelped at him.
“Love you too Harm!” He shot a cheeky wink at her then disappeared into the library.
Buffy Summers had felt awful about the things she’d said to Cordelia at the Bronze, even as she heard the words had left her mouth the Slayer had wanted to take them back, she wasn’t a bitch, she was just angry at Angel. Why she had taken it out on Cordelia she didn’t know.
Liar…you saw them chatting and laughing while you were at the bar…you were jealous. Her brain informed unflinchingly. Buffy shook her head and ignored her brain focusing instead on the flurry of people that suddenly entered the library. She smiled warmly at Willow as she dropped down into the chair next to her.
“You know, you really can’t do ghetto Buffy.” Willow gave her a lazy half smile.
“Oh but I can try chica.” Buffy winked at her. Her smile dropped from her face when Cordelia Chase sat down in a chair on the opposite side of the large wooden table. I guess now’s a good a time as any to apologise…suck it Summers.
“Cordelia….” Buffy started.
“Buffy if you want to throw down with me again you have so picked the wrong time to do it, I have a Harmony induced headache and I’ll quite happily bitch slap you into next week if you so much as think about starting your shit with me again.” Cordelia pinned the blonde with her best death glare, the one that had been known to make freshmen pee in their pants. Buffy shifted nervously in her chair.
“I was just going to say sorry, I shouldn’t have said those things I said…I was way out of line.”
“Oh.” Cordelia blinked at the slayers apology.
“Cordelia!! You’re gracing us with your company again…” Xander yapped as he strolled over to the table, he swallowed whatever comment was about to come out as Willow vigorously shook her head in the negative to shut him up. “…that’s…cool.” Xander finished weakly.
“Wise move Harris.” Cordelia arched an eyebrow at him.
“Ah good, you’re here Buffy. There’s research to be done.” Giles deposited a large stack of books on to the table this a thump. Buffy Willow and Xander let out a mutual groan of displeasure.
“Don’t you guys do anything but research?”
“Actually…no.” Xander frowned and flopped back in his chair.
“Cordelia! You’re here…again…” Giles said in disbelief. This time Buffy, Willow and Xander all shook their heads quickly to stop him from saying anything further.
“You people are learning.” She smiled, rolling her eyes at their collective look of ‘huh?’ Jeez and I thought Harmony was slow on the uptake. “You said something about research?”
“Oh…um…yes. Research.” Rupert Giles nodded vigorously. “Everyone grab a book and get comfortable….”
Nothing more was attempted to be said about Cordelia’s unusual presence once again in the library and the girl in question was relieved. She was here for a reason and that reason was the vampire that had dried her tears last night.
Not that she was going to admit that though.
Cordelia had always pfft’d at people that spouted the cliche that one must never judge a book by its cover, they’d obviously never been in the vicinity of the audio visual freaks but since her world had tilted on its axis and she’d took up residence at the Sunnydale Motel she found that particular adage quite humorous in its irony. What people saw was very rarely what they got.
But as she squinted at the spines of book after book crammed into the dark stacks of the school library Cordelia decided that yes, you should judge a book by its cover. If it looked old, dusty and boring it was mostly likely going to be old dusty and boring. Metaphors were all well and good…but she was sure that whoever thought those things up had never spent an hour trudging through brain numbing demon tomes.
“Never judge a book my ass….” Cordelia muttered as she tapped her nails against the wooden shelf.
“Looking for something in particular?”
“BAH!” Cordelia yelped and spun around on her heel. “Dammit Angel!” She thumped the chuckling vampire on his shoulder. “You did that on purpose.”
“Yes, yes I did.” Angel nodded solemnly, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.
“Are we going to have to have that talk about you and the stalking again?”
“I wasn’t stalking you that time, I even hummed a tune…you were just off with the fairies.”
“Fairies? Pfft, I was concentrating on the books.” Cordelia crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes dancing with amusement.
“You were talking to yourself Cordy…” Angel tapped her forehead with his finger. “Is that Scrabble winning brain of yours OK? First it’s the one sided conversations, then you’ll be getting ten cats and calling them all Pete…it’s a slow decline in to craziness.”
“Speaks the master of weird behaviour.” She poked a finger at his chest, after a moment she still hadn’t pulled her hand away, resting her palm against the cool cotton of his shirt.
“I’m not weird, I’m eccentric.” Angel’s finger wound around a thick strand of her hair, after the closeness of the night before the vampire couldn’t not touch Cordelia, even the most fleeting contact was savoured and locked away into his memory. Into both their memories.
“No, you’re just old.” A perfect Cordelia Chase smile lit up his world and he found himself inching closer to it. The atmosphere shifted at lightening speed, unspoken desire hanging heavily in the air just as it had the night before, Angel had ignored it then but he wasn’t sure he could now.
“How about wise?” He murmured as his gaze drifting over her lips, pink and inviting and screaming to be devoured. Three minutes in the same room together and they were hurtling towards the forbidden at a dizzying speed.
“No…definitely just old.” Cordelia managed to say as Angel lips hovered millimetres away from hers. He felt the her soft breath caressing his skin, her eyes dark, cheeks flushed with anticipation. The cheerleaders head was spinning and her knees actually felt weak, it was happening far too slowly and far too fast, his sudden appearance, the enticing darkness of his eyes, the intense way her towered over her…leaning closer…she couldn’t think….didn’t want to think.
Angel had never wanted a woman so much. He felt it in his bones, in the blood that sat heavily in his veins, in the itch of his fangs. Want and desire and need raced through his body and thundered in his ears. She was all the vampire had thought about all day, the sound of her laugh, the quirk of her eyebrow, those long, long legs.
Angel could feel the delicious press of Cordelia’s breasts against his chest as they moved closer and closer, cool lips finally about to descend on to plump warm…
“Xander Harris will you put that crossbow down this very instant!!!”
The vampire and the cheerleader jerked apart as Rupert Giles’ stern voice echoed through the stacks. Cordelia stumbled away from Angel, her eyes darting everywhere but at him as her body struggled to catch up with her brain.
The moment was shattered into a million pieces as the gravity of the situation seeped in. They were about to kiss while Angel’s girlfriend stood none the wiser in the next room, about to commit the unforgivable…and they both longed for it.
“I should…” She nodded her head in the direction of the main room, Angel could hear her heart thumping wildly in her chest, taste her desire on the air. The vampire didn’t say anything as Cordelia hurried away from him, away from what had almost happened.
Fucking English Watcher… His demon growled and for once his soul agreed.
Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God , oh God…. Cordelia silently panicked as she stared blindly at the book in front of her, how she’d managed to walk down to the main part of the library and sit down without screaming out that Angel had almost kissed her she didn’t know.
The brunette flipped the page she wasn’t reading, her eyes darting around the room to see if any one noticed that she was acting like a crazy person. Apparently they didn’t as know one was paying any of attention to her, Willow and Xander sat on the other side of the table, Giles was attempting to pull a crossbow out of his office wall and Buffy and Angel stood apart from the group locked in hushed conversation for the last twenty minutes.
Cordelia could tell by their body language that it wasn’t a good conversation. She bit her lip as her gaze slipped over the vampire, her eyes hungrily drinking in every muscled edge and toned slope of his body, she could feel a flush of desire creeping up her neck and prickling the tips of her fingers.
“You OK Cordelia?” Willow asked the slightly flushed brunette carefully, when Cordelia had suddenly reappeared out of the stacks the redhead could tell something had flustered her…and then Angel had emerged not long after her looking as impassive and unreadable as ever. There was something nagging at the corner of Willow’s brain but she couldn’t quite fit it all together.
“I’m fine.” Cordelia flashed a quick awkward smile at Willow then hunched over her book, her hair hiding her face from the best friends opposite her. She leant her head on her hand and turned slightly to watch Buffy and Angel without being too obvious.
Angel was looking back at her.
Oh…god…. Cordelia’s heart did a strange out of rhythm tub thump and her stomach flipped over, she could feel a crimson flush seeping over the skin, her cheeks burning. She gave him a small uncertain smile which the vampire returned.
“Angel are you listening to me?!” Buffy’s annoyed voice bounced around the library making everyone stop what they were doing to stare.
“Buffy…I really don’t want to talk about this here….” Angel sighed tugging a hand through his spiky hair as he walked away from the pissed of Slayer. His good mood had quickly faded during the twenty minutes he’d spent arguing with his girlfriend.
“Well maybe I do.” Buffy boomed at him, she grabbed his arm and spun him round to face her.
“What do you want from me Buffy?” His demon growled before he could stop it.
“I want us to have a normal relationship.” Buffy pleaded with him, all she wanted was to be with the man she loved.
“In case you haven’t noticed we’re not a normal couple…”
“I know that! God! Don’t you think I know that? I just wish….”
“I just wish you weren’t a fucking vampire!” The words burst out of Buffy’s mouth.
A thick silence swallowed up the library, nobody dared to move, dared to breathe.
“Well I am.” Angel snarled, his face shifting from his handsome features into a demonic visage. Buffy looked away from him, enraged he grasped her arm but she still couldn’t bring herself to look into his eyes. “You can’t even look at me….” He growled angrily.
“Back off Angel.” Xander stood a few feet away from them, crossbow in hand pointing the vampire’s way. Angel dropped the slayer’s arm and slowly turned to face Xander, his fangs itching for a fight.
“You wanna start something with me kid?” Angel growled darkly at him, Xander swallowed heavily but kept the weapon trained on him.
“Angel…I think you should go.” Buffy’s voice came out barely more than a whisper but everyone heard it, it cut through the library like shattering glass.
Angel didn’t meet anyone’s eyes as he turned and stalked out of the library, shame and anger biting at his heels.
Cordelia watched him as he walked away, a cloud of solitary despair cloaking him with every step he took. When the library doors swung closed behind him with a whoosh the cheerleader stood up, her instincts screaming at her to go after him.
So she did.
Cordelia took a deep breath and willed her heart to stop beating so quickly, she squared her shoulders, her hand hovering about to knock on the door in front of her. She could hear Angel stomping about inside his apartment, the occasional muffled curse creeping under the door.
When she had left the library there was no sign of the vampire anywhere, just the eerie silence of an empty school echoing in her ears. Cordelia had hesitated for only a second as she’d got into her car and gunned it to life, her brain telling her that going to Angel’s apartment right now wasn’t the smartest of things to do…but he’d looked so alone as Xander aimed a crossbow to his chest and Buffy told him to leave.
Told him to leave because of what he was, who he was. So she’d ignored her brain once again and made her way to Angel’s home, following the directions he had mentioned in passing the night before when they had spoken for hours about their lives. The sound of glass breaking and a muttered curse seeped through the door and Cordelia finally knocked. She jumped back startled as the door flew open with a growl.
“Hey to you too.” Cordelia frowned at Angel as she slid by him into the apartment, pretending that this was the most natural thing in the world and that her body wasn’t humming with just being close to him. She stood in the middle of the small apartment, her arms folded across her chest as she took in her surroundings, his home was sparsely furnished just as she’d imagined, shadowy and warm at the same time, rich cranberry sheets on his bed, a dark oak desk, a comfortable looking worn leather chair…all very Angel.
“You OK?” She asked the silent vampire who was crouched on the kitchen floor picking up a few shards of broken glass. “I only ask because you seemed like you were fixing to go homicidal on Xander….”
Still he silently crouched on the floor, his back to her.
“What Buffy said….” Cordelia echoed the very same words Angel had said to her the night before.
“Is what she’s always thought Cordelia, there’s nothing I can do to change that.” Angel sighed, throwing away the red stained glass into the trash and turning to face her. “About what happened earlier…” The vampire stepped closer to her.
“You have blood on your shirt.” Cordelia said quietly, pointing at the spattering of barely noticeable blood. He unbuttoned his shirt as he walked across the room, his arm brushing Cordelia’s, she sucked in a sharp breath at the sudden fleeting contact. When she saw the broad expanse of his naked back she forgot how to breathe all together, she watched as his muscles moved the tattoo on his back, the black A more like a brand then body art.
Minutes ticked by as Angel stood with his shoulders hunched and his shirt balled up in his hands, Buffy’s angry words swimming around his head while Cordelia’s perfume seeped into his skin. The silence spread thinly over the room, there was none of the light hearted banter of the night before, no laughing and tentative flirting.
Angel could hear her heart beating in her chest, the slight uncertain hitch of her breath as she moved closer to him. He closed his eyes when he felt her warm hand hovering millimetres from his skin, willing her to finally snap that gossamer line once and for all.
Cordelia traced the intricate black lines with the tip of her finger, learning his history with her hands.
“Why?” Her voice barely a whisper that bounced off the silent walls of Angel’s apartment.
“So I never forget the pain I’ve caused.” Angel said darkly, in his voice Cordelia could hear the echo of the demon inside, always so near the surface.
“You’re a good man Angel.” She pressed her palm to the vampires tattoo, the heat of her body infusing his, comfort he didn’t deserve. Angel turned his head to the side so he could catch a glimpse of her beauty.
“I’m not a man.” He said bitterly, his girlfriends words refusing to leave him.
“No….You’re my friend.” The word hung heavy between them.
Cordelia drew her hand away from the intimate touch, she shouldn’t have come here.
“I should go.” Cordelia stepped away from her temptation.
“You don’t have to.” Angel still didn’t turn around to face her, he knew if he did everything would change…and part of him longed for it to.
“Yes I do.”
“Stay…” Angel’s hand shot out and caught her wrist before she knew it had happened.
“Angel…” Cordelia warned him, her eyes pleading with him not to do this, let her leave, let her walk away.
This was too much…they couldn’t do this, they were already flirting with disaster, if Cordelia didn’t leave now she wasn’t sure if she ever could. They had dodged this moment twice before but there was no one to interrupt them this time.
“Cordelia…..” He bridged the gap between them, his hands leaving her wrist and burying themselves in her hair. She was falling into his eyes again just as she had not more then thirty minutes ago in the library, dense black pools of desire that she could swim in for all eternity.
Cordelia swallowed heavily, her tongue snaking out to wet her suddenly dry lips, Angel didn’t try to muffle the growl that slipped out of his mouth as he watched her.
“What are we doing?” She whispered, her breath licking at his chin.
“Something we shouldn’t.” Angel murmured, his cool lips brushed against hers, chaste and unsure until he felt Cordelia’s small hands sliding over the small of his back, her nail tickling deliciously across his skin. A groan erupted from his chest and Angel deepened the kiss, his blunt teeth nipping the plump flesh of her bottom lip before soothed the area with his tongue. All the blood in his body headed south when Cordelia moaned and granted him full access to the sweet cavern of her mouth.
Time stood still as the vampire and the cheerleader kissed each other greedily, forbidden fruit hungrily eaten, chest to chest, large hands tangled in thick chocolate hair, small hands possessing pale ivory skin. Cordelia whimpered in the back of her throat, her brain no longer functioning on a cognitive level as the vampire kissed her with a hunger she had never experienced before, as he devoured her she consumed him, every pore of her body absorbing his taste, his scent into her skin, the urge to breathe pushed at her lungs and she finally dragged her lips away from his.
But still he didn’t stop tasting her, his lips travelling over the slope of her jaw and down her neck. Cordelia moaned and tilted her head to give him further access to her skin, she curled her fingers in to his thick hair, pressing him closer as his tongue caressed the area behind her ear that made stars swim before her eyes.
“Angel….” Cordelia moaned breathlessly, she felt the rumble of a growl against her breasts. It felt so good, he felt so good, kissing her, surrounding her, moulding her pliant body to his. “Oh god….” She groaned when the vampires knuckles brushed against the side of her breast, she arched into his caress and silently begged him to do it again. When Cordelia felt the heavy press of Angel’s desire against her abdomen her brain snapped to attention.
“We can’t do this Angel….” She panted, her quiet words broke through his haze of desire and he stilled his movements. Angel swallowed heavily trying to get control over his body once again.
“I know.” He sighed, leaning his forehead against hers, his fingers once again tangling in her long hair, her hands running up and down his arms.
They couldn’t do this…yet neither moved away.