“Here we are,” Angelus said as he cut the engine. Turning, he watched her expectantly. “What do you think?”
Cordelia studied their surroundings, already shaking her head as her lips twisted into a sneer. She’d never been in this exact spot before, but she’d definitely been to others like it. A moonlit clearing. Surrounded by just enough trees to hide them from any other cars parked nearby. It was actually a pretty nice place…for a make-out spot.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Cordy snapped.
“What?” Angelus asked innocently. “You don’t like it?”
Right elbow resting on the door, Cordelia pressed her fingertips to her temple. She was beginning to understand how he thought a little (which was really scary) so the fact that he’d picked this spot actually made sense. Bringing her here was kinda funny, slightly perverse, a lot obnoxious, with the slight taint of creepiness underneath it all. It was more subtle than a puppy nailed to a wall, but no less effective. Because, as the seconds ticked by, she started to simmer. No, to burn. She could feel the heat of anger crawling up her neck, and had no doubt her face had flushed bright red.
“You are unbelievable,” she finally ground out through clenched teeth. “I don’t know what’s going through that sick, twisted, psycho brain of yours, but if you think for one minute your evil dead hands, or lips, or anything else are coming anywhere near me…”
“You talk to your mother with that mouth?” Angelus interrupted, looking more amused than insulted. Taking the keys from the ignition, he opened the door and stepped out of the car.
“Now, wait a minute…” Cordy began, only to be cut off again when the door slammed shut in her face. Not to be deterred, she ripped off her seatbelt, grabbed the door handle…and almost fell out of the car when the door was wrenched open from the inside.
Geez! She kept forgetting how fast he was.
Smiling pleasantly, Angelus held his hand out to her.
“Oh, you are out of your mind,” she said, glaring at said hand. “Which I already knew, but you’re obviously even more insane than I…”
“You know, Cordelia,” Angelus began, voice as calm and casual as ever. But something dark slithered, velvet soft, underneath. “I’m actually in a pretty good mood tonight. And you really don’t want anything to make me lose my good mood.” He leaned down a bit, onyx eyes gleaming in the moonlight. “Do you?”
And the fear surged up, wrestling with her anger for space. The swirl of conflicting emotions actually made her dizzy for a second. Like she was on a twisty, annoying roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. No wonder she was starting to feel nauseous.
Knowing she had little choice in the matter, she placed her hand in his larger, colder one. Her entire body chose that moment to tremble all the way down to the bones. And she knew he felt it, because his smiled widened.
She wasn’t prepared when, with a sudden burst of strength, he gave her arm a yank. Cordy yelped as she found herself propelled out of the car, so fast she tripped over her own feet. She slammed into his body so hard, the wind was knocked out of her with an audible whoosh.
For a second, Cordy was too stunned to move. For one long, heart-stopping second, her breasts were pressed against his chest. The next second, she pushed away from him. Or tried to.Forone long moment, they engaged in a little wrestling match that verged on the ridiculous. She got one arm free, and he grabbed the other. She got both arms free only to find he’d latched on to her waist.
Apparently, he thought this was hilarious, because he started to laugh.
“Oh, for crap’s sake,” she finally exclaimed, yanking out of his grasp. Stumbling away from him, she treated him to her fiercest growl.
Angelus merely smiled and shut the door.
Turning to lean against the car, arms folded across his chest, Angelus watched her. She looked mad enough to spit nails. The pulse in her neck was throbbing, beating a tantalizing rhythm.
He wondered if she even realized she was inching away from him, every mincing step widening the gap the tiniest bit. She was the prey, about to take flight. And, for a moment, he hoped she would run. That she’d finally lose control and be overtaken by her fear. That he could chase her through the trees; let his hunger and need take over. Let the beast run free.
But no. Not yet. For now, he had other things in mind.
Cordelia’s nerves were coiled tighter than a spring. So, when Angelus said, “Come here,” she jumped as hard as her heart did. For a moment she froze up, like a deer caught in headlights. Or a rabbit that had just seen the big bad wolf staring back at it.
“Why are you doing this?” she asked, voicing the question she’d had since this whole ordeal started. Was he going to kill her, finishing what he’d started last week? Was he going to vamp her? Or something even worse? Just what the hell was he playing at? “And don’t tell me you did all this just to drive my car.”
“Hey, a guy will do a lot for a good ride,” Angelus drawled. Pushing away from the car, he covered the short distance between them.
Cordelia almost ran. Her leg muscles actually twitched with the desire to move. A tiny, optimistic voice whispered that she had a chance. That she might actually be able to get away. But she knew the truth, and that kept her standing there, waiting for him.
“You know, the moonlight really becomes you,” Angelus said. Head tilted to the side, he studied her like she was a statue or something. “Anybody ever tell you that?”
“I don’t know,” Cordelia said. Really, who knew? She’d received a lot of compliments over the years. Some were sincere. Others she wrote off as bull, delivered by someone who wanted something from her. “Probably.”
Angelus shrugged. “No surprise there. I bet the boys have been trying to sweet-talk you for years.” One cold hand encircled her upper arm.
“Don’t!” Cordy snapped, smacking it away.
Striking with the speed of a snake, he grabbed both of her arms, jerking her forward.
“Ow!” she winced, trying in vain to pull away. His grip was so tight; she could already feel the bruises forming. “Let go!”
“If that’s what you want,” he said, his voice cold and amused. Suddenly, he spun her around, making her world tilt sideways. Then he pushed her away from him. And she flew back, slamming into the car with a strangled cry. Pain shot through her body, and it was pure stubbornness that kept her from sliding down to the ground.
Her heart was thundering now, so hard she could barely hear herself think. This was it. Finally, after toying with her the way a cat plays with a mouse, he’d decided it was time to chow down. And she was scared. She couldn’t remember ever being quite this scared. But she was also pissed. Pissed that she was about to die because she couldn’t resist a sale. Pissed that she didn’t have any freaky fighter mojo, so she could kick his ass at least a little. Pissed that her back hurt so much, she couldn’t even stand up straight. Instead, she was kinda half hunched over, which probably made her look like she was cowering before him, like so many of his other victims. It just wasn’t fricken fair!
When he grabbed her again, his body pushing hers into the car, and the chill of him seemed to sink into her. At that moment, a part of her wanted to start yelling and pleading, begging him not to kill her. But she refused to give him the satisfaction, to give him reason to gloat over how the weak little human had panicked there at the end.
Instead, she glared into his eyes, letting him see her anger, her repulsion. Hands balled into fists, she waited for his true face to emerge, waited to feel his razor-sharp fangs sink into her neck.
And that’s when he kissed her.
It was so not what she’d expected, her brain didn’t really get what was happening at first. Eyes wide and confused, she stared at nothing as her mind struggled to catch up. Even when his tongue pushed past her lips and into her mouth, stroking languorously against hers, she still didn’t really get it. Only when her lungs started to strain for air—because, in her shock, she’d stopped breathing—did her neurons start firing. That’s when she started fighting, fists beating ineffectually against his chest, trying to pull her mouth away from his, despite the hand fisted in her hair to hold her in place.
Suddenly, she felt a sharp, slicing pain in her bottom lip. Crying out in pain, Cordy struggled harder.
Angelus abruptly released her and took a step back.
For a long moment, Cordy was too stunned to do anything. Then she realized her bottom lip was throbbing. That something warm and salty-sweet was filling her mouth.
Hand shaking, Cordy reached up to touch her mouth. Pulling her hand away, she stared at it, entranced. Her fingers were wet, stained with blood that seemed almost black in the moonlight.
Eyes wide with horror, she looked up at the man—the thing—responsible. Angelus was watching her, smiling, his eyes filled with eagerness as he waited to see how she’d react to his ‘surprise’. The same wet blackness stained his lips, and she cringed when she saw him slowly lick it away.
“Mmmm,” he sighed, almost purred. “Not bad.”
And, suddenly, it was all too much. Emotions—fear, and anger, and even shame—swirling inside her like a hurricane, Cordelia swung as hard as she could. Her palm slammed into his cheek, whipping his head to the side. The sound of the slap echoed through the clearing like a gunshot. And was enough to snap Cordy out of her homicidal rage.
Holding her breath, she pressed back against the car. Nervously, she wiped her stinging palm against her skirt. And waited.
Hours seemed to pass before Angelus moved. When he finally turned to face her, she expected him to be in full vamp face, snarling ferociously. But he wasn’t. He still wore his human mask. And he was…smiling.
Reaching up, he massaged the cheek she’d slapped. “Not bad at all,” he said.
As the certainty of her imminent death drained away, so did most of her energy. Everything she’d gone through since she left the mall, all the tension and anxiety, hit her like a heavy wave. She imagined this was what it was like to crash from a really big high. Like you just wanted to lie down and sleep for days.
Leaning tiredly against the car, because her legs didn’t seem to want to hold her up anymore, she wiped at the blood trickling down her chin. “You are one sick son of a bitch.”
“So I’ve been told,” Angelus agreed. With a flourish, like he was performing some magic trick, he held up her car keys. “Here.”
Cordy didn’t even have the energy to wonder what he was playing at this time, to care that he might snatch them away as soon as she reached for him. Taking a deep, tired breath, she just took the keys out of his hand.
“Just one more thing,” Angelus said. Resting one hand against the roof of the car, he effectively hemmed her in. “I don’t think you should tell your friends about tonight. I mean, it was fine after last time. But, this time, I’m not in the mood to share.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Cordy said, staring down at the keys, at the blood drying on her hand. She was sure there was an unspoken threat in there somewhere, but decided to worry about it later. Right now, she just wanted to go home and rinse the blood, and the memory of that kiss, out of her mouth.
She barely flinched when he took her chin between his thumb and forefinger, lifted her head so he could look into her eyes. “Catch you later,” he promised. Then, releasing her, he simply turned and walked away, disappearing into the shadows.
Cordy just stood there for a long time. She couldn’t seem to feel anything. All the fear, all the anger, was just gone. Dispassionately, she wondered if she was in some kind of shock, then decided she probably was. She figured she’d have a marvelous break down eventually. But, for now, she just wanted to get out of here.
Slowly, she walked around the hood of the car. As she fell into the driver’s seat, she felt a twinge of panic, like a needle stabbing her in the heart. It was so strong, so overwhelming, she gasped out loud.
“No,” she said, ruthlessly pushing the panic back down. “Fall apart later. Drive now.”
With a determined nod, she started the car.
From the darkness, Angelus watched the sporty red car drive away.
That was…fun. Better than he thought it would be. In fact, everything was better than he’d thought it would be. The kiss. The taste of her blood. And she’d slapped him, which he hadn’t expected. Well, not really. He’d seen the desire to do it in her eyes, but he’d thought her fear would keep her from following through. But he was fast realizing it wasn’t smart to underestimate Cordelia Chase.
Smiling almost fondly, Angelus walked towards the main road. A part of him was reliving their encounter; replaying, in detail, the more pleasurable moments of the evening.
Another part of him was already thinking about the next time.
To Be Continued? What do the readers think?.