Cordelia and her mother climbed the stairs to Connor’s room, Alara watching Cordelia carefully. In a rare tender moment, Alara reached out and touched her daughter’s arm, “You’re happy, aren’t you?” She asked, gently.
Nodding, the brunette met her mother’s eyes, “I am.” Said Cordelia, smiling. She was. Truly happy. She had Angel, her friends, Connor – everything she wanted.
Alara faltered, making Cordelia look up, “What about what?”
Her face fell into a frown. Tender moment over with, Cordelia shook her head, “Money’s not everything, Mom.” She said quietly. “It’s not like I need it.”
“But he provides for you?”
“Who, Angel? Mom, we haven’t even admitted we like each other yet.”
“But you know he likes you and he knows you like him?”
“Yeah…” Said Cordelia gently, “We were plotting your demise up here…” She teased, “Trying to get rid of you.”
“We heard.” Said Alara, making Cordelia gasp. They’d HEARD? She’d been plotting their deaths and everything!
“Oh…” Cordelia blushed, shaking her head, “I didn’t mean that…”
“I’m kidding, honey. You’re so strung up sometimes, lighten up!”
Creeping inside Connor’s room, Cordelia pressed a finger to her lips, “Sshhh, he’s asleep.” She said softly. The two women tiptoed to the cot where Connor lay, his eyes pressing lightly on his cheeks, a finger stuffed in his mouth, the other clutching a stuffed penguin.
“He’s so cute.” Said Alara, watching as her daughter preened, slightly. She was definitely proud of her son. “Cordelia, what did Angel mean, you and he didn’t…”
“We didn’t.” Cordelia watched Connor, her finger trailing lightly down his soft cheek. “Connor’s mine in every way but one. Biologically. I still feel it though, that bond with him. He calls me Mom, and it feels like he’s mine. He’s the closest I’ll ever get.”
“Why?” Alara was puzzled, her daughter (minus the bad dress sense) was in every sense of the word, beautiful.
“Because I love Angel.” Said Cordelia softly, “And Connor is like the equivalent to the Golden Child or something. Angel can’t… Or shouldn’t have been able to have kids… Connor’s a miracle.”
Alara smiled, gently, “Yeah, your miracle.”
Downstairs, a completely paranoid Angel had moved the baby monitor to the office, should anything happen and he’d heard everything…
Aaron frowned, having heard everything too, and glanced at Angel, “Perhaps it’s time we went through some things… I have certain rules when it comes to my daughter.”
Cordelia and her Mom sat at the top of the stairs, staring down into the lobby of the Hyperion, “So, you’re happy?” Asked Alara, for about the seventh time.
“Yes,” Replied Cordelia, “I’m happy. Really happy.”
“Good… Now you’ve just got to wait for Angel to pass your father’s test…”
Cordelia raised an eyebrow, “Test?”
“Oh, sweetie, don’t tell me you forget the RULES!”
“Rule number four, You do not TOUCH my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off my daughter’s body, I will remove them.”
Angel sat there, looking agape at Mr. Chase. They’d been through four of his rules and already three of them had included a shot gun, a shovel and a grave. Okay, so this *shouldn’t* scare him but… Well, it did.
“Rule number five,” He continued, “I’m aware that fashions have changed since my day, even for a vampire. Right now, the current trend is for boys of your age…”
Angel raised his eyebrow, Boys? He was beginning to wonder which planet Mr. Chase actually came from…
“…To wear their trousers so loosely they appear to be falling off their hips. I am prepared to compromise. You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, in order to ensure that your clothes do NOT come off during your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely to your waist.”
Angel shook his head, staring agape at a man who, in years to come, COULD be his father-in-law.
“Number six. I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilising a ‘barrier method’ of some kind can kill you. Let me make this simpler. When it comes to sex with my daughter, I am the barrier and I will kill you.”
So, moving swiftly on then? Thought Angel, his mouth hanging open…
“Next rule. I have no doubt you are a popular young man, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.”
He felt like he’d walked into the Mafia and Cordelia’s father was the one holding the gun… Not that a gun could kill him…
“Eight, do not lie to me. I may appear to be a pot-bellied, balding, middle-aged, dim-witted-has-been. But! On issues that involve my ONLY child, I am the all-knowing, all-seeing, merciless God of the universe. If I ask where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel and nine acres behind the house, do not trifle with me.”
Okay, so NOW it was time to intervene, “Mr. Chase, Cordelia and I…”
“If ever you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful like changing the oil in my car?”
“Mr. Chase!” Said Angel, frowning, “If you’d just listen for…”
“Son, I have one more rule… Be afraid. Be *very* afraid. I can spot a lie a mile off, it takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper. When my inner possessiveness begins acting up, voices in my head tell me it’s time to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. When you pull into the driveway, you should exit the car with both hands in sight…”
“DADDY!” The shrill voice of his daughter at the door to the office made Angel’s spirits lighten for the vampire knew that on the wall hung many, many items of weaponry that truly were detrimental to his health and wouldn’t just hurt beyond belief.
Aaron’s gaze shot guiltily up to his daughter, “Yes, sweetie?” He asked, meekly.
“Don’t yes sweetie me!” Said the brunette, “I’m 20 years old! You’re still treating me like I’m 15!”
“I was just…”
“Just what?” Asked Cordelia, her voice dangerously low… “I’m 20 years old… Not a child – and for your information, Angel has already had his hands on me!”
Angel gulped, stepping behind Cordelia as Aaron’s eyes narrowed…
“Cordy, maybe that wasn’t the best thing to…”
“He’s… Touched… You…” Asked Aaron, pronouncing each and every word…
Angel gulped… Again…