Part 12. CORDELIA
I was still frowning back at the hotel doors as I pushed my arm into the sleeve of my coat. Maybe I underestimated Sparky after all.
The idiot had licked me!?
I mean biting would be more his thing but licking? What a moron. With a grumble I made another swipe where his tongue had touched my skin, before walking to the car Angel was leaning against and nearly tripped over my own feet at the sight.
There in the light of dusk, Angel stood I arms crossed across his chest and his feet at the ankles as he watched me with hooded eyes. Who ever said this man needed more color sure as hell hadn’t seen the salty-goodness that he is when he’s in all black.
Dear god, full beam of Angel’s gaze and Cordelia Chase, queen of all things in-control drew one very unsteady breath before pasting the wide fake smile. I knew my face was going to hurt after this.
“Like whacha see broody boy?” I ventured with humor, hoping to cover the heat starting to simmer under my cheeks.
A single eyebrow arched; the rest of his body was held completely still. “Do you really want me to answer that?”
And nearly I stumbled again. If I didn’t know better that sounded like a come-on. “Okay. Who are you and what did you do with Sir Broodsalot?”
His mouth stretched into a slow smile. “I thought you said you were tired of the stuttering and the ice-princess treatment?”
Confused and somewhat thrown off by his teasing smile I came and stood in front of him. “And so you let your demon out to….”
Before I could finish my thought, Angel’s left arm had snaked out snagged around my waist and I was yanked roughly against the firm weight of his chest, the other hand firmly wrapped around my wrist almost bruising and I stared up into golden eyes.
“ANGEL!” Oh god, I was about to meet the Scourge of Europe after all.
When he leaned towards my neck I tried to angle my body enough to bring up my knee, but he didn’t bite. And I froze there when his nose brushed the skin where my jaw met my earlobe and it was as if my entire skeletal system turned to liquid.
The involuntary shiver couldn’t have been missed by the vampire as he inhaled deeply there. Yup, brain gone. Senses exploded with sensation and I was reduced to a monosyllable moan.
Then the growl built in his chest, vibrating into mine as it rose up out of his throat and echoed across my ear. “He’s dust.”
My eyes snapped open. And that’s when the cogs of my foggy mind connected and I made the connection.
The arms were gone as fast as they’d caught me and I staggered on the sidewalk my eyes wide as Angel stalked back towards the hotel. Oh shit!
“Angel wait!” Damn vampire speed, he was almost to the door before I caught his sleeve and yanked hard nearly going along with him before he whipped around, the fiery anger spilling out in a teeth-bared snarl.
“I’m going to fucking dust his ass.”
I knew that if I didn’t calm him down now, Spike was never going to make it back to SunnyHell to have that talk with the slayer girl and Angel would regret killing his stupidly shrewd childe. I took in his shaking fury.
Or maybe not. “Just please listen for a second…”
“HE TOUCHED YOU!” The possessive roar turned my knees to jelly and I tried to swallow the irrational fear that rose up my belly; until I realized the emotion behind his outburst.
Oh my god. Possession. Jealous rage and unadulterated desire.
I stared up into his demon yellow eyes and felt the rippling muscle under my hands as I held his arms, itching to tear his own childe to shreds.
All because the damned fool licked me.
And then he had the nerve to tell me that night in the garden that we weren’t in love?
I took a deeper breath to calm myself. “Angel he didn’t touch me. Okay maybe he did, but…”
His face leaned closer to me and I nearly squeaked as he glared into my eyes. “I can fucking smell him on you. The bastard overstepped his boundaries and now I’m going to kill him.”
“He only licked me.” The gold sparked with venom and I marveled at my stupidity for an instant before I grabbed him back as he tried to make a dive for my door.
“NO! Wait! That’s not how I mean!”
His arm snapped out of my grasp as he took a step back and growled with barely controlled anger. “Make up your damned mind Cordelia!”
“He did it on purpose!”
“You’re damned right he did it on purpose and I’m going dust the bastard!”
“After I rip out his intestines from his nose!”
“That’s exactly what he wants!”
“Before I stuff them up his asshole!” I yelped as he kicked a potted plant next to the steps and it hit the wall splintering into a million pieces. I stared as he towered over me the gold of his eyes licking the swelling bones of his gameface.
Would it be extremely sick of me to think he looked just yummy? “Slowly.”
Yummy but very scary. He was like this big angry dog and in my frenzied and half turned on state I did the first thing that came to my mind when dealing with big angry dogs.
I reached out and flicked my pointer finger across the tip of his nose.
He blinked with stunned outrage before the gold of his eyes dulled and he went deathly still. And that’s when I realized what I’d done.
Hey! It worked on rabid dogs didn’t it!
Being the focus of one VERY pissed on vampire is not pleasant. I decided I should have let him just dust Spike. Taking a step back I nearly tripped before I hit the cold pillar holding up the entrance to the hotel.
“Angel.” He stepped towards me, a subdued growl reverberating through the air and every hair on my body stood up on end as the electric tension took what little breath I had left in my panicked lungs.
“Angel calm down.” When his hands braced over my shoulders gripping the pillar with enough force to make the concrete creak, I stared up at him with wide fearful eyes.
“Angel he was trying to help me!”
The cold heat of his unneeded breath played across my mouth as he pinned me there with just the intensity of his narrowed demon eyes, the tips of his fangs glistening between his lips and his body hovering a calculated inch away from mine before he spoke in a grating sneer.
“How Cordy; by marking my territory?”
And I was supposed to answer much less form coherent thought while my brain had completely gone offline? But I knew he expected a response and gathered a speck of my sense and tried my best to think carefully of what to say to my very irate vampire.
“Angel, he only licked me to piss you off.”
“Well it worked.” And I nearly lost my voice again. His eyes flickered down to my lips as breath rushed out of them in soft fretful puffs of air.
When I opened my mouth to answer his tongue darted out and I sucked in a quaking breath as it made one smooth pass across his lower lip before disappearing back into the recesses of his mouth.
“Give me one good reason Cordelia, why I shouldn’t just twist his fucking head off?”
I swallowed watching the low sweep of his eyelashes as he continued to watch the quiver of my lips. Oh god, he really did something to my stuttering vampire boss. This sexy over assertive manpire was nothing like the Angel I’d come to know in what little time I remembered.
“Because he knew you’d react this way,” I blurted out. The lashes lifted and his eyes met the skittish depths of mine. With more strength in me now that he wasn’t looking at my mouth anymore, I could form better words.
“He…he seems to be convinced that you want me but are too…um… afraid to take the initiative. Which is silly right? I mean you don’t secretly harbor unrequited love and the whole last Champagne glass argument?”
A muscle worked in his jaw and for an instant I held my breath before he pulled away slightly, enough to give me breathing room.
“Unrequited love is a bitch.”
I gawked up at him. “So you…”
Shoving himself away from the pillar and the tense cocoon of heat surrounding us, he ran a hand through his hair. The glowering ridges of the vampire face melted away to leave the angular lines of his smooth human features.
“You didn’t remember anything. When the others suggested we handle you delicately due to the obvious confusing if not terrifying reality of what and who you worked for; I sent myself.”
And suddenly the pieces started to fall into place.
“You…” I couldn’t believe what he was suggesting. “You were going to send me away! To be normal; weren’t you!” He had. He’d done exactly that.
“You were going to LET me believe that I could walk away from all this without a look back because there was nothing of importance that I was leaving behind; weren’t you.”
Turning back to me, I saw the defeated irony behind his soft brown eyes. “I wanted to give you a choice.”
“A choice!” I snapped now angrier than Angel had been at the prospect of finding out Spike and been getting friendly with me.
“YOU made me believe you didn’t care about me like that! I was going out of my mind with all the mixed signals and confused mumbling.”
His gaze darkened into a glare at my accusation. “You think I was prepared to confront my own inability to protect you much less realize that you were more important to me than anything else in my life?”
“You stupid, conceited self-sacrificing DOOF! What about my feelings!”
“You didn’t remember anything!”
“My brain couldn’t process the freaking signals my heart was sending me and you LET me believe you DIDN’T love me!”
“I was trying to help you!”
“By lying to me?!!”
“I didn’t lie to you.” He frowned slightly caught off guard by my burst of incensed accusations.
“Big Pinocchio nose Jim Carey, lie! You never said you loved me!”
“Because I hadn’t told you yet before I woke up in a metal box a few hundred feet under the ocean Cordelia!”
We pivoted to see Wesley, Gunn, Fred, Faith, Willow and a smug Spike standing in the now open front door of the hotel.
“Problems?” Wesley raised a concerned eyebrow as he took in the red fury on my face and the frustrated scowl on Angel’s face while we stood facing off like two lions in a cage.
I was almost shaking with anger and the demon was still simmering under Angel’s skin.
I stamped my foot. “I lost my memory and he KEPT things from me!”
Angel rolled his eyes and let out a controlled breath. “I did it to protect you Cordy.”
“Sounds like self-flagellation to me.”
He stared at me with incredulous irritation. “You think this was about me!”
“Everything’s about YOU Angel. YOU YOU YOU!” My voice dropped into a nasal imitation of my annoyingly angsting boss. “Oh look at me I’m Angel, king of brood and the angst fairy of self-loathing land! Woe is me! Moan moan, whine whine and then whine some more about the bitch of atonement that is me!”
I shoved him hard enough to throw him back a few paces as I tried to turn him into Angel dust with just the fire in my eyes. A few snickers behind us went unnoticed as I retorted,
“SELF-flagellation!” I stuck my finger into his chest watching the shock and amusement chase each other across his face.
Behind me Spike let out a snicker. “Bravo Vix. I’d say you hit the nail on the head.”
“Shut up Spike!” Angel snarled at his childe.
Blue eyes smirked up his sire. “Excellent deductions on her part if you ask me mate. I’d say the chit deserves a kiss.”
Brown eyes flickered with gold. “If you touch her spike. I’ll kill you.”
“He can touch me! I say so!” I pointed to myself standing between him and Spike as Angel took a step forward in his direction.
But Angel’s eyes were fixed on his cocky childe and Willow fidgeted next to Spike. “Um…Spike…”
“Don’t you dare William.” The threat hung potent in the air as Angel’s darkened.
Spike shrugged grinning at my infuriated snort at Angel’s possessive tone. “She wants to be kissed poofy.”
“Yes I do.”
Wesley’s eyes flickered between us nervously. “Angel…”
“I mean it Spike; you’ve already tested my patience.”
“I’M HERE TOO! HE CAN KISS ME!”
“Come on `Gellus, she wants it.”
Willow stared wide-eyes at Spike holding his arm and trying to pull him away as Angel’s fists clenched tighter by his sides.
“I don’t fucking care! If you touch her I’ll rip out your insides, I swear!”
“I WANT HIM TO YOU PIGHEADED JERK!”
Behind me I heard Spike shift slightly and then I was devoured by Angel’s mouth.
There are at least ten things you never do with a co-worker even if you’re hung upside down over a vat of boiling acid.
Kissing him is about eight of them.
Further rules apply if the co-worker happens to be a vampire. A very tasty vampire.
This time I had no choice. I didn’t want to kiss him, I had to. Angel wouldn’t have listened to reason and in my current state of mind I doubt I could have formed reason without stuttering inconvincibly.
And you know something?
I like to think of myself as an independent woman.
Maker of my own destiny.
A grown woman.
I made my own choices.
Sigh. Sometimes I wonder if I should just stop trying to be so damned smart.
I know he probably expected me to resist and being the independent woman that I am I didn’t want him to think I was predictable. So I chose to surprise him. The kiss; it was mutual and it was one hell of a kiss.
It wasn’t a soft little peck.
Not a deft little brush of skin against skin, not a little tease or a smidge or a whisper or a hint of a kiss either or with any regard to an audience.
Nice tonsils, Angel.
It started out slow and demanding, got a little warmer, became very hot, then wet and finally deep enough to make me forget my name, where I was, what I was doing, where we’d been, who we were and when this would end. If at all it would.
Not I would mind if it didn’t.
‘A man and woman found dead due to lack of oxygen, one slightly livelier than the other’. Nice headline wouldn’t you agree?
When it did end I was out of breath and more than a little dizzy. I could see my own haziness in his misty brown eyes. I think I took him by surprise after all.
One of his hands was tangled in my hair and the other on my back pinning me against him. Then I watched the lazy smile spread across his beautiful mouth and I realized what he’d done.
“I think it’s about time.”
Raising an eyebrow at his implication I pulled back enough to get a good look into his face.
“I think I should stake my claim before someone else tries to take you away from me Princess.”
The endearment made my breath hitch in my chest and I squeaked in a very unladylike way.
His mouth spread into a leer that would have shamed his demon and the blood drained from my body. Okay bad paradox, but suddenly I felt like the floor had been yanked out from under me. He couldn’t mean…
“So?” His fingers tightened on my skin. “Your bed or mine?” He purred in a husky whisper.
PTB…if you can hear me now…thank you!