Title: Thirty-Second Rule
Summary: A very distressed Angel asks for an unlikely favor.
Spoilers: First season, but its been a while… lets say a month or so after Cordy got the visions and be safe.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: By all means just tell me where? GTCA, Stranger Things, AO is a given.
Notes: I know I’ve been away and I feel bad and so I thought I’d give you something to stop and think before you send me hate mail for delaying ‘Demony Things’. Loves you! Enjoy!
Feedback:Like breathing air..
My champion is an ingrate. He’d been an ingrate from the moment he’d been souled. And I’m a bigger ingrate for suggesting my current dilemma. Me and my big fat mouth.
First I’d been pissed off at his obvious need to wear tight pants to office. You know the kind that hug the curve of his ass just right. I didn’t have a problem, but the crowd of women in our office was distracting and getting in my way. I swear.
And truth be told, I’d just commented that since he liked showing off so much maybe he should go into the biz. I mean it was a joke. Ha ha. Funny and ‘you’re kidding’ type. Not that Angel’s ever done anything remotely unpredictable.
The man defines the word ‘predictable’. .
So lo and behold, I’m standing at the front door to the apartment after the humiliation of today. How the hell was I supposed to know the woman hiding around in our office wasn’t another groupie from his studly commercial fan club, but a date?
It’s not like he dates often. The man hasn’t had a date in years. Not since I’ve worked with him anyway.
He doesn’t date.
I had just mentioned the dating fact to her. I didn’t throw the first punch. She tried to kick me. Now the entire office had a betting pool of when I’d put my mark on him. As if I really wanted. Him. Jealous!?
Moi? I think not.
Putting my hand on the doorframe I blocked his way inside. Effectively putting a stop to his usual uninvited entrance. As always. “I don’t care what the harpy said to you.”
He did look a little ragged though. Maybe she really had been hard on him after the purple bruise. I didn’t mean to hit her. My fist just sorta fell and my feet tripped. Hey it could happen.
With his hands jammed into his pockets and his head drooping uncharacteristically he examined my welcome mat. The one with the big black foot. And that was when I frowned. His eyes were not on me?
Hello, was I NOT wearing the skimpiest little tank top that I slept in? Not that I knew he’d come over or anything. First date and all.
Chocolate eyes lifted, confused and unfortunately for me, puppy-eyed. “Well, I guess then I should go.”
Just like that, I was grabbing his sleeve and pulling him into the apartment. “Oh god the bitch!” I gently lead him to the couch as the front door was kicked shut. “Sit down let me get you some coffee.” His hand caught my wrist and again I met the eyes.
Oh god, not those. Please, I was already ready to skin the woman toes to scalp, what more did he want? Dismemberment?
“Okay now you’re scaring me. What did she say to you?” I sat down beside him, my wrist in his grasp. And for once I didn’t fight him as he traced lazy patters on the sensitive skin with this thumbs. Unconsciously I’m sure.
“She said I didn’t know how to kiss.”
I blinked in surprise. “Pardon me?”
Those eyes lifted again and instantly I suppressed the urge to coddle him. Dammit woman! Calm the hell down. Not ever helpless man has to be soothed with hugs. What the hell was wrong with me? He’d spoken but I’d been too busy berating myself.
“As if there really is something like that.”
He frowned at me oddly. “The thirty second rule?”
And again I’d lost part of the conversation. “Huh?”
“Tongue. Thirty seconds. The kissing?”
An eyebrow shot up. “You kissed her for more than thirty seconds with tongue?!” I couldn’t believe it! First date and already he was playing tonsil hockey! Oh my god, thirty-second rule be damned! It was too progressive even for my democratic vote.
At my incredulous question he winced. “There is a thirty second rule? No way!”
“How come I’ve never heard of it?”
“I don’t know.” I waved an indifferent hand and glared. “What did she do? What did you do?”
Leaning back in my couch with a huff he threw up his hands. “Bah! I don’t know. The evening was going well. We were bonding over the white wine when suddenly I kissed her hand and she was all like ‘oh that’s so cute’. I thought she liked it.”
His eyes narrowed with puzzlement before shrugging and continuing. “Anyway, we had dinner, I took her for a walk and she held my hand. That’s something right. So when I put my arm around her and kissed her temple she was just as responsive. All snuggling closer and everything.”
He rolled his eyes.
“Chummy aren’t you?”
“She wasn’t exactly struggling.”
“I drove her home. The evening had gone well. We’d talked and I couldn’t deny that I wanted to kiss her. Model date. Great rapport and everything. So when I swoop for the kill, she dodges. So I thought maybe she didn’t really want it on the first date. And you know I’m cool with that, I had to try right? And then when I said goodbye she looked disappointed.”
He threw up his hands in frustration.
“So you went home?”
“No.” He crossed his arms huffily and glared at my silent television. “I don’t much like to leave my dates disappointed so I eased in. It was just a little aggressive, but I’m sexy like that. Hell I have the women out there chasing after me because I’m a gorgeous jungle cat.”
He glared at me, brown eyes morphing from puppy to angry Doberman. “You want me to tell this or not?”
“Can you not lie?”
He grinned. “No jungle cat vibes?”
“You’re bordering on puppy. Now tell me what she did.”
“You’re awfully interested.”
“I’m a good friend. Get to the stuff.”
I could see the tug at the corner of his mouth, but he held it back before continuing. “I kissed her nice and easy. Nothing too major. And he she kissed me back. And then one thing led to another and suddenly I was being pushed away and before I knew it I was being berated for not knowing the proper technique! I’ve never had any complaints before. I mean who the hell only kisses with tongue for thirty seconds?”
“Nice boys are boring as bricks.”
I frowned following his train of thought for the first time. “She didn’t like it?”
“Can you believe that?”
For a moment I wanted to tell him yes, but I’ve been kissed on previous occasions. Once when we thought we were going to die and I’d allowed him to smooch me. And that was only because it was a visions-be-gone exercise. But even if I’d never admit it, the kiss was good.
He was good. He had been good. For all of the thirty seconds the kiss had lasted. I was still lost in thought when he spoke. “Sorry?”
“I said why don’t you tell me?”
“Tell you what?”
He groaned and stood up. “Dammit Cordy, are you even listening to me?”
“Of course I am!” I pretended to be offended. “You’re my friend. I hate that girl for making you feel this way.”
And again I was staring up at him in shock and mystification. He couldn’t mean. “What?”
He looked downright desperate and pleading. “Make sure. What if she’s right?”
My mouth dropped open. “Oh my god!” Jumping to my feet I glowered at him. “You planned this didn’t you?”
He looked honestly taken aback. “What? NO! Christ Cordelia, if I want kisses from you I take them.”
I opened and closed my mouth several times before I realized he was right. He could just take kisses from me against my will. He didn’t have to resort to ego bashing to do it.
I peered at him calculatingly and saw nothing but upset doubt. “Okay so how do I help you?”
“Let me lead you through my kisses. Tell me what’s wrong with them and help me fix them. You don’t much find me attractive that way; so you can be objective.”
I winced at the begging tinge in his voice. There was none of his confidence. The barracuda must really had given it to him and bruised the man. Bitch. With a lamenting sigh, I ran a hand through my hair.
“Fine. Let’s do this so I can go back to bed.”
“Give me your hand?”
Rolling his eyes, he grabbed my hand. “Just try to be objective okay?” I let out a plaintive sigh and then it caught in my throat as his eyes changed.
Suddenly the puppy died and went to hell. Staring back at me was Satan himself and he wanted me to go down into the fires of hell. Willingly. I reconsidered my agreement as he slowly bent down, molted chocolate eyes fixed on mine; his lips brushed my knuckles – once.
Gently. A whisper of a breath that injected ice in my veins and I swallowed the tremble, my hand tightening on his to keep from shaking.
Licking my dry lips I cleared my throat. “Well, that was. Not bad. I didn’t feel like slapping you so that’s good I think.”
He let out a relieved breath as if I’d given him a medal. “Good. Okay. Comere.”
I yelped softly as he tugged me close, wrapping one arm around my shoulders. I instantly turned to stone as I was snuggled under his arm. The smell of his expensive cologne invaded my senses and I had to physically keep myself from sniffing him.
It was a wonder he came back in one piece. The woman must have defective olfactory parts. He sighed as if defeated and I lifted my head to look at him.
“Can you look like I’m not about to stake you Cordy?”
I tried to relax. Honestly I did. It’s just I was afraid If I relaxed too much I might jump him. Taking a calming breath, I willed my muscles to loosen until I was tucked under his arm comfortably.
“Better. Okay so we’ve been walking like this for a while.”
And I won’t deny that the sound of his voice against my ear did things. Forget kissing. This was just fine with me. Keep talking. There was a distinct rumble in his chest. It was almost like he was purring.
And then I felt it, the slightest pressure on my shoulder pulling me firmly into him and then I felt the soft press of his lips against my temple. .
The firm press that spoke of more than just want. It spoke of respect. It felt like a song. The warm breath that had been a foreboding soaked into my skin and involuntarily my head tilted, my nose moving down to slide against the firm curve of his neck and before I knew it I’d been turned in his arms, my forehead resting against his mouth, arms wrapped around his back, his looped around my waist.
And I just stood there.
The bitch must have had no sensory receptors either. Because this just felt too good.
It was then I realized I was still standing in the circle of his arms, my eyes closed, and he’d been looking down at me anxiously.
Looking at the question in his eyes, I suddenly pulled away, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “Ah, not bad. That was certainly…”
And I had to struggle to find the word. “Intimate.”
I shook my head, rubbing my arm consciously. “No. It was perfect – I mean fine. It was fine.” Almost dreading what was coming I gave him a smile that was hopefully both brave and encouraging. “Nothing to hate you for yet.”
If he only knew.
His mouth widened into a happy and inanely inviting smile. “Really?”
He sounded like a little boy given his first soccer trophy. It was so endearing I couldn’t help smile back. “Really.”
“Great. Then this should be easier.” He took a step closer and I lost my smile. “Now this is what the kiss would have been like if she hadn’t dodged. I’m going to give a variation of several and you tell me what works best.”
For a second I wondered what the hell he was up to, but then my mind was still wrapped around the ‘several’ part. Several? As in more than one.
At the first touch of his hands on mine, I jumped and he grinned at me. Almost like a tiger at his prey. “Relax will you? You’re not exactly invoking a lot of confidence in me.”
Flicking my ponytail behind my shoulder I tilted my head back, as if bracing myself. Prepared to be unaffected. I could do this. How bad could it be?
Bad. Right. “Okay. I’m ready.”
Brown eyes flickered with amusement. “You have to close your eyes.”
Blowing the front bangs off my forehead, I let my eyes drop closed and felt him take a step closer. And then I waited. And waited some more. When nothing happened, I frowned. What the hell was taking so long?
I was about to open my eyes when I felt the warm breath caress my mouth. Almost like answering some unspoken request, my lips parted slightly. The breath rushed in, swallowing the distinct smell and taste of Thai spices and something that I instinctively knew was intrinsically Angel.
He touched me nowhere else. Just held my hands in his, his breath mingling with me. And I had to physically clamp the urge to lean over and find his mouth. Then I felt it. Like mist and warm rain. How can a man’s mouth be so soft? The distinctive line of his upper lip seemed to press against my bottom and cling.
Lips brushed, pressed not nearly enough and withdrew. .
I have to tell you, my lower lip knew better. It clung to him almost painfully until he touched the tip of his tongue to the point where it wouldn’t let go. And when they separated I have to tell you, I nearly cried out in protest, my hands tightening on his.
The shock of the separation snapped my eyes open and I stared up at him in awe.
Dammit. That was nothing like the kiss he’d given me. The distinct haze in his eyes hadn’t been there. What the hell was going on?
And just like that he was grinning again, all remnants of the kiss gone from his eyes. “Verdict?”
I licked my lips almost like I was revisiting the taste of his tongue on my bottom lip. “Not bad. Ten points for the first kiss.”
My surprised reaction to his seemingly innocent kiss gave my voice enough strength to sound objective when every nerve in my body was standing on end as if he’d stuck a livewire into my mouth.
He let out a jubilant laugh and dropped a hard, happy kiss on my forehead. “So you think she might have foregone the thirty-second rule after a first kiss like that?”
The idea of anyone giving into a kiss like that was ludicrous. He shouldn’t kiss anyone like that dammit. First date or not. “Maybe.”
“Okay. Let’s make sure then.”
This time he didn’t give me time to prepare and I still reeled from that brush of lips so I couldn’t comprehend what had happened until it had.
I’d been standing a few feet away from him and then the next moment I was crushed in his arms, the expanse of his embrace wrapping around me so suddenly and so completely, my head jerked back to let my eyes meet his and widened as his mouth was buried against mine.
And I do mean buried.
Lips had met lips before, but never like this. Because his mouth pressed and fit between the curves of my lips and they parted without so much as a protest. With my hands on his arms, my eyes staring at the closed lids of his, I was swallowed.
Swallowed until my eyes rolled back in my head and I melted against him with a muffled whimper. The surrender was taken with the parting of his upper lip from mine and the wet satin of his tongue slid past my welcoming lips and I was gone.
Mind blown, shot to hell and completely turned into a jelly puddle, I blithely hung onto him for dear life as his head tilted and he sucked the life right out of me. With half groan, half curse, my hands slid up from his arms and into the silk of his hair, my mouth parting wider, tongue coiling around his hungrily and lips pressing firmer to reach the confines of his mouth.
And he might have wanted me to examine his technique, but it was my tongue sliding along the sharp edges of his teeth, across the soft bed of his mouth and up to flick against the roof of his mouth.
The taste was hot and it was addictive. Breath forgotten, fingers fisting in his hair, I suckled, licked and kissed him with enough hunger that when he trembled in my arms, I was delighted beyond belief.
My teeth raked gently over his tongue as it slid back into his own mouth, my own chasing after it greedily and it was the bite of my teeth on his lower lip that had him pulling away with a sucked in breath that was more out of surprise than necessity.
And I went chasing right back after his mouth for another series of hungry, unadulterated and insistent kisses.
When the fire in my belly had been stroked enough, I don’t remember pulling away, because when the haze cleared, we were both breathing hard, his chin resting against my temple, the tremors shared between our bodies as he clung together.
Needing to support each other. Support so neither of us would collapse into a silly heap.
Swallowing the lump in my throat and the weird ache in my chest, I lifted my head away agonizingly, the movement too painful to be fast. But I didn’t meet his eyes as I pushed with what little energy I had and stepped out of the circle of his arms.
Judging by the instinctive tightening before his arms released me I figured he hadn’t really wanted to comply.
When I had enough strength I met the shocked brown of his eyes that was nearly black as sin. “I think that should answer your question.”
“She would have kissed you past thirty seconds.”
I could see him swallow, his hand running through unruly hair my fingers had just moments been roaming through. “Uh…yeah.”
“Congratulation Angel. You’ve graduated from Kissing school.”
It makes a woman proud to have a man react that way to being kissed. I could see why the woman’s reaction had rattled him.
I suddenly felt like he’d given me the world as he suppressed the shudder and tried to shake his head to clear it. “Thanks,” he muttered softly.
For once he wasn’t smirking so I took the opportunity to smirk for him. “Although in my opinion that wasn’t a first date kiss.”
He blinked at me. “No?”
My smile was wicked. “It was a Angel-Cordy kiss. Patented.”
His gaze dropped to my mouth with a touch of thirst. “I want reenrollment.”
I pretended to ponder that. “There are some forms that might need filling.”
“Damn the forms.” Then I was dragged against his chest with a shriek. “Let me into the next grade then.”
And he was right.
When he was aggressive he was sexy.
And we both broke the thirty-second rule.