Cordelia backed up until she hit a chair and then slumped down into it. Angel kneeled in front of her in obvious worry.
“Cordelia? What is it?”
Her mind was racing, this just couldn’t be, her dream guy couldn’t be Angel, he was Buffy’s and besides that he was officially a “no bone” considering the whole going homicidal thing. She took a deep breath and kept repeating in her head,
“it’s not Angel, it’s not Angel. I’ve just been thinking about this dream way too much and the first hunky shadowy figure I see of course I’d flash back, doesn’t mean that’s my dream man.” That made her feel better whether she fully believed it or not.
“I’m fine, just haven’t been feeling well lately.”
“Are you sure you’re ok?” He looked truly worried.
Cordelia smiled up at him.
“Yeah, of course.”
“Do you want some water or something?”
“No, I’m fine, really.”
“You don’t look fine, you just went really pale.”
Cordelia had to laugh at the Vampire, in desperate need of a suntan, saying she looked pale.
“What’s so funny? “
“Nothing.” She regained her composure and stood up. “Angel, thanks.”
“Caring.” She gave him a genuine smile, which he couldn’t help but return. “You know you should really do that more often, you know, smile.”
“I’ll work on it. You look better, the color’s returning.”
“See told you I was fine, just haven’t been feeling well.”
“You said that already.”
“Yeah just making sure the point got across.”
“Well if you aren’t feeling well, then shouldn’t you be at home, getting some rest?” She stared hard at him, thinking of her dream.
“Umm, no rest is the last thing I need, trust me.”
He looked confused by her statement. He didn’t know much about medical things, but getting rest is one thing he was sure the human body needed when feeling ill. Wasn’t it?
“Why do you say…”
“Angel, Cordelia hey!” The slayer came up behind the two putting a possessive hand on Angel’s shoulder. Xander followed behind Buffy and wrapped his arm around Cordelia.
“So what were you two crazy kids talking about?” Xander asked, he tried not to come off as being jealous, though he’d seen the way she was smiling at the vampire.
“Nothing, just waiting for you guys.”
“Ah, well I’m here now so the party can now begin.” Xander gave Cordelia a quick kiss.
“Care to dance?”
“Yeah, why not.” Xander lead her to the dance floor and Angel stared after her.
“Angel…Angel…” Buffy waved her hand in front of his face trying to get his attention.
“What’s going on with you, you look deep in thought, like more so than usual.”
“No, not really.”
“So what were you and Cordelia talking about?” She couldn’t help the bit of jealousy that creeped up insde of her. He had never laughed with her that way.
“Nothing, like she said, we were just passing the time waiting for you two.”
“Sorry, you had to put up with her, if I had known you’d be stuck here alone with the spawn of Satan, I’d have shown up sooner.”
“Buffy, she’s not really that bad.”
“You’ve obviously haven’t had to hang around her for prolonged periods of time.”
“Buffy, that’s enough ok.”
“Touchy, touchy. It’s just Cordelia.” Buffy was starting to get confused by Angel’s defensiveness when it came to Cordelia and the jealousy was becoming stronger than before.
“Even so, she’s still a person.”
“Buffy…” He gave her a warning look. He didn’t like hearing negative things being said about Cordelia.
There was something deeper to the brunette, a side of herself that few got to see and he was determined to get to know that side better.
“Sorry, let’s drop the subject.”
“Sounds good.” He was glad that he didn’t have to argue with Buffy anymore.
“You wanna dance?”
Angel raised an eyebrow he hated to dance.
Cordelia sat back as she listened to the Slayer go on and on about some kind of fight she had had that evening. Everyone seemed so riveted to her heroic tale and not even Xander had acknowledged that she was even there for the past 20 minutes. She felt so alone.
What was she thinking even being there in the first place, it always started out the same. First they would be nice or at least tolerant of her,
Xander would show his affection in one way or another, then they would forget she was even in the room until she made some snarky or bitchy comment to which they would all roll there eyes at then go back to ignoring her again.
This night was no exception. “Why do I even bother?” she thought to herself as she got up and slipped out of the Bronze, the Scooby gang was none the wiser.
She exited the club through the back alley and took a deep breath as she entered the night.
She was trying to hold back some tears that were threatening to escape. Why did she even put herself through that, especially when she knew it always ended the same? Did she get some form of delight in torturing herself? She wrapped her coat around her and started to walk when a hand came on her shoulder causing her to jump in fright.
She was about to scream until she heard a familiar voice.
“Cordelia, it’s just me.”
“God, Angel, you really need to make more noise when you sneak up on a person.”
“But then it really wouldn’t be sneaking up on someone now would it?”
“Still…so what are you doing here anyway? Shouldn’t you be inside drooling over the slayer?”
“Not like they even notice I’m gone.”
“Join the club.”
“There’s a club for outcasts from the outcasts?”
“Apparently so, and I’m the president, you can be vice president if you like.”
“That’s very generous of you.”
“I thought so.”
“Cordelia, why do you put up with him?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you love him?”
“I’m not sure.”
“How do you not know if you love someone?”
“Do you love Buffy?”
“Same with Xander and I.”
“So you went all evil and killed a bunch of people, terrorized your friends, tried to kill the person you are supposed to love until that person sent you to hell to stop an apocalypse that you yourself started?”
“Ok we have a winner in the most complicated love category.”
“You still haven’t really answered my question.”
“Why do I put up with Xander?”
“That would be the one.”
“He can be sweet and nice. Then there is the whole dorky cute thing he’s got, and I don’t know. If you had asked me a couple of months ago…it was so different then. We were happy, for the most part, now it’s changed. He’s distant and I’m not even sure he wants to be around me half the time and I know the rest of the Slayer’s gang doesn’t.”
“Then why stick around?”
“Where else am I gonna go? I gave up pretty much my entire social standing at Sunnydale High for Xander and there is no going back now.” There was a slight pause. “Angel?”
“You ever get the feeling that nobody cares? That you could discover the cure for fucking cancer and everyone would be like ‘yeah but can you cure AIDS?’ That’s my life in a nutshell nothing is ever good enough. When do I get to find that one person that will listen to me and be proud of me when I do something good? When?” She looked up at him hoping he’d have an answer.
He felt sorry for the girl beside him. A girl who just last year he had written off as nothing but a spoiled brat, but there was something deeper to her. “You know, if you ever need anything I’m around. If you need someone to lend an ear or…”
“God I hope you mean figuratively.” The grossed out expression caused Angel to laugh.
“Of course I mean figuratively, you’ve been on the hellmouth way too long.”
“Yeah, tell me about it. I can’t wait till I graduate.”
“‘Cause I’ll be out of the hellmouth for good. I’m going to LA and become a famous actress. I know there is more for me then research and demon goo.”
“You know what I think? you’re right, I’m sure you’ll make a great actress.”
“You are the first person to really support me on my dream. Thank you.”
“How come you’re not like this with the rest of them?”
“Well, no offence, but you act like such a bitch sometimes towards them and maybe that might be why they don’t want to be around you as much. Why can’t you open up to them like you are doing with me?”
“I don’t know, I don’t let my guard down to often, it tends to lead to my getting hurt. I don’t like getting hurt. With you, it’s different somehow. I feel I can talk to you and maybe even truly be myself around you. I wonder why that is?”
“I’m glad that you can talk to me and I meant what I said, I’m around whenever you need me. You know where I live.”
“That I do and you know if you need to talk or whatever you can always drop by.”
“Is that an invitation?”
“Yeah it is, as long as you have a soul you are welcome into my home.”
“Thank you. Speaking of which, we’re here.”
“Home sweet home.” She said sarcastically.
“Doesn’t even look like anyone’s here.”
“Oh they aren’t, just like Buffy, Xander and the rest of them, my parents don’t like to be around me more than they have to be as well.”
“I’m used to it, sometimes its better that way.”
“Don’t be, I’m fine. So I guess I’ll see you later?”
“Definitely.” They looked at each other for a long and intense moment before breaking the gaze. They laughed nervously.
“Guess this is goodnight.”
“Goodnight Cordelia.” Angel gave a quick wave and walked off into the night.
Cordelia went in her house and up to her room to get ready for bed. She then crawled under her covers with a smile on her face and drifted off to sleep.
Cordelia was bathed in a white light. She heard two footsteps and instantly turned around.
“I was hoping you’d show.”
“Where else would I be?”
“I know who you are now, you don’t have to hide.” A hand reached for hers and traced circles on her palm.
“You think you know, do you?”
“Of course, I’m very perceptive you know.”
He pulled her closer to him, kissing her neck, then her lips. Her mouth parted allowing him easy access into the warm depths of her mouth. He removed his mouth from hers causing her to gasp at the loss. He quickly moved to her ear.
“You may not be as perceptive as you think” He whispered.
Cordelia jolted up in her bed and hugged her knees close to her and laying her head atop of them.
“It’s not Angel?” She choked out as sobs started to rack her body. She stayed that way for a few hours just thinking about everything that had happened. Why had she let herself believe that Angel was the guy for her? Why did it hurt so much to think that he wasn’t?
It’s not like they are even really close friends, though it does seem that she can talk to him easily and open up to him. Why did she let herself open up to him in the first place? All these questions ran through her mind.
Then it dawned on her, she knew what she had to do. She got up off her bed and walked over to her vanity. She sat down and looked in the mirror, she cringed as she saw her red, puffy eyes.
“That’s it. I’m through letting my guard down, only to get hurt. Angel’s Buffy’s always has been and always will be. I’ve known that. So that means he is not now or ever will be mine. So from here on out, no more letting people get to close.”
She looked deep into the mirror a cold blank expression she had perfected years ago reflected back at her. “That’s right, the bitch is back.”