Season of Solace. 53

53:     Mercy Hospital, Westside, Sunnydale

Cordy’s heart was racing, feeling like it was going to leap right out of her chest. A sound that super vampire hearing had to detect.

Anticipation had her reeling inside as she watched him prowl closer like a panther on the hunt, those dark sexy eyes trained directly on her. He was not here to talk about the flowers or to explain his cryptic message. The flowers were just that age-old polite thing to do, but Angel had never been a gentleman.

The note was all about taunting her, stirring her up. Talk about mixed signals. He promised to take back what he had said, but falling back into old habits had not said a word to her since he had closed the door. Monosyllable guy had returned, even if he did look hot.

Inwardly grumbling, Cordy realized that she was not supposed to be thinking about Angel’s hotness factor. But, helloooooo that was hard to do when he was standing right there looking so intense.

Turning toward him, Cordelia took a step forward, her feet bare. The chill of the speckled flooring went unnoticed, but the way her body leapt inwardly in reaction to his nearness did not. Her tingles had tingles. All she had to do was reach out in order to trail her fingertips down his chest.

Something stopped her. It was the thought that despite the fact that they were alone, Buffy still stood between them. Instantly annoyed, she said, “Funny, but I thought you were supposed to be eating your words right about now, chowing down on them, in fact.”

Wrong thing to say if that scowl meant anything. Apparently, they needed Bev to act as interpreter or referee because all Cordelia could detect was the low grind of his teeth.

“What?” Cordelia asked when Angel remained silent. Eyes narrowing suspiciously, she wondered if he was planning to say nothing at all.

Maybe Bev’s assumptions about their supposedly kinky romance bothered him. It was a little unsettling to have your grandmother nose into your love life especially when it was no such thing. Cordy shoved that thought aside. If anything, Angel had been amused by Bev’s comments.

No, the reason for the silent treatment was another B-word altogether. Ooh, if he really did compare her to Buffy, he was going to be deader than usual when she finished with him.

“When you said later, I didn’t realize you meant the next millennium.” Lifting her hand, she covered a wide yawn. Feigning boredom, Cordelia turned back toward the tray table to examine her flowers more closely.

Just because Buffy ended the relationship did not mean that Angel was even close to being over it. Cordelia knew that Angel felt some attraction toward her, but vampire though he might be, he was still a guy, and she was still Cordelia Chase. Faith was right about one thing. If she wanted anything more than friendship with Angel, this was the time to act, before Buffy realized what she was missing.

Cordelia could sense him right behind her. He had moved closer when she turned away. She fingered the delicate petals of one flower while waiting for him speak, to say anything, but she did not have the patience for it.

Whirling around, butting into him, she tilted her head up and told him what she wanted to hear. “You were so not thinking about Buffy when you kissed me. I do not need a hormone detector to know when a guy wants me. As for you, buddy, let’s just say—”

Angel’s kiss swept softly across the warmth of her lips. A muttered protest faded to a sigh as the light between them vanished, as her eyes closed. Gently, his fingertips skimmed across her hips, flesh rasping against silk, moving upward, leaving an internal wake of fire.

Cool leather could not hide him from her touch. Kneading his biceps, she reached up, brushing her hands across his broad shoulders to wind her arms around his neck.

Cordelia pulled herself closer, instinctively pressing her breasts against the hard wall of his chest. Her fingers combed through the short hair at the nape of his neck, nails curling, scraping softly. The sound Angel made deep in his throat echoed into her mouth as she touched her tongue to his as it licked her plump lower lip.

His gentle, almost tentative touch altered instantly. There was nothing but want in the way she kissed him, acceptance in her touch and the way her body clung to his. Hiding her feelings was the last thing on her mind even if the worries that still remained huddled in the darkness.

A gasp of remembrance sounded as they parted for an instant. Cordelia half-lifted her lids, seeing only the way Angel stared at her mouth as if letting her up for air had deprived him of something vital. She rubbed her cheek against his, breathing a sigh across his skin and felt him shudder in her arms.

Angel’s large hands stroked a wide path along her spine still layered with silk. His touch left her blood humming, her body flushed. Almost desperately, she sought out his mouth, her eyes slamming shut again as their lips collided.

He kissed her until her breath ran out, tracing the line of Cordelia’s jaw with soft kisses and his teasing tongue before coming back to her mouth for more. Pliant lips molded hers, tasting, nipping, leaving her gasping and mewling, opening up to him.

Hot, yet trembling, she felt almost panicky with the need to be closer, to touch him. Cordy dragged his coat off his broad shoulders. It hung at his elbows until Angel reluctantly dropped his hands away from her hips. Tossing the coat onto the bed, Angel’s potent gaze held hers. She ached to feel his hands on her skin this time, but there was something in those eyes that kept her from asking for it.

Recognition that this was dangerous, that they had both won and lost their fight to make the other pay for words neither one of them meant. Not that she would actually admit it. In Angel’s arms, Cordelia could see herself falling for him in a way she had never done with anyone, but it only took one thought of Drusilla’s predictions to remind her why it was a bad idea.

His name poured from her lips with a warning. Cordelia took half a step back only to stop when Angel reached toward her. Dazed by his haunted eyes, she wanted to take back the words that sounded next, “We can’t.”

Angel traced the curve of her flushed cheek, fingers lacing through her hair to cup the nape of her neck. His thumb rubbed softly along the line of her jaw. “We can. Just this,” he pressed his lips to the beauty spot on her cheek. “Here, tonight, this is safe, Cordy. Trust me to keep you safe.”

Those last words whispered across her mouth, his lips hovering temptingly close to hers. In truth, she wanted more. Urging softly, “So kiss me, already,” Cordelia flashed a smile as Angel closed the gap between them.

They kissed until the night nurse caught them making out in the corner. She had come in after a brief knock, but Angel had only reluctantly broken their kiss. It was a tough choice to decide who was more embarrassed, but Cordelia decided that the nurse took the prize. Mumbling something about forgetting her stethoscope at the desk, she bolted out of the room, closing the door behind her.

“Think we should’ve told her it was around her neck?” Angel asked slowly.

Cordelia leaned back against the wall again pointing out, “She could’ve been the demon guy. What happened to being my bodyguard?”

“I’m guarding it,” Angel curled his hand around her hip, rubbing his thumb along the elastic waistband of her shorts. Her robe had somehow come undone.

Rolling her eyes at the smug smile twitching at his lips, Cordelia poked a finger at his chest. “You heard her coming.” After all, with vampire speed, Angel could have been in the chair pretending to be reading a book or magazine before the nurse took a step into the room.

“Maybe I did,” he confessed, dropping his head to close his mouth over hers.

Clinging to the kiss, Cordelia stood on tiptoes as he started to straighten up and move away. Her hands went up to his shoulders again to pull him back into her embrace, but his hands closed over her arms, his body tensing. Cordelia dropped back to her feet and gazed in the direction of the window as Angel moved toward it, suddenly intent upon listening to something she could not hear.

He lifted one slat in the Venetian blinds covering the windows to stare out into the darkness. “It’s happening. They’re coming.”

“Who?” Cordelia grew wary. Moving up beside him, she placed her hand in the crook of his elbow and leaned in to lift up another slat of the blinds. The parking lot was illuminated outside. The darkness beyond was thick, yet seemed to be moving, swarming.

“The locusts,” Angel explained as he dropped the slat back into place. Reaching over, he pulled on the cord for the curtains, closing them over the windows. “It’s time.”

In a matter of seconds, muffled screams could be heard from ground level. Then a roar of white noise drowned the sounds. It went on and on. Cordelia jerked back as random splats hit the window two-stories up from the ground. “They can’t get in here, can they?”

He did not even hear the question, Cordy realized when she saw Angel holding his hands to his ears. At supra-human levels, the noise the locusts were creating was obviously painful. It was etched across his face. Backing away from the windows, she put her arm around his waist, leading him toward the door figuring that the further they got away from the noise, the easier it would be for him.

Cordelia grabbed for the door handle, but the commotion she heard on the other side told her things were not going to be quite so simple. A slice of light showed beneath the door, shadows blotting it out as the sound of running footsteps pounded on the floor. Shouts came from the hallway, “Close the fire doors, close the fire doors.”

There was no fire, but the swarming insects had managed to get into the building and were already showing up on the upper floors. The hospital staff was trying to block the locusts from getting into the patient rooms. Cordelia realized they were trapped inside for the moment, but the thin space between the door and the floor was just large enough to allow unwelcome buggy visitors to crawl through.

Grabbing a towel from the bathroom, she shoved it into the crack beneath the door. Standing again, Cordelia looked up at Angel who was watching her with a bemused expression on his face, hands now at his side. She reached up to cup his cheek. “Are you okay?”

“The worst is over, but they’ll be everywhere for a while.” Angel advised that they stay put.

“Eew.” Cordy felt she already had more than enough experience with bugs for one lifetime. She danced away from the door with a hip-hop toward the bed as she looked around to ensure that none of the locusts had gotten into the room.

Moving forward, Angel took two handfuls of silk robe into his grasp. He slipped the robe off her shoulders pulling it taut around her arms, bringing her a step toward him. Cordelia went willingly, sliding her hands around his waist to the muscular planes of his back. He felt so good beneath her fingers.

A secret smile crept onto her face as she lifted her eyes toward his. “Go me!” Cordy murmured to herself just before Angel’s lips touched hers.

The kiss was gentle like the first of their kisses tonight. It ended far sooner than Cordelia wanted. Her newly discarded robe lay at the bottom of her bed pooled against Angel’s leather duster. She stared at it for a moment thinking thoughts that brought a little sigh of frustration to her lips.

“Time for bed,” Angel’s words caused her to jerk out of her thoughts, a rosy flush coloring her skin. He pulled back the top sheet and blanket, standing by with an expectant look on his face.

With a crooked eyebrow, Cordelia gaped, “Excuse me?”

Angel swiftly dropped the bed linen. “I only meant…,” his voice dropped off as he struggled for the right explanation. Finally muttering something about the late hour, thumbing toward the wall clock, reminding her that this was a hospital and she was still a patient, Angel eventually managed to make his meaning clear.

“Oh. Whatever,” Cordelia climbed into bed, pulling the sheet over her legs. This obviously meant that the kissing part of the evening was over. Trying to hide her disappointment, she launched into a discourse on the evil doctor who refused to release her to go home today.

Scene 54

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