Title: Because
Author: Lysa
Posted: Feb 07
Rating: N-17
Category: Valentine Smut with a Twist of Angst & Humor.
Content: C/A
Summary: Angel rises to the occasion to tell Cordelia how he really feels.
Spoilers: Dawn wanted… ‘post-Beige period’, ‘surprise’, and ‘sex’.
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.
Distribution: Just Fic (ST), Angel’s Archive (AO), Go Team and Darkness & Daylight. Anywhere else, please ask first.
Notes: Written for the Valentine’s Day Fic Exchange at Stranger Things. Due to time constraints, this fic is un-beta’d, so feel free to point fingers and snigger at any typos you find.
Thanks/Dedication: PushyDame’s Valentine’s Day Fic
Feedback: Appreciated


Saving those couples at the Valentine Ball tonight came with a steep price.

Because it wasn’t the four inch scrape reddening the pale skin along Angel’s side or the deeper wound that Cordelia carefully probed as she knelt on the floor between his open thighs.

Their friendship was about to be tested for the first time since his little epiphany dragged him back from the edge of the abyss.

Angel had as much right as the others to feel triumphant and pumped up about their win. They’d been a team out there tonight. Maybe he’d done the heavy hitting when it came down to it, but everyone chipped in during the fight, even Cordelia.

They weren’t actually at the ball itself, but in the alley behind the building where it was being held. He suspected Cordelia’s reasons for being there involved wanting a peek at the designer gowns worn by the guests. But they’d caught their prey, a trio of humans and one very large demon, just before they crashed the party.

This wasn’t the first time she’d been around the worst of it. Just the first time he actually felt his heart go up in his throat when he saw her move in for an attack instead of sticking to defensive moves. Or had a hint of understanding as to why not having her in his life had left him in such a cold and desolate place.

There were no feel-good emotions distracting him from the pain of being patched up. It was anger, pure and simple.

The way she’d danced around Gunn and Wes in spontaneous celebration of their victory proved she didn’t have a clue what really happened tonight. He’d nearly lost her and she was more concerned about getting the stains off her shoes.

Most of the anger was directed inwardly. After all, he’d had this idiotic idea in his head about wanting her to watch him fight the demon in her vision. Because he wanted her to watch him fight for her. The fault wasn’t all his, he realized, staring absently at the way the light caressed her cheek as she tilted her head to get a better look at the wound— the rest was hers.

As if she sensed his shifting moods Cordelia glanced up from her work taking a second to blow the hair out of her eyes before fixing an arch-browed stare upon him. “What’s with the crap attitude? No wonder Gunn and Wes escaped as soon as I patched them up. Spill it—unless you’re brooding about something you did on Valentine’s Day when you were Angelus, in which case, eww.”

Trust Cordy to make the leap between saving people to eating them. He’d been to a few balls in his time, but he was certain she wouldn’t want to hear his idea of a good time.

Without waiting for an answer, she shifted back to grab something from her first aid kit. A long metal clamp opened and closed when tested. “Perfect,” Cordy muttered. Then to him, “You’ve got little bits of something stuck in there. Next time try to avoid getting stabbed with sharp objects.”

A low grunt escaped his throat knowing that the deep wound was his own fault. Keeping an eye on her had been a priority, which brought him back to the subject of his brooding. She shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Cordelia had insisted on going and he’d been too damned selfish about having her around to say no. “That’s the last time you’re going to risk your life unnecessarily.” Gritting his teeth against the pain as the probing clamp pulled out taking a jagged shard with it, Angel watched her mouth form a stubborn line.

“Tell that to the people we saved.”

He wasn’t finished. Having imagined any number of horrors that might have resulted from one misstep, Angel lightly brushed his fingertips through her soft hair, tucking a wayward strand behind her ear. Losing Cordy wasn’t an option he was willing to face, not after everything they had gone through to rediscover their friendship.

Angel almost didn’t recognize his voice as it thickened, “You might’ve been hurt.” She’d already been through so damned much because of him. It wasn’t right for her to be placed in danger that way, directly in the fight.

For an instant, Cordelia looked like she didn’t know what to say. Her free hand dropped onto his thigh. The muscle beneath jerked as her fingers inched higher sliding along the thin surface of his pants. “I’m not the one with the big hole in my gut.” She pushed at his leg to make more elbow room completely unaware what the warmth of her hand had just done to him.

Angel usually enjoyed getting patched up by Cordy after a successful fight. Because there was nothing sexual about it—most of the time. He enjoyed the attention. As a vampire he didn’t really need antiseptics, gauze and medical tape.

Most of his wounds usually started healing before she had time to gather her things. The rest would eventually seal up on their own if left alone, but Angel knew that he healed faster this way, with her taking care of him. Whether it was true or not, he liked it.

Eyes closed, he titled his head back against the couch letting her do her work. She poked and prodded as carefully as possible, but the instrument’s smooth surface pressed against ripped flesh and exposed nerves. A streak of pain shot through him, but it was nothing compared to the agony of having Cordelia so close.

A clink signaled the clamping device being returned to the tray. “This gouge is deep,” she told him as if he couldn’t already tell. Her finger penetrated the wound, pressing down on the reddened flesh. “A few steri-strips should hold it closed for now. It should be gone by tomorrow.”

The sensation caused him to growl softly, though it wasn’t entirely unpleasant this time. Fortunately, Cordy was too busy assessing the wound to notice his darkening stare. “I didn’t see when this happened. Must’ve been when I was kicking that creepy guy’s ass.”

Actually, it had been when the demon had gone after her when she was busy with the ass-kicking. Angel grunted, “Right.”

Only recently did he examine why he was so protective over Cordelia. He had fired her along with the others to save her from danger, to protect her from what he would have to become. Even so, he couldn’t stay away. Their fight at their new office over that damn book proved it.

He often wondered what would have happened if Wes hadn’t been there that night. That would have been the end of it one way or the other. Had any harm come to her, Angel knew he would never have found his way back to this mission or into her good graces.

Cordy’s ability to hold a grudge was only surpassed by her capacity for forgiveness. They had come a long way since the team was reunited. Tonight hadn’t been the first time that she insisted in tagging along after one of her visions. He’d been dead set against it then, but was opposed by both Wes and Gunn who’d seen no harm in it.

Apparently, he was the low manpire on the totem pole and didn’t get a say in what Cordy did anymore. That hadn’t stopped him from trying.

“Let us take care of this,” Angel recalled the way she jerked away from his touch when his hand curled around her shoulder. “You look…,” he’d been surprised at how tired she looked, the strain of her vision still etched across her beautiful face.

Snatching up a crossbow from the weapons cabinet, Cordelia pushed at his chest with the unarmed bow. “What part of ‘I’m going’ don’t you understand? You’ve been back a few weeks and you expect me to fall in line. You’re not in charge around here anymore.”

Wesley had raised a finger in the air to call for their attention, “Excellent point,” only to be stared into silence a moment later when she turned on him, too. Looking to Gunn for a show of male solidarity only got a hands-off signal.

There was only one point to be made and Angel had gotten it. Cordelia didn’t fully trust him with her friends. They’d gotten past a lot of it. Buying out Rodeo Drive had been a desperation ploy. One she let him get away with. Smiles and hugs had been exchanged. Every second of warmth he could steal, the trill of her laughter, and the brilliance of her smile were burned into his memory.

Little by little Angel tried to earn her trust, to deserve the friendship that Cordy bestowed so freely and he had betrayed. He’d hurt her feelings. The broken hitch in her voice when she’d said so was worse than any battle wound. It left a permanent scar on his soul.

Redeeming himself in her eyes had become his first priority. Sometimes it seemed like he was making headway. She’d smile in a way that would knock him off his feet, sometimes literally. That usually earned him a, “Geez, Angel. Clumsy, much?” as she rolled her eyes in his direction.

Angel hastily explained it as a need to get back to a regular training schedule. Doing so had given Cordelia one of her brilliant ideas. The kind Angel knew would put him on the spot. “You’ve got the necessary skills, Angel. I want you to teach me.”

For half a second, Angel allowed himself to imagine she meant something else. Cordelia looked eager to get right to it. His chest felt tight. He rubbed at it with the flat of his hand while trying to form a coherent sentence. “Skills?”

Cordelia picked up the feather duster from the counter brandishing it in front of her like a sword. Advancing on him, she stabbed at the air sending a puff of dust flying. She waved it away from her face, coughing. “Y’know,” she shrugged, “skills.”

So they’d started training together. There was some logic to it. Angel could see that it would be a good thing for Cordelia to strengthen her defensive skills. Being part of this life meant being exposed to danger. While Angel would always look out for her, it was good to see that she could handle herself until he got there.

There was something so intimate about that time together. Just the two of them moving together harmoniously, mirroring each other’s moves. As Cordy jokingly liked to put it, “Getting hot and sweaty together only without the groiny part.”

That particular part was becoming increasingly familiar with cold showers. Brooding for days about the wrongness of it hadn’t changed a damn thing. He was falling for his best friend.

Angel tried hard to keep everything above board. There was a line he couldn’t cross even if he wanted to, but sometimes things just happened. By the end of their sessions together her scent was imprinted on his skin. He felt a growing admiration for her determination to succeed, and for everything about her.

They’d grown closer in some ways than they were before, but Angel felt a cavernous gap between what they had and what he wanted. He tried to compartmentalize his feelings. It wasn’t easy to ignore feelings that practically bowled him over every time Cordelia was in the same room. The best thing he could do was focus on the mission.

Right now it was next to impossible to think of anything but her. Angel didn’t budge until Cordelia finished probing his wound. Her scent surrounded him as she knelt on the floor between his thighs. It would’ve been smarter not to breathe it in, but it was an automatic reflex to take in that intoxicating mix of unique scents that identified her.

The pain was replaced by soothing strokes of a warm damp cloth as Cordelia wiped the wound clean. Felt good. Almost like being licked. “Hold still,” she complained when he shifted in his seat. The action caused her fall forward, the firm roundness of her breasts pressing into his lap.

Laughing about it, Cordelia grabbed his thighs and pushed back as she righted herself. “I think someone has a tickle spot.” Searching for other places, she teased her fingernails across his skin careful not to poke his injury.

Honestly, he wouldn’t have minded. The scent of his blood on Cordelia’s roaming fingers was getting to him. Angel grabbed her hand lifting it to breathe in the scent of skin at her wrist and palm, then her red-tipped fingers, closing his eyes for a moment. “Hey!” Cordy protested only to be pulled up into his lap before Angel even realized what he was doing.

Squirming around only caused him to clamp his arm around her waist. Angel opened his eyes, dark and needful, scoring her startled ones with an intensity she hadn’t seen since he’d gone beige. “Don’t move.”

The warning only spurred her on. She tugged and jostled to gain any advantage that she could. Angel made the mistake of releasing her hand. Cordy instantly grabbed his bare shoulders seeking the leverage to escape. Instinctively, his hands curved around her hips and held on.

“Dammit, Cordy,” he groaned low when her weight settled just in the right spot. “I told you not to move.”

Understanding caused her mouth to drop into a tempting circle. Angel knew she could feel his aroused state. There was no mistaking the hard bulge trapped between them. A slight flush crept up her neck drawing his gaze only making things worse.

“There was the blood,” he rushed to explain, “and the pain wasn’t all bad. Then there was the touching.”

His hold loosened, he banged his head back against the couch cushion and only looked at Cordelia again when she spoke to him. The fact that it was an apology floored him. “I’m sorry, Angel. Maybe I should start wearing gloves.”

Angel felt lightheaded. He’d been lusting after his best friend and trying his damndest not to start moving beneath her, yet Cordy was talking clinically about wearing latex gloves. His body throbbed with want, confused by what he was sensing from her. He didn’t want to let her go, but when she slid back down to the floor between his open thighs it was all he could do not to adjust his fly.

“You should go home, Cordy.”

“When I’m finished,” she reminded him of the gaping hole in his side. “You still need patching up. Here,” tossing his discarded shirt at his lap, “hold this. We can pretend that didn’t happen.”

Simple…. except for one painfully hard reminder.

Angel should’ve insisted on her leaving, but couldn’t find the words. He leaned back to watch her finish her work noting the furtive glances toward his lap, the trembling hands that tried to keep the steri-strips straight. He couldn’t tell if she was turned-on or freaked out by his arousal.

“Done,” Cordelia announced with a relieved sigh a few minutes later. She used one of his knees to pull herself to her feet and then jerked her hand away. “You should, um, go and shower while I clean up here. I’ll put the outer dressing on when you get back.”

As much as he wanted her to stick around, Angel knew it was going to take him a while before he got out of the shower. “I can handle that part.”

“I think you’ve got enough to handle, Big Guy,” Cordelia’s gaze dropped down to the bunched up shirt in his hand. Her eyes opened wide as her brain finally caught up with her mouth. “I meant had enough. Tonight—before…you’ve handled enough stuff already. Not that you’re going to be handlinganything else. Even if you were it would so not be my business.”

Angel struggled not to smile. He’d love to make it her business, but there was no way he could ever expect her to return the feelings that had been building up over the past few months.


Cordelia waited until Angel disappeared upstairs before letting her mental freak out take over. He was supposed to be a 250 year old no-bone eunuch vampire. A boring old fart who was into reading instead of clubbing and didn’t know a Manolo Blahnik from a flip flop. The guy with the blonde fetish. Yet there was no denying he was hot.

Boy howdy.

Out of necessity Cordelia had categorized Angel as untouchable. No matter that the old attraction she’d experienced upon catching her first glimpse of him still lingered. There wasn’t a choice in the matter. Bottom line: curse, loophole, Angelus.

What more did she need to know? Not a damn thing. Just her luck, too. Valentine’s Day and she was stuck patching up a horny vampire.

Looking down at the dried blood creating a patchwork of red streaks across her fingers, she wondered if it had just been the pain and blood that excited Angel. Would he get hard if it was someone else tending his wounds, like the looney physicist hiding out upstairs? That girl seriously had issues. She considered the fact that Fred was almost all neck. That might do it.

He’d mentioned the touches, too.

Cordelia was just having fun, trying to release some of the tension she sensed within him. He’d been angry about her going, but she wasn’t about to cave on that. She knew exactly what they’d be up against and didn’t want her guys fighting her vision without backup. It was for the victims, too, that she’d struggled with the initial aftermath of the vision pain.

But mostly, it was for herself. She wanted to feel useful instead of lying helplessly on the bed or couch awaiting Angel’s return and hoping that the pain would fade before he got back.

She’d felt so good about being part of the fight instead of just dealing with the clean up afterward. Fortunately, she’d come away without a scratch. Angel actually checked her twice for injuries before letting her climb into the passenger seat of the Plymouth. He’d hugged her so tight she almost couldn’t breathe.

Not only did he go overboard with the concern, he smeared blood all over her blouse. It was going to be almost impossible to get it out.

Deciding she needed a quick shower and a change of clothes before she went anywhere else tonight, Cordelia headed upstairs. She still kept a room at the hotel just for this kind of situation though it had taken a while before she started leaving her good clothes here again.

Muttering, “Don’t go there, Cordy,” she reminded herself that they’d gotten past all of that now.

Was it wrong to look forward to their training time together? The guys were great, but it was nice to be alone with Angel once in a while. They kind of connected. Cordelia wasn’t even sure why their friendship was so important to her.

It just was.

So this little—okay, not so little—issue that had come up between them needed to be forgotten. Basically Angel was angry, in pain and excited by the sight of blood. Hello, vampire. Not a big deal.

It’s not like it really had anything to do with her. Cordelia closed the bedroom door and leant back against it. A sigh escaped. She was lying by telling herself that it didn’t matter. That much she was able to admit.

Anything else crossed into territory she’d promised herself not to think about. Wanting Angel could only lead to heartbreak. She’d had more than enough of that for one lifetime. It would be different if—

“Shut up, shut UP!” Cordelia kicked off her shoes and started unbuttoning her blouse on the way to the bathroom.

There was no use thinking about it. Falling in love with Angel—oh, God, had she really just used the L-word in connection with her best friend?

Cordelia stripped down to her skin leaving the rest of her clothes piled up on the cold tile. She reached in to turn on the shower full blast and waiting until the steam started to build before stepping inside.

It was Angel for chrissakes. A broody, emotionally stunted, prone to turning evil dork who thought Charlton Heston was a better actor than Jude Law. He slurped his blood, complained when she left her stuff lying around his room, and was tight with a buck. But he was still a solid hunk of salty goodness. Maybe he wasn’t human, but Angel had more courage than any ten guys she knew rolled together.

The more she thought about it, the more Cordelia wondered if it wasn’t already too late. Because she did love Angel and she had a sneaking suspicion that she was in love with him too.

The water rained down from above, steam billowing around her and fogging up the glass door of the shower stall. Cordelia tilted her head back letting the water stream across her skin washing away any evidence of blood.


Twenty minutes later, Angel emerged from his suite dressed in grey sweat pants and a white tank. He’d downed a couple of mugs of blood before getting in the shower. His wound was already looking better. The long scrape was barely discernable from the rest of his skin while the swelling had gone down considerably on the deep puncture. Cordy’s steri-strips might’ve ended up a little crooked, but the edges of the wound were straight.

He’d experienced a twinge of pain when putting on his shirt, but it was nothing. As usual Cordelia had done a great job patching him up. He figured she’d still be waiting to put on the outer dressing: a bit of gauze and some extra tape. That meant trying not to make a fool of himself when he tried to say he was sorry.

Practicing his apology in the shower was doubly effective. The cold water had been enough of a shock to his system that his rampant erection went away on its own without the need for handling the problem himself. It gave him time to think about telling Cordy he was sorry for what happened, which also made him realize that it wouldn’t be entirely true.

No mistake that Angel wasn’t thrilled with the timing. He was surprised about it, too. Yet he wasn’t. There was something about Cordelia that he couldn’t even put into words. He could draw her from memory, every beautiful curve. Trace the lines of her face with his fingertips. Try to capture the essence of her smile.

Drawings were only two dimensional and paled beside the real thing. He’d held her in his arms, stolen the warmth from her golden skin and felt its silken texture all under the flag of friendship. What happened tonight just proved that he wanted more. Angel could put it down to reflex, make it impersonal, but he’d be lying to himself and to her.

So Angel decided to find Cordelia and tell her the truth: that he was falling in love with her. She deserved to know that much, even if he couldn’t expect her to return those feelings.

Hoping the words would come out as planned, Angel gave himself a pep talk. “Don’t screw this up.” After all, it wasn’t just their friendship on the line this time, but their future.

He’d started to head downstairs when he realized that Cordelia wasn’t there. The lobby was empty. For a moment Angel thought she had actually done as he’d asked and gone home. Following instructions would’ve been a first. His mouth twisted into a wry smile as he turned around and headed up to the next level where Cordelia kept her belongings. The ones he hadn’t given away.

The thought nearly had him turning around again. How could he expect Cordy to love him—the guy who’d gotten rid of anything personal that reminded him of her. He hadn’t done that with anyone else’s stuff.

Even then Cordelia was special to him. “Good point. You can use that,” Angel continued on his way. Focused on his thoughts, he only noticed the shower fresh scents emanating from the far end of the hall on a superficial level.

There were no obvious sounds to clue him in that it might be appropriate to knock before entering. She never knocked when barging into his room, or at least never waited for him to give the okay for her to enter. It never occurred to him to bother.

All Angel could detect was the steady beat of her heart somewhere on the other side of the door. Eager to see her and tell her what he’d discovered about his feelings for her, Angel turned the doorknob and walked right in.

There were several things Angel noticed right away. A shriek pierced the air. Cordelia was naked, beautiful. She was clutching something tiny, red and lacy to her breasts. He needed another cold shower.

He’d never seen her like this. That day at the commercial shoot when she wore the bikini, he’d seen more than enough to let his imagination fill in the blanks. Not like this. Angel was dumbstruck.

After the initial shock wore off, Cordelia whirled away from him only to show him the gorgeous line of her back. She hopped on one foot to put on the tiny scrap of material that had to be underwear then switched to the other foot before sliding them up over the curve of her ass.

“Angel, the door!”

Door. Something he could handle. Angel reached out his hand and slammed it shut. He noticed Cordelia’s heavy sigh as she walked toward the mirror over her dresser to smooth her hair away from her face. Focused on her reflection, she held a hand to her throat then let it trail down between her breasts.

Having moved up behind her, Angel let the image sink in for as long as he could before saying, “You’re so beautiful, Cordy.”

“Gah!” She made a dash for the bra draped across the edge of the bed. Clutching it so that it was covering all of the strategic parts, Cordelia whirled around again, this time with a furious look on her face. Uh oh. “I thought I told you to get out.”

She looked more tempting than he could ever remember and was ready for a fight. Angel thought about it for a few seconds and decided he wasn’t going to back away from giving her one if that’s what she wanted. As for getting out, he had no recollection of her saying those words. “You wanted the door closed,” he shrugged. “I closed it.”

Cordelia looked around for her discarded bathrobe, but it was on the floor behind Angel. “You were supposed to be on the other side, dumbass.” She tried to edge that way, but he was blocking the path. Finally muttering, “Fine,” while maneuvering into the straps and reaching back to fasten the hook. “If you’re finished staring, you can get out now.”

When she moved a few steps back to grab a pillow from the bed, Angel followed slowly, “I’m not finished.”

Her heart skipped a beat. “What?”

Idiot! Now Cordy thought he was a lecherous Peeping Tom. “I meant to say that I wanted to talk to you about what happened downstairs. To tell you—”

“It’s really not necessary, Angel.” She motioned for silence raising her fingers up to his mouth. “I understand. It was the blood.”

Angel captured her hand much like he had done before, his thumb sliding to open up her hand, this time to pressing a kiss into the heart of her palm. His lips lingered there for a moment, his eyes closed as he breathed in the natural fragrance of warm skin and vanilla scented soap.

Her breath hitched and then held until Angel opened his eyes again. “It was you. I never meant to embarrass you, Cordy, not then or now.”

Smiling, she moved a step closer so that the pillow was squashed between them. Her free hand curled around the nape of his neck, her fingers toying with the short ends of his hair. “So why are you still here?”

“Because—,” for an instant the words were there on the tip of his tongue and the next he was lost in the darkening depths of her eyes. Only one thought echoed in his head urging him forward.

Cordelia whispered his name against his lips just as he bent down to kiss her. So soft and warm, her pliant mouth opened to his. One kiss followed another. Gentle, the way Angel treasured their friendship; hot and sweet because that’s how she tasted.

He watched the smile flirt across her lips in between as they gripped the pillow together and tossed it aside. They both moaned at the contact. Angel put his arms around her, just holding her there for a moment, soaking in her natural warmth, scenting the sharp tang of feminine arousal, letting her feel his body’s need.

Rubbing her forehead against his shoulder, Cordelia let out a little moan of frustration. He crooked a finger under her chin, lifting it until she met his gaze. With his eyes Angel promised that it would be okay. Then kissed her again until he knew fear and doubt were the last things on her mind.

His tongue darted along the plump curve of her mouth, lips closing softly. Cordelia’s hot hands were everywhere, clutching at his shoulders, his ass, tugging his shirt out of his sweats to press her palms on his skin. She accidentally brushed near his closing wound. Angel let out a half-groan that rumbled around like a growl against her throat as he kissed her there.

Then she did it again. The sensation shot straight to his loins. When Angel lifted his head to make sure Cordy realized what she was doing, he saw pure mischief. He let her tug his shirt over his head, watched her tug on her lower lip with her teeth and then followed to do the same teasing her with little nips and hard pecks that only grazed her lips because she seemed to be in the mood to play.

When her hand pushed beneath the elastic waistband of his sweats to grasp him, Angel wanted to watch. He dropped the pants to the floor leaving them pooled at his ankles because his attention was centered on Cordelia’s slow strokes. Dark eyes half closed with pleasure, he knew he couldn’t take much more.

Angel peeled her hand away. He picked her up, tossed her on the bed and crawled toward her like a panther ready to pounce. His sweats tangled around his ankles along the way forcing him to stop to yank them off completely.

Laughing, yet almost breathless, Cordelia fell back against the one remaining pillow. Angel caught her legs and pulled her closer. He reared up for a moment staring down at her, his hands smoothing up and down the length of her thighs. Things got serious again. Cordy wasn’t laughing anymore, just trembling under his touch, as his fingers slipped beneath her panties stroking across her wet folds, teasing.

He pulled them off slowly when she would’ve had him go fast, but Angel wanted to savor this, just in case he was wrong about the curse. Weeks of going over and over what he suspected to be true made him conclude this would be safe as long as he was aware of the risk.

Angel dropped her panties on the bed, but left her lacy bra on because he liked to see her in red. She writhed on the covers, hands chasing sensations across her skin as his fingers made her arch beneath his touch, slick and soft, ready for him.

Holding onto Cordy’s hips, he thrust into her smooth and deep, saying the words he knew she needed to hear, the words he had wanted to say all along. Taking her into his arms, he kissed her mouth, her cheek and the spot by her ear before telling her, “I love you.”

Before she could repeat the sentiment that showed in her eyes, Angel held his thumb over her lips keeping her silent long enough to explain. “Not right now, baby.” Cordelia was smart enough to understand why because they both knew what was at stake.

She snorted softly, “Baby?” following it up with a low grunt when Angel began to move.

He kept it slow because he wanted this to last, but she felt hot inside, slick, gloving him tight. Penetrating deep, he let the motion of his hips drive Cordelia down into soft covers now bunched across the bed. Arching beneath him she rocked in time to his rhythm, her eager cries demanding more.

Angel trailed hot kisses down her neck and the delicious curve of one breast, his fingers reaching up to peel away the slender shoulder strap and thin material covering his prize. “Beautiful,” he muttered against her skin. He cupped her there, plumped her breast in his hand, flicking at the budded nipple before teasing it with his lips.

When Cordy whimpered against his shoulder, Angel quit teasing. He dropped his hand between them as he pumped into her. Stroking inside and out until she came in a sudden burst of pleasure, his name a high-pitched shriek she tried to muffle against his shoulder.

He pulled her back to his mouth and savored the taste of her on his tongue before letting the kiss run wild. Cordelia clasped her legs higher around his hips and pressed her breasts against his chest. He thrust harder, faster than before, no longer controlled.

Cordy urged him on with her hands and words whispered in his ear telling him how good it was, that it was the best Valentine’s Day ever, saying anything except the phrase Angel wanted to hear the most because for them love could be dangerous. She arched beneath him again cresting with pleasure, her body signaling him toward his own.

They lay in silence for untold minutes curled up in each other’s arms with her heartbeat once again the only sound in the room. Angel pulled her close and kissed the top of her head. “This changes everything.”

“In something other than the oh-my-God-we-had-really-hot-sex way?” Cordelia sounded like she was teasing, but Angel couldn’t see her face from this angle.

It unsettled him to admit his fears, but this was too important to let go. “You know I love you, Cordy. Making love with you—I never thought it would happen. Tell me I haven’t ruined things between us, wrecked our friendship.”

“Wrecked it?” Propping herself up on an elbow, Cordelia huffed softly. “You managed to do that once before. Trust me when I say this was nothing like being fired.”

Angel still worried that he’d crossed the uncrossable line. “Yes, but we’re friends again. I like that part of our relationship. Yet—the sex.”

He earned an eye roll. “You might be the only one who gets to say the words right now, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to use you for sex. That could be fun, by the way, but I think I’d miss the other stuff if we spent all of our time in bed.”

“This was supposed to be an apology.” Angel traced a finger over the rounded curve of her shoulder following the line of her arm to where her hand pressed against his chest. “I should’ve knocked.”

Cordelia snorted again. “It’s a little late to worry about knocking. Besides, I forgive you for getting turned on, barging into my room when I’m naked, and telling me you love me.”

It didn’t sound quite so depraved coming from her, Angel mused, lifting her hand to press a kiss into her palm.

“Because I like the way you say you’re sorry,” Cordy added, grinning.



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