Title: Threads of Love
Category: Romance, Humor, Smut
Summary: Cordelia realizes that she’s in love with Angel and sets out to seduce him, but our vampire doesn’t seem to be taking the bait.
Spoilers: AtS Season 3 between Heartthrob and That Vision Thing
Disclaimer: The characters in the Angelverse were created by Joss Whedon & David Greenwalt. No infringement is intended, no profit is made. Neither the movie ‘Uptown Girls’ nor Cosmopolitan Magazine belong to me.
Notes: The Challenge by Impress: Details at bottom of page.
Feedback: You really expect me to say NO? Of course I want feedback.
Sunlight filtered through the doors flung wide by Cordelia Chase as she limped into the Hyperion Hotel lobby.
Shining upon the chestnut waves of her hair, the dappled beams highlighted the messy tangles poking out at odd angles on her head. One half remained upswept and tidy while the other stuck to the stylish clips falling in a web down to her shoulder.
Little demons. Silently complaining, Cordelia reached down to yank her left shoe off her foot and looked woefully at the broken heel. This was so not the way to start the day. Just lying in wait for some unsuspecting woman to come along and tempt her with their innocent eyes and sweet smiles. Definitely demon spawn.
Removing her other shoe, Cordelia straightened her mud-encrusted skirt and padded barefoot around the front counter slinging her purse down on her chair. Wes will just have to give me the rest of the morning off after this.
She heard voices coming from behind the nearly closed doors to Wesley’s office. It sounded like Gunn and Lorne were in there. No doubt they were discussing the next apocalypse or the wonders of cable television, but too bad. This took priority.
When she explained how those conniving little eight-year olds had conned her into participating in their double dutch jump roping game, Wes would understand. All it took was looking at her to get the point.
How was she supposed to know that Jimmy Choos could survive demon attacks, but not the wily tactics of elementary school kids? The little monsters actually giggled at her as she twisted her ankle, tumbled to the ground tangled in their jump ropes and rolled into a damp patch of dirt, the origins of which she just did not want to think about.
Get ready to shower me with sympathy, fellas, cos I so deserve it, Cordelia moved toward the door only to stop short of flinging it open as Gunn’s voice sounded out in surprise.
Shock resonated as he exclaimed, “Get out! You tellin’ me Angel coulda been gettin’ some in Las Vegas, but he picked some monk retreat in Tibet?”
Angel had recently returned from his three-month vigil to the Himalayas following Buffy Summer’s death. Cordelia knew Gunn had suggested that the vampire go to Las Vegas instead, but Angel had insisted he needed to find a little inner peace and come to terms with his former girlfriend’s passing.
Besides, what could Angel possibly ‘get’ in Las Vegas besides a severe case of debt? It’s not like sex was on the agenda considering Angel would have his own personal Mr. Hyde coming out to play if that ever happened. Nope, monk city was a far better choice for a eunuch vampire.
“Gunn, there are far more significant matters to consider if Lorne is indeed correct,” Wes pointed out far more rationally. “If Angel’s soul has been secured, we no longer have to be concerned with an appearance of Angelus.”
“I’m with ya on that, bro,” Gunn agreed quickly enough. “That is one dude I don’t ever wanna meet.”
Lorne told him, “Consider yourself lucky that you haven’t, sweetmeat. Flashbacks of Angelus are enough to cause me to shiver in my shoes, but reading Angel won’t give me nightmares anymore. Normally, I wouldn’t breach confidentiality, but the Powers picked this time and place for me to tell you, so here I am.”
Shellshocked, Cordelia stood outside the door to Wes’ office unable to move. Angel’s soul was permanent. Wondering what had happened, she continued to listen in on the conversation, too awed by the revelation to barge into the room and demand the details she wanted.
“It amazes me that something good actually came out of the whole Darla debacle,” Wes commented, his use of the vampiress’ name making Cordelia’s head spin with a sudden dizzy rage.
Just the thought of Darla was enough for the anger and hurt to surface again. That blonde bitch has something to do with securing Angel’s soul?
Darla had been so intent upon losing her own soul and taking Angel with her that Cordelia didn’t know how it was possible that such a miracle could come of it. The guys were as surprised by the news as she. Gunn seemed to be channeling her own thoughts on the subject, “Man, I can’t get over Angel not saying anything. To think he’s actually known since then and hasn’t said a word to anyone.”
Yeah. Hasn’t said a word, Cordelia frowned at the realization as she continued to eavesdrop. This wasn’t a new reading, but one Lorne had made some time ago if she heard right. One Lorne talked him into not long after rejoining them at A.I. Angel had known all this time and told her nothing. What’s with that?
A thoughtful moue sounded from Wesley’s throat while considering the fact, “Angel has always been rather reticent about that sort of thing.”
“Nothing’s changed,” Gunn complained that Angel wasn’t taking advantage of the new opportunities awaiting him. “If it weren’t for that Slayer girl dying and him going off on some lameass trip to the far side of the world, he’d be here brooding about it. Damn, that boy needs to get out there.”
Cordelia’s eyes narrowed as she gazed through the tiny gap in the door. Even Wesley seemed wary as he responded, “Angel is hardly a boy. Consider that he has taken the time to mourn his loss. He hasn’t been brooding like he used to. As a matter of fact, lately he’s been almost…cheerful around the office. What precisely are you suggesting?”
“A guy like him,” Gunn suggested, “the girls already crawl all over him. He could be gettin’ it every night. Gotta tell the vamp to get a life.”
Her jaw fell wide open and Cordelia thrust her hands on her hips in a subconsciously defiant move. Since when did Gunn concern himself with Angel’s love life? Who did he think he was kidding? Getting Angel out for anything but a demon brawl would be miracle enough. Gettin’ it? Hah! Except that he was right about members of the female sex fawning all over the sexy vampire.
Enforced celibacy made it necessary for Angel to ignore their come-ons, but that was apparently no longer an issue. So why was it that she felt a sudden wave of nausea at the idea?
“No need to push Angelcakes into things,” cautioned Lorne much to Cordelia’s relief. “The Powers just need you to know; they don’t need you to act as their champion’s matchmaker. Actually, I’m fairly certain that’s my job,” he joked.
Pfft! Yeah right. Rolling her eyes, Cordelia strummed her fingers against her hips as she pondered Gunn and Lorne setting Angel up with blind dates. Blondes, she guessed, eager to get their hooks into all that salty goodness.
Lorne seemed to dislike the idea and Cordelia suddenly felt like hugging the Pylean. “Our resident hero doesn’t need a lineup of lap-dancing Las Vegas showgirls or club-hopping twenty-somethings.”
“Says you,” Gunn returned pointing out that there were other benefits to be had by this new development. “Those twenty-somethings usually come with friends.”
Wesley suddenly perked up at the idea. “I must say that I tend to agree with Gunn. Now that there is no further danger of Angelus, it would be quite healthy for Angel to explore possibilities.”
Explore possibilities, my ass. They’re just thinking about getting laid. Let Angel do all the hard work by walking in the door looking…okay, admit it…pretty damn hot and then they reap the benefits by latching on to the cast-offs. Cordelia restlessly paced in front of the office door. Wes is just as deranged as Gunn. There will be no exploring of any kind, dammit.
That would be like taking unfair advantage of the female population of Los Angeles, she reasoned. They needed to mind their own business and let Angel keep it in his pants where it belonged. He wasn’t ready to explore any possibilities even if his soul was no longer in danger. That idea was just so wrong in too many ways to count.
For a second, Cordelia thought she caught Lorne staring at the door, but another peek through the crack that allowed her to overhear the conversation showed he had his back to her. “Did you ever consider that the Princess might make a good match for Angel?”
Cordelia grabbed onto the wall for support, her heart shooting up into her throat at the question. It was something she hadn’t really considered since Sunnydale before she knew Angel was a vampire and long before their friendship really developed. Not that she wasn’t attracted to him. Hello! Who wouldn’t be? Those little indulgences of thought were usually fleeting and the times when thoughts threatened to turn into fantasy, she quickly buried them. After all, Angel was a no-bone.
Laughing hysterically at the idea of Angel and Cordelia as a couple, her two friends made it seem the suggestion was utterly impossible. Then almost simultaneously, Gunn and Wesley’s laughter died as both scowled darkly at the Pylean.
Finding his breath, Gunn gruffly complained, “That ain’t funny. You don’t bring Barbie into a conversation where we’re talking about Angel gettin’ laid.”
“Really, Lorne,” Wesley sounded shocked. “That suggestion is unacceptable. Cordelia and Angel have gone through too much to complicate things in that manner. They’re friends. Nothing more will ever come of it.”
“Don’t be so sure about that,” Lorne stood his ground. The two of them were far too involved in their sudden denial to consider he might have a reason to suggest it.
“Office romances can become problematic,” added Wesley as he glanced toward the ceiling thinking of Fred again.
Catching him lost in thought as she peeped through the opening in the door, Cordelia found it all a little hypocritical. Wes felt he could moon over their resident waif when he found anything more than friendship unacceptable between her and Angel. Did they doubt her ability to snag him if she wanted too? Maybe she wasn’t a blonde bimbo, but obviously Wes had forgotten what Cordelia Chase was like when she turned on the charm. As for Gunn, he was clueless and might be forgiven.
“You don’t think the vamp would get it in his head to mess with Cordy, do you?” The sudden concern sounding in Gunn’s voice came with a strong brotherly protective vibe. Normally, Cordelia would pretend to be ticked off by it while inwardly basking at his concerned attention. Now, it just sounded like interference. “I might need a little one-on-one time with Angel just to make sure he doesn’t get any ideas.”
Still, Cordelia had to figure the odds of Angel getting ideas about seducing her were as likely as him betting his soul on a game of cards. Not gonna happen.
“Cordelia is certainly capable of fending off any untoward advances from men,” Wes seemed confident. Then considering further, “As for Angel…better the both of us talk to him.”
Now Lorne seemed to change tactics. “Maybe you’re right. Those two together? It’s a terrible idea. Absolutely the worst. Forget I brought it up. Besides, isn’t Cordelia still hung up on the Groosalugg?”
Her head shot up at the mention of Groo’s name. When was the last time she had even thought of that big hunk of male? Not in months, she realized almost guiltily. Not really since they’d come back from Pylea and Angel had gone off on his quest.
“Perhaps you’re right,” Wesley commented. “I haven’t heard Cordelia mention Groo in quite a while, but that doesn’t mean she’s no longer in love with him. Perhaps it’s best not to mention Lorne’s revelation to Cordelia.”
Staring hard at the door, Cordelia was not happy with the idea of Wes’ subterfuge. It was all one big lie by omission. Just as bad as Angel not telling her about his soul to begin with.
“I’m not worried about Cordy,” Gunn didn’t think that was an issue. “Angel is another story. One of these days, Angel is gonna wake up and realize there’s a lot more to sex than just spanking the monkey.”
Eew! Cordelia figured it was her own fault for eavesdropping, but did he have to put these images in her head?
Wesley drolled, “Angel has probably forgotten more about sex than you’ve ever known.”
“Don’t dis me, dawg,” Gunn harrumphed. “Do I wanna know how you know that?”
Sounding offended, Wes explained, “Research, of course. There are several volumes dedicated to th—”
“No, I don’t wanna know,” Gunn decided. “I say we start strategizing a way for Angel to get out there and get some.”
Cordelia felt like throwing her shoes at the door, barging inside and telling her so-called friends that they were out of their freaking minds. Instead, she whirled on her bare feet and headed straight for the stairs leading to the second level of the hotel.
Get some? They’re gonna help Angel to get some? Cordelia stomped all the way up ignoring the twinge in her sore ankle. Wes actually agreed with Gunn’s idea. Agreed with it!
Reaching the top of the stairs, she paused wondering why Lorne would suggest stuff only to change his mind two seconds later. Angel and I terrible together? Pfft! Two hotties having sweaty, mind-numbing, body-bending go-all-night wild sex. That’s not terrible.
Outside of room 217 Cordelia paced along the carpeted hallway mumbling under her breath at the notion that Angel was somehow ready to move beyond this broody stage of mourning for his star-crossed lover. If they were so sure about it, maybe it was time to find out.
“If anyone in this office is gonna help Angel get laid,” she mumbled glaring back over her shoulder at the stairs, “It’ll be me. Personally. Assuming I don’t stake him for not telling me about his soul.”
Cordelia put a hand on the doorknob, “Get laid, pfft!”
The door suddenly swung open dragging Cordelia inside along with it. She bumped into Angel’s solid frame and he quickly moved to steady her. “Did you just say that you wanted to get laid?”
Angel’s amused eyes twinkled as he took in her appearance. He let his dark gaze travel from the top of her tangled hair along her mud-enhanced garments to her polished bare toes.
“Laid?” Cordelia’s eyes flashed as she realized she’d awakened him with her pacing and muttering outside his bedroom door. Thinking fast, she commented, “Waylaid. I was waylaid on the sidewalk by two eight-year old demon children.”
“I can see that,” he smirked while shutting the door behind them. It wasn’t often she barged in on him when he was asleep, but Angel figured this might be enough to do it.
Taking her by the elbow, he started to maneuver her into the bathroom. Cordelia had mud streaked on her face and Angel couldn’t imagine her not wanting to clean up immediately. Only she wretched her arm out of his gentle grasp and whirled on him like a mini tornado sucking up all of the good humor he was experiencing at the sight of his beautiful seer in a less that perfectly coifed state.
“Don’t you try to be nice to me, buddy,” Cordelia poked him in the chest with her broken-heeled shoe. “You’re supposed to be my friend.”
She got him right on his breastbone showing in the gap between his hastily donned robe. Angel ignored the urge to rub the sore spot while responding, “I am.”
“Lies,” she huffed tossing the shoes on the carpet where they bounced haphazardly. “It’s all lies.”
Frowning, Angel thought hard. He was obviously on his way to the doghouse about something, but he couldn’t recall anything that might have pissed Cordelia off in the past twelve hours. “I haven’t lied about anything…recently.”
That statement only incensed Cordelia even more. “Hello! Darla. Isn’t there anything you want to tell me?”
Angel felt a moment of pure terror like none he’d felt since his soul was lost to bliss. The expectant look in Cordelia’s eyes made it seem clear. She knew. Only Angel was mistaken about one thing. She knows I slept with Darla. All that muttering about being laid…that was all about Darla.
“Cordy,” he reached out a hand to graze her arm, not quite holding her, but needing her to feel his sincerity through his touch. “It just happened. I felt nothing. There was only the cold left inside me and I needed something, anything to help me feel again. The darkness was in me and I only knew that I wanted it out.”
“Cryptic as ever, Angel,” Cordelia rolled her eyes as he spouted what sounded like nonsense. “Just tell me… why Darla?”
What possible connection the vampiress could have in securing his soul? How did she make it happen? Those were the questions Cordelia wanted answered, but Angel was on another tangent altogether.
“Darla— it was just meaningless sex,” Angel promised her only to watch as Cordelia’s hazel eyes opened up into wide saucers.
“Sex,” Cordelia felt her blood run cold and then hot again with anger. “Sex with Darla? Actual sex. You’re telling me that you had sex with Darla.”
The sudden escalation in her outrage confused the issue. It sounded as if Cordelia knew nothing about it. Angel realized that he’d somehow managed to tell Cordelia the one thing he’d been determined that she never know.
“Wasn’t that the lie you were talking about?”
“No,” she answered so slowly that the single syllable was drawn out extensively, one eyebrow arching dangerously. “I referred to an omission; not telling me something that you should’ve told me because that’s my right as your friend. It was something else entirely, even something forgivable. Quite the opposite of this outright, blatant, in-my-face lie about you sleeping with that vampire slut.”
“Shit.” The curse crudely made its way to his lips, a word rarely released by his own inner monologue, but the utterance of which only made his guilt more apparent.
Hands on her hips, Cordelia toes curled angrily into the carpet. The expression on his face combined with the visible cringing irked her. His lie about sex with Darla went a lot deeper than getting some. Cordelia could practically see the cogs churning in his head as he searched for something she would accept as an explanation.
“Don’t even try to get out of it,” she snapped at him. “The crap has already hit the fan, Angel.”
Asking for a little credit, Angel reminded her, “I’m trying to be honest now.”
“Scoring points a little late in the game, are we?” Cordelia rolled her eyes and huffed at the nerve he had in attempting his patented innocent puppy dog stare. “Try again. Meaningless my ass. To think that I…”
“What?” Angel asked hoping the question would throw her off track while he came up with a reasonable excuse. Only he felt certain an eternity of trying would still leave him empty-handed.
Cordelia bit back the words that would have revealed she had actually contemplated ‘exploring possibilities’ with him. A glance toward the rumpled bed behind them made her angry at herself for thinking about it. “I trusted you, Angel. Again, dammit. Even after everything you did. Firing us and being such a jerk. You lied to me!”
“It’s all in the past, Cor. Can’t you just let it go?” Angel’s eyes begged forgiveness as his hands moved along her shoulders. “We’ve come a long way in the last six months or so. Things have been okay between us lately. Haven’t they?”
“Until now,” Cordelia glared hotly and moved away from him. “What is it with you and blondes? Darla, Buffy, Kate and the list goes on. You’re like a super-conducting magnet attracting trouble in the form of clingy blondes.”
Angel wished she would just leave this alone, but after latching onto an argument it was unlikely that Cordelia would let it go. The only thing he could do was ride it out and hope for the best. Considering the subject matter, he wondered if it would take more than just a spontaneous gift of designer wear to mend this particular fence.
“You’re exaggerating. Besides, there was nothing like that between me and Kate,” he assured her.
Plopping down on his bed, Cordelia stretched out her legs in front of her, missing the vampire’s flinch as her mud-covered skirt contacted his sheets. “So cop lady isn’t the clingy type and apparently not into vampires, unlike certain other blondes.”
“Don’t bring Buffy into this,” warned Angel. He wasn’t about to get into a slanging match with Cordelia just to have the slayer’s name bandied about.
Cornelia stared down at her bare feet long enough to see that the mud had gotten into other places as well before glancing back up. To her, it seemed clear that Angel would never be completely over Buffy Summers. No matter what the guys might think. “It’s been more than three months, Angel. You say you’re alright, but are you? I just don’t see you ready to move beyond it. Certainly not as quickly as you moved beyond Darla.”
Angel crossed his arms over his broad chest, the move stretching the robe across his shoulders. The two situations were nothing alike. “I know you’re mad, but I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.”
“Sure you do,” countered Cordelia stubbornly. “Friends share things. Like truth. Like insights into their stupid behaviors.”
With a deep sigh, Angel pointed out, “Darla was my sire. I thought that I could save her, but I couldn’t. It wasn’t a happy time for any of us and I didn’t want to drag you down into the dark with me. Not any of my friends.”
Especially not you.
Cordelia’s anger simmered. “We belonged at your side, helping you.”
Walking over, Angel took hold of her chin tilting her face up to him again when she darted her eyes away. “You wouldn’t want to be there in the dark, Cordelia.”
“We were all there,” Cordelia told him. “None of us missed out on it.”
“Maybe you got a taste of it, but you have no idea how close I came to…,” Angel was unable to finish as Cordelia cut in on him. Just as well. She didn’t need to know how close she came to being the one he went to that night.
“Losing us forever?” Cordelia was oblivious to the angst in his eyes. “Wes, Gunn and I deserve to hear the truth when we ask for it, Angel.”
Angel nodded. “Your friendship is important to me and I won’t risk it again. Not for anything.”
“Just you remember that,” Cordelia leapt off the bed and stormed out leaving Angel behind.
She was already half way across the lobby when Wesley wandered out of his office. There was no sign of Gunn or Lorne within. Looking at her, Wes exclaimed, “My lord, Cordelia. What happened? Were you mugged?”
“Don’t ask,” Cordelia snapped as she stopped in her tracks, turning around to grab her purse from its place on her desk chair. “I’m taking the rest of the morning off.”
“Certainly,” Wes watched her go and then found himself turning to look over his shoulder. Sure enough, Angel was standing at the top of the stairs gazing in the direction of the doors.
Maybe sooner rather than later was a good time for that little chat.
Challenge by Impress:
While watching the movie ‘Uptown Girls’, Impress saw “a scene that screamed C/A”. To be set during BtVS 3, but I can put it anywhere (umm, so I did…AtS S3). Cordy attempts to seduce Angel, but all her attempts fall short because Angel is purposefully playing dumb. Then she remembers a secret weapon…Egyptian cotton sheets. Must include the line: “No man can resist 900 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.”