“I’m home, Dennis,” Cordelia bellowed to her resident ghostly roommate. The usual tinkling of the glassware that normally greeted her was absent. “Stop staring. Trust me when I say that I’ve had better mornings. Run me a bath, would you? Make it hot.”
Splashing water sounded almost immediately following her request rumbling through the pipes into the bathtub. By the time Cordelia reached the open door, Dennis was already adding bubbles and scented oils to the mix, the containers floating midair.
“Oh God!” Cordelia gasped as she stared into the rapidly fogging mirror. “I look like a reject from skid row. Rat woman. It’s no wonder Angel didn’t take me seriously.”
Pulling out the clips from her hair, she let it tumble down, grabbing her brush and stroking through the thick tresses until the tangles were gone. At least it was still clean, she thought. Grabbing a scrunchie hair band from the counter top, Cordelia tied her hair up in a high doubled-up ponytail.
The taps turned off when the tub was full, bubbles piled high. Cordelia shimmied out of her clothing, kicking it into a pile in the corner where the ghost immediately swept it away. He was back by the time she sunk into the tub, a long sigh sounding on her lips.
“You won’t believe what I found out today,” Cordelia told him as she reached for the loofah floating in front of her.
After Cordelia imparted the entire story to the ghost, Dennis responded by drawing on the foggy mirror. When he was finished, Cordy found herself staring at a heart with the initials C and A written into the center. Gaping, Cordelia determined not to think about that anymore.
“Don’t even suggest it,” she scooped up a handful of bubbles and blew them in the direction of the mirror’s message. “I was crazy for thinking about it in the first place. Angel has that whole blonde fixation. Plus, I’m mad at him right now.”
The mirror steamed over again and the word, “SO,” appeared across its surface.
“What if he isn’t attracted to me?” Cordelia asked and almost immediately detracted the question. “Pfft! What am I saying? I am Cordelia Chase.”
Several candles piled at the corner of the bathtub flamed to life flickering high. A sign that Dennis agreed. “It’s just that I’m supposed to be in love with Groo. He’s back in Pylea. I’m here. I haven’t thought about him in months.”
The candlelight died leaving a smoky trail behind. Dennis never much liked Cordelia’s stories about Pylea. At least not the ones involving the Groosalugg.
She stared at the dark puffs of smoke, thinking back to Pylea and how quickly she’d let herself get caught up by Groo’s kindness, honesty and innocence. Seeing him fighting Angel and knowing Groo was an undefeated champion, she’d been afraid to face the feelings that battle stirred up inside her.
Leaping between them, Cordelia attempted to put a stop to it before one or both of them were killed. Then her own traitorous voice had called out claiming to love Groo. For the moment, her heart and mind had believed it, but now Cordelia wondered if it wasn’t all just avoidance.
Running into Angel’s arms that night and telling him that she needed him would have been, in Wes’ words, completely unacceptable.
The vampire bought the act if it was one even when Cordelia chose to return with him rather than remain in Pylea as a princess. That might have clued Angel in if he’d chosen to pay attention, but he had his own distractions upon getting home again. Willow had been waiting with the terrible news of Buffy’s death and he’d taken off for the snowy mountains of Tibet.
Maybe three months was just a bump in the road to a vampire at one with eternity, but it was more than enough time for Cordelia to realize that Groo wasn’t important to her in the way that Angel was important. She had a life and a mission here with Angel.
More than that.
The whole eavesdropping experience made it clear that Cordelia didn’t think anyone was good enough for Angel. Unless it was her. She’d raced upstairs so angry with him for keeping information from her and then discovering he’d lied to her about Darla. Her anger wasn’t all about the lie itself.
“I was jealous, Dennis,” she finally admitted aloud. “Even if it meant nothing, there was something there. It saved his soul.”
Cordelia curled her arms around her bent knees hugging them close to her chest. “I wasn’t part of that. Shouldn’t I have been part of that?”
The ghost had nothing to say.
“Geez, just listen to me. I sound like I’m in love with him,” Cordelia rolled her eyes and stared up at the ceiling laughing at her own observation.
Only the words didn’t sound so amusing when she thought about it again and stared silently back at the mirror where Dennis was again drawing a heart. Maybe she’d thought about the possibility a few times, but always ruled it out as being the bonds of their friendship. “No, no, no, I can’t be in love with him. He’s a hottie. Yes, I find him attractive. I even fully admit that I don’t want him to have sex with anyone else, but love?”
The more she thought about it, the less weird it sounded. When had her feelings of friendship changed? This morning when Gunn, Wes and Lorne went all matchmaker? No, it had to be before then. Before Pylea when Groo became a convenient way of keeping the line between friendship and something more firmly in place.
Even before Darla’s return.
Cordelia admitted to herself that her reaction to the news about Angel sleeping with Darla was all about anger and jealousy. It was the reason she’d asked him the damn question in the first place. She’d been so relieved when he’d answered no.
“Omigod, Dennis! This can’t be true,” Cordelia realized that being in love with her best friend would change everything.
Her momentary wild thoughts about not letting anyone except her have him returned with a determination that drowned out the remaining shreds of her anger.
Full of wonderment, she whispered acknowledgment of the feelings tucked around her heart like a warm hand, “I’m in love with Angel.”
The candles flamed to life again startling Cordelia who kicked out her legs sending a wave of bubbly water dousing the flickering light. The sudden deluge brought a smile to her face and the bathroom resonated with spurts of giggly delight.
“Do you believe it, Dennis? I’m in love with Angel.”
If the ghost could have sounded a sigh, he would have done so. He’d known that for months.
“The guys seem to think Angel is ready for a new relationship,” Cordelia told Dennis as the happiness of discovery turned serious. “I guess there’s only one way to find out.”