Cordelia stood in front of her dresser, staring at her reflection. Her hair was a tangle from her bat out of hell ride through town and her Olympian sprint up the stairs to her apartment. She looked down at Angel’s shirt, hanging off her body, the top three buttons left undone.
Shadowy cleavage showed slightly when she moved, hinting at ripe curves beneath the black silk. She smiled without humor, remembering a chant she and Harmony found hilarious at slumber parties……
I hear ya knockin’ but ya can’t come in…I’m in my nighty and it’s oh so thin….I need the money but it’s such a sin…forget the money honey come on in….
Wow. Saying it was a lot funnier than living it. She fiddled with the buttons on the shirt a bit, then grinned darkly and unbuttoned a fourth button. He was so toast. He was beyond toast. He was the piece of charcoal that had been left in the toaster too long.
Oh god. She had sat there and fallen like some stupid lovesick girl…because he was freakin’ faking sincerity. He was conning her completely. He thought all he had to do was say some nice in touch with his feminine side things and she’d just fly right over there.
Kind of like she really did, actually. She sighed. This sucked. He had made her feel so good….so wanted.
And he was lying. He really did just want to screw her. She closed her eyes. They were done. So, so done. And she was done. Her career as a seer/demon target/paranormal ick fighter was over. She was going to pack up the jeep, figure out how to pack up Dennis, and she was just going to…..
The solid knock at her door startled her out of her thoughts. She took a breath to compose herself and looked at the clock. 47 minutes. Wow. Took longer than she thought he would. She strolled down the short hall and stood 6 feet back from the door. She waited until the second, harder knock sounded before calmly saying, “Dennis. The door, please.”
The door slowly swung open. If Cordy didn’t know better, she would have sworn there was almost an air of amusement hovering over the apartment, as if Dennis were highly entertained by those wacky corporeal beings. She leaned a little, resting one hand on her hip, and watched as the door slowly opened, revealing Angel, standing outside, looking angry.
Angry as he could, considering he was wearing a pair of Wesley’s lycra bike shorts that Cordelia had laughed so hard at Wesley had never worn them again, topped with an ancient and ragged Barry Manilow concert tshirt. Cordy closed her eyes, trying to not laugh.
Angel glared at her. He felt completely stupid and he wanted his clothes back. And these shorts itched. He wanted his slacks. And he wanted his shirts. Like the one Cordy was wearing. The one she was wearing….over….he blinked. Over apparently nothing.
The lights in the apartment were dimmed just enough to glow around her, over the long, sleek length of her bare legs….bare, smooth, tanned legs that seemed to go on forever. The shirttails rounded out midthigh on her, and the black silk draped loosely around her body, hinting at the firm curves beneath.
His gaze stopped at the vee between her breasts…just under them, actually. He could see the slope of a curved mound…the tempting shadow between…..his eyes raised to hers. Cool. Soo soooooo cool. Beyond cool. The daggers shooting out at him from the hazel depths were icicle shards, my friend, and Angel knew that tonight was no longer his favorite word. Because tonight sucked.
“No, thank you.” He glared at her a bit.
“I…..didn’t know what to say. I wanted it to be right….”
She held up a small index card and looked down at it. “I know you’re sorry, Angel, and I know you had the best of intentions…” She read in a flat monotone. “But I feel, and I’m sure you agree, that faking sincerity puts a damper on relationship honesty.” She tossed the card at him and he caught it, glancing down and frowning at the highlighted note at the end…’inject venom here’.”
“C’mon, Cordelia. This is new for me. I’m completely in the dark with this. I…”
Cordelia glanced down at the next card in her hand. “Yes, Angel, I know that even for being a worldly and well traveled Man of 250 plus years you are still strangely emotionally crippled and completely clueless when it comes to women and you do not have the mental capability necessary to have a meaningful conversation, let alone an ongoing relationship.” And she tossed that one at him, too. He sighed.
“I am so tired of this.” She dropped her hand and the rest of the cards fluttered to the floor. “I am so tired of the two steps forward, three steps back. I was honest, and open, and bared my freakin’ heart to you, dickhead, and you turned it into a joke. Were you just sitting there, rubbing your hands together in glee as Cordy the Brainless fell into your trap? Did you take the time to call some of your friends in low places and gloat at the bimbo you had reeled in?”
Angel looked shocked. “God, Cordy, that wasn’t at all….”
“Shut up.” Angrily, she felt tears gathering in her eyes. “Shut up shut up shut up. Do you think I’d care about anything you said right now? Oh, you can’t…you don’t have your fucking cheat sheet.”
“Cordy…” He fell silent. He looked down for the longest time, feeling his chances all slipping away. “Cordy, you’re right. I’m emotionally unable to do this…at least do it well. The only major relationships I’ve had have been with a bitter, sadistic vampire bitch, another with a deranged psychopath vampire, and an 18 year old slayer who sent me to hell for 100 years. My record’s not that good.” Silence.
“Now here I am. Trying to court a woman whose queen of all she sees, doesn’t take my crap, and has somehow managed to become more important to me than breathing is to her. And I have to do it with her two big brothers watching over me and a green Pylean ready to slice and dice me if I screw it up. You don’t think I want it perfect? Shit.” He shook his head.
She looked at him steadily. He sighed. “Give me my clothes, Cordy, and we’ll call it a day. “
She held still, not moving for the longest time. Finally, she spoke, her voice a little husky. “I’m good, but I’m not that good. Your clothes are all over the floor in the room across the hall from yours.” Angel gave a mirthless snort and shook his head, turning to go. “Angel…..”
He turned to face her, a bleakness settling in the depths of his eyes. She stood in the same place, her eyes fixed fiercely on his face.
“Don’t you want this shirt?”
“Oh. Yeah. Just bring it with you when….” His voice broke off as she slowly reached up and unfastened the button just under her breasts….then the one under that…then the next…and finally the last button. Her hands slowly trailed back up to the parted panels of the shirt and she shrugged it off, feeling it slide down her arms. She stood there, nude, and gripped his shirt in one hand.
He felt all sensation in his body pool between his legs. He heard her heart thumping faster and faster as he stood there and stared at her body, taut and sleek and elegant. She tossed the shirt across the small distance and he absently caught it in his nerveless fingers, holding it loosely as he drank in the sight of Queen Cordelia in all her glory. Maybe his only glance at paradise…he better commit it to memory.
Cordelia stood there, her heart racing, as she felt Angel’s gaze caress her body…felt despair begin to blanket his body. Her soul tugged a bit as she saw him, really saw him, trying to live a life foreign and different than any he’d known. She didn’t have to take his crap, and she didn’t have to be a complete idiot, either.
He’d been in the dark for so so long. Maybe it was time she led him into the light.
They both stood there, transfixed by the moment. Cordelia gave a small smile and turned towards the hallway. Strolling a couple of steps, she tossed back over her shoulder in a soft and husky whisper…
“Come on in, Angel….”