Buffy’s jaw dropped. “He asked you to WHAT?”
Cordelia pushed her weight forward, dropping onto her front foot and catching Buffy in the side with a spin kick. The blonde fell onto the training mat, the shocked expression still on her face. “Yup.”
Faith tightened her ponytail, placing her hands squarely on her hips. “That’s a lot to ask, Cor.”
“I know.” Cordy said, tight-lipped, lending Buffy a hand as she got to her feet. “Look, he said it was important to him. It’s what he wants.”
Buffy was quiet for a moment. “What do you want?”
“I want him.” Cordelia sighed, running a hand through her hair. “That’s all I know.”
“Probability is an odd thing.” Wesley said from the stairs, startling them all. His eyes were sad and knowing, the tiniest of smiles pulling at his lips. “But it does present opportunity and we’d be fools not to take it.”
Cordelia stared at him for a long moment, knowing that he was right, that there was a chance this could work and she’d rather go through with it than not know and live apart from Angel. The very thought made heart jerk so painfully she nearly shook with it. Slowly, she nodded.
“Very well then,” Wesley gestured for them to follow him upstairs to the office, “We’d best get started.”
“We will enter the building through the main lobby.” Wesley pointed at the appropriate area on the blueprint map of Wolfram & Heart, circling it in red. “This will be after hours, so there won’t be much traffic, however we WILL have to fight our way into the building, since the security guards aren’t particularly fond of us – ”
Buffy grinned. “Especially not the two who got their asses handed to them by a bunch of girls…”
“Quite.” Wesley nodded. “Angel confirms that they’ve heightened the security since then so I’ve recruited Kate, Riley and Xander to help us with this mission, as well as Willow, of course, to perform the spells once we’re down there. None of them are too shabby with the right hook and we’re going to need all the help we can get.”
Faith made a face. “Did you just say right hook?”
Wesley ignored her. “When Angel accessed the home office, it was through an elevator on the external wall of the building. However, that was because it was where he was at the time.”
“I’m not sure what the purpose of the glove is as yet but given the fact that we have the key and the coin, we should gain access to the home office regardless of the location in which we use them. As long as we’re on company soil, I doubt it’ll be a problem. Regardless, while Wolfram and Hart are unaware of who stole the two objects, they have been informed that they are missing. Since the list of potential candidates isn’t terribly long, it is likely they’ll be on high alert – ”
“As will we.” Cordelia said adamantly.
“Good to know.” Wesley glanced at her. “As I said, we’ll certainly benefit from the extra manpower.”
“What about Angel?” Buffy asked. “You said you didn’t want him to join us in the siege in case anyone got suspicious.”
“It’s just to be safe.” Wesley answered. “Considering he’s the CEO, it’s unlikely anyone is going to question his comings and goings but – ”
“Eve.” Cordelia spat the word out with so much venom that even Faith turned to stare at her.
“Hence the precaution,” Wesley said, drawing the attention back to him. He grinned boyishly. “My plan is…we kidnap him.”
Cordy’s eyebrows shot up. “Excuse me?”
Wesley chuckled. “Best to avoid suspicion. Once we storm the building, most of the employees will be long gone but those that remain shouldn’t see Angel with us willingly. They mustn’t know what we’re doing until it’s too late, heaven forbid they inform the senior partners.”
“Which they will,” Faith said, her voice laced with annoyance. Why was nothing ever simple?
“Yes, well, hopefully, if all goes according to plan, we’ll be long gone by then.”
Buffy tapped his chin thoughtfully. “So, what exactly happens when we get down there?”
Wesley hesitated, adjusting his glasses. “That’s the thing – I don’t know. I cannot tell you with absolute clarity what we’re going to encounter once we arrive.”
“Angel said it was similar to what he saw when he got into the elevator,” Cordelia said bemusedly, “But worse…like it was colder and darker, and more malevolent, like there was no hope.”
“Unsurprising,” Wesley nodded. “From what he told me, it seemed as though he was describing the tail side of a coin – the wickedness in people that balances out the good. But without the presence of the latter – ”
“Pure evil,” Faith finished for him. “You said that before, that there’s evil in all of us. That’s why we can access the home office.”
“It’s what makes us human, Faith,” Wes said softly. “As does the good.”
“So hell’s like earth but worse?” Buffy scratched her head. “This hurts my brain.”
Cordelia laughed. Then she paused, frowning. “Earth’s a hell of a big place to look for Angel’s contract.” She cleared her throat. “Pardon the pun.”
Wesley sighed, leaning back in his seat. “We won’t know until we get there. We’ll just have to work it out as we go. Once we’re in, Willow will take over with the breaking of the contract and the restoration of Angel’s soul. It’ll be up to us to protect her and Angel while she’s conjuring from whatever may be down there.”
Faith cocked an eyebrow. “You hate going in without a plan.”
“I’ve planned as much as I can,” Wes said. “The rest is still unwritten.”
Angel parked his car between Cordy’s Porsche and Mercedes Convertible, enjoying the crunch of the patio stones beneath his shoes. He loosened his tie, walking around the back of the house as she had asked him to on the phone. He found the side gate open and followed the narrow path that led to the beach, the glorious scent of the ocean hitting him as he stepped out onto the sand.
The sight before him made him pause, his heart leaping into his throat.
A Japanese table was laid atop a colourful silk carpet, two champagne flutes sitting neatly on one end of it. There were candles adorning all four corners, circling the carpet below in a bright and majestic O. A tent was set up just outside the circle, barely visible against the black of the ocean had it not been for the candles lit inside it. Beside the tent was a silver cooler, a vintage bottle of Dom Perignon hidden beneath the ice.
Cordelia stood barefooted in the sand, more beautiful than Angel had ever seen her, her midnight-blue ankle-length summer dress flowing elegantly in the breeze. She had pulled back her hair with pins, soft tendrils falling into her face, her eyes smoky in the glow of candlelight.
Angel felt his heart grow tight in his chest, as taken by her now as the moment he first laid eyes on her – enthralled by her beauty, her grace, her spirit.
Effortlessly, his feet carried him to her, his arms wrapping around her when she sought him. “What’s all this?”
“This…” Cordelia sighed, smiling, though she was blinking frantically, “Is a celebration.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “Of?”
Cordy grasped his hand and led him onto the silk carpet. He kicked off his shoes and sat down beside her, holding out the flutes when she retrieved the champagne from the bucket. The cork was released with a deafening pop and she smiled softly, pouring the golden bubbly into both glasses.
“I don’t know.” She said honestly, once she’d taken her glass from him. “It’s either the beginning or the end.” She touched his temple, stroking downwards until she’d palmed his cheek. “What I do know is that I love you. And no matter what happens tomorrow, I will never regret this.”
Angel watched her eyes close over the combined joy and sadness, his own sliding shut when she kissed him, slow and deep. Emotion was a fist in his gut, potent and deadly, and he was surprised when he felt wetness against his cheeks. Immediately, he pulled back to console her, only to find her staring at him in astonishment.
“Don’t…” Cordy whispered, and it took him a moment to realize that they were his tears, not hers. She wiped them away with her fingers, dropping a kiss onto his cheekbone. “Not tonight.”
Angel swallowed, the turmoil inside him near unbearable. He’d spent the last two days consoling and reassuring her, putting aside the complicated map of sentiment within his own heart. Fear and longing, hope and heartbreak – they warred against each other, unforgotten inside him.
“Angel…” Cordelia murmured, raising her glass to his. Her eyes told him all she wanted – for him to be happy. For THEM to be happy…if only for tonight. “I love you.”
“I love you.” He replied without hesitation. “I love everything about you.”
She clinked their flutes together, locking her eyes with his as she sipped. When he looked down, she made an odd strangled sound in her throat.
Angel glanced at her. “What?”
“You’re supposed to maintain eye contact.” Cordelia told him matter-of-factly. “Otherwise it’s seven years of bad sex.”
The darkness lifted, Angel couldn’t help but grin, his ego swelling as a revelation resurfaced in his memory. He leaned forward, nipping her plump lower lip. “The best sex you’ve ever had isn’t suddenly gonna turn bad, Cor.”
“I am gonna kill Riley…” She grumbled, though it was without much bite, her voice husky and dreamlike. “You two need to stop sharing.” She ran a hand through his hair as he pinched the skin of her jaw between his teeth. “Plus, you never know…”
Angel dipped his tongue into the hollow of her throat, breathing her in. “Maybe we should, you know, make sure.”
Laughter bubbled out of Cordelia’s throat, recalling the words he’d said to her during their first time together. “Maybe.”
Buffy grinned when Xander flopped down beside her, sending the couch flying back a few inches. She patted his stomach, taking the bowl of ice-cream from him. “Maybe you ought to hold off on the sugar…lest you scratch your signature into my floor.”
Xander narrowed his eyes. “Was that a fat remark?”
“Maybe.” Buffy swallowed a spoonful of ice-cream, her lips curling into a smile. “You know I like my men lean.”
“And mean.” Xander quipped, shaking his head in memory. “Spike would have fit that category.”
Buffy bit her lip, resisting the urge to laugh. “Are you jealous of Spike?”
Xander made a face, though by the way he hmphed and pffted his way through the sentence, she took that as an affirmative.
“You know I love you, Xander,” She cupped his cheek, pressing a kiss to his mouth. “What we have is so much more than any of that.”
Xander nodded, pushing a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “I love you too.” He leaned forward, initiating a kiss of his own, his lips lingering against hers for a heartbeat.
Their eyes locked, the clock ticking noisily behind them, two hearts caught in the moment. Time slowed and raced in an instant as Buffy reached for him eagerly, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him with fervour. The ice-cream bowl fell forgotten to the floor but she couldn’t care less about stains or ants as Xander lifted her into his lap, his mouth hungry beneath hers.
“Xander – ” Her breath caught in her throat, body rubbing his like a cat begging to be petted, hands pulling at his chequered shirt. Xander peeled the cardigan from her body, his hands everywhere at once, caressing skin that goosebumped beneath his fingers.
Buffy pushed herself into his hands, wrestling with his belt buckle and throwing it to the floor beside the ice-cream. She pulled his mouth to hers, kissing him with all the love she felt in her heart, and all the combined fear and adrenalin that came before a case.
“Take me inside,” She whispered in his ear, sucking the lobe into her mouth and crying out when he bucked beneath her, hitting a sensitive spot. “Oh! Xander…”
He lifted her in his arms, carrying her smoothly to her bedroom and shutting the door.
Her back hit the soft cashmere blanket as Angel lowered her into the tent, candles flickering on either side of them. Cordelia had laid down sleeping bags and cushions on the sand, the tent cocooning them in their own private heaven.
Angel pressed kisses to her shut eyelids, her nose, her throat, seeking out her lips and kissing her gently, pouring love into her, fuel to the fire. Cordelia palmed his face, wrapping her leg around his calf, sliding it down till he arched his back.
Her hands plucked at his shirt, pulled the fabric up and out of his pants until she found skin, muscles taut and jumping beneath her fingers. He was built as hard as rock, solid bone and powerful muscle beneath ivory smooth skin. She couldn’t seem to get enough, touch enough, taste enough –
Her nails slid down the length of his back, hips arching into him. Angel growled, his kiss deeper, darker.
Cordelia moaned when his hand brushed her thigh, fingers grasping beneath her knee and pulling her into him, hips rolling so she felt him throb against her. Angel slid his fingers up her dress, taking it with him, trailing the fabric up her leg until one side was bunched up between them. Cordelia pushed his shirt up, sucking in a breath when he raised himself onto this arms, muscles tense and defined, flanking her body.
In a swift, graceful movement, he pulled the shirt off his body, returning to her. His hands cradled her head, fingers slowly, carefully pulling the pins out of her hair. Cordy closed her eyes, delighting when he pressed his lips to her throat, her scalp tingling under his touch as her hair fell free around her.
“Angel…” She groaned, needing him closer, her body aching for him. Her hands cupped his neck, traced the steel edge of his collarbone, lips following pursuit. Knowing the effect it would have on him, Cordelia scraped her teeth against his would-be pulse point.
Angel bucked, fingers tightening around her thigh, his body pinning hers to the sand. Cordy’s eyes widened as she felt him against her, swollen, ready, even through barriers of clothing – her body trembled, feminine desire coursing through her, so strong it was nearly her undoing.
She palmed his ass, pushing him further into the v of her thighs, trying to get across the message. Angel grinned wickedly, a glint in his eye as he descended down her body, a predator upon his prey. He nipped at the exposed flesh the low cut dress allowed, dragging his teeth along her covered stomach, biting the skin below her belly button.
Cordelia arched, thighs rubbing together, her body warm, wet –
She could smell it, taste in on the air. Angel’s eyes were yellow, locked with hers as he pulled up the other side of her dress, sliding her panties down. Arousal hummed inside her belly as she arched, groaning, touching her nipples when they hardened for relief.
Angel kissed her thigh, pressing his nose to flawless, olive skin, breathing her in. It only served to arouse her further, a whimper escaping when finally, she felt him, rough and wet against her most intimate flesh, kissing it as though it would kiss back, quelling the heat and yet sparking the need for more.
An inferno built in her womb, scorching, molten hot – Cordelia fisted a hand in his hair, willing him to go deeper, harder, rougher. Angel flicked his tongue over her clit, sucking it into his mouth and she moaned loudly, succumbing, her body giving itself over to its master.
She was unbearably close when he pulled away, lips trailing liquid fire along the flat plane of her stomach, once again dragging the dress up with him. Cordelia wrapped her legs around him, squeezing hard, ceasing his ascent. Angel’s eyes were wicked when they met hers, mischievous but intense, and black as oblivion. Her body trembled with need, desperate for release, eyes questioning and furious as to why he’d stopped. She didn’t trust herself to speak, so she was grateful when he did.
“If tonight is it,” Angel murmured, sliding her dress smoothly over her arms and dropping it beside her head. “If this is all I get before I’m gone,” His fangs elongated and he ran them over her nipple, suckling at the flesh until her blood rose to the surface. Cordelia mewled, breath catching in the back of her throat. “Then I want to take my time. I want you to remember me… to remember this.”
He slid a finger into her, holding her down with the weight of his body when her hips shot off the ground, his free hand cupping her face. “If this is all I get and you’re ever with another man,” Angel’s eyes went amber, flashing sudden rage and possession in a way that shocked and aroused her all at once. “I want you to remember the way I touched you when he does…”
A second finger went into her like butter, stretching her, filling her deep. Cordelia’s eyes closed, stars tapping her eyelids, nerves tingling and electric inside her. “I want you to remember the way I taste,” He kissed her, fucked her mouth with his, his tongue greedy, devouring. “I want you to remember the way I made you feel…the way you wanted me…”
She came apart at the seams, colour after vivid colour blinding her, her heart exploding. Her body, pulled taut during his onslaught, felt weightless. Cordy opened her eyes, finding him staring at her, mesmerised, his lips curved into a satisfied smile.
“You’re an ass,” She mumbled, finding the energy to drag her foot up his still clothed leg, sliding her knee between his two. The added room allowed her to slide her hand down; unabashed, she cupped him, enjoying the way his eyes nearly rolled back in his head, his groan echoing in the space between them.
Angel’s voice was strained, hoarse, and she found herself smiling. “Hmm?”
He palmed her face, brought his own down with unhidden zeal. “Kiss me.”
Kate’s body was warm beside his, her face soft and contented. Wesley pressed his lips to her exposed shoulder, wrapping his arms around her tighter.
“I’m glad we finally got time to do this…” Wes murmured, pressing his cheek against hers.
Kate giggled, a childish sound so unlike her that it made him grin. “Me too.” She turned in his arms, palm stroking down the side of his face. “Possible last night on earth an’ all…”
“Kate…” Wesley chastised, his brow scrunching up, heart hammering in his chest at the very thought.
Kate only shrugged, snuggling deeper into him, her body jerking defensively when the phone rang, sharp and shrill through the apartment.
Wesley shuffled out of bed for it, grabbing the receiver from the side table. His legs tangled up in the sheet and he went down quite suddenly, collapsing in a tangled heap on the floor.
“Wesley!” Kate leaned over the side of the bed, touching his face as he groaned. “Wesley, are you okay?”
“Jesus…” Faith’s voice sounded faintly through the abandoned receiver, undoubtedly irate as they both did nothing but stare at it. “Talk about turning tables. Is EVERYBODY having sex?!”
Shivers danced across his spine as Cordy slid her hand into his now unbuttoned slacks, hooking her fingers into his boxers. Slowly, she pushed them down, painting her tongue around his ear, telling him how much she wanted him inside her.
Angel closed his eyes, feeling the reigns slip out of his hands as he struggled for control. For a moment, laughter rung in his ears, cold and evil, and then, just as quickly, it was gone, Cordelia’s breath against his jaw. He kissed her deeply, putting all the love and lust and gratitude he felt into it.
His pants were around his knees and he kicked them off, reaching for her. Cordelia slid down the blanket as he grasped her ankles, pulling her towards him, his body firm, throbbing. He pinned her hands above her head, wrapped her legs around his waist and thrust into her, hard, once, bottoming out. Cordelia whimpered, head flying back with reckless abandon, back arching to accommodate him. Her body fit his like a glove as she stretched out over him, hot and wet and incredible.
Slowly, he began to move his hips, thrilled by the brush of her belly against his, by the sweat that coated her fingers as they intertwined with his. Angel turned his face against her cheek, murmuring sweet nothings into her ear as he thrust into her, deep and hard and slow.
Cordy bent her knees, shifting the angle, pushing back with mirrored passion. Her nails scraped down his back, hastening his movement, his heart, body and soul a part of her.
They kissed like midnight, hungry, starving, Cordelia’s breath heaving as their bodies danced, muscles contorting, pleasure a tightening coil in his stomach. The base of Angel’s spine tingled, fireworks lighting up inside him, every nerve on edge and electric as livewire.
He palmed her ass, loved the feel of it in his hands, noting the way the gesture hit a spot inside her, making her groan. Angel did it again, felt her contract around him, nails biting into his shoulder, the gasp caught in her throat.
His body reacted, tautening, squeezing, overheating, his chest slicked with sweat. Cordelia cried out, hips undulating, causing friction. Hot white light danced behind his eyelids, an explosion of colour, heat and radiance; freedom, release. He came down from the high with her arms around him, her beauty lit by the glow of candlelight.
It wouldn’t have mattered. Angel had memorised her – every line of her face, the wondrous curve of her jaw. Her eyes were dreamlike beneath him and he kissed her again, savouring the moment.
“You never told me…” Cordelia said, breathing hard against Angel’s chest as they lay inside the tent, sated in each others’ arms. “Considering you have a lot more candidates than I do…who was the best sex you ever had?”
Angel laughed, leaning his head back against the blankets. He lifted an arm, resting it behind him and propping himself up. “You really have to ask?”
“Please.” Cordelia rolled her eyes, resting her chin between his pectorals. “You’ve slept with two centuries of women, a small percentage of whom were probably professionals. You really expect me to believe it’s ME?”
Angel cupped her cheek, rubbing a thumb over her lips, his eyes flashing with lust when she nipped it. “Sex is…sex. It’s almost always good or great, or even unbelievable. But sex with the woman you love?”
He pulled her up so they were face to face, their lips barely brushing. “It’s indescribable. There’s nothing like it.” Their eyes locked and he felt his heart jolt, felt the hazy contentment of after-sex laced with the warm glow of love. “There’s nothing like you.”
Cordelia’s lips spread into a breathtaking smile, her mouth catching his. “Good answer.”