Cordelia moved forward making the small cart swing back and forth. She smiled at Angel. “Isn’t it beautiful up here. It’s higher than the roof of the Hyperion. You can see everything.”
“Beautiful.” Angel smiled at his seer. She really was beautiful. “Um, Cordy, don’t lean so much.” Angel cleared his throat. Cordelia kept hanging over the edge of the cart. She could fall.
“I’m…” Cordelia was about to say she was fine. But Angel was getting that weird protective look and she didn’t want to argue with him. She settled next to Angel, her hand reaching for Angel’s. “So. Are you having fun?”
Angel glanced down at the small hand holding his larger one then up to Cordelia. “Yes.”
“Mmm.” Cordelia sighed. “I told you so.”
Warmth flowed through Angel’s body as he heard her small sigh. Cordelia was content. Bob’s article said that in that situation the best thing to do was not move.
“You cold?” Angel frowned at Cordelia’s slight shiver.
“A little, it’s chilly up here.”
Angel brought his arm around Cordelia, tucking her in the crook of his arm, pulling his jacket part way around. “Better?”
Another small sound escaped Cordelia’s lips as she snuggled closer hugging her stuffed animal to her chest.
Angel smiled softly and stared out as the world slowly went up and down as the Ferris turned in it’s slow circular path, the sounds of the carnival faded leaving nothing but Cordelia’s small breaths and steady heartbeat. This was more than fun. Angel felt like he was on top of the world.
Warmth and peace radiated into him from the young woman pressed close. He tightened his hold on Cordelia.
“Hey don’t mush Kitty.” But Cordelia didn’t move away, her voice barely a whisper.
“Of course.” Angel pulled the squished animal out between their bodies and placed it safely on his lap.
The silence of contentment came again and remained between them as the ride came to an end.
“That was too quick.” Cordelia’s tone was wistful.
Angel nodded in complete agreement. “Again.” He shoved some cash at the young attendant that came to unlock their cart.
The young man rolled his eyes but took the money. He was going to make a killing tonight. The leather-coated guy hadn’t been the only one that had paid to keep their date on the Ferris wheel. And the kid couldn’t blame this guy, the chick was a babe.
The attendant counted the extra money Angel had given him. Wow. The guy just bought as many turns as he wanted. That guy definitely wanted to get lucky tonight. Well, for that price the kid would help him out. There was nothing like stopping the wheel at the very top for a good while. It never failed.
“Hey, Angel and Cordy didn’t get off.” Gunn pointed as the Ferris wheel started up again.
“You can see everything from up there. It’s so fun. Wow. Angel must have liked it. He’s having fun. I’ll bet he’s glad he changed his mind.” Fred said.
“It seems so.” Wesley contemplated the ride, trying to keep track of the cart that held Angel and Cordelia. Wesley just hoped that Angel wouldn’t screw it up. If he misread Cordy just once up there, things could go bad.
“Hey, Fred do you want to go again. I’ll go.”
Wesley shot Gunn a dirty look. “Or maybe you’re hungry. All you’ve had was some cotton candy? Maybe we can find some tacos.”
Fred considered. “Do you think they have corn dogs?”
Fred shook her head. “I had corn dogs when I was a kid at the fair.”
“Corn dogs it is then. Let’s go looking for the dogs on the stick. We’ll catch up with Angel and Cordy later.”
“Angel? You gave him money, real money?” Arching her brow as the young attendant scurried off without letting them out.
“It’s fun. You didn’t want to get off. Did you? You’re not too cold?”
“No. Where’s my cheapsake?” Curiosity and surprise apparent on her face.
“I’m not a cheapsake, I just know a value of a dollar. I don’t waste it on frivolous things. “
“Uhuh.” The elegant brow arched again, this time at the stuff kitten cuddled between them.
Angel noticed her look and squirmed. “It’s squishy.”
“Therefore not frivolous, I understand.” A small smile played over her lips.
Angel shrugged. “You wanted it.”
“Oh.” Her small smile became wide as she settled back into his side. “Um. Angel.”
“I want a car.”
She couldn’t be serious. Angel looked down. Cordy would probably want a really expensive one. “Cordy…” He stopped as Cordelia’s eyes twinkled in undisguised humor. “Maybe there’s a used bumper car we could pick up.” He finished.
“You were actually considering it.” Cordelia laughed.
“I was not.”
“Were to. What a Goof.”
“Is that better than a dork?”
“Marginally. Angel.” Cordelia said suddenly serious.
Questioningly, Angel looked down.
“Thank you for coming to the carnival, for kitty, for this.” Pointing out to the ever-circling horizon.
His chest constricted as her gaze locked on to his. Angel was forced to expel air that had somehow got trapped in his throat at the warmth and sincerity that radiated from her eyes. Angel tried to respond, to say your welcome, but the beauty of her smile stole his voice. He gulped, finally managing a small smile.
It seemed sufficient. Cordelia leaned back into Angel’s chest, giving off a content sigh.
Cordelia pressed her head against Angel’s chest. Angel couldn’t help ,it is hand automatically went to her hair his fingers brushing at the strands of silk.
“You’re so quiet and still, no breathing, no heart beating, it’s creepy.”
Angel’s fingers stopped. He didn’t want to be creepy not with Cordelia. But she hadn’t sounded like she was creeped out. Her tone was soft. And her head was still lying on his chest.
“I know, creepy. But weird.”
“Creepy and weird isn’t the same thing?”
“No, it’s weird how something creepy can be so comforting. I feel safe. Though I guess, I shouldn’t should I.”
“Cordelia, I’ll always keep you safe.”
“You’ll try. But you can’t guarantee it, no one can. And then there is the Angelus factor. Always got to be on guard for the evil one. But, still I feel safe. Weird, uh.”
Angel was happy. Cordelia was a realist, yet even knowing the inherent dangers in their fight for the powers and the possibility of Angelus, she still felt safe with him. She believed in him. Angel had been called many things over the centuries, comforting had never been one of them, but Cordelia was comforted by him.
It was amazing. She was amazing. No one had ever fought him or for him with such resolve. She tried daily to brighten his life with laughter and fun.
No one had ever cared so much for his well-being. Angel wanted to tell the young woman how happy she made him. But first, he had better clear up the Angelus issue. Cordelia was right in that he couldn’t guarantee her safety completely, though he would die trying. But, he could ease her mind over Angelus.
Angel just hoped that she wouldn’t classify it as lying. He hadn’t lied, he just hadn’t told. Maybe, she would see the distinction and not get mad. He hoped so because nothing had ever been as perfect as this slow ride. Angel hesitated
He didn’t want to ruin the moment, but he would have to tell her eventually. It might as well be now when she was in a good mood and feeling charitable towards him. Angel gently pulled Cordelia away and took a deep breath. “My soul is permanent.”
Cordelia blinked, then shook her head slamming her jaw shut.
“Did you just say that your soul is permanent, as in no more Angelus?”
Angel was not at all comforted by the way she shot up out of his arms. “Well, no more soulless demon. I’m still dead and ‘creepy’.”
“How come I don’t know this?” Cordelia scooted away from Angel, her brows arched.
Angel started to fidget again. He really should have told her when he found out. He started to make a joke about her already knowing that he was dead and creepy, but her glare changed his mind. “I found out after my epiphany.”
“You got your soul bound because you had sex with…with what’s her name. No wonder you didn’t tell me.”
Angel’s fidgeting became more pronounced.
“Hey, don’t hurt Kitty.” Cordelia snatched the stuff animal from Angel’s twisting grip.
“Sorry.” He patted at the stuff animal until he realized that he was trying to soothe a toy.
Angel brought his hands back and shoved them into his coat pockets. “Darla didn’t bind my soul. I don’t know how or why exactly, but I do know it wasn’t because I had sex with her. Lorne’s not sure why, but he did confirm after a couple really bad versions of ‘Soul Man’.” Trying to bring humor to a conversation that was beginning to have the makings of a train wreck.
“Eww. I told you that I never wanted to hear her name again.”
“Sorry, and that’s why I didn’t tell you when I found out. It would’ve brought it all back up again. And things were going so well between us. We were friends again. That’s all.”
“That’s all? I’ve been calling you an eunuch because of the whole ‘can’t have sex or Angelus’ thing and you let me.” Cordelia felt like a fool.
“I told you I wasn’t a eunuch.”
“You didn’t tell me why.”
“I’ve never been a eunuch, Cordelia.” This fixation of Cordelia’s that he was a eunuch was really beginning to frustrate him.
“No, you haven’t have you?”
“Now, why are you mad? Why is so important that you think of me as a eunuch?”
Cordelia hugged at her chest and scooted as far away as the cart would allow, still glaring. Cordelia didn’t know who she was madder at Angel or herself or more importantly why she was so mad. No threat of Angelus was a good thing, not bad. Why did she wish that Angel hadn’t…no, she couldn’t wish that he never received a permanent soul, she just wished that Angel had never told her.
Why was it so important that Cordelia continue to think of Angel as a non-sexual person? Even after finding out about Darla and the furies, she still called him eunuch, still thought of him that way. And it had been easy, because of the then still real threat of Angelus.
Why, did she need to keep thinking it? Cordelia didn’t know or want to know for that matter.
“Why aren’t we moving?” Cordelia looked down from their high position. Great. They were stuck on the Ferris wheel. Cordelia really wanted to leave now.
“Cordelia answer my question.”
“No.” Cordelia shook her head and tightened her arms around her.
“I can’t. …I don’t know, okay. I just don’t have an answer.” Cordelia finally spit out at Angel’s relentless gaze. Angel stared at the defensive posture of his seer.
“You’re scared.” Now Angel’s frustration turned to confusion. Maybe mad he could’ve understood but frightened- frightened of what? It didn’t make sense. Angel wanted to pull out Bob’s list, but he was pretty sure that this situation was not covered in it.
When he finally got back to the hotel, Angel was going to search, seek, and retrieve every article written by the man.
“I am not.”
“Yes, you are. Why? You can’t be scared of me you just said I made you feel safe, didn’t you mean it? You know I would never hurt you.”
“Sure, you would never hurt me. You couldn’t, when you were a Eunuch.” Cordelia grumbled and stared out into the horizon.
“Cordelia, I was never a ….”
“NEVER an Eunuch. I GOT IT.” Jerking back to glare at the vampire. “WHY is this damn ride not moving.” Cordelia felt trapped. She had to get away from Angel.
“I got it, okay. I’ll never call you a eunuch again. Okay. Now shut up and leave me alone and make this damn thing start.”
“Cordy you’re not making any sense.”
The angry frustrated sigh that escaped Cordelia’s lips sounded like a growl. “ Look, I got it. You’re not a eunuch never were. But you were to me. A nice safe brave dorky dead cute sexy eunuch.”
Sexy? Did Cordelia just say he was sexy?
The silence that suddenly came over the cart was not the same easy silence of before, this silence was deafening in its tension. Angel and Cordelia just gaped at each other.
“Why won’t this DAMN thing MOVE?” Cordelia ripped her eyes away. Cordelia was mortified and really frightened. She couldn’t believe that she had actually said Angel was sexy. Of course, Angel was hot; she had even told him he was handsome before, but not like that, not like his hotness affected her.
She was supposed to be immune. Immune, because she made herself immune, by convincing herself that Angel was non-sexual. Even when evidence to the contrary proved otherwise.
A non-sexual sexy vampire- how delusional could she be. Cordelia began to fidget, now that that illusion was busted, she would have no choice but to deal with the fact that Angel was an extremely sexy vampire, one that had every ability to affect her.
No more close quarter training sessions that was for sure, at least not until she could get rid of the imagine of a sexy, sexual Angel.
“Cordy, you’re attracted to me?” The unbelievable thought had taken over his brain as he studied her movements, expressions and scent.
“Am not.” Cordelia shook her head and tried to move further away.
Angel was stunned. It never occurred to him that Cordelia would be attracted to him, she never gave any indication that she was. Never. Until now. And that knowledge was playing havoc with his own desires- desires that suddenly sprang out of nowhere. Angel tried to think. His desires didn’t just pop up whenever he was around a woman that was attracted to him, they didn’t.
That is unless he was attracted to the woman in the first place. But he was always able to control his attraction, ignore it even. This sudden forceful burst of lust, there was no over word to describe the feeling was unprecedented. Unless…unless, it wasn’t sudden.
Angel studied the beautiful woman. He thought back to his interaction with his seer over the past several years. When Cordelia first came to work with him, she had been a firm believer in ‘personal space’. Which Angel had been grateful for as he had the same belief. But over the years, especially recently both of them had begun to ignore or not need the personal bubble rule at least not with each other.
It may have begun out of necessity, Angel was the only one that had a chance of catching Cordelia from falling when a vision hit. She was the one that assumed the role of nurse when he was injured. But it was more than that now. Even before the
How many times a day had Angel found himself reaching out to Cordelia to touch her when they talked. How many times had she placed her hand on his arm, his shoulder? How many times had he needed to feel her warmth? In a roomful of his friends, Cordelia was the one he automatically went to sit or stand by.
Angel had never tried to analyze why the touch of his seer was so important to him, why it seemed so natural. But it was and the reason why was now obvious. His definite physical reaction to seeing Cordelia in slip of a bathing suit should have clued him in. But he hadn’t had time to think about it, with the demon to fight, trying to apologize to Cordy for embarrassing her at the commercial shoot,and then there was the whole Plyean jaunt, plus Buffy’s death and resurrection.
How long would he have been able to continue denying his attraction to the young woman? How long would he have been able to convince himself that he sketched erotic portraits of Cordelia just because she was an easy beautiful model to draw? Angel didn’t know, he just knew it was going to be very difficult to ignore it now.
Okay. One mystery solved, now he had to know why Cordelia was frightened. Angel was surprised and overwhelmed, but not frightened- so why was Cordelia? Unless. The beginnings of a suspicion came over him. Now he was getting uneasy.
“You are scared. Is it because I’m a vampire, there is no more threat of Angelus, so is it just because I’m a demon?” Angel really wasn’t at all sure that he wanted to hear Cordelia’s answer. But he had to know.
Cordelia hid her face in her hands. She couldn’t look at Angel anymore. It would be so easy just to say yes and end this all now. But, Angel had that puppy dogface on again. And she knew if she uttered that lie, his expression would go from cluelessness to hurt and sad resignation. Cordelia couldn’t do that to him.
“Don’t be stupid, I’m not scared of you.”
Angel had to lean in to interpret her low mumbled words. “Then..” He was relieved but now he was back to having no idea why she was scared.
Cordelia took a deep breath and decided on blunt honesty. It was always what she did best and she couldn’t stand the way Angel was staring at her. “I can’t be attracted to you, I don’t want to be attracted to you, and I’ve spent the better time knowing you keeping you safe in the no-boner category. I’m scared because having you out of that box is dangerous to me, not because you’re a ‘grr’ guy because of who you are and who I am.”
Angel remained silent trying to understand what she was saying. Cordelia had placed him in a ‘no-boner’ category. Angel thought about it. It did kind of make sense. After all, he had obviously placed her in the same box.
She was his friend, his very beautiful, loving best friend he hadn’t ever wanted to mess that up by thinking of her as anything else. So, he had blocked out all and any of his male reaction to the physical attributes of his seer and just concentrated on everything else.
Again the bathing suit incident being an exception, but he had been surprised and then been able to forget about the marvelous sight with everything else that had been happening at the time. Sort of.
Obviously, some part of him remembered or he wouldn’t have started drawing erotic pictures of his seer. Angel decided he was just going to have to get rid of all those pictures.
That was something he probably shouldn’t be reminded of.
“Because we’re best friends?”
Cordelia nodded and decided to leave it at that. She groaned as Angel continued to speak. Why wouldn’t he just leave it alone?
“I understand that. You don’t want our friendship complicated by our attraction to each other but…”
“OUR attraction? YOU’RE attracted to ME?”
Angel stopped. Hadn’t he said that already? Or had he just only admitted that to himself. Considering the stunned look on Cordelia’s face, it must have been the latter. “Yes.”
“No you’re not.” Cordelia frantically shook her head.
Angel nodded. “But that doesn’t have to affect anything. We’re friends, best friends. It doesn’t have to be scary and isn’t dangerous. Now you’re being melodramatic. I’m not dangerous to you.”
“Oh god, you’re SO dangerous to me.” Cordelia hid her face again.
“Cordy.” Angel was hurt. “You can’t believe that I would ever force my desires on you. Sure, I’m a vampire, but I have better control over my instincts than that. I have my soul, I would…”
“Desire? Instincts? ” Cordelia squeaked. “Oh god.” She buried her head further into her hands.
This had to stop. Cordelia lifted her head. “Angel, I…I’m not scared of you, okay. I don’t think you’re going to vamp out and ravish me….” Her words trailed off as she considered the possibility. She fidgeted trying to get her mind away from the image of Angel ravishing her.
God, for three years she had successfully been able to block any thoughts of Angel as a man, a man she could be attracted to.
Angel, sex, Angelus equals bad. It hadn’t been that hard. Even when, it became clear that sex alone wouldn’t trigger Angelus. But it had happened once and that had been enough for Cordelia.
But now it was like a floodgate had burst open, and every thought that she hadn’t had about Angel’s sexuality bombarded her.
Angel was listening intently until her last words and saw her actions and smelled her growing desire. He gulped. Up until then, Angel was confident that he would never vamp out and ravish her, but it was getting very difficult to ignore his demon’s inherent instinct to take what it wanted. And right now, soul or not, Angel wanted Cordelia.
“Cordy?” Angel tried to control the roughness of his voice. He had to get her talking and away from whatever it was she was thinking. Whatever it was, it was affecting both of them. He was beginning to imagine it was the same think he was thinking and wanting
“Um.” Cordelia shook her head focusing on what she had been trying to say. “You’re dangerous because you’re my best friend, you’re brave, good, wonderful, sexy and you’re goofy enough not to be overwhelmingly perfect. I need you and love you, all of which means I can fall in love with you. Pfft, probably I’m already there. Which is dangerous to me, cuz even though you’re attracted to me, you love Buffy and I will NOT be attracted to or be in love with someone that loves someone else. I won’t.”
Angel gulped. His mind had been effectively wiped of all imagines of ravishing Cordelia. It fact his mind was a complete blank. Angel would have remained sitting there his mouth gaping, if he hadn’t seen Cordelia wave the attendant to the cart. He hadn’t noticed that the ride had stopped again, and now it was over.
Angel pulled Cordelia back in the seat and growled at the approaching kid. The kid immediately swiveled and headed in back to his controls.
“Angel. I want to get off now.”
Angel shook his head and kept a tight hold on her arm as the Ferris wheel started to move again.