Cordelia sat on the bed brushing her hair. Her hands moved mechanically as her thoughts focused on the tingling in her belly.
Darn. She couldn’t deny her attraction to Angel, no matter what her common sense dictated.
She was so confused. She’d seen a new side of Angel and she liked it. A lot. Sure he hadn’t been Mr. Gabby-talk, but his stories had been entertaining and the unexpected smiles changed Angel from broodily sexy to gorgeously adorable in seconds.
Okay, so it had been naïve of her to limit him to Buffy’s lapdog; after all he had lived a long time. But Geez, she shouldn’t be blamed for not knowing.
Angel hadn’t given anybody a hint that he had hidden layers. Buffy never told anyone, not even Xander or Willow, that Angel had a sense of humor. So, unless Buffy was keeping it a secret, which was highly doubtful, then she didn’t know and if she didn’t know there was no way Cordelia could’ve been expected to.
She wished she had known. Maybe then the warm fuzzies wouldn’t be so much of a surprise.
She had barely resisted the urge to hug him.
But she had resisted. And she’d have patted herself on the back for admirable restraint – if she hadn’t blown the whole act by giving him a goodnight kiss.
Cordelia threw the brush on the bed
“You’re an idiot, Cor,” she grumbled as she fumbled with the quilt.
“Arggh.” She flipped the blanket over her head. It was just that before, Angel’s hotness had only been able to produce the occasional tantalizing dream, but those could be pushed aside just like her fantasizes of Keanu or Brad.
But, she was pretty damn sure that any new fantasies would be impossible to ignore in the morning.
“I know he’s a vampire with a girlfriend, whose ex-factor is debatable.” She groaned, facing her denial and voicing her truth. “But, God, I want to be the one to make Angel smile and laugh. I’m so screwed.” She pffted out loud. Unfortunately, the admission hadn’t helped her state of mind.
“Whatever and stop it.” Cordelia dragged the quilt down. “Cor, you’re a realist, not a clueless romantic, forget that Angel is all that and a chocolate sundae, and just remember he’s not yours. You can’t have him, and don’t want him.You’re Cordelia Chase. You can do it.” She told herself as she tucked the pillow under her head.
Angel’s shoulders dipped as he released a small measure of the tension that had turned his muscles into stone. It hadn’t been until Cordelia’s breathing had slowed into the recognizable rhythm of sleep, that he had been able to give up even the slightest bit of his control.
He had come up the stairs, standing close to the bedroom door to wait for Cordelia to fall asleep. He hadn’t expected his sudden surge of need to break down the door and take her, but then he hadn’t expected to hear her mumbled arguments that he wasn’t hers and that she didn’t want him.
But he was able to overcome the pull of his instincts. While her ramblings were an admission, he also realized, that she wasn’t yet ready to accept the reality of the situation. Cordelia needed more time to understand that she belonged with him and to him.
Angel knew that it would test his restraint but he would give her time because now he knew that best way to hurry it along. She wanted to be the one to make him smile and laugh. He could do that. After all, in the short time that she had lived with him, she had already done it.
“Gottcha. Even if you are Cordelia Chase.” Angel slowly grinned. He would use her desire and her ability to his advantage. His hand reached for the doorknob, if he played tomorrow night exactly right, there would be no question in Cordelia’s mind who she belonged to.
Angel slipped into the bedroom and sat in the leather armchair placed near the closet, still too far from Cordelia but closer that he had been. He settled down as comfortably as his growing erection allowed. He ignored it and concentrated on Cordelia’s pattern of breathing.
His chest started to mimic her slow breaths. The rhythm and the scent of wild flowers brought him peace and while it didn’t release the pressure of his groin, it allowed his thoughts and desires to drift into sleep.
Angel jerked awake.
The scent that lapped around him stimulated every nerve.
It was more than just Cordelia. It was deeper and richer.
He stared at the body curled into the covers. She still slept, but her eyelids flickered as if in a dream.
He knew that scent. Arousal. His body began to feel alive as his borrowed blood and dead organs heated and vibrated.
He shut down the growl that was rising in his throat and he stood looking again at Cordelia. The quilt was gathered around her hips, his sweats pushed down to show the soft swell of her belly. His sweater had slipped off her shoulder leaving a glimpse of the white t-shirt underneath.
She was sleeping in his clothes again. He reveled in the look of her body enclosed in his larger clothes, covering her thoroughly and drenching each thread with her scent, as well as covering her with his.
Angel took a deep steadying breath. He wanted to touch and taste the golden flesh hidden underneath. He wanted her scent not to be just on his clothes but soaked into his skin.
He stared down at her, vibrating with tension. Then he whirled and left the room.
Cordelia jolted up in bed. Her eyes narrowed as she peered around the room. She could’ve sworn she heard something. Seeing nothing, she leaned back on the bed and closed her eyes, hoping that she could recapture her dream.
Then she jerked back up as she remembered its details. It wasn’t Brad or Keanu who been doing viciously delicious things to her body. It was Angel.
Great just what she needed. She sighed as she swung her feet to the floor. Maybe a shower would help.
Cordelia’s bare feet padded softly across the room. She shivered, looking over her shoulder and into the shadows, half expecting to see Angel there.
But there was nothing. No one.
Cordelia shrugged and her frown reappeared. Was that the shower? Angel always let her go first.
Cordelia contemplated banging on the bathroom door, but decided against it, remembering how Angel had answered the door the last time she interrupted him in the shower.
She shifted on her feet as she chewed on her thumb. What was she supposed to do now? Her stomach growled. Breakfast it was.
Angel braced against the shower wall his gaze centered on the duck bobbing around the drain. He no longer burned with lust, but his shoulders were still tense.
The meaning of Cordelia’s scent was unmistakable. The question was, who had she been dreaming of.
Angel ripped open the shower curtain, driven by a deep, dark need to get his answer.
Cordelia stood in front of the stove studying the neat row of ingredients on the counter – cinnamon, a small bottle of vanilla, eggs, milk, and bread. A bowl stood beside them, filled with batter. Next to it, a stack of bread rested on a plate.
The smell of smoke had her turning. “Crap!” She grabbed the pan off the burner and stared down at the scorched toast at the center.
Cordelia grabbed the spatula and tried desperately to separate the bread from the pan.
“Arggh.” She tossed the utensil on the counter. It was no use. The bread was permanently stuck to the pan.
She shoved the pan, bread, and all, under running water, waving away the billowing smoke. Then she tossed the pan into the trash.
She looked over her shoulder, checking to make sure that Angel wasn’t anywhere in sight. Then she shoved the eggs back in the refrigerator.
Fruit Loops sounded better than French toast, anyway.
Cordelia stalled in closing the refrigerator. She leaned down, hesitating a moment before taking out of one of Angel’s containers of blood.
She choked down her ick as the red liquid swished up against the see-through container. Throwing up would ruin her idea so she swallowed gamely as she took off the top.
She bit her lip as she stuck her finger in the blood, only to jerk it right back out. Oh shoot. Did she just contaminate it?
She looked around worriedly, but still no Angel. She knew how she would feel if she saw him jabbing his finger in her food. At least, her food wouldn’t be so congealed and cold.
She glanced over her shoulder at the microwave, then down at the container. What the heck, she thought. Couldn’t hurt.
She shoved it in, closed the door, and added 10 seconds to the timer. As it heated, she poured her Fruit Loops. When the appliance dinged she pulled out the container.
The blood was still too cold, so she put it in for another 10 seconds and took the opportunity to add milk to her cereal. She repeated the 10-second process several more times, frustration growing as her cereal grew progressively soggier, while the blood remained stubbornly chilled.
At least it had started to thin, along with any concerns that her finger would contaminate it. She heated it again, this time for 20 seconds. Then she ate a spoonful of cereal and watched the mug spin in the microwave.
When the timer hit zero, she popped the door open, dipped her finger into the mug, and dribbled a few drops on the underside of her wrist.
It was warmer, but it still didn’t seem right. But then again, she wasn’t exactly sure how the testing on the wrist thing was supposed to work.
She pushed the mug back into the microwave for another 10 seconds as she rubbed her wrist on her sweat pants.
Angel stood stock still in the doorway of the kitchen. Any thoughts he may have had of shaking an answer out of Cordelia were long gone now.
His panicked disbelief battled with a surge of lust as she dripped a small portion of his blood on her wrist. “Cordy, what are you doing?”
She jumped at least six-inches then shot him an innocent smile. “Oh, Hi.”
“That’s my blood“
“I didn’t put my finger in it; that would be rude and gross. Eww. I’m ….I just…Oh, okay, maybe I did, but it doesn’t hurt it, does it?” Cordelia braced her shoulders. “I made breakfast.”
Angel’s first instinct was to reassure her, but his shock won out. “You’re warming my blood.”
“Yeah, so… Okay, I did — Hold on.” The microwave beeped. Angel shoved his hands into his pockets, shifting his weight on his feet as he waited for her to explain.
“I think –” She tested the blood on her wrist. “I think it’s finally okay.” She titled her head up at him. “Sorry, I have been touching it. I washed my hands. Does it ruin it? I can start over if this is ruined.”
Angel couldn’t think of any response except to tell her it was okay.
“Good. Here.” Cordelia pushed the mug to him.
He tentatively moved to take it when suddenly she jerked it and her hand back. “I almost forgot.” She turned, taking the mug with her. “I was going to make French toast, but it didn’t work quite like I planned,” she shot over her shoulder, as she sprinkled cinnamon in the blood along with a splash of vanilla. She stirred in her additions with her finger. “I guess I could’ve done this with the whole egg, milk, and bread combination, but really I wasn’t having much luck with the French toast thing. Here.” She turned back and handed him the mug.
Angel took it, his eyes focused on the clumps of cinnamon that refused to be mixed. He wasn’t sure what to say.
“Well?” Cordelia asked with an expectant smile as she brought her bowl of Fruit Loops to the marble island and gestured him to sit.
“Um, it’s different,” Angel, said diplomatically. He brought the mug to his lips and pretended to drink.
“Well?” Cordelia asked again.
Damn her. He braced his shoulders and took a big swallow.
“It’s…uh, good.” Her answering smile made the peculiar taste of the blood worthwhile.
“Good.” Cordelia scooped up a spoonful of Fruit Loops. “Geez. These are all soggy.” She scrunched her nose as she batted the colored pieces of cereal. “Angel, I did every thing you told me to, so why couldn’t I make French toast?”
Angel licked his lips, surprised at the depth the cinnamon and vanilla added to the blood’s flavor. In a weird way it tasted like he imagined Cordelia did, spicy and feminine. Then again, it could’ve just been the finger she’d poked in it. His mind was still reeling with that sight.
Angel cleared his throat and placed the mug on the marble island. “What did you do?”
“I did exactly what you did.”
Angel smiled at her indignant huff.
“Why don’t you just tell me?”
“I got all the ingredients.” Cordelia waved around to the spices, bread, and the milk.
“Where’s the butter?”
“Butter?” Cordelia wrinkled her brow. “What butter?
“To coat the pan, so that the bread won’t stick to the pan.”
“You didn’t tell me about the butter.” Cordelia said accusingly.
Angel couldn’t help his smile. She wanted so much to blame her failure on him. And as weird as it was he wanted to take it.
“I didn’t,” he said, hanging his head. “I used it before you came in the kitchen.”
“Hmmph.” Angel saw the approval at his apology in her nod.
“That’s okay, I forgive you.” She patted his shoulder.
Angel shook his head. It was ridiculous. Her touch not only assured him that she forgave his perceived neglect, but it also seemed to forgive all of his past sins.
“Hey, you like your blood, don’t you?”
Angel took the last swallow. “It was better than I could’ve ever imagined.”
“Then why do you look so weird?”
“Yeah, you have a funny look on your face.”
“Oh.” Angel resisted the urge to feel his features to figure out what she saw. Instead, he schooled his expression to one, he hoped, of normality.
“It’s just that no ones ever made my blood before.” Angel shook his head. “I’ve never met anyone like you.”
“Well, duh.” Cordelia put her empty bowl in the sink.
“I think I’m going to have to keep you.” Angel tried to make it a joke, but couldn’t hide the dark edge in his voice any more than he’d been able to hide his smile earlier.
Cordy’s back stiffened. “Uh?”
“For your cooking ability,” he deadpanned, grateful that her shoulders had relaxed.
When she turned, she had that “as if” look on her face that drove Angel to distraction and urged him to kiss it off her face.
“Don’t count on it, Bucko. I may be able to handle the microwave, but using the stove may have scarred me for life.”
Angel immediately got to his feet as she passed him. “Where are you going?”
“To shower. You’d better have left some hot water.” She said over her shoulder before leaving.
Angel dropped his hand that had been reaching out to stop her and stilled his feet from following her. He concentrated on tracking her movements as she left.
He finally moved when he heard the bathroom door close. He looked around the kitchen, his gaze settling on his mug. Angel clenched his fist. Cordelia was too far away. This time he didn’t resist his feet’s need to move.