Cordelia came out of the bathroom. A change of clothes was folded in a neat pile on the already made bed. Their clothes from last night were gone from the floor. Hung up, no doubt. Angel was such a neat freak. Cordelia quickly got dressed and headed for the baby talk in the next room.
Cordelia leaned against the doorframe. There was something truly sexy about a man playing with a baby. Cordelia shook her head; as much as she wished she could stay in the suite forever with Angel and Connor, she figured it was time to deal with everything else that happened the night before. “Did you and Spike have a nice chat?”
Angel shrugged. “He loves Buffy, she…I don’t know. He thinks not. It seems that she’s been going through a real hard time since she came back.”
“What did he want you to do about it?”
“Go to her, help her, love her, I guess.”
“You aren’t going.” 24 hours ago, Cordelia’s words would have come out as a panicked question, now it was just an order.
Angel raised his eyes from his son. “I told him that. Cordy, I know who I love, where my life is and isn’t in Sunnydale, okay.
“Okay.” Cordelia came to sit beside the vampire. “So, he’s leaving then.”
“No, I asked him to stay until Dracula is definitely dust or gone.”
“You think that Dracula will go all vampy with the revenge?”
“I know he will.”
“Is Connor in danger? Would he go after him?”
“Everyone is in danger, but he’ll concentrate on getting you.”
Angel nodded. “He’ll want to take away Angelus’ property.” Looking away from Cordelia.
Cordelia scrunched up her face. “I thought you said that the vampires would respect these.” Touching the mark still apparent on her neck.
Angel sighed. “Any respect Dracula gave my mark, I imagine disappeared when we ruined his party. I’m sure he’ll feel no qualms on breaking his own rules.”
“And Spike is going to help us?”
Angel nodded. “Cordy, about these.” His thumb caressed the small marks. “I’m sorry…. but they will go away, I didn’t make them permanent.”
“Does that mean when they go away, I’ll no longer be your love slave?” Angel was confused by the humor in her tone. “Cuz, you know I kind of liked it.”
“Sometimes, you are such a dork. Angel, it was my idea, it didn’t hurt, and I’m fine. How about you? Any irresistible urge to snack on me?”
“Not to snack, but I do have some irresistible urges.” Angel smiled.
“Lucky for you it’s mutual, isn’t?”
“Very lucky.” His smile turning into a deep kiss as warm lips met his.
“Mortimor, I do hope your information is more helpful than the last bit.”
“I believe that I have found Angelus.” Mortimor held out a handbill to the vampire.
“’Angel Investigations, Specializing in the Paranormal, Experience, Discretion, Let us help you, Free consultation’?” Dracula looked back up to his servant.
“This is truly disturbing. He advertises. I knew he had no class, but this” The Count waved the paper around. “It’s just plain offensive. Angelus is a tradesman. Get this out of my sight.” Mortimor quickly took the handbill back.
“The young woman works with him and the other humans. Master, I do not believe that she is in actual fact the property of Angelus.”
“He marked her, a weak mark, but it was Angelus’ mark.”
“Maybe, but the information I received indicated that she isn’t his slave or concubine, Cordelia Chase works with him, but does not live with him, she in fact as her own apartment.”
The vampire leaned back into the overstuffed armchair. Not Angelus’ property. Had the evidence of the mark on the beautiful young woman been merely a ruse? Had the soul so corrupted Angelus’ vampire instincts that he could mark such delectable flesh and not possess it?
Dracula sat up. No matter. The beautiful human had been intriguing; her repulsion to the Count’s presence had challenged him. And Dracula had sensed a bond between the two of them, she may not be Angelus’ property but she was something to him. Dracula’s fingers tapped repeatedly on the arm of the chair. This revenge could even be sweeter than he hoped. He was definitely not bored.
“Mortimor, tell me you have her address.”
The distinguished Englishman bowed and handed the Count another piece of paper.
“It’s about time, Peaches. These idiots won’t even tell me where to get a decent spot of blood. Hey, is that little squirt?” Spike jumped off the counter heading for the baby in Angel’s arms.
Spike stopped at Angel’s growl. “Just want to look, never saw a vampire baby before- hey it’s human.” Spike stepped back. “Peaches, you sure and hell got yourself involved in a daft prophecy. A vampire with a soul with a human kid, what is the world coming to? Is it ending again?”
“Shut up,” Cordelia glared. She had told herself that she would try to be nice to the blonde vampire after all he was was helping them and obviously Buffy broke his un-dead heart. But it was hard with that mouth of his.
“What?” Spike turned to Cordelia. “Geez, chit could you smell any more like Peaches. What? Were you two shagging on the way down? And in front of the squirt, naughty, naughty.”
“Spike,” Angel growled, ignoring Gunn and Fred’s gasps and Wesley’s hard stare.
“Jerk.” Cordelia stormed into the kitchen, her face flaming red.
“Hey, the shower thing only works if you do it alone.” Spike called after the young woman.
“Fred, please take Connor.” Angel said quietly. The young woman closed her jaw and ran up to take the small bundle. In an instant Angel had the back of Spike’s neck in his firm grip.
“Angel,” Wesley pushed at his glasses.
“Wes, my soul is permanent, okay?’” Angel called over his shoulder as he shoved Spike into Wesley’s office.
Wesley blinked at the information, then coughed once. “Well, that’s interesting.”
“Angel and Cordelia.” Fred smiled widely up from the baby in her arms.
“Is this a good thing?” Gunn finally spoke.
“Of course it is Charles.” Fred said.
“Wes.” Gunn turned away from the goofy romantic grin on the young woman’s face.
“Angel’s soul is permanent, so no danger of a return of Angelus and Angel has been obvious in his feeling for Cordelia for some time now.”
Wesley looked at Fred before putting his glasses back on. “They found love, which is a very good thing.”
“Let me go, you poof.”
“Spike, I warned you no upsetting Cordelia.”
“What? I didn’t do anything.”
Angel pushed the other vampire, letting him go. “You know you did. You embarrassed her.”
“You’re going to kill me for embarrassing your girl. Isn’t that just a tad melodramatic? You’re so whipped. Hey, what about Drac, you need my help.”
“I know. Spike, don’t be such asshole, it will get you killed.”
“You used to be fun.” Spike took his cigarettes out of his pocket.
“The squirt is in the other room.” His Zippo in hand.
Angel just stared, his arms crossed.
“Fine.” Spike shoved the cigarette and lighter back in his pocket.
“Um.” Cordelia came out of the kitchen, she was no longer beet red but she was uncomfortable at the glances her friends were giving her. She staggered back as Fred came up hugging her, the baby safe in his crib away from Fred’s exuberance.
“You and Angel,” She squeezed again. “It’s Moria, told you.” She shot a look at Wesley and Gunn.
“Um, Fred, you’re making me spill Angel’s breakfast.” Cordelia tried to balance the two mugs in her hands.
“Sorry.” Still beaming Fred released Cordelia from her happy hug.
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Will my sex life always be a topic of conversation?”
“I believe the topic is closed now.” Wesley smiled softly at the young woman. Wesley was truly happy that Cordelia finally acknowledged her feelings for Angel. Wesley didn’t kid himself that Cordelia and Angel’s relationship would be easy, but still they were his friends and they both deserved to find happiness.
“Thanks, Wes.” Smiling at Wesley’s unspoken thoughts rather than his boss like tone.
She looked around, gesturing to Wesley’s office.
“Yeah, and Angel didn’t look pleased, the blond dead guy might be dust now.” Gunn jerked his head towards the closed door. “Haven’t heard any thing break yet, though. Kinda was looking forward to seeing his blonde dead ass come flying through the window.”
Cordelia sighed and went into the office.
“Darn. I’d hoped you had staked him. Here.” Cordelia held out a mug towards Angel.
Cordelia shrugged smiling. “Loving AND frustrating, I can’t help it.” She shoved the other mug at Spike. “Breakfast.”
“I don’t want Cinnamon.”
“Don’t be stupid. I had thought about arsenic, though. It might not kill, but it would have to hurt. Do you want it or not. Don’t be a baby. It’s just pig’s blood warmed, plain and boring.”
Spike took the mug. Still a little floored at how easily Cordelia accepted the vampires drinking in front of her. “How come I didn’t get cinnamon?”
Cordelia blinked. “Because, I don’t love you, barely even like you. Angel, I’ve got to go back to my apartment for some stuff if I’m staying here while Dracula’s on the loose.”
“Cordy, I don’t…”
“Angel, it’s daylight and I can’t just stay without telling Dennis, he’d be worried. Give me your keys, I’ll bring your car back.”
Angel reluctantly pulled out his keys. “Don’t be too long, just pack some things and tell Dennis.”
“Yes, master.” Sticking her tongue out at the vampire.
“Hey, cheerleader.” Cordelia paused from her exit and turned to Spike.
“Barely liking me, means you like me some.”
Cordelia rolled her eyes and left.
“Peaches, Dracula is going to come after her hard.”
Angel glared then nodded his acceptance of what he already knew.
“That mind stuff is bull shit and games, but it does work.”
Angel growled then sighed. “Come on, we need to figure out where he’s staying.”
“That can’t be that difficult. How many four star hotels are they that let you bring your own coffin.” Following Angel out. “Hey, who’s Dennis and why aren’t you threatening him?”
Cordelia pushed at the lock. Damn thing kept sticking. She pounded and turned the key, finally the apartment door opened. “Some help next time, Dennis.” She grumbled shoving her keys back in her pocket. “Dennis…. What the hell?”
Roses that had been floating dropped suddenly to the ground. Cordelia looked around, roses were everywhere. Some still in glass vases. Cordelia stared. There were roses by the dozen on every surface. Others were strewn on the floor leading to the kitchen. Cordelia stunned, followed the petals and stems. She stopped. The trashcan was stuffed to the brim with roses and glass. “Dennis, explain.” Her eyes never leaving the mangled blood red flowers in the trash.
More roses floated through the air only then to be pushed in the overstuffed trash. “Okay, I can see you don’t like them. How did they get here?” Petals and flowers came flying out of the trash. “I’m getting confused here.” A card floated up from the shower of petals. “You will be Mine.” Reading the words of the card out loud. A cold shiver traveled up Cordelia’s spine, squeezing her like a vice. “Was Dracula actually here or hopefully was it just his hoity toity flunky?”
A broken wooden stake as well as a crushed crossbow came flying into the kitchen. Cordelia watched the destroyed weapons crash to the ground. The vice in her chest was starting to strangle her. “Dennis, this is not good.” Cordelia took a deep breath trying to remain calm. She took another one.
“Dennis, please, pack a bag, I’m….” Cordelia paused as her duffle bag was immediately shoved against her. “Thinking ahead, I really like that about you, Dennis. How did he…..” She stopped again as the duffel bag left the kitchen and flew out the open front door.
“You’re right, I should leave now. Expect a visit from Angel and please feel free to trash every single hideous rose. Throw them out the window, if you can’t find anywhere else to shove them.” With the card still clutched in her hand, Cordelia ran.
Deep breath. Deep breath. Cordelia was angry, but even more than that she was scared. Deep breath. Cordelia would not freak until she was safely back with Angel. Angel would have a rational explanation as to how the Count had entered her apartment in the middle of a bright sunny day.
“ANGEL,” Cordelia yelled running into the lobby. “ANGEL” she called again, ignoring Wesley and Gunn’s scramble towards her.
She looked around for the vampire. Cordelia started to yell again, when Angel tore out of the basement, Spike immediately behind, their swords still in hand.
“Cordy, what happened?”
“You tell me, how in the hell did Count Dracula get into my apartment. Doesn’t the invitey thing work with him? The sun’s out.” Pointing back to the door as if it was the bright vampire-burning ball itself.
“Here. Explain it.” Shoving the card into the still vampire’s hand.
A deep growl resounded in Angel’s throat as he read it. “Where did you get this?”
“Weren’t you listening? My apartment. That and tons of roses, roses everywhere, stinking up the place.”
“Cordelia, why do you think that Dracula was in your apartment? Did you see him?” Wesley moved closer.
“Gee, Wes, as popular as I am, I don’t think that pimply face geek next door spent his allowance dressing up my apartment to look like a high rent florist shop or send me ‘Be Mine valentines’. It’s not even February.”
“Dennis, told me.” Cordelia shot back to Wesley, her eyes never leaving Angel. Angel hadn’t said a word, his eyes glued to the words on the card.
“Hey cheerleader, release the tightened panties, he’s just trying to scare you.” Spike said snatching the card from Angel’s grip, ignoring his grandsire’s growl.
“Well, duh and guess what it worked. How dare he come into my apartment? How could he? It’s daylight.”
Angel tried to beat down his rage and fear that Dracula had been in Cordelia’s apartment that he could have been there when she walked in. Angel tried to think rationally and not on pure violent instinct. Dracula was powerful, but not all powerful, he still had the same limitations as other vampires. Sun, fire, stakes, crosses, holy water and a need to be invited into a human’s house.
Angel studied Cordelia. Realization hit him like a ton of bricks. None of them had thought about it. Months had gone by of Cordelia spending nights alone in her apartment and they never even considered it. Angel hadn’t. “You’re part demon, now. He doesn’t need to be invited in.”
Cordelia’s eyes widened. “You mean, any old vampire could’ve wandered in, can wander in.”
Wesley nodded. “Yes, of course. We should’ve thought about that sooner. Cordelia, you will have to do a barrier spell.”
Cordelia nodded. “Whew. I knew you would have a rational explanation.” Smiling in relief at Angel. She felt a lot better. Except. Cordelia scrunched up her face. “How did he know? You said you couldn’t smell it on me. You, too.” She swirled around to Spike. “And how did he know where I lived? And what about the daylight thing.”
“There’s sewer access to your apartment, Cordy, you know that. Or maybe he came before dawn, do you know when the flowers showed up?”
Cordelia thought about it, she didn’t, she just freaked and assumed. “I asked Dennis, but he just threw my bag outside, I took the hint and left. I told him you would around later.”
“The other stuff. You’re doing good so far.” Cordelia waved her hand at Angel urging him to continue to explain away her fears.
“Obviously, he found out by asking around, I guess, researching.”
“Researching that I was part demony? Is that written down somewhere?”
“No where you lived. As for how he knew you’re part demon, I don’t know. Maybe he didn’t.”
“Um, Angel, if he didn’t then he came prepared to override the whole invitey thing. You’re losing points in the calming thing.” Her voice started to rise again.
“Cordy, it doesn’t matter, if he figured it out or just got lucky, Dracula is just another vampire that’s lived longer than most. He can be killed, he will be.” Angel never wanted someone’s death so much.
“Peaches is right, pet. Drac isn’t the invincible boogey vamp, he’s just a charlatan with a chest full of parlor tricks.”
“What if tries that mind thingy on me?” Wiggling her fingers out towards the vampires.
“He would have to get close to you and that IS NOT ever happening.” Angel growled.
“Right. Sorry. It was just really creepy knowing that he was in my apartment. I think he scared Dennis.” Cordelia bit her lip.
Angel had her in his arms in an instant. “He will never touch you. I promise.” Angel whispered into her hair taking in the sweet unique scent of Cordelia that surrounded him. Angel closed he eyes as her arms tightened, praying that what he said would remain the truth.
“Angel,” Cordelia pulled away. “I think that we should move Connor into Fred’s room for the time being. You’re ‘grr’ and I’m part demon, if Dracula comes here, he can enter your suite.”
Angel slowly nodded. “Fred?” Looking over to the other young brunette.
She blinked rapidly. “Of course.”
“Angel,” Wesley rubbed at his glasses. “I feel it might be wise if Gunn and I also stay here until the threat of Dracula is gone, if he does show up we all should be ready to meet him. Gunn?”
“You’re askin? Hell yeah, I’m staying.”
Wesley nodded. “Also, I believe that a barrier spell should be enchanted around the hotel, it can be done in such a manner to allow you and Spike to come and ago.”
“Do it.” Angel placed a kiss on Cordy’s hair and released her. “Spike, you coming?”
“To the chits? Sure why not, want to meet Casper.”
“His name is Dennis.” Cordelia said.
“Dennis, Casper, a ghost is a ghost by any other name.”
“Uhuh.” Rolling her eyes. “Angel, can I talk to you a minute before you go?”
Angel followed puzzled, trying to figure out what Cordelia had to tell him out of the hearing of the others. Cordelia suddenly turned on him once Wesley’s office door was closed, lunging her body into his grabbing his face and kissing him.
The suddenness of her actions startled Angel and pushed him against the door. His surprise turned instantly into desire, the desire turning into as rage as the warm lips molded over his and the heat of Cordelia’s body seared through him.
The rage wasn’t at the beautiful woman who’s very being could hold him spellbound, but towards the vampire that had embarked on his campaign to take her away from Angel. His demon instinct cried for him to prove that she was his completely. Angel’s rage and need flared in intensity. Angel growled.
Cordelia was now up against the door. Angel’s mouth became hard and possessive, capturing her breath just has his fingers were soaking up the moisture he found pooled between her thighs. She was life and she was his, there would be no doubt. Angel’s lips moved, his tongue and mouth attacking the hollow of her throat, his eye’s glowed yellow as his demon’s need threatened to become paramount.
“Angel,” Cordelia clutched at his head jerking her hips and locking her legs around his waist trapping his strong circling fingers to her center. “Angel,…do you think,” she gasped, “Wesley would,” Cordelia tried to make words out of her moans. “ Mind if we used his desk for two minutes.” It took a full minute for Angel to register her words. Angel laughed and groaned into Cordelia’s neck, the golden glow gone from his eyes.
“Angel.” Cordelia asked. The vampire had stopped kissing her, his hand that had been causing just wondrous sensations had stilled. Cordelia hadn’t wanted him to stop.
Angel leaned her further against the wall, the strength of his upper body keeping her secure, his hand moving again rhythmically against her center. With his free hand he brushed her hair back staring at Cordelia. “God, I need you so much.” He whispered his lips brushing hers.
“Desk.” She moaned into his lips.
“Okay, wall. Wesley would probably mind.” Wiggling her hips closer.
“I’m sure he would.” Angel chuckled into her lips. “But, no Cordy.” He slowly released her, stopping the fumbling hands on his zipper.
“Angel?” Aching need clear in her questioning expression. If Cordelia pouted, Angel knew that he would have her on the floor. He needed to stop it from forming. Cordelia was once again pressed against his body; her back nestled into his chest, one hand cupping her breast through the material of her shirt, the other going back under the waistband of her pants. Angel was beginning to believe that low-riding stretchy pants were beating out buttons as a favorite.
The pants were perfect for moments like this. Angel nuzzled at her neck, the scent of her blood still was beckoning but his demon was firmly contained that particular want overshadowed by the knowledge that he didn’t have to prove to Cordelia that she was his. The beautiful and wonderful young woman had already given herself and her love to him.
His lips traveled up to her earlobe, tugging at that fleshy tissue. Cordelia gasped, her body tensed, her hands clutching at the strong forearms that held her. “Angel.” Her head burrowing into his chest, small shudders vibrated throughout her body.
Angel slowly brought his hand back up fixing her pants as his other pulled down her shirt.
Cordelia opened her eyes, hazel staring into deep brown. “You?’ She reached out.
Angel caught her hand, bringing it to his lips. “I need to go find out what Dennis knows.” He smiled. “And you can make it up later, no desks, and longer than two minutes worth.”
“Um, Angel.” Cordelia said as the vampire reached for the door. Angel looked over his shoulder; happy to see she wasn’t pouting or glaring.
“I did have something to say to you before you left.”
Angel cocked a brow.
“I love you, stupid.”
Angel smiled. “I got that.”
Spike rolled his eyes as Angel then Cordelia exited the office. He didn’t bother to even comment; sometimes the obvious was just plain old obvious, no reason to red flag it.
“Sure, Peaches.” Spike followed the other vampire down into the basement.
“I’m…I’m going to go check on Connor.” Cordelia smiled at the others and quickly headed up the stairs.
“In my office? In my office?” Wesley glared at Gunn and Fred.
Gunn shrugged showing some sympathy for his glowering friend. “It used to be his. Maybe he just forgot.”
“It better have not been on my desk.” Wesley strode to the door, trying to figure out what areas he would need to avoid.
Fred stared back in forth from the two men, wondering what they were talking about. Slowly, the click formed. “Oh. OH.”