Part 4

Day 38…

She wondered if she was seeing correctly, so she closed her eyes for five, and then opened them to stare some more. Her beautiful beautiful Corvette was sitting in her drive looking for all the world like the Cindy Crawford of the car world. Admittedly, the red colour had been a little on the dull and dusty side, but it was a deep ruby shade which shone like a diamond in the rough.

A closer inspection showed new tyres, windshield wipers, spotless windows, and an interior so sweet, she wanted to cry. Gone were the standard seats and covers, gone was her pink haired troll, gone were the chip crumbs and chocolate wrappers and empty soda cans. The only thing still there was the stereo and it seemed to be relatively untouched.

Cordelia could hardly breathe as she tried to figure out how much a do-over like this was going to cost her. Sure she could afford it, but lately she’d been trying to curb her spending. She wasn’t going to live with her parents forever and she couldn’t sponge off of them forever, either. She’d been good about it, too, even going so far as to check out the job section in the local paper.

A shaky hand opened the door and she got in, ran her hand over the polished dash and then opened the glove compartment. “Hello Mr. Bill,” she murmured at the sight of a crisp cream envelope with her name neatly written on it. It wasn’t what she thought at all.


The penmanship was excellent, lines were straight and not over flowing, and the paper was not cream but not white either. Apart from that, it was the wax seal on the envelope which drew her attention. She traced the outline softly so there was no transferance, and her head shaking at the feel of an embellished A. Where did he get this stuff?

I took the liberty of personally delivering your car. I hope it’s to your satisfaction. No thanks necessary.


If he thought she was going to accept all this done to her car and not pay him back, he was sadly mistaken. She didn’t want to owe anybody anything, much less him. It wasn’t just that he’d done this, it was the fact Spike was going to find out one way or another, and that was the last thing she wanted to happen. Well, apart from getting caught in a vampire-on-vampire war.

The note was folded back along the creases and she wanted so very much to crumple it up so it became unrecognisable, and it was annoying she couldn’t. Cordelia rubbed her face, her sigh escaped through the fingers still holding on to the envelope. She supposed she had a visit to make.

Angelus had been enjoying himself immensely. Watching Spike play tea parties with Dru was undoubtedly the most entertaining of his hobbies. Unfortunately a vampire in his position had places to go and things to do. Namely getting out the way while those two went at it like bunnies.

He was sure Spike was purposely having hourly sex sessions just to rub his nose in it. He didn’t know what was worse. Bumping into Mz. Chase or not being able to do a damn thing about it. Couldn’t seduce, bite, touch… Nothing, not even one measly freaking kiss. How in the hell had it gotten to this point?

That thing which came before a fall. What was it again? Ah, that was it. Pride, and pride made him refuse to lose. Besides it was only forty days and since two days already passed, with no withdrawal, he had thirty eight left to go. Not a problem, really. Not when Sunnydale seemed to be filled with less than stimulating action these days.

If it hadn’t been for that Chase girl showing up at the oddest of moments, he felt pretty confident he was going to win hands down. He may even go another forty days, just to prove a point.

It was that exact thought which had him reaching for his jacket and car keys. A good drive was precisely what he needed. If he couldn’t sate one male appetite, he’d sate another.

Angelus didn’t see Cordelia until he heard her yelping at his feet, and he looked down to find her square on her ass.

“Do you ever watch where you’re going?” Damn but gravel could be painful when stuck to your skin. She rubbed her palms free of small, sharp stones and hissed when they scraped her flesh a bit more. “I got your message.”

He was about to reply when a groan sounded out from somewhere behind him. He watched pretty eyes widen and glance around him before darting up to look back at him. His silence was all she needed.

“Don’t tell me,” Cordelia shuddered. “Do not wanna know. I came to say thanks for returning my car…”

Angelus shut the door just as another groan, this time female, cut in. “And you decided to ignore what I said.” Why should he be surprised? She was a woman and a human one at that. A pulse obviously came complete with selective ignorance.

“I want to know what I owe you.”


“Seriously Angel, how much?”

His lips twitched. “Seriously Cordelia, nothing.”

“A respray, new tyres and trims, seat covers etc cost nothing?” Oh God, what if he’d eaten the mechanic?

Her rising panic must have showed as his shoulders started shaking with laughter. “She lives to tell the tale and no, not a penny. You asked for help and I gave it.”

“I didn’t ask for all that.”

“I know. Here.” Angelus held out his hand and she took it without hesitation, then pulled her off the ground as though she was lighter than a feather.

“Then why?” Cordelia brushed loose gravel off the back of her legs, craning her neck to see the damage and grimacing at the sight of angry red scratches. They were so gonna hurt later. “Are they off?”

He had no chance to reply before she spun round to show him her thighs. A flash of tanned skin was just what he needed right now. Not. How was he supposed to stand there, staring at a set of neck crushing thighs and nothing? Easy answer, really. He couldn’t.

After all, helping a damsel in distress couldn’t be classed as sexually touching her, could it? Of course not. What kind of vampire would he be if he just let her suffer?

“Come here…” His smirk went unseen as he bent down to brush off imaginary stones, taking the time to inhale her perfume and steal a quick feel of the back of her knee. Oh, that was nice. Nice and soft and delightfully fragrant. Shame her dress was long enough to cover her panties.

“All done,” Angelus said as he stood straight, careful to wipe the smile off his face before she saw it. “Those are some nasty scrapes. You should see to them.”

She was going to do just that. “Well, I’ve said my thanks. So, thanks again. I’m leaving now.”

His head slowly went to one side so he could get a better view of the firm ass hidden by a simple green shift dress, but when she looked back at him, his head was where it should be and so were his eyes. She frowned, almost certain he’d been staring at her.

Cordelia put it down to paranoia. Never mind. “Bye,” she muttered, all to eager to get out of the increasingly awkward situation.


It was pretty late by the time she got back from the Bronze and she was just about to crawl under beautifully clean sheets when her phone rang. Normally she didn’t answer anonymous calls, but instinct told her she had to.

“Yabba dabba doo?” Hopefully, the person on the other end of the line would get the fact she couldn’t be bothered to yammer on at quarter to twelve at night.

Word on the street is my old sire has a new lady love. Care to tell me how that came about?”

Cordelia didn’t know what was more shocking. Spike knowing her phone number, the fact he was calling her, or the question he asked. “How what came about?”

There was a sound of a hand hitting a forehead. “The fact he fixed up that sweet little number you got without an eyelash bat.”

Duh. “You made it break down where he accidentally found me, remember?” Ask a stupid question, she thought with a roll of her eyes.

Golden silence came from the other end of the phone and she hoped one of two things had happened. Either his phone died or he’d banged his head hard enough against a brick and decapitated himself. Unfortunately luck was not on her side.

Oh yeah. Forgot about that. Blame Dru, pet. She’s the one who screwed my brains out earlier.”

Cordelia held her phone at arm’s length and stared at it in utter disgust. She shook her head, replacing the silver gadget to her ear when Spike resumed his conversation.

That still don’t explain how your eau de insolence got on him. Explain.”

“I fell and he helped me up. It was all perfectly innocent.”

No such thing as innocent when it comes to your Angel.”

“He’s not my Angel and yes, it was innocent. He brushed some stones off me, which is only right since he knocked me down. Again.”

Spike chuckled and she knew he had a smirk plastered across his face. “Trust me on this, love. There’s bugger all innocent when it comes to him and touching. Bet the sly git got happy pants off that. Now, onto the next port of call.”

She heard him light up and just had to ask. “How many do you smoke?”

He snorted in response. The amount of times he’d heard that one. “Enough to keep a smile on my face. Notice your windows are wide open.”

Cordelia was pleased her curtains were closed so he couldn’t see her surprise. “He told you about that?” What else had Angelus told him?

Told me about what?”

She hated foot in mouth disease. “Nothing. You were commenting on my windows?”

This time it was Spike staring at the phone and it was in confusion. “Private conversations, eh? Going better than I planned. You should keep your windows locked, pet. Anything could get in.”

“Your concern is touching.” She mocked a sigh and patted her heart.

Just looking out for my interests is all.”

“Yeah, sure you are. Is there a point to this conversation? If so, get to it. I’m tired and I get cranky when I’m tired.”

You haven’t seen cranky till you’ve seen Angelus on a morning. Bear with a sore head, he is.”

“I can imagine,” and with any luck, she wouldn’t witness it.

He ate a sales rep the other week. Don’t blame him. Pesky little buggers they are.”

Cordelia had to smile at that. Sure killing was bad, but there were always exceptions to the rule. “I hear ya,” she muttered and then forced her smile off her face, pretending she did not think affectionately on the evil ways of Angelus. Her head seriously needed looking at.

Right, now for business. Tell uncle Spike all about the car ride home.”

“I can’t.”

That good it left you speechless, eh?”

“No, there’s nothing to tell.” There was silence and she didn’t like it. “Hello?”

Sorry about that, love. Took me by surprise is all. He kept his trap shut for once?”

“We talked, but nothing to leave a room stunned.”

So there is something to tell. Go on then, I’m not a man to keep waiting.”

“You’re not a man.”

Very true. Now tell me.”

God, he was like a dog with a bone. No in fact, he was worse than a dog with a bone. “Fine, fine,” she grunted out, feeling her tiredness waving bye bye. “He basically said I should learn how to fix a car so I don’t make myself an easy target. Satisfied?”

That it?”

The incredulity in his voice almost made her snort out a laugh or two. “Yes. What did you think we were gonna talk about? Human interest?” It was, after all, Angelus speciality. Great. Now she was quoting. Not that there was anything wrong with quoting or anything wrong with admitting to having a good time.

She hated both vampires. Damn them.

No discussing mutual mates or times gone by?”

“No.” They had talked about last year, but no way in hell was Cordelia going to tell Spike. It felt private or something, and if that wasn’t scary, she didn’t know what was.


“I don’t know what you expected to happen from a twenty minute car ride. Is there anything else, because I’d really like too go to bed…”

The plan for tomorrow is for you to…”

“No can do,” she said. “I have a game tomorrow night. It’s the playoffs and we’ve been working on a new routine since forever. I’m needed.”

A bunch of nubile young fillies bouncing around in tiny tee’s and belts for skirts? Yum. My old sire will have a right hard time with that one. You leave the details to me. Sweet dreams and all that.”

Spike hung up before Cordelia had a chance to reply. She closed the phone with a shake of her head, stilk unable to believe he’d just called her in the middle of the night. She rubbed her eyes and sighed. She was too busy worrying about what tomorrow would bring to bother with being tired. Sweet dreams indeed.

Her gaze landed on the drawer housing her favourite swimsuit. “Why not?” She asked the empty room and moved toward it.

The water was delightfully hot and bubbly, making her tingle from head to toe. She relaxed against the edge of the tub, allowing her hair to dangle over the side, stretching out her legs and feet, fully enjoying the sheer sweetness of luxurious relaxation. Hell, even the low hum of the tub was soothing.

She’d missed this. Coming out here at one am when the rest of the human world slept had always been a hobby for her. It gave her the chance to gather her thoughts without interruptions or someone wanting something or a ride someplace. It was quiet, and quiet was the most biggest understatement of the century. The only thing missing was a glass of that wine.

Cordelia let her eyes close.

“Shouldn’t sleep in water. You could drown.”

She sat up with a shriek, her hands naturally going to cover her breasts as though she was naked. Sitting opposite her was Angelus and he had a seriously irritating smirk on his face. “What the hell are you doing here?” She hissed, sinking under the water a bit so he saw as little of her as possible.

“Bet you didn’t think I’d hold up my end of the bargain. Drink?” He held out a beautifully crafted crystal glass filled with white wine. He chuckled when she made no move to take it. “It’s not poisoned if that’s what you’re thinking. I brought it special.”

Hazel irises followed thick fingers as they tapped on his own glass. “I like your suit,” he said then grimaced. “How complimentary of me. Oops. We’ll just call it a slip of the tongue.” As if to prove a point, Angelus licked his lips slowly. “Take the drink, Cordelia. These things get heavy after a while.”

She did as requested and his smirk widened. “Now say thank you, Angel.”

How was it she felt like a parrot? “Thank you, Angel.” Cordelia felt the intensity as he watched her take a long, long sip and swallowed. Just like the first time, the wine was deliciously refreshing so she took another. “Nice.”

“Isn’t it?”

She said nothing for a while, merely stared at the vampire as he made himself quite at home in her hot tub. She could see his arms and shoulders, while most of his chest and the rest of his body was distorted by the bubbles, making the part of him to be dry was his hair. It didn’t appear to be in the usual spiked style, unusual for him. His skin was pale, but not as pale as she thought he’d be. His nails were clean and neat, no ground in dirt or anything like that, and there were no callouses. Well, none that she could see anyway.

Obviously, he took care of himself, which was odd for a man. She respected him for it.

The silence dragged on until she couldn’t stand it no more. “How did you know I was going to be out here?”

Angelus grinned. “What can I say? I got lucky.”

“Are you wearing trunks?”

“That’s a question for you. I mean it is your fantasy.”

To say Cordelia was on edge was an understatement. Having to constantly look over one’s shoulder every ten seconds kind of did that to a person. Especially when that person was checking every dark corner, nook and cranny for vampires.

Looking for vampires was a job belonging to a slayer, not a cheerleader. God, this whole situation sucked ass. She felt like a damn puppet with an ever growing nose, wooden limbs, and strings. Worse still had been that stupid, pathetic fantasy of Angelus popping up in her tub from out of nowhere. Sleeplessness had followed that small trip into insanity.

She hadn’t liked the fantasy and she certainly hadn’t liked not being able to forget her woes by sinking deep into the strong arms of Mr. Reeves. Why couldn’t she have a hero, huh? Didn’t she deserve one after all she was putting up with? She really wished someone would open their eyes and see what was going on, see how she was being controlled by a poor imitation of Billy Idol, but no.

She wasn’t Buffy or Willow or Xander, and so any problems she may have just had to be superficial. A part of her wanted too go to Angelus and tell him everything, then run like the wind before he broke her neck, but that wouldn’t work. Knowing her luck, Spike would catch her first and then she’d be in it. Either that or he’d get to Angelus first and spin it so she was the bad guy.

Anyway she looked at her mess, there was only one way out of it, and that was to go along with it and hope for the best. At least graduation was in a few weeks and she’d be able to get out of Dodge before things got bloody.

Cordelia figured she could get at least a few miles out of town before either one caught her. The funny thing was the more she went over the mess in her head, the less dangerous it sounded, but the reality of it was so very different, and yes she was terrified.


“Jesus, Harmony!” She jumped six feet when a hand clamped round her arm.

“Sorry,” the blonde looked at Cordelia like she’d gone insane, which she probably had. “The game’s about to start.”

Game? Oh yeah, the football game. Excellent. “I’ve been doing this longer than you,” she snapped. “I think I know how to keep time.” Harmony hadn’t deserved that and she felt terrible for it, but it wasn’t like she could tear into the cause of her current anger issues.

“Sorreee. Geez Louise, what’s eating you?”

Nothing hopefully. Cordelia took a moment and a good, long deep breath and let it out slowly. “Nothing. Sorry I snapped. It’s one of those days.”

The blonde nodded in sympathetic understanding. “I got some Midol in my locker if you want it?”

Oh damn it all to hell. She forgot she was due, but unfortunately she couldn’t take Midol. It gave her headaches that made PMS a walk in the park. “No, but thanks. I’ll just walk it off.” Please don’t let Spike have anything stupid for her to do tonight, she really wouldn’t be up to it. The dormitory effect never ceased to amaze her.

“No problem.” Harmony gave the brunette a pat on the shoulder. “Ready?”

She wasn’t, but what the hell. Activities like split kicks and pyramid apexes while wanting to curl up and die came with the territory of being captain. It was like the Tampon commercials. They always showed leggy models roller skating around, but never a woman heaving grocery bags into car while looking like a train wreck. Well, it was sort of like that anyway.

The show had to go on as they said. Stupid phrase, really. Whoever invented it needed shooting. Maybe she could get Angel to find them and bite them dead.

“Cheer up Cor,” Harmony giggled at the joke. “Maybe you’ll get a date with Danny after the game. It’s been months since you got dumped by Xander, so I’m sure everyone’s forgotten about it by now.”

Cordelia’s glare went unnoticed. “Thanks for the pep talk, Harm.”

“Anytime. Let’s go.”

So the game was played and won by the skin of the Razorbacks teeth, and much to her surprise, there was no sign of either Angelus or Spike, something she was severely grateful for. Just as Harmony predicted, the tiredness and cramps increased to the point where Cordelia had grown pale and was seen walking to her car with one hand holding her poorly tummy.

She hurried up when she felt someone behind her and almost had her keys in the lock when a sickeningly familiar voice spoke her name. She turned to face Spike.

“Quite a show you fillies put on.”

He’d been there and she hadn’t been able to see him, and hell if that wasn’t a creepy thought. “There’s a word for cretins like you.”

He just grinned. “Here I was thinking all you did was shake a pom pom or two. Backflips and all sorts of spins and kicks. Impressive.”

“Glad you enjoyed it.”

“That I did, pet. So did Angelus.”

Cordelia blinked, involuntarily looking around for Angelus. “How come I didn’t see you?” The fact they’d both been there really did a number on her mental health.

A cloud of grey smoke escaped when he chuckled. “A magician never tells his secrets. This is a perfect opportunity for you to show off your talents.”

Show off her what? She really didn’t think so and went to say just that.

“Well? What you waiting for?”

“For you to take a hike.”

For the second time in three hours, Cordelia jumped out of her skin when Angelus voice interrupted them. She watched him approach the blonde and expected to see vampire-on-vampire action. The disappointment was almost too much.

Twinkling brown eyes landed her and she was a little wigged out to see a smile in them. He’d probably been up to no good in an alley or something. Hopefully, he’d eaten Principal Snyder or Mrs. Gomer the math teacher.

“How are you, Cordelia?”

“Fine,” she murmured, her voice as distant as the hot tub fantasy, which wasn’t that distant at all. “I’m fine. On my way home.” Take a hint, she wanted to say, but chickened out.

“You look pale. Hard day at the office, dear?” Pearly white fangs appeared for a moment. Angelus brushed past Spike and she nigh on smirked when his shoulder accidentally-on-purpose hit the blonde. “Allow me.”

Cordelia froze when his fingers touched hers as he took her car keys and she heard him inhale. Was he sniffing her? He must’ve seen the look on her face as his grin came close to splitting his face.

“I was born in the age where men took care of their women.” The sound of central locking kicked in and the locks on both doors clicked up. “Get in the other side. I’ll take you home.”

She didn’t know what was more embarrassing. Having Spike witness this, Angelus sniffing her, or the offer to take her home. “No thanks. I’m okay.”

He wasn’t going to take no for an answer. “Driving while tired can be dangerous, especially when you’re not a hundred percent.”

“I’m not tired and I am a hundred percent.” Cordelia didn’t dare look at Spike for fear of what she’d see. There was something so damned humiliating about being watched when arguing with Angelus over driving her own car.

He simply arched an brow, his eyes dropping down to where she was rubbing her stomach. “Just get in the car.”


“I can either put you in myself or Wimple here can do it. Your call.” When he got nothing, he actually had the nerve to try getting a hold of her.

“No touchy with the hands.” Cordelia was barely able to duck away and only just managed to escape being thrown over a shoulder. “Alright, fine. You can drive. What is it with you and the macho caveman heroitude? God.”

Angelus merely grinned some more. “What is it with you and sixties feminism stubbornity?”

There was an amused snort from Spike, who appeared to have been forgotten about. “She’s human, mate. Can’t expect much else.”

He was ignored in favour of a stare out between the elder vampire and cheerleader. “Get in the car before you catch your death.”

“That’s women for you, Spike.” Spike spoke in a terrible American accent.

“If it’ll shut you up.” Cordelia all but stomped round the car, her irritation disipating with every step. She really couldn’t be bothered to be annoyed. She just wanted to go home, take a warm bath, and go straight to bed.

“Preaching to the choir on that one,” the blonde’s voice returned to it’s normal cockney.

“Actually, I wanna get away from his conversations with the voices in his head. It might be contagious.”

She paused long enough to shoot an involuntary, humoured smile across the car. “God forbid,” then she stopped. A couple of meetings arranged by a psychopath did not best friends make.

Angelus seemed to have suddenly developed a talent for ESP, or a microchip that allowed him to tap into her brain waves. “I get that. Shall we?”

It was strange how two very different people could have a main goal in common that they’d do anything to achieve and in this case that goal was leaving Spike to the crows.

The vampire in question had no choice but to stand and watch as his grandsire shut the door, wiggled his fingers, and drove off. His eyes never left the empty space for a while and his thoughts began to tick over, his ears still replaying the odd rendezvous between his grandsire and the chit. Obviously Angelus knew something he didn’t and that didn’t sit well with him.

Spike toyed with his lighter for a few seconds, breathing in the lingering scent of the cheerleader when it struck him what the poof meant about her not being a hundred percent. How could he have missed it?

His chuckle started off small and low, then escalated into out and out laughter. The pretty bit was on her rag. Talk about perfect timing. No way in hell was his grandsire going to pass this opportunity to get a piece of this. All he had to do was wait for the inevitable and he’d win hands down.

Angelus flipped the silver packet up and down a few times as he chose between knocking and calling her. He shouldn’t be on her balcony and doing this as it was technically against the stupid rules. Nothing sexually pleasurable in anyway whatsoever, but he couldn’t let the lady suffer like that, even if it was temptation he didn’t need. Besides, he had to get his kicks somehow.

He mocked Spike in a high pitched tone. “No wanking, touching, kissing, sly gropes in the corner.” His voice returned to normal. “What a prick.” A couple of minutes passed by and he made the decision to knock. There was no answer and so he knocked again, but a tad louder.

He heard ruffling sheets followed by shuffling feet and finally a pale face appeared around the balcony curtains. The door was heavier than normal for her to open and it took two attempts for her to be successful. It wasn’t until she stood in front of him that he really noticed just how ill she must be, and damn if he didn’t feel like a jackass for waking her up at the ass crack of dawn.

She had bags under her eyes, her hair was messy and overly shiny, a fact he put down to the hormones.

Angelus leaned his shoulder against the wall and smirked. “It’s times like this I’m glad to be a man.” Probably not the best thing he could say under the circumstances and definitely not the greatest apology for waking her, but as he said. He was a man.

“What do you want?” Cordelia asked, her voice soft and whispery with sleep.

“Back in the day, women used pebbles to count down to their visits. Since there was no pills, they would lace their tea with all sorts of herbs to help.”

“Excuse me?” He’d got her out of bed to talk about visits and pebbles and tea and herbs?

“You’re menstruating…” He paused to take in a breath. “Or close to it.”

That effectively knocked her for six and all she could do was stare at him in total shock.

“You shouldn’t use tampons all the time, and especially at night. Think about it. A month’s worth of blood is being kept inside your body. The way I see things is it can only mean trouble.”

Cordelia blinked, unsure if this was another, freakier fantasy or if she was simply dreaming. So she did the only thing she could and continued to stare.

“You keep water by your bed?” Angelus had to look into her room for the answer as she seemed to have a cat on her tongue. He saw a glass and nodded in approval. “These are for you. Go get a drink and come back.”

Numb feet took her to the drink, a numb hand picked it up, and those numb feet took her back where numb hands reached for the offered silver packet and blinking eyes stared at it like it was a little green man from Mars.

“Sit,” he was careful not to snag her dressing gown as he ushered her into a chair, and then patted her head. “There we go.”

She could think of one thing to say. “Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Talk in the third person.”

“I honestly have no idea. Something I’ve always done. Does it bother you?”

“Would it matter if it did?”

Angelus paused. “I guess not. You know what they say about old habits dying hard. Probably harder after 245 years.”

“You’re 245?” Cordelia couldn’t quite come to terms with the fact the guy opposite her was two and a half centuries old, yet barely looked thirty. Amazing.

“Give or take a year.” His lips quirked up at the corners. “To think your grandparents weren’t a twinkle when I was a kid.”

She’d rather not think on that. “Yeah, weird.” A yawn broke out and brought tears to her already tired eyes.

“Take a pill, Cordelia. You’ll thank me for it.” Foggy irises glanced down to the glass and silver packet, then returned to witness him sigh in exasperation. “Women,” he grunted with a shake of his head. Too damn stubborn for their own good.

Angelus took the packet, popped one of the blisters, but paused before he gave her the small white pill. “You don’t have plans tomorrow morning, right?”

“No. Does it contain Hyoscine? If so, I can’t take it.” Not that she was going to take it anyway. That pill thing could be anything.

His smirk gave her reason enough to suspect poison. “It’s not your everyday painkiller. Here.” The tablet looked no bigger than a snowflake in his hand.

Cordelia stared at it like it was death personified. She hated, really hated taking pills. Just the sight of them seemed to make her throat close up and made her gag. “I don’t think I can.” She could already feel it dissolving on her tongue. It was like a smaller version of hell.

The vampire watched her expression go from one of distrust to mild disgust to abject terror. He said it once and he’d say it again. “Women.” It amazed him how something so small could wield so much power. Even he hadn’t managed to keep that mouth shut through fear. Drastic actions were called for, it seemed.

Angelus closed his hand and put it out of sight long enough to push the tablet to the tips of his fingers, then leaned over to the brunette, making a point to stare down where her gown was wrapped tight across full breasts. “That rack is something to write home about.”

The second he heard her prepare to let him have it was the second he literally threw the pill into her mouth. He wasted no time in snatching the glass from her and nigh on pouring it down her throat. “Bullseye. Swallow, there’s a good girl.”

Something she had no choice in. Cordelia covered her mouth when she felt her esophagus rebel, her eyes glazed as she gagged and turned away to cough up excess water. A large palm gently patting her back had her glaring at the moron next to her.

The slap was less than a bee sting to him and a whole lot nicer. Blood, a sweet looking woman dressed for bed, and a slap. He seriously didn’t need this kind of foreplay. “That wasn’t so bad now, was it?”

“Are you nuts? I could have choked!” She yelled, using the ties on her gown to wipe her eyes dry. “Asshole.”

Angelus was exceptionally proud of himself, and it showed in the smug grin plastered over his face. “I’m disappointed. I never expected you to be so wimpy.”

“That right there is the difference,” Cordelia half snarled. “Angel wouldn’t have done that.”

Blah blah blah. “If I’d had my soul, I would have coddled you. Let you have a little cry on my shoulder and gave you all the sympathy a guy can give. You really want a guy who’s more of a girl than you?”

“What girl doesn’t want a sensitive guy?”

“Sensitivity and being a big fairy are two very different things. I did it for your own good.”

She made a noise of disgust and looked away.

He took the time to study her while she was silent, taking in the soft detail of her features. Full, nicely shaped lips, high cheeks, long lashes and hair that fainty smelled of tea tree. Her legs were in pretty good shape, which wasn’t surprising considering her earlier display of fitness. She could probably crush a man’s neck with her thighs and he definitely didn’t need to be thinking along those lines. Well, not for a couple of weeks at least.

As he continued to stare, he watched the pale colour slowly come back and watched the pinched expression of pain drift into one of relief. She suited relief much better than she did a permanent frown.

Cordelia pursed her lips in and out, keeping her face away in determination not to give him the satisfaction of knowing his little present worked. Her fingernails tap-tapped against the chair arm, her foot began to bounce and toes wiggled. All to his extreme amusement.

“No, I don’t think you would.” Angelus stated with an easy smile.

“Think I would what?”

“Want a lady for a boyfriend. You’re a man’s girl.”

“I…” A man’s girl? “Say what?”

“Come on, Cordelia. Don’t play coy with me. You know exactly what I mean.”

“I like a man who knows how to treat a woman. So what?” She ended on a huff.

“So nothing. That’s a good thing. Except for the finding of such a man. From what I hear, they’re pretty elusive creatures. Look at your track record.” Angelus gave a grin which spelled trouble. “Xander Harris, who went behind your back with Willow. That had to be kicker. Being the one left behind in the shadow of another.”

“Thanks for reminding me.” She said, her tone sarcastic and acidic. “You’re a real good friend.”

“All I’m saying is maybe a man isn’t for you. Not enough and far too normal. A man would bore you death in a week.”

“And you wouldn’t?” Cordelia’s face cracked into a sly smirk.

Angelus had to admit it. “I walked into that one, and no. I wouldn’t bore you in a week.”

“No, it’d just take two.”

He waited for her to realise the pill had worked like a charm, and when she fell silent with the hand on her tummy relaxing, she turned to him with arched eyebrows and forming smile. “Impressive.”

“I try. Go to bed and get some rest.” Angelus rose from his own chair. “Don’t forget what I said about Tampons.”

“I’m not even gonna ask how or why you know these things.” Most guys she knew wouldn’t dream of discussing periods for fear they’d die of embarrassment or something. Then again, as she knew, he was no ordinary guy.

“It’s natural and makes you smell nice, all womanly so to speak.” As if to prove his words true, he took a long, deep breath and exhaled with a sigh which spelled yummy. “Ripe for the plucking.”

It was difficult to pretend he hadn’t done that, but she managed. Barely. “Goodnight, Angel.” Cordelia went to go back into her room, but paused. “Thanks for the pills. Can you get me more next month?”

There was no answer and when she glanced over her shoulder to see why, he wasn’t there. The only sign he’d been there were the pills in her hand and the glass on the table. She shook her head.


Part 5

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