For such a sleepless night, Spike had never had so much fun. He’d listened and sniggered as his grandsire restlessly pacing in his room, only stopping when exhaustion kicked in. The blonde rubbed his hands together in glee. He could see it now.
Angelus on his knees, tearfully begging for the bet to be forgotten about. Unfortunately, he had no mercy beccause, frankly, his grandsire brought it on himself.
He had to admit the chit had been a good sport, doing what she was told without too much of an argument. Though he’d had to threaten her into it, he still knew not to underestimate her. He’d seen her dodge vampires and demons alike when she’d been the honey pot, and her vebal defence was like whiplash. It was obvious there was more to Cordelia Chase than meets the eye.
It could either be a help or hindrance and if he knew his grandsire, which he did, he had to go with the former. However good the last few meetings had gone, Spike knew he had pull something a bit special out of the bag, but what?
Cordelia had been the damsel twice now and if he played that trick again, Angelus would get a tad suspicious about the why he’d become a one vampire rescue squad. Then there’d been the little show of pantie flashing and high kicks and the perfect timing of her rag. It’d definitely have to be spectacular if he wanted to top that.
A good smoke was what he needed. Make that a good smoke and a spot of tea.
He sat down, ignoring Dru, and helped himself to the tea she made for her dolls. God, they were rotten little things. Beady, glassy eyes always following his every move and chubby, porcelain little hands always reaching up. He shuddered, sure they were out to get him.
Ahh, the wonders of Marlboro. Did the lungs a world of good, they did. Spike tapped a black fingernail off the fancy table top and stared out into space, his thoughts centred around Angelus and Cordelia. He’d never had this much trouble when it came to cunning plans and wily schemes.
Since it was Saturday, his grandsire would be at the club and suffering blood from a whore, something he knew was detested. The great Angelus drinking from a whore? Unthinkable, but damn funny to watch.
Hm. Instead of throwing the bint into his grandsire’s path, he oughta throw his grandsire into her path. He managed it last night so it couldn’t be hard to do it again. Of course, it’d take some quick verbal footwork having to come up with the reason why Angelus should be in a specific place, at a specific time.
Cordelia seemed to be one for dancing. He’d seen her tear up the Bronze dancefloor once and he had to admit she had some yummy moves. A natural talent considering that body of hers. Angelus enjoyed her bouncing and flouncing last night, he’d probably enjoy it a whole lot more if she was decked out in something sweeter than a tight tee and mini skirt.
That was the plan sorted, now to figure out how to get his grandsire to skip the club and hit the dullest place in town.
Spike sat back in the horrid white chair and continued to be in deep thought. What could possibly tempt Angelus into going where the slayer hung out with her gal pals? This was a toughie. He supposed he could say Cordelia expressed an interest in Angelus whereabouts, that she offhandedly wondered if he was going to the Bronze.
Nah. It’d be much more fun if this happened at the club in full view of every Tom, Dick, and Drac in town. With the plan tweaked and the details forming, Spike got up and went about putting things into motion.
“Where did you get this?” Angelus asked, suspicious disbelief written across his face.
“Straight from the horse’s mouth.” Wasn’t like Spike was lying. When he filled the chit in on the night’s plans, she was more than happy to go along with it. Of course, that might have to do with the extra threats he bestowed on her.
“When did you see her to hear this?” He highly doubted she’d willingly want to be in his company.
“She popped by earlier when you were out. Mentioned being a welcome guest and all.” Again, it wasn’t an out and out lie. Cordelia had stopped by earlier, it just so happened earlier meant yesterday.
“She actually came?” The elder vampire laughed to himself. It seemed unrealistic, but he wouldn’t put it past her to show up when he was out.
Spike nodded and blew out a stream of smoke directly into his grandsire’s face. “Said something about treating you to a night on the tiles as thanks for being a knight with shiny fangs.” He made an effort to look as chary as possible. “You’re not getting some on the sly, are you? Can’t say as I blame you. She is a cutie.”
Angelus smirked. “If I was, you’d be the last person to know about it.” Spike would also be the last person to know how this fasting was beginning to get to him. Not a lot, but enough to make him ansty. He must’ve paced the length of North America last night. Her scent haunted him for hours after he’d left, and God, he wanted to test it out first hand, see if she was as tasty as she looked.
When Cordelia came to the window, he’d thought her pj’s were too short, but when she didn’t make an excuse for her poor nightwear, he gathered they were a type of thing she wore when she felt far from sexy. Her gown kept the pj top covered and he figured it was the same greyish purple colour as the bottoms. The male part of his mind naturally had no top under that gown, but hey.
Spike didn’t have to know that. Come to think of it, Spike didn’t have to know about the cold shower he had when he woke up this afternoon and nor did Spike have to know about the naughty, naughty thoughts he’d been having more of lately.
Thirty three days and he’d be able to do anything he wanted with that girl. If he played his game right, he’d have her signed and sealed and ready to be delivered by the end of this. Until then, he’d have to keep it in his pants and settle for being a boyfriend.
Huh. Boyfriend. Had quite a nice ring to it if he did say so himself. It’d been ages since he’d shown a woman a good time. Although it may take some convincing on his part, but that shouldn’t prove too much of a problem. He had plenty of tricks up his sleeve that would be handy to breaking her in.
Spike hated Angelus when he did this as there was no way to tell what his grandsire was thinking. A poker faced son of a bitch he was.
“Just so you know,” Angelus spoke with an easiness that didn’t sit well with Spike. “I haven’t done anything untoward with Cordelia or anyone else. In fact, celibacy isn’t all bad. It has it’s good points. Keeping ladies waiting keeps them keen. Makes them want it all the more.”
Not bloody likely, Spike thought and kept the smugness to himself.
Angelus cracked a few knuckles. “Guess I should return the favour.” It wouldn’t be polite to keep the lady waiting.
The blonde waited patiently for his grandsire to leave, giving enough time for Angelus to get at least halfway to Cordelia’s place before ringing her to give her the head’s up.
Cordelia was seething with rage, absolutely seething. Steam came out of her ears, her nostrils flared, and her teeth ground down so hard, she swore her jaw dislocated. She was shaking with it. God, she’d never been this angry in her life.
Spike, the stupid moronic vampire that he was, had given her ten freaking minutes notice that Angelus was on his way to pick her up. When she’d asked pick her for what, the reply had been to take her out. When she’d asked take her where, the reply had been to the club.
He had to be insaner than she’d originally figured. She couldn’t go into a vampire club, wouldn’t go into a vampire club, threats or no. If one vampire had known about her current status, then surely a whole bunch of them could, and she so didn’t want to be the talk of the place.
Besides, not five minutes ago she’d decided to pamper herself and had slapped on a very expensive, very blue face pack. Her skin was bluer than blue and it was all dry and wrinkly and not what any man should ever see. Which was why she was now in the bathroom, scrubbing her face furiously in the hope it would be gone by the time Angelus arrived.
Unfortunately, face packs didn’t have a time limit for nothing. The thing was practically impossible to remove and so she was trying the scraper from her hair removal cream packet.
“Oh man, oh man.” The words came out frantic and panicked. “This is so not happening. He can’t see me like this.” Didn’t matter if it was Angelus. She wouldn’t want anyone to see her looking like a frozen plum.
Cordelia rinsed once or thrice and intensely stared into the mirror. Most of it was off, so the towel would have to do the rest. She rubbed the rough flannel over and over her face, bringing a satisfying rosy hue to her slightly blue skin. Oh, thank God.
She nodded, somewhat pleased with what she saw staring back at her. She didn’t go back into her bedroom right away, instead she hid in the bathroom until the knocking on her balcony window got a tad impatient.
She hurried out, all the while recalling what Spike told her say word for word. The sight greeting had her bare feet screech to a halt.
The sunlight was gone, but there was enough light left for her to truly see him. His hair shone two shades lighter, his skin wasn’t as pale as she’d thought, and he looked damn good in dark brown leather and Cuban heeled boots. Then there were his eyes. On a night, they looked almost black, but now she saw shades of brown, hazel, and gold.
Then he smiled at her and she took a closer look. No, he wasn’t smiling. More like laughing. Why was he laughing at her? She’d washed her face free of blue gunk, so it couldn’t be that.
Paranoia had Cordelia hiding her face long enough to check her teeth for stray bits of food. Nope. Nothing there. Only one way to find out why his sides were practically splitting, and that was to ask. Something she figured would lead to utter humiliation.
Angelus rubbed a hand down his cheeks, smoothing his grinning lips into a straight, none amused line. “Hi,” he said. “You wanted me?”
“Huh?” She gave her head what she hoped was an inconspicuous shake. “Uh, yeah. I did. Want you that is. Not want, want, but want. I mean I wanted you to…” Talk about digging your own grave. All she needed were the deeds to a cute little plot in the black hills of Dakota and she’d be set.
The grin he tried to hide got wider and wider until she feared for his cheeks, but she gallantly continued. Damn Spike. She was so delivering that vampire to hell in a handbasket complete with an apple in his mouth. “You said that I was welcome and so I welcomed myself. And you said I was your guest so I thought I’d guest myself at the club.”
Off his look, “It’s that wine, ya know?” Trying to be cool when you’re making an ass of yourself was a whole lot harder than people thought. “Addictive.”
“You can thank Spike for that. He’s been working on it for just short of a century.”
“Spike made the wine?”
That amused Angelus more than he’d care to admit. “There’s more to us vampires than lowering the human population. We’re immortal, Cordelia. We have to make a living just like the rest of you lifers.”
“It’s what we call the ones with a heart beat and a pulse.”
“A heart beat and pulse?” The idiocy couldn’t be stopped, not when he was there looking all sunny and acting like Mr. Know It All. Why did she find that so attractive? Damn him.
Screw the bet. He had to touch her.
Angelus was prevented from reaching his target by a lack of invitation and the feel of that was a very poor substitute for what was inside her. He contented himself with drawing a heart around the exact spot where hers lay thumping. “A heart beat and pulse is what makes us remember what it was like to be human. That tub-thump, tub-thump, tub-thump? To think we once had that is fascinating.”
“How do you live without it?”
“How do you live with it?”
Cordelia felt herself grinning. “Touche.”
“So you wanted me?”
“I do.” She shook her head. “Did.” She shook her head again. “Does.” Damn it.
He couldn’t help himself. He just had to smile. “How about D, all of the above?”
“D will do. Anyway, I was wondering if it would be alright if I went to your club tonight.” Hell. She slipped up. She wasn’t supposed to know he owned it. Thankfully he didn’t appear to notice her slip of the tongue.
“I wouldn’t advise it. Not with you being the way you are.” He doubted even he could protect her when she was screaming eat me.
“Oh, okay.” Cordelia wondered if he was just saying that so he didn’t have to be around her. Uh? Why in the hell would she bothered about him not wanting to be around her? He was a vampire and not just any vampire. He was the same vampire who killed Jenny Calendar and nailed a puppy to Buffy’s porch.
“If being around me is so important to you, we could do something else. Watch a movie perhaps, or go out.”
Jenny Calendar, Jenny Calendar, Jenny Calendar. “You killed her.”
Angelus frowned in confusion. “Which one?” He’d killed a lot of hers over the years.
“Miss. Calendar. You killed her and she wasn’t just my favourite teacher, she was also a friend. Why did you do that? What did she ever do to you?”
“Apart from the attempt to return my soul? Nothing.”
“And the soul was a bad thing how? It would’ve made us safe from you.”
He laughed harder than he had in years. “There is that, I suppose. Lemme put it to you another way. With a soul, I couldn’t sleep with a woman. Emotionless sex yeah, but sleep and be with? Couldn’t have the pleasure of watching her sleep or wake up, couldn’t think anything about her except what she had under her skirt. It’s why I kept distant. Could you do that for eternity? Someone having you and you not having them?”
Have meaningless sex? “No,” Cordelia admitted grudgingly. “No I couldn’t.” Not that she’d had sex to make an informed decision, but never mind. He didn’t have to know that. “I don’t see why meaningless sex would bother you.” From what Spike said, it wasn’t bothering him.
“Because I’m a heartless, cruel, soulless demon? It doesn’t bother me at all, but there comes a time in a man’s life where he has to think about settling down, laying his roots so to speak. I couldn’t do that if I had a soul. The bliss would simply be too much.” The sarcasm came complete with a smirk she found exceptionally irritating.
“You don’t seem to be the settling type.”
“I can understand that since you’ve known me for all of two, maybe three years. I was with my sire for one hundred and fifty years, Cordelia. The only times I dabbled with other women was when she was there to enjoy the show.” Angelus smirk became one of total cheekiness. “Or if they had something I wanted.”
“You travelled,” she pointed out as she ignored the new piece of information. “You didn’t have a set home.”
“I do. It’s in Galway, Ireland. My home town. Travelling is well and good, but home is where the heart is.”
More new information to ignore. “You don’t sound Irish.” Okay, so maybe the ignoring thing wasn’t working quite so good.
He shrugged. “I lost it long ago. Still slip into it occasionally.”
Cordelia was so very tempted to ask him to say something, but didn’t. He seemed to read her mind. “Top of the morning to you, lassie!”
There was a pause as he waited for her response and it was one which made him laugh for the third time in less than fifteen minutes. “No offence Angel, but that was just weird.”
Angelus grinned and received one back. “Why don’t you finish making yourself all pretty for me while I think of a plan for our date.” When he grinned this time, she was treated to two rows of razor sharp shiny white fangs. “And if I were you, I’d wash your neck. It wouldn’t do much for your reputation to be seen with a white-blue neck.”
Oh hell no. She’d washed her face free of the gunk, but not her neck. She closed her eyes and wished for the Earth to open up and swallow her whole. The sound of him chuckling merrily accompanied her to the bathroom, where she slammed the door shut and sank against it.
Why her, Cordelia wanted to demand as her head banged off the door. How idiotic could one girl feel? And what was this date thingymajig? Didn’t Spike say Angelus couldn’t do anything involving sexual pleasure? She gasped in outrage.
Did that mean Angelus saw no sexual pleasure in dating her? He could damn well screw his date if that was the case. She was in half a mind to go out there and tell him that dating her was not only sexually pleasureable, but also lovely. She didn’t need him to tell her she was a lovely date, very charming and sophisticated and any man would be freaking lucky to snag a date with her.
She spun round, her hand ready to open the door when she stopped. She couldn’t very go out there and tell him what she thought as that’d mean confessing to something which would undoubtedly piss him off, and didn’t she say she had no plans to piss him off? She certainly had said that and she had no intention whatsoever of doing that very thing.
Then there was Spike to consider. As much as she wished she could defy him, she knew it’d only lead to tragic consequences, and though her parents weren’t perfect, she did love them and had no desire to see them dead or worse. God. It came to something when death wasn’t the worst thing to happen to someone.
Her thoughts instantly went to Angelus. He didn’t seem to mind being dead. If anything, he probably loved it. Cordelia’s face scrunched up with the realisation he suited death, which was strange cus hey. How could death look good on anyone? She genuinely couldn’t picture him as a human.
He said he was 245, and that meant he would have been alive in 1755 or there about. Did he have a girlfriend or was he engaged? Married even? What about his parents? What had they been like? She was dying to ask, but knew she never would.
Angel was never inclined for small talk and she figured Angelus was just the same. Then again, he had told her he was of Irish origin, so maybe he wouldn’t mind if she casually brought it up. Like earlier, there was only one way to find out and that was to ask.
Cordelia set about removing the rest of the face pack, got her outfit off the towel heater, and a soft moan escaped when her body absorbed the heat. There was nothing better than clean clothes right off the radiator. Ten minutes or so later and she found herself looking at Angelus, who’d made himself quite at home on her balcony.
His feet were propped up on the small table, his jacket draped over the back of the chair, and his hands cushioned his head. He appeared to be enjoying what remained of the daylight. Something which posed another question.
She jumped a little at the sound of his voice. “What?”
Angelus glanced around to shoot a smile in her direction. “I could hear the cogs ticking from here, Cordelia. Ask me. I won’t bite.”
“Except if I piss you off, right?” She felt her feet taking her out to join him and her butt sitting itself happily opposite him. “Okay. It’s still light. How are you…”
“Able to be here without firing up? That happens in direct sunlight. The sky maybe blue, but the sun has gone. It’s perfectly safe.” His smile turned sharp and edgy. “Worried about me, were you?”
“No,” Cordelia stated a bit to quickly. “Just curious. Do you miss it? The sunshine, I mean.”
Angelus head tilted to one side as he thought on that for a moment. “Sometimes,” he confessed. “But it can’t compare to moonlight. There’s more to see at night.”
She gasped at the sound of her father’s voice, her eyes going straight to the vampire. She never, ever wanted these two to meet under any circumstances. “Please, don’t do anything to him.” She whispered, her shaking hands gripped the table as she stood up to greet her dad. “Out here, daddy.”
Angelus lips cracked into an extremely large grin. She was so damn precious. He took in Cordelia’s father as he got up to greet him. It was plain to see where she got her looks. The man of the house had dark brown hair, brown eyes, and a shark like smile. He liked daddy instantly.
Her father looked the vampire over once or twice before turning suspicious eyes to his daughter. “You never said anything about company.”
Cordelia nervously laughed. “I didn’t know I was having company, either.”
“Shimmied up the trellis, did he?” Brown eyes went back to the vampire, who smiled oh so innocently. That thing had to go, as did her balcony. Come to think of it, maybe he oughta put her under lock and key and be done with boys sniffing around his daughter.
“Aren’t you going to introduce us, pumpkin?” Her father asked, never once removing his eyes from an increasingly impressed Angelus. There weren’t many humans who could meet and hold his gaze.
She grit her teeth together. Was it too much to ask for him not to use that God awful pet name? “Daddy, this is Angel. Angel, this is my dad, Will.”
“Good evening, sir.” Cordelia nigh on had a heart attack when the vampire extended his right hand and the feeling grew when the shake was accepted.
“A hand shake says a lot about a man,” her father said as he kept shaking, squeezing his fingers a little harder to get the message across.
Angelus grinned at the man who obviously didn’t like men climbing up to his daughter’s bedroom. “I understand. Can’t be too careful, especially with strange men climbing the rose trellis to be in her company.”
Her father’s eyes narrowed. “Got kids, Angel?”
“None.” He knew what would be next. “Your daughter is very beautiful, sir, and I’m sure you’ve had to mention the shotgun once or twice.”
Cordelia’s face exploded into twenty shades of red. Could this get any worse? “You and mom ready to go?” The faster she got her father out of Angelus way, the better and less humiliated she would be.
“I think Elizabeth can wait a few more minutes.” This boy was lucky it was he who caught him on his little girl’s balcony and not her mother, who was fourth dan in verbal judo and was lethal with a slap. Elizabeth would simply crush his balls into the size of peas.
Angelus could hardly keep his amusement at bay at the next question to come his way. “You work, Angel?”
“I own a club on the outskirts of town. Asylum. It’s doing very well.”
Her father nodded. “Heard of it. My colleague’s daughters go there. Darlene and Stacey Fless, you know them?”
“I do, as a matter of fact.” The vampire paused long enough to shake his head. “Had to bar them for disobeying the rules.”
The boy had his own business and kept it clean. So far, so good. “What are your intentions toward my daughter?”
“Daddy!” Cordelia hissed, her cheeks now an unattractive shade of purple. What next? How big would the wedding be and where would they live? This was not her idea of fun.
“No, it’s alright.” Angelus assured her. “I find myself enjoying her company, sir. I’d like to see where it goes.”
Her father nodded again. That answer was far better than the one he got from her last boyfriend, the Harris kid, who squeaked out the fact he was in love with her and then went on to put his daughter in hospital after cheating with Ira Rosenburg’s kid. That boy was lucky he didn’t feel the business end of a personal lawsuit. Wouldn’t hurt to mention that to this one just in case he got any ideas.
“I own a law firm,” her father stated in a tone that had Cordelia throwing her hands in the air and turning away in exasperation. He pulled out a business card and gave it to his daughter’s boyfriend. “Take this.”
“You’ve been introduced,” she said. “Great, wonderful. Now if you don’t mind…” She began to usher her father away from the vampire at a speed which would have Alonso eating dust. “Have a good time in Paris, tell mom to spend lots, and don’t forget to bring me something nicer than last year. Bye.” Never had she been so glad her parents were on their way to a second honeymoon.
She was almost at her bedroom door when her father escaped her vice like hold and gave Angelus a look that clearly meant no funny stuff was to happen in his absence. “I’m taking her mother away for a few weeks. I trust you’ll look after my daughter?” If not, Bessie could come out of her retirement display case for a round or two of target practice.
“You have my word,” and look after he certainly would. After all, it wasn’t right for a young woman to be alone in a town like Sunnydale. Anything could happen to her.
“And next time use the front door.” The warning was clear, concise, and made Angelus smile.
Cordelia felt like crying and almost did, but it was relief that kept the tears of humiliation at bay. Her father was now gone and she was left to do some serious damage control. She stood there, her hands on her bedroom door, and not daring to turn around to see the look which would surely be on the vampire’s face.
“He seems nice,” she heard the smirk accompanying the words. “If I had a baby girl, I wouldn’t be at all happy to find a strange man on her balcony. How rude of me to do that.”
“Can we not talk about this, please?” God, she hated begging, but desperate times called for desperate measures.
“Why not? I like the man.”
That got her facing Angelus and she did so with a scowl. “You like him. Fine. Lovely. That doesn’t mean we have to relive my torment. I’m asking you nicely, please can you let this go and pretend it never happened?”
He sighed long and hard, gracing her with a mock cringe. “I don’t know, Cordelia. See I told your dad I’d look after you and if I was to pretend that never happened, I’d be going back on my word. What would that say to him?”
“It’d say his daughter did not, under no circumstances, need to be looked after.”
“I think it’d tell your dad I have a big red dot on my forehead that screamed to be hit by a shotgun bullet.” He couldn’t remember ever getting interviewed by a lady’s father and it was simply too much to let go. Besides, one never knew when a good lawyer would come in handy. “I had an idea about our date.”
The swift change in subject threw her for a loop. “Date?”
“How’s about we sit here and do nothing? It is a nice night, it’d be a shame to waste it cooped up in a crowded theatre or watching a movie neither of us has any real interest in.” Angelus gave her a once over, just noticing the sweet little outfit she had on. Capri pants in the colour of navy blue and an old, stained paint shirt that did nothing to hide to curved figure underneath. Her feet were in slippers with leopards on the top.
He really should throw in the towel where the bet was concerned as the chances of him being around her lookinglike that and doing nothing about it were slim to none. Angelus knew then and there his interest had been truly captured. He hated her for looking so damn sweet.
He needed a distraction of some sort and the only thing he could think of was getting her away from her bedroom, and onto his turf. He’d feel more in control on his turf.
Cordelia glanced down at her clothes. No wonder he didn’t want to do anything. Who would want to do anything with a girl in a pizza stained shirt and four year old pants? “Sure,” she replied, her voice laced with involuntary disappointment. “Sure we can do nothing.”
Would she just stop that cutesy tone? “Or,” Angelus half purred as a large smile broke out on his face. “We could go for a drive in a really cool car.”
She didn’t know what she disbelieved more, the fact he’d done this or the fact she was sitting in the passenger seat of a jet black Ferrari F30. It had everything from a roaring engine and digital dash to miniscule trunk space, tinted windows and coffee holders. Christ almighty, she could feel the power vibrating on her ass and thighs, and the leather seat kinda stuck to her, but like she cared!
Who would care when blitzing around Sunnydale in a freaking Ferrari?
Cordelia managed to tear her gaze from the rapidly passing scenary to spare a look at Angelus, who was totally at home driving the super car. His eyes blazed with intensity as he stared out the windscreen and his hands kept a tight hold of the wheel. She had to smile.
If he couldn’t have sex, then he sure as hell could get off on a speedy toy. Men, she thought, they were all the same. Even though she really didn’t wanna know about the love life of her parents, she knew when her mom was out of action, her father made up for it by eating piles of steak. It was quite funny when she thought about it.
“Can I drive?”
The question threw him for a loop. “Pardon?” She did realise how powerful this car was, didn’t she?
She rolled her eyes, sure he clearly heard her. “Can I drive?”
Angelus coughed and shifted in the seat. Not only did he not want to relinquish the pleasure of being in control of the little stunner, but he really didn’t know how good a driver she was, and someone who wasn’t used to raw power behind the wheel could mean trouble. Very expensive trouble.
Her jaw dropped a tad as she stared at him. “I own a Corvette, remember? I can handle it. Come on Angel, please? I’ll go super slow and be extra careful.”
A Corvette had some decent torque, but it was a far cry from a Ferrari. “Going super slow can be just as dangerous as going super fast.”
“I’ll stick to the speed limit. Promise. Please Angel? Pleeeaaassseee?”
If there was one thing he hated more than a begging woman, it was a whiny, begging woman. He gamely tried to ignore the voice, but it was on the fourth please that he cracked. God, could she not use that pitch? “Alright!” Angelus half growled and eased up on the gas, expertly steering the car to the side of the road. “Just stop talking like that. You’ll burst the ear drums of bats.”
That pitch was her secret weapon. Cordelia shrieked and bounced up and down, her hands clapped once or twice in delight. “Thanks. You’re a doll. Ha!” She couldn’t believe she was about to drive a Ferrari. How cool was this? “I can’t wait for school on Monday,” she babbled happily. “Everyone is gonna be sooo jealous. Ooh! We have to go past Starbucks in town.”
He graced her with a sideways glance. “You’re such a show off, you know that?”
“Damn skippy. Now get out so I can get in.” Following her drill sergeant like order, she giggled like a kid at Christmas. “Hurry! My hands are itching.”
“You can drive stick?” He had to be sure he wasn’t letting himself in for turning into an instructor.
“Duh,” Cordelia scoffed, now leaning over him to open his door for him. Her eagerness left her ignorant to the slow licking of his lips as her perfume played hell on his senses. She smelled so good. Fruit and blood. How sweet could a lady be? “Corvette, and sometimes daddy lets me drive his Mercedes convertible.”
Angelus picked up on the half truth immediately. “Only when he’s not there to say no, right?”
“Exactly. Come on, move!”
He glared down at the brunette crawling into his lap. “If it was anyone else ordering me around, I’d snap their neck.” Satisfaction appeared when she froze. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last as his warning went in one ear and out the other.
“If I’m gonna die, then I’m dying happy. Move!”
He simply had to laugh. “A girl after my own heart.”
Cordelia jumped into his grave the second his right leg left the car. She set about adjusting the seat, the mirror, and making herself right at home. She took a moment to gather her thoughts before revving up, much to his annoyance.
An annoyance which was chased away by the overly large grin seemingly stuck to her face. “Ready?”
“How small are you?” Angelus grunted, using his feet to push the seat back. What was it about passenger seats that made every man miserable? Oh yeah, the woman driving. “Just drive, would you?”
“Okay!” She didn’t need telling twice and the car pretty much tore back down the road.
He gripped the door handle and swallowed a tiny piece of his stomach. “Why are we going this way?” Hadn’t they just come up this way?
“I want to get a better look at the boots in that shop we passed. I can do that now I’m on the right side.”
What? He giggled. “Boots?” She was in a Ferrari and she wanted to see boots?
“Yup,” Cordelia shot that grin his way. “You have your cars and I have Manolo’s. I swear I saw half off.”
What else could he do apart from let her get on with it?
Now that it was Angelus sitting back and doing the studying, he was able to relax a little. Well, except for the crazy ass, high speed corners she made. He had to admit she looked good behind the wheel of a Ferrari. She was certainly a girl after his own heart. Unless she was waving out the window, probably at someone she didn’t know.
“Check me out! I’m in a Ferrari!” She sang merrily with a rhythmic jiggle of her head. “This totally rocks.”
He didn’t get a chance to make a noise of any sort, not even an agreeing grunt. “Hey, how much money do you have on you?” The completely random question had his eyebrows rising.
“How much money do you have on you?” Did he use money, or did he kill the sales person and take what he wanted? “Can you get credit?” Credit would be better.
“I have an idea.” Cordelia turned off after she went past the boots. “Trust me. You’ll thank me for it later.”
Angelus had no choice but to go along with whatever was in her mind.<
A short time later found him staring down in sheer fascination at the numerous gadgets on display. There were the standard black and silver, but also red ones, pink ones, and ones with flowers on the front. He leaned in to get a closer look, the smile on his showing just how interesting he was finding the phones. They came with everything apparently. Games, internet, and something called Bluetooth.
“What’s Bluetooth?” Angelus asked as he moved to the next case.
“You can send stuff like ringtones and pictures for free.” Cordelia replied with a grin and followed him. “What about this one?” She pointed to a black flip phone, but thought twice when she saw it was pretty much pants.
“Oh.” He honestly had no clue about any of this. He glanced at the one she mentioned and was inclined to agree with her shaking head. The one beside it looked better. It was a matt silver, sliding mechanism, and bigger buttons. “I like this one.”
Critical hazel eyes checked it out. “Um…” She looked at the specs. “No. Not enough memory and the brand sucks. We should stick to Samsung. They have the corner of the market at the moment.”
“I have a Samsung. Great sound quality, excellent signal and memory. Plus, it’s loud so you can hear it if you’re someplace noisy.”
“I’d hear it anyway.” Off her look, “Vampire.”
“Oh. Right.” She forgot about that aspect of his persona. “Over here are the contract phones. C’mon.”
Angelus allowed, yes allowed, himself to be dragged to where phones weren’t in glass cases. His eyes lit up when he found a nice little black one that had neither a slide or a flip. “I like this,” he said and picked it up, turning it this way and that to get a view from all angles.
“No,” Cordelia took it off him before he got attached. “The problem with these styles is you can accidentally knock the key lock off and call Alaska without knowing it. See that button thing in the middle?” He nodded. “It’s not a button, it’s the navigator. You’ve got large fingers so it’d annoy you in the long run.”
He grinned. “Been noticing my anatomy, have you?”
She shook her head in exasperation. “It’s hard not to notice them when you can’t keep them off me.” She paused. “That didn’t come out right.”
“On the contrary, Cordelia. It came out just fine.” That grin of his didn’t seem to be leaving any time soon. “This one? It flips, it’s a Samsung, and it says it has eighty thousand kilobytes, whatever that means.”
“Lemme see.” She flipped it open and had a play around with it for a moment before putting it back down. “That’s a girl’s phone. It maybe blue, but it can tell when you’re gonna ovulate and tells you what fragrance suits your personality.”
The vampire raised his eyebrows. “Why don’t you get one?”
“Can you not mention that in public, please?”
“Why not? It isn’t like you’re the only woman who gets it. Nothing to be ashamed of.”
“My fertility cycle isn’t my idea of good gossip. We’ll not talk about that if it’s all the same.”
“Bad gossip for you, a delicacy for me, but it’ll be our little secret if it makes you happy.” Angelus whispered the last few words and made a show of zipping smirking lips.
“You’re an ass.” Cordelia didn’t get a chance to reply as she was moved onto to the next model.
“There’s this one,” the black model was held up. “Quite manly looking, dontcha think? Very me.”
She was so not going to boost his ego by answering that one. “No.”
His sigh was more of a growl as he nigh on slammed the phone back into the holder. “It slides, has good memory, and I’m assuming you can use it to make calls. So what’s wrong with it?”
“No Bluetooth and for that amount, you want Bluetooth.”
Angelus glanced down at the price. “No. For that price, I want a gold tooth.”
She couldn’t stop the grin if she tried. “Good point. Ooh, here’s one. Black, flip, and it’s got everything you need in a phone. Have a look.”
He took the shiny gadget out of her hand, turned it round, flipped it open and flipped it shut. “I like it. How does it look?” Angelus flipped it back open and struck a pose, then pretended to have a conversation much to her amusement. “I’d like to make an order for delivery, please. One honey with brown hair and hazel eyes, a portion of fries on the side and O-pos to drink.”
Cordelia took the phone off him before he got carried away. “Dork.”
“Excuse me, do you need any help?” Mr. Bryce approached the couple he’d been watching for a while.
Angelus bluntly replied, “No.”
She quickly amended that. “We’re looking to buy this one,” and handed the phone in question over to the sales man.
Bryce scrunched his face up. Despite the fact it was one of the best-sellers, he saw an opportunity to make a solid amount of commission if he played it right. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”
“Why not?” The vampire asked with a frown. Cordelia said it was a pretty decent piece.
“We’ve had many complaints about it.” It was so far from the truth, it was ridiculous, but these two didn’t need to know that. “Very unreliable.”
Angelus glanced at the brunette and saw her eyes narrowing. “Isn’t this a Samsung?”
Bryce nodded. “It is and usually they’re top notch, but there’s always exceptions to the rule. This is it.”
“We’ll take our chances, thanks.” Cordelia went to take the phone back, but the man put it to one side. “Hey, I want that.”
She was ignored, something which simply pissed the vampire off. “This is the D900,” and held up a model that may have been God’s gift, but was ugly to look at. “Top of the range. It’s got everything from a 3 mega-pixel camera, Bluetooth version 2, GPRS, video phoning, and has an excellent memory.” That was if you bought a memory card to go with it.
Angelus snorted. “Can you make calls on it?”
Bryce flashed an arrogant, toothy smirk at him. “Of course.”
Cordelia really didn’t like the tone. “You’ve been very helpful, but we’ll stick with our first choice. Thanks all the same.”
“Or there’s this one,” Angelus found himself staring at a shiny silver gadget no bigger than his fingernail. “Again, it’s top end…”
“I left my microscope at home.” This Bryce person was seriously starting to grate. His teeth were overly white and shiny, his hair was greased to the eyeballs, and he was frankly far too smarmy for his own good.
The man chuckled and put the phone back. “I can see you like a handful. I’m not one for fragile pieces either.” His eyes made the grave mistake of straying to Cordelia and his lips made a graver mistake of smirking. He definitely wouldn’t mind tapping that ass or getting a good handful. “How’s about this one? Sony Ericsson. Very popular with our male clientele.”
Angelus knew exactly what Bryce was thinking and it really didn’t go a long way in getting his good opinion. “Apologise to her.”
Cordelia’s face now sported a little embarrassed smile. “I’m sure it was a misunderstanding…”
He didn’t agree with that. “There’s no misunderstanding. He knows exactly what he said.” A set of flashing orbs never left the sales man. “Don’t you?”
“Ignore him, Angel. We’ll go to a different store.”
The vampire’s gaze landed on her. “You’re letting him talk to you like that?” She didn’t let him talk to her like that and it frankly irritated him she made allowances for an ugly suit with a pretty smile.
“I’m used to those comments. Been putting up with them since puberty.” Her voice went to a high pitched mimic, “Cordy’s got boobies, Cordy’s got boobies. It’s not a big deal…”
“Yeah, it is a big deal. I can rip his head off.” And he could, too.
“Oh God! Can you just not do this, please?” At least not in front of her. Visions of bloody hair and clothes raced through her mind as she scoured her brain for something to distract him before he literally ripped the guy’s head off.
“Do what? Stand up for you?” Angelus once more looked at the assistant. “I said apologise to her.”
Bryce sighed. Some people just didn’t have a sense of humour. “I’m sorry if you took my comment as more than was intended.”
It wasn’t quite what the vampire wanted. He wanted a nice, genuine apology, not one that sounded like it’d been squeezed out of a Barbie doll. Angelus feigned a sympathetic grimace “I’m not feeling the sincerity. Apologise again, and this time, make it nice.”
“Leave it.” She tried unsuccessfully to defuse the escalating situation by tugging on the vampire’s shirt sleeve. “I’m used to comments like that. Really Angel, he’s not worth the trouble. It’ll be more of an insult if we go someplace else. He won’t get the commission he desperately wants, his average will go down, we’ll complain and get a mark on his name or possibly fired. See? Much more fun.”
“My idea of fun involves me crushing…”
Oh hell of hells. She was really starting to panic now. Cordelia tugged harder on Angelus sleeve, but to no avail. She could see the store turning into a blood bath. “Red doesn’t become me,” she said with a plastic smile, hoping she’d get through to the vampire before he got them locked up for first degree homicide.
Angelus shrugged her off and got in Bryce’s face, letting the man know just how unhappy he was. “I said apologise.”
“Is there a problem?” Mrs. Clark, the manager, saw the beginnings of what would be a losing battle for Bryce and intervened.
“Yeah,” the vampire spoke up. Cordelia wanted fun? Then fun she’d get. “This dickwad made a comment directed at my wife’s chest.”
The word wife floored the cheerleader so much, she was rendered speechless. What in the hell did Angelus think he was playing at?
Mrs. Clark turned to the sales man. “Is this true?”
Bryce shifted uncomfortably. “I showed them the Samsung E500 and stated the customer liked a handful after he said it was too small.”
Angelus chuckled at the pathetic attempt he made to look innocent. “You missed the part where you looked at her.”
The manager blinked at Bryce, who defended himself. “I may have glanced at her.”
Mrs. Clark sighed, resigned to yet again cleaning up one of her employee’s mess. “I’ll deal with you later, Bryce,” she stated simply and smiled to the couple. “If you’re still interested in purchasing a phone…”
“Yes we are.” Cordelia poked her tongue out at the ex sales man, linked her arm through the vampire’s, and followed the nice woman who was so going to give them a great deal. “You’re still gonna hurt him, aren’t you?” She whispered when the manager was sorting out the paper work.