It was amazing how pretty Sunnydale looked from the top of a hill. The twinkling lights and stars, trees looking almost black, and the grass was a little bit wet. If it wasn’t for the sound of eating, slurping, and wrapper rustling, it’d be nice and peaceful.
After yesterday’s adventure to the phone store, she hadn’t been surprised to find Angelus on her doorstep two hours ago, his hand holding up a set of keys and his mouth making a deal. She clued him in on the wonders of modern technology and he’d buy her whatever her little heart desired, which is why she was sat on the hood of his car, food and phone in hand, and he was next to her watching intently.
“Now press send, which is this button right here.” Cordelia instructed around a mouthful of cheeseburger.
Angelus did as told and pressed the send button, then waited for a few seconds until her phone signalled the arrival of his message. “Cool.”
“Isn’t it?” She asked with a grin, and took a sip of Coke to wash down her bite. “So what did ya send me?”
“Read and see.”
Okay. She picked up her phone, pressed the button to view, and laughed at the word Hi. “Back atcha.”
He grinned. “We’ve covered the basics. Calling, texting, Bluetooth, how to set my ring tone. I think that’s everything.”
“It’ll get you through for now. Don’t wanna overload your brain by delving into voice mail and net access. Bite?”
Angelus leaned away from the vile thing before it went up his nose. “I’m not one for fast food.”
“Unless they’re running for their lives?”
Cordelia’s smile was fully returned with an added flash of fang. “Now gimme. I’ll send you some stuff. A friend of mine makes their own tones so we don’t have to subscribe to companies that charge $3 a week for total crap.”
He handed her the phone and moved to lean against the wooden railing, crossing his legs at the ankles. She was perched on the hood of the Plymouth, her legs crossed and shoes off. He watched her fiddle with his new toy, pausing occasionally to take a sip and bite.
The skirt she wore ended at her knees, long enough to keep things to the imagination but short enough to let a man know what he was missing. Her shoes were heeled and studded with fake jewels while an ankle bracelet brought a shiny, eye catching twinkle to her skin.
She hadn’t bothered with her hair, choosing instead to let the waves ride loose, and it was only then he noticed just how long her hair really was. The chestnut shade looked black all bar the odd streak of honey, which was steadily growing on him. She didn’t have any perfume on and so he was able to fully smell her, and God, it was sweet.
“Pick a name,” she said, knocking him out of his intense study.
One came directly to mind. “Angel.” It may have been a tad more sentimental than he was used to, but women were suckers for that kinda stuff. Happy pictures of puppies and kittens, firemen holding said puppies and kittens.
Cordelia shook her head. “Can’t you be a bit more original?”
A wolfish smirk curled his lips up at the corners. “Evel Knievel?”
She rolled her eyes in response. “How about Sammy? Samsung? Geddit?” Lord, she killed herself sometimes.
He looked positively insulted. His phone would be called Sammy when Satan bought ice skates. “Sammy is a girl’s name.”
“And Angel isn’t?” He returned her sneer. “Where’s the excitement you’re infamous for, huh? Where’s the attention snaring, eye catching, nightmare giving ideas?”
“Impiety,” Cordelia suggested, shoving that home truth to the far reaches of her brain. She totally didn’t want or need to deal with that right now. “Impiety would be a good name for you and you get a cute nickname, too. What more could a man want?”
He was so not impressed. “Don’t even think it, Cordelia.” Her mouth opened, ready to let it fly. “I mean it.”
She closed her mouth, looking away to hide her mischievous smirk.
“Don’t you dare. Say that and I swear on all that’s holy, I’ll bite you.”
“Alright,” Cordelia bit her lower lip in an effort not to cackle in his face. “I promise I won’t call you imp.”
Angelus paused for a moment before pinning her with a look that wasn’t at all nice. “You’re sick.”
“You’re such a goofball,” she rolled her eyes and flicked a piece of bun at him, sniggering when it bounced off his ear. She didn’t get a response. “You shouldn’t feel ashamed for liking it. Imp is a cute nickname. Very you. So you in fact, I may put that under your number.”
“I don’t like it, it’s not cute, and it certainly isn’t me.” The vampire graced her with another glare. “And I will suck you dry if you call me that again.”
She sighed and shook her head. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll stick with Angel.” Of course he didn’t have to know she was gonna have Imp as his caller I.D.
Angelus arched an eyebrow. “Why does that sound like an insult?”
“It’s not so much an insult as it is boring. I mean, your name? I thought you were more adventurous and exciting than that.”
Angelus wondered where she got her ideas from. “So,” he said as he leaned against the wooden railing and crossed his legs at the ankles. “Exciting, fearsome, infamous, large and manly hands. You really do think about me a lot, dontcha?”
Apart from every thirty seconds of every day? “Not specifically, no.” God, the lie had to be loud and clear, didn’t it? With any luck, he’d let it go.
He chuckled. “Of course you don’t.”
Cordelia sighed. “You’ve made a pretty big impression in the years you’ve been here, so yeah I think about you.” She may have confessed to that, but no way in hell was she gonna confess to what her thoughts revolved around. Especially not when that damned fantasy wouldn’t leave her alone.
She shrugged. “Some good, some bad.”
“Guess that’s to be expected considering what you’ve been taught about me.”
“Not only taught,” she reminded him in a quiet voice. “You’ve proven yourself to be a hands on psychopath.”
Angelus had to give her that point. “Never order anyone to something you’re not prepared to do yourself. Yeah, I can be a bastard when I wanna be. Comes with the vampiric territory. I’ve been pretty sweet to you, haven’t I?”
She took another bite of her burger, but the taste seemed strange now. “Yes,” she replied, “Yes you have, and it’s weird. Not bad weird, just confusing weird, Like I don’t know how long your boy scout behaviour will last before you turn on me.”
“What makes you so sure I will turn on you?” He shot her a sly smirk. “Then again, there’s nothing to assure you otherwise, except for the giving of my word.” It was pleasing to see her start to fiddle with the burger wrapper as she realised she was out in the middle of nowhere, with a vampire who had the keys to her only way of escape.
He chuckled again. “Relax, Cordelia. You’re in good hands.”
“Turn on you? Don’t know, but arentcha excited to find out?” He was.
She rolled her eyes at his overly giddy tone. He could be such a kid. “Yeah, real excited.”
Angelus neither asked or said anything more in favour of standing there, quietly watching as she finished her food. He’d never saw any real fascination in humans eating, but most humans didn’t tend to eat in pattern. Two bites were taken and followed with a drink which lasted exactly five seconds. Five more seconds would pass and she’d repeat until it was all gone. It was incredibly amusing and oddly attractive.
It also made him hungry. “We should get you home.”
Cordelia frowned. “But it’s only… Wow, it’s almost midnight. I’m so glad my folks are gone else a grounding would come my way.” She hadn’t realised it was so late.
“Get in the car, Cordelia, and be quiet.”
For reasons unknown to her, she did as told and they spent the entire journey in an odd sort of companionable silence. Every so often, she’d glance across to see him tensing, until finally he pulled up in her drive.
“Okay,” she said with a sigh. “What’s eating you?”
There was a pause. “What would you do if I did turn on you?”
Cordelia pursed her lips as she thought about that. “Pray you have a change of heart? Really, I don’t know Angel. You’ve had plenty of opportunities to, um, hurt me. Why haven’t you?”
Angelus smiled, but said nothing. Good question. “Goodnight and sweet dreams. I’ll stop by later. You know, just to make sure you haven’t burnt the place down.” He got out of the car to open her door and walk her up to the house.
“Door to door service,” she commented with a little laugh. “Quaint.”
She stood there, thinking if he’d been any other guy this would be the time where she stated how good a time she had and waited for a kiss. As it happened, he wasn’t any other guy and she wasn’t waiting for a waiting for a kiss or two.
Angelus fought the chuckle threatening to erupt and cleared his throat, thoroughly enjoying her discomfort at the situation. “You should go inside before you catch your death.” Or before death caught her. He took it upon himself to fish for her keys and opened the door for her, giving her an encouraging little push. “Go.”
The word “Wait,” was out of her mouth before she could stop it.
He stopped and glanced over his shoulder questioningly.
“You can have a coffee if you want.” Her parents weren’t home, therefore no one she had to fear for except herself and she really didn’t think there was cause for that.
The vampire turned and walked back the way he came, never halting until he towered over her. He leaned down so his lips hovered dangerously close to hers, so close he felt the yelp of surprise more than he heard it. He watched her eyelids flutter half shut and her mouth part ever so slightly, and it was all he could do to keep it in his pants.
“Tea?” Cordelia whispered. “Earl Grey? Darjeeling even?” Was he ever gonna end the torment and kiss her?
He was seconds off doing what she begged when the first throb of arousal burst in his cock and he hissed out the pleasured pain. Damn it. Damn her. Damn fucking stupid bet. “Hungry. Need to feed.”
“Hungry?” Her nose touched his chin, hair tickled the lower part of his cheek, and he was inching forward for more. Just a little bit closer, a little higher, and her lips would be on his. The intensity, the midnight chill, his presence… All had her nipples hardening and a soft moan escaping. Please, for the love of God, would he just freaking kiss her already?
Angelus leaned his hands on the barrier and bent down so his fangs brushed her throat, the hunger pushing him to the point where all it’d take was the closing of his jaw and she’d be all his. He needed blood and she had plenty of the stuff, surely it couldn’t be held against him if he took just one little sip, but would that be enough? He knew it wouldn’t.
He had to leave before he fed from her, had to leave before he did something stupid like fuck her right there in the front lawn.
“Angel.” Cordelia knew it was wrong to push higher so those fangs pricked her skin, but she couldn’t help it. They tickled and felt nice scraping against that sensitive little spot just above her jugular.
It wasn’t until warm little hands gripped his shirt that he realised just how close he’d come to breaking the rules. Anger brought on by growing hunger had him spitting fire at the cock tease. “Are you nuts?” He snarled, shoving himself away from her. “Don’t you know anything?”
“What?” The crash to Earth was dizzying and even shaking her head didn’t clear the fog.
When Angelus looked at her, his face showed nothing but sheer fury. “You really are as stupid as you look.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I mean really.” He sneered in an ugly way. “What kind of idiot offers their throat to a vampire?”
She was confused. “I didn’t…” Oh wait, yes she did. “I’m sorry.” Hadn’t he been into it as much as her? Obviously not if his attitude was anything to go by.
“What were you trying to do, huh? See how far you could push me before I snapped?” Angelus made a noise and slapped his forehead. “And look who I’m asking. The head cheerleader. You’re so fond of nicknames. Why dontcha go find out how you got yours.”
Cordelia frowned, the comment stinging more than it should. “Why are you being like this?”
“Being like a vampire?” He laughed a laugh that did little to ease her discomfort. “You didn’t seem to have much of a problem with it a minute ago. In fact, it got you all hot and bothered under that pretty skirt of yours. There you were, saying my name all whispery and sweet, hoping I’d give it to you.”
She stood there and let him go at her all the while feeling whatever she felt for him disappear in an instant.
“Jealous Buffy got there before you? After all, you were more than ready to open those legs. Just think if it had been you. I wonder about my soul. Probably still have it. Let’s talk Buffy. I mean wow. She was a real pro. Good enough to screw the soul right outta me.”
“Now you on the other hand,” this time when Angelus towered over her, it wasn’t to indulge in a little romance, it was to stare down at her through flashing golden eyes. “You couldn’t even keep a guy interested long enough for to him want…”
The slap shouldn’t have been a surprise considering his words and actions, but it did, and it surprised him enough into shutting up. Cordelia did it again when he opened his mouth. “Stay away from me,” was all she said before going into the safety of her house and softly closing the door behind her, leaving him unable to do anything but listen to the sound of a single sniffle before it all went quiet. She hadn’t even bothered to switch on the hallway light.
“Damn.” He kicked at the loose gravel and swore when it bounced off his car bumper. “Damn.”
Angelus ran both hands through his hair, pulling on the spiked strands when the frustration got too much to handle. He doubted she’d listen to him anymore tonight, but he had to try. He barely resisted the urge to use his stupid head to knock on the door. “Cordelia, open up. I just wanna talk to you.”
He got nothing. “I know you’re there.”
Not even a curtain twitch. “I’m not leaving until you talk to me.”
He got a response this time, only not a one he wanted. It was the faint sound of feet walking slowly up the stairs and when he heard it, he knew he wasn’t going to get anywhere with her tonight. Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t the only stubborn one.
It didn’t take long for him to be under her balcony, and it took less time for him to be outside her bedroom window. He was about to knock again, but a better idea came to mind. Angelus took out his phone and called her.
The mobile phone you are calling maybe switched off. Please try later.
He clicked end, then tried again and got the same message. “Damn.” Looked like it was back to manual labour. “Cordelia, I know you can hear me. I was out of line, but so were you. You offered yourself to me on a silver platter for God’s sake. Was I supposed to feed off you and sign myself up for a dusting?”
Angelus paused as his brain ticked over. “Unless that’s what you want. My untimely death on your conscience. I suppose you can’t be blamed. I have been a little naughty.” He sighed when he got less than nothing. “You’re pissed. I understand. I’m gonna go cosy up at home, give you time to cool off.”
He drew the shape of her bed on the window exactly where it would be inside and then rubbed his fingerprints away. “Goodnight, Cordelia.”
Sat on her bed with eyes full of unshed tears, she listened to every word he spoke and ignored them all. Cordelia had believed when he said he wouldn’t hurt her. She would not make that mistake again. The thought that made her laugh.
Angelus was right about her being an idiot. Yeah well, no more. He could kiss her ass for all she cared. Spike, too. Her parents were gone, therefore Spike had no-one or nothing to hold over her head and if her own life became the next target, then she’d simply pack up and jet off to take her father up on the offer to join them. All in all, she was home free.
A quick swipe of fingers under eyes was all that was needed to dry her eyes and she got off her bed, fully intending on peeking out the window just to make sure he got the message to go away. Thankfully there was no sign of the vampire on her balcony. Good. Great, in fact. It meant she could finally get some decent peace and quiet without worrying over late night visitors and unwanted phone calls.
Cordelia went into the bathroom to go through her nightly ritual consisting of face washing, teeth brushing, hair combing, and skin care. She took extra care tonight, just to make sure to clean every inch of her skin free of him and his own personal brand of friendship. Friendship? Ha. That was a laugh and a half.
How could she have let her guard down again and whatever happened to that old saying about once bitten, twice shy? God, she really was a fool. Well no more. From now on, Cordelia Chase was so not gonna let any man get to her, vampire or no.
She glanced down as she spat out the toothpaste and got the shock of her life when she looked up to see Angelus staring back at her in the mirror, one shoulder seemingly leaning against the door frame. She ignored the figment of her imagination.
“You really think you can ignore me?”
Yes, she certainly could and it wouldn’t be at all difficult.
He chuckled and shook his head. “Poor, poor Cordelia got her feelings hurt. I’m a bad, bad boy. You should punish me. Tell me off maybe, or slap my hand.”
She ran her fingers through her hair, raking out the few tangles ready for combing and putting up.
“It’s funny isn’t it?” He asked casually. “How you take the moral high ground when it comes to yourself, but in reality you’re doing something so much worse.”
A single tear fell, which made him laugh right in her face.
“It takes a few dull threats to get you near me, and then it takes a few dates arranged by Spike for you to fall for me,” he said in amusement.
Cordelia fixed the loose ponytail in the right place and continued to ignore him, even as his voice was now directly in her ear. He was wrong, she wasn’t falling for him at all.
“If you aren’t falling for me, then why do you hurt so much?”
She pushed past the imaginary vampire and began to remove systematically remove her clothes.
He gave a long, slow whistle of appreciation. “Mm-ummm. Man, you’re sweet. If it hadn’t been for this bet, I’d have had you screaming out your first orgasm by now. Such a pity.”
The sheets were pulled back, she climbed in, and they were pulled over her head. When there were no more comments, she figured sanity had returned and it was safe to pull them down.
Nope. He was still there, except he was now lying on her bed next to her and propping up his head with a hand. “I know, I know,” came the arrogant tone. “You could get used to this. Can’t say I blame you. I am a good bed partner, or so I’ve been told.”
Cordelia growled in annoyance and yanked the covers back over her head. She was rapidly approaching the end of her tether.
“Try all you want, it won’t make any difference.”
Great. Now he was actually under the covers.
“Humour me and ask me why.”
“If I ask, will you go away?”
“Cross my heart.”
She sighed. “Why won’t it work?”
His smile was almost sympathetic. “Because I’m in your head. Your Jiminy Cricket, so to speak. Spike threw you to the wolf and in your deceit, you grew to like him, but you can’t tell the truth because you know what will happen. Bye-bye me and bye-bye life. My, my. This is quite the pickle you’re in. Couldn’t do better if I tried.”
Determination overrode the sadness she felt. If this wouldn’t work, then she’d find a way that would.
He sighed in exasperation. “Cordy, Cordy, Cordy. When will you learn? I’m in here now and I’m not going anywhere.”