Blessing of the Son 9

Part 9

The car ride back to the mansion was silent, neither Cordelia nor Angel knew exactly what to say about what happened in the Magic Shop. Though he wasn’t ashamed of the fact he was Connor’s father, Angel felt guilty for putting both his son and the brunette on the spot like that. He doubted she had wanted the news to be revealed so soon or in that way.

He didn’t feel guilty for defending his son and Cordelia, if anything he was proud of himself for saying something instead of just letting his annoyance slide. After the damage he caused after losing his soul, Angel never felt as though he had any right to complain or say anything for that matter; he just kind of sat there and took it.

But after hearing Buffy openly brand his son, an innocent five year old, as a mistake he had had enough.

Enough of being talked down too, enough of the expectations and enough of the condemnation which came his way every time he was looked at. Angel was tired of looking for acceptance he would never get off the people he helped pretty much every other night.

he was tired of his past being thrown in his face and he was tired of being the one blamed for everything that went wrong.

When Cordelia and Connor had come into his life no less then two days ago, Angel felt as though everything had suddenly fell into place, like it all finally made sense. The openness, the trust and the acceptance of the brunette had shone from those hazel orbs the second that toffee gaze had landed on him.

He was a vampire and she didn’t care.

She had loved him five years ago and she loved him now. Angel heard the way her heart beat rhythmically in her chest when he looked at her, could see the flush on the naturally glowing skin at the first sweep of his fingertips and the shy, little smile that appeared when she thought he wasn’t looking. Beside the physical reactions, there was a lot more for him to read.

The way Cordelia’s voice would fill with respect when she spoke, the way she valued his opinion, trusted him with their son. She simply treated him like he mattered, like he meant something to her. Angel knew she loved him because he loved her just as much, he couldn’t love a woman in so deep a way if it wasn’t returned.

Cordelia, oblivious to the vampire’s thoughts, felt guilty Angel had heard what was said. Figuring being a mother had changed her attitude; she thought she would have been able to keep a lid on her mouth when it came to revealing the news of her son’s father.

God only knows what he thought of her now. Arguing with Buffy and snapping at someone who had a right to be angry at her.

Glancing out of the window, the young mother watched as the streetlights blurred as the car drove past them and the sparse traffic. Hugging her arms, Cordelia attempted to ward off the chill coming in from the night air outside. It was okay for her, she didn’t have to put up with needing to be around the slayer as often as Angel did; he was the one who was going to get the backlash from this.

Changing her gaze from the window, the brunette looked back at Connor fast asleep on the back seat and a wry smile quirked her lips upward. It looked like vampire energy was too much for the five year old to handle; her son had met his match it seemed.

Angel darted his gaze towards Cordelia, his chest ached when he noticed her checking on their son and a warm, loving smile flickered at his as yet un-kissed lips. She was so beautiful, he couldn’t fight the attraction towards her and he didn’t want to.

She was the mother of his son, she had accepted him without a soul and made that side of him feel more than cold, hard rage.

What he had felt for her five years ago still ran deep; deep enough for his soul to feel empty when she had gone to work despite having Connor there. For once in the co-existence of demon and soul, Angel was at peace. The demon once consumed with a frightening intense anger, now purred and salivated at having it’s escaped pet back where she belonged.

The soul merely allowed those feeling to evolve into something so much more than love.

“I’m sorry”

The apology from Cordelia almost went unheard as Angel wallowed in just how good his life had become in the last two days. He’d been so busy sitting there, thinking of everything he had been given and what he’d been a part in creating that he’d forgotten the woman dominating his thoughts was sitting right next to him.

“Pardon?” Angel attempted to keep the smile from his face in order to be serious, but it just so damn hard. He was happy that the others knew who fathered Connor and wasn’t going to let their judgement or their opinions ruin anything for Cordelia, his son and himself.

“I’m sorry Connor and you had to walk in on that” Cordelia couldn’t face him, couldn’t face the closed off expression that maybe on his handsome face.

“You have nothing to apologise for Cordy” it had been too long since her nickname had past his lips. “They were bound to find out sooner or later” Angel told her wisely with an unneeded sigh and a little shrug.

As he pulled on to a road made of loose gravel, the vampire couldn’t help the wince as passing thoughts of ruined paintwork made him shudder.

“You’re right” Cordelia agreed, “Maybe I should have told them before you arrived with Connor.” She knew that would have made the arguments with Buffy a lot worse as the blonde would have branded her a liar and God only knows what else. “I just didn’t want…”

The sound the engine was shut off before Angel turned to face the brunette with understanding and a sad agreement written in the dark brown orbs. “Sad to say I know what they can be like. It’s a good thing you didn’t, though I wish we could have told them together in less of a shocking way”

“Don’t let this go to your head but you’re right again” the young woman slyly smirked at the vampire. “Thanks for sticking up for Connor and me, you didn’t have to”

“Yes Cordy, I did” the vampire stated in no uncertain terms, “I wasn’t about to let Buffy o-or anyone brand my son a mistake or let her think you didn’t take care of him.” Angel gave her an unwavering glance which brooked no arguments “Okay?”

Cordelia nodded, not arguing as there was no point when he spoke in that voice with that expression on his face. “Okay”

The corners of his mouth flickered up as a spark lit up the dark brown depths as he focused on her lips. The brief touch of her lips still warmed his as the vanilla could still be tasted on his tongue. Angel watched as her tongue dipped out and swept across the fullness of her lower pout, making the gloss shine deliciously. “Kiss…”

“Aw dad, you can’t kiss her! Mom’s a girl”

Angel dropped his forehead against Cordelia’s, a laugh filled with both frustration and amusement sounded from him while the brunette giggled at her son’s timing. “Guess he’s awake” the vampire sighed, turning to look at Connor who was now sat up glaring at them with a tired scowl on his face.

“I don’t want to go to the park mom” the five year old looked guilty as he rubbed his eyes with a curled up fist, yawning almost continuously. He felt bad about not wanting to go to the park, his mom had promised and she’d been looking forward to it all day. She’d said how she would push him on the swings and the roundabout; he loved his mom and didn’t want to let her down.

“Too tired baby?” Cordelia asked him with a motherly smile designed to comfort her son. “You had a long night last night and no doubt you had your dad playing all sorts of games” one glance at Angel’s expression confirmed her words.

Connor pouted, he knew his mom had wanted to take him to the park “But you promised me park time and dad can come too because he’s like a real dad now”

“Connor, your dad has always been a real dad” she supplied, not knowing what the little boy’s words meant. “And you’re right, I did promise park time but we can go another night baby when you’re not so tired. Dad can still come if he wants to”

Angel couldn’t help the smile that crossed his face; he knew a guilty expression when he saw one. “I’ll take you both to a really good park tomorrow night, cross my heart” the vampire stated, he knew where there was one on the outskirts of Sunnydale. “But for now, how about mom and me take you to bed so you can get some rest?”

Cordelia granted the vampire with a highly impressed expression, silently congratulating him on his award winning compromising skills. “Your dad’s right, let’s get you to bed little man. I want to get out of this car”

***

While Angel was putting Connor into a useable room upstairs, Cordelia took the opportunity to wander around through to the courtyard where she and Angelus had often sat. Her gaze landed on the same rose bush he had taken flowers from, then her remembering hazel orbs ran around the rest of the area; each section had another memory that brought an ache to her chest.

There was a small place near the archway where water had come out, creating an indoor waterfall. Walking over to that area, Cordelia moved the branches away to stop the sharp twigs from clicking her clothes and stinging her bare arms. She couldn’t see where the water had come from, the overgrowth covered that part of the stone wall.

Her hands trailed over the cold stone, feeling the cracks that flawed the smooth white bricks and remembered as Angelus made love to her in the exact place she was standing in. Leaning her forehead against the wall, the brunette breathed in the ghostly scent of him and allowed the memory of the vampire’s first approach…

Smacking her lips together, Cordelia double checked the colour was even before tending to the strands of hair the wind had ruffled. Her fingers gently teased out the small tangles as her other hand flicked her fringe back to where it was supposed to be. With a smile of appreciation, the brunette decided not to mess with perfection and left her hair to fall naturally, admiring the way it fluttered around her bare shoulders.

Her father was throwing a high-society party at their house, everyone who was anyone was going to be attending and she had been instructed to be on her very best behaviour and look her best. In order to both please her parents and get into the society section of the newspaper, Cordelia had bought a stunning deep red silk dress that clung beautifully to her physique.

Strapless and long without being over the top, the red dress heightened the brunette’s statuesque figure, making her appear in her early twenties and not someone in their late teens. Around the visible part of her throat, a delicate silver necklace with a ruby clutched in a detailed claw fell to the curve of her cleavage, drawing attention to one of her best features.

Cordelia wasn’t stupid, she knew how attractive her physical appearance was and she knew how to use it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it had been her motto when it came to parties like this. She just might meet her future husband here, not that she wanted too but it would please her parents and give her security later in life.

And if she was going to secure herself someone worthy then she had better look nothing less than perfect.

Despite the effort put into her appearance, Cordelia had once again found herself bored to tears at the party not having anyone but Aura to talk too. Since her father had fixed her up with the son of a chairman, Aura had forgotten all about her friend and focused on the young man completely.

The brunette had often enjoyed walking around the well-groomed garden at the back of their manor, finding the places she used to hide when she had been young.

The uncomfortable heels on her feet were held in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other as she walked around barefoot, made-up hazel orbs swept over the orchids, roses and other flowers before landing on a space to sit. Placing her glass down, Cordelia pushed the loose, soft soil off the top of the smooth wall and sat down, a heavy sigh falling from her nude, glossy lips.

She wasn’t sure how long she had sat there in that spot, Cordelia hadn’t cared, she was just content to sit there in the tranquil setting of the garden.

***

Angelus had been making progress in his plan to destroy the slayer’s life piece by piece, deciding the best way to get to the girl was through the people she tried so hard to protect. Making her watch as her friends, her family, were killed one-by-one and watching in turn as she realised she couldn’t protect them all the time.

Friends and family had no place in a slayer’s life for that exact reason; too many innocent people would be caught in the cross-fire between good and him. All the more for him, Angelus smirked with sick sadistic pleasure as he visualised each kill he would make in the forthcoming future. For his first slayer kill, he would have to make this nothing less then special.

To start with, he would need something to attract her attention, something that would let her know his exact intentions but yet something subtle. A little eye-opener, something with a touch of class and a taste of blood smooth silk. With that thought in mind, Angelus had set out with every intention of finding that something; every instinct was running on high as he followed where his head took him.

Now, the black diamond gaze of the vampire was locked tightly on the brunette bathed in the soft glow of the night, her hair glinted with a touch of frosted silver as the moonlight caressed her. Bronzed skin was flushed with a dazzling array of colours as her body glitter caught the light, sparkling in all the colours of a rainbow he would never see.

Her almond-shaped eyes were defined with sultry, smoky shadow and long, dark lashes that cast shadows on the apples of her cheeks. Lips shone with transparent gloss, making the feminine mouth look soft and supple. The lithe body was encased in silk, a deep red silk that melted around the hour-glass figure a seventeen year old shouldn’t have.

Breasts were full, well-shaped and pert with youth. Hidden behind silk and no doubt a strapless bra, the slight slope of cleavage only teased Angelus and gave him an idea of how those breasts would look naked. A slit in the length of the dress allowed his gaze to wander down to see a long, shapely and slender calf straighten out.

The vampire had retained few of his human wiles, the urge for a good bar brawl, women and art. Angelus loved art in any form; paintings, sculptures, poetry, especially the art in the way he killed. It was an art to integrate himself into somebody’s life, get to know them, make them trust him before killing them.

It was an art to work with life, an art to create life and an art to destroy life.

It was also an art to capture life and immortalise it, bring every emotion to the forefront, make it shine from still eyes and make words pour from unmoving lips. Right now, Angelus wanted to capture the vision in front of him as she unknowingly left herself wide open for the kill. He would kill her, in due course, but not before he drew, tasted and had her.

The vampire leaned one strong shoulder against a tall oak tree, listening as a sigh fell from that supple mouth and feeling the warm breeze flutter over the coolness of his own. His arms became folded across his chest as he simply enjoyed looking at the young brunette, admiring the natural beauty that lay hidden under the make-up and pretty dress.

Cordelia scrunched her face up as she peered down at her feet, lifting one foot and then the other, inspecting the clear polish on her toes. Another sigh fell from her lips as a wry smile quirked her mouth upwards. “Aye me”

Angelus heard her speak and instead of some witless, sarcastic and self-involved remark, she spoke a very well known scene from Shakespeare.

“She speaks!” He whispered with a smirk.

“Oh Romeo, Romeo!” Cordelia stated, her mouth turning into a full smile “Where for art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, but be sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” She got up from her place on the wall, beginning a lazy stroll towards where she didn’t know the vampire was hiding. “Stupid, boring play”

“Why couldn’t we have been studying something more interesting?” she grumbled the dislike towards her English teacher and the play currently in discussion. Descending into silence, Cordelia once again resigned herself to enjoying the peace and quiet.

On the ground, the soft blades of grass tickled her bare feet and made her scrunch her toes together in an effort to stop the tickling sensation. In the air the breeze picked up and became chilly, flushing her warm skin with goose-bumps. Moonlight paved the way for her to walk safely across the grass without stepping on anything that would cause an injury.

The vampire grinned, wondering what this particular teenage girl would find more interesting than a classic romance full of tragedy and heart break. “Just what would that be Cordelia?” His deep, rich voice pierced the silence, the masculine sound ringing out around the expanse of the quiet garden. Startled birds flew from the tops of the few oak trees and Cordelia stood perfectly still like a deer caught in oncoming headlights.

Hazel eyes frantically danced all around her, trying to see who had intruded on the private grounds and wondered if someone from the party had followed her out here. It had to be a man she knew, he stated her name as clear as day with no mistakes or hitching, thus meaning whoever it was had been watching her for a while.

“Excuse me, this is private property so if you’re not from my father’s party then leave before I call security” Cordelia stated in a very firm, very high voice as she continued to search for the owner of the deep, throaty voice. Clutching the only weapons she had, her shoes, tightly in her hands the brunette began to take subtle backward steps, intending on making a very quick getaway.

“Forgive me for intruding” Angelus made no move to show himself as the mock apology fell past his mouth, “But I have never seen true beauty till this night” the line came easy and was followed by another. “There is no way you can call security from here baby”

“Really?” she sounded so self-sure and confident under the heavy weight of his stare. A smug smirk flashed on her mouth before it disappeared, Cordelia raised an elegant and regal eyebrow as she reached into the side slit in her skirt. Angelus watched as a cellular phone was extracted from a secure, unseen holder.

“Pardon me a moment while I call 911”

The vampire had to applaud the girl and gave her credit, looked like Cordelia Chase wasn’t as stupid or as naive as she was made out to be. Angelus watched as the cell phone was flipped open and she began punching on the small keypad. “Do you really think the police or security would get here in time?”

His chilling words instantly halted the dialling for help and the brunette’s bravery began to take a back seat to the fear-filled lump gathering in her throat. Closing her phone, Cordelia swallowed it back and welcomed the numbing defensive bitchy attitude she used every day.

“You really think I would let you make me your victim?” her statement was accompanied by a smirk as her posture straightened and shoulders squared. “A little, pathetic intruder like you is not going to scare me”

She had come face-to-face with demons and vampires thanks to one Buffy Summers. An ordinary person was not going to scare her at all. Well, not much anyway.

“I don’t want you as my victim Cordelia, at least not until I get what I want from you” Angelus replied, still hidden in the shadows made by the trees. His black, amused gaze never once left the stunning brunette as she faced off with what she thought to be an every day intruder. He wondered if she would still be as brave if he showed himself.

“No!” her voice was firm and laced with fierce determination not to allow the intruder to do that to her, she would rather die fighting him off than have that done to her. “You can go to hell before you get to touch me in any way. I would rather choke to death than let a pervert like you destroy my life, not that you could. It would take someone a lot bigger and a lot less of a coward to destroy me”

Her face became smug once more, “Besides, even if you do get away after leaving me half dead, there’d be enough evidence to put you away for life. And with my father being who he is, do you really think you’d get it easy?”

Cordelia’s was full of self-assurance and importance, trying to make it sound like touching her would be a very bad idea. “People like you make me sick”

“Have I ever told you how much your spirit attracts me Cordelia? No? Shame on me” the cheerleader couldn’t miss the underlying amusement hidden under the crushed velvet tone. Angelus was happy just to watch the fluttering emotions wash over her feline features, seeing the hazel orbs flicker from toffee to caramel with hints of gold speckled in the pretty irises.

He damned the soul that had burned bridges with this one.

Cordelia took one more step away from the direction of the smooth voice, the cell phone now clutched in a shaking grip as she desperately tried to see into the trees where she was sure the intruder was hiding. Seeing nothing, the brunette gathered the rest of her courage and played the perky, silly cheerleader best she could.

“My spirit? As far as I can see I’m not a spirit, too alive to be one of those”

Distaste at the sudden attitude change welled up in the vampire’s mouth, Angelus wondered if he had made an error in his judgement of her. Maybe she wasn’t how she appeared tonight; maybe she was just playing up the grown-up clothes and make-up to the full. Art was nothing if there was no substance in the picture, no details to be brought to life and no essence to capture.

He chuckled wryly to himself; the act that put him off was what no doubt usually attracted males to her.

Seeing the perky, silly surface of Cordelia would probably give someone the idea that she could be shaped into being what they wanted her to be. While laying underneath was a young woman with enough fire to make hell seem cold. Angelus knew better now and was determined not to let this little show put him off getting what he wanted.

“That type of behaviour only serves to annoy, not amuse baby. Don’t hide from me”

“I’m not the one hiding here pal, you are” those words sounded like a challenge even to her own ears. Sucking in a deep breath and forcing the shaking of her body to cease, Cordelia trained every human instinct she possessed to where the intruder was hiding. “This game is boring me, either get off my property or show yourself”

The grass crunched under the weight of his footsteps, his large hand pushed his body away from the thick tree trunk as he slowly left the shadowed area and walked to where she could see him. Her breath lodged in her throat as her eyes scanned the vampire currently making Buffy’s life hell.

For the first time in her life, Cordelia Chase was speechless.

Angelus glanced once up at the moonlight “Nice night” he commented casually as he continued his lazy saunter until he was within touching distance of the brunette. He didn’t make another move, simply stood there and gave her a moment for the shock to wear off.

Green flecked hazel eyes searched his face unseeingly, wondering if he was really there or if this was a nightmare brought on from the night when he had tackled her two weeks before.

The silver moon shine gave the pallor of his complexion an ethereal glow, the gelled strands of his hair shimmered as though it were wet and his gaze looked pure black. His lips were tilting up in a smirk as Cordelia studied him intently, her orbs tracing every line of the vampire’s features as though to memorise them for all eternity.

His cheeks were a little rounded due to the smirk, his chin and jaw were defiant and his forehead crinkled up with little laugh lines. Angelus let her continue before breaking the silence between them. Thick, masculine fingers wove through the long wavy strands of silky espresso coloured hair, letting them fall separately between his fingers, tickling his skin.

Cordelia frozen to the spot, pinned into place by a gaze so black it made the night seem bright. When his hand touched her hair, she expected her head to be yanked to the side while he drained her dry. Forcing herself not to flinch from the cold caress, the brunette resigned herself to the fact she was going to die meters from the safety of her house.

“Walk with me” Angelus ran the roughened pad of his thumb down her paling cheek, relishing in the humanity that warmed him.

What was his game? Was he trying to lead her into a false sense of security? Make her feel safe, get her trust before revelling in her sudden terror right before he killed her in cold blood? Not likely.

“I’m not a fool, Angel” Cordelia removed his hand from her face, dropping his touch like it scalded her. “I won’t let you play one of your games with me, if you’re going to kill me then do it. I can’t stop you from doing that but I can stop you from making me into a trusting idiot”

Ignoring her, the vampire took her arm with a small amount of struggling and curled her smaller hand in the crook of his elbow. “Walk with me” the threatening undertone made her take notice that it wasn’t a request this time. “It’s a nice night Cordelia, enjoy it with me”

The solid and unmoveable grip covering her hand prevented escape, not that she tried. Figuring he was just playing nice-nice with her, Cordelia went along with it while she used her free hand to fumble with the cell phone. Sadly, Angelus noticed what she was doing and easily retracted the cell phone from the tight hold it was in.

“Baby I’m hurt” Angelus mocked as the phone was deposited into his jacket pocket. “Can’t a guy simply enjoy a moonlit stroll with a beautiful woman without her wanting to gossip with friends?” he tutted and shook his head. “I thought it would be romantic”

“What do you want? A gasped-in delighted breath, slap my hand to my forehead and swoon?” Cordelia haughtily remarked with a sneer, refusing to give him anything, not even fear.

Angelus genuinely laughed out loud, the way she said it made his words sound incredibly cheesy and made him cringe a little in the knowledge he had used something like that. “When you put it like that, it does sound pretty bad”

Cordelia scoffed at the understating description used, deciding if she was going to die then she was going to go with him remembering her. “For a vampire the likes of you, I would have expected something a lot, shall we say, classier.” Death was easy to accept if you put yourself at ease she thought.

People could go blue in the face telling you there was nothing to be afraid of but that meant nothing if you didn’t believe it.

Halting their slow walk, Angelus tugged the brunette so he was staring down into the hazel orbs, startled at his sudden move. Using his fingers, the vampire brushed the fringe away, wanting nothing to disturb his view of her face.

“What would you have me say?” the vampire purred, “Would you have me say I want to take you home with me? Take that dress off and take you to my bed?”

Her mind went completely blank the moment the words ‘his bed’ left his mouth, leaving Cordelia speechless for the second time in her life. The first had been when he had first approached her mere minutes before.

Angelus continued, not aware that the brunette had no power of speech. “What if I said I wanted you to model for me?” he would get what he wanted; even if he had to subtley threaten her. “I have never seen true beauty till this night” the line from the infamous play once again fell from his lips.

“I’m sorry” Cordelia shook her head disbelievingly. “I’m not the knd of girl that poses nude just because some guy, or vampire in your case, lays a really bad line on me. I have way more class than that, besides Daddy would kill me if word ever got out that his little girl posed for a cold blooded killer. I can see the headlines now.” Sarcasm dripped like acid from her tongue as she refuted his efforts to be nice.

The look that passed through the hard black orbs made her shut up as Angelus leaned close enough to her face that her now shallow breaths fluttered against his lips. His hands took hold of her upper arms and, strong fingers gripped the skin tightly as he lowered his mouth to the pulsating jugular hidden beneath delicate, soft skin. “If you treat me like a cold blooded killer baby, then I’ll act like one”

Sharp fangs scraped the skin, the stimulation drawing delicious blood to the surface and infusing his senses with the scent of feminine heat and life, but surprisingly the fear wasn’t as strong as it should be. Angelus smirked against the hollow of her throat as he decided to see how far he could he could push Cordelia so fear poured from her like a rain storm.

The brunette’s eye drifted shut as the feel of his cool lips descended on her heating flesh, a sharp scrape made her closed eyes snap wide open as she realised what was slicing her throat. A choked whimper of relief sounded when no bite came and then a soft pleasured moan escaped Cordelia’s drying, glossy lips as Angelus began to tease. “Angel”

His lips tugged on the skin, fangs nipped gently and his cool tongue caressed the area softly, soothing the love bite now appearing on her throat. The vampire’s iron hold on her loosened, allowing his hands to roam her back. A moan vibrated through his chest as he felt the heat burn his palms as he touched her. Angelus sucked harder, drawing more of her skin into his mouth and pulled her body flush against his.

Cordelia’s eyes squeezed tight shut as another moan of pleasure fell from her mouth, her small hand came to rest on the vampire’s marble cheek and she tilted her neck, increasing the pressure on the highly sensitised area. Her breasts were crushed hard to his solid chest, the silk material of her strapless bra felt rough against her nipples, making her hiss.

Angelus growled in protest as he let go to trail wet, hot lips over the contours of her jaw until he found her mouth. Soft and supple and pliant, the vampire manipulated her mouth into a deep kiss, dipping his tongue inside the warm cavern to taste hers. God, he wanted her here and now, wanted her on the ground with her legs spread wide and her body open, wet and ready to take him.

A last tug on her lower lip signalled the end of the brief but in no way chaste kiss. A mixture of fear, confusion and embarrassment caused Cordelia’s cheeks a pretty pink as she gazed into the hypnotising onyx orbs. Before she could open her mouth to say something, anything, a fingertip was pressed to her tingling lips.

“Ssh” Angelus mimicked, only removing his fingertip when he was satisfied she would be quiet. “Meet me by the tree tomorrow night, if you don’t you won’t like the consequences”

Was he for real? Did he think she was so stupid to venture out of her house after dark to meet a known psychopath?

“I’ll be sure to bring your ex with me Angel” though breathless and heavy, her voice came out steady and unwavering; Cordelia prided herself on it.

A low chuckle grated on her nerves as he merely laughed at her threat. “What would tell you her? That I saw you in your garden and was so enraptured by your stunning good looks that I’m forcing you into letting me paint you?” He chuckled again, this time a shake of his head accompanied the smooth sound.

“Besides,” Angelus smirked victoriously at her “How would you explain my mark on your throat?” Cool fingertips traced the purple love bite soothingly, running over the raised skin before those fingertips trailed a line of icy heat towards the sloping of her breasts. “Please bring her Cordelia, I would love to see the look on her face when the truth came out”

“Truth of what?”

“Just how attracted I am to you. Now” Angelus shut her up with another finger to her lips. “In my time, I’ve been known to be ruthless, I guess you could say a little heartless where humans are concerned. If you’re not here tomorrow night at, shall we say eleven pm, then I’ll make sure you’re bathing in a bloodbath”

The chilling coldness in the vampire’s voice brought tears of fear and helplessness to her eyes. She had no choice but to do what he asked her to do. Though she hated herself for giving in and calling his bluff, which she knew it wasn’t, Cordelia gave him a short nod of agreement.

“Eleven it is… No wait! Not eleven, make it…” her father had handed out late supper invitations to some of his associates who had sons for nine tomorrow night. Cordelia hated herself even more for using her possible death as a way to get out of being fitted up. “Ten”

That way, she could put in appearances and then feign either illness, PMS cramps or say she had a late date. Anyway she chose to lie would lead to the same conclusion; her outside facing a soulless vampire without any defences while her family was safe inside.

That surprised Angelus so much his eyebrow rose quizzically, he expected her to say later “Ten it is and don’t be late.” He would get the reason why she wanted to meet him an hour early. “Let me walk you back to your house Cordelia, I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you”

***

Anticipation of being alone with the brunette had already brought his body to a hardened state, the arousal circling his brain only increased the desire to touch her. Having discarded his leather jacket, the black pinstripe silk shirt could be seen skimming his broad chest with the soft material curved around the contours of his shoulders.

Walking in quiet steps so as not to disturb the dreamy expression that softened her features. The vampire wanted to know what she was thinking of, which memory it was that had her nails absently trailing across the hollow of her throat.

Angel saw where Cordelia was stood and a smile washed over his mouth. He remembered taking her there under the small, indoor waterfall.

“Connor settled?” The sound of Cordelia’s voice held a knowing smile to it as she opened glazed hazel irises to look at the stealthy vampire.

Angel blinked, he’d forgotten how she knew he was there no matter how quiet he was. Stopping his walk as his thoughts turned to his son now sleeping upstairs in the room that had once been used by Drusilla. Though he had a wonderful night with his son, the vampire was more than glad Connor was now asleep; for more reasons than one.

“God yes” the reply brought a breathy, heavy laugh from Cordelia as she turned her back to the wall and faced the vampire she’d just been fantasizing about. She couldn’t help but see him as Angelus as that was who he was to her despite calling him ‘Angel.’ “Thank you for letting him stay the night”

“He’s your son Angel, he can stay whenever you want him to” the brunette sighed, wondering if it mattered to Angel how she saw him.

“What if I wanted him to stay all the time?” Angel resumed approaching her, wondering if it mattered to her if he had a soul. How weird that sounded to him, most of the time it mattered if he didn’t but with her the soul might be an obstruction in rekindling their romance.

Cordelia laughed again, amazed and delighted at how taken the vampire was with Connor already. “Then I would ask where I would fit in”

“What if I wanted you to stay all the time too?”

“Then I would want to know if you only wanted me because I’m Connor’s mom” the brunette stated truthfully, though what had happened between them in her kitchen would leave no doubt in her mind about whether or not he wanted her.

The question wasn’t that at all, the question was why and what he felt for her. “Or if this is because of my time with Angelus, with you before your soul was returned… How did you get your soul back?”

A pained expression flashed across the vampire’s face before it was replaced by an expression unreadable to her. Moving close enough to take her hands in his, Angel leaned his forehead onto hers and closed his eyes. He would have to tell her that soon but not yet, he needed time and assurance that she wouldn’t leave him because of it.

“Not yet baby, not until I know for sure you won’t leave me again”

“I won’t leave again, cross my heart” a relieved sigh breezed across her lips as the fearful expression on his face was replaced by a one of peace and reassurance. “I won’t push you Angel, I’ll respect the fact you need time” Cordelia ran her fingers through the gelled dark brown spikes. “J-just tell me you want me for me and not because I’m your son’s mother”

Angel took a moment to think of the best way to answer her, he could either take her against the wall and act out their memory or he could he take her to bed and make long, slow love to her until she begged for mercy. Or he could simply tell her in the words he wanted to say but thought would never get the chance.

“I never stopped wanting you Cordelia. When you left, I left too” it was the closest to the truth he could give her just yet. “I went numb, apart from anger and hatred, I was empty.”

If his soul had been intact that night, Angel had no doubt he would have waited for the sunrise to happen. He had the demon’s dark, emotionless state to thank for keeping him alive.

Tugging herself out of the vampire’s tightening grip, Cordelia smoothed her palm down his cheek and brushed the warm, soft pad of her thumb over his mouth. “I don’t want to be with you if you only want the family side of this”

“There hasn’t been anyone else since you Cordelia, I haven’t wanted anyone ‘but’ you” Angel all but growled at her. He was here, she was here, they could have everything together now she was back where she belonged. Wrapping a large hand around her upper arm in an iron grip, the vampire tugged the brunette back against his chest, nuzzling the bouncy curls he was so fascinated with.

Breathing deeply, Angel inhaled the remnants of spicy arousal and the soft, sweet unique scent laying hidden underneath the heady spice. His hands moved up to tangle in the espresso curls, threading his fingers through the silky strands and watched as they separated and fell back down to her shoulders. The vampire swept his lips over her cheek, trailing flirting kisses on the surface of her skin and tasted the vanilla.

“I love your hair like this” he murmured against her hotter mouth, dipping his tongue through her parted lips to tease hers with little, taunting flicks. Cordelia sighed, not being able to help but melt into him, responding to his teasing kiss with soft flicks of her warmer tongue over the sensitive spot where she knew his fangs were sheathed.

Angel moaned as his mouth tingled with the sensation, letting her play for a moment longer before gradually decreasing the kiss until a final tug said it was over. “Come with me” his voice was gravely, low and husky as he took her hand, leading the brunette through to the foyer so they could sit.

Her eyes took it all in, every little place held a memory of Angelus and subsequently of Angel. In the arching the vampire was walking under, Cordelia had walked into the wall when she had been busy staring at a shamelessly naked vampire.

The foyer they were now entering still held images so strong and vivid, the young woman could swear they were happening right then and there. On the leather chair Angelus had told her was specifically his, Cordelia had sat on his lap and slept. She had straddled him, riding him hard until he came, voicelessly sounding out her name.

By a well-lit fire, Angelus had allowed her to draw him as he drew her, only to end up surprised when he received a comic interpretation of his vampire face. The bottom of the concrete spiral staircase was where Cordelia would drop her pom-poms only to have the vampire order her to pick them up.

So many memories of happy times, funny times and bad times, like when Angelus had tried to clean blood off his knuckles after a fight. And a time when Buffy had gotten close to staking him, providing the vampire with a gaping chest wound. No matter what she remembered, Cordelia cherished it all.

Angel moved past her, kneeling down in front of a barely flickering fire and proceeded to place some logs on it to make it pick up before it died out completely. Cordelia watched in contentment as the vampire crooked his finger at her in a ‘come hither’ movement as he dropped lazily into his chair.

As soon as Cordelia was comfortable sitting on his lap, the vampire engulfed her and pushed her head to rest on his shoulder. His hands stroked her bare arms smoothly and soothingly, male fingertips touching the body, and woman, he loved but thought was lost.

“Talk to me” his breathless sigh drifted across her forehead before his lips pressed softly down. His hand moved down her arm to curve over her now flat abdomen, imagining how it would have felt when she carrying his son. An ache full of longing made his chest hurt but only for second, it was replaced by another, better ache.

“About what?” Cordelia curled up her legs until she was completely snuggled into his reassuring body. Her hands smoothed down the crinkles on the black pinstripe shirt, feeling the muscles flex under her caress.

Angel shifted a little, the heat of her body and the scent of her was making him react. “Being pregnant, what was it like?” he asked, voice thick with growing arousal and curiosity as he continued to feel her stomach. “I wish I had been there, wish I had never missed it”

The hazel orbs once more glazed over and Cordelia was forced to wipe away a stray tear falling down her cheek. It was stupid how she got like this sometimes, crying for no good reason especially now when Connor and her were with Angel. “It was hard at first but I got used to it”

The vampire’s frown went unseen as the scent of salty tears replaced arousal, why was she crying? “Why are you crying?”

Sniffling back a laugh, the brunette wiped her watering eyes and shook her head, waving away his concern. “I get like this sometimes, ever since Connor was born. I don’t why” that wasn’t true and he knew it.

He could always tell when Cordelia fibbed to hide what she was feeling, it wasn’t hard to spot the weak but noticeable tremor in her voice and it wasn’t hard to hear the way her heart rate picked up. “Talk to me baby” Angel urged, using his finger to tilt her chin up, his heart almost breaking at the sadness in the hazel.

Her forehead scrunched up, making the flawless skin wrinkle with a deep seated sadness that could never be removed. “When I was pregnant, it was hard. When I was sick, o-or if I just needed someone to talk too, there was no-one there.” Alone, that was what she had been.

To Cordelia, her bed at night had been cold and empty; too large even though she was pregnant. The sheets always felt like ice, never warm and comforting, only cold. Her little one bed roomed apartment was silent, never any sounds of voices or any smells apart from her own.

On mornings when she would get up, the loneliness was sometimes crushing when she went into a room and there was nothing and no-one there. It was just cold and empty.

She bit her lip in an effort not to give in to the tears threatening to fall. “When I had my first ultrasound, I had no-one to share it with” her voice cracked.

Cordelia had for hours, crying softly and silently to herself as she took in the sight of her unborn baby on the photograph. Hoping the phone would ring or there would be a knock at the door, but as usual there was nothing.

As she talked and cried softly, Angel’s heart shattered for what the woman he loved had gone through. Being so far from home, from everything Cordelia had ever known. A young woman that had once filled his life, sitting in a cold apartment pregnant and alone.

“Ssh baby” the vampire whispered, folding his arms tighter around her wanting to take the memory of that chill away, replace it with warmth his body couldn’t give. Cordelia was home now, with his son and she wasn’t going away again.

He’d keep her this time, he would ask her to come back if she ever walked away and Angel vowed to make sure Cordelia would stay. This was where she belonged, both her and Connor.

Connor had been up for a while, waking up to find himself in a room he didn’t recognise at first he had set about looking for his mom and dad. When he had heard his mom start to cry, the little boy had immediately headed for the top of the spiral staircase.

Peeking round the corner, Connor saw Angel comforting Cordelia and taking care of her like he promised. His dad hadn’t lied, his dad said he loved mom and he never let her down.

Silently, the five year old went back to play with the toys in his room, happy that his dad was taking care of his mom just like he promised.

Part 10

Posted in TBC

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