“I’ll be over after college, okay?” Buffy stated to Angel as she tried to juggle her book bag, a jacket, a double ring binder and a paper bag filled with donuts. Angel watched the things wobble as she attempted to keep them from falling to the floor, it was the Slayer’s expression that made it funny. Her mouth was curled up in an annoyed smile and her eyebrows kept burrowing into a frown.
“Can you manage all that?” he asked and wisely kept the grin off his face so her fist didn’t have something to wipe off!
Buffy nodded as if holding a million things at once wasn’t a problem, “Yeah I can manage, no problem” even her voice was strained as she tried her damndest not to drop anything. “So after college?”
“Yeah, see you then. Have a good day” Angel watched her as she wobbled away from the front door. Too stubborn for her own good, a bit like another female he knew. Shaking his head, he closed the door and wondered if stubbornness was a trait all females had. Maybe it was in their genes or maybe they just liked to make life hard for the men.
“Buffy gone to college?” a voice made him jump a mile.
Cordelia watched as Angel visibly flinched and spun round clutching his chest, glaring her into the ground. “Scared ya did I? Good. Now you know how it feels stealth guy!” she told him. “Coffee?” she held up her cup and smiled sweetly, confirming to Angel that she wanted him to make it.
“We’re gonna talk about those lessons” Angel replied as he took the cup off her as he walked past her through to the kitchen. Flicking the switch, he set about making the coffee with efficiency that scared Cordelia! Her eyes took in the way Angel carefully measured out an exact level teaspoon amount of the granules, followed by an exact level teaspoon amount of sugar and then setting the open carton of milk between the two cups.
“You need to get out more” she stated seriously when she clicked on to the fact he was indeed watching the kettle boil. That was something. “So what have you been doing now that you’re sun capable?” Cordelia asked.
Turning to her, Angel shrugged half heartedly, “Nothing much to be honest, I don’t really know what there is to do”
“Angel, there’s tons of stuff you can do” she urged, her eyes wide with disbelief that he hadn’t yet hit a beach or gone surfing. That was an image she wasn’t likey to forget in a while, Angel in a pair of Bermuda shorts holding a surf board calling people ‘Dude.’ Cordelia shook her head to get rid of the image before she made it a reality! “There’s arcades, malls, beaches, little outdoor cafes on the promenade. Are you saying you haven’t done any of that?”
Angel nodded and lowered his eyes from her wide shocked ones, it was true he hadn’t done anything since becoming human and he suddenly felt like the layabout he had been before he was turned. Shame passed over his face, making him bite his lip; he would never change he thought.
Cordelia frowned deeply, that wasn’t right at all. Here Buffy had an amazing gift and she hadn’t took advantage of it? She hadn’t experienced any of these things with Angel? That seemed really sad to her.
“Gimme a half hour to get dressed” she stated firmly, bringing Angel’s attention back to her. “Then you and I, Sun Boy, are gonna have some serious fun time Cordy-Style. Forget the coffee or keep waiting for the kettle to boil whichever you prefer. I won’t be long”
A little stunned that she hadn’t thought him lazy or anything like that, Angel watched her literally race out of the kitchen and bounding footsteps pummel the staircase. He wasn’t sure what fun Cordy-Style meant but he knew for sure it was bound to be anything but boring.
An hour and a half later, Cordelia rushed down the stairs to find him reading. “What are you doing? I said we were going out”
Angel glanced up, eyebrow raised pointedly and peeked at his watch in an exaggerated movement. “And you said you’d be half hour” keeping his hair styling time to himself.
“Well, I had to shower you know, it wouldn’t be much fun for you to be stuck with smell-o-girl all day would it?” she demanded defensively. A short purple denim skirt grazed her knees, a simple cotton t-shirt clung to the swell of her breasts and her feet were encased in kitten heeled mules. The thick chestnut of her hair tied up in a ponytail, allowing her face to be viewed without obstructions.
Angel silently appraised her, he’d always thought she suited her hair tied back like that and she looked positively beaming then he realised she was still waiting for an answer!
“No” he responded having forgot what she asked, he’d been too busy checking her out!
“Well are you ready yet?” Cordelia asked and tapped her foot impatiently.
Was he ready? “I’ve been ready for the last hour and a half Cordy, I’ve been waiting for you” Angel replied dryly. Tossing his book somewhat carelessly to one side, he stood up and stretched his arms, “So what does fun Cordy-Style entail?” he asked.
Buffy walked through the halls of college, weaving her way through the throng of students with one goal in mind. Getting to class without dropping any of her stuff, yes she had Slayer strength but having to lug half your life around just for one class could weigh a girl down. Her fingers had little red marks where the large binder was cutting into her skin and her shoulder was aching from the strap of her bag. Why didn’t she let Angel her?!
“Buffy” Willow scuttled up alongside her friend, holding nothing Buffy thought bitchily. The red head really needed someone to talk to, she had just walked through the cafeteria only to hear her and Oz’s song playing on a radio. She needed a shoulder to cry one.
Why was Willow holding nothing and she was holding everything?! That wasn’t fair at all. “I don’t suppose you could give me a hand here Will?” she asked hopefully, missing the look of heart break on her best friend’s face.
“Sure” Willow immediately went to unload some of the things from the Slayer’s precarious grasp.
“Allow me to help the little lady” Riley had watched the red head go to help her friend and decided that if he was going to get noticed by Buffy then he should do something sweet like carry her books. He easily took the large binder and book bag from her, being inwardly pleased when she turned grateful eyes on him. “Hey Buffy, Willow” he greeted.
Willow scowled slightly, what about her? She needed help too you know, Oz had gone and no-one cared. Why was it whenever Xander or Buffy needed her she was there for them but when it came to her, she was alone? That wasn’t fair. “Buffy, I really need…” she got cut off.
“Are you going to history?” Riley asked as he and Buffy started a slow and casual walk down the hall. His toned muscles caused the material of his shirt to curl up, drawing the Slayer’s gaze there appreciatively and her eyes tracked a path down to his stomach.
“Uh, I’m sorry what?” Buffy asked, shaking her head of her thoughts and refusing point blank to look anymore. Bad Buffy she scolded herself, bad.
“History?” the handsome young man repeated his question.
“Yeah, gotta love history right? I mean, where would we be without history?” could she get any lamer? Sometimes being her really sucked!
Willow pouted as she watched her so-called best friend walk away after barely acknowledging she was there. Xander was the same. Last night, he’d told her she had to let go of Oz. How could she let go of the only person who had ever truly loved her? She turned away, shoulders slumped in defeat and trudged back the way she came.
Angel peered up at the sign above the door of the baker’s Cordelia had dragged him too. A baker’s was her idea of fun? And she told him he needed to get out more.
“I love doing this” Cordelia breathed excitedly, pushing the door open and inhaled deeply. The aromatic scent of freshly baked bread whirled around her as she got pulled to the counter by a magnetic force. Light, salty and plain old yummy; the scent made her mouth water as she feasted her eyes on the selection through the glass counter.
The shop was warm, well lit and cosy; the women working there were dressed in white coats, matching hats and their hair tied back with nets. There were three large ovens, obviously in full use cooking fresh food and keeping the room at a nice temperature. Behind the glass counter lay all kinds of bread, cakes, buns and biscuits of varying shapes and sizes, each one looked delicious.
Angel cocked his head to one side curiosly, what was so appealing about bread? He joined Cordelia’s side and looked at the different types of bread, he knew about donuts and cakes but what was all this uncut, lightly salted with sesame seeds stuff all about?
“Angel” she nudged him, “Vampires have no taste right?” she asked in a whisper.
“You’re gonna love this. Excuse me” Cordelia called for attention.
“How can I help you?” the lady asked with a warm smile as she approached the young woman and handsome man.
“Um…” Cordelia popped a fingertip in her mouth thoughtfully, drawing Angel’s gaze there for a single second before he forced himself to look away. “Could we try some stuff please? My friend hasn’t tried any of this stuff before”
The lady thought for a few seconds, wondering if she was lying but the hopeless look on the man’s face was enough to quench that thought. “Of course dear” she agreed kindly with a smile, “We make the best bread for ten miles you know”
“I know, I used to buy all my sandwiches here before I moved to L.A. Could we start with some… uncut, lightly salted bread please? And do you have any butter cus dry bread give me hiccups”
The lady beamed in approval of her choice, she went one better and took a newly baked loaf of bread from one of the ovens. Aromatic and rich, Angel’s mouth began to water in anticipation of tasting that. He could remember days when his mother used to bake things like this and he used to love it. He tried to describe how the bread smelled but he couldn’t, all he knew was that it looked divine.
“Angel?” Cordelia held out a slice that had been cut, it had a thin layer of butter on top, white in colour so it was real butter and not margerine. “Try it, it’s not gonna bite!”
He took the slice offered to him, it was very warm to the touch but not hot and the bread was soft. Angel wrinkled his nose and nibbled at the corner before taking a huge bite!
“Mmmm!” he moaned appreciatively, it seemed to melt in his mouth, the heat of the bread literally made the butter turn to liquid on his tongue. Soft and chewy, it was absolutely delicious. “Wow” Angel said after he swallowed, “That’s really good. I’ll take two thanks… Could I try some of that weird looking cream cake please?”
Oh God, she’d created a monster!
“You cheated” Cordelia pouted petulantly and crossed her arms over her chest, “You so cheated” she repeated when he shook his head, grinning victoriously at her.
“How in the world could I cheat?” Angel asked pointedly, making his stance a carbon copy of hers. Both people stood in a stare-out, one had accusing hazel eyes and the other had smug chocolate eyes.
“You used some of your left over vampy skills, that’s how” she replied as she now blatantly refused to look at him.
“I don’t have any left over vampy skills Cordy, if I did then I doubt I’d be sitting in the sun” he pointed out, trying to get the smile back on her face by twisting her words round a little.
“No, that would mean you’re still a vampire” she snarked back, totally aware she was being childish but she couldn’t help it. He was being childish by not admitting to the fact he cheated. “And you still cheated”
“I did not cheat, there is no possible way I could cheat” Angel exasperated with an exaggerated eye roll.
“Chea-ter Chea-ter Chea-ter!”
“Would you stop acting like a baby?”
“I am not acting like a baby”
“Oh and saying Chea-ter Chea-ter Chea-ter is being adult is it?” Angel copied her little singing, causing Cordelia to snap her head back round to look at him. Her lips tightened into a thin line and his lips curled inwards; her eyes blinked and his eyes sparkled; her cheeks inflated and his cheeks puffed out.
Cordelia’s shoulders began to shake and she covered her mouth with a hand, Angel tongue made a shape on the inside of his cheek while his lips pursed out. Suddenly, their with-held laughter exploded in unladylike snorts from her and a deep, rich and very male sound from him.
“Oh… God!” she gasped, “I’ve never heard you do anything like that. That was so funny Angel, God! Who knew you had a sense of humor?”
“Good question” Angel joked back as he settled back in the comfortable chair parked outside the quaint little cafe on the promenade. The warmth of the sun poured down on him and he could feel decades of horror slowly drift away in the waves that he could see crashing on the beach just in view. Colors were so vibrant and alive during the daytime, flowers, the sky everything seemed so rich.
He could taste the salt in the coastal air, he could feel how the sun made normal humans relax and he could see life in its simplest form. Angel opened his eyes to find Cordelia no longer laughing but looking at him wistfully with her chin in her palm. The hazel hues of her irises gleamed spun gold against the sun’s rays and the skin that had seemed deeply sun kissed to him before now looked as gold as her eyes.
Her chestnut hair literally reflected every ray of light that bore down on her, it was shining like dark, polished mahogany and she honestly looked beautiful right then. Her heart-shaped face captured her very essence, youthful maturity held perfectly by soft feminine features that lit up when she smiled like that.
“What?” Cordelia asked as she tilted her head to one side questioningly.
“I was thinking how pretty you looked in the sunlight”
Instead of the vain comment he expected, Angel was more than pleasantly surprised by the shy but beaming smile turned his way.
Later that night, Buffy trampled into her house followed by Spike who was making his usual sarcastic comments well known. By the look on her face, it was clear she almost at her wits end with the blonde vampire. All night it had been “The poof this, the poof that and the poof the other!
“Spike” Buffy spun round with a growl, “If you don’t shut up, I’m going to kill you”
“Don’t you like me no more Slayer?” Spike retorted, happy he was still able to something evil even if it was make comments that grated on her. The smirk he gave pushed her over the edge and she pulled out her stake threateningly. He backed off, still smirking openly at her, “Aww pet, you wouldn’t kill a harmless vamp like little old me would ya?!”
“AARRGGHH!” Buffy screamed through her teeth, threw her stake to the floor and stomped to where she knew the others would be waiting for her. At everyone’s questioning and concerned looks, she just simply shook her head telling them not to ask.
“By that silent response I take the Fangless Wonder still wanders the Earth?” Xander asked, his face showing he hoped Buffy would answer negatively.
“Uhh!” Xander groaned as his hopes were once again crushed under Spike’s weight. He glanced at Cordelia who was flicking through a book and obviously not paying any attention to any of them or the book. He smiled fondly, remembering the good times they shared before he went behind her back and mentally smacked himself. Not that he’d trade Anya of course, but she was Cordy and how could he not have regrets?
When Spike sauntered into the living room, he caught the odd way his ex-grandsire kept looking at the brunette on the couch and smirked a little more. The blonde made the decision and dropped his lethal body down next to her. “Cheerleader” he greeted chirpily.
“Ew!” Cordelia shuffled along a little and went back to pretending to read.
“Spike!” both Buffy and Angel stated warningly.
“What?” he answered innocently, “She smells nicer than the Whelp!”
“Hey!” Xander snapped and glared at the thorn in his and everyone else’s side.
As the insults, barbs and comments got hurtled around the room, Willow’s lip popped out in a tiny pout when she realized everyone had forgotten about her again. She was here too, she silently told them, while they were too busy playing Pass-The-Insult, she was having to deal with her broken heart all alone.
Unseen, she slipped out of the room and into Buffy’s backyard where Oz had once chased her through during his monthly werewolf cycle. Willow’s pout grew into an angry frown as she started talking to herself.
“Oh Willow!” she mimicked Cordelia’s conversation from earlier, “Angel and I had the best time today, he cheated at the arcade by the way, we went to the beach and a little to-die-for café on the promenade!” her anger grew into fury.
“Oh Willow!” she now mimicked Buffy’s conversation from yesterday, “Spike may an evil soulless vampire but he still helps and I can’t stake him when he’s helpless can I? Oh no, we can’t have you staking a vampire who tried to kill you can we?” Willow snarked.
“Well if Angel and Spike are so good then why don’t you both just marry them?”