False Claims 40-42

Chapter Forty: The Dating Game

God, the waiting was unbearable. As she anxiously checked her watch for the 27th time Cordelia though that whoever said “Thank God It’s Friday” should be beaten. Then shot. Then beaten again.

The whole day had been crappy. Of course, any day that culminates in a date with the evil dead probably isn’t going to be all flowers and sunshine. But still, did it all have to suck?

Apparently so, she thought with a sigh as she checked her watch yet again.

First she’d run into Xander in the hallway after English. Not the ‘see you across the way’ run in, but the ‘wasn’t looking where I was going drop all my books’ kind of collision. Xander had, of course, immediately begun to pick up her books, but Cordelia hadn’t been able to hide the automatic look of panic at his nearness. A corresponding look of hurt crossed his young and earnest face and he limited himself to retrieving his own books, leaving Cordelia’s to her.

A sharp pain pierced her heart at the memory. She’d wanted so badly to reach out to him then; to tell him that things would work out. But she was starting to believe that they wouldn’t. After all, if things were working out she’d hardly be standing here now, pacing in her foyer, waiting to spend the evening with someone who considered her a pet.

And, as if the encounter with Xander hadn’t been hard enough, Giles had cornered her in the library before she left and tried to get her to agree to spend the weekend with Buffy again. An idea which she’d immediately nipped in the bud.

Explaining to Giles that her parents were home, Cordelia had stressed that she needed to spend time with them this weekend or they would begin to think she’d fallen in with a bad crowd.

“Which,” she’d added with a roll of her eyes, “wouldn’t be far from the truth.”

Luckily Giles didn’t know that she could probably disappear off the map for months and as long as she didn’t do anything to “embarrass them”, her parents weren’t likely to notice at all.

Still, her ploy had worked and she was sans Buffy for the next few days. Of course the fact that Buffy was just as reluctant as Cordelia to spend the weekend together and therefore did little in the way of rebutting her arguments, helped.

Then she’d arrived home to find that a package had been delivered for her while she was at school. Thank God Constance had accepted it and not her parents, because while it’s not likely that they’d question her about it, this was the Hellmouth and she really needed to save all of her luck for tonight.

She knew the moment that she saw it that it would be the outfit Angelus had promised her. Eyeing the box she noticed that it wasn’t big enough for the body to be in with attire, so that was a plus.

Expecting a repeat of the last time he’d dressed her, Cordelia was surprised at the dress she found buried in layers of tissue paper.

Hunter green silk overlaid with the sheerest chiffon in a lighter shade of green, the dress was far more modest than she would have ever expected from the vampire. Although the halter top left her neck and shoulders bear, it completely covered her breast with no cleavage showing whatsoever. And though it clung gently to her figure, the soft flair in the fabric at her hips ended in a swirl of material that brushed almost demurely at her knees. Although the effect was stunning, it was so far a cry from the leather and chains of their first “date” that she almost questioned that it had come from Angelus.

Of course, the accompanying card cleared up any lingering doubts.

Cordelia ~

I expect you ready at 8:00. Making me come looking for you would be a mistake.

You have an appointment at 4:30 at Reynard’s. Don’t worry; the bill has been taken care of.

~ Angelus

That last part had her seeing red, which was obviously what the stupid vampire had intended. Knowing that was one of a billion sore spots between them he just had to push the issue to reinforce her helplessness. Cordelia thought she might choke on her hatred even as she climbed into the car and drove to the salon as ordered.

When she’d arrived they’d seen to her immediately, making her wonder exactly what Angelus had done to them to make them treat her with such kid gloves. Not even asking what she preferred, they set to work, giving her a facial and a manicure, doing her makeup, and sweeping her hair up into a complex, ornate style that she noted seemed to emphasize the scar on her neck that she worked so hard to hide.

Arriving back home she dressed, slipped on a pair of sandals which added 3 unnecessary but confidence building inches to her height, and took up her current position at the front door.

It wasn’t that she was eager to begin another night of torment; it was just that she wanted to head Angelus off before her parents saw him. They’d probably be so grateful that he wasn’t Xander that they’d invite him in without a second thought, and that was a good as a death sentence in this instance.

Cordelia was pulled away from such morbid musings by the pair of headlights she could see through the ornately carved glass panels in her front doors. The last thing she’d expected was him to show up at the door. Dammit, they had security gates for a reason, and she really didn’t want to know how the vampire had procured the code for them. Grabbing her purse and her wrap she managed to fling the door open just as Angelus was preparing to ring the bell.

Angelus’ hand hovered over the doorbell in shock, not due to the sudden opening of the door, but to the picture of loveliness before him.

Soft and elegant, she was the epitome of femininity. Her skin appeared lit from within against the material that tenderly caressed each curve that it touched. Although in no way revealing, it was almost more erotic as it made one picture, in painful detail, what was concealed by the thin kiss of fabric.

“You’re a vision.”

His voice was husky and throbbing with the same desire that darkened his simmering gaze, and for Cordelia there could be no doubting his words.

Although she had never lacked admirers, at that moment, as the focus of this being’s unwavering longing, Cordelia felt wanted in a way that she’d hadn’t imagined she could. And although she knew it should appall her, instead it caused a liquid heat to surge through her body leaving her teetering on the edge of something she didn’t quite understand.

It frustrated her, this dual nature of his. Tender and concerned one moment, possessive and overbearing the next. What bothered her most was that it was starting to not bother her.

Although, intellectually, she knew that was the bond, it was beyond her control to inhibit. Angelus was right; there were people she cared about, that she wanted to protect, and his willingness, eagerness to hurt them gave him an unlimited amount of control over her.

All she could do was to keep reminding herself that Angelus was a killer with no redeeming qualities, and any feeling she had to the contrary was a result of the bond he was slowly forcing on her. That was really the only defense she had left, and she knew that if she lost sight of that, if she allowed herself to see any other side of him, for even a moment, she’d be lost.

Cocking his head to the side, Angelus pushed his senses past the sensuous sight before him and extended them to the house beyond. Hearing two additional heartbeats, he realized that her parents were home. Oh, he knew they were back in town. There’s no way that something like the return of Cordelia’s parents could occur without him knowing, but the fact that they were actually in their home and not out at some business dinner or society party was surprising. It certainly explained his greeting at the door.

“So Cordelia, isn’t it only proper for me to meet your parents? Declare my intentions and all.”

Angelus couldn’t contain his shout of laughter at the absolute look of horror that crossed Cordelia’s face at his suggestion. Before he could say another word she was outside with the door firmly closed, her wrap and her purse which were already in her hands further proof that she was intending to head off any interaction between him and her parents.

“There’s no way I’m letting you anywhere near my parents. It’s bad enough that I have to put up with this without getting them involved.”

“Eventually they’re going to have to know. I mean sure, they’re not great parents by a long shot, but don’t you think they’re going to wonder what’s going on when you’re living with me?”

Cordelia’s mouth fell open in stunned disbelief at his proclamation. Closing it with an audible snap she resolved to ignore all such statements tonight. The last thing she wanted was to have this argument of ownership over and over again. Besides, even as rebellious as she knew she could be, a part of her worried that if she pushed him too far, defied him too often, he’d end this bizarre courtship and make good on all of his threats. She just had to keep reminding herself that these were just words. Horrible, endlessly distressing words, but words nonetheless. And, being the realist she was, words were definitely preferable to actions in this case.

“Look,” Cordelia hissed at him, “you wanted a night out which, by definition means not being in. So why don’t we get going. After all, the sooner we start the sooner we’ll be done, right?”

Now it was Angelus’ turn to let unpleasant words flow by. He could allow Cordelia to hang on to her denial a little longer. Tonight was about pleasure, showing Cordelia that there was more to him than the nightmarish tales that she’d been told. Not that those tales were untrue, they just weren’t all there was to him. And although usually those were the parts that he wanted people to know about him, in Cordelia’s case he wanted her to see more than that. It would make it easier for her in the long run. True, with the bond between them eventually she’d come to him no matter what she thought about him; but he wanted more than that. He wanted her to want him, genuinely want him; above and beyond their connection so that there wasn’t a part of her that wasn’t consumed by him.

And the first step to that end was a lovely evening. Starting now.

Relieving Cordelia of her wrap he swirled it in an arc so that it landed gently around her shoulders. Pulling her into his side, arm firmly around her waist, he escorted her to the passenger side of a black Plymouth convertible.

“You have a car.” Cordelia felt kind of silly having pointed out the obvious, but the idea had never really occurred to her. “I always thought you preferred to skulk around everywhere all stalker-like.”

Laughter welled up once more in Angelus’ chest. She really was so entertaining.

“While the joy of skulking can’t be overstated, sometimes driving is necessary. Like when accompanied by a beautiful woman for the evening. You didn’t honestly expect me to drag you all over Sunnydale on foot, did you? If so, those heels are ridiculously inappropriate.”

Cordelia suppressed her smile at his gentle teasing. There was no room for anything but hatred where her feelings for Angelus were concerned. And suddenly she had the disconcerting feeling that tonight was going to test that particular resolve.

Chapter Forty One

The restaurant was beyond beautiful. Just outside of Sunnydale, the small establishment was hidden at the end of an oak lined lane, nestled on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. The decor was elegant yet understated doing nothing to distract from the windows running the lengths of the walls that captivated the diners with breathtaking panoramas of the dark ocean below.

Seated in a dim, sheltered corner, the romantic atmosphere was not lost on Cordelia who was already having a difficult time controlling the tingles running through her body even before they’d reached this lover’s hideaway. This was so the opposite of what she needed to be doing. She just had to remember that this was about saving lives; lives that were in danger thanks to the monster across from her. The incredibly hot monster across from her. And the need to refocus grew.

A waiter, so discreet he nearly blended into the surroundings, quietly approached to provide menus. Waving them away Angelus ordered dinner for her and what sounded like two very expensive bottles of wine.

Cordelia gave a token thought to protesting his nerve in even this that he didn’t think that she could choose dinner for herself. But in the end she knew that this was minor compared to everything else going on.

“Let it go.” She repeated silently to herself. When that didn’t work she moved on to the deep breaths. Glancing up she caught the amusement spreading across Angelus’ face.

“You know, you’re going to hyperventilate and pass out.”

“Wow. And miss some of this fabulous evening. God forbid.”

She’d tried as hard as she could, but holding back was never Cordelia’s strong suit.

“You know, I can manage to order for myself. Been eating almost all my life; I’m pretty clear on what I like.”

“Tonight’s our time to get to know each other, Cordelia, and I don’t want you having to think about anything but me.”

“Well that plan’s working.” She snapped back. “‘Cause all I can think about right now is what a jerk your are.”

Angelus leaned back and watched Cordelia’s not so subtle pouting. It was amazing what love could do. Behavior that mere weeks ago would have resulted in an immediate neck snapping was now cute and endearing.

It was a common misconception among those rare few people who knew about vampires and hadn’t been eaten by them, that they lacked feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why would an eternity be worth living if you couldn’t truly experience it? And right now he was enjoying the Hell out of every emotion the young woman in front of him pulled kicking and screaming from his chest.

Resisting the urge to laugh out loud at the girl and interrupt the show, his willpower was wasted as the waiter approached and Cordelia arranged her lovely features into a passive expression; obviously perfected by years of exposure to situations requiring the phoniness generally known as “the social niceties.”

The waiter set an artfully arranged salad in front of Cordelia and filled her glass from one of the two bottles of wine. Turning to Angelus he poured from the other bottle; a dark red liquid that was a little to thick to be simply fermented grape juice.

Bringing the glass to his lips Angelus raised an inquiring eyebrow at the girl across from him. “Does it bother you?”

“That you drink blood. Pfft. Like that never occurred to me before. Gross but not shocking. And bonus points because at least it’s not mine.”

If she’d known how much her answer pleased him, Angelus was sure she would have responded differently. He was glad that she wasn’t hiding from who he was. Sure, it would make the adjustment a little more difficult for her, but it was something she was going to have to accept sooner or later; her tendency to deal with things head on and her casual acknowledgment just now meant that it would probably be sooner. He hoped it would be soon enough.

Tonight, just sitting here with her it was almost more than he could do to keep from bundling her out of the restaurant and dragging her back home with him where she belonged. She’d adjust. She’d have no choice. But he wanted more from Cordelia. He wanted her to need him. He wanted her to burn for him. True, he could shape her with violence and agony, but given the choice he’d rather mould her with desire and passion. She would be an endless source of pleasure for years to come; he could certainly afford to invest this time in her.

In an effort to avoid Angelus’ increasingly heated gaze Cordelia began to eat her salad with a single-minded purpose. But as time passed she couldn’t help but throw covert, questioning glances his way from beneath her lashes.


Obviously her glances hadn’t been quite as covert as she’d intended.

“Excuse me?” Cordelia opted for denial.

Angelus’ mouth tilted in a way that made him seem all too boyish. An innocent look that Cordelia thought nature should not have allowed this vicious predator even as it tugged at her heartstrings.

“The considering looks. I assumed that this began the portion of the evening where explained to me, once again, why we can’t be together.”

Well, since he’d brought it up. “Would that work?”


There was a finality in those words that settled despair around the brunette with such weight that it seemed to bow her figure.

Genuinely curious Angelus asked the dejected girl before him, “You didn’t really think that would work, did you?”

Letting out her breath in one long sigh Cordelia straightened her shoulders as her resolve rebuilt itself right before his eyes.

“Not really, but I’m running out of hope here.”

He smiled at her with an odd sense of understanding.

“Good. You don’t need hope, Cordelia. You have me.”

Picking up her fork once more she stabbed at her salad muttering, “I’d rather have hope.”

This time there was nothing hidden about the glare she threw his way.

“Of course, at this point I’d rather have a terminal illness.”

Laughter seemed to be the order of the night as Angelus’ head tilted back and the merry sound poured forth.

“If this is how you act on all your dates I can see how you were forced to settle for the moron.”

It was as if he’d struck her. She flinched as the words hit her ears and her face drained of color. In a pained whisper borne of the anguish pooled deep inside her one word slipped out.


As exquisite as she wore her suffering, Angelus was torn by the hurt he was witnessing. On the one hand it was proof the she was indeed keeping her distance from the boy. On the other it was merely more evidence that she’d given a part of herself to someone other than him.

That thought would drive him to distraction if he let it, and that’s not what this night was about.

“You’re right. This is not the time for unpleasantness. This is the time for us to get to know one another.”

Sometimes Cordelia wondered if she shouldn’t just stay in a state of shock around Angelus to save herself the grind of switching gears so often.

Laughing harshly she derided his festive date activity.

“Let’s see. You – crazy, sadistic vampire. Check. Me – not. Check. Well, this has been fun.”

As she threw her napkin on the table and started to rise she was halted by Angelus voice which, while amused, would clearly brook no argument.

“True, I may be slightly sadistic,” He smirked, being unable to keep a straight face at such a tremendous understatement, “But I’m hardly crazy. I’m the product of my nature, Cordelia. My behavior may be abhorrent to you, but it is exactly as intended.”

“Yes, I’m a predator, but so is the lion. Do you hate him for eating the gazelle? Do you hate the wolf for eating the rabbit?”

“What gives humans the ultimate rights to existence; to decide what’s necessary in the universe and what’s superfluous? Believe me; I understand why people want to kill vampires. After all, it’s only fair, we want to kill you. But to think that somehow it’s wrong that we exist; isn’t that rather arrogant of you?”

Cordelia wondered if it was the bond when the things he said like this made a weird kind of sense. In some ways it made her wonder about the information they got from the Watcher’s Council. Not Angelus’ earlier, laughable claim that they were putting out vampire misinformation, but maybe they just didn’t know everything there was to know about this particular type of demon. Sure, they did lots of killing, but was that all they did? And would the Council know? ‘Cause really, how many vampires would want to hang out with them? How many people would want to hang out with them? She cared a lot for Giles, but he certainly wasn’t the most exciting book in the library.

Still, if Angelus thought that convincing her that he was a natural born killer was going to further his cause he was indeed, crazy.

“That just sounds like more reason for me to stay away from you.”

Angelus’ reply required no thought. “Not happening.”

Swirling the liquid in his glass he captured her gaze. “Cordelia, those things are part of who I am, but they’re not all I am. I have interests other than killing…they’re just not as fun.”

The wink that accompanied that statement as he took a drink from his wineglass sent a shot of amusement through her; and wasn’t that just wrong.

“Yeah,” Cordelia shot back, “‘Cause Angel sure seemed like buckets of fun.”

If she was trying to upset him with the mention of his souled persona, the upturn of his lips declared her failure.

“The soul.” Angelus let out a longsuffering sigh. “The soul had two hobbies – brooding and feeling guilty. Luckily, I share neither of those interests. But before the soul, I remember a time…”

Next Part

Chapter Forty Two

Her sides actually hurt she’d laughed so much. This was definitely not the way she’d envisioned the evening going at all. Angelus had more than lived up to his claim that he enjoyed past times other than killing and he had spent the evening regaling her with of tales of days gone by that were fascinating both for their content and their historical context.

As the waiter left the last of their dinner dishes she couldn’t help returning to his latest story to pepper him with questions.

“So you’re saying that Spike started a war in Africa?”

Angelus could only stare at the enthralling image before him. Flushed from an evening of laughter her skin was tinted a pale pink and her hazel eyes were like bright jewels in her flawless face. Her curiosity and increasing delight pleased him no end and he gave thanks to Spike and his antics for which, at the time he’d usually beaten his unruly grandchilde.

“Well, I wouldn’t say that he started it, per se, but his being there certainly didn’t help. Of course, not many people can be around Spike for long without losing control of their violent impulses. He has that effect on people.”

Rising gracefully to his feet, Angelus held out his hand to Cordelia. Her eyes dimmed just a touch at the realization that the carefree part of the evening was over and now she was journeying back into uncharted waters. Still, she grasped the hand offered her and allowed him to pull her to her feet.

He must have been known at the restaurant, because there was no bill to settle, nor did they stop except to gather his coat and her wrap. Making their way out into the clear night, Cordelia was caught off guard as she was suddenly enveloped in his long, heavy coat. Knowing that it couldn’t possibly be for the same reasons as the last time he covered her in this manner and since her velvet shawl was more than adequate for a walk to the car in the still evening she looked at him in inquiry.

Encircling her waist with his arm, Angelus led Cordelia down a brick pathway on the side of the restaurant. It was canopied by arching oak branches, and when they stepped out from beneath the cover all Cordelia could do was gasp at the captivating sight before her.

Spread before her was a garden filled to overflowing with flowers. Every kind imaginable was there in colors that even the moonlight could barely dim. This was a place of fairytales; of princesses who didn’t bother waiting around in towers but still lived happily ever after. It was thrumming wit life in a way that only certain areas of nature can be; and it pulled her into its harmonious atmosphere with less effort than it took for her to cross the threshold into this paradise.

“It’s beautiful.” She breathed out in awe as she pulled away from Angelus to make her way through the blooms.

“You’re beautiful.” And she was. Of course, Cordelia was always beautiful, but standing in the moonlight, enraptured by all that she saw, swamped by his coat, he believed that in that one moment in time she was perfection.

“Yeah, that’s me, beautiful Cordelia, beating the boys off with a stick.” And it was true. That was who she used to be; before Xander, before Angelus.

Taking a moment to inhale the delicate fragrance of the honeysuckle, Cordelia missed the vampire’s angry demeanor and his rapid approach.

As he spun her to face him she realized instantly what had upset him.

“Stop.” And with the kind of daring only Cordelia seemed to posses, she smacked the vampire in the chest as she rolled her eyes at him. “Geez, why do you always have to be so possessive? Have you never heard of trust?”

Angelus studied the girl before him for a moment, not sure if she was serious or not.

“So you’re saying I could trust you to stay with me?”

Cordelia paused for the briefest of seconds, wondering if she should lie. But lies weren’t all that easy. They were difficult to remember, and even if you could keep them straight they took on a life of their own. Just look at the lies she’d told for Angelus.

“No. No matter what I’m feeling right now or how much I’m enjoying being with you, I can’t forget who you are. What you are.”

Not the answer he wanted to hear, but in its own way it was almost better. It was so full of honesty. She hadn’t lied to get him to relax his guard, and more than that she’d admitted to having feelings for him and enjoying his company. It was rare to find someone who was so honest even when it didn’t necessarily serve their purposes.

He still remembered when Buffy returned the summer after facing The Master. She’d toyed with Xander’s feelings and with the soul’s. And while he couldn’t care less about either of them, it was that kind of game that he hated. And sure, Buffy had been going through something, but no one could argue that Cordelia wasn’t going through just as much, if not more. And yet she seemed prone to leave those games to others.

Turning his mind back to her statement he replied, “What makes you think that I want you to forget? Cordelia, I’m not Angel. I like both who and what I am. I don’t want redemption; I don’t want to right the wrongs of the world. I don’t long endlessly for the sun.”

Cordelia had no illusions that it was Angel before her, so most of his remarks came as no surprise. That last one, however, caught her unawares.

“You don’t miss the sun?” She couldn’t fathom not being able to walk out in the bright golden light.

“What do you think moonlight is, Cordelia? It’s just reflected sunlight, purified and safe.”

Casting him a teasing glance from beneath her lashes Cordelia asked, “So I’m not the sunshine of your life?”

Angelus found himself laughing once again. This whole night had been surprising in that regard. Not just his laughter, but hers also. He’d meant it when he’s said he wasn’t Angel. Angel didn’t just live in misery, he wallowed in it. Sometimes he wondered how he’d ever managed to get happy enough to lose the soul. Must be low standards. But brooding? That wasn’t Angelus’ style. He liked being happy, and he’d certainly been right about Cordelia, she was making him increasingly happy.

“Hmmm…The sunshine of my life? No, like the moon, you’re a glorious reflection of the sun’s light. You’re safe and warm but you never burn. You’re my own personal moonbeam.”

Putting his arms back around her Angelus began leading her back to the car. And as she left this little Shangri-la on the Pacific, she wondered at the sad state of her life that that was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her.

Since Cordelia was already secured in his coat Angelus decided on having the Plymouth’s top down for their ride home. It was one more romantic facet to a night that was already leaving her awash in a sea of confusion. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be, she was sure of it. She understood the hormonal component. She didn’t like it, but she understood it. But these feelings, she wasn’t sure where they were coming from.

Angelus had told her, that night on her balcony that the bond created feelings of love in both parties, but she hadn’t thought that was possible. How could a bite make her love anyone, least of all a killer? Her affections were still hers to give, right?

That thought and others like it crowded her head ‘til her conclusion flew from her lips.

“They aren’t real. These feelings aren’t real.”

If his hearing wasn’t quite so sensitive her soft statement would have been lost in the rush of wind that whipped around them. Shifting his eyes momentarily from the road he was captivated by the poignant expression on her face, her bottom lip caught between her even, white teeth as she lost herself in her thoughts.

Turning his attention back to the road he spoke, his strong voice carrying over the wind.

“You think because of our connection your feelings aren’t real? They’re real, Cordelia. They’re emotions. They are what they are for as long as they last. There’s no right and wrong, and the bond doesn’t make this artificial.”

“A mother loves her newborn child. Why? She doesn’t know who they are or what they’ll be. Their potential for evil and their potential for good are both equal in the unwritten book of their life. And yet she’s enraptured by the life she’s created. Because, like us, they have a bond. Does that make her feelings for her child false, worthless? Of course not. Our feelings are real, too.”

Reaching over, Angelus took her hand in his firm grip and intertwined their fingers. It was a simple gesture, the least erotic of all the touches they’d shared, and yet there was something profoundly moving in the chaste joining that seemed to tighten something unknown in her chest as something equally unrecognized seemed to loosen.

Not knowing what to make of all these new feelings and knowing she’d never sort them out in the presence of the vampire beside her she closed her eyes and let the sharp bite of the night air distract her from her deluge of whirling thoughts.

As the wind died down Cordelia realized they must be approaching her house. She let her lids flutter open as the car rolled to a stop. Releasing her hand, Angelus exited the car and opened her door. Helping her to her feet he escorted her to the door.

Turning to face him she knew she was pushing her luck, but she had to ask, “That’s it? It’s over and I’m home?”

Not being able to resist her upturned face Angelus gently ran his knuckles down the velvety softness of her cheek.

“Isn’t that our standard deal? You, home, safe and sound?”

Cordelia had a feeling she was being mocked. That he knew that any deals they made were subject to his whims and not to any real control she had. And yet the teasing, like so many things that night, was so gentle that it was comforting instead of grating.

Still not ready to deal with these emerging feelings, she busied herself pulling her keys from her purse. Turning towards the door she was startled as they were swiftly extracted from her grip.

Suddenly the fingers that had caressed her face grasped her chin tilting her lips up to meet his descending mouth. With a whisper soft stroke his lips brushed hers, an ethereal touch meant to last mere moments in time but to linger in the heart.

Pushing the button to unlock the doors in front of which they stood, Angelus pressed the keys back into Cordelia’s hand, smiling down at the dazed girl.

“Goodnight, Moonbeam.”

Snapping abruptly back to reality, Cordelia turned without another word and walked into her house. Closing the door she leaned against it and rubbed a hand over her eyes wearily. She had a feeling that of all the dangerous situations she’d been in with Angelus tonight was the worst. Tonight he’ managed to become more than a monster, to be more than the sum of the lives he’d taken. And for the first time her terror was for more than her life. It was for her heart.

Chapter 43

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