Chapter Fifty Three
Harsh breaths echoing in his ears brought Angelus back to the awareness that his lover needed oxygen. Rolling over to avoid crushing her still trembling body, he pulled her exhausted form into his arms.
He’d told Spike she was magnificent. He hadn’t even known the meaning of the word. Not until now. Not until he’d tasted her; all of her. Not until he’d buried his seed deep within her. Not until he’d heard his name, clinging to her kiss swollen mouth. Everything he’d thought he known ’til then was but a pale shadow of the girl curled against him.
His hand entwined in the long strands of her hair, he tilted her head back until their eyes met and locked.
“I love you.”
Awareness crept slowly across her hazel gaze and he could see her struggling to make sense of what he’d said, of his obvious expectation. Taking pity on the beleaguered girl, he clarified.
“I love you, Cordelia. When I tell you that, that’s your cue to return the sentiment.”
Cordelia could only gape at the genuine sincerity in both statements. No matter how she felt, and at that exact moment she wouldn’t have been able to offer a description for the life of her, she could see that he really did love her. In whatever perverse sort of way vampires could love she apparently inspired that feeling in the vampire before her. Seeing the warmth melting his chocolate gaze, she could no longer deny that. But that he thought that she would return those feelings, that she would make some kind of declaration of undying love?
Although she meant that with as much as she’d meant her reckless “nowhere”, she was equally unsure of the wisdom of voicing it as his disconcerting stare continued to hold her captive. She was even more wary as the intense expression melted into a heartfelt smile.
She felt his hands slide down her back, pulling her tight against him, brining his rapidly hardening shaft into intimate contact with her once again. Even as she began to moisten with a new sense of awareness her overtaxed muscles protested even the thought of any prolonged effort on their part.
Feeling his tongue stroking languorously over the newly reopened punctures she pushed unproductively at his shoulders.
Raising his head, Angelus cast her a deceptively innocent look from beneath his lashes.
“Shhhh…I’m convincing you that you love me. Don’t interrupt…Well, except to let me know when you’re convinced.”
It was funny to Cordelia, although not in a very amusing way, how Angelus could make his threats sound so mundane. She could never tell if he did it to make them more startling by the contrast or if threats were just such a large part of his life that they really were of the ordinary. Either way it didn’t matter as they were always crystal clear and this one was no exception. He was planning to pick up right where they’d left off, and he wouldn’t stop until she proclaimed her love for him, even though they both knew that it would be a lie.
Well she wouldn’t do it. She’d given up enough; she wouldn’t have this taken from her, too. It didn’t matter how much she hurt or how good he could make that hurt feel; this was where she was drawing the line. And, convincing herself that her resolve just might be sufficient this time she allowed herself to go limp in his arms.
Chapter Fifty Four
Three times he’d started at that particular spot on her neck. Three times that had ended in storms of ecstasy that had tightened every fiber of her being to the breaking point. And now he was back again, lending credence to everything she’d ever heard about vampires and their amazing ability to recuperate. Two hard truths burned themselves into Cordelia’s brain – Angelus would never stop this until he’d gotten what he wanted, and she could withstand no more.
In a voice hoarse from the cries of an endless night of pleasure, she managed to whisper, “Love you.”
Angelus stilled the nuzzling of Cordelia’s throat. Smiling into the well loved flesh he pushed her, willing to accept nothing but complete surrender in this matter.
“What was that?”
When no further answer was forthcoming, Angelus simply resumed his ministrations. A splash of moisture hit his face and he knew those tears were the silent signs of Cordelia’s defeat.
Her husky admission was a glorious sound to the vampire’s ears, and stretching out to his full length he pulled the exhausted girl into his arms, cuddling her close against his chest.
“I know you do, moonbeam.”
His words were wasted on the fatigued brunette in his embrace, but that in no way hindered his delight at her declaration. Oh, he knew that she didn’t love him. None of this had been remotely about her current feelings. Angelus knew better than anyone that Cordelia loathed him at worst, desired him at best, and dwelled in a land of ambiguity the rest of the time. He had no delusions as to that reality.
No, this had been about Cordelia’s future feelings. She could love him. Angelus knew it. He’d seen moments where she’d forgotten the circumstances of their relationship and just allowed herself to enjoy being with him. But her strength of will was beyond all of his previous experience and she believed that she had to keep fighting. Of course even that determination wouldn’t prevent her from loving him. The bond and his concerted efforts would make that change in her emotions inevitable.
But even when she loved him, even when he consumed every though, asleep and awake, even when she was sure that she needed his presence more than air, the greatest obstacle would still lie before them – her pride. Cordelia Chase was a fiercely proud woman. It was one of the most alluring things about her, and Angelus is no way wanted to damage that any more than was necessary. For Cordelia, the problem would not be in her ability to love him, but in her ability to admit it. Forcing her to do so now and to keep doing so when she could console herself that they both knew that the words were false was the smoothest path to overcoming that impediment to their happiness. By stripping her of her instinctual need to never give him that satisfaction, he was freeing her from the restrictions of her pride and allowing her a future full of pleasures and delights that she’d deny herself given the chance.
And while Cordelia would no doubt believe that this had been yet another manifestation of his evil makeup, she was human, and therefore would not understand that she was his, and as his, he would care for her whether she wanted him to or not. Her happiness was one of his highest concerns. And while it was not within his nature to place it above his own, he would nevertheless define his goals and then always attempt to find a place for her within those that would bring her joy or, at least, the minimal amount of pain.
Right now his objective was Cordelia; her loyalty, her devotion, her love. And that would require actions that might, in the present, bring her anguish. However, in the long term these measures would bring her a satisfaction that, right now, she would be unable to credit. And, in the absence of her trust, he would have to use coercion, knowing that, ultimately, all of this was for her benefit.
Chapter Fifty Five
Its funny how so many awful things in life come in such appealing packages, Cordelia mused as she leaned back into the soothing shade of a large Elm tree. Angelus was certainly a prime example of that. Hottie outside, ice cold bastard inside.
And so it was with the soft tinkling sound floating on the breeze. It sounded bright and cheerful, like wind chimes in a gentle draft, and she would have enjoyed it had it not been caused by the chain attached to her left ankle.
This wasn’t quite how she’d imagined the morning after would go. Well, not that this was exactly the morning after. In fact, Cordelia had no idea what day it was at all.
She had known things about vampires for a while – what they ate, where they hung out, how to kill them; but now she was learning about the practical side of vampiric life. For instance, vampires tended to not like large, light giving windows in their homes. Because of that it had been impossible for her to keep track of time as Angelus let her grab brief smatters of sleep before rousing her again and again for hours of passion. Eventually the waking moments blurred together and time seemed to lose meaning as he satisfied weeks of frustration and self-denial. In the end, all that had truly marked the passage of time was the somewhat wilted tulips she noticed this morning as Angelus herded her down the stairs and out into the daylight…
Daylight. She hadn’t really spent a great deal of time contemplating life with Angelus; hadn’t really believed that it would come to this. But in the abstract sunshine certainly hadn’t figured into the picture. And yet not only was she now sitting in a bright, sunlit garden, but, ironically, it had been the vampire who had forced her there.
When she’d awakened that morning, everything had been black. Not the shadowy darkness of night with its vague shapes and muted colors; no, this was an absolute absence of light, a truly enveloping darkness, and given her current captivity it pulled Cordelia immediately from her sleep.
As wakefulness swept through her she realized that the lack of illumination wasn’t a natural phenomenon, but rather the result of a blindfold covering her eyes. Smooth and silky, it seemed to cover her face from just above her eyebrows to slightly below her eyes, its stretchy material clinging closely and screening out all light. Instinctively her hands moved to restore her sight, but halfway there they were caught in a pair much larger than her own.
From the shiver that licked over her nerves at even that small contact she knew exactly who was grasping her hands as they were pulled up to touch the iron rungs of the headboard. Her fingers, which had clenched instinctively in a protective manner at the unexpected touch, were gently uncurled and wrapped around the cold metal. Cool air blew across her ear as a low command was whispered.
“Every time you remove your hands there’ll be a penalty.”
The sinister words frightened her with visions of unknown punishments while at the same time the sensual promise which laced his tone made her shiver in unwanted anticipation. Unable to see, fright won out and her hands stayed where they’d been placed as she strained to determine some clue as to what was coming next.
She wasn’t to linger long in a state of ignorance as she felt gentle fingers brush the mark on her neck, circling the still raw puncture marks before skimming lightly over satiny skin to trail across her collar bone.
Angelus smiled as a tremor shook her body. All of their couplings so far had a nearly frantic edge to them as he worked out the almost physical pain of weeks spent with Cordelia without actually being withCordelia. But now that she was here, now that she was unquestionably his, he felt playful; wanting to explore her lush body, to know the feel of every inch of her.
Gliding his hands down the slope of her chest, he grazed the curve of her breast slowing to circle her straining nipple with his whisper soft touch. Thumb lightly brushing the tip, he smiled in satisfaction as her back arched in a silent plea for further contact.
“You like that, sweetheart?” Angelus questioned as his fingers began a gentle tugging motion. “Don’t worry, today will be full of all kinds of pleasures, but you have to let me have my fun.”
Cordelia gasped as cool lips surrounded her overly sensitized nipple and without conscious thought her hands flew from their position above her head to twine in Angelus’ hair, drawing him tighter to her breast.
A cry was torn from her throat, an inarticulate sound of denial, as the drawing mouth was suddenly removed and her clutching hands were firmly grasped, untangled from his hair, and returned to their previous position.
Fear flooded through Cordelia as she realized what she’d done in response to such overwhelming stimulation. Cringing behind her blindfold she waited for the punishment Angelus had earlier promised. She didn’t wait long, as shock pulled the breath from her lungs and a sharp pain stab her where moments before had been such delicious pleasure.
She twisted her body to escape the piercing sensation, but a strong hand pressed her flat into the bed once more. As a small drop of water ran down the underside of her breast to rest on her taut stomach, she suddenly recognized what fright and visual deprivation had convinced her was cutting pain, as instead, the feeling of ice pressed against her skin.
Although still intense, she breathed a sigh of colossal relief that her punishment was meant to alarm and distress her, but not to cause her any real harm. But all thoughts of punishments fled as the ice was abruptly lifted and once again his lips touched her throbbing flesh.
Cordelia choked on a moan of unbelievable pleasure as she experienced something that she had never felt at the vampire’s hands – warmth. The ice that had rapidly lowered the temperature of her skin was now providing an illusion of heat in the Angelus’ mouth.
Raising his head from her breast he let his eyes roam over his beautiful pet from the clasp of fingers to the tips of her toes as a burning sense of possession rushed through him. He couldn’t keep the smile from curving his lips as his fingers skipped down the ladder of her ribs to roam across the velvety softness of her firm stomach.
“I love this golden skin; so honeyed and warm.”
Her sudden shout of laughter caught his attention and her head lifted from the pillow as if she could actually see him from behind the dark fabric covering her eyes.
“Well enjoy it while you can, buddy; ‘cause I’m hardly gonna be a poster girl for Coppertone living in this windowless mausoleum.”
Angelus swirled his tongue in the dip of her bellybutton as his hands slid through the silky hair at the juncture of her thighs. He could see that their little interlude with the ice had the intended effect as her hips lurched off the mattress but her hands stayed resolutely in place.
Running his questing fingers gently around the swollen nub of pleasure, he forced erotic mewls of gratification from her lips, one after another as her hips thrust forward to force an end to his sensual torture.
Gathering some of her increasing moisture with his fingertips he went back to tormenting her with his teasing touches. Raising his head to survey her taut form he responded to her taunt.
“Haven’t you learned by now that I’ll take care of you?”
Cordelia didn’t know if he was referring to her tan or the burning need stripping her nerves, and frankly she didn’t care as a long, thick finger speared into her liquid heat and his thumb blessedly pressed into her clit.
She held onto the curving bars beneath her hands for dear life, knowing she couldn’t withstand the removal of his pleasuring hand as he taught her another “lesson”.
As a second finger slid smoothly into the depths of her fluttering core she began to break apart, only barely managing to catch Angelus’ self-satisfied exclamation.
“I’ll always take care of you, Cordelia.”
Cordelia kicked her foot out, clanking the chain again. Some way to be taken care of, she thought bitterly.
Chapter Fifty Six
Angelus laughed quietly in the darkness of the living room. Seated in a large leather chair at the far end of the room, away from the burning rays of the afternoon sun, he could still make out Cordelia’s insult as it wafted through the open French doors which afforded him a clear view of the mumbling brunette.
After bringing her downstairs he’d left her in the care of one of his human servants, not wanting her to know that he’d be watching her, desiring to observe her unguarded reaction to the new facet of what he knew she thought of as her imprisonment as opposed to her new life.
Not that he needed a reason to watch her other than the fact that it was mesmerizing. And the spell binding effect that was Cordelia carried naturally was only enhanced by the streaming sunlight kissing her skin.
Angelus recalled telling Cordelia that he didn’t miss the sun, and that was true. He preferred the night; stalking his prey; the darkness inspiring an innate fear in man that the sunlight seemed to vanquish as if his potential victims knew on some basic yet unacknowledged level what awaited them in the inky void.
So while, he had no regrets for what he’d become in that alley centuries before, right then he wanted nothing more then to storm out into the garden and take Cordelia over and over as her warm skin glowed in the bright, deadly light, shattering her last illusions of safety.
He had to admit that it had been hard to let her out into the afternoon sun; out of his reach. But he’d known that she’d need the sun at times. Not a problem with a normal human pet as they were so dependant on their bond mate that they’d never dream of leaving. But Cordelia was anything but normal, and until their bond had completely swamped her independent spirit devoting her solely to his pleasure, precautions would have to be taken when seeing to her mortal needs.
And he’d been very precise in the devising of those safeguards. He’d placed servants outside the walls of the garden, and the chain, although deceptively light was quite strong; even he’d had to exert himself to snap a length of it. And, satisfied with its strength, he’d had it bolted to the enormous stone fireplace, well out of reach of the sunlight so that Cordelia could be compelled to return to the shadows of the mansion.
But even as good as he knew his safety measures to be he watched carefully as she tested them. He knew from experience how clever she was and that only a fool would underestimate her.
And he had to admit that he was proud of his girl and her thoroughness in checking for any weakness in his plans. Her intelligence, cunning, and ability to function in situations that would make most people crumble reminded him over and over why she was such a worthy match for him.
After all, with all the time they’d spent together over the last few days making love he knew that, physically at least, the bond must be overwhelming for Cordelia and just the thought of being separated from him would bring her discomfort if not outright pain. The fact that she could push that aside and focus on escape made her even more prized in his eyes.
Somehow Cordelia never failed to surprise him, bringing delight to what was all too often a monotonous existence. The fact that she was here, in his stronghold, surrounded by his minions, chained in his garden, and still thought to defy him was challenging and provocative on a level he couldn’t remember experiencing before. Never had anyone fought him this hard, especially with the deck so stacked against them. And far from being angered by her continuing defiance, he reveled in the wondrous anticipation of what she would try next.
And she would try something. Her very being demanded she not be conquered almost as much as his being demanded he be the conqueror. Almost.
Of course one didn’t have to have an intimate knowledge of Cordelia’s psyche to see that plans were even now forming in her fertile imagination. Subtlety had never been that girl’s forte, and her actions were clearly revealing the directions of her thoughts.
When she’d been left alone in the garden the first thing she did was check the strength of the chain. She pulled on the length, she tugged on the shackle, she tried to break both the band and the links with a heavy rock she’d found in one of the overgrown flowerbeds.
At one point one of Angelus’ servants moved towards the door intent on stopping the young woman’s attempts to escape but was halted in his tracks by the menacing growl coming from his vampire master.
“Leave her. It’s not your job to interfere with her except in the specific instances as you’ve been instructed. Believe me,” Angelus’ voice crawled along the man’s spine, paralyzing him in an icy grip of terror “you don’t want to come between me and my little pet. We never did find all the pieces of the last person who tried.”
As the frightened servant scurried out of the room and away from the vampire’s wrath, Angelus once again turned his attentions to Cordelia’s entertaining antics.
Apparently deciding the chain wouldn’t break she moved to assessing her surroundings. Determined to learn the limit of her movements Cordelia walked as far as she could in each direction, stopping to see what was within her reach. When she’d checked every inch of the garden available to her she moved on to the walls. Although they were just beyond the bounds of the chain, she examined them as carefully as she could looking for holes, flaws, ways to climb over.
Under his watchful yet unseen eyes she explored every possible avenue that might lead to escape and, finding them all unsatisfactory, as he knew she would, she finally settled in her current position, no doubt trying to come to grips with the enormity of the new life she was now facing.
Although he wanted nothing more that to seize the chain binding her, drawing her back to the darkness, back to him to christen every area of this room as they had the various surfaces of their bedroom suite, he knew that her time alone would only further his purpose. Being away from him would merely serve to heighten the ever growing need Cordelia felt for him; a need so keenly felt that eventually she would be forced to acknowledge its existence.
Besides, as much as Angelus wanted nothing more than to spend his endless days and nights buried deep inside Cordelia, allowing small moments for wanton violence and feeding, he knew that there were other matters that needed his attention. Overseeing the activities on a mystical convergence was not a job to be taken lightly and those duties could not be left indefinitely.
Angelus was also very cognizant of the fact that he had literally stolen one of the good guys right from under the slayer’s nose; and as confident as he was of his ability to break Buffy, keeping Cordelia was a priority; one that would be much easier accomplished with the resources of the Hellmouth at his disposal.
So, grudgingly, the vampire pulled his gaze from the glorious, sun drenched vision before him, and reluctantly left to take care of the business that helped make that particular view possible.