Wesley’s phone was ringing endlessly and Cordelia was starting to fret. No matter what her friend said, no matter how his health seemed to be returning she still worried. It just hadn’t been long enough since the shooting for her to completely abandoned her terror.
Cordelia’s breath left her in a rush as she heard the cultured, accented voice come across the line.
“What the hell are you doing scaring me like that, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce? How can it take a person that long to answer the phone? Oh God, something didn’t happen; you’re not hurt, are you? I can come over, just hold on.”
“Cordelia!” Wesley practically screamed the name, afraid that he’d be too late to stop her headlong rush to his apartment.
“What?!” Her voice snapped back at him. He smiled slightly at the incongruity of her tone versus her concern. Of course the contradictions that made up Cordelia Chase were just one of the many things that made her so terribly fascinating.
“I’m fine. I haven’t been in a accident, I’ve been in the shower. A place I’d like to get back to if you would just state the purpose of your call.”
“Oh. That’s okay then.”
Wesley rolled his eyes but decided not to comment on his apparent need for permission to shower afraid that he might sidetrack the young seer once again.
“I called to say that I wouldn’t be in today.”
“And you’re telling me this rather than Angel because…”
“I couldn’t get a hold of him.” The lie fell cleanly from her lips just as she’d practiced. She hated to deceive her friend but it was only a tiny, white lie and really, she thought to herself, it was to protect Wesley and Gunn because she had to do something to discourage the obsessive vampire before her friends noticed what was going on and got themselves hurt in some misguided confrontation.
“Well, alright then. I’ll make sure to pass along the message. There’s nothing wrong, Cordelia, is there?”
“Nope. Nothing wrong here, Wes. I just ran into an old friend yesterday and he asked me out for dinner tonight. You no how long it’s been since I did the dating thing so I thought I’d take the day to do some prep work. Not that I need it, mind you, but it couldn’t hurt to get my nails done, my hair styled, do a little shopping.”
Although Wesley was concerned about a day with the vampire without Cordelia there as a buffer between Angel and his and Gunn’s understandable resentment, his worry was more than offset by hearing the slight edge of excitement in Cordelia’s voice. She was right, it had been far too long since she had gone out for an evening of romance and relaxation and he truly believed that some time away from Angel and his on again off again mission was just the thing she needed to help restore some of the bright energy about her that had dimmed slightly over the last few grueling months.
“I think that’s an excellent idea, Cordelia. You enjoy yourself and don’t worry. Though your presence will be sorely missed I’m sure Angel, Gunn, and myself can manage to hold down the fort for one day.”
“Okay.” This was the part that Cordelia was reluctant about; leaving her guys alone. Although Wesley and Gunn went out on assignments every day it still made her feel better to be at the office to make sure that they got back safely. “Just make sure you take care of yourself. I’d hate to have to kill you tomorrow because you went and got yourself hurt.”
“I’m sure Gunn and I will be able to muddle through the day without any serious damage. Try to remember that we are capable demon fighters in our own right.”
“How ’bout, just for today, you guys stick to investigating and leave any demon fighting to Angel. That is supposed to be his job, you know.”
“Goodbye, Cordelia.” Wesley spoke kindly, understanding her concern but knowing that soon she’d need to come to terms with that fact that he was fairly well healed and that neither he nor Gunn would be content sitting on the sidelines in the battle against evil.
“Goodbye, Wesley.” Cordelia’s voice was more of the exasperated variety as opposed to Wesley’s sympathetic tone as it frustrated her to no end that Wesley wouldn’t just stay wrapped in the cotton wool that she wanted to place him in.
Hanging up Cordelia began to make preparations for her date. Another thing she hadn’t been entirely honest about with her friend. Oh, she did indeed have a date with an old friend; but she hadn’t run in to him by accident rather she had dug out the number of a few men who had formerly expressed an interest in her and picked the one least likely to expect a long-term, full scale relationship. For while she hated to use anybody just to make a point to Angel, she certainly didn’t want to use someone who would emotionally invest themselves after a mere dinner and a movie.
And really, that’s what all of her planning came down to – letting Angel know that she wasn’t going to fall in line with whatever plans he’d made for their future in his majorly damaged head. No matter what he had done to them she was going to prove to him, once and for all, that she could have a perfectly happy, vampire free life.
And she’d worked the whole plan last night after she’d woken up from her nap, furious with Angel for being right about how well she’d sleep after their little interlude.
First she’d call Wesley, knowing that eventually he’d let it slip to Angel why she’d be otherwise engaged that night. Then she’d make sure that she was nowhere near her apartment all day so that the vampire couldn’t find a way to stop her evening’s entertainment. Then, after the movie, she’d have her date drop her off at the hotel so she could pick up a file that she could claim to have “forgotten”. Once there she’d let Angel know in no uncertain terms that she didn’t need him or his touches; that she was more than capable of moving on and in fact she was already doing so. Next, a short cab ride home and it was mission accomplished.
Standing up to Angel was the only way she could think of to make him understand that he couldn’t just decide her life for her no matter what weird vampire mojo he thought he’d worked on her. She was Cordelia Chase, dammit, and she bowed to no man, demon or not.
Well, she’d never admit it out loud, but the date had been a disaster. Not only could she not refrain from worrying almost constantly about her upcoming confrontation with Angel, but she literally cringed every time Greg touched her. Refusing to believe that the crawling feelings that covered her skin at any physical contact had anything to do with a certain vampire, she instead put it down to feeling guilty that she was going out with a genuinely nice guy under such false pretenses.
Trying to rid herself of that feeling she decided that it didn’t have to be like that. After she settled this mess with Angel she and Greg could try another date as she was sure that she would be far more comfortable once she’d untangled herself from her champion. A plan she was ready to put into action as she slowly opened the large hotel door.
As she closed it softly behind her she wasn’t surprised to her a voice in the darkness of the lobby.
“Where have you been?”
A pointless question as the heated growl behind the inquiry told her that Wesley had been forthcoming with her plans earlier that day. Still, she’d humor him; it was as good a place as any to start.
“I was on a date. Greg dropped me off here to grab a file I left yesterday. Why; what are you, my daddy?
Although Cordelia could hardly be aware of it, of all the things she could have chosen to say at that particular moment, her off-handed comment was among the most ill-advised.
Before she had the time to even step in the direction of her desk she found herself lifted into the air only to come crashing down onto the shoulder of a clearly deranged vampire. Her hands pounded uselessly against the hardened muscles of Angel’s back as a series of brisk bounces let her know that they were up the stairs and approaching his bedroom, the obvious destination.
“Put me down you big oaf!”
And surprisingly he did.
As he turned to the dresser opening the top drawer in search of something, Cordelia made for the door. Without diverting his attention from his quest Angel’s hand shot out and captured Cordelia’s wrist compelling her to remain next to him while he finally found what he had been looking for despite her squirming.
A mass of crimson silk clutched in one hand and Cordelia in the other, Angel made his way to the bed leaving Cordelia no option but to follow. Although she had continuously denied the connection between them both the sight of the bed and Angel’s obvious insistence on getting her there were causing waves of arousal to sweep through her. It was grossly unfair, she thought, that with her pleasant, light hearted date there’d been nada in the chemistry department but here with her big, dumb jerk of a champion she felt like she would incinerate merely from his hand on her wrist; his skin against hers.
Tasting her heady need filling the air Angel stopped short, his muscles tightly coiled as his amber gaze raked across her face.
“That had better be for me, Kitten.”
Before she could even think to form a reply Cordelia found herself spun around and flung onto the large bed. Shock at the sudden maneuver cost her precious seconds and by the time she’d once more gathered her wits about her she was straddled by a seething vampire who already had one wrist bound to his headboard.
Reaching up to undo the knots holding her in place she was thwarted in her attempt as Angel grasped her other wrist wasting no time in securing it, too.
With little left to her in the way of resistance, Cordelia tried to kick out at the vampire. But as if anticipating that very move Angel slid backwards resting over her legs as opposed to her hips.
Realizing that struggling would get her no where Cordelia tried to pull herself together enough to attempt reason.
“You seem a little upset here, Angel. How ’bout we untie our favorite seer and talk about this.”
“Oh, there’ll be talking, Cordelia, but not the kind you’re expecting. It’ll go like this – I’ll ask questions and you answer them. If I like your answers you get rewarded, if I don’t you get punished. And believe me, I’ll no if you’re lying, so don’t even try it. You wouldn’t want to make me more angry than I’ve been all day, believe me.”
Cordelia sputtered with indignation at his nerve.
“Make you angry. Make
you angry! You conceited, arrogant bastard. What do you think I’ve been for weeks? You think you can talk about handing out rewards and punishments as if you have some right to dictate to me. Just who the hell do you think you are?”
“Who am I?” Angel bit out, his anger fading slightly in the utter surety of his answer. “I’m the arrogant, conceited bastard you belong to, Cordelia. I’m the only man who gets to put his hands, his scent on you. I’m the demon who’ll never let you go. Never.”
And with those ominous words hanging in the air between them Angel reached down and in one swift move tore her simple sheath dress down the middle, snapping the spaghetti straps along the way and leaving her completely uncovered except for her thigh high stockings and a minuscule pair of satin panties.
“Hey! You owe me a new dress, buddy.”
Angel stilled for a moment at her words. Only Cordelia Chase could find herself tied to a bed by a furious and possessive vampire and still find the courage to berate him for tearing her dress. God he loved her.
Remembering all at once the reason they were there Angel’s face once more settled into firm, grim lines. Running a finger down the valley of her breasts he commented on his first of what he was sure would be many grievances.
“No bra, Cordelia? Tell me that oversight was due to the dress and not the date and maybe I’ll forgo your punishment…this time.”
Despite the reminder of repercussions Cordelia’s voice was cutting in it’s response.
“Duh it was for the dress. Didn’t you see the straps? Oh wait, of course you didn’t. You were too busy ruining it you doofus.”
Angel’s smile was not a pretty thing and the arch of his left eyebrow in no way boded well for his seer. Sliding gracefully down Cordelia’s legs his hands grasped the top of the stocking encasing her right leg and pulled it along with him. Sliding the flirty sandal and the silky material from her foot he wrapped it in a large hand bringing it up to his mouth. He slowly rubbed the smooth skin of her arch along his cheek until his lips rested against the delicate curve. Instead of the kiss she expected Angel inhaled, taking her scent deep within him.
“Did he touch you here, Cordelia?”
Too shocked by the vampire’s actions and the sparks of electricity they caused to shoot through her, Cordelia could only shake her head mutely in answer to Angel’s possessive inquiry.
“Good girl. Remember, honesty is definitely the best policy tonight, the truth setting you free and so forth.”
And this time the kiss she had been expecting did come, along with the slow drag of his tongue across her sensitized skin. Barely holding back a groan she felt the roughened tongue slide upwards drifting softly over her calve until his mouth rested against her knee.
“And here, Cordelia? Did his hands rest against your knee in the closeness of the darkened theater?”
As he bent her leg slightly and gently laved her flesh her unbidden answer rushed forth from her in a groan.
Smiling against her skin Angel abandoned her knee for the silky expanse of her thigh.
“Was he bold? Did his hand slide slowly under your dress caressing flesh that’s for me alone to know?”
This question had more bite even though she was beginning to realize that Angel, with his heightened senses, clearly had the answers he was seeking. Still, overwhelmed by the quivers of pleasure he was unleashing within her, she could do nothing but provide him with the words he needed to hear fall from her lips.
“No, Angel. He wasn’t there, I wouldn’t – ”
Her breathy declaration was cut of as another moan tore through her as Angel moved over to her other leg grazing the skin above her stocking top with his teeth before gently grasping it between them and descending once again.
Once the smooth fabric was removed Angel began his ascension, complete with caresses and interrogations.
Cordelia stiffened in anticipation as he neared the juncture of her thighs. The heat pooling between them grew as she waited to feel his talented lips against her flooded core. Shock and disappointment filled her as he moved past the one place she wanted him to be and instead latched on to one of her captive hands.
Sliding her thumb in and out of his mouth Angel finally freed it with a moist pop.
“He held your hand? Did he rub circles across your palm? Did he use it to pull you into his embrace?”
Each question was more accusing that the one before as Angel’s eyes lifted to bore into her own. The dormant flecks of gold were quickly rising once more to the surface and Cordelia was surprised to find that she wasn’t in fear of the thoughts of Angel’s punishments, but that he would stop his oral explorations before he satisfied the burning need he’d sparked within her.
“No. He – we – it wasn’t like that. He helped me out of the car.”
Apparently content with both her answer and the minimal contact it implied Angel proceeded to tend to each digit before treating her palm to a moist, lingering kiss that left Cordelia gasping with tingles of awareness.
The kisses continued down one arm and then up the other and Cordelia was once again left wanting as he avoided her aching breasts altogether.
Finally finished with her arms Angel’s face made it’s way into the crook of her neck, nuzzling his mark before drawing it deeply in his mouth causing heavy spears of desire to shoot directly to her heated center and sending her hips to thrusting directly into the vampire who had moved himself over her.
“Did you let him kiss you here? Did you let that fucking interloper anywhere near my mark?”
Accompanied by an almost feral growl the words shot through the dreamy haze enveloping Cordelia and demanded a swift response.
“No. He didn’t touch it. It’s yours, Angel.”
So caught up in the heat generated by the continuous pull of his mouth she didn’t even realize what she’d revealed with her answer. Angel, however, was more than aware of what she’d given away and didn’t even try to hide the satisfied smirk that graced his lips.
Slowly, as if reluctant to leave the place of their joining, Angel began to lay tiny kisses along her jaw as he made his way to her soft, inviting lips. Before even making contact he could smell the foreign scent on them and a fierce growl pulsed it’s way from his body to hers in a wave of anger.
“This won’t do, Kitten. No, this won’t do at all.”
And despite how distant lucid thought seemed Cordelia knew exactly what Angel was referring to. At both the beginning and the ending of their date Greg had given her a respectful, perfunctory kiss. The small gestures were both proper and appropriate and she didn’t care how much he made her tremble with passion she damn well wasn’t going to apologize.
Angel sensed her shift and moods and knew she wasn’t going to reply; and honestly, he didn’t want her to. All he wanted right now was to wipe away all traces of the intruder who dared to trespass on what was his alone. Intent only on that goal his lips crashed into hers, his tongue sweeping away the memory of all others before prying open her mouth and delving inside.
To his immense satisfaction, Angel was able to find no lingering taste of the other man within the warm, wet cavern of her mouth. Although he knew Cordelia well enough to know that she would never toy with the affections of another while still bound up in their tumultuous relationship, a tiny part of him worried that instead of using this date to send him a sign of her independence she might use it as some sort of twisted payback for the activities of the former day and therefore take things further than his minimal amount of control where she was concerned could extend.
Enjoying the swirling taste of them alone Angel took his time pushing Cordelia until she was gasping for breath and then beginning again just before she’d completely caught it. The result had her writhing helplessly beneath him as he slowly and with great purpose turned her into a melting mass of pleasure.
Finally satisfied that he had fully reclaimed her delectable mouth Angel rose above her and stilled until Cordelia’s eyes opened to meet his, curious as to the halting of his burning touches. Harsh demon eyes piercing a fathomless hazel stare, Angel’s low voice provided instant clarity to the sudden cessation.
“If I find him anywhere else on you I’ll kill him.”
Stated calmly as if there was never any other option then that given Cordelia was inordinately relieved that she knew, with absolute certainty, that indeed, there would be no sign of Greg in the intimate places that Angel had plainly saved for last.
With that threat still hovering Angel’s head dipped down and, with none of his previous teasing, latched onto a hardened nipple drawing it deep into his mouth.
A harsh gasp escaped Cordelia’s lips as she felt the strong pull of Angel’s mouth on her. He’d been avoiding the most sensitive parts of her body for so long now that the ecstasy of his direct contact was so intensely pleasurable that it nearly bordered on pain. Her gasp was replaced by a cry as he abandoned her moist peak only to return as he simply moved slightly to the left to lave the thrusting tip of her other breast.
Flattening his tongue Angel made firm, concentric circles until he’d tasted every inch of the lush mound beneath him. Again he moved, repeating his actions before coming to rest between the supple flesh. Placing a reverent kiss over the heavy beating of her heart he made his way downward in a path that led him to the alluring dip of her bellybutton and then beckoned him further, like a moth to the flame.
Knowing what he would find beneath the satin guarding her throbbing core Angel nevertheless inhaled deeply both pleased and yet perversely disappointed to find no trace of her escort upon her. Even though he knew that Cordelia had orchestrated the situation to demonstrate yesterday’s point and that the man she’d involved in their ongoing battle had no idea of the error of his ways, Angel still felt the need to, at the very least, maim the faceless man for his unknowing sin. Unfortunately for the demon in him his soul, although no longer the single governing force, still held enough sway to prevent such a violent course of action against a man who’d been fool enough to woo Cordelia but smart enough to take no advantage of that very situation.
Allowing his features to change for just a moment, Angel hooked his now sharpened teeth under the small slip of material, effortlessly shredding the brief garment. Grasping her thighs Angel parted them slowly and with ease as there was no longer any discouragement coming from the trembling brunette beneath him.
His face slipped fluidly back to human form so as not to damage her tender flesh as he pressed into her scalding heart, immersing himself in the taste of her as his tongue slid smoothly into her silken tunnel. A sharp cry followed the movement letting Angel know that Cordelia clearly enjoyed the rewards part of the evening. Losing himself in the rich flavor of the spicy liquid flowing into his suckling mouth, he began to move deep within her while circling her swollen nub with gentle fingers. Ignoring the keening sounds from above he denied her the direct contact she so desperately needed, content to lie between her thighs leisurely tasting her.
Finally the sensuous strain was to much for both of their bodies and, rearing up, Angel removed his clothing in mere moments. As his hard form came down over her he was surprised to hear the pleas that husked from Cordelia’s throat.
“Please Angel, let me touch you. God I have to feel you.”
Although she had no clue how he’d managed the maneuverer so quickly, Cordelia didn’t complain as her hands finally made contact with the cool, firm body poised above her. Aroused beyond words and frantic to feel all of him that she could she began running her hands along the muscles of his chest, over his ribs and then around to his back using her newfound freedom to pull his body down to hers.
Even though she knew that she should be fighting him, Cordelia couldn’t bring herself to push Angel away. She knew that whatever she’d pretended to prove that night hadn’t worked and instead she’d only proved something to herself. Angel was right; there was a connection between them and she now strongly suspected that he had told her the truth when he’d said it was unbreakable. And even as her body pressed into his wanting to merge their flesh into one form , her heart wept knowing that for him this was ownership and obsession while for her it was so much more.
A faint whimper left her as she felt Angel’s hardened length press gently into her throbbing core. As his iron length slid deep within her she felt Angel’s lips brush against her ear.
“I love you, Cordelia.”
And suddenly everything in her world changed. Every tender feeling, each caring thought, all of the loving emotions she’d pushed into the shadows hit her anew at the words she never thought she’d hear him speak.
He loved her?
She considered the question as carefully as she could while Angel’s body was thrusting into hers. But really it called for no logical thought, no taxing theories as it was not a matter of mind but of heart. And as she opened that battered sanctuary to him once more she knew the answer without any doubt.
He loved her.
Through all the sensations scorching her nerves the one strong and steady thing within her was Angel’s love. Whatever bond they shared went far beyond the physical, transcending the flesh and filling her with his undying devotion.
Things he hadn’t told her, things she hadn’t wanted to hear were now made clear to her. Yes, she was his, but by the same token he was hers. Not tied by blood or bound by ritual, but given over to her by his own hand, his own heart. As their souls met and blended themselves one into another Cordelia returned to him that which he’d granted her.
“I love you, too.”
The force of their words rushed through them perching them on the crest of eternal fulfillment and then tipping them into it’s abyss. And as the passion of their flesh burned them to cinders their spirits rose united like a phoenix from the ashes; whole and replete.
Cordelia felt the tremors shaking her body as she drifted back towards reality. She couldn’t identify if they were hers or his, or maybe a combination thereof, but as they slowed she felt herself being turned as Angel relieved her of his weight and pulled her close into his side.
Knowing that they were standing at the threshold of a new world, Cordelia keenly felt the loss of her unwavering anger. With all that had happened to her in the previous months the one constant she could cling to was her near hate for the man she loved with all of her heart. It was comforting to despise him; it gave purpose to her actions and meaning to the painful lessons she learned. But this – trusting him with her heart once more; this was more frightening than anything she’d done in her short but traumatic life.
Of course there was no other choice. She’d let him in. Or maybe she’d never really pushed him out. Maybe all along she’d hidden him in the darkest recesses of her heart waiting for the unlikely day when he’d love her the way she’d always loved him; the way he’d loved her just moments before.
For weeks Cordelia had thought that this would be the hardest part; giving him her faith once more. Now she realized how foolish she’d been. The worst things in her life had always involved Angel’s pain, never her own. And yet to not do what she knew now she must was an impossibility, a sacrilege in the face of their spiritual union.
Lifting her face to his Cordelia was unsurprised to find his eyes closed in obvious thought as opposed to rest. Raising her hand she lovingly traced her fingers over the beloved planes and angles until his lips curved into a gentle smile and deep wells of burnt velvet appeared to catch her honeyed gaze.
“You meant it.”
It wasn’t a question, just a need for confirmation; a desire to hear the words she’d never consciously dreamed would be spoken to her by the one beside her now.
She could see his brow furrow in confusion and having always been able to discern his unease knew that he was surprised that she was the one who needed the reassurance when it had been her who had been trying to keep them apart for seemingly endless weeks. She also saw the sad acceptance that indicated that he knew he was the cause of any lingering doubts.
“Cordelia – ”
She slid her hand from his cheek to cover his lips with her fingers.
“Don’t. I know it was true…for both of us.”
While part of her basked in the joy that lit his face and spilled from him into her, the rest of her ached at what couldn’t be helped.
“Angel, before this goes further-”
“It doesn’t get any further than this, Cordelia.” Angel’s mouth quirked at the thought.
“That’s not what I meant. I just meant before we keep going – before more time passes and this is stronger – Angel – ”
“Whatever it is, it’s okay. Just spit it out, Kitten.”
And for once she let the dreaded endearment pass as she pushed out the words he needed to hear.
Next – Invaluable
Author’s Note – Please Read
Okay guys, please don’t kill me. I know that this is a horrible, rotten place to leave off for now. However, the story was broken into 3 parts –
Indisputable – Angel makes a permanent change in his relationship with Cordelia.
Inevitable – Cordelia comes to accept that there truly is a bond between them and that they truly love each other.
Invaluable – Where Angel and Cordelia now have to deal with all of the fallout of the past months.
I felt free to make Inevitable mostly smut because Invaluable will have a heavy plot and tons of angst. I don’t want anyone to think that Cordelia just forgave Angel after great sex (although I certainly would – and I’m willing to test that theory…repeatedly. *wink* There’s still anger, hurt feelings, and fears to work through. Don’t worry, this last bout of sex is not a “clothes/happy dance” maneuver in disguise. It’s merely setting the stage for Cordelia to be willing to address those things openly with Angel now because she knows that he loves her so it’s safer to risk exposing herself.
Now here’s the bad part. *cringes* –
I’m not going to be able to get to Invaluable for a little while. I still have Too Little Too Late and Love Long Denied to work on and I’m going to try writing a part of FC in between every part I write for any other fics. But if it helps any Invaluable’s going to be waaaaaaaaaaay angsty so it’s okay to let the trauma wait for a while. Lololol.
I will say this – Much of the angst will come from this wonderful challenge that I plan to incorporate into the story –
Challenge By v120176: A challenge based on The Trials –
OK, I’m with my lap in bed and a lot of fever, so I have a lot of time to see DVD. I was watching ATS season 2 The Trial and I thought about something:
WHAT IF THE TRIALS WAS THE NATURAL SOLUTION FOR CORDY’S VISIONS?. I mean what if Angel’s choice and obsession for helping Darla twisted the history? What if Lorne’s information was destined to be for Cordy and not Darla, and The PTB and their free will let Angel made that biggest mistake?
You can locate the fiction in any season, even season 5 (in my world that never happened ). You can make C/A a couple in season 2 that broke up because Angel’s obsession, and Cordy’s visions started to be worst (like the 3), you can make Angel discover that post You’re welcome or in season 4. That was HIS choice what made Jasmine used the emergency loophole that the PTB gave to Cordy (Birthday happened because the Powers wanted Cordy alive, and Skip worked with the Powers that time he sailed himself for Jasmine after that). You even can make a very angst fiction, where Cordy dies and Angel finds that too.
More than a challenge is like a point to start, with the premise: The trials were made for Cordy, Angel used them for Darla and he fucked up the natural solution.
So hopefully it won’t be to long and sorry about the cliffhanger but just wanted to give you guys a heads up with were this series stood.