Angel was livid…again.
After he’d stormed out earlier he’d gone down to his office to work off some of his frustration. Unfortunately he hadn’t been able to think about anything else but Cordelia. At first he was consumed with anger over her refusal to let this thing with Buffy go. He understood that she was just using it to avoid dealing with their new relationship, and it drove him crazy because he knew how perfect they were together. In fact, he was more sure of it now than ever.
And after realizing that, his mind stopped thinking about anything other then the reason for his newfound confidence in his decision.
The night before had been unbelievable. It was everything he’d imagined that it would be and then it was even more. Every touch, every caress was an individual and yet strangely never ending piece of perfection. Her lush form, writhing against his, straining to meet his every thrust had inflamed passions that he hadn’t dreamed could burn any hotter.
The shrill ring of the phone snapped him abruptly from his carnal recollections and he grabbed it only to bark at Harmony that he’d be out of the office for the rest of the day. Once in his private elevator he jabbed the button for the penthouse and let his erotic thoughts resume. As the metal doors open he practically bounded into apartment looking for the alluring brunette.
He wasn’t surprised to see the empty living room, and a cursory glance into the kitchen showed that it was also, not shockingly, deserted. When the bedroom turned up nothing he assumed that either Cordelia had, in a fit of her formidable temper, decided to take up residence in another room – a move doomed to failure; or she was in the bathroom. He hoped that it was the latter as the former would delay their lovemaking by precious minutes as he dragged Cordelia back to their bedroom, most likely kicking and screaming.
Opening the bathroom door, he leaned in to find nothing and was about to leave when he heard a strange thud. Living at Wolfram & Hart had taught him to pay attention to the odd even more than the Hellmouth had. So, stepping back into the room, he scanned the space for something out of the ordinary. He found it and it made his blood boil.
There, on the far wall, the door to the laundry chute was open and he could clearly hear that it was the source of the noises that he was hearing. And so he was livid…again.
In an instant he was at the opening, thrusting his arm into the darkness until his hand closed around the soft skin of a well defined wrist. With one sharp tug he had Cordelia out into the light of the bathroom. With one more pull she was up and over his shoulder before she could do little more than squeak in surprise.
As Cordelia bounced against the hard, muscled form beneath her she wondered if this was a time to fight or a time to keep quiet. She had a feeling that quiet was the wisest choice, which kind of pissed her off ‘cause she was just so good at fighting. But with the air thick with Angel’s rage she really didn’t want to argue just for argument’s sake with an unstable vampire.
Before she could debate any further on strategic maneuvers, she found herself flipped off of Angel’s strong shoulder and dropped unceremoniously onto the bed. She didn’t even have time to bounce against the luxurious mattress before her body was covered by his.
Looking up into dark amber eyes, Cordelia could see the tightly leashed fury straining to break free. Even though she believed with all of her heart that Angel would never physically harm her, she couldn’t help the shudder that ran through her as she wondered what exactly he would do.
“What the fuck did you think you were doing?”
His voice was raspy as he demanded an answer that Cordelia felt was fairly obvious.
“What do you think I was doing, dumbass? I was trying to get away from the insane vampire who’s locked me up in an evil law firm. Duh.”
Okay; as far as quiet went, that wasn’t it.
Angel felt his features flicker as her flippant response penetrated his rage fogged mind. Was she trying to push him past the edge of reason? Didn’t she understand that this was a time for silent acquiescence and not her habitual sarcasm? Couldn’t she see what might have happened?
“You foolish girl! Do you know the danger you put yourself in? One slip, one miscalculation and you’d be nothing but a bloody heap on a cold laundry room floor. And no matter how well you heal now, I doubt that even you could rebound from death.”
Ignoring the rest of his words, Cordelia focused on the fact that he’d just called her foolish. Letting her anger rise she began to struggle beneath him as she spat forth bitter words.
“You complete and utter bastard! How dare you lecture me? You think what I did was dangerous; well here’s a thought – let me go. I’m not just going to sit here like a pathetic little woman who needs to be saved. I can save myself. And if that means crawling down a laundry shaft or abseiling down the side of this wretched building then I’ll do it. I don’t care about the risks, I don’t care about the consequences, I just care about getting away from you. And if I die on the way out of your life, well it will be worth it to not have to suffer your miserable presence any more. You just don’t seem to get it, Angel. You don’t own me. I’m – Not – Yours.”
At her cavalier talk of her own death, Angel didn’t retain his human features as his demon consumed him. The thought of what could have happened had he taken just a few more minutes to come to her left him sick with fear and shaking with rage so great that any semblance of the soul within him gave way to the rampant force.
Placing his hands on either side of her head, Angel leaned down so they were a bare breath apart. His body pressed her deep into the mattress to end her useless struggles as his words came out in a deep growl, rumbling from his chest to hers.
“Yes – You – Are. You’re mine, Cordelia; the only perfect thing this fucking world has ever given to me to have – to keep. Do you really think that I’d let you hurt yourself? Put yourself in danger?”
The more he spoke, the angrier he got. The picture of her body lying broken haunted him and to ease his fear he released his temper. Pushing himself upwards he knelt above her, his legs on either side of her thighs. For the first time he took her in completely and noticed her clothing…well, actually, his clothing.
For years the sight of Cordelia wrapped in his shirts or sweaters was both comforting and erotic. It soothed his hidden possessiveness to have her so clearly marked as his. He had often gone out and bought clothes that he knew would appeal to her – soft, comfortable, in warm, muted colors. It wasn’t because he needed them, but because he knew that it wouldn’t be long after she first glimpsed him that she’d find a reason that she had to “borrow” something to wear home.
But at that moment he wasn’t getting the same thrill from the sight that he usually did. In fact, right now it was heaping coals on the already out of control fire of his fury. Reaching his hands forward, Angel grasped the neck of the shirt and tore it cleanly down the middle, baring Cordelia’s voluptuous breasts to his eyes. As she shrieked and brought her arms up to shield herself from his eyes, Angel took the opportunity to move down slightly and, with a few blurry movements, shred the sweat pants until all that was left was grey tatters.
Cordelia’s eyes, already wide from the destruction of her outfit, stretched wider still as Angel’s face came back down to hers. She’d been so intent on escape that she hadn’t really taken time to consider what her unstable ex-best friend’s reaction would be if she failed. Now she was glad that she hadn’t, because if she’d imagined, for one moment, that this would be his response she might never have made the attempt, and as scared as she might be now, she knew, for her sanity’s sake, that she had to keep trying to regain her lost freedom.
That, however, wasn’t her top priority at the moment as she lost herself in Angel’s molten gaze. It was odd but she found Angel’s vampiric features both fascinating and erotic. She always had. She supposed that it was seeing all of that deadly and yet tightly leashed power up close and personal, knowing that there was no way that it would actually ever hurt her. She was suddenly shaken out of her reverie as Angel’s low voice raked over her with dark menace.
“I thought that I made it perfectly clear that you were to wear the clothing I provided, Cordelia. You’ll wear them or you’ll wear nothing. Clear?”
Although she had no doubt that Angel enjoyed the picture she presented wandering around wrapped in nothing but wisps of silk, she could see that this was about more than his overactive libido. This was about her refusal, on every level, of what he was offering her and she could see that it was making him crazy. His pain had always been her downfall as she always longed to soothe all shadows of hurt from his heart. Seeing it now, despite the unbearable tension of the current situation, she felt a slight softening inside of her.
The gentle shift must have shown on her face, as demonic features bled back to human. Angel’s eyes clenched shut as if in pain and Cordelia watched his head lower until his forehead was touching hers.
“God, Cordelia; you could have died. I could have lost you.”
It was the complete and utter anguish and despair in his voice that undid her, and as his lips gently touched hers there was nothing she could do but respond with all of the love she’d been hiding in her heart.
If the night before had been a conflagration of passion, the tender merging of there lips, at that moment, was the soft and warm embrace that only true lovers know. His fear was a tangible taste on her tongue and Cordelia, who loved him more than her very life, couldn’t help but respond, comforting him in the only way the twisted circumstances would allow.
As they parted, Cordelia slowly brought her hand up to caress his beloved face. Smiling softly as he burrowed into the warmth of her caress, she tried, once more, to regain her objectivity, but couldn’t in the face of such naked need.
Feather soft kisses lined his jaw as she drew his mouth back to hers. Running her tongue across his lower lip she felt his small sigh slip across her skin as she pulled on his bottom lip, sucking gently.
Angel couldn’t bear the unhurried pace any longer and recaptured her mouth. He knew, somewhere in the deepest caverns of his psyche, that this wouldn’t make things right between them. But, for an instant, every dream he’d had for the last year was coming true and he wouldn’t allow reality to dim it. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d deluded himself where Cordelia was concerned; it was just shaping up to be the most pleasurable.
And as he felt his shirt slip from his shoulders there was no more thought, just the luscious feeling of her body beneath him, the breathtaking sight of ecstasy spilling from her eyes, and the sound of her heartbeat drumming in his ears, reminding him that she was still with him, would always be so.
He left her for the brief seconds it took to remove the last barriers between them and, coming back to her, bypassed her swollen lips to worship her straining breasts. As he drew a taut nub into his mouth he found his focus torn between the sweet taste of her skin and the mewling cries on her lips. Those sounds turned from satisfaction to displeasure as he pulled away, her hands moving to his hair to prolong the contact that he knew she desired. But as he simply moved from one dusky tip to the other her grasp slackened only to tighten convulsively at the renewed suction.
As the scent of her escalating arousal surrounded him, he found himself moving downward, pressing moist kisses into satin skin as he went. When he finally reached the heart of her passion he brushed his lips gently against the soft curls. Hearing her sharp intake of breath, he inhaled deeply, blowing the cool air against her heated skin in a rush. Unable to wait a second longer, his tongue reached out to soothe the shivering skin.
Cordelia’s hips thrust upwards of their own volition, and she felt them firmly returned to the bed by the strong hands that surrounded them. Lacking the strength to dislodge the confining appendages and rise to meet him, she instead wove her fingers through his hair in an attempt to bring him to her. She failed, as she knew that she would. Angel’s strength was a hundred times her own, and he would not move until he was well and truly satisfied.
Her cry rang in the silence of the room as his mouth closed over her molten core. Part frustrated wail and part petulant pout; he was helpless in the face of her call for more. He had never been good at denying her, and not fulfilling her needs at this point would be hurting them both.
The friction of his body dragging across hers as he returned to his original position above her caused them both to shudder with a yearning that washed away the rest of the world. It was only the two of them. Locked in battle, lost in love, it never made a difference; it always came down to only her and only him.
He entered her slowly, the movement at odds with the crashing of his lips against hers. The contradiction between his smooth strokes into her and his ravenous mouth against her swamped whatever miniscule amount of reflection remained within her and she became solely a vessel of their love.
Although he’d been determined to go slowly, to overwhelm her with the force of his adoration, he found all reason stripped away in the face of the emotions flowing from Cordelia into him. Their connection had always been his most stalwart of bonds and its loss in those months that she’d been gone from him had been crippling in the emptiness it left behind. But now it burned through him and, if possible, he felt more a part of her than he ever had before.
As their movements grew frantic and frenzied they clung desperately to each other, afraid that the universe, in one form or another, would once again step in to steal their happiness, however brief. But the worry slid away as delight encompassed them and their trembling bodies found release.
Careful to keep the connection of their bodies, Angel rolled over bring Cordelia with him and cradling her still shivering length as they drifted into a welcomed oblivion.
Enfolded in a pair of strong arms, Cordelia rested her head against Angel’s chest, oddly comforted by the lack of heartbeat. Although she was hesitant to interrupt this rare moment of accord between them, she knew that there were still real issues to be addressed. No matter how much she longed to immerse herself in this brief oasis of peace, she couldn’t afford the damage to her heart that these tender moments were causing.
“Angel, this can’t go on.”
She felt him pull slightly away and, as she lifted her face to his, their eyes locked.
“You’re right, Cordelia; it can’t.”
Somehow she didn’t feel comforted by his swift agreement. Placing her hand on his chest where her head had so recently lain, she attempted to reason with him while the air of their contentment still lingered.
“You know that you have to let me go. This situation, it isn’t good for either of us, Angel. Besides, the others are going to discover I’m awake sooner or later and they’ll come looking for me.”
A ghost of a smirk curved his lips and she literally itched to smack the obnoxious expression away, but the need to finally resolve this mess between them stilled her hand.
“I wouldn’t count on a rescue from the cavalry, Cordelia. But if it makes you feel any better, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when I broke the news that the doctors here had declared that there was nothing more that they could do for you and recommended that you be transferred to a private clinic in Switzerland where a world renowned specialist practices.”
Angel’s smile was coldly satisfied as he saw the understanding dawn in Cordelia’s eyes. Their friends weren’t coming and he was obviously going to close any security loopholes that existed. She wasn’t going anywhere and she was starting to grasp that. But Angel wanted more than that. He wanted them connected in more than just this small haven from the world; he wanted them bound wherever they went, for her to never be able to truly run from him.
“I remember, Cordelia.” He paused to enjoy the looked of confusion that scrunched up her face in such an endearing manner. “It was home, hotel, hotel, husband. Well, you did the home, we’ve done the hotel, now I think that it’s time for the next step.”
Confusion was replaced by horror which was quickly overridden by scorn.
“You can’t seriously be asking me to marry you!”
He pinned her gaze with his, wanting her to see the deadly seriousness swimming in his eyes.
“You’re right. I’m not asking.”
As he waited for her reaction, sure that it would be fiery and slightly dangerous, he was surprised as her head fell onto his chest and her body began to tremble. Angel looked down, aghast that he’d made her cry. He couldn’t handle crying women; what guy could? That was one of the many things he’d always been grateful for with Cordelia – she was not a crier, preferring to deal with her hurt by coming out swinging. The fact that he’d brought her to tears was killing him.
Just as he was raising a hand to smooth down her hair and beg her to stop, her head flung back, the trembles turned to violent shudders, and escalating whimpers poured from her lips. No, this wasn’t crying; it was much, much worse.
This was a vision.