“What the hell is this?”
Angel turned at Cordelia’s angry demand and immediately stilled at the sight that greeted him. There before him was a vision of loveliness like nothing he’d ever seen in all of his two and a half centuries. Skin scrubbed clean, damp hair spilling wildly around her and sheathed in attire that begged to be torn asunder to reveal the glory that it did absolutely nothing to disguise, she was a fierce and wild goddess and never had she called to his demon as strongly as she did in that moment.
Closing his eyes he struggled to push down the primal need screaming through him to take her, to throw her down where she stood and bury himself deep inside her until she screamed out his rights over her again and again embracing his possession of her. Unfortunately he wasn’t sure how much of him wanted to restrain that feeling and how much wanted to succumb.
Calling on a century of self-denial he forced his hunger back just enough to allow the danger to pass. Taking a calming breath he centered himself and opened his eyes.
“What exactly do you mean by ‘this’, Cordelia?”
She hadn’t thought it was possible but her rage actually escalated. That he could stand there and act innocent as if he hadn’t wronged her in a million ways, this only being the latest, was almost more than she could comprehend at that moment.
“This? What do I mean by “this”?!? I mean “this” outfit. I mean taking my clothes and leaving “this” behind. I mean the fact that I’ve had handkerchiefs more substantial than “this”.”
A sense of peace stronger than even his previous hunger surged through Angel as he watched the brunette’s wild gesturing and frequent emphasizing with air quotes. It was finally sinking in that she was here, that they were finally together.
A small smirk settled itself on his face as he decided to be honest with her and enjoy the storm sure to follow.
“I’m sorry, Cordy; I thought you would like the color. Don’t worry, there’re plenty of others to choose from if that one’s not to your liking.”
Ignoring his intentional misinterpretation of her complaint she instead latched onto the fact that there were other clothes here.
“So there’s something else for me to put on? Where?”
With a slight raise of his eyebrow Angel clarified.
“I’m afraid you misunderstood, Cordelia. There are other negligees for you to choose from. I had them delivered while you were sleeping earlier. There are hundreds of them in every cut and color imaginable. You’re welcome to wear whichever you like whenever you like.”
“You can’t be serious. I need real clothes, Angel. I can’t be wearing nightwear all the time.”
An air of smugness swirled around the vampire as if he knew something she didn’t.
“And why not? You have to admit that you look absolutely stunning, and it’s not like you’ll be going anywhere requiring anything more formal any time soon.”
“Yeah, you’d like to think so, but I’m so not staying here, Angel. And don’t kid yourself; you can’t keep me here, you have a job.” The scorn in her voice made clear exactly what she thought of his career choice. “You’ll be gone all the time, and the first time you’re out of here so am I.”
That sense of self satisfaction just got stronger and although she didn’t let it show she was beginning to worry about what it might mean. She wasn’t to wonder long.
“That won’t be a problem. You see, no matter how much you disapprove of my new position at Wolfram & Hart there are some benefits to being the boss. That was the other thing I took care of while you were resting. A shaman was brought in. He bound the exits with an ancient Pridonian ritual keyed to you specifically. You can’t leave, Cordelia. Not until I say.”
As if the shock of Angel’s announcement hit her physically she staggered back a step. Seeing the concern in his eyes as he prepared to stride forward and steady her, Cordelia held up a hand, warding him off. Shaking her head in a silent denial of his announcement and refusing to take his word at face value she ran to the door and threw it open trying to leave only to find herself stopped dead in her tracks. Even as her mind screamed at the unfairness of this new development a part of her could almost appreciate the irony of the two occupants in the room – one who was prevented by an invisible barrier from leaving and one who was normally denied entrance by the same.
The anger was gone, eclipsed by an unsteady and growing fear.
“I told you, Cordelia, I won’t let you leave me. Not ever again. When you give up this crazy idea of leaving I’ll have the spell removed. Until then you’re staying here in our apartment.”
Cordelia was beginning to sincerely doubt Angel’s sanity.
“You jerk; I don’t even want to be in the same country with you, much less the same apartment.”
Ignoring the flicker of amber that flashed briefly through his eyes she pushed onward. “What’s wrong, Angel; did Buffy turn you down? Guess her cookie dough just hasn’t finished baking, huh?”
His eyes squeezed shut and his hand rose to pinch the bridge of his nose in exhausted frustration. Another thing for which he had to thank the Powers. Would he never catch a break with this woman?
“You saw that?”
“You bet your ass I saw that. It’s a good thing there’s no vomiting in the great beyond ‘cause I would have been hurling for months over that little interlude.”
Angel wanted to kill something. He wanted to scream at the injustice of it all. He’d loved this woman for so long and now this one idiotic meeting with someone he hadn’t wanted for years was stretching the distance between them to even greater lengths.
How could he explain to her that he was just desperate and dying inside at the thought of life without her? That Buffy thought the world might end and with the turmoil that was his life he just fell into the familiar role of comforter, not wanting to add to her burdens by telling her that he was no longer interested in whatever baked goods she had to offer.
And if she could see everything didn’t she see that he’d done nothing to contact her since then? Why did she only seem to be aware of his sins and nothing else?
As if his very thought had called forth another of his transgressions Cordelia continued with her accusations.
“And of course you had to continue to indulge your blonde fetish with, of all people, the link to your uber-evil superiors. How’s she gonna feel about you keeping me here? Or did she get wise and leave you once she realized that no relationship would ever measure up to the epic love story that was Buffy and Angel?”
His brow furled in confusion.
“You don’t know what happened with Eve?”
“No. After the yuck-fest behind the couch I was shoved back into my body. Thank God for small favors. If I’d had to watch you two get it on behind various furniture ad nauseum I would have had to find a Higher Realm’s stick to poke out my eyes.”
“It wasn’t real. Eve and I, we were under the influence of a mystical force. It wasn’t a relationship and if you think that it made you sick it was nothing compared to how I felt.”
Cordelia’s skeptical expression convinced him that there was no way to win this argument at this time. Cordelia was using these incidents to protect herself and there was no way she was going to let them go right now. Deciding that only time would convince her that she was the only woman he’d ever want for the rest of his existence he chose to let her have her doubts for now.
Gesturing with his head towards the bar, Cordelia saw that there, waiting for her was a plate of eggs, a side of toast, and a glass of orange juice. Her heart squeezed painfully as she was transported back to a simpler time when right was right and Angel was still her Champion. Overcome with grief, her stomach rebelled at the mere thought of eating that particular meal and she mutely shook her head in a silent refusal.
Sighing Angel accepted that she wasn’t going to get her to eat dinner right then. Missing one meal wouldn’t be the end of the world so he bowed to the inevitable.
“Alright, Cordelia; eating can wait ‘til tomorrow. Maybe its best if we just go to bed.”
She didn’t like the sound of that, but decided to put the best possible spin on it.
“Fine. If you’ll just point me to my room I’ll turn in.”
His head was shaking even before her sentence was finished.
“You sleep with me, Cordelia. There’s been enough denial between us to last a lifetime. That’s not our relationship anymore. We’re going to have what we should have had all along. We will be lovers and letting you go on believing anything else isn’t fair. You’re not going to foster any illusions that there’s any other option than you and me together in every way.”
“But don’t worry; I understand that this has been a very overwhelming day for you. We’re just going to sleep…tonight. But make no mistake, Cordelia; you’ll be in my bed, in my arms all night.”
She spun around, planning to find her own bedroom, but before she could take a single step she was swung up into strong arms and carried into the bedroom in which she’d originally woken.
Angel placed her gently on the bed, sliding in next to her. As soon as he released her she scrambled to climb off the other side. With no effort at all he captured her arm and dragged her back towards him. With a quick pull on the tie of her robe he whisked the filmy garment off of her and tucked her into his embrace, settling them both deep into the luxurious bed.
Pulling her tighter against him he warned her against continuing her new course of action of struggling to be released.
“Calm down, Cordelia and go to sleep before I change my mind and neither of us gets to sleep ‘til morning.”
Fuming inside she nonetheless heeded his advice and stopped her ill advised movements. Surprisingly it was only a matter of minutes before her body relaxed into his and she slipped into a peaceful sleep.
He hadn’t been this warm in over two hundred years, Angel thought as he slowly drifted into wakefulness. Opening his eyes he smiled to see the head buried in his chest, Cordelia’s dark hair spread out, hiding her face.
It hadn’t been a dream and for the first time in so long he was glad to be awake, anticipating what the day would bring.
He’d told her that there were benefits to being the boss and this was one of them – going in late. He didn’t want to go in at all but he knew Cordelia. She’d need time to assimilate everything that was happening. She was an expert at adapting and he had every confidence that she’d do so now. She just needed to look at the situation objectively and realize that there were no other options available to her right now.
She was in no way immune to him. He’d felt it when they’d kiss; her unwilling but enthusiastic response. He’d also recognized it in the way that her body melted into his as she fell deeper into sleep that no matter how her mind rebelled her body knew that it belonged to him. And as underhanded as he knew it to be he wasn’t above using that knowledge to tie her to him. After all, he was a demon; a fact he was no longer trying to deny.
He hadn’t lied to her; they would be lovers. Tonight would be the start of what they would be for the rest of their lives. There were arrangements to be made. He wanted their first time together to be perfect, a memory they could treasure for all time.
Hearing her story yesterday had been akin to a dousing in icy water. The fact that she’d lost control of her actions so early put an entirely new light on everything. He’d known that it hadn’t been her with Connor, but that it hadn’t been her with Groo filled him with an unbelievable sense of relief and a terrible sense of shame. She was right; he should have known her better than that. He should have realized that his Cordelia would never fall into bed with someone that easily.
It also meant that tonight would really be only her second experience with sex and her first experience with lovemaking. Thinking about the other time made him burn with anger and the need for revenge. At the time he’d been so concerned with redeeming his soul that he’d let Wilson Christopher live. Now that he understood how incredible woman that was Cordelia, what a precious gift her virginity was, that she’d deserved nothing less than absolute perfection he wanted to hunt that bastard down and do what he should have done from the beginning – ripped out his throat, growing stronger on his blood as the life faded from his eyes.
Maybe he’d have someone look into the little weasel’s whereabouts.
Knowing that he’d need to be up soon he brushed the hair from Cordelia’s face in a soft motion and tilting it up to his he took her lips in a sweetly tender kiss that had her responding even before she began to wake.
She moaned into his mouth as her eyes fluttered open. Having been caught with all of her walls down there was nothing she could do to resist his gentle passion and if she was truly honest with herself she didn’t want to. The wondrous sensation of his tongue rubbing erotically against hers, tasting every part of her mouth as if it was the greatest of delicacies overwhelmed any rational thought and all she could do was allow instinct reign. The impulse to touch him, to be touched by him was too strong to deny and her hands rose of their own accord to grasp his shoulders and pull her body into tight contact with his.
Angel had only planned to kiss her but her genuine enthusiasm and active participation drove all good intentions from his mind. Rolling her beneath him his kiss transformed from a tender caress to a fierce hunger. Drowning in the taste of her his mouth began to devour her until he felt as if she filled him.
As if drawn by some unknown force his hands moved to her breasts needing to test their weight, to feel the warm curves against his palms. The first contact caused them both to groan as her nipples tightened and thrust against him. The thin material of her gown did nothing to dull the sensation for either of them and their kisses grew more desperate as a result.
One hand remaining on the lush slope the other slid down, gliding around her hip until it encountered the slit in the fabric that would grant him access to the treasures below. Moving his legs in between hers he used his knees to nudge her thighs open.
Sensing her need to breathe he released her lips only to move his head down to her straining breasts. Enclosing one peak with his eager mouth a growl rumbled deep in his chest as the sweet and salty taste of her skin burst through even through the silk separating them.
While his mouth was occupied with his ravenous suckling his finger was following the trail of heat which grew steadily as he moved closer to her core. Her panties proved no obstacle as his hand slipped easily beneath the lace. Smiling against her Angel skimmed over her sensitive flesh gathering the moisture that was increasing by the moment. His thumb brushed lightly over her straining bud as he eased a finger inside of her.
The sensuous sound had him raising his head and swooping down to once again claim her lips. At the same time as his tongue met hers her hips thrust up, burying his finger deep within her. Burning in her heat he knew he had to have more, taste more of her.
Moving swiftly down her writhing form he made short work of the material keeping him from his goal. Easing his finger from her grasping tunnel he tore the thin scrap of lace, taking it with him as he made way for his watering mouth.
As his tongue rasped across her skin her hands slipped into his hair of their own accord pressing him closer to her molten center. Incoherent with the pleasure he was providing she couldn’t even gather herself to call out his name, to beg for the completion for which she so longed.
Angel knew this was the closest he’d ever come to Heaven, and frankly it was the paradise he preferred. Wanting nothing more than to rear up and sink into her liquid heat he somehow managed to push aside that part of him that needed to make her his in every way. The first time he took her had to be ideal, had to make up for the mistake of another who didn’t value the extraordinary gift he’d been given.
But even though he wouldn’t find completion at this time didn’t mean that he would be cruel enough to leave her in such a state of longing. Nibbling his way higher he pulled the throbbing bundle of nerves deep into his mouth. As his lips closed around it tightly he created a constant suction drawing the bud deep into his mouth.
Light burst behind clenched eyelids as Cordelia was rocked by her first real release. The unknown sensations swamped her dwarfing every pleasure she’d ever known and shaking her to the very core of her being.
As the echoes of pleasure held her in their grip her small whimpers were all that could be heard in the quiet of the room. Rising above her Angel pressed an oddly chaste kiss on her trembling lips. Running a hand over her hair he leaned close to her ear.
“Rest, baby. I’ll be back tonight. We’ll get all of this straightened out once and for all and start the life that should have been ours from the beginning.”
Leaving the bed and making his way to the bathroom Angel braced himself for a very cold shower and a long day of frustration.