Possession Is Nine Tenths 6

PART 6

By the next morning, Cordelia was feeling better although still creeped out from the interview at the dating Agency from hell. Deciding that the feel good factor was needed, she pulled out all the stops in choosing her outfit for work that day.

Arriving at the Hyperion she rewarded the catcalls and whistles from Gunn with a bright beaming smile and met Wesley’s questioning look as he came out of Angel’s office with an armload of books, with a hard stare that just dared him to comment.

“Thank you, Gunn. Nice to know at least one of the men of Angel Investigations has taste; as for others- well Dennis knows more about fashion than they do”. She stared at Wesley’s head as she walked past the counter to walk around it to get to her desk.

“I never said a word” Wesley protested. “Although I have to say, don’t expect me to catch you if you faint from the heat”.

“Okay- so leather pants and matching short and very fitted jacket might be a little warm for the daytime, but so what? That’s what they invented body spray for.” She deliberately ran her hands over the soft butterscotch leather at her hip and aimed a smug smile at him when his cheeks heated.

Wesley got the message to drop of the subject loud and clear. So shrugging his shoulders he dropped the books on the desk and picked up the phone, pretending to be busy and absorbed – thinking it was safer that way.

Having subdued any negativity about her, possibly inappropriate for work, outfit, she decided to beard the lion in his den and get his reaction out of the way too. “Has Angel risen yet”? She asked Gunn as she made her way over to her desk. Normally it wouldn’t even be asked this early but lately his sleeping patterns had become very unpredictable, hence the question.

“Downstairs killing a dead cow” replied Gunn, still eyeing her butt appreciatively as she went past him. The axe he’d been industriously polishing now forgotten.

She gave him a tilted look with knowing raised brows for the leer and then frowned in confusion, “Excuse me? What- we have undead-dead cows now”?

Gunn grinned unabashed and clarified with a shrug of his own, “Dunno what’s up with him now but he’s been down there since I got here”. He jerked his head at the basement door and realizing what he meant, she walked over and opened it.

Cordelia only opened it a bit but it was enough to hear the thump, thump of heavy fists on the leather punching bag. She winced at the ferocity that was obvious even from all the way up here and decided against going down to say Hi after all.

Annoyed and little disappointed she returned to the desk and waited impatiently for Wesley to finish his call. As soon as the receiver was back in the cradle, she demanded “So what’s got into him today”? Mimicking Gunn she jerked her head towards the basement.

“No idea, I popped my head down when I got here to say hello and got a grunt. Nothing else has happened since to enlighten us. Unless you know anything”? He gave her a sharp look out of piercing blue eyes.

“Don’t look at me and since when does His High and Mighty Broodiness need an excuse anyway”. She retorted defensively. Then sighing deeply she sat down and caught sight of the message on her desk, left there by Wesley. Her heart sank and she picked it up with thumb and forefinger like it might be infectious or something.

She held it out and away from her body and glancing with distaste at it, stood up to plonk it next to Wesley’s elbow. “When did this happen”?

“The call came in about a half hour ago”. Wesley advised her and after putting on his glasses, read it again. Like he’s not the one who wrote it, she couldn’t suppress some now famous eye-rolling and snatched the damn thing up again.

“So I call this number back and find out where and when I’m gonna be set-up for my debut as a porn-star? Great, let me ring my agent and tell him”

Even Wesley, known to be second most insensitive guy on the planet caught the note of aggravation in her voice, “Cordelia, you must know that none of us would let anything happen to you. This is purely to get a lead on the case”.

“Yup, you go- they turn up and we beat the ever lovin’ crap outta them and shut their sick and pervy asses down. Man, I love this job”. Confirmed Gunn with a great deal of obvious relish at the thought; swinging his axe like he was testing the weight.

“Nice thought, Gunn. Really, I mean it, I love watching you guys whaling on some poor sap” she snapped back with a dark scowl on her beautiful face.

Actually the way things were going that might be the high point of the day or week or whenever. Her enthusiasm for another date with Dan had taken a dive, which was catastrophic as far as she was concerned.

Get over it, she told herself so what if your last boyfriend was a sleazy demon surrogate. I want a sex life so just deal okay. Geeze if she didn’t get some kind of a life soon she’d end up as celibate as a nun, or Angel.

If she didn’t manage to get rid of this stupid distrust of new men then she may as well give in now. Either that or she’d have to resign herself to jumping Wes or Gunn, or Angel. A furtive mental picture of her ravishing a reluctant Angel was swiftly followed by a flood of tingles pooling and spreading between her thighs. She jerked back in her chair, eyes wide with shock and looked down in consternation at the offending area.

“What the hell is that”? The horror in her voice drew both Wesley’s and Gunn’s attention straight to her and she blushed a bright red.

“What? I was thinking about erm.. Female condoms”. Her mouth dropped as did theirs. Way to go, Cor just shut the hell up, Okay.

“Forget I said anything”, she muttered and switched on the laptop.

It was supposed to have been a joke for cryin’ out loud. She told her mutinous and still overheated body. Suddenly wishing she’d worn something less ‘Take me I’m yours’ and more nun-like after all. Obviously she’d taken the feel good factor a little too far and addled her brain.

Angel’s a no-bone and anyway. Ewww, sloppy slayer seconds and lets not forget the whole being dead thing and old too, which means old fashioned and maybe even a prude. He probably only knows one position and then only with a sheet with a hole in. He’s a tight-ass and bad tempered not to mention a loser with the whole ‘tragic lurve’ thing and … She spent the next hour reciting to herself all the reasons why Angel was so far off the menu that he hadn’t ever got on it and never would.

But none of them changed the fact that whenever she let her mind drift, her thoughts would eventually come back to the vampire. Even worse in her opinion was sometimes when flicking through magazines; she’d get all hot and flustered if she came across a half naked guy who looked like him a bit. Sometimes she’d even hide the picture if one of the guys were around and get back to it later.

This I getting ridiculous. My libido has gone seriously postal if even Angel- the only almost eunuch I know, can crank it into high gear.

Distracted she watched Wesley and Gunn leave together on a fact-finding mission, happy to be alone with her mental gymnastics. Restless with the continuous round of thoughts that had been taking her in giddy circles for weeks, she stood up and paced the length of the counter on the office side.

Plus- how unbelievable was it that having made the effort to go out and snag herself a hot guy. She’d found herself turning away the cute ones in favor of the strong silent type with dark hair and eyes. I mean c’mon, what happened to her blonde and blue eyed fixation – but no, only Dan had come to close enough to fit the bill and now she was losing interest in him too.

“And as if that isn’t bad enough I can’t even introduce him to these guys, cos hey embarrassing if they noticed he looks kinda like..” She halted the flow of words, still in denial and liking it, thank you very much. If she didn’t say it loud then it wasn’t true, dammit!

Like Angel- spit it out and stop denying you want him. I mean c’mon grope much, you love it when he catches you- ADMIT IT, her even more brutally honest inner voice taunted.

Cordelia gasped, “I do not want Angel and even if I did, Hello can’t have him, cursed remember”. There that should shut it up, Geeze did she sound that irritating when she was being all ‘I’m right and you’re wrong’, no wonder Angel glowered.

Yeah, well you know what they say about forbidden fruit, don’t you? it came back slyly.

Cordelia stopped pacing and nearly stamped her foot in frustration. “I’m not listening to you anymore you’re sick and perverted so just shut-up”.

Determined to go and do something, anything to give her too fertile mind something else to think about, she whirled around to go back to her desk. Only to bump into something solid, unmovable, damp and very male.

She fell back a step and almost sat on Wesley’s desk. Her eyes shot up to identify the cause of that irritating obstacle intending to give vent to some serious griping, when she find herself transfixed at the sight that met her eyes.

Unknown to her, her jaw dropped for the second time that day while she helplessly drank in the sight of a hot (unusual), sweaty and decidedly disheveled Angel. Then it hit her; she’d been talking out-loud, right in front of him with his super sensitive vampire hearing.

“How long have you been standing there? Has no one ever told you eavesdropping is rude”? She demanded in a high shrill voice; as complete and utter mortification got ready to dump itself on her reeling head. For the first time in her life, she now understood why people said they wished the floor would open up and swallow them whole. That sounded like a fine and dandy idea just then.

“Not long- who are you talking to and what’s this about being sick, are you ill”?

He actually looked for a second like he was going to take her temperature or something. She backed up immediately the instant that threat registered. There was no way in hell she was in any frame of mind to have his hands on her right then.

“I’m not sick, just stressed”. She told him quickly. Then holding up her hands she twirled around. “See healthy as a horse, fit as a fiddle and anything else that means- don’t worry about me”. She managed not to react when her arms brushed against his too close chest.

She was trying to divert his attention from that obvious jump back, which judging by his face he hadn’t liked one little bit. His expression had gone from intent concern, to narrow eyed laser-like focus and he’d moved closer to counteract her retreat.

His hair was dark with sweat and mussed as if he’d been running his fingers through it. The white vest he was wearing was damp enough that she could see the outline of his nipples through the clinging fabric. While his sweat pants were hung so low on his hips that if you looked carefully you could glimpse the hard muscular flesh of his abdomen between the two garments.

She looked very carefully, couldn’t help it actually. She was so intensely aware of him that her breathing deepened a little and she could feel how hot her cheeks were getting, This is so not right.

The hot flare of annoyance had cooled in his now unreadable dark eyes, but he was still standing far to close for comfort. Trying to ease the inexplicable tension, she dragged her mutinously reluctant mind off his impressive chest- Like she’d never seen that before- get a grip!, and locked her eyes on the stairs leading to the rooms.

“Erm, the showers are that way, Angel”, she pointed a trembling finger to the stairs and waited for him to step back so she could take a breath that didn’t carry his scent.

He didn’t move, seemed frozen to the spot. “Will you go and take a wash before you stink up my workspace?” she demanded desperately.

He knew how sweaty he was just then and how fastidious she could be, so he relaxed about her jumping back like a scalded cat when she’d thought he was going to touch her. An action that’d automatically raised his less than civilized instinct to crowd her for doing it.

“Sorry, I got distracted”, he muttered and backed off.

Boy had he got distracted, he’d been coming back up from the basement and fully intended to sneak past without her noticing but he’d got an eyeful of her, and stopped in his tracks. To stare, helplessly devouring the shapely curvaceous body displayed in every luscious detail by the creamy leather, what is it about leather? . Only coming to when one word had filtered through his befuddled mind, “sick”.

Without even thinking about it he’d shot over and then she’d bumped right into him and he’d lost the power of speech all over again. He could still feel the imprint of her all along his front and he’d had a sudden and intense urge to peel that leather off her, like the velvet skin of a peach.

“I just wanted to ask you… how you are? After yesterday I mean. You looked so pale and upset– I guess I was worried about you”.

That was an understatement if ever he’d made one. He’d thought of little else and last nights disastrous waste of time hadn’t helped. This was why he’d gotten no sleep, and spent all morning working out his frustration and anger in the basement; taking it out on something inanimate rather than his friends.

He hadn’t missed her wide eyed appraisal either and reading her wrong or not he’d gotten hard at the glazed look that’d come into her expressive eyes. He turned around and walked off so that she wouldn’t see his erection if she decided to do another sweep, and blindly walked over the refrigerator.

“I’m fine” said Cordelia distractedly still watching him closely her face guarded now.

He twisted of the top of the canister of blood and throwing back his head drank deeply. Cordelia watched his throat work and instead of being nauseated at the sight, not that it bothered her anymore anyway. She felt that squiggly heat sparking in her belly again. Oh shit, undead no-bone, NO bone– hello!.

Still chanting in her head, she snatched up her purse and ran for the stairs, shouting behind her. “I’m going to lunch”.

“But it’s too early” Angel protested and he hadn’t managed to work out how to tell her he’d been stalking her and her new boyfriend.

“So sue me” was the only response he got back, through the now swinging shut door.

Frustrated and aggravated all over again, not to mention still aching like a horny teenager, he stalked to the stairs to go take a shower- like the lady asked.

THAT NIGHT

“Dan, Dan Dan, when I catch up with you I think- I’m gonna have to kill you”. Angel drawled with heavy emphasis then sighing heavily, dropped down even further in the seat.

“I’m bored, my ass is numb and I have so much better things to do than wait for you to come home”. Complaining to himself was about as useful as a stress ball to a vampire (they didn’t last long), but still it relieved the tedium a tiny bit- better than nothing.

He’d struck out last night when the guy had stayed away from home and in the end Angel had been forced to give up and go back home to wait until tonight for another opportunity.

Good plan, but tonight was turning out to be just as much a waste of time and his spine was now way past tingling and instead felt like it was trying to scrape his skin off.

“I should have stopped him the first time and not waited to find out if he was a threat”.

To do what? You had no proof.

“So? I still don’t and it sure ain’t gonna stop me now”.

Suspicions is one thing, proof- another.

“Get off my case, for chrissake you sound like Wesley”

Okay, so he still had no proof but this waiting and guessing was driving him insane. The likelihood of finding something incriminating without subjecting Cordy to more hurt was slim to none and he wouldn’t let that happen. No way, no how!

He was going to have to go and tell Cordelia what he suspected and while she was going to want to stake him for stalking her, she’d at least know to be wary of Dan.

Annoyance gave way to trepidation as he gunned the engine and pulled out, heading for Cordelia’s apartment and more than likely a tongue lashing, severe enough to strip his hide.

***

Cordelia was tipsy, not drunk she told herself, just warm and fuzzy and happy. “WOW, that wine was fantastic, I love that stuff. What was it called again”? She was so going to have to buy herself some for one of her girl’n’ghost nights-in, watching old movies curled up on the couch.

Maybe she’d invite Angel and watch him get drunk. She giggled at the thought of an inebriated Angel and closed her eyes to enjoy a fantasy where he got so sauced that he’d agree to a game of strip poker and not notice when she cheated.

“What are you giggling about”? Asked Dan indulgently, as he pulled up outside Cordelia’s apartment. He’d reeled off the name of the wine but she was too caught up in the warm and fuzzies to hear it. Perfect, he thought with bone deep satisfaction. Score!

Cordelia blinked owlishly and came up from a fantasy featuring a landscape of muscular male terrain to explore and blinked again when she realized she just had a sexual fantasy featuring Angel as the male in question- again. She should be worried about that shouldn’t she?

Then she noticed Dan looking at her with question in his warm brown eyes and blushed, fumbling for the handle she smiled at him. “Sorry, I was miles away”. Dan frowned she should be hanging on his every word, not getting distracted. Determined not to lose this one, he walked around the car and kissed her.

Cordelia willingly sank into the kiss and clutched him to her. She injected every bit of warmth she could conjure up into her response and hoped that he didn’t notice what an effort it was.

She let Dan lead her into a deeper kiss and ran her hands through his curls. She frowned when her hand slid through his hair, for some reason it just didn’t feel right. To her slightly unfocussed mind, it was too long and didn’t tickle her palms at the nape like she’d imagined it would.

She jerked back and realized that she’d been imagining Angel’s hair and how she’d sometimes wondered how it would feel to rub her hand over the short hairs above his neck. Dammit, stop thinking about Angel, he’s just a friend- remember!.

“Wanna come in”? She invited desperately and was so relieved when Dan agreed without hesitation that she grabbed his hand and all but dragged him into the foyer. After some difficulty with locks and codes she finally managed to get them inside her apartment.

“Well, Dan. Why don’t you make yourself at home and everything, okay. I’m just gonna go and freshen up a minute”.

Now that she’d got him here it was as if she didn’t know what she wanted to do with him. So she turned to flee to the bathroom and give herself a good talking too.

Before she got very far, Dan snagged her hand, and the gesture was so familiar it gave her a jolt and she swayed on the spot a little. “Cordelia, you know I care about you or I wouldn’t be here. Tell me what is it you want from me”?

“Tonight”? She licked her lips and looked at him seeking reassurance in his face. It’s not wrong to want to be loved is it? So what if I haven’t known him long.

“I erm, well that is”, she laughed and swallowing her nerves, looked him in the eye. “I want you to make love to me”. She waited anxiously for his response and half expected him to be shocked at her bluntness so early on in their relationship.

He rubbed a finger over her lips and smiled deeply and affectionately. “There’s nothing wrong with asking for what you want and I would love to be able to love you”. He told her with sweet gentleness.

“Okay” she agreed and her smile wobbled a bit at how final this felt. If she gave herself to Dan, then she would have made a commitment. I’m tired of being unloved. Friends are nice but I need more. It doesn’t make me a bad person if I wait for love afterwards.

“Why don’t you go and slip into something more comfortable and I’ll go and uncork us some more wine”. Suggested Dan with a gentle push towards where he guessed her bedroom was. Glad not to have the awkwardness of undressing in front of him she smiled in agreement and left him standing in the living room.

***

Angel was just about to knock on the door of Cordy’s apartment when it swung open forcefully but silently. Before he could even form a question to the overly welcoming phantom, he assumed it was Dennis that opened the door. He suddenly found himself catching a hurtling figure of a man.

Only just managing to stay on his feet he grabbed the man’s shoulders and steadied them both. Then he found himself staring into the petrified face of Cordy’s new boyfriend. Terrified eyes screamed at Angel over a widely stretched mouth, with what looked like a kitchen towel stuffed into it.

“So that’s why no noise” He smiled grimly and then saw that now Dan was out of the apartment he could remove the gag. Before he could do more than reach up to do it, Angel dragged him down the hallway and out the back entrance into a rear courtyard.

The dark enclosed space was deserted as he’d guessed it would be, so he released the human and faced him. He didn’t know or care what he looked like in the darkness to the frightened man, but he could guess. He was only just resisting the urge to vamp out and really scare the shorts of this guy, but still there was always time for that later.

“What’d you do to Cordelia to upset Dennis so much”? He demanded, aiming a blank killer look at the man. Dan stared in shock at the hard, half shadowed face dominated by threateningly lowered brows.

Finally free of the gag the human started to stutter, “Nothing, nothing I swear. I just kissed her and then…” he fell silent and staggered to sit down. “We were going to go to bed and she went off to get undressed and then…” he fell silent again, stumped by the unbelievable.

Dennis, I think I love you. “You were seducing Cordelia”? He growled at the idea and his fists ached to wrap themselves around his throat and squeeze the life out of this little …. His fists clenched with the struggle to restrain himself.

“She was up for it, didn’t need much seducing”. He spoke absently still dumbstruck by what had happened once Cordelia left the room. He didn’t seem to realize he was talking to someone who would not take kindly to what he’d just said.

He was jolted at finding the black clad stranger was now standing, well actually looming over him. “Do you love Cordelia”? He was asked and he squirmed on his seat like he was being confronted by his father for chrissake.

Dan was a recovering a little from his fright, not exactly understanding it yet, but still. “I’m sorry, but who are you”?

“I’m a friend of Cordelia’s” was the quietly voiced reply from the shadows.

“And what? That gives the right to interrogate her dates- does she know you do that”?

“I don’t give a rats-ass what rights you think I have and I’ll ask the questions, clear enough”?

“You’re kidding right, this night is just weird, first that whatever it was, poltergeist thing and now you, psycho friend. What’s the matter want her for yourself and because she won’t have you, no-one can have her”?

“That’s enough”. Snarled Angel and paced off before he gave into the urge to smash his fist in that sneering face. “I want what’s best for Cordelia and she knows that, unlike you”. The last was tossed out as an accusation.

“How the hell do you know, you don’t know me”.

“I don’t want or need to know you. I had you investigated”. This guy was cool he’d give him that, thought Angel darkly.

“Finding what, I’m late with my credit card or maybe a library ticket overdue. I have nothing to hide” replied Dan, exasperated.

“What about the dating agency”? The voice was quiet and utterly implacable and Dan felt a weird chill looking into those eyes now only inches from his face, dead eyes, with nothing there.

“What dating Agency, I don’t use them. Look Pal, I’m sorry that you want my girl but ya know it’s just too damn bad”.

His shirtfront was grabbed and he was all but lifted of the floor by a single fisted hand. “She’s not yours and never will be”. Black rage vibrated in the snarling voice and Dan quaked and could only hang on when he was smashed backwards into the nearest wall.

“Who do you work for”? Dan’s head rang like a church bell and his entire body ached after hitting the concrete.

“No one, I’m self employed, freelance journalist”. He got out between teeth that were shaking in his head from fear.

“I don’t believe you. Guess you’ll have to do better”.

“What dating agency? I swear I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please I don’t know what you want me to say …”.

He was gibbering and his head snapped backwards and forwards when he was shaken roughly. He opened terrified eyes again afterwards to find himself staring into black ones filled with merciless ice. His feet still dangled at least a foot of the ground and try as he might he couldn’t break free from that powerful grip, was almost afraid to try.

The fear coming off this guy was rank and filled the air like between the two men and surrounded them. But there was also a hint of honest confusion mixed in with the terror in those eyes. Reluctantly Angel was forced to accept that there was no link between Dan and the corrupt agency they were investigating.

Abruptly he dropped the man back to his feet and stepped back, until there was several feet between them. “You have a history of using and discarding women, do you deny that too”?

Maybe he was grasping at straws here, but he couldn’t shake the belief that this man wasn’t good enough for Cordelia. He’d hurt her, he just knew it. Dammit, he knew the type, he’d been the type and he knew how to read this guy and his intentions were not honorable.

“Jesus, what century are you from…”, Dan stuttered to a stop after a single dark look was thrown his way. He spread his hands, “Look maybe I got it wrong but she seemed willing enough to me and hey, she’s fucking gorgeous; can you blame a guy for wanting a taste”?

“She’d not a damned fruit, you moron; she thinks you care about her”. Angel snapped back and loomed back into full view.

“I’m not responsible for what she thinks, I never made any promises and she seemed ripe enough to me”. He’d thought the danger was past, but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

He never saw it coming, the first he knew was when his right cheek felt like it exploded and he was lying on the floor beside a flower bed.

Dan looked up in shock and gaped, his cheek felt like it was on fire and his shook his head dazedly. “What did ya do that fo”, half his face was numb and the words came out garbled.

“Listen to me carefully, Dan” Angel waited until he was sure the man had stopped gibbering with fear enough to hear what was being said to him to continue.

“You get a chance to leave here with all of you limbs still attached to your body but only on the understanding that you never go near Cordelia ever again. Is that clear”?

“Yes, yes understand no Cordelia”. His head bobbed up and down to emphasize his complete understanding.

“Good, now get out of my sight”.

***

When Angel approached Cordy’s apartment the rage had drained away and now all that was left was shame and sorrow. Shame mostly, he knew Cordy was going to be hurt by Dan’s desertion and he hated that, but better now than later and another part of him was fiercely glad that Dan was gone for good.

He also knew that she would likely blame him, but he’d deal with that, and anyway he deserved her anger. So no matter what he’d just stand there and let her dish it out until she felt better, if that was at all possible.

The door opened again, before he could get to it and he hung his head when he entered, expecting to find a worried and pissed off Cordelia waiting to find out what had happened to her date and despite his resolve, not exactly looking forward to it.

The apartment was empty, at least what he could see of it. He sniffed the air and her scent was heavy in it. He closed his eyes and just for a moment luxuriated in taking it inside himself. After a few seconds he opened them again and went searching for her on silent feet, knowing she was here somewhere.

His search led him to her bedroom, she was in there lying on her bed, asleep. He stayed outside the door and just looked his fill. He should turn around and leave and he knew it but he just couldn’t get his feet to move.

The lamps were off and the only light came from the hallway behind him, the soft light spilling on the oh so feminine bed and caressing her body as she lay in gloriously sprawled abandon on top of the coverlet, wearing only tiny scraps of lace that mocked the title of clothing.

He didn’t even notice that he’d started breathing, an instinctive action to draw more of her scent inside, tasting it on the back of tongue and causing his muscles to lock in place, frozen in the absolute stillness only a vampire can achieve.

She was so deeply asleep, and helplessly drawn he moved inside the room. Half expecting the ghost to slam the door in his face to protect the woman inside. But Dennis made no move to stop him and he was powerless to stop himself from closing the distance between him and her.

He stopped at the edge of the bed and watched her face for signs of waking or awareness but she stayed safely asleep. She was sleeping on her back with one arm across her waist and the other thrown up by her cheek.

The leather of his duster creaked a little when he shifted his shoulders in an effort to relieve the tension there. He jumped a little so attuned to her that it took a moment for him to realise what had made the sounds.

He stood for a moment undecided; if he stayed longer he risked being discovered but he couldn’t bear to leave just yet, soon- but not yet. So he took off the coat with the greatest of care and laid it aside. The bed dipped a little under his weight when he sat down beside her left side.

A few strands of dark hair had fallen across her face and partly covered her lips. He reached out and using just the tips of his fingers brushed them away and tucked the errant strands aside. He took another deep breath and giving in to the need to touch, trailed his fingers slowly over the curve of her cheek and then down the length of her nose.

They lingered over her mouth, tempted by her soft and full lips, wanting to trace them and feel each exhalation on his hands. Hands more used to fighting that loving, but now tingling with the need to lovingly explore her.

Sighing in disappointment he left them untouched. Like the eyes they were too sensitive and he couldn’t take the risk of inadvertently waking her up. Just a little more won’t hurt, he ignored the other voice that cautioned him to leave now while he still could.

Next he gave into the overwhelming urge and curled his hand around her throat, his skin just barely touching hers and the feel of life her blood pulsing so strongly beneath his fingers caused the hairs to rise on his arms and neck as goose-bumps raced across his skin.

The soft skin underneath her ears beckoned him and he rubbed softly and then traced the delicate shell, she twitched a little and tucked her chin into the sensations, nearly trapping hi large hand if he hadn’t been so quick to remove them.

He should have left then, he knew it. He had no right to be doing this and there was no doubt in his mind that if she’d been awake she would be clear across the room by now. That thought made him clench his hand at the pressure in his chest that was pain and need, intermingled with something else.

An emotion that darkened his eyes from warm brown to midnight dark, twisted its way through his gut. Almost indistinguishable from neediness only harder to contain and even less acceptable. Possessiveness, as much a part of him as his soul except in this case, embraced by his dark side too.

Its emergence from his emotional deep freeze was more and more apparent every day and exacerbated by his feelings for this woman. It was a foregone conclusion that as Angelus he’d never really felt it, not focused like this anyway and even Buffy had only touched the surface of it. But then she’d never accepted him, been his friend; never argued, comforted and aggravated him like Cordelia could and did.

Even when she was driving him crazy with confusion, laughter, anger or more recently lust underneath it was a deep river of love and affection to cushion the effects. But it was all in vain as she would never be his. At best she probably thought of him as a friend and protector, at worst- borderline psychotic, if he was lucky.

Angel didn’t notice that the temperature of the room had raised, the thermostat having been nudged up by an unseen hand. A light sheen of moisture formed along her body and her legs came apart in an unconscious attempt to reduce the rising body heat.

Sweat popped out on his forehead as her scent permeated the air, the increase of tangy musk making him swallow hard as moisture gathered in his mouth. He put his hand back on his knee and got ready to get up and leave, but then stopped, staring down in shock at the now open clasp of her front-fastening bra.

Had it come undone by itself? He knew he hadn’t done it but after the initial questioning all thoughts left him on swift wings. The heavy fullness of her breasts forced the lacy cups to drop away and the nipples, only glimpsed through the teasing material were now revealed in all of their tempting glory.

Oh God, it was too much; and before he’d even given himself permission he tenderly cupped the soft underside of one. She was incredibly soft and heavy too and his already painful erection hardened to an impossible degree at the feel of her warm flesh in his hand.

One finger trailed over the curve and brushed gently over the velvet pink tip and, mesmerized, his eyes were pinned to the puckered nub that formed at his touch.

He trailed his fingers up her skin and circled that captivating spot, desperately he denied the need to press more firmly and knead until the breasts were flushed and fuller, filling his palm. Only the sure knowledge that this idyllic time would end if he did stopped him.

So he moved to the other and repeated the feather-light caress, an absorbed look tightened his handsome face and there was a sensual curve to his unsmiling lips. He moved down and using his whole palm swept over her ribcage to settle on her navel, entranced by the downy feel of her skin and the incredible warmth that filtered through his hand.

Heat already filled his belly and now ignited into a flame when his fingers brushed against the lace tops of her panties. Unable to resist he traveled further, underneath the lace until the tips of his fingers met the curls that beckoned him on in a siren’s call to dip further and touch her most intimate place.

He trembled with the strength of the inner struggle not to invade further and finally with another anguished breath of useless air he pulled back. He’d been so utterly engrossed that he’d failed to notice that the door to the bedroom had drifted silently shut, the light gone but he didn’t need the false light to see every gorgeous inch of her.

That inner battle had depleted his willpower, and he leant down and nuzzled the tip of one breast, inhaling the sweet fragrance of her skin deliberately like a starving beggar at a banquet. One hand cupped the soft mound again and turning his head and opening his mouth he kissed it, again and again. Just a taste, that’s all.

A silent groan of need and delight pushed its way through him and he forgot everything but the sheer pleasure of what he was doing. His cool tongue flicked out and lapped at the hardening flesh, circling it and then sucking gently, taking her deeper and then tugging lightly with his teeth.

She moved under him and moaned throatily and his hand tightened in protest and mouth caressed the turgid flesh harder. Mindless now with the taste of her and needing more he switched to the other breast, the nipple just as tight and begging for the same touch.

Her hands came to rest by his jaw and she arched up, pressing herself closer to the source of the most incredible and intense pleasure she’d even known. Angel flinched in alarm when she touched him but settled back when all she did was press him closer and not push him away.

Guilt and conscience were silenced, drowned out by sheer wanton need, and he was past caring that she thought he was another man. Cordelia had awoken to the soft touches along her body, caresses that raised chills along her skin as nerves so long denied screamed for more, and yet still languid with sleep, she’d been content to lie still and just feel.

But the intense sensations of lightening hot prickling pleasure at her breasts had roused her as passion cleared the haze of sleep and alcohol. The need to get closer to him drove her mad and so she clutched him closer and raised herself up. Her hands threaded through his short hair and delighted with the texture and feel of those short prickles came back for more, tugging him even closer.

She made a moue of protest when those tormenting lips left her breasts and trailed wet kisses down her ribs, tracing and nipping each raised rib with his open mouth before traveling downwards to nuzzle and explore her abdomen with a tortuous thoroughness. Stopping briefly to dip inside the indentation of her belly button and swirl inside, almost bringing her off the bed at the resulting wash of dizzying heat.

Cool hands, soothing to her overheated skin, fastened around the curve of her waist and stilled the movement and then rubbed along her hips, stroking and shaping the curves. Cordelia raised her hips in a silent invitation for him to remove her panties but instead large palms curled around the cheeks of her bottom as he slid down the bed and straddled her knees with heavy muscular legs.

Even as highly aroused as she was she felt the material of his clothes and frowned, but forgot it as soon as she felt him nuzzle at the closed apex of her thighs. Anticipation and excitement zinged through her veins and she held her breath waiting to find out what he would do. She felt the rush of air as he inhaled deeply and his hard chest expanded on her thighs.

He held her still as he took in the intoxicating fragrance of aroused female, shivers of delight ran down his spine and settled with throbbing arousal in his groin. It wasn’t enough, he needed more, needed to taste, devour and ravish her with his mouth. That’s all nothing more and she’ll never know.

Angel sat back and pushed one knee between hers, forcing her closed legs open and did then same with the other, making a space for himself between them. He lifted her up to meet his lips and rubbed his lower face against the lace that separated him from her. Cordelia felt the biting sucking pressure of his mouth on her sex through the panties and moaned incoherently for him to take them off.

Helpless to resist the purely female instinct she undulated against him, needing firmer touches and pressure as a deep dragging ache echoed emptily in her womb. Wet heat pooled inside her loins and drenched the cloth that covered her sex and feeling it she demanded he take them off. Her hands clenched convulsively in the coverlet when he immediately obeyed, jerking her hips up and ripping the lacy nothing off with a twist of his hand.

Cool air washed over her, soon replaced by an open-mouthed kiss, and long slow laves of a cool tongue through the soft folds of her labia. She jerked and gasped as fiery heat shot from her loins to her womb, leaving it throbbing deep inside with an insistent demand for fulfillment.

Large strong hands clamped harder on her hips, stilling any hint of retreat with firm mastery as he continued worshipping her with carnal ruthlessness. When she managed to open her eyes she could see nothing except the black of night and then pleasure would whip her up again and she would sink willingly back into it, the inability to see heightening all other senses until she was frenzied to be filled.

Jerkily she tried to thrust against him only he wouldn’t let her, but carried on twisting and tormenting her with biting sucking kisses on her clitoris that drove her wild. Then he speared inside her with his tongue and screaming hoarsely, she writhed with the force of an unbearable throbbing tension. He retreated and then thrust again, stabbing deep inside her repeatedly until she came in a rapturous explosion of drenching heat, which he drank greedily.

Angel was locked in a cage of his own desire now and the fierce joy of making her come and being able to feast on each drop was transforming rapidly into a mindless, violent need to possess her fully. He was panting as he lapped and licked hungrily at her still dripping entrance until with a last stormy kiss on her clitoris he finally tore himself away and reared up.

He braced trembling arms on either side of her hips and hung over her, his head bent as he tried to pull back the tearing powerful lust that howled at him to take her. Take her; take now- NO! I need this, just this once- it’s your only chance to love her. He shook his head feverishly denying his furious driving need to tear his clothes off, pull her underneath him and thrust inside her hot silky depths.

She doesn’t want you, she thinks you’re another man, rage twisted in his gut and he growled low, cutting it off before it frightened her and stamping out the rage he fought with himself. He might have made it but Cordelia lunged up from the bed and wrapped her arms around his neck then unerringly found his lips and crushed them with her own.

Still quaking with the after effects of the most mind blowing orgasm she’d ever had, she matched his stormy kiss with one of her own. Greedily she traced his lips with her tongue before plunging it inside and tangling with his. When he might have pulled back she gripped harder and grasping his knit shirt; dragged it up and pulling back whipped it over his head. Instantly she was back and captured his lips again. Her naked arms twined around his thick neck and pulled him down into the kiss.

He was still reeling from having her kiss him with so much overwhelming passion and now he had to deal with her hot naked body pressed along his now naked chest. Her legs came up to grip his hips and then she almost growled in frustration before her hands ducked down to pull at his belt with fractious fingers.

He groaned when quick as she could she delved into his open pants to grasp his thick erection, wrapping her hands around the length of it, she pumped him with desperate and instinctive skill. He hissed and his back arched and hips bucked as pleasure streaked through every nerve ending.

Unappeased by one orgasm that didn’t include him, she left that fascinatingly throbbing shaft to push at the waist-band of his pants, yanking them down and then using her feet to finish the job.

“I want you inside me now”, she demanded and reached down to stroke him again, from the base to the broad tip. She loved the feel of it, silky smooth and hard like marble and needing to see it her head shot towards where the lamp should be. He saw her hand snake up and she started to wriggle up the bed towards the bedside table.

In a heartbeat he’d kicked off his boots and pants and grabbing her hips yanked her back down and away from the threatening light. He didn’t stop pulling until she was practically in his lap and then he loomed over her. With one arm to support him next to her left shoulder, he guided the tip of his sex to hers with the other. Then with a heavy flex of his hips, he drove inside the tight passage.

Her gasp and his groan drowned each other out, he felt her nails dig into his shoulders and she pushed upwards with both arms and legs as she struggled to accommodate the hard invasion. If she’d been any less aroused it would have hurt but even the intense stretching felt good to her aching core now blessedly filled with the hard surging of his thick length.

Her hands started to wander over his upper body, shoulders, neck and chest in a sensual exploration and to appease the need to learn her lover. A spurt of fear cleared his dazed passion fogged brain enough for him to realize the danger. He captured her wrists one at a time and then with one hand pressed them to the bed over her head.

Only once she was safely secured did he finish penetrating her, grunting as the tight inner walls of her passage closed over him like a tight damp fist, squeezing him in welcome as she started to rhythmically pump her hips, working herself on him in wanton reward for the sizzling pleasure of having him stretch and fill her.

She pushed at his hand in demand to be released, “I want to touch you, lemme go”. She felt him shake his head and before she could insist anymore, he leaned down and caught her lips in an endlessly possessive kiss that drained every other thought from her head and stole the breath from her body.

He matched the rhythm of both tongue and hips in a mind-blowing erotic dance that left room for nothing other than pure feeling. The blood in her veins seemed to throb along with the pounding rhythm of those heavy driving thrusts in a relentless pursuit of pleasure. She raised her hips to meet his and responded to the lusty power of his kisses with equal passion.

His head was swimming and yet crystal clear at the same time, focused on the woman underneath him, sheathing him so tight and hot and wet. He didn’t want it to end, wanted to stay here, inside her- loving her. But the pleasure was too much and tension was building. He could feel and hear her heartbeat getting faster and faster as her body got ready to burst in another orgasm that he knew would take him too.

The heat spiraled inside her and she felt again the dark, hot slide into ecstasy. Her cries were lost in his mouth as he literally devoured her in the final drive for orgasm. She could feel herself quiver and clench, holding him deep inside her as she came. Her muscles milked and squeezed his sex and helpless to prevent it he shuddered over her and with his last thrust nudged her womb, taking him over the edge too.

Totally drained he slumped over her, shaking in the aftermath and then finally he released her hands. She ran them over his sweaty back and shoulders and kissed his shoulder in a repeated caress. He was only half aware when she said his name before she dropped to sleep with him still inside and surrounding her. “Angel”.

***

Cordelia woke about an hour later and stretched, she reached out to find him but the bed was empty of anyone but her. Sitting up she blinked and realized the reason she couldn’t see anything was that it was pitch black, so she reached over and switched on the lamp, still no Dan in sight.

Frowning in confusion and annoyance she quickly checked of the clock, it was before midnight. “What, he had to leave early or something?” She clambered out of bed and ignoring the twinges between her thighs, pulled on a robe and wandered out into the lounge and found it deserted.

Scowling now and more than a little hurt that he’d just get up and leave like that she ran through the night in her mind. All was OK until a hazy recollection of what she’d said, just before she fell asleep.

“Oh shit, I called him Angel”. No wonder he left like that, so would she in his position- after she’d skinned her partner alive.

“Oh.my.God, what do I do now. How can I make it up to him”? Then she frowned as a new thought hit her.

“”Well it’s not like Angel isn’t sort of an endearment”. Unless of course she’d told him her boss was called Angel. She wracked her brain but couldn’t be sure.

Unable to wait to find out she dived for the phone and falling onto the couch, put the ringing receiver to her ear. He answered in less than three rings.

“Hi Dan, listen about tonight..” He interrupted her and after a few moment of total confusion her face went blank with shock. “What do you mean emergency and you had to leave. This was after we made love right”?

His answer made her drop the phone without even bothering to say goodbye. “Dennis”, she yelled when the power of speech gradually returned.

***

Wesley was minding his own business, putting things away and getting ready to leave and head for home, when Cordelia burst into the hotel as if the hounds of hell were after her. Although one look at her face and he decided they were more likely to be running from her.

“Where’s Angel”, she snarled without preamble, or so much as a ‘Hello’, he thought with irritation.

“Upstairs, why what’s he done now”? He asked with a great deal of ‘woe me’ and a serious case of resignation in his tone.

“Do.Not.ASK” she said and headed for the stairs.

“Don’t do that, Cordelia”

She stopped and whipped around, fury vibrating off her, “Why not”, she snapped.

“Because he already has company”

“What”? She said, boy was this night turning out weird, “By your face- do you mean a woman”?

“Exactly” replied Wesley casually and looked at her blandly and then wiggled his eyebrows.

“Are you insane, what about the curse”? Mind you, she hadn’t thought of that one herself and as for Dennis, well he was in her bad books for refusing to confirm her suspicions.

Now it was Wesley’s turn to look blank, “What curse, didn’t he tell you that wasn’t a problem anymore and hasn’t been since he returned”?

Upstairs Angel faced the woman across from him, who smiled and then after careful consideration moved one of the chess pieces before them.

“Angel Honey, it’s your buck but are you sure this is all you want to do”?

“Erm, yeah – Just remember that if I tell you its necessary jump on the bed and strip, OK?”

“OK, just remember I charge by the hour”. Damn, why was it the cutest ones were always the weirdest?

Part 7

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