Cordelia had told him to sit down and get comfortable before she’d even closed the door, shutting them inside her home and to Angel cutting them off from the world and his last chance to stop himself from doing something….
He still wasn’t sure if it was something stupid, right or something in between. After her mandate, she’d disappeared down the short hallway and into her bedroom, talking about needing to get out of the clothes she had on. A visual he didn’t need, but damn was it good – Cordelia Chase in nothing but black hose and a bra, Cordelia in nothing at all. Angel growled, he’d tried to stifle it but the frustration mixed with lust was too overwhelming and he turned around and took in her living room.
It was warm, earth-toned, much like the woman who lived there with the touches of vivid red and golden yellow…the colors of an autumn in New England. He took off his coat and realized it was easy to picture Cordelia surrounded by a the golden sun of a October day, the color made more warm and deep by the red and yellow leaves still clinging to the trees, a few floating in the air, behind her as if drawn to fly because of her smile. His mind started to form the picture, the shapes, the shadows and he started to look around for his sketch pad before he remembered.
He wasn’t home. He wasn’t alone with is mind falling into more and more images and fantasies about Cordelia Chase. He was in her home, in her world and he suddenly truly felt like the demon he was. Had he come here to…be that monster?
“Well, I feel so much better now?” Cordelia’s voice broke his concentration and the question was forgotten when he saw her. She’d changed into gray sweat pants, a simple long sleeved white pullover shirt and freed her hair from the intricate twist she’d had pulled it up into. She looked amazing, she looked amazing every damn time he saw her, he wondered at how she hadn’t managed to jumpstart his heart
It didn’t matter to him that such a thing was impossible looking at her made him want to believe it was. He stepped backward then trying to escape the way she affected him and cleared his throat, searching for an action or words. “Uh, you look it.”
“I look better?” Cordelia asked, her eyes zooming in on him.
“Uh, no, I mean, you said…comfortable. You look comfortable.”
Cordelia smiled and raised her eyebrow at him. “You don’t.” She shook her head and erased the space between them, her hands reaching up and grabbing the collar of his coat. Before he knew it he was moving with her actions and his leather armor had been stripped off him. Cordelia’s eyes sparkled when she met his and said. “There, one layer of black gone, don’t you feel better?”
Angel watched her cross the room and carefully fold his jacket over a chair by the front door and he shifted uncomfortable on his feet. When she turned back to him she started to laugh. “What?” he asked, his self-consciousness reaching new heights.
“You just look so uncomfortable, like you are afraid if you move you’ll disturb something… and what I don’t know. I don’t have too many knickknacks to break.”
“I just…I shouldn’t be here,” Angel said, running his hands over his face, digging his fingertips into his lower lip and looking up at the ceiling. What the hell was he doing?
“Unbelievable.” Cordelia said but it sounded more like a snort. Angel looked up and saw her body language had completely changed. She stalked into her kitchenette and started to fill her tea kettle. All her motions jerky, and getting harsher with obvious building anger. He could smell it practically oozing off of her as her heart rate picked up with the rush that comes with any level of rage. Maybe she wasn’t seeing red but he’d managed to piss her off – a lot.
“It’s not that…it’s just that…”
“It’s just what?” Cordelia snapped, dropping the kettle onto the burner and stalking over to her refrigerator and swinging open the door. “Spit it out Angel?”
“I’m a vampire.”
“Cordelia, I fight…I have done… I do… my life…”
“You’re life has a purpose – and obviously it’s one you don’t want to share with me.” Cordelia muttered and Angel’s eyes widened when he saw her pull out a pint of blood and slam it on the counter.
“That’s, that’s blood.”
“Duh. Vampire. What am I going to offer you a bit of my Bigelow Mint Tea?”
She pulled a mug out of her cabinet.
“That isn’t the same blood from before…”
“Of course it’s not…it’s…” Cordelia suddenly trailed off and stared at her feet. When she looked up she looked angrier than ever and yet completely vulnerable. “I’m so pathetic. I bought fresh freaking blood, for you…you who comes here and gets my…I don’t know what you did, but you did it and now you are already getting all ready to go on with the… You shouldn’t be in my life Cordelia. Like I’m some, some, some, innocent.” She threw up her hands.
“But you know what? You did come over, yeah, that’s right. You came over, Bub. So my impulse of wishful thinking at the deli counter…and other question about if I was making blood soup…was not a loss. So you are drinking it. That’s right. You are drinking it and you are going to enjoy it, you stupid dumbass, ungrateful… “
“Hey. I’m not…” Angel stared at the blood and then at the woman he’d really managed to piss off and maybe it was more than that. She’d brought him blood all out of the hope he’d come over? She’d…”you brought me blood?”
Cordelia groaned, her head falling down. “Haven’t we already gone over this…I don’t want to re-live the obvious stupid –“
He didn’t even realize he’d done it until he had her hands in his. He’d crossed the space between them with vampiric speed to cut her off. He’d grabbed her hands and forced her to look him in the eyes. “Shut up.”
Her eyes widened and he saw rebellion in them, she had no intention of listening to him, so he dropped one of her wrists and covered her mouth his hand. “I said shut up, Cordy. I can leave my hand here all night until you nod your promise to keep that pretty mouth shut. You still have your nose for breathing.”
The rebellion vanished and Angel wasn’t sure it was even possible but her eyes widened more and he heard a muffled question he couldn’t make out.
“What?” he asked but he didn’t move his hand.
“Mhmad mhmid mhmou mhmall mhme?”
“Mad mid mou mall me?” Angel repeated the sounds he thought he heard.
She bit his hand, it didn’t hurt, in fact it turned him on but it shocked him enough to let her get away from his grip. “What did you call me?” she asked in a shout before he grabbed her again, held her tighter and covered her mouth again. And she made him smile by growling against his hand.
“Biting won’t work again,” he said. “And I’m thinking of calling you irritating, you need to shut up.”
She just glared.
“Are you going to shut up?” He asked, staring into her eyes and seeing nothing but stubborn resolve and something else he couldn’t pinpoint. “Just agree to be silent by nodding and I’ll let go?”
She made another catlike sound into his hand and just squirmed in his grip, something Angel was highly enjoying – enjoying too much. This was damn fun and he couldn’t let it get out of hand. “Fine, I’ll just tell you while I have you captive.”
She growled again and he took it to mean, get on with it then and grinned down at her. “You bought me blood and I am not ungrateful, got it. And I do want to be here, I just shouldn’t be…because, because I keep thinking about you and drawing you…and last time I did that I nearly went evil…and I can’t lose sight of the mission.” He let her go, pushed her an arms length away from him and then stepped backward again. “You rile me up and that, that isn’t …” he trailed off because he didn’t want to say it was bad but he couldn’t say it was right either.
Cordelia stared at him until the whistle of her kettle pierced the air, breaking the tension of the moment that had built up between them. She turned and poured herself a mug of tea, then turned and put the mug of blood into her microwave and pushed buttons. Then she stood there, watching the time count down as it heated up his blood and Angel waited, perfectly still for a reaction from her. Anything at all because until she did he wasn’t sure he could move. He wasn’t even sure what he wanted from Cordelia, but he wanted something, anything, except nothing. Everything in him was tensing up, he shouldn’t have come here…this was the whole problem.
“Wesley said I’d be safer away from you.”
Anger and agreement surged through Angel. “I know,” he gritted out.
“You don’t agree.”
“I do agree.”
“Oh,” Cordelia said. She still hadn’t turned around to face him, the microwave had beeped that the blood was done and she wasn’t moving. “You called me Cordy. Twice.”
Angel didn’t know what to do with that, what was with this woman, nothing that made sense ever came out of her mouth. “It’s your name isn’t it?”
“But…” Cordelia turned around then. “You don’t understand? It’s…not that it’s the name I tell friends they can call me. It’s not that… It’s that you said it like it meant something more, when you are here saying you shouldn’t be. Angel what is that?”
Angel closed his eyes and tried to count to ten. He got up to two, then went to her microwave and pulled out the pigs blood and drank it all down in one gulp. It didn’t help, it couldn’t help but he thought maybe it would sate all the things coming at him in his head. And all of it was underlined by a crazy sense of rightness that he just couldn’t explain.
“Great, you have no clue. Perfect.” Cordelia snorted and went to take the tea bag out of her tea and pour nearly half her sugar bowl into it. Angel watched her add sugar and sugar and finally cleared his throat.
“You just knocked back blood like it whiskey, don’t mock my sugar needs.” Cordelia added one more spoon and started to stir.
“I can’t lose sight of the mission.”
“And you want to blame me for the possibility before it’s even happened?”
“No. Yes…it’s a possibility.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because when you were playing bait, all I could focus on was your safety. You. You were the only thing on my mind. Not the demons, not the other victims. Just you.”
“First of all, victims. No other victims, I was on your team. Not a victim.”
Angel shook his head. “I couldn’t make that distinction, Cordy. You were in danger. Because of me…and all I could think about was…what if you are hurt, or worse and I don’t get to know…” Angel trailed off.
“What? My favorite color, my favorite animal? My bra size.”
“I know that.”
Angel couldn’t hold back the smirk. “I’ve been around a while I have a knack for women’s measurements.”
Cordelia stepped closer to him, forgetting her tea, and put her hands on her hips. “Too much information, Mr. Thinks-He-Knows-What’s-Good-For-Me.”
Angel finished running his eyes over her curves, reaffirming his decisions on her measurements and trying not to wonder how they’d feel under his hands. He wasn’t winning and he stepped closer to her as well. “This is dangerous.”
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “That you want to know something about me?”
“Not something, Cordelia, everything.”
Cordelia eyes widened. “Oh.”
“Yeah,” Angel moved closer. “I can’t stop thinking about you,” he admitted his voice lowering.
Cordelia just breathed.
“I keep drawing you.”
Her breath caught, her blood quickened but Angel could only sense anticipation, smell arousal and it started to cloud his mind. There was a reason this was wrong, dangerous, a good reason, a really good reason… something about his past, Darla, his mission to fight the good fight. “Cordy, you are…”
“I am?” she whispered right before their mouths connected and there was no going back.
All it took was that split second of tasting Cordelia and Angel lost control. He grabbed her by her hips and roughly pulled her against him. And there was no hiding a triumphant smirk when her gasp opened her mouth – it’d been the plan. Angel deepened the kiss, hands running up and down her spine and one finding its way into her hair. Cordelia’s beautiful, thick, chestnut hair the subject of his dreams for nights was soon tangled in his fingers. And it wasn’t a fleeting fantasy, it was real.
Angel growled out – a curse, her name, something divine. He wasn’t sure of the sound that left his throat because he wasn’t aware of anything past her heat, or the muffled moans from her throat, or the vibration of her heart against his chest. Angel was aware of everything that was her body and his. But he’d lost all coherence because the reality of how Cordelia’s curves rubbed against his body was too damn good to think about anything but taking what he wanted from her.
Those two words ran through his mind, as he drank in her taste, felt her fingernails rake up and down his back and within seconds she was slammed against the refrigerator. Without breaking the kiss, he managed to grab her wrists with one hand and pull them over her head; while his other hand started to tug at the hem of the damn cotton shirt she was wearing. But he was distracted from his quest to get past the layers between them when Cordelia bit down hard on his tongue. It drew blood, made his lust for rocket up higher but shocked him just enough he broke the kiss and stared at her, the corners of his mouth twitching in amusement.
“Ox,” Cordelia panted out as she met his gaze and Angel licked his lips the sight of the glazed look in her hazel eyes.
“Ox?” he echoed, having no clue what he was saying as his free hand found it’s way under the white cotton and he felt the smooth skin of her stomach. He fanned his hand out over her skin.
“Oxygen. Human. Must breathe,” Cordelia said, her eyes now locked on his mouth.
He nodded, a distant part of his mind actually processing her words before he latched his mouth onto the pulse point of her neck. “Right. Breathing,” he murmured between kisses.
“Uh, huh…I think. I think I’ve had enough air.”
Angel chuckled into the skin of her neck, sniffed in the scent of her blood, heady with arousal and adrenaline from their actions. He licked her skin and then started to suck, and let go of her wrists. And both his hands were against her delicious fiery, silky skin and rising higher until they cupped her breasts… her glorious naked breasts.
“Damn, Cordy, no bra?” He broke away from her neck and grinned but gave her no chance to answer by ripping her shirt off in one quick move. And there was the sexiest sight he’d ever seen. Cordelia Chase flushed, kiss-bruised lips with her eyes flashing at him.
“You ruined my shirt.”
“I want to do this.” And he bent down, took one of her breasts in his mouth and ran his thumb over the nipple of the other.
Angel grinned as Cordelia’s fingers raked through his hair and pushed him further into her…scent, sound, and softness.
Her eyes wouldn’t stay open; they kept fluttering shut from pleasure and Cordelia kept fighting to keep them open. She wanted to watch. Watch Angel’s thumb go in lazy circles around and then over her nipple. Watch Angel’s mouth suckle her other as she felt his tongue and teeth tease it in a pattern she couldn’t anticipate. She groaned; in both pleasure and frustration as her eyes fell shut again.
Her eyelids were not what she wanted to see…she wanted to watch what was causing her body to hum. She’d wanted to grip onto every second of it and her hands gripped onto Angel’s hair and pushed him closer to her skin.
“Don’t stop,” she said through gritted teeth and let her head throw back, not even noticing it bang against the refrigerator door. “Ever.”
“Not planning too,” came Angel’s muffled reply. “But going to do more…” and his mouth was on hers, squelching the near-shout of disappointment he’d left her breast.
She gripped at his shirt, moved her legs further apart, wanting him closer and felt him against her — he was hard, ready for her but still he was kissing her, touching her breasts and driving her crazy. It felt like Angel couldn’t get enough but he didn’t seem to be in a hurry either.
But she could hurry it up and even the damn playing field too, she thought. Grinding herself against his erection, her hands felt at his shirt and started to pull and tug at the buttons she could find. But her angle was all wrong making it nearly impossible to undress him, so she bit his tongue again…once again surprising herself at the boldness of it, at the shock of blood in her mouth and this time at a growl that escaped her own throat.
Cordelia’s eyes widened at his aggravation but soon forgot her anger when he bent down and started to suck on her other breast. Her mind snapped and for an entire moment she forgot what she’d interrupted the kissing for. Then her hands fell onto his back and she remembered. “Shirt. Off. Now!”
“Yours, not mine, dumbass!” In an instant Cordelia felt a waft of cool air against her skin that made her shiver. Grinning she realized he’d moved to take off his shirt and a thrill of anticipation raced through her at the thought she’d see him reveal all that skin. Only when her eyes focused he’d already completely torn off his shirt but there was no wave of disappointment. Not when she caught sight of the hard angles his chest and abdomen.
“Whoa…” she whispered, “salty goodness.”
Angel moved and Cordelia’s breath caught when she realized that his hands were around her wrists. He brought them to his chest and met her gaze. Dark lust met her at the same time she made contact with skin. Soft skin and it shocked her and her eyes fell to the flawless silk that she felt against her palms. “Silky goodness…” she breathed and she never noticed Angel release her wrists.
Cordelia was already lost in her roaming, both her hands around his nipples, touching the darker skin circling them and then up toward his shoulders. Hard planes covered by skin so soft it reminded her of the few babies she’d held. It awed her and she fell into her own hard, as her hands roamed down to his stomach, tickling around his belly button… She didn’t know the reactions she was getting, she didn’t hear the small growls of pleasure or see the shine in his eyes as he watched her touch his skin.
And then a thought entered her head, could she mar his skin and if she could would she even get to see it. Would her mark stay long enough for her to see it – and she brushed her hands back up to his shoulders, stepped forward and bit hard on his right shoulder.
That growl she heard, and Angel started to pull her closer but she pushed away and locked her eyes on where she’d left little indentations of teeth marks…and watched them vanish in that same moment.
“Not fair?” She whispered.
“Want to mark me do you?”
And Cordelia blushed, the realization of what she’d done and who she was with hitting her for a moment, reminding her that her breasts were free, that she’d felt him hard against her and bit him of all things. She looked up, refusing to back down from the truth or her embarrassment but nothing escaped her throat because Angel was kissing her again.
Lust and passion warped her brain again, and she realized they were moving, that he was pulling down on her sweatpants and running his hands over her butt, with only her underwear between his hands and her skin. Her hands flew to his pants and started to fumble with the button…
“Cor! Honey, are you home. I can’t find my key.”
Alec. Cordelia froze in place and Angel kept kissing her wherever he could reach, her throat, her mouth but she was stuck in place. Had she imagined it? Maybe it was a lie; maybe Alec didn’t exist because if he did…she was doing something so very wrong.
“Cor! Are you in there? I thought I heard you when I walked up?” And there was a loud knocking. “I can’t find my key.”
It was like an avalanche had hit her, she was suddenly cold, confused and very unhappy. Rational thought was flying back into her head too fast for her to process it and she pushed hard against Angel.
Angel stifled a growl and stepped back from her, his eyes landing on the door they stood only a few feet away from and then to the door to Cordelia’s bedroom. Cordelia eyes landed on her bedroom door, on the bed through it and realized just how close they’d come…how close she and Angel had come.
“Cor? Are you there? I know I saw your car, honey…Cordelia!”
Alec’s voice was frustrated and insecure. “Boyfriend. Boyfriend!” She said to Angel in a harsh whisper, pointing from the door to her apartment and to herself…and in that moment she saw her naked breasts and saw that Angel had gotten the sweats over her hips. “No, no, no…” she mumbled pulling her sweatpants up and then covering herself with her arms.
Angel said nothing and did nothing more than cross his arms over his chest. “I don’t like him.”
Cordelia turned from where she’d sprinted to her kitchen and glared. “So. I have a boyfriend and this was wrong, it was so wrong…” she trailed off and her eyes widened. A huge detail that lust had somehow kept her from thinking the whole time she’d been with Angel. “Curse. Curse. I have a boyfriend and you have a curse! What were you thinking? What was I thinking and where is my bra?”
“You weren’t wearing one, remember? And the curse is more complicated than you think…”
“What? Wait, I don’t care… I have a boyfriend, Angel. A boyfriend and I promised myself I’d never…. oh, god, I did. I cheated.” Cordelia pulled on her shirt and then leaned her head against her refrigerator, self-hate joining her guilt as moments from her past floated through her head.
She didn’t know how much time passed while she stood there, her head against her refrigerator but she did hear Alec shouting a few more things, and being sure he’d just heard her saying something to someone…all of it doing nothing but making her feel worse.
“Cordy,” Angel voice startled her and his hand was her shoulder. And it felt so solid, so right and wasn’t that the problem? She looked up and realized he’d gotten his clothes on. “You better let him in.”
“I don’t suppose you’d hide?”
He stared at her, his face stony but then he nodded. “If you…”
Cordelia sighed. “No… he’s heard me talking, might as well say we were rehearsing and we didn’t hear him right away…” she bit her lip, hating herself for how easily the lie appeared in her mind. Angel just nodded and she felt a slight shudder at the look in his eyes.
“I won’t tell him what we were doing.”
She felt a bit of relief and walked to the door, but as she put her hand on the door Angel spoke.
“But I’m not hiding the fact I want his girlfriend to be mine.”
Alarm shot through Cordelia at the thought of Angel saying anything to Alec. He had no right too, and ‘mine’? She was nobodies and her mouth opened to tell Angel just that but she had no time.
“Is there a guy in there with you?”
Is there a guy? Is there a guy! Cordelia’s mind condemned her, she had just cheated on her boyfriend, something she’d vowed to never do to anyone. Ever. So, she pushed away her alarm at what Angel might do, she could talk over him, pooh-pooh whatever it was he said. She could get control of the situation, and then she’d figure out how to get herself out of this mess relatively unscathed.
Making out with Angel, almost having sex with Angel, what the hell had she’d been thinking? That it had made her burn from the inside out, and she’d never felt so damn good in her entire life? Her mind betrayed her and she bit her tongue to stop herself from telling herself to shut up aloud and pulled open the door.
“Sorry, we were rehearsing – Angel and I. Angel’s the guy you heard. I didn’t hear you right away. You know actors all caught up in the scene. I’m sorry, honey…” she trailed, looking at Alec’s face. Alec was standing there on the other side of her threshold looking hurt, confused and more than a little suspicious as his eyes darted quickly from her to Angel and back again.
“He and you were rehearsing,” Alec said, his mouth seeming to choke on every word and his stare landed squarely on her.
“Yes,” she said, amazed and shamed by how even her voice sounded. “Aren’t you going to come in?”
Alec studied her, then he walked in brushing past her and Angel – who was standing way too close to her, making Cordelia want to strangle him. What did he think she was, his pet? Oh, God, did he think she was his pet, that wasn’t of the good. Cordelia took a deep breath, trying to shut her mind down and moved to follow Alec. He was in her bedroom, pacing, she’d never before felt like she was about to walk into her doom. Never, she was Cordelia Chase, she was other’s peoples doom – never the condemned.
Until she’d broken one of the most important promises she’d ever made to herself. “Damn it,” she whispered under her breath, then she turned to Angel and gave him her best glare in a silent order for him not to move.
And she almost grinned at him, something about how he was looking at her – it put this dark sheen to his eyes that reinforced how tingly her body still felt from his touches. She narrowed her eyes at him then, for her own sake, huffed and went to her bedroom. Where, if she was honest with herself – and she usually was – she still wanted to be in there with Angel. Only now that she was capable of rational thought she wasn’t at all sure that it was a bad thing they hadn’t made to her bed.
However, there was no time for her to think about that, she had a boyfriend. A boyfriend, who was already jealous of Angel and not at all happy to find him in her apartment. Closing the door behind her, she put on her best smile and met Alec’s somber gaze.
“Did he leave?”
Cordelia’s eyes widened. “No.” The idea hadn’t even occurred to her, why would she just hurry Angel out? Then she realized the one she wanted to hurry out was Alec and hated herself even more.
“Don’t you think he should?”
Cordelia opened her mouth and then closed it. “We were rehearsing.”
“So you said,” Alec said and then he sighed. “I just really don’t like that guy. And I come here, looking for you because we barely see each other anymore. Didn’t we have a lunch date today? Because I sat at our table for an hour, Cor.”
Cordelia eyes opened, her mind whirring but she couldn’t remember if they’d made plans or not. Something that was happening more and more often, something she couldn’t blame on Angel because it’d started before she’d met up with him again. “I don’t…I forgot.”
Cordelia slumped against the door. She felt defeated, she didn’t even know what to say to Alec. She’d forgotten him again, and worse she’d cheated on him – she’d never hated herself but she feeling close to not liking herself very much at the moment. It was an unsettling and very foreign feeling and she didn’t like it all.
“And he’s here, it’s like he came into your life and is staying put. He sees you more than I do, Cor. Just tell me the scene you were rehearsing doesn’t have kissing?”
Cordelia wished her ceiling had bumps, why was it smooth, there was nothing to stare at, or count. Slowly she looked down reestablishing eye contact with Alec. “I can’t,” she said her voice barely audible. She was still letting him believe a lie, but at least she didn’t have to lie about kissing Angel.
Alec tore off his tie, then took off his suit jacket and started pacing the length of the room again. “Great, fantastic. So this guy is kissing you and I’m knocking on the door like some moron.”
“I’ll go ask him to leave.”
Cordelia bit her lip and stared at Alec, he was just a guy, a nice guy with a great paying job who showered her with gifts and wanted a committed relationship. They’d had a good relationship at some point but she hadn’t been happy for a long time. Something she had known but been denying for months. Denial was no longer an option, but what did she do now?
“I’ll be right back.”