Possession Is Nine Tenths 8

PART 8

He caught up with her a few steps from her car just as she’d been trying to dig the keys out from her pocket. When without even a sound to warn her, Cordelia felt a hard arm pass around her middle and crush her back against a muscular chest. Dropping the keys in fright she froze.

“Going somewhere”? Asked Angel in a hard, cold voice.

“Arghhh” she hated the girly scream that’d come flying out of her mouth the moment he’d nabbed her. But figured that with her heart beating like it was trying to escape her chest- he already knew how scared he had her. Now that just made her mad.

“Get off me you big bully” she yelled out and started to kick uselessly.

Within seconds he put her back on her feet and moved to stand in front of her; too close for her to consider making another run for it- duh like that always went well- not! Dazed Cordelia looked around them. Oh crap- they were in a different part of the complex, where the hell was her car now?

“Who the hell do you think you are, Genghis Khan or something”? She snapped straightening her clothes and making a show of rubbing her belly as if he’d hurt it, buying thinking time and wondering if she could brazen her way out.

She snuck a look at his face and breathed a little easier when she saw he was back to human again. Then winced when his expression registered, making her wish he’d vamp out again. At least then fierce was ‘par for the course’.

The darkness was broken by yellow security lights behind little cages, which reflected off the darkness of his angrily narrowed eyes. His face was a tapestry of shadow and light as anger made his cheekbones even more pronounced. Add to that full lips drawn into a slashing line and a jaw that looked locked tight enough to crack some teeth; not exactly encouraging.

Yeah and when did you start backing down from a fight- you do that and he’s gonna go right back to either ignore mode or just settle for walking all over you like he used to before. She stiffened her spine and settled her hazel eyes squarely on his.

“Now what Angel-huh? So you have me caught. Big whoopee doo. Whatcha gonna do”? Cordelia asked flippantly, with her arms crossed defensively over her chest. If he thought he had her cowed by his big bad vamp tactics he had another think coming.

Angel just stared back at her marveling at her recklessness and speechless with anger. He wasn’t used to being angry with her. Worried, upset, aggravated, affectionate, lustful, and back to aggravated. All of the above and many more- but never this angry and he was struggling to even think past wanting to get his hands on her. His palms itched to simply grab and then … well that was the part he couldn’t get his head around.

There was no way she was getting away with what she’d done tonight. He could still feel the echo of that sick terror and he was going to make certain she never did anything like that to him ever again.

“Er, Hello. Earth to Angel- conversation is normally a two way thing” Cordelia prodded him totally unaware of the thoughts racing through his head. All she knew was that if she wanted this confrontation out of the way so she could go home then the best thing to do was speed it along- Cordy style.

Fresh anger surged and lunging forward Angel wrapped his fingers around one of her wrists. When she felt those long fingers latch onto her Cordelia yelped like he’d bitten her and hauled back on her hand. “Hey! Hands off… Angel Let.go.of.me”.

He looked around for somewhere suitable and ignoring her struggles took her with him. “Where are we going now“? She growled exasperated.

If it had been anyone else she’d have slugged him and taken off, but something told her she’d already taken that tactic as far as she dared with Angel. Maybe it’s the whole ‘vampire on the edge’ vibe coming off him that’s giving me the heebie jeebies.

Powerless to stop herself being dragged in his wake she tried but couldn’t read anything on his face now that he’d gone all quiet and unemotional guy on her. Another habit of his she didn’t like one little bit.Okay, maybe its time for the big conciliatory ‘Cordy bad’ act to be whipped out and dusted off- she could do that for one teensy half a minute couldn’t she?

He seemed to find whatever he was looking for and dragged her over to a low wall, skirting yet another rank old building on the dark and deserted site. Oh great- a serious sitting down talking session– just what she needed- NOT.

He sat down and – the next bit she just didn’t believe was happening- yanked her over his lap. “WHAT? ” she managed to yelp out before her sternum hit his hard thighs. Oh no this was so not right- in fact this was so far beyond wrong, it was a whole other level of badness.

Instinctively she tried to brace her arm to lever herself up and off him but he flattened her back down with an arm over the middle of her back. He had better be joking about this- I swear to GOD. She was 20 years old not 12. Cordelia opened her mouth to say something to that effect only with a great deal more cuss words when the first smack landed and instead she screamed in a mixture of outrage and pain.

Oh My God that hurts. Tears pricked her eyes and it was then that she figured out he wasn’t kidding, causing a red mist to swim before her eyes. The total humiliation of it rode her harder than any smack and hurt a great deal more. She was pinned for now but boy when she got free he was DUST!

Cordelia only felt the first half dozen, after that it was just a continuous fiery pain that fed the fire in her head more than the one on her ass. When he was finally finished he pushed her off and she ended up bent over, struggling to get her breath back after doing more yelling than even she’d realized. Her legs felt like limp noodles and as for her butt- well the only thing to be thankful for was she couldn’t feel that part of her body at all.

She didn’t say anything- couldn’t over the choked feeling in her throat. After a few minutes of panting and swallowing hard in an effort to relieve the dry scratchiness she felt a dizzy whirl of rage rise up and before she knew it she was flying up with a clenched fist swinging around in a roundhouse punch aimed straight at his face.

Cordelia nearly yelled with a mixture of pain and intense satisfaction when it clipped him hard on the jaw. Her hand hurt like hell but nothing else could have soothed her wounded pride more than that. Almost in slow motion she watched as his head had snapped back on his shoulders and he staggered back.

It wasn’t enough – in fact beating him to bloody pulp wouldn’t be enough, but it would be a damned good place to start. She advanced on him with fury in every taut line of her body and murder in her heart.

Angel caught her lashing foot less than inch from his groin. Growling in frustration she punched him again. Growling right back at her and still holding her foot he yanked it so that she overbalanced and ended up on her back. Then he simply dropped on her, crushing her into the hard pitted ground.

“Stop it” he bit out between clenched teeth while trying to ignore his aching jaw. For Chrissake! Talk about needle knuckles. He could still feel the imprint of each one on his chin and cheek. Lucky she hadn’t gone for the nose or she’d have likely broken it.

“Me stop it- are you serious”? She glared up at him and then bucked hard, heaving her butt and back upward in a desperate attempt to push him off of her. Could he get any heavier- Asshole? She gave up and went back to glaring. “Get the hell away me from NOW”. Her whole face was a snarl of unadulterated outrage and seeing it set off a different fire in his belly.

They stared at one another for a tense few seconds. Far too aware of the body underneath or on top to even wonder how the hell they we’re going to resolve this. Cordelia’s eyes flickered away from the dark penetration of his and tried to ignore the rapidly thickening bulge pressing intimately into the apex of her thighs.

“Sicko, I can’t believe you’re aroused” she hissed and wriggled under him.

“Stop wriggling then” he snapped back and went to lift himself off her, going against every instinct that screamed for him to grind himself into her instead.

“Haven’t you two finished bickering yet” asked a bored voice from behind them.

They both froze and with a last glance at Cordelia; Angel rolled to the side to lie beside her and then sitting up looked with resignation at the three demons grouped menacingly around them.

“I knew it was too good to be true, you guys just taking off like that,” he offered from his position on the floor. He resisted the urge to toss Cordelia a look that screamed ‘I told you so’.

He didn’t have to bother, Cordelia was already groaning loud and long in her head and wishing the ground would just open up and swallow her. Why does this keep happening to me- am I cursed or something. She sat up too and refused to look at Angel.

“Look- I paid you guys already so what’s the problem”? Cordelia knew her tone was exactly soothing but- Geeze enough already. She was fed up, her ass was sore and all she wanted to do was go home and NOT think about having an aroused vampire on top of her. Urgh- yeah like that wasn’t gonna happen.

“We know that, we just figured we’d take a little extra” the leader was the one in the middle- weren’t they always? But otherwise they all looked the same to her.

She was going to murder Merle for putting her onto a bunch of double-dealing murderers. So what did you expect. She just knew that’s what Angel would say and rolled her eyes at the thought of the weeks of comments she was going to have to suffer through after this.

“What extra’s did you have in mind”? Asked Angel in a conversational tone, still sitting on the ground like a big lazy cat, looking totally unconcerned and only mildly interested.

“Same as you by the looks of it- thanks for erm ‘tenderising’ her for us” smirked the demon. Eww gross what the hell did that mean- she just knew it was dirty.

Angel couldn’t resist a sideways look at Cordelia and saw the creeped out look on her face. A smile teased at the corners of his full lips, good- maybe she’d think twice in future. He shifted slightly and looked back the demons, now edging closer.

“Don’t mention it- I mean really; don’t” Angel replied and sprang to his feet. That jolted them and they backed off again, only to huddle together while keeping a close eye on both the woman and vampire.

“You can leave vampire. We have no interest in you” offered the leader in all seriousness. Obviously thinking that was all Angel was waiting for. The other two nodded in agreement.

“Thanks for the offer but I can’t do that” Angel answered equally serious and edged closer to Cordelia until he was standing between her and them; with his legs braced apart and arms loose at his sides. Cordelia peeked around his wide frame to see how they took that rather abrupt rejection of their generous offer.

The demons were clearly not happy with the turn of events. A simple case of rape and pillage had turned much more complicated than they’d thought. Now wishing they’d stuck to the original plan of simply waiting for the vampire to leave before reappearing; the leader looked at his friends and scowled at what their bored impatience had wrought.

“Why not- what hold does a human have on a demon”? Confusion brought heavy wrinkles to its gray skinned and broad horned forehead. Grey overalls finished the picture of dumb blandness- but looking dumb didn’t mean being that way.

“She’s a pain in the ass- but I love her” was the droll reply from the vampire. Cordelia thumped him with a clenched fist in the small of his back until the last part registered on her brain. Then her eyes widened and locked on the back of his dark head.

Did he just announce to a bunch of demons that he loved her? Huh what happened to the telling her first part- or telling her period. Unless he didn’t mean romantically but then why make love to her? Oh Lord- he loves me!

Momentarily forgetting the demons, Cordelia rolled the words around her head trying to analyze how he’d said it; ruefully- yes, passionately- no. Dammit what the hell did he mean- cryptic much!. Glaring at his indifferent back, Cordelia side stepped him to bestow a fierce glower at her ex-employees; wishing the demons back to whatever hell they’d come from so she could do some interrogating.

“Look- guys I’m not leaving and you’re not getting her. So why not take your own advice and just take off” said Angel easily; half hopeful that they might listen to reason. He guessed they’d seen Cordelia as an easy target for money and some fun, maybe now they’d change their minds.

They huddled together again and that was it as far as Cordelia was concerned. “Oh for heavens sake- just give it up already” she stormed forward with every intention of giving them a piece of her mind. Only to find her way blocked by Angel’s arm across her chest.

Too late- it was more than enough to set off a situation that might not have looked volatile but was. It was that tricky ‘appearances’ thing again. Angel thrust Cordelia backwards, out of harms way and then stepped up to meet the first demon with a hard palm driving straight up for its nose.

The demons nose, while not as defined as a humans was still made up of bone and cartilage and the force of the blow sent all of that directly into its brain- killing it instantly; soundlessly it fell back to the floor.

Cordelia looked around them, searching the ground for some kind of weapon and cursing herself for dropping the mace; which would have come in handy right now. But it was too dark to really pick anything out and so she turned her attention back to the fight in front of her.

Only to see Angel ducking under the swinging claws of one lunging demon while twisting away from the other; trying to stop from getting sliced and diced and looking none to pleased at the attention. Angel knew that if he let himself get injured bad enough they would consider him done and go for Cordy; her only chance lay in getting as far away as possible.

“Cordelia, Run” he yelled at her while dodging yet another razor sharp set of hooked claws, literally by the skin of his teeth. It whistled past his lips with only millimeters to spare.

Cordelia gaped then snapping her mouth shut in a tight furious line marched closer. “Hey- you touch that face or any part of his body and I’ll be using that hand as a backscratcher. Do you hear me you… great big ugly…shit for brains…” She landed on its back, locked her arms around its throat and fisting one hand into another dug in as hard as she could into its Adam’s apple- blocking of its air.

It twisted and turned trying to heave her off its back with rough shakes but she hung on like a burr to a saddle, wrapping her legs around its torso and yelling in its ear at the tops of her lungs. It reached up to pull her arms away but clawed its own chin instead, unable to reach her arms without injuring itself further it eventually fell to the floor and passed out.

Meanwhile Angel, left to concentrate on only the one was making some headway, and as Cordelia kicking herself away from her own fallen opponent; she watched the vampire jump up high to land a kick with stunning force on its chin. Nice shot, she thought and then rolled her eyes at the shame of it. Get a grip, Chase. As if you haven’t seen enough of the rough stuff before now to be bored, c’mon.

Before the demon could recover its wits, Angel grabbed one of its forearms and forcefully bending and twisting the limb, stabbed the claws straight into the demons own chest. The demon grunted and squealed as it found itself impaled and tried to pull away. Angel kept hold of the now bloodied wrist with one powerful hand and grabbing the demons shoulder pulled it closer- driving the razor sharp claws deeper into the struggling body.

Leaving it to twitch in death spasms, Angel strode over to Cordelia; who’d been so busy watching Angel she’d failed to notice her own demon was rousing. Not waiting for it to wake up Angel bent down and placing both hands around its head, wrenched sideways and snapped its neck.

Cordelia let him haul her up and dusted off her sore ass, giving him a dark pointed look while she did it. “So, if you’ve quite finished beating on me. I’d like to go home now”. She added sharply when his darkly handsome face failed to show any feeling of remorse or embarrassment.

“Why didn’t you leave when I told you- you could have got hurt” he growled low as his temper flared hot again. He stood facing her with his hands on his hips; feet braced and brows snapped down in yet another snit, she thought in disbelief.

“Boy, you just don’t give up do you”? There’s only way to end this so just get it done. She took a deep breath and keeping her eyes locked on his; reached up, and cupping the back of his head- pulled him down into a scorching kiss.

After her attack earlier he’d been preparing to knock her hand away. It was the look in her eyes that halted the defensive movement – a purely female look of heated sensuality that dared him to stop her. Transfixed, he let her reel him in and locked his eyes on her full supple lips that parted slightly to meet his.

When their lips touched, Cordelia felt a jolt of electric heat go all the way down to her toes, and helplessly she arched up to brush her aching breasts against his hard chest. Needing more, Cordelia increased the pressure of the kiss, and slid her tongue over the crease of his lips, tracing the line and tasting him with delicate fervor.

Cordelia felt a purring vibration and dazedly wondered if it was coming from her or from him. Who cares, she decided abruptly as she felt the touch of a cool tongue against hers, rubbing in a sliding caress that really did curl her toes this time.

Angel felt dizzy and disoriented at the total unexpectedness of her kissing him; but wild horses couldn’t drag him away. Her warm breath washed into his mouth in the wake of her hot lips and clever darting tongue. Trembling a little at the force of the arousal that punched through him and feeling big and clumsy next to her smaller frame he reached up to cup her shoulders and pull her into a closer embrace.

Cordelia hadn’t meant to become so lost in a simple kiss, but lost she was and with absolutely no intention of trying to find her way back. She felt his large hands pull her closer and spared a thought to wonder at how gentle he could be when he wanted. A pressure built in her chest that she couldn’t explain or remember ever feeling before; pleasurable and yet weepy at the same time.

Cordelia brushed her lips over his, massaging them and instinctively exploring; learning the feel of him- knowing it was him which somehow made each touch even more wonderful. She tentatively slid her tongue inside the welcoming cavern of his mouth to joyfully tangle with his.

She thrust and retreated loving him even more when he didn’t try and take the lead off her; just let her set the pace and navigate her way through the rocky shoals of suddenly finding herself impossibly aroused and in love. Her eyes widened in shock as that thought splintered through the warm haze fogging her passion-drugged mind.

The horribly intrusive sound of a horn blaring from a speeding truck on the main road shocked them both into jumping apart. Dazedly Cordelia’s fingers came up to touch her lips, half in wonder half in horror. She stared at him as he stared at her.

Angel searched her face for sign of disgust but found only confusion and a trace of fear. But those two emotions written so clearly on her face were more than enough to pull him out of his own dumbstruck arousal. Ignoring the sinking feeling in his belly and resisting the urge to pull her back to him he shook his head as if to clear it.

“Cordelia…” he started to say hesitantly and with a look of brooding apology on his handsome face. Twin lines appeared between his slashing brows and his dark eyes couldn’t seem to meet hers.

“No don’t say anything- just don’t okay”. God if he apologized or something she’d fall apart- she just knew it.

CORDY’S APARTMENT

Cordelia shut the door with deliberate, concentrated quiet behind her back. The apartment of was cold, dark and utterly still but she hardly even noticed as she laid her head back against the wooden door. Taking in a deep breath she held it for about 10 seconds, nope that didn’t work she thought, and gave vent to a loud long screech.

“Yeah that’s better- nothing like a good scream to scare the neighbors” she muttered and stormed into the kitchen, slapping on the light when she passed it.

Wrenching the kettle off the counter, she accidentally sprayed herself with cold water putting the tap on too fast. “Aarrghh”! Aggravated beyond belief she dropped the kettle into the sink and kicked the cupboard underneath; then hopped around the kitchen swearing a blue streak and trying to ignore watering eyes and the throbbing pain in her toe.

“Dammit, could this week suck anymore than it already does? – Dumb question; of course it could”.

The water ran again and she stopped hopping to flash the now hovering kettle a dirty look. “Oh, its you” she said in a hard voice. Dennis carried on carefully filling the kettle and then switched it on.

“Don’t think I’m even close to ready to forgive you for what you did”.

They both knew what she was talking about. After she’d woken up and realized it hadn’t been Dan who’d made love to her; she’d asked Dennis if it was Angel and he’d refused to answer her. Giving her the ghost version of the silent treatment.

“Whose side on you on anyway”? She stormed opening and then slamming a drawer once she’d gotten a spoon out to roughly dig around the jar of hot chocolate powder.

The kettle began to boil but before she could reach over and pick it up, it rose in the air and meandered its way over to the window over the sink. “Dennis, what the are you doing- hey, I need that”.

The hot steam touched the cold glass causing it to immediately become steamed up. Cordelia sighed and crossed her arms. “So what’s this- a new way to clean windows? Get a grip, Dennis and give me the damn kettle”.

“Thank you” she said sarcastically when it landed back by her tapping fingers. Before she could snatch it up there was a rubbing sound on the glass and looking up Cordelia frowned as letters started to form on the steamed up pane.

“Luvs U” it said, wonky but legible. She didn’t pretend to misunderstand.

“Yeah, well I want more than just a friends love and he can’t give me that”. He was already burnt out on romantic love and as for her- well she wasn’t willing to settle for anything else.

A cross appeared on the pane. “What do you mean wrong”?

No answer. “Are you seriously trying to tell me– that Angel loves me like that and I wouldn’t know it”? No one knew him as well as she did and anyone who said different could kiss her ass.

A tick appeared next to the ‘luvs u’.

She stilled as a feeling uncomfortably close to hope bloomed deep inside and despite her fear of it, she didn’t try and squash it or dismiss it- like she always had in the past. “So why- if he feels that way, did he send me away tonight”? What was it he’d said?

“Go home Cordelia and think about what you want. I’ve had it with being part of a tragic farce and remember one thing. I’ll never walk away a second time” .

She’d thought at the time he’d been talking about Buffy, wanting to be with her and regretting leaving her- yada yada yada (yawn). Which now she was calmer she could admit had hurt like a knife twisting in her heart – but what if she was wrong? Had he just been his usual dumbass self, talking in riddles and thinking he was making sense when he just wasn’t?

What if he’d been talking about moving on from Buffy to HER!? “Whoah, Chase- that’s a pretty big leap and maybe cows can jump over the moon too”.

Dennis decided it was time to stick his oar in again and drew a heart around the words and the tick. “Ack- could you get any more sappy? Someone gimme a bucket”. But she was smiling with helpless affection for her ‘ghost with the most’.

“Okay enough with the cupid routine- geeze, stubborn much? I’ll go find out for sure which since it would’ve driven me crazy anyway- is no biggie”. She tapped two fingers against her lips, deep in thought until with hazel eyes sparkling like gems she leaped out of the room and towards her bedroom; excitement making her almost bump into the only half open door.

“Dennis, turn up the heat will you, I’m freezing my butt off here” she yelled out.

THE HYPERION HOTEL

Angel lay in bed with his hands behind his head, staring sightlessly at the ceiling above. His face was hard with the effort to keep it free of expression and hopefully help keep the emotions that crowded his mind from breaking the bonds he’d forcefully applied to them.

After following Cordelia back to her apartment he’d driven back to the hotel; fighting a battle to push the frustration and pain back into tiny mental pockets that he could either ignore or deal with later- whichever was easier.

Ignoring Wesley and Gunn he’d climbed the stairs, had a shower and gone to bed- to stare up at the ceiling as far from sleep as possible without actually climbing said ceiling.

That was two hours ago and his eyes burned with from the refusal to close them and see the last few nights unfold again on the back of his eyelids. Something he would do if he let them drift shut. So he kept them open and fixed on anything, nothing ..whatever.

I can’t believe I spanked her. As a deathblow to any type of relationship with a modern thinking, independent woman with a fiery temper- it was unbeatable.

“What the hell was I thinking of”? He asked the room, frustration and bafflement filing his voice in equal parts. He hadn’t been thinking he realized, and that was the problem or if he had been, it wasn’t with the rational part of his brain.

“What brain, you idiot” he snarled and abruptly turning over onto his front, punched the pillow and laid his head on his forearms. Dark brown, almost black eyes burned a hole in the side table now- but at least the view had changed.

He was so sunk in gloom that it was a few seconds before the approaching footsteps registered. Wesley and Gunn had gone home already, he knew that because he’d heard them leave, plus these footsteps were too quick and light for either man. Frowning he lifted his head and trained his gaze on the door.

His nostrils flared catching the spicy scent of perfume and woman and he stiffened in horror. Oh God it was Cordelia, the footsteps got nearer and then paused on the other side of the door. Shit- she was here to chew him out now she’d had time to prep her verbal arsenal. He briefly considered hiding, maybe he could just jump off the balcony and get away before..

Too late, the handle on the door turned and was pushed wide open. Cordelia stood poised to step over the threshold and walked inside with a calm assurance that belied the rapid beating of her heart she closed the door behind her and then locked it.

Cordelia didn’t even try to find him as the suite was in utter darkness. Thankfully the larger shadows showed her where the furniture was so she didn’t bump into it as she made her way to his bed. Angel watched her walk closer with his chin still tucked into the crook of his elbow. Her scent grew stronger and teased him into taking deep breaths that sent his body into an immediate aching hardness.

Reaching out to snap on the bedside lamp, Cordelia looked down at the confused masculine face below her on the bed. The brown eyes dilated immediately without wincing at the sudden change of light, and gazed back at her with a look of wariness, question and … heat.

The warm light from the amber glass lamp spread over his naked shoulders and the sweeping curve of his back in a loving caress; dipping into the valleys and shadows made by the impressive display of muscular power, evident even in repose. Half of his face was hidden by his hair roughened arm, with those sinful eyes a dark oasis under slashing brows; focused on hers intently.

“Hey” she whispered with a smile twitching the corners of her full rosy lips.

He lifted his face to free his lips and if possible looked even more confused as if he’d been expecting something else. “Hey” he returned a little hoarsely, and went back to looking wary as if thinking she was just trying to lull him into a false sense of security- which was exactly what he was thinking.

Cordelia sat herself down next to him with her hip fitting into the curve of his body. Unnerved, Angel turned over on his back, revealing his heavily muscled torso and dark dusky nipples. Embarrassed, he plucked at the dark blue sheet caught underneath her bottom requesting her to lift up so he could tug it up. She ignored the silent demand. She was enjoying the view and besides it gave her an advantage- all’s fair in love and war!

“I need to ask you something” she told him solemnly, carefully spacing each word and never taking her eyes of his. Damn, her belly was doing somersaults with a thousand butterflies along for the ride, and she hadn’t even gotten to the question yet- She took a deep breath and held it in.

His lips formed the word but nothing came out, with brows curved up and tiny lines appearing between them in trepidation, he cleared his throat and tried again, “What”?

“Do you love me”? Forget butterflies and insert elephants with big sharp tusks all digging into her. She dug her nails into her sweaty palms to try and distract herself. “I mean really love me not just as a …friend”.

Not that they’d been exactly ‘friendly’ recently but still even if he turned her away a part of her would love him as long as she lived- it was a curse feeling things so deeply and one she’d got past in high school by pretending to have none. She waited strung out with tension for his answer.

He stared at her aghast but not surprised. He started to sit up, then realizing it exposed him even more flopped back down and wished he could bury himself under the covers.

“You’re asking me if I’m in love with you”? His asked her, trying and failing to keep the alarm out of his voice.

“Yes and don’t even try and avoid the question okay- yes or no”

“I don’t get it- why are you asking me this. You know I love you- we’ve known each a long time” he stuttered out and winced when her eyes seemed to pin him with twin cold flames, he swallowed and dug the hole a little deeper “…and been through a lot together”. Jesus, that’s lame. Do you seriously expect Cordelia- the queen of blunt to buy that- c’mon“.

Hey its not like I got a heck of a lot of advance warning here. He defended himself against that inner voice. Knowing it was lame but feeling the need to deny it anyway.

“Angel, it’s a simple question. Think you can manage a simple one word answer- like yes or no?” The chill in her voice hid the pain sweeping through her body. She so didn’t need this, and she was gonna exorcise Dennis for talking her into it.

When he didn’t answer straight away just lay there like a frozen lump- which he is, and flipped through a mental catalogue of ‘how to let her down gently’ answers she decided she’d had enough. Urgh- I don’t wanna even hear it. If I wanted lame excuses I’d have listened to Xander’s.

“Forget it Okay- I wasn’t here and you never saw me- agreed”?

Angel’s hand snapped out to latch onto hers before she could do more than gather herself to stand. Her eyes, over bright with tears refused to meet his, even when his thumb brushed over the pulse point in her wrist instinctively registering the rapid beat.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, hoping she would at least look at him again, but she refused. As far as Cordelia was concerned she’d done all she was prepared to do. He’d stopped her leaving and if it was just so he could clear his conscience then he was going to have a hysterical female on his hands and then some, she thought resentfully.

He was out of time and he knew it. “Yes I love you” he frowned- hadn’t he already said that? “I mean I’m in love with you” he clarified and then tensed, not knowing what to expect from her. Whenever he’d fantasized about plucking up the courage to tell her- visions of her falling around laughing had been the best scenario that’d come to mind.

“Really”? She asked him doubtfully while her eyes searched his face for signs that he was just saying what he thought she wanted to hear.

“Yeah- really” he replied and raised a brow when her face split into a big grin. He gave her a sideways look, not sure he liked that response. Now it was out- done and in the open he felt better but abruptly decided that if she laughed – she was gonna find herself spanked again.

“Oh wow- that’s just- you really love me” the grin was still in place. “Not that I’m not loveable or anything…but ya know what with you and the whole slayer issue I did think…”

Cordelia didn’t get to finish before she found herself picked up, dragged over and rolled underneath one very aggravated vampire. Staring up into stormy dark eyes her grin turned sheepish.

“What”? She asked innocently and more than a little tongue in cheek, riding high on a buzz now- a dizzying difference from just two minutes ago.

“I tell you I love you, and you start yammering on about Buffy and you ask me what” he growled at her. Angel loomed over her with his hands still clasping her ribcage in a firm grip, and after he’d finished speaking those fingers flexed against her flesh warningly.

“Oh, were you expecting me to tell you I love you back?” she widened her eyes and bit her lip. Not realizing the playful sparkle in her glowing hazel eyes gave her away.

Still…”Cor-de-lia” he spelled out impatiently; needing to hear it.

Laughing she gave in, “Okaayy geeze trust you to threaten it out of me. I love you back you big dumbass, why else would I even be here. It’s like the dead of night, not exactly…”.

Angel shut off the flow of words the best way he could. He kissed her senseless. When he let her breath again she pressed the fingers of one hand to his now flushed lips. “I can tell I’m gonna have to talk too much more often”. Her whispering words brought an answering sparkle to already heated brown eyes.

“Somehow I can’t see that being a problem for you” he shot back without missing a beat and smirked at her sharp intake of breath. “Hey you’re not the only one who can tell it like it is” he defended himself and dodged the hand that came up to smack him upside on the head. Cordelia smirked back and dug a sharp finger into his side, making him arch up and twist away.

Taking advantage she threw a leg over his hip and pushed him over so that she sat astride him; then sat back to enjoy her new superior position, not to mention an even better view. “Hmm this is much better; I think I’m gonna like being on top” she informed him with a thoughtful look on her beautiful face.

“Ya think” he finally managed to get out, recovering from having her pert little ass press down on his erection. “Don’t get too used to it. I have a thing about making sure a woman stays where she’s supposed to when I make love to her”. He meant every word and his already deep timbered voice was sensually roughened. Slumberous dark eyes watched her face as the carnal warning registered.

Cordelia stilled, blushed and opened her mouth to speak before shutting it again, speechless with a sudden attack of lust. Oh yeah I can live with that- most of the time. She grinned again, relaxing at the thought of tying him down- hmm chains sounds sooo good. She’d have to ask him where she could buy some.

“Too bad broody boy- you owe me” she insisted and arched a single brow to emphasize her point. They both remembered the dark passion filled night when he’d made love to her incognito and made sure she couldn’t guess it was him until it was too late.

“What did you have in mind”?

Epilogue

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