ANGEL – HUNTING
Angel rang the hotel trying to reach Fred again. He’d spoken to her some time ago but she’d had nothing to report. She’d sounded a bit strange as if she was desperate to get off the phone but he’d put it down to Fred just being Fred.
She picked up the phone a bit breathlessly and gave a strangled sound when he told her it was him. “Hi Angel”, did she sound nervous?
“What’s up Fred”? He asked, frowning in concern, had she learned something bad, his hand clamped down harder on the public phone he’d found.
“Nothing” She said- athough it sure didn’t sound like nothing, “Listen we’ve had a sighting of Cordelia, a good one, almost definitely her” Fred told him.
He straightened and felt a surge of adrenalin flood his body, “Where” he snapped out, all thoughts of Fred’s weird behaviour going completely out of his head.
She told him and he put the phone down, sprinting off down the road and back to his car before she had even disconnected herself. She put the phone down slowly, trying to calm her nerves. “Well it’s started, I hope you know what your doing Cordelia”
Angel raced at breakneck speed to get to the place she’d been spotted, he’d broken about a dozen speed limits and even driven in reverse down a whole block dodging cars with both pure luck and skill, when he’d taken a wrong turn that would have taken him too far out of his way.
He found the coffee shop and pulled open the door, it was almost deserted and the waiter behind the counter looked bored as hell. He approached the counter and pulled out a photograph of Cordelia for about the thousandth time that night. “Have you seen this woman here recently”?
At first it looked like the guy would refuse to answer, but then he got another look at Angel’s set face with the intimidating and shadowed dark eyes focused on him like lasers and changed his mind. He took the photo and looked at it carefully, his face cleared and he actually smiled, “Sure she was here just a few minutes ago, twice actually”.
Angel didn’t hear anything past the ‘sure’ before he was out the door and looking up and down the street, searching the dark street, lit only the occasional street lamp with eyes that could see with perfect vision. He listened for her voice and sniffed delicately at the air.
His spine tingled when he caught it, it was her and she couldn’t have gone far. He ran down the street following the scent, a large black figure streaking past the closed shutters and dark empty doorways, filled with a grim satisfaction now knowing that he would have her soon.
He entered an all night bar, by passing the security guys at the front and opting for a side door with only a small lock and chain. He pulled the steel links apart with his bare hands and pushed at the door, the small lock on that gave way too and he stepped inside, closing it behind him, no need to give her another exit he had to cover.
Cordy was at the bar nearest the front entrance when the cell phone, borrowed from Cathy, rang and she picked it up, her heartbeat increasing as blood rushed through her body in excitement and with some small amount of trepidation; he was close by.
“He’s inside, use the main entrance, leave now”, she did without a moment’s hesitation; diving past the security guards and out into the night, running across the street and taking the next corner and getting out of sight.
Angel entered the bar area and scanned the light crowd, his eyes almost black with the effort it took not to just tear the place apart until he found her. She wasn’t there, his control slipped another notch, but he held on with a slippery hold and looked again.
Over by the other end of the bar was a glass, abandoned; it was filled with red wine and something about it made him go over and pick it up. Instantly he knew it had been hers and he brought it to his own lips and drank it down, tasting her on his tongue. He left and followed her trail down and across the street, it was stronger now and for a moment his head swum with a dizzying array of emotions, he was closer and he could still taste her.
An hour later he was still following her, his mood so black that anyone who saw him moved out of his way, she’d gone to a magic shop and asked for an invisibility potion, what the hell for? But didn’t wait for the store owner to explain why that wasn’t possible, just got out of the back entrance minutes before he’d arrived, if she’d used the front he would have seen her.
Now they were in a section of the city that was filled with shops that’s stayed open all night, seedy places that catered to both the human and demon world, the denizens of this place were dangerous and she was playing games with him. He growled deep in his throat and a passing elderly Morlar Demon gave him a startled look from its piggy eyes, huge hands tucked into the voluminous cloak it wore to pass through the human world or at least the mixed areas, he ignored it.
He scanned the street and the only satisfaction he got was that he hadn’t lost her scent, he would find her eventually and then there would be hell to pay. He walked at a fast pace, head swivelling from side to side, making sure he missed none of the small dingy buildings with their mysteriously muted advertising slogans, all designed to fool the daytime crowd into believing this area was just for the eccentric and not actually otherworldly. His dark eyes were piercing and thorough; seeing past the grime and between cracks in boards or drapes in microseconds without having to actually stop and check.
Cordy picked up the pace and reached into her pocket to answer the phone, “Where is he” she asked, whispering so that her voice didn’t travel too far and pressing the phone close to her ear to make sure she missed nothing.
“Look you’re going to have to go faster he’s only a bit behind you now. SHIT” said Cathy in a horrified whisper, “What, what is it” Said Cordy pressing a hand to her tummy, feeling as if a herd of elephants had just run through it.
“You’re about to hit a snag, there’s a dead end coming up, take a left and then run like hell, don’t look back and don’t slow down OK”, the sheer ‘determined not to panic’ tone of Cathy’s voice was enough to make her start to panic herself, she forced herself not too.
“OK” said Cordy starting to run and careening around the corner, glad she’d worn flats, like she was going to try and run Angel in circles wearing high heels. She could feel the blood pumping through her body and the resulting adrenalin made her feel breathless and jittery, she tried to calm down which was not exactly easy running full pelt down a dark alley, trying to escape a vampire in full stalk mode. “Oh shit”, she pulled her chin into her chest and pumped her arms, speeding up.
Her scent was suddenly stronger and he could feel she was close. She was running; he could hear footsteps pounding away to the left and up an alleyway. He followed, his pounding footsteps obliterated hers but he didn’t need to hear it anymore. He couldn’t hear much anyway over the ringing in his ears, as anger rushed through him. He would not let get away from him this time and he hated that she was running from him at all, it hurt him but he ignored that and reached for more speed, lengthening his stride and delving deep into his demonic side, willing to use every means available.
Cordy reached the end of the alley and burst through the darkness and back into the streetlight, her face flushed and panting with exertion and a strange exhilaration. She had come out on the next street up. She looked both ways, searching for a refuge or a way of distracting him so that she could escape again. The phone rang, “Oh god please let this be good news”
“There’s a store, fifth one down the street on the right, go inside don’t worry about who’s in there. Sit down in a chair cover yourself in anything smelly you can, do it NOW”.
She didn’t bother to answer and could hear nothing but the pounding in her ears, was he getting close. She ran inside the store and skidded to a halt, surprised and alarmed. It was like any normal beauty store, only this one was for demons and the smell, oh gross. The patrons looked at her from a line of chairs against the wall, mirrors behind them with little silver wheeled trolleys next to them, covered in little pots.
“Screw it” and then “Ignore me” she announced, please and sat down pulling one of the matching yucky green coloured gowns over her arms and covering her entire body, it smelled like sulphur, good. The patrons got back to reading their magazines after a moment, ignoring her and the startled assistants just shrugged and thankfully left her alone.
Next to her was one of the trolleys with all sorts of potions and creams covering it. “Eww, gross, dammit this had better work” she said she quickly as she covered her face and neck in purple goo, the stinkiest one she could find. She refused to do her hair, but snagged a towel and wrapped it round her head.
She didn’t know it but Angel was outside the store just as she finished wrapping her hair. He stopped confused her trail ended here just outside the store but the pungent aromas from inside mixed with it and overwhelmed it so that he couldn’t be sure.
He growled low, deep in his throat without even realising he was doing it. He turned around in a circle and then paced in different directions; he couldn’t pick it back up. He eyed the store with stormy eyes and then entered it, his size and dangerous demeanour giving the patrons a nasty start. He glowered at them and looked closely at each one as he walked down the aisle towards Cordelia, she slunk as low as she could in the chair and closed her eyes, only to open them again, but only as slits, she needed to know when he reached her.
Cordy watched him get closer, his tall black clothed body moving down the aisle with predatory grace, face taut and angry with a locked jaw and eyes narrowed and piercing under lowered slashing brows. He looked seriously pissed and her breathing hitched in her chest forcing her to fight an urge to cough, oh jeeze don’t choke Cor!
He was only two chairs away from her when his cell phone rang and he cursed as he flipped it open to answer. She jumped at the sound of his voice, anger vibrated through the deep timbre of his voice. He stood only a few feet away from her, with his preternatural senses how could he not sense her? Sweat started to pop out on her skin and it felt cold and clammy as she realised that it would only increase the chance of her scent reaching his sensitive nostrils.
Suddenly she started to doubt the wisdom of what she was doing; it had seemed a good plan back all safe and sound in the coffee shop, trying to work out how to fix things so that she would be less of a target for the Senior Partners while making sure she wasn’t setting herself up for heartache anyway.
She tuned back into the call he’d taken, his hand on his hip and a ferocious scowl on his handsome face. “What is it Fred”, those intimidating brows snapped even further down after she answered him, the next instant he slammed the cell phone shut hard enough to break it and left the store at a run, the turbulent movement of air caused by his speedy exit making the open door shut with a bang.
Cordy held a hand to her mouth, holding back the cough by pure willpower, her eyes watering and throat spasmed, finally she could let it out and ended up wheezing when she could finally get some air inside her lungs.
She made it outside after cleaning as much of the gunk off herself as she could, she felt like screaming at the nerves she felt stepping out of the door. After a few minutes of brisk walking to get some distance between her and the store she rang Cathy.
“That was too close” she said, still a bit breathless, her heart feeling as if it was trying to pound it’s way out of her chest wall to pitter patter its way down the street, she almost wished it would and give her some peace.
“You’re telling me” yelled Cathy making Cordy pull the phone from her ear, “The only thing that saved your ass from getting collared was me getting Fred to ring him on his now activated cell and pretend you’d been sighted getting into a cab a few doors down”. Cathy finished with the shouting and settled down, “He won’t be fooled for long, so get moving”.
“OK thanks, any ideas where next” She asked, having run out of them herself.
“Yeah how about coming back to the hotel and stop giving me a heart attack”, Said Cathy with some asperity.
“You think it’s enough”? Cordy asked.
“Cor, I thought it was enough over an hour ago but you wanted to carry on remember”? Said Cathy impatiently and yet resigned at the same time.
“Yeah I know, but this is a one shot deal and I wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t just give up”, replied Cordy defensively.
She was fibbing to herself and she knew it. Some little devil inside had made her take this way too far and now it was too late. Why she’d strung it out so long she didn’t want to guess, maybe just to see if she could do it or much simpler, because she wanted to see how far she could push him. He’d driven her crazy a few times since she’d got back to LA was it so petty to want some payback.
Maybe or maybe not, but she knew that she didn’t dare push for much longer, reality had started to set in and a large part of her was afraid of the results of tonight’s work.
“Hun, listen to me and hear this time OK, he is so far over the line of just being ‘pushed’ that I seriously think you should consider giving him some cool off time before you stage the ‘truth or dare’ scenario you came up with”.
“OK I’m coming in” said Cordy, she’d deal with Angel later and then she shivered thinking of what Cathy had said, OK much later. Had she been too hasty she wondered, should she try and placate him and find another way of dealing with her insecurities. They both had them, was she being fair in trying to end hers by playing on his.
She got back to the hotel about a half hour later, the lobby was deserted and the lights off, Cathy must have gone to bed, thought Cordy with a grimace, she’s probably mad at me for the scares.
She walked upstairs but didn’t knock on Cathy’s door; apologies and thanks could wait until later in the morning. She opened the door to her room, a feeling of déjà vu coming over her as she remembered all the times she entered it when it had been his.
The door closed behind her without her having shut it, she spun around, her heart at her throat, and He stood just behind it, a menacing shadow in the half light of dawn. She just stared at him as tension filled the space between them with crackling energy. The cell phone rang and she answered it automatically.
Before she could even blink he was standing in front of her, he snatched the phone from her nerveless fingers and threw it with vicious force against the nearest wall where it smashed into fragments of plastic and electronic bits and pieces.
“Oh crap, you’ve done it now”, what the hell had she been thinking!