As soon as the two figures entered the hotel, the Vampire was there, facing the brunette. Before he had a chance to say anything, Gunn pushed him back.
“Back off, Angel; or I swear I’ll put you in the ground.” The young black man’s spine stiffened at the answering low snarl coming from his former boss.
He’d meant every word said to Cordy – but that didn’t mean he had to stand back and take any shit. It would take a long time before he trusted the Vampire again – if ever! He couldn’t understand his problem with Cordy; all he knew was it smacked almost of some kind of obsession; and that was never of the good where Angel was concerned.
Every nerve in Angel’s body screamed to throw the man aside and grab his Seer from behind him. So far he hadn’t even been able to see her face, and it was pissing him off big time. The small hand that crept round to grip Gunn’s upper arm gave him pause. After a stretched few seconds, Gunn relented and let her move forward.
“Look; Let’s just forget what happened and just get on with why we’re here, okay?” Cordy bit her lip when her words came out a little harsher than she meant, but refused to drop her cool gaze from the churning brown of the eyes pinning her to the spot.
She didn’t have to be psychic to know he was far from happy with the way things stood, but that was, basically, tough. Letting out a held-in breath of tension, Cordy moved passed them both – only to be brought up by a large, cool hand on her arm. She looked from his hand to his face coldly, a fine brow arched in query.
“I still think we need to talk.” Angel felt his heart crush at the cold stare she given him, and had grabbed her even though Gunn had reached a hand into the inside pocket of his denim jacket. The quick look Cordy gave him gave the young man pause – but his hand remained in his pocket.
“There’s nothing to say, Angel; now I need to get to work.” She stiffened slightly when the hand gripping her arm flexed against her skin for a brief moment, drooping a little in relief when he finally released her and stood back.
As she walked towards her desk, Cordy eyed the others surreptitiously. Wesley watched her for a moment, his face tight and concerned, whilst Gunn made his way over to the weapons cabinet to retrieve his axe. She didn’t relax until the silent Vampire moved and made his way up the stairs. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, Cordy let it out slowly when his rigid back disappeared out of sight.
“Now, if I can keep my mouth shut for the next ever, things should be okay” she prayed to herself that her promise to herself would stand the test of another encounter with Angel…
Angel paced his room, fury clouding his vision. The urge to rip off the younger man’s head was still strong, and he cursed furiously that they’d had an audience. If the brunette thought it was over, she was sadly mistaken. He ignored the painful clenching of his gut when he recalled the almost blank look she’d swept over his face, and replaced it with images of erasing it with … what? He shook his head at the route his thoughts were going. His darkened eyes noticed the pile of colorful clothes now piled on his bed; thrown there earlier right after Cordy had stormed out.
Stalking towards them, he reached out and grabbed a silky blue blouse. As he went over the events of the day, his fingers shredded the material. By the time he refocused his eyes on it, the garment was in tattered pieces. Groaning in renewed anger, he balled up the fabric and threw it into the waste bin by his bed, then sank into the soft leather chair next to it.
Angel glanced around the darkened room feeling penned in, and was about to rise to his feet to escape the confines, when his gaze landed on the doors separating the bedroom from the lounge. The panels were still partially bare of glass panes, and looking to the floor, he could still pick out shattered pieces lying nearby.
This sight deflated his anger in an instant.
Who was he to expect acceptance from the girl after what he’d done? Guilt quickly flooded him as he remembered the night he’d carelessly attempted to lose his soul. If it had worked, Cordy would have been the first person Angelus would have visited. All through that night with Darla beneath him, he’d imagined warmth and golden flesh.
And had even felt a small surge of pleasure at the thought of letting his soulless self take something he would never normally have considered in a million years.
She wouldn’t have died either. The need for her heat and the constant yearning to taste her blood for a long time to come would have kept her alive. Angel knew that this knowledge alone would forever drive a wedge between him and his Seer, if nothing else: the fact that whilst he fucked his Sire into the mattress he was really just biding his time until he was free to go after her.
Her attitude both times they’d seen each other after Angel had fired them had stoked the anger and, later, obsession, to wipe the cold expression from her beautiful face each time she’d told him what she thought of him – and the second time, at the hospital… God! He had been so close to lifting her off her feet and taking her somewhere quiet and deserted…
Shaking his head roughly, he rose to his feet and walked across the room to remove the broken doors from their hinges.
Later, when they had all left for their respective homes, he would hide the evidence of his disgusting behavior, and find other doors to replace the ones that now lay haphazardly against the wall.
And then he would try to calm his Demon and keep his hands off his Seer from now on. What right had he to touch her innocence with his sullied hands?
The Vampire prayed that he could rein in his baser instincts for the sake of both of them; though he seriously doubted he had it in him any more to control them.
Cordy sipped her Cosmopolitan as she looked around the club with unseeing eyes.
Less than an hour of arriving at the hotel, Cordy had received a vision. Angel had come out of nowhere and saved her from a nasty fall to the marble floor. Once the convulsion had stopped, Cordy had jerked out of his soothing hold and literally crawled away from him.
Her stomach had tightened at the flare of gold that accompanied her show of distaste at his touch. If anything, after that, she was more determined than ever never to be alone around the Vampire again.
Since he’d manhandled her that day, Cordy really couldn’t say with certainty that Angel wasn’t capable of punishing her physically. He’d done it once, hadn’t he? The dark threats in his heated eyes were as clear as the spoken word. As soon as the guys had gone to save the day, she’d hightailed it out of there and huddled at a table at Caritas for the rest of the evening.
When her cell phone had rang an hour or so later, she’d waited until in a toilet cubicle before answering; assuring Wes that she’d gone home and was about to get in the bath. Although hating to lie to her friends, Cordy was in no the mood for Wes or Gunn’s concern over her earlier reaction to the Vampire.
Lorne had taken one look at her scowling face, and kept his distance; but she could feel his red eyes on the back of her head all through the night. Staring into her half-empty glass, Cordy sullenly re-evaluated her life at present, and found it wanting.
“Don’t start, Lorne – so not in the mood for you to invade my aura.” Lorne sighed heavily as he sat down in the empty chair at her table.
He’d watched the brunette for the past couple of hours as she nursed a couple of drinks. Her aura closely matched another miserable-looking customer too, and he felt like bashing their heads together. He still had a hard time believing some of the things that scrumptious – and very stupid Vampire had done. The fact that her secret feelings on the matter were not far from the surface – to him anyway, made his head shake at the both of them.
Some people always had to do it the hard way. Falling in love was supposed to be a wondrous experience – not an S & M-fest; well, not right away, anyway!
“Honey bunch, I don’t need to invade; it’s screaming at me from the far reaches of the room. Wanna talk about it?” The brightly garbed green Demon sipped his Sea Breeze; his eyes narrowed on her tense face.
“There’s nothing to talk about – let me rephrase that: I don’t want to talk about it – wouldn’t say no to another Cosmo though.” Cordy tipped back the contents of her glass and held it out to him, her brows rising in challenge. Would he fold yet again? She grinned when he did just that.
Angel-cakes is so gonna have my ass! Lorne caught the barman’s attention, who nodded and turned to prepare a drink.
Honey; I know our tall, dark and delicious friend has been a tad naughty,” his mouth twitching at her snort: “Tad?”
“But he’s trying so hard to climb back in the saddle of his white charger – give him a chance, Princess? You wouldn’t believe what that Vamp has been through – and that Epiphany of his was a real doozy!”
Cordy shrugged indifferently, not really wanting to discuss her Ex boss and friend right now – if ever! – but the words came out anyway; jeez!
“Epiphany-shmiphany- what – he suddenly realized just how valuable we were?” she shrugged again, not bothering to hide the sarcasm dripping from her tongue. Angel never really mentioned what had changed his mind – to the point of being willing to work for them!. “So not Mister Bossy-Boots-I’m-In-Charge-Guy.”
“Um – let’s just say he nearly lost it; in an ‘Oh, Dear God Not That!’ Big style way, let me tell you! – And it frightened the unholy bejeebers outta him.” Lorne knew he’d regret his over share as soon as her lovely eyes narrowed with oh, too much astuteness.
How could he forget that there was more to Cordelia Chase than a really hot body and a smile that burned you from the inside out. Suddenly, Pylea didn’t seem that bad!
“Why do I get the feeling that you meant that literally? Tell me I’m barking up the wrong stake?” her mouth tightened when his red eyes shifted away, and he squirmed in his seat.
The icy feeling of sick dread at her instinctive guess grew by the second. No matter how low Angel had sunk, he wouldn’t be so stupid as to…
“What do you know, Lorne? – And don’t bother trying to say nada, nowt or zilch, cos I can see a whole pile of guilt and a growing damp patch on your seat from here!” she leaned forward, crowding his personal space.
“You really don’t wanna get on my bad side right now, Mister Vamp-Psycho Confidante.” She literally purred.
Lorne gulped. Hard. Then mentally kicked himself in several places; hoping that the inevitable confrontation with a very pissed Vamp wasn’t as bad as his conscience right now.
Angel closed the door of the vacant room and locked it securely. The French doors had been replaced, and the broken remains of the others put out of sight from sharp hazel eyes.
As he walked down the hall towards his room, he heard the main entrance door slam shut. Before the rapid clatter of high heels racing up the stairs echoed through the hotel, Angel already knew to whom they belonged. Her delicious scent preceded her.
What the hell was she doing here so late – and definitely alone? he wondered; she’d practically been joined at the hip with Gunn all through her presence here earlier, and her intention was clear: Keep out of my space!
The sight of her stalking gracefully towards him, wearing only a simple silk halter neck dress the colour of ripe strawberries, that fitted her lush yet lithe figure to perfection distracted him from her face for a moment, and by the time he’d looked up and saw blind fury that actually enhanced, rather than detracting from her beautiful features, she was in front of him and lifting her arm out in a wide arc.
The combination of being off balance in surprise and growing lust, and the sharp slice as the keys she gripped in her hand hitting him hard in the mouth when her fist connected with his face, caused him to fall back landing ungracefully on his ass.
He stared up in mute shock from his position on the thinly carpeted hall as she stood over him, her whole body vibrating with rage as she stared back.
“You complete and total Bastard! Staking isn’t good enough for scum like you!”