No matter how hard she tried, Cordelia could not hide behind the blessed oblivion of sleep. Dawn painted rose and soft gold’s on the wall opposite her windows, the curtains drawn back wide in a weak show of belated self-preservation.
What the hell am I going to do now? The brunette had lost count of the times she’d asked Dennis and herself that question.
She’d managed to hail a cab- which was a blessing, considering her state of undress; nothing screamed out ‘whore for sale than a bright red dress; matching heels and purse- and nothing else.
Her earlier rage had long gone, leaving behind the bitter taste of ashes as she for the millionth time recalled the scenes played out hours earlier. And each time she took that well-worn route, her body tingled with echoes of past pleasure under the cool hands and mouth of her best friend.
“God, am I freak for actually enjoying that bastard sexually abusing me?” she rubbed a hand over her drawn, tired face as a soft chill ruffled her tousled hair in a show of sympathy from her silent room mate.
That was the crux of the whole dilemma. Angel had unerringly tapped into her secret desire for him; eked it out effortlessly, and halfway down that sensation-loaded journey of discovery, she’d acquiesced passionately.
“I’m a sick, twisted freak,” she moaned helplessly as her lower belly again throbbed with unsatisfied desire. Hugging her covered knees tightly to her chest, Cordelia rocked absently in an attempt to assuage the need that vampire had wrought deep within her, a single tear wending its way down her unusually pale cheek.
The sight of a tissue box waving under her downcast eyes pulled her out of her self-pity party abruptly, thanking Dennis and feeling immeasurable shame that someone could get to her so deeply. Of all the people-demon’s she’d known, Angel had been the only once she’d let fully in.
That is why it had hurt so much when he’d abandoned them- her. She wondered hazily if, had she swallowed her hurt and pride, instead of biting back every last harsh word flung at the initially remorseful vampire, would this had ever happened? A large part of her truly doubted it would have, hence the feeling of having a share of the blame for the fallout of last night. If only….
God! If only! Too many of them to count right now- if ever. Cordelia had several choices:
Take the coward’s way out and just jump the greyhound never to return; there was always the phone and withheld numbers to ring in her visions to Wes or Gunn.
Tell Wes and Gunn- which would most likely lead the younger man to completely lose it and stake Angel. She also had a feeling that the ex-Watcher wouldn’t be too far behind.
And why did that bother her? Didn’t he deserve it? – Not just for last night, but for the whole debacle with Darla. If Angel had succeeded in losing his soul that night… they would have all been dead by the following night, no question.
But no, she couldn’t tell them about this. Not for altruistic reasons, which had her cringing inwardly, but for her own selfish reasons, especially because she’d been dumb enough to fall hopelessly in love with the vampire.
“What the…?” her own final thought shocked her to the core as it hit her conscious mind with the force of a sledgehammer. “When the hell did that happen?” her eyes widened in deep distress even as she refuted her feelings; knowing right then that the realization that had crept to the surface of her mind, were sadly and shockingly true.
He blinding rage last night had a lot to do with the burning jealously and betrayal she’d felt at the thought that he’d turned to that undead bitch- instead of her. Pure, unadulterated jealousy. That had her wondering again if she had somehow manipulated him into losing that thin thread of control.
Oh, she didn’t blame the whole thing entirely on herself, but Cordelia Chase was not one to hide from the more uglier sides of her character; she had pushed and taunted –and attacked Angel until he’d pushed back…but it had got out of hand and turned nasty.
There was no condoning Angel’s behavior, and she had meant no initially when things had escalated- but then he stopped short of raping her. Had he come to his senses? Realized the wrongness of his actions- or was it simply that it dawned on him that she wasn’t the one he wanted?
Throwing back the covers, Cordelia determinedly walked toward her bathroom, her mind finally made up.
“I’m going to face my demons and get over this-this speed bump,” she muttered firmly under her breath, choking back a half hysterical giggle at the phrase she’s unthinkingly used.”Cordelia Chase hides from no one.”
Angel lay on his back in his rumpled bed, the combined pleasure and pain of lying on sheets that still held his seer’s scent of perspiration and arousal tensing every muscle in his body to screaming point. But he refused to budge.
Every now and again, he would bring his hand up to his face and inhale the heavy fragrance coating the thin scrap of silk still clutched tightly in his grip. He knew he was just punishing himself, drawing her into his lungs in an attempt to assuage the need that still throbbed through his body; knowing it would be the closest he’d ever get to her again.
The soft movements on the ground floor of the hotel hadn’t made a difference; not moving an inch, Angel absently listened as his new Boss pottered around until eventually settling in the vampire’s old office. Staring sightlessly at the darkened ceiling, Angel also ignored the brief arrival of the young black man, who then left shortly afterwards.
He followed a sliver of light escaping from the tightly closed curtains as it moved gradually along the wall and across the ceiling, the morning light strengthening to the soft gold of midday- then his whole body jolted.
Shooting up into a sitting position, Angel’s keen hearing picked up the soft click of heels and then the dull thud of the hotel’s main entrance as it closed behind the latest occupant. Angel’s eyes widened in stunned disbelief as the faint thrum of a deliciously familiar heart beat sounded in the lobby.
Cordelia had come back. A slow relieved smile briefly curled his mouth. He had to see her for himself. Pulling on his discarded pants from the night before, and yanking a dark blue shirt off the back of a chair, he quickly and silently exited his room and headed towards the stairs.
As he rounded the corner, intending to stealthily check out the open space below, Angel came to a halt as hazel eyes pinned him to the spot. A shiver ran down his spine even as he realized it must have been a fluke; her gaze cool and strangely neutral. Swallowing hard, he took a small step back.
“Angel.” The equally cool greeting left her perfectly painted soft red mouth without the usual smile, then she turned her head away and instead dropped her eyes back to the open magazine in her hands, black-clad legs crossed casually as she lounged on one of the red couches.
After soaking in and imprinting the image of her deep into his mind, Angel turned and silently made his way back to his room.