For the first time in a very long while, Eve was afraid. One phone call had made her fear for her life. As she glared at the offending piece of plastic, her mind ran amok as various scenarios ran through her head; unfortunately for her, most of the scenarios involved her head- or impending loss of it. Immortal or not, head lossage was the one thing guaranteed to end her, hopefully, unnaturally long life.
According to her lackeys, the bugging equipment at the hotel had ceased working late last night- also, she’d had a call from the group keeping an eye on the current resident informing her that the vampire hadn’t left the building after turning up unexpectedly with his anagogic demon colleague who’d later exited alone.
She couldn’t understand it! From the transcripts of the past thirty-six hours, not only was Eve aware of their severely strained relationship, but also of his loss of control the night before. The blonde rubbed her eyes in frustration; she was so sure putting Spike in the mix would be the ultimate coup de grace- but even that seems to have failed abysmally.
Either she could continue to sit in her office waiting in dread for the inevitable- most likely bloody, confrontation with the current CEO, or come up with a plan that would not only divert his attention, but also drive Angel permanently away from the side of his ex-Seer; the brunette had shown no signs of retaining that particular gift, which was of the good, considering just what she may have ‘picked up’ about their real plans behind giving the dark vampire the reins to the LA branch of Wolfram & Hart.
“Think, think…” after a few moments a slow satisfied smile widened on her face as a solution to her worries came to her. Reaching for the offending phone, Eve dialed an extension and sat back in her seat.
“Claire? Listen; I need you to seek out an international number for me… well, last I heard, Rome would be a good place to start- oh, and Claire? Be a sweetie and make it snappy.” Placing the receiver down, Eve couldn’t help but gloat. The vampire wouldn’t know what hit him.
Angel paced outside his old room; absently surprised a trench hadn’t developed as he waited for the stubborn brunette within to acknowledge his gentle knocks, gradually followed by verbal requests. That was half an hour ago.
After a restless night where he doubted he’d got even ten minutes’ straight sleep, the vampire had waited until a fairly decent hour before attempting to confront Cordelia.
“This is stupid,” he growled impatiently. From the sounds of movement within, there was no mistaking she was up and about. The sound of the shower running increased his escalating bad mood.
It wasn’t a good idea to wind up a tired and hungry vampire. He hadn’t eaten since before arriving over 15 hours ago, and the logical part of his brain was telling him to just leave and sate that hunger before again approaching her- but the way things were going, the last thing Angel wanted to do was leave without at least trying to breach the slowly widening gap between them.
“Cordelia!” After calling out yet again on hearing her emerge from the bathroom, he finally relaxed when she called out for him to enter. Angel turned the handle until the door clicked open – then froze to the spot on the vision before him.
Cordelia had dropped the bath sheet and was in the process of rubbing the excess water out of her long hair; luckily for her, her back faced the door, and for a few minutes Angel had an unobstructed view of nude flesh from nape to heels.
His mesmerized dark eyes followed the path of a single droplet of water as it snaked from her hair and slithered down between her shoulder blades, then along her flawless skin until it slid over the blazing sun nestled at the dip in her spine; before finally disappearing between the full, firm globes of her butt. Saliva pooled in his mouth as his scrutiny continued down her long, still faintly tanned perfect legs.
Throwing the head towel aside, Cordelia turned around to grab her fresh underwear from the bedside chair- and became as still as the vampire stood just inside the open door. The Gods were being extremely generous to him today, was all he could think as he openly devoured every inch of her with bitter chocolate eyes ringed in amber. Her hand remained poised over her underwear as her brain struggled to catch up with her motor functions.
The shock of seeing the burgeoning arousal straining at the soft fabric of his pants did what her mind seemed incapable of, and she finally came to life, turning to grab the discarded towel, her hands shaking uncontrollably as she attempted to wrap it around her exposed flesh. When that small task seemed beyond her, Cordelia settled with just holding it tightly over her breasts until it covered her to the knees.
“I said don’t come in!” her voice came out too high, making her wince. Clearing her throat she tried again, but words failed her at the stunned awe on the vampire’s face- then he stepped forward.
“A-Angel?” instinctively stepping back, she came up against the side of the bed. Unable to retreat, Cordelia felt vulnerable- and aroused. The unnatural silence plus the intensely hungry expression on his face as he slowly advanced pushed all rational thought out of her head.
“God, Cordy; you are so beautiful,” his husked voice sent shudders of pleasure down her spine leaving her unable to do anything but look mutely into his face when he finally came to a halt directly in front of her.
Reaching up, Angel slid cool fingers into her damp mussed hair and cupped her nape, tilting her head back gently. His stormy eyes raked her features, dropping momentarily to rest on the still-pink scar on her throat before taking her lips with his own, his tongue sliding in deep and claiming her mouth just as deeply as his fangs had a few nights before.
For endless moments, Cordelia reveled in the pleasure of his mouth on hers, enjoying his unique taste as she tangled her tongue with his demanding one. All anger and problems faded away as she fell into his web of desire…when reality finally came crashing back, her hand rose to cup his cool cheek and exert pressure.
Initially, Angel ignored the telltale stiffening of her earlier pliant warm body, but then reluctantly lifted his head, their lips popping apart. Resting his forehead on hers, he sighed heavily with regret at the stormy conflict that warred in her beautiful autumn tinted eyes.
“I’m sorry, Cor; I just-” he let out another breath, this one harsh as he slowly released her; “I-I’ll just be downstairs,” Angel couldn’t resist one more sweep of her warm lips with his own before turning abruptly and quickly exiting his old suite.
Cordelia drew a deep shaky breath, running her free hand over her burning eyes several times before shaking her self abruptly; angry with herself for being mostly regretful that he’d left-Too much to deal with right now without throwing that dangerous activity into the mix too! but it hurt when all you wanted was for the man you loved to kiss away the pain and make it all better…
Two hours later and still they were no nearer to how they once were- hell, even their deep friendship would have been better than nothing right now. The good news was, she’d listened- really listened to his explanations of his crazy frame of mind at the time- the possession, followed by a coma all had confidently assured the vampire Cordelia would never recover from- and the loss of his son.
Although still a tinge of betrayal towards him in those hazel depths, Angel had also seen reluctant understanding. Reaching out for something familiar, and not really thinking beyond spouting half promises that were forgotten almost as soon as he’d left Sunnydale- then later, a pissing contest with Spike over the Slayer, which he admitted uncomfortably as acting like a five year old over a candy bar.
Neither mentioned the episode with the blonde link to the Senior Partners; not as if they both hadn’t experienced various possessions before – although both couldn’t regret one in particular. It had opened both of their eyes- even if it had taken them a long time to admit it.
As he walked through the sewers, Angel went over their final discussion- if it could be called that! His taking over a branch of one of their most dangerous enemies was still regarded as: ‘the dumbest, stupidest, totally brainless- did I mention dumbest? Thing you’ve ever done- and that’s including your flirty flirt with the beige side, buddy!’
Yes, Cordelia had made it clear that she wanted no part of the life he now had- almost going so far as to hint at moving on and starting fresh elsewhere. That had raised his fear and anger through the roof, and he’d had to leave before he’d been tempted to tie her up and secure her in some specially made ivory tower somewhere.
“I have the means to do it too,” he muttered lowly as he picked up his pace; cringing at the very thought of her reaction to that show of complete- and hazardous to his health, stupidity.
One step forward, only to go three steps back- was it wrong of him to want it easy for once in his life; was it too much to ask? Going by past experience, apparently it was.
Okay; so now she felt a little more at ease about the whole Buffy/Angel debacle, but there were still other things- much worse things, to consider; and those things weren’t so easy to accept.
Angel was convinced he was doing the right thing- the only thing he could have done, given the circumstances:
“It’s not as if I signed away my soul or anything stupid like that, Cordy,” his irritated, rather condescending tone had her back rising several feet.
“You may as well have done- God, Angel, these are the people who did everything- everything to destroy us! How can you stand there and say you are in control?- Hello? Tell me again what you had to do last night?” Angel had merely growled and started pacing.
“They made it possible for C-Connor to have a real life-“
“Real Samaritans, eh? Going from ‘ooh, let’s kidnap the miraculous result of two vampires and dissect him piece by piece- or better yet, help an evil demon attempt to kill him; hey, taken to a hell dimension by a total whacko: even better!” He hadn’t taken that too well.
“Oh, and The Powers are all things good? They nearly kill you with visions; taking you away from me then sending you back evil, ” striding up to her to glare in her face; “sleeping with my son- turning him against me…letting loose Angelus and killing people?” he’d ranted in a voice filled with a world of hurt. “Wolfram & Hart sure feel like a walk in the park compared to what they did, Cor.” she’d paled and flinched.
“That wasn’t me- you know that- you told me,” she’d whispered hoarsely. It had been Angel’s turn to flinch. Reaching out a hand he’d cupped her cheek gently. “I know that, baby- but they chose the one person who had the power to destroy me,”he’d whispered back painfully, then his face had slowly hardened and he’d taken a step back. “I won’t regret my decision- I can’t; I can make this work out. I’m in a position to make good out of this.”
“God, he really believes it.” Cordelia still couldn’t get over the conviction in his dark eyes as he talked about the advantages of ‘working from the inside’. Was he blind? She’d asked pole axed by his determination to convince her.
A burst of rage had made her thoughts at the time escape her lips: the complete stillness of his large body had actually frightened her, and her breath had caught in her throat when suddenly surrounded by the vampire; amber eyes and deadly fangs inches from her cringing face. “Don’t even say that in jest, Cordelia- if you try to leave me, I’ll…” he’d paused when her flinching expression had melted away to be replaced with cold curiosity.
“You’ll what?” she’d asked, her tone dripping with ice. Angel’s face had smoothed out, but the wild anger had still lingered in the depths of his dark eyes.
“I won’t let you go,” his equally dark tone had sent shivers of alarm along Cordelia’s nerve-endings, and she’d pulled back jerkily; relieved when he released her.
He’d left shortly after, snatching the keys of the Plymouth still parked outside, from the counter and sliding them into his pocket as he made his way to the basement.
That had pissed her off- would have been nice to have wheels again; speaking of which:
“What the hell happened to my Jeep?”
Angel was seriously pissed.
It was almost time for the sun to set and he’d yet to find Eve. She’d seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth-, which to his furious mind only compounded her guilt regarding the bugging of the hotel.
He wanted answers: why was it done- what was behind it- and more importantly; were they planning to do something to Cordelia? The fact he couldn’t ignore her valid point riled him too- he needed to be right about his decision, for his own piece of mind. But if hewas in charge, why were things like this happening behind his back? – that little voice inside his head was screaming that he was being played- but he had to think of his son too in all of this. All he could really do was make sure he was always one step ahead of them.
Glancing out of the windows, he tapped his fingers on the desk’s surface as he waited impatiently for the last rays of the sun to slide below the horizon- even though he wasn’t sure what his next move was regarding the stubborn brunette he’d left behind this morning. His gut had been in knots all day, worrying about what she was up to- or what she could possibly be planning in the angry head of hers. Cordelia was, at present, like an unstable-bomb ready to go off at any given time- he just had to make sure he was there if and when that happened.
So deep in thought, he missed the firm rap on the door of his office, and the consequent opening of it.
“Angel? Wanna tell me what’s going on?” his head jerked towards the door, eyes widening in shock as he took in the slight, fair-haired young woman framed in the opening.