The air was rent with a shrill scream, and Angel bolted upright. All senses alert, his eyes taking in every corner of the dark room, before darting down to rest on the heaving bundle still under the covers.
In an instant, the covers were ripped off and a writhing brunette was hauled into his arms.
A low, soft voice penetrated Cordelia’s tortured mind, pulling her away from the demon tearing her apart limb by limb. The low, soft voice soothed and reassured her that everything was okay and… safe.
Blurry hazel eyes opened and looked into concerned brown. Her tired and distraught mind only aware of the strong arms that wrapped around her and the soft voice that rolled on and on, sleep crept back gently, until her eyes fluttered closed and her taut body relaxed into his.
Angel stared down at the sleeping and now relaxed face of his Seer, and tenderness welled up as he gently stroked away slow-to-dry tears that mapped her golden skin. Settling back down on the mattress, he tucked her close to his body and smoothed her spine in long slow sweeps. Her hands clutched at his shoulders and a long supple leg lifted to hook around his hip as she nuzzled her face into his throat.
It took a long while before the vampire found sleep once again, warmer than he’d ever been in a looong time, and aching with a feeling he couldn’t put a name to for the vulnerable brunette held close to his body
Oh, crap. That sentence just kept rolling around her rather refreshed brain, and refused to go away.
Waking up wrapped around a sleeping vampire akin to the latest fashion blanket was a good enough reason to think those two words. Oh. Crap. Yup, her day had just started on a low note.
Easing away an inch at a time seemed to work pretty well, and eventually freedom was found. Scooting across the mattress, Cordelia crept out of bed and tiptoed to the bathroom, where she let out a big breath of relief and sagged against the wall.
The fact that her t-shirt was in the region of her throat, and her naked beasts had been flattened to a wall of solid muscle was also more than enough reason to keep on saying those words. In fact, she intended on thinking them all through the day until they made no sense whatsoever.
Tea for Wes: oh, crap, researching until she went blind; oh, crap- sneaking glances at the vampire who’d leeched her body heat all night; oh, crap!. The best – or possibly worst words in the world to describe her feelings right now.
Humming a tune to them, Cordelia washed, rinsed and repeated with her shampoo and conditioner, and put off the inevitable returning to her room where she’d stupidly left a fresh change of clothes. She could only hope Angel slept like that log she talked about so enthusiastically yesterday- that terrible day when her mouth ran away with her and put her in that crappy position in the first place.
A day to mark in her diary in big red letters: The day I opened my big mouth, Angel slept with me, and I found the poetic meaning to the words, Oh, Crap!. Yup, that said it all.
By the time she’d plucked up the courage to return to her shaded room, the two words had finally begun to make no sense whatsoever, and other thoughts popped in instead- thoughts she refused to take heed of for fear of her barely held sanity. Relieved to find Angel the proverbial log; in fact, looking deader than a doornail- a very handsome looking doornail, but still…. Get your mind out of that bad place, Cordelia Chase, and get your clothes NOW!
Grabbing her things for the day, she retreated back to the bathroom and dressed like a tornado in Texas, then crept back out and through her room to the relative safety of the lounge. Just as she got to the kitchen, a soft rapping made her jump a mile, and when she peeled herself off the ceiling, she realized the sound was coming from the front door.
“Wes! You’re… bright and early!” And, oh, crap, there’s a vampire in my bed. she smiled a bit too brightly and double checked his face to make sure she hadn’t said that out loud; nope, still clueless, which was usual for the brainiac with an F in male-female interaction.
“Yes, I am rather- also, I am well on my way to a slipped disc if you don’t let me in right…now.” It was then she noticed the pile of books he almost lovingly held to his chest like he had a Jones the size of his country. Her hands went to her hips and she refused to budge from her place directly in front of the struggling Rogue Demon Hunter.
“No way in hell are you setting foot in my home with yet more grubby, probably mite-infested books, buster, so you can turn around and take that little hiney of yours back to your little den.” The tight line of her mouth melted when she was bodily lifted and moved to the side.
Her lips parted in a mixture of shock and annoyance on seeing the vampire reaching out to relieve the man of his merchandise and retreat back into her shadowed apartment. Swiveling on her heel, Cordelia stalked after the vampire and poked him repeatedly in his back as he made his way to her already overloaded coffee table and put them down,
“Get those stinky books outta my home right now! I swear this apartment is gonna smell like Dennis’ mother- sorry Dennis, if you keep bringing more and more-” her jabbing weapon-finger was grabbed firmly when he abruptly turned and faced her blandly.
“Good morning to you too,” Angel watched for a moment as she struggled to retrieve her finger, and after seeing the color of temper start to rise in her delicate face, her released her just as abruptly and walked around her. “Morning, Wes.” With an almost growl, Cordelia surveyed the books with a death ray glare, and when they didn’t sizzle and turn to ashes, she turned it on the men before stalking to the kitchen in a huff.
“Looks like someone got out of bed the wrong side this morning,” Wes commented, his voice floating into the kitchen and bringing those two little words back to the surface, and she oh, crapped her way through the entire process of preparing coffee, blood and tea, resisting the temptation to put chili powder in the latter two with great difficulty.
One good thing; at least said vampire was in the land of nod when she’d availed herself of his big body. For such a chiseled, hard frame, he made a good mattress, and didn’t that just make her feel so much better! That called for at least one addition to his blood, and Cordelia eased her conscience by telling herself at least it wasn’t her original added extra.
Scooping up the tray with three cups balanced perfectly, she gathered herself and exited the kitchen to find them ensconced in the dining area, knee-deep in books [as usual].
“Hot, wet goodness; what a way to start the day- even if it IS 7am,” throwing a pointed look at the Englishman, which was wasted as he didn’t even bother looking higher than the tea cup when he reached for it with a murmured thanks. Angel reached for his mug, took a sip and shuddered.
“It’s gone bad” Angel grimaced as he peered down into the mug as he took a quick sniff, then gave the brunette a suspicious look. Was this revenge for aiding and abetting Wes, he wondered?
“What?” Cordelia asked distractedly as she swallowed a sip of her own morning drink.
“It’s coagulated… See” Angel showed her the mug, where lumps floated on the surface of the steaming blood.
“No, that’s cinnamon!” Her eyebrows raised a little as she pinned him with a slight glare. “Do you think I would give you bad blood?” she demanded, affronted. Instantly, Angel adopted the patented puppy dog expression glanced at the mug.
“No! I just… Cinnamon?” he asked, his deep voicing rising a touch, which sounded rather strange, and any other time would have made her giggle and wind him up rotten. But not this time, uh-uh!
“And you said it’s gone bad. Do you think I don’t make sure my friend has food that hasn’t gone past it’s drink-by-date?” Cordelia was getting pissed now- fair enough, she’d done it partly… well, completely to annoy him- but bad blood? What kind of friend did he think she was?
Angel didn’t have a chance to look horrified as he watched the brunette dip her finger into the mug, swirl it around before popping that finger between her lips. Both Angel and Wesley were stunned into silence as Cordelia sucked the blood from her finger.
Oh God! That stuff was just… well, it should be outlawed. She struggled to keep herself from gagging at the cold, bitter taste that now lingered on her tongue.
“See?” Cordelia forced a grin onto her lips, “fresh as the day the pig was squealing in its death throes.” Then her mouth turned down at the thought. “Poor piggy,” she added softly, then casually sauntered from the room – and hightailed it to the bathroom to rinse out her mouth and use copious amounts of mouthwash.
“Well…. that was educational,” Wes murmured, clearing his throat and removing his glasses to wipe away imaginary dust as his mind absorbed the total awe of seeing an insight into a potential Cordelia-shaped vampire.
“Definitely.” Angel’s eyes were still glued to the archway that the brunette had walked through a second earlier, still reeling from the sight of a bloody finger going into her mouth and being sucked dry by those perfect pink lips.
That young woman amazed him every single moment, and with each little quirk, he found himself falling deeper under her spell. Cordelia Chase was a witch, a temptress, and must be stopped at all costs- or this vampire was going to end up snatching her up and keeping her for himself for a long, long time!
Then his mouth quirked as he distinctly heard her hewing and icking in the bathroom over the rush of tap water. What a woman! Every vampire should own one. When his mind took a diversion and started thinking of other things she could do with that mouth, Angel realized he had to get a grip and remember that that woman was also the closest thing to family he had, and he must not, under any circumstances, imagine her mouth wrapped around lower parts of his anatomy. He grimaced and shifted subtly; glad the brunette was taking her time returning.
Five minutes went by before Cordelia entered the dining area, her smile in place and exuding mint like over-used perfume. Wes sniffed the air and sent her a sly look.
“Rather nice air freshener, Cordelia,” Wes coughed theatrically, “but using a whole tin is overkill, wouldn’t you say?” Angel darted the brunette a quick look, waiting for a mini explosion, as she was wont to do on occasion with the young man, but was surprised to see her mouth remaining relaxed- and closed.
Cordelia kept a bland expression on her face with amazing control and reached for a book. “Maybe we’ll forget the cinnamon in future, Angel; sticks to the roof of your mouth, doesn’t it?” she commented, her hazel eyes pretending interest in the cramped text on the page she’d opened to.
I am sooo mature! Kudos to me. she stifled a victory grin at the scowl on Wesley’s face and attempted to keep her eyes from crossing as the gobbledygook on the page glared sluggishly back at her.
After getting a warning look from the vampire opposite, Wes let the subject drop, and began an intense and excruciatingly boring description of the Demon of the Day. Okay, eyes were definitely crossing now, but Cordelia couldn’t really complain, as the day took a turn to their brand of normality and all sleeping arrangements and oh, craps were tucked away- until that night, anyway.
Ahh, there go the walls; up up up. Angel watched discreetly as the brunette became more and more antsy and quiet as the sun dipped below the horizon, and this time, before Wes had even suggested calling it a night, Cordelia had said her goodnights and scooted to the relative safety of her room.
Shortly after that, Wes decided their discussion might keep her awake and prepared to leave, which was no mean feat as he was practically surrounded by large books. With Angel’s help he was finally able to make his way into the lounge and stretched until his back popped before searching for his jacket.
That took several minutes, but was eventually found wedged between yet more books. With a rather anxious and guilty look around the beleaguered lounge, Wes wondered aloud if he should attempt to tidy up a little before leaving.
“No, that’s okay, Wes; I’ll clean up before going to bed.” Wes nodded as he took in the pile of books littering the large couch.
“It doesn’t really look as if you have much of a choice, since your ‘bed’ is rather cluttered,” he observed quietly, and then straightened up and made his way towards the door. “I’ll leave you too it then- if you’re sure you don’t want me to assist?” At the shake of the vampire’s head, Wes made his escape, his mind already on a certain book he still had at home.
Angel double checked the locks behind the man and then turned to regard the untidy room with expressionless eyes. His acute hearing picked up the soft spray of the shower and decided it was best to delay his arrival just a little longer to at least give Cordelia a chance to get ready and pop into their bed…. Nope – her bed..
“That’s right; keep reminding yourself of that,” he muttered as he began the gargantuan task of clean up duties.
By the time all the books but the relevant ones were piled besides the crammed book case, the shower had long turned off and silence met his ears… well, almost silence; Angel could hear her hammering heart from where he stood at the far end of the lounge. Taking time to straighten the dining area into some semblance of order, he was feeling a little less guilty about the sleeping arrangement he’d more or less forced on the brunette- the slower pace of her heart helped with that.
Opening the door softly, Angel was relieved to find her heartbeat remained steady, and almost chickened out to instead return to the couch; but recalling the night before; he closed the door and silently walked towards the bathroom. On re-emerging when he’d finished showering, he found the little lump hugging one side had graduated towards the middle, and with a small sigh, he walked round to his side and carefully pulled aside the covers.
Bending over her sleeping form, Angel gently scooped her up ready to move her over, but the plan backfired when her arms immediately wrapped around his neck almost making him lose his balance. Great. Now what did he do? So much for decorum!
Easing his knees on the bed one at a time, Angel settled down on his side and rearranged her limbs until she was comfortably tucked into his body, their final position not unlike the night before. He had to admit that he kind of liked sharing her body heat- and as long as her flesh remained covered through the night, he was sure he could cope.
Waking up at the crack of dawn and slowly becoming aware that her full breasts were literally stuck to his chest without the modesty of her t-shirt, had come as a shock. That it was a very pleasant shock had had the effect of Mister Happy making an unexpected appearance, but even though Angel had attempted to peel her off him, she’d merely tightened her arms around his neck and flexed that golden leg over his hip until Mister happy eagerly nestled against her lower belly.
He was surprised to find sleep crept back over him, and had a few anxious moments when finding himself alone and wondering if Cordelia had noticed the hard time he’d been having. But, beside the odd look of discomfort, Angel had seen no sign of mortification on her lovely face.
Settling down, he unconsciously cradled her nape and assisted her in her search for the best spot for her face against his neck, and willed Mister Happy to be a good boy and stay down. As he drifted off to sleep, the thought of maybe purchasing a large teddy bear for her popped in his drowsy mind- then was expelled instantly at the thought of said teddy bear getting the heat and attention she was bestowing on him
Angel was awoken abruptly yet again as the warmth he was cocooned in disappeared when Cordelia’s body pulled roughly away. His eyes snapped open to find her thrashing under the covers, which soon fell away as she tugged and finally kicked away her pajama bottoms.
When her frantic hands went for her t-shirt, movement kicked in and the vampire loomed over her to grab her hands. The long length of golden legs that went on forever ended with a tiny pair of black silk panties. The sight of her tanned flesh contrasting with one of his two favorite colors was more than enough for him thank you very much.
As soon as his hands latched onto her wrists, Cordelia freaked out even more. “Get it off meeee!” she wailed, pulling at his grip on her until Angel finally released them and instead grabbed her in a bear hug.
Rolling onto his back and taking her with him, he softly soothed her until, eventually she calmed down, shuddering in reaction- but her eyes stayed firmly shut. Angel marveled how Cordelia could sleep through such an obviously traumatic nightmare, but on thinking of it, taking into account her serious lack of sleep over the past few weeks, it wasn’t really that strange, he supposed. The weight of what she’d been dealing with alone hit him, breathing slowly but heavily Angel felt his chest ache for her. Stubborn, beautiful, vixen Cordy; always thinking she had to go it alone.
When she finally settled against his chest, Angel took stock of their new position. Things were not looking good. Maybe if her t-shirt wasn’t wrapped around her waist it wouldn’t have been so compromising; with this in mind, he eased the fabric down until it covered her to the tops of her thighs, then turned back on his side and settled her into her usual position with only a murmured complaint before draping herself over him and relaxed.
With a deep sigh, Angel closed his eyes, eternally grateful for the sweats he wore.
Angel stared sightlessly at the thin thread of light that made its way across the ceiling and contemplated the things he’d sacrificed for the sanity of his Seer and not to mention the chance to sleep in a comfortable bed. He sighed heavily, and looked at the dark head resting on his shoulder, face burrowed into his throat.
Well, for a start he’d lost what little privacy he had left. Not to mention total control over his body. The face, well…he’d got that down pat, and no one could beat him when it came to an implacable, unreadable mask that he wore pretty much all of the time. Stillness was also something he had down to a fine art, and most of the time, his voice came out at just the right tone and level he wanted.
But that was easy; that was above the waist!
Waking up to find his seer again plastered to his chest, somehow managing to move his big body onto its back remained a mystery. Nobody moved him when he slept. Which meant his body had betrayed him. That was completely unacceptable. Skin melded to skin from the waist up and when he dared to look along her supine body, it was pretty obvious why he could feel every inch of her torso.
That damned t-shirt had ridden up yet again and her breasts were now flattened against his chest. A tattoo Angel hadn’t even been aware of, graced her lower back, and its rich colors beckoned him. Beckoned him to look lower, where that scrap of black silk Cordelia dared to call underwear rode low on her hips and revealed an incredible, equally golden ass. This girl definitely sunbathed nude; no question about it.
Angel groaned silently, and attempted to ignore the way erect shaft nudged and pulsed low against her belly. One more inch and Mister Happy would have hit pay dirt and met Little Miss Hot’n’Wet on the brink of something that would most definitely change everything between them.
The groan slipped out involuntarily when the little sleeping vixen slid up that inch, one leg curling high to flank his waist. Jeeezus! Time to move before he liked this new position a little too much. Trouble was, his betraying skunk of a body wouldn’t comply. Gritting his teeth, Angel eased her thigh down and went through the motions of gathering up the too-hot, tight, luscious and lithe body and eventually succeeded in pulling down that t-shirt, sliding her onto her back with only a few compromising moments that had made his head explode. The head in question had no right even going there.
Rolling off the bed, he trod stealthily to the bathroom, refusing to look at the wanton pose the brunette now lay in; arms splayed out and one thigh bent at an angle that just begged him to dive in. He looked- and moaned. When the door shut behind him, he rested against it with his eyes closed; snapping them open when the image engraved on his retinas became even clearer.
Cold shower; yup, a cold shower was the answer to all of his problems. Once in there, the icy spray running down his chest and body, the vampire looked hopefully down. Nope, still there.
Go away! he prayed- actually prayed for this stark pointer to his arousal to take a hike, disappear desist and deflate. He sighed again. It had been a while since spanking monkeys had been an issue; Hell kinda did that to you, but a vampire’s gotta do what a vampire’s gotta do.
It was either that or hide in the bathroom for the rest of the morning. His start to the day just couldn’t get any worse…he hoped.