6. Regrets, I have a few…Gulp.
“What’s in here?” Cordy’s brows arched; her interest caught, – purely because the locked door was the only one not set symmetrically apart like all the others; plus it was pretty close to her own.
Considering how large her bedroom was, she couldn’t figure out how it could *be* so close and not be noticed inside.
The curiosity turned to annoyance at finding it securely locked. “It’s locked; I thought you said you’d checked all the rooms up here?” turning her head towards the vampire, whose dark eyes, for some reason, were looking everywhere but at her.
“I did,” Angel replied briefly and latched onto the wrist of the hand still tugging at the handle in an attempt to peel her away and move on- quickly.
“But it’s locked,” Cordy repeated, a teasing grin sliding on her face. “What- did you turn to mist and creep under the door?” the grin widened; “If you did, that would be so cool! Do it!” Angel rolled his eyes; which looked weird and caused a snikker to burst out. She bounced up and down when he shook his head silently. “doitdoitdoit,”
for a moment, Angel was distracted by the delicious jiggle of her, in his opinion, perfect breasts; then shook his head again- this time in an attempt to dispel the rush of arousal that had insidiously crept from his brain to his groin. “No! I can’t do that- it’s just gypsy hocus-pocus that a few arrogant vampire’s use,” half growling when she raised a brow; her expression clearly reading ‘and you aren’t’?
“Sooooo…what you’re saying is Super-Anal-Stealth-Master tried the handle, found it locked, shrugged his broad, hunchy shoulders and walked away?” Angel found himself straightening up at her little reference to his posture even as his hand reached out again to pull her hand off the handle. “I didn’t scent anything unnatural, so why break the door?” he replied with what he thought acceptable logic. “I’m hungry- aren’t you hungry? Let’s go eat,” Cordy stared at him as if he’d suddenly turned into a Season One Wes.
“Just force it open,”
“Jeeze, what’s your problem?” Cordy rolled her eyes with a mixture of disbelief and exasperation, “look, we’ve checked out every inch of the ‘oh-deargod-I-want-this-house, and this is the only door you’ve baulked at opening!”
Angel shifted his feet uncomfortably, looking down at the intricate pattern of the hall carpet rather than face the pissed off brunette now glaring at him. “But…it’s locked,” he lamely excused his reluctance.
“Pfft. Like *that* ever stopped you before.” The foot- tapping started and he gulped visibly.
“It’s a nice house…plus this isn’t like the other times- where we were trespassing in nameless-faced-people-places, Cor; we really don’t want to trash their home, do we?” the whine crept in and Cordy began to feel the urge to throttle him.
“Well what if we find a vicious demon and you have to fight it?” she asked with a sneer. “You gonna ask it not to land on the furniture when you’re beating the crap out of it?”
“Look, i doubt a big vicious demon would hide in such a small room, Cor-“
“And you know it’s ‘small’ how?” Uh- oh
“Did you hear that?” Angel swiveled round sharply, his dark head tilting to the side; a darkly intent expression now on his face.
“What? What was it?” Cordy instantly went on defence, her hazel eyes widening warily as she scooted behind him, grabbing the back of his leather jacket, and peered around him; totally forgetting about the door and her growing ‘I-wanna-strangle-the-dork’ moment.
“Something downstairs- could be a demon- stay here, okay?” Angel hid the quick sigh of relief: as he’d desperately hoped, she bought it. How could he have been dumb enough to bring her back to this floor on their search, was beyond him.
“Stay here? Why? What’s to say that that ‘something’ won’t make it’s way upstairs whilst you’re down there not protecting me?- I’m coming too!” Cordy pushed past him and was instantly brought to a halt by a large hand clamping firmly around her upper arm.
“Cor!” he sighed, deliberately aloud and with weary irritation, “There’s only one flight of stairs- which I’m going down, so the ‘something’ won’t get past me.” And I get a chance to do some clever, put-one-over-on-the-too-sharp-seer. He relaxed when she stopped tugging at her captured arm; resisting the urge to also capture the adorable pouting lower lip she turned to display, between his own.
“Fine” she huffed, folding her arms when he released her. “But I hope I don’t have to say I told you so when I’m Demon chow; though I’ll probably have to haunt you in ghostly form as I probably won’t have vocal chords- or a mouth- or even a body by then- Angel?” she watched his rapidly retreating back, hearing the ‘I’ll be right back’ with a growing pout, then looked around warily.
“Yeah… just remember, buddy- I’ve got Dennis to give me tips!” she yelled towards the stairs, and then crossed her arms with a huff.
After several minutes of silence and none- crashing of furniture or screams of agony as the vampire pounded the ‘something’, Cordy began to fidget, getting restless. Her eyes eventually settled on that locked door, and she slowly walked forward, until standing directly in front of it.
“Dorkulus said he’d searched this floor while I was off showering; there has *got* to be a reason for it- as there’s *no* way he’d just walk past a locked room.” her bottom lip reddened as she chewed it thoughtfully.
Looking towards the empty staircase, a slow grin slid across her mouth. When Angel had been exploring his beigy side, Gunn had showed her a few lock-picking tricks- and she’d been a quick study.
After one more searching look and listen towards the stairs, she raced to her room and rooted through her toiletry bag sitting on the dressing table. “Ah-ha!” holding up the handy metal nail file, she raced back out of the room- running smack into that familiar broad- and painfully steel-hewn chest. “Oomph…Tell me *why* I still have a straight nose after being around you for, like forever?” she groused, rubbing the tip gingerly.
Angel stepped back, looking suitably apologetic; “sorry-” nearly shooting out of his skin when the brunette suddenly jerked her head up with something akin to panic on her face.
“Didn’t you go outside?” Cordy’s eyes widened in sheer disbelief when he mutely shook his head. “But you *have* to; jeeze, call yourself an investigator,” Angel just stood there scratching his head and wondering why she was questioning his abilities- again! So much for trust and belief; he was beginning to feel inadequate in some way- and that pissed him off big time.
Reaching out, he gripped her arms; attempting to temper his hold when she looked fearfully into the room behind her.
“What is it? –Did you see something in here?” his own eyes widened in fear -for his seer, instantly switching places until Cordy ended up behind him and out in the hallway.
She stifled the grin creeping over her face with difficulty. Score one for meee “Not *in* the room,” her lips quivered, the fear portrayed just enough to melt his delicious brown eyes; “I came in here and…” pushing past him, Cordy headed towards one of the large windows; halting anxiously when halfway there. “Someone- or *something* started throwing stones at my window.” Wide innocent, and oh, so helpless orbs of shadowed honey stared back at him.
Before she could blink, he’d moved past her to pull back the drapes and open the window. After craning his neck; dark head poking out and looking carefully below, he pulled back, closing the window firmly, shutting the drapes and turned to face her. “I can’t see anyone- or thing out there -but,” he added hastily at the gradually building quiver of plump, pink flesh; “I’ll go out and check the perimeter.”
Angel joined her in the middle of the room, his expression now in soothing mode, “I’m gonna lock the main door after me, so if anyone knocks, don’t open it,” he warned her softly. “I’ll have a key, so it won’t be me.” The urge to push him out of her room and down the stairs, or shout “Get a move on, then” was so, so close to the surface; but Cordy smiled brightly instead.
The vampire looked a bit dazed and stood staring down at her lovely face before slightly shaking his head; swiveling on his heel to walk out of her room. She followed, keeping her expression suitably anxious with a touch of DiD.
As soon as he disappeared down the stairs, and the sound of the lock clicking into place reached her waiting ears, Cordy ran over to the locked door and slid the nail file out of the back of her waist band. “I deserve an Oscar after that,” she snickered, before slipping the file into the lock; the tip of her tongue poking out as she jiggled it around. “Wuhoo!” a big fat grin spread across her face when she heard the soft click of the mechanism, removing the file and grabbing onto the handle with triumph.
“I don’t need super-dooper powers to break in, so nur Mister ‘don’t-wanna-break-it'” the grin slipped a little when the door pulled open, revealing a dark, seemingly empty room.
Slipping a hand around the doorjamb, Cordy felt blindly for a light switch. The grin disappeared completely on finding only a smooth wall. Opening the door wider, she narrowed her eyes and squinted; the light from the hallway softly illuminating the dark brown leather lounge chair that so far seemed to be the only item of furniture in there – and a pull light at the far end of the room.
“Dumb place to have a switch,” she grumbled, making her way cautiously toward it-jumping a little when the door swung slowly shut. “Gah! Trip over god knows what and mebbe lose a limb, why don’t I?” the grumbling got louder as she hurried her pace, determined to get to the cord before total blackness consumed the apparently tiny room.
Just as her fingers wrapped around it, the door clicked shut. Quickly, Cordy tugged it, expecting to be flooded with light…. instead, the wall directly ahead melted away, revealing peach tiles and a faboo shower.
“Hold on a minute… that’s *my* shower- and oops for leaving the lights on,” after several seconds of checking out the large cubicle, clocking her extra-soft-but-an-exfoliating-dream scrunchy- plus her almost-salon strawberry shampoo/conditioner, the expression of surprise slowly melted away to be replaced by growing mortification –and anger.
In fact, if Cordelia Chase had been a cartoon character, steam would have been pouring out of her ears- though the brunette reddened like a ripe cherry with no problems whatsoever.
“Why, that sneaky, rotten, scum-of-the-earth PERV!” The high pitch of her rising voice was most likely only a few decibels short of shattering the mirror/voyeur’s paradise melty wall, then a low growl built in her chest; hazel eyes turning gold without any vampy undead help.
“He is soooo gonna pay for this,” the growl reaching her now-dry throat grew in volume as it expelled harshly.
7. Fall of a Vampire…
Cordy twirled the pasta on her fork absently as she gazed at the dark-haired vampire with an inscrutable expression. The object of her attention squirmed in his seat uncomfortably, attempting to read the normally clear-as-glass young woman- nope; not one clue as to what was going through that lovely head.
“Uh-uh,” Cordy shook her head briefly without tearing her eyes away from him. The squirming grew.
Ever since he’d returned from his scout outside, Cordy had been unusually quiet, merely smiling her thanks when he walked into her room, and then rose from the edge of her bed to stroll past him, suggesting they eat now that the mini- crisis was over. Angel had followed dumbly behind, discreetly scratching his head in confusion.
What had happened to the seriously anxious seer he’d left behind…. and no freaking out that no one or no thing had been found outside. And why, more importantly, had she walked past that locked door without even one single glance?
After the nightmare ten minutes Cordy had put him through with her dogged insistence that Angel open it…and the sick knowledge he had that a critical body part would be lost immediately afterwards- the vampire knew in his bones something was definitely up – something that, for once, today, wasn’t the critical body part…but damned if he knew what.
“Have you had a shower yet?” her abrupt question yanked him out of his thoughts, and he automatically shook his head before frowning in confusion.
“Um, why are you asking?” That was a first. Cordy had *never* asked him about his hygiene habits before, plus, it was a subject a little too close to home and it almost threw him into a state of blind panic. At that moment, he thanked every God that vampires weren’t able to blush.
“Oh, nothing,” she replied with a slight shrug, then added with a distinct twist of her mouth; “It’s just… there is a distinct aroma of Eau De Sewer, and it’s definitely not me.” All guilt flew out of the window, Angel’s broad shoulders instantly stiffened with offended pride.
Did she just suggest…? He knew for a fact that he *never* smelled of anything but generic soap, shampoo and a light hint of sandalwood cologne…. sans the fifty or so years he lived the unlife of a sewer rat. And he should know—after all, wasn’t he a vampire with a ‘supersensitive doggy-nose’ as Cordy bluntly put it? “It isn’t me- it must be coming from somewhere else,” he finally answered with a huff after dipping his head discreetly [just to make sure] and sniffing himself.
“Well, it isn’t me, either,” Cordy snorted with disdain. “I thoroughly scrubbed every inch of my skin *and* washed my hair,” she reminded him, leaning forward and shoving her wrist in his face.
“Can’t you tell? Strawberries smell nothing like sewage.” Angel didn’t need her pulse point inches from his nose to scent her; hell, he hadn’t been able to get the image of that fruity gel being applied- and right now thanked the God’s again that he sat at a heavy pine kitchen table as his lower body reacted to both the heightened scent and the memory that had been burned into his brain for the rest of his unlife.
At the horrific thought of Cordy noticing his ‘discomfort’ with those eagle-sharp eyes, Angel half rose from his seat, making sure his straining pants were out of view. “Look, if it bothers you that much, I’ll go shower now,” Angel stifled the moan that was at present trapped in his tight chest, when his aching groin brushed the heavy wood.
“I won’t be long.” He muttered, sliding along the edge of the table that, luckily for him, was only a few feet from the entrance to the hallway.
“Oh, don’t rush back on my account,” Cordy let out a yawn and stretched her arms above her head, drawing his greedy eyes to her voluptuous torso. “As soon as I finish eating, I’m going to bed.” Just as he managed to drag his eyes to somewhere other than his seer’s body parts, She let out a coupe de grace.
“By the way, have you got one of those full-length mirrors in *your* shower stall?” How she held back a cackle of triumph, at his reaction, she didn’t know.
Angel’s head had swiveled round to face her abruptly, his mouth dropping open in shock even as his body continued to move – completely forgetting about the chair he’d been about to move out of the way. His boot tangled with one of the legs and he tripped; knocking the chair over and sprawled inelegantly, his momentum sending him sliding across the glossy floor tiles, only coming to an abrupt halt when his head hit the wall next to the door with a sickening thud.
For a second, Cordy froze agape, and then belatedly rose to her feet; only just managing to change the all-out snicker to a strangled ohhh of concern, scooting off her chair she rushed over and squatted next to his prone form.
“God, Angel, that was…” Cordy swallowed the titter threatening to escape, “um… you okay?” She reached out and poked a mean finger into the lump that was rapidly forming on his temple, muttering sorry with a barely stifled grin at his ouch and mini glare.
Collecting his twisted limbs together, Angel almost bounded to his to his feet, looking anywhere but at the young woman still crouching on the floor, who now blinked up at him in surprise at his sudden move. Still refusing to meet her eyes, he stooped down and pulled her up abruptly.
As soon as the world straightened on it’s axis, Cordy recovered and yanked her arm from his grasp. Refusing to be distracted- and hoo, boy, that had been one hell of a distraction, she slipped an expression of distaste on her face.
“Ack! No thanks; don’t want to have to shower again ‘cos you’ve contaminated me with sewage-smells!” All thoughts of staking himself in humiliation fled from Angel’s dazed brain as her disparaging words sunk in, and he took a step back, his shoulders stiffening in renewed offence. He lifted an arm and sniffed underneath.
“I can’t smell anything,” He pouted, getting really fed up of her insistence that the smell she must have been imagining emanated from him, and the urge to wipe that icky-faced expression from her face was almost painful. But then again, he thought belatedly, at least that barely stifled smirk had disappeared. It was as if she’d taken great pleasure watching his pratfall, and that had kinda hurt more than the bump on his head had.
“I thought vampires were supposed to be graceful”, she added, this time letting out a giggle, a big grin splitting her amused face. “Any other injuries from your little trip to the Slippy side?” Cordy asked in obvious faux-concern, determined to ignore the growing hurt expression on his face.
Straightening his shirt carefully, Angel dropped his head dejectedly and turned away, this time carefully checking for obstacles. “Only my pride,” he mumbled under his breath as he finally exited, a little confused at her apparent lack of sympathy. Whenever he’d hurt himself in the past, it was a done deal that Cordy would fuss over him like a broody hen, and right now, he regretted the few times he’d become irritated by it.
Oh, well, Angel thought as he left her behind, still painfully aware of her amusement as it rang in his ears, at least he could be grateful of one thing, the tumble had taken care of the uncomfortable bulge in his pants.