AUTHOR: CORDYNANGEL (aka Lissette)
SUMMARY: Cordy signs up for more than she bargained for when she agrees to go undercover with Angel.
POSTED: 3 Oct 2004
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A with some minor B/A mentioned at the beginning. Up to ‘Somnambulist’, but set before ‘Expecting’.
WARNINGS: None Listed
1) Kate is still talking to Angel, she helps him out on cases like she did before Somnambulist.
2) Thank you to Lysa for being the most wonderful beta in the world and for being my smut mentor! Thanks for helping me write this, babes.
3) Also, Deb, thanks so much for setting me back on the path to finish this fic.
Wesley beamed from behind a pile of old books strewn about his desk. “This is exciting news!” He exclaimed, removing his glasses and polishing them with a handkerchief he removed from his shirt pocket.
Angel returned the ex-watchers smile with a weak one of his own, “Yeah, great.” He wasn’t as thrilled as he had always imagined he would be upon hearing such incredible news, instead his thoughts were unmistakably consumed by a petite blonde slayer.
“Now you can return to Buffy, and have the life you originally wanted with her.” Wesley was still grinning from ear to ear.
If only things were that simple. “Wesley, I didn’t leave Buffy because of the curse. I left because it was in her best interest for us to go our separate ways…” almost as an afterthought he added, “Nothing but pain came out of our relationship.”
Even upon admitting this bit of information, he still felt overwhelming sorrow when faced with the simple truth of it. “I’ll be in my office if you need me.” With a click of the door he was behind the safety of his dark quarters and free to brood the morning away.
He had spent many days pining over his one ideal day with Buffy. The day she didn’t know about. Didn’t remember, not by any fault of hers, but it hurt his heart all the same. As long as he was a vampire and she was the slayer, it was an impossible relationship. She didn’t accept him, not all of him, and he could never provide her with the normal life she longed for, given that he was a demon.
After the death of his close friend Doyle, he was left with no one he could confide with regarding that ill-fated day spent with his love. Although true, the past couple weeks following Doyle’s death had brought Cordelia and him closer together- practically best friends now, he still was not comfortable talking with her about his former romance with the slayer. After all, Cordelia’s and Buffy’s relationship couldn’t even remotely be described as friendship. Even the mere mention of Buffy’s name, would cause Cordelia to get that irritated glint in her eye, and an irritated Cordy was not a Cordy he wanted to deal with. No. He didn’t need anyone to help him through this. A few more decades of brooding and he was sure the pain would lessen and then he could pick up the pieces of his non-existent love life and move on.
Wesley wasn’t sure what had just happened to send the vampire into instant brood mode. He always thought solving the problem of the curse would be a joyful thing for Angel. Giles had telephoned him a few days ago, and given him the information needed to secure Angel’s soul, and the vampire wasn’t even the least bit appreciative. Well too bad, it was done. Angel’s soul was secure, whether the he cared or not. Besides, ridding the world of the treacherously evil Angelus was admirable enough in itself. Wesley certainly didn’t need the gratitude of a morose vampire to be proud of doing the world such a prodigious favor, and it was evident Giles didn’t either.
His thoughts were interrupted by a loud thud as Cordelia entered the office in a huff, letting the door slam shut behind her. She removed her bag and deposited it on her desk, shuffling through the inside and fishing out a piece of crumpled paper, “The Powers sent Angel a case….and a side of bone crushing, side splitting pain for me. Yay me.” She jeered, raising her fist in a mock cheer.
Handing the wrinkled page to Wesley she added, “Not surprisingly, the vision was as elusive as they come, so all we’ve got to go on are a couple pieces of the puzzle and, I guess, somehow we have to connect the dots.”
Quickly glancing at the two names written in Cordelia’s loopy handwriting, Wesley motioned for Cordy to sit down in front of the computer. “Can you please perform a search for Mary Brodigan?”
Cordelia shot Wesley an annoyed look, before starting over to the computer. Her long, black ankle length skirt swaying back and forth and her high heeled shoes clicking on the floor as she walked, she tugged at the bottom of her golden tank top to even it out before gracefully sitting behind the computer. Tossing a long strand of her silky, rich chocolate hair over her shoulder and out of her way, she briskly nudged the mouse to take the display of standby mode.
Hunting and pecking her way on the keyboard and then pressing the search button, she waited for the results to come back. Wesley made his way over to where she sat, positioning himself behind her, so he could see the computer screen.
“Nothing,” she said, narrowing her eyes and rechecking the small print on the monitor, before giving up altogether. “Maybe Angel can contact cop lady to see if she’s got any information.”
“Vision?” Angel asked, finally emerging from the security of his dark office and heading towards her desk. Cordelia nodded in reply. “What did you see?”
“This woman, Mary, in the hospital and luckily I was able to make out her full name from the doctor’s chart on her bed. She was there having a baby, but it was kidnapped before she was discharged”
“That’s interesting,” Wesley looked over at Angel, “that hardly seems like a case for us.”
“I don’t send the visions, I just get them. So take up your complaints with them,” Cordy said glancing briefly up at the ceiling. “There’s more, it seemed like a different case altogether- but they are somehow connected….I saw what looked like a resort. Deliciae, was the name on the sign. That’s all I saw. Just those two names, and a missing baby.”
“Were you able to see which hospital, or the location of the resort?” asked Wesley.
“All I saw was what I gave you, and um, that it’s past tense, it already happened.”
“The missing baby and this resort were all in one vision?” Angel asked furrowing his eyebrows. Cordelia nodded, “So, these two things are related somehow?”
Rolling her eyes, Cordelia commented sarcastically, “Yeah, way to deduce, dumbass-I just told you that it was.”
He didn’t flinch at her remark, he actually enjoyed her tongue lashings, course he preferred they be directed at someone else but he was willing to take the good with the bad, “Well, I’ll go check with Kate and see if she can give me any information on Mary, what’s her last name?”
“Brodigan,” Wesley replied handing Angel the crumpled paper, “We can find information on Deliciae, while you’re at the police station.” Wesley said waving his hand back and forth between Cordelia and himself.
“Correction, you can look up information on Deliciae.” she said slapping his hand away from her, “I have an audition, hence the stunning attire, which by the way- Nice dress Cordelia, you look beautiful, are those new shoes? Would it kill ya to notice?” shaking her head as she got up to grab her bag, “Never mind, I shouldn’t expect much from an emotionally stunted vampire and his groveling sidekick.” She smiled while pulling her bag over her head positioning it across her chest and strolling out the front door, “so I’ll see you two later!” The door slammed shut and she was gone.
Wesley and Angel stood still staring at the door. Blinking Wesley asked, “What just happened?”
“I think Cordelia insulted us, and then gave herself the afternoon off.” Angel headed to the elevator, “I better get over to the police station.”
The past few hours had been a *complete* waste of time. Kate didn’t have any records on Mary Brodigan, didn’t even have the lady in the city database. He had even checked around with his ‘underground’ sources and had come up with nothing. Despondently, he trudged his way through the murky sewers, making his way back to Angel Investigations. Hopefully, Wesley had more luck in his search.
Angel climbed his way up through the sewer entrance in the middle of his basement apartment, and proceeded to the elevator.
Wesley looked optimistically at Angel, as he arrived at the landing of the ground level floor. “I got nothing,” Angel said quickly so that he didn’t have to look at the hopeful expression on Wesley’s face any longer, “How about you?”
“Well I did find the website for the ‘resort’- as Cordelia put it, I don’t suppose the Powers felt it necessary to show her the nature of this place,” Wesley grinned a bit, “I left it up on the computer so you could take a look.”
Angel moved over to the computer and read the description on the front page of the website for Deliciae.
Bring a refreshing attitude to encourage sexual intimacy within your marriage. Daven and Mavie, a husband and wife team, have spent the last 10 years refining methods of bonding for couples and has made their wisdom available for everybody.
Nothing seemed to be making sense, what did sexual intimacy have anything to do with Mary Brodigan’s missing baby? Shrugging it off he continued to read the rest of the description.
Located on Catalina Island, Deliciae is a unique retreat that advances sexual health for couples who desire a dynamic love life. Deliciae offers a five day haven were couples are taught the essential tools for lovemaking. Our inspiring and affirming approach to sex is as much about intimacy with your spouse, rediscovering passion, and self-discovery, as it is about physical technique. Energize all dimensions of your vital sexual connection with your partner by making your reservation with Deliciae today.
“Okay, so it’s not a typical resort, but I still don’t get what Deliciae has to do with a baby being kidnapped.” Angel really wished he could punch the powers in their noses…maybe twice, one for Cordy’s vision pain, and one for this stupid case. If they wanted him to do *their* work, then they should at least give him the details needed to find the demons he was expected to kill. At least, he hoped they were demons. He didn’t know anymore – not after Cordy’s last vision, maybe the Power’s That Be decided he should take on regular cases now too. Missing children, what’s next? Domestic disputes? Hell, why not send him out to find lost pets too.
“Can you check to see if Mary Brodigan was a guest at Deliciae, before her baby was taken?”
“I already did boss,” Wesley said unenthusiastically, “the receptionist said they don’t give out information on guests.”
“So they did say Mary was a guest?”
“No. Basically she said they couldn’t tell me anything and then she impolitely hung up.”
“Oh.” Sighing, “Well, I guess I’m going to have to enroll as a guest, and see if I can find a connection between the two. Can you make a reservation for me?” This was not going to be fun. Investigating a case with absolutely NO leads, on an Island resort, occupied by married couples exploring sexual intimacy with one another, meanwhile he would be avoiding sunlight, and people. Could things be any worse?
“Actually, reservations can be booked on line, but there is a small problem.”
Why did he have to think things couldn’t be worse, didn’t that *always* seem to make them worse? Angel was getting really tired of dead-end leads, it appeared to be the only kinds of ends they were finding for this case. “What’s that?” he mumbled.
“I’m sure the directors of this retreat will be more than delighted to teach you and you’re hand to be intimate with one another,” Wesley frowned a little after noticing Angel’s icy stare, “Angel, it’s a sexual health retreat for COUPLES. It states on the reservations page that the guests must be married. At any rate, how are you going to *not* burst into flames on an island retreat?”
“I’ll see if Cordy wants to go as my wife, set up the reservations for us. Hopefully I can bribe her to do this. I’ll figure out how to *not* burst into flames when I have the need to.” Angel appeared absolutely assured on the outside, but imagining himself asking Cordelia to play his wife for a week at a sexual intimacy retreat had him nervous. Nothing can EVER be easy, can it?
Rejection was becoming a common occurrence in Cordelia’s acting career. She was way better than those other girls at the auditions. She was a good actress. Cordelia Chase was good at everything. That was exactly what she would keep telling herself. After all she was beautiful and young, she thought as she pushed open the door to the office, and was nearly startled to death by the two grinning idiots standing not more than two feet from the entrance.
Jumping a little in alarm, she shrieked, “Geez, heart attack much? What do you two want?”
“We just wanted to know how the audition went.” Angel said still with the stupid grin on his face.
“I didn’t get the part.” It was a rare event to see Angel smiling and she was captivated by how handsome he looked, yet even so, she knew *that* particular smile. It screamed of I-need-you-to-do-me-a-favor, and she wasn’t feeling particularly generous at the current moment. “Now can you move? I have a lot of work to do.” She stated wryly and pushed her way past Wesley and Angel.
“Work? You shouldn’t be working, what with the painful vision from this morning. How about you take a vacation? Go to a retreat, could be fun.” Angel tried.
“Are you crazy? A vacation because I had a vision? You do know I have visions all the time, right? Are you going to send me away every time I get one?” She looked at Wesley, who was mirroring Angel’s dumb grin. Okay a little creepy, but maybe she was a bit amused. She wanted to see were this was going, what they wanted, and what she could get out of the deal by agreeing.
“How about we sign you up for a five day retreat on Catalina Island? You can spend a long relaxing five days there, and I’ll pay for it.” Angel’s grin had become even dumber, if that was at all possible. The look on his face bordered on the edge of desperation, this was going to be easy.
“You’ll PAY for it?” Realization dawning. “Oh, I get it. The retreat from my vision? You want me to go check it out. Well it’s gonna cost ya.”
“No, I don’t want *you* to check it out. I’m going to do that, but I’d like you to come along. You can relax and just enjoy your stay, lounge on the beach- soak up the sun, have a few drinks.”
“Why?” Cordelia said skeptically, and rightfully so.
“Are you always so suspicious?” Cordelia arched her eyebrow at him, “Okay, I need you to pretend to be my wife. I will be doing all the investigating, you can enjoy the stay.” Angel was almost pleading, he was out of options and desperate.
That was it? That wasn’t so bad. “Fine, but I’m going to need some new vacation clothes. Can’t expect a girl to go out to an Island retreat, and not have a new bathing suit or a few new sun dresses.” Now she was happy, she was going on a vacation and hopefully getting a new wardrobe. All she had to do was be Angel’s wife, that didn’t seem so hard, she could do that.
“How much is this going to cost me Cordy?”
“A lot.” She beamed one of her signature 1000 watt smiles.
“The resort is a WHAT?” Cordelia screamed, her eyes twinkling with fury. Angel winced, now he was going to get it. But, this had been the only way to get her to agree to go along with the charade.
“Cordelia, keep your voice down. Everyone is staring at us.” Angel’s voice was firm but no more than a whisper. He only wished he felt as in control as he appeared. Wesley had dropped them off earlier at the Long Beach dock to catch the Catalina Express, the only transportation method offering an after sundown trip to the island. Now he was trapped for the next hour with a livid brunette, who was berating him in front of a boat crammed with amused, eavesdropping old ladies.
“I DON’T CARE!!! You booked US into a SEXUAL INTIMACY retreat, Angel. In case you hadn’t noticed- you and I do NOT have sex.” She was outraged. He’d tricked her into coming, didn’t tell her the details about the undercover role she had agreed to, and now it was too late, she was trapped into doing this. She knew his rationale for lying to her was justified (in his mind) as long as he caught his demon in the end, but she was going to make him pay if it was the last thing she did.
“Cordy, I bought your swimsuit, your dresses. Hell, I even let you pick out some bright colored shirts for me to wear, because you wanted a fashionable ‘husband’. You and I are *only* pretending to be married, I seriously doubt they are going to force us to be intimate in front of them.” His voice was almost an inaudible whisper.
“I better not have to!” She said indignantly. Now he was thoroughly offended. Was the thought of being intimate with him so repulsive in her mind?
“You won’t.” He allowed his voice to elevate to her intensity, “NOW GET OVER IT.”
“Pfft.” She was tricked and he was telling her to get over it? “Whatever.” She crossed her arms over her chest in a stubborn pout. “I’ll be your ‘wife’, but you’re sleeping on the floor, and I’m spending my days on the beach, tanning. So you can forget any delusions you may have about me spending any daylight time with you.”
“Great. I never said I wanted to spend my days with you anyway.” He knew it was a childish remark, but he was trying to get back whatever dignity he had left. “Just remember to make it believable, we need to be there long enough for me to get some information regarding Mary Brodigan and her missing baby.”
Cordelia gave him the silent treatment for the remaining half hour of the trip.
The resort was no bigger than a large mansion, and appeared deserted aside from the working staff. Upon checking-in, the bell boy led them to the elevator, up three floors to the top level, and finally to their room. After the boy deposited Cordelia’s bags on the floor next to the closet, Angel reached in his pocket and pulled out some cash, handing him a dollar for his trouble. His vampire hearing caught the boy’s angry curses after he closed the door to their room. “A dollar’s a good tip isn’t it?”
“Pfft.” Was the only response he received from Cordy. She knew she was being a little excessive by continuing to not speak to him; after all, Angel was just trying to solve the case, and she was getting a vacation out of this–but she was still reeling from being lied to.
Looking around the room, Angel’s eyes immediately traveled to the large window at the far end of the room. Deep crimson velvet drapes were pulled back to reveal a small balcony with a picturesque view of the beach beneath. Below the full sphere of the pale golden moon and the black sky speckled with brightly shining stars, was a long expanse of sand lined with palm trees, the resort lit up with a subtle sapphire and violet illumination, adding an even more romantic ambiance to the shoreline. The ocean’s profound darkness was only disrupted by the foamy white patches created by waves, as they ran wildly throughout the ocean, eventually crashing onto the sand.
Cordelia’s eyes widened as her gaze fell to the direct right of were she was standing. A large Jacuzzi tub that was concealed only be a shoji screen, and to the side of the bath was a sink with a vanity. She was NOT taking a bath in the open with Angel around and certainly not going to be around when he was bathing. Luckily, the toilet was separate with its own door for privacy.
Continuing her scrutiny of the suite her gaze journeyed to the queen size bed, that seemed to be the main attraction, centered in the middle of the room. The bed was furnished with silky cream colored sheets, covered with a deep crimson, velvet comforter matching the drapes. Scarlet and cream silk drizzled from atop a crowning canopy, dangling alluringly down to the ground. Her mind was spinning at the motif implication of the room. It was undoubtedly a room made for sex, with its overdone fabrics and obvious shades of red, it screamed of extravagant tackiness.
Angel allowed his eyes to wander away from the view below the balcony, to take in the rest of the room. The floor was covered in luxuriously thick, cream colored carpeting. On the ivory colored walls hung erotic contemporary artwork, and unlit candles decorated every surface in the room, emitting their refreshingly clean aroma of rainfall. He loved the stylish elegance and the rich materials. Silky and velvety fabrics, rich red colors, no television only a small stereo, a large tub, a great view, it was definitely a room made for him.
Recognizing Cordelia’s look of utter panic caused him to bite down in an attempt to hide a small smirk that threatened to surface on his lips. He could only imagine what was going through her mind, he guessed she was envisioning the room’s intended purpose. He could visualize a few uses himself. His amused thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the door, cautiously he went to open it.
Standing at the door was a cheery couple, holding hands and smiling from ear to ear. The petite blond woman was holding a bottle of red wine, as the taller, dark haired man circled an arm around her waist.
“Welcome,” her voice exaggeratedly upbeat, “we hope you are pleased with your room.” the woman smiled and handed Angel the wine. “We will be your instructors and guidance counselors this week. This is my husband, Daven, and I’m Mavie.”
“Thank you,” Angel said impassively, taking the offered wine. “This is my wife, Cordelia,” Setting down the wine next to two crystal glasses on the dresser, and motioning towards Cordy then to himself, “and I’m Angel.”
Cordelia turned, her arms still folded across her chest, “Hi.” she said indifferently, garnering herself a ‘behave yourself’ glare from Angel.
“We came to let you know that introductions will be held tomorrow morning after breakfast. Two other couples are joining us this week, and we would like you all to get to know one another.” Daven’s voice was equally as annoying as his wife’s. “Please join us tomorrow morning in the main lobby at ten.”
“Can’t wait!” Cordelia said, using her best fake cheery voice. The couple smiled happily, waving goodbye before turning to leave.
Angel closed the door and began removing his sweater and unbuckling his belt. “What do you think you’re doing?” demanded Cordelia.
“I’m going to take a bath,” Angel replied and continued stripping off his undershirt. “So if you want to leave the room, I’ll be about 20 minutes. Otherwise, enjoy the show.” Allowing his amused smirk to finally surface, he gestured to the sheer screen providing the lone shield to the bath.
“That’s just great!” Cordy fumed, “I’ve been here a whole 30 minutes and you’re already expecting me to spend tomorrow morning with Donnie and Marie wannabes, and now I can’t even get ready for bed because *you* are taking a bath first?” With the most dramatic exit she could muster, she stomped out of the room.
Angel was still smirking, he had had enough of Cordelia’s tantrum, she may have had the right to be mad at first, but she was taking it too far. He had not really intended to bathe just yet, he had planned to go snoop around a bit tonight, but the opportunity to rile the stubborn girl was too good to pass up. So bath first, snoop later.
Angel wandered around the hotel investigating the different floors. After finding the third floor was mainly just guest suites, he ventured down to the main level. He managed to find a row of five offices that appeared to be personnel administrative areas. Angel inhaled deeply, sneaking into the office where he could detect the overpoweringly flowery scent of the woman who had come to their suite earlier. Mavie. This must be her office. He began shuffling through papers, making sure to stay highly alert to any noise. Last thing he wanted was to get caught, and have yet another dead-end to this case.
Not a trace of Mary Brodigan. Then he noticed the computer was on and didn’t require a password, so he clicked on an icon that read ‘Deliciae Guests’. Entering Brodigan into the search field, he hit enter. Again the search turned up with nothing. Maybe the Powers had sent Cordy two mismatched visions, if Mary had anything to do with this resort wouldn’t her name be in this file? Maybe she was an employee. He would have to keep searching. He would look for the payroll and human resources information tomorrow and see if he got lucky there.
With nothing left to explore in Mavie’s office, he reluctantly left. He looked at his watch, 2 a.m., he had better go to bed; otherwise, he would never wake up in time to attend breakfast in the morning. Not that he needed to eat the food, but he needed to keep up appearances. So he proceeded back to his room and called it a night.
Cordelia was sound asleep on the bed, when Angel entered the room. Her strawberry shampoo dominated the aroma of the room, but the faint hint of her unique feminine scent, was what filled his senses instantly. His vampire vision saw her effortlessly, even in the darkness of the room, her chest rising and falling with each uniform breath, her heartbeat a constant rhythm. She was so peaceful and serene looking…except…was she snoring? Dear lord, the girl snored like a wounded moose. He’d be lucky to get any sleep tonight.
Taking an unused pillow from the vacant side of the bed, and a large blanket he retrieved from the top of the dresser (Cordy must have left it out, even angry she still took care of him), he laid down on the floor and despite her snoring, having her in the room was extremely soothing, and making him feel relaxed. He fell asleep almost immediately.
DAY 1 – Introductions
Cordy awoke in a pleasant mood. Forgotten was her rage with the vampire, who was still sleeping peacefully on the floor. This was her vacation and she was determined to enjoy it. She got out of bed, and went to brush her teeth. He was lucky she had the courtesy, as well as the prescience, to pull the drapes closed before going to bed, otherwise he would be a pile of dust right now.
She took a hurried bath and dressed quickly in one of her new sundresses, being quiet enough to not disturb the slumbering vampire. Last thing she wanted was to be caught in the bathtub with only a thin screen covering her nakedness. She was relieved to see he was still dormant when she was done getting ready.
Now that she was fully dressed and very hungry, she gently shook his shoulder, “Angel, wakey-wakey! It’s 8:30, we are supposed to meet those two at ten, you need to get ready, and I want to go eat.”
Angel’s chest rumbled a little, but other than that he seemed unresponsive. She lowered her head closer to his face. “Angel? W…” before she could finish her sentence, his arms shot out and pinned her to the ground.
“Geez Angel, what’s your damage?”
The close proximity allowed the heat from her body to seep into his cool body. He reveled in the feeling for a few moments before realizing it was Cordelia, “Sorry.” He apologized, and then let her go. Seeing her flushed face, and dismissing it to the warm bath she had clearly just taken.
“It’s okay, just go get ready. I’m hungry and you’re treating me to breakfast. I’ll be waiting for you in the restaurant downstairs.” She smiled at him and then left the room so he could get ready.
Breakfast had been pleasant, Cordelia had even slipped some blood into a Styrofoam coffee cup, and heated it up for him, so that he was able to enjoy his meal while she had hers. But now they were standing in the lobby with three other couples waiting for their hosts to arrive. Not knowing what he was in for made him a bit anxious.
Finally, the couple they had met the night before arrived. Acting like newly weds, with their hands all over each other. Daven gently squeezed Mavie’s rear before turning around to grab a handful of questionnaires from on top of the counter behind them.
“Before we begin, we ask that you all complete these questions. It’s nothing difficult, only things like your favorite color, favorite pastime, and the like.” He said, handing out a page and pen to each person, and then quickly heading back to his wife for some more inappropriate groping.
When everyone completed their surveys and Mavie had collected them, Daven began speaking, “Every day this week, we will host activities that will help you connect with you significant other. Teaching you the tools of intimacy and helping each partner feel loved and cherished.” He reached his hand out and clutched his wife’s hand. “Our desire is to create an inviting atmosphere that will, by the end of this retreat, help strengthen the bonds of love and ignite passion within your relationship.”
Cordelia looked over at Angel, rolling her eyes when he made eye contact. His deep brown orbs revealed utter grief. That damn slayer again, why was he always thinking of her. He was probably picturing what it would be like bringing her to this retreat. Did he seriously think this hocus pocus would help solve relationship issues? She doubted it would solve regular marital troubles, not to mention the colossal tribulations a slayer and a vampire would have to tackle.
Continuing for her husband, Mavie added, “We request that you do not make love these next few days, you will be forming bonds of trust and a deep level of intimacy as you embark on this erotic journey. But we will be doing this without the actual act of sex…” she paused, waiting for everyone to begin complaining. They just stood around like a bunch of mute idiots, nobody said a word.
Good thing too, considering if our vampire here gets a ‘happy’ we’re all dead, Cordelia mused as she glanced over to Angel again. Stop brooding. Stupid vampire and his one track Buffy mind.
When no one protested, Mavie continued on, “…at least not until your final day here.”
Pfft. Sheeeya right, that’s gonna happen, like NEVER. They better not be thinking that will be one of their group exercises. Cordelia’s lips curled up a little, as she entertained a brief notion…although, unleashing Angelus on them is tempting.
“Hopefully the exercises you will be doing this week will develop a long, slow build of desire within each of you. The objective is by the last day, you will ache for your partner, not only physically, mind you, but emotionally too.” Mavie said concluding her explanation.
Daven picked up where Mavie left off, and oh how Cordy hated this tag team thing they had going on. “This morning’s activity is going to be a getting to know you. We are going to go around the room. Each of you will state your name. How long you’ve been married. How you would rate the intimacy in your relationship, on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best, and also please tell us what physically attracts you to your spouse.”
“I’ll go ahead and begin,” Mavie said, “My name is Mavie Evender, Daven and I have been married 15 years, we met in college and have been in a state of rapture ever since, which answers the intimacy question – 10 of course. I was attracted mainly to Daven’s beautiful blue eyes, but his cute butt helped too.” She finished smiling over to her husband.
Daven went next, but Cordelia had tuned him out. She couldn’t believe she was in this mess. Her temper was returning. They hadn’t even practiced a ‘how-we-met’ story, now she had to come up with something quickly.
Before she knew it, it was her turn. How had her turn come so fast? She must have zoned out for a while, because apparently everyone except Angel and her had had a turn.
“My name is Cordelia… uh…Chase,” So much for making up a fake name. Angel’s eyebrows wrinkled, he obviously didn’t approve of her slip-up.
“Angel and I have been married a year,” that was the only thing that made sense considering she was only 19, “hmm, our intimacy? How should I put this nicely – 1” a growl escaped Angel’s lips, she smiled sweetly at him. Ha, she *would* make him pay for putting her in this mess.
Angel had been furious with her for giving her real name, but even more outraged by her intimacy rating. He was GREAT in bed, it was his forte. Why would she embarrass him like that?
Her smile faded when she realized she had to acknowledge what physically attracted her to him, and not only in her mind, but directly to him. She thought back to her high school years. She just hadn’t thought of him in *that* way for a long time. He was quite the hottie, “I was attracted to his handsome smile, his striking features, and his broad chest.” She answered honestly.
His anger faded with her confession. All eyes were on him. Oh right, my turn, “My name is Angel…”
“Chase.” Cordelia finished for him, and then couldn’t help the sly grin from surfacing on her lips. That’s right baby, you took MY last name, who’s the one that wears the pants in our marriage!
Angel could see the satisfaction in her eyes, “Chase,” he growled. “Like Cordelia said, we have been married a year and I, too, rate our intimacy a 1, mainly because she doesn’t actively participate when making love.” There, he was redeemed, but then he saw the incredulity in Cordy’s eyes and he felt guilty.
“What attracts me to Cordelia is…” He looked at her. He had never really *looked* at her before, not as a woman. Only as a friend. She stood there in her new sundress. The bronze of the material made her skin look radiant. The v-neckline exposing the top of her firm golden breasts, her tan legs, long and slender, but very well sculpted. She was stunning. How had he missed that incredible body? The beautiful face, with those kissable lips? The cascading chocolate silk that fell to her mid back, “…everything, she’s gorgeous, I mean, LOOK at her.” Oh crap, did he just say that out loud? Luckily vampires can’t blush, because he would be bright red right about now.
All the women in the room sighed adoringly, but Cordy just stood there completely speechless. He had never said anything like that to her before. Suddenly feeling disappointed, she realized he was probably just playing his part as the sweet husband, making her look like the bad guy.
Yet, hearing those verbal caresses from his mouth, made her feel more beautiful than anyone else had ever made her feel. Not for lack of hearing praise, she heard that often enough, it was the way Angel looked at her when saying it. What was she thinking??? This was Angel! No bone, Angel. Why did she want him to be attracted to her?
Cordelia spent lunch in the company of one of the other couples, while Angel was out investigating. Danny and Marcy Dellevue were, mildly put, maddening. They couldn’t say two words without arguing and calling each other all kinds of offensive names. She felt like she was sitting at the tourette’s table, because every few minutes a loud sting of profanities would erupt from either one of the two seated next to her.
Spotting Angel as he entered the dining hall, she put her hand in the air, waving frantically at him. She had never been more pleased to see him than at this very moment. “Angel! Hi. If you two will excuse me, I would like to talk to my husband,” she said getting up from her seat and running towards him, giving him a forceful hug.
He was shocked at her enthusiasm and especially surprised by her display of affection. For the second time today, he allowed himself to enjoy the warmth of her body. She raised her head to his ear and whispered softly, “Thank god, you saved me. Any longer and I would be in jail for murdering those two.” Understanding dawning on his face, he smiled at her.
“Sorry, but I wanted to see if I could find the human resources office.”
“I found the office, unfortunately I didn’t find anything on Mary.” He spotted Daven heading in their direction. “Looks like its show time again.”
Cordelia turned just in time to see Daven a couple steps away, “Cordelia, Angel,” he greeted. “Mavie and I would like to speak with you two for a moment, in our office.”
Cordelia looked nervously at Angel. “Where is your office?” Angel said coolly, “and when do you want us to meet you there?”
“Actually, right now…if you would just follow me.”
Mavie and Daven sat behind their long desk looking across at the nervous pair. “What’s up?” asked Cordy, as naturally as she could manage, even as her stomach was doing flips.
“You said your last name is Chase?” Mavie questioned, brows arched high. “You’re reservation was made under Angel Jones, and the credit card used to pay was under the name Wesley Wyndham-Price.” She was met with silence.
Mavie’s round, cobalt eyes bore into Angel. He knew Cordelia’s slip-up would come back to bite them in their respective assii, but Wesley’s oversight he hadn’t expected. He would have to go over the ‘undercover dos and donts’ discussion with his two inane employees.
More silence, before Mavie impatiently asked, “Well? Which is it?”
“Chase,” Angel answered hesitantly. My last name is Chase-Jones. I prefer Jones, but Cordelia likes Chase better. As far as the credit card used, Cordelia’s father paid for us.”
“Oh, so Wesley is the man I spoke to,” she remarked more to herself than to them.
“Spoke to?” Cordelia asked worriedly.
“Well, Daven and I noticed you and Angel don’t really behave like newlyweds—you don’t hold hands, don’t kiss, not even an occasional caress.” Mavie leaned forward, annoyingly perfect posture. “You are both incredibly attractive people, and you’ve only been married a year? You shouldn’t be so aloof towards each other.”
“So, we wondered if you two were really married, and we called Cordelia’s father,” confessed Daven. “He confirmed you two have indeed been married for a year. We just wanted to be the ones to tell you before you found out from him and questioned our motives.”
Angel was so relieved he had the forethought to have given Wesley’s phone number as Cordelia’s father under the emergency contact information requested upon their arrival. He had almost written a fake name and number, but decided Wesley could be an endorsement of some sort, if needed incase of…well, this. Cordelia looked just as relieved as he felt.
“I guess we have a lot of work to do with you two,” Daven concluded, stretching his muscular back as he stood.
“Is it trust issues you have with one another?” Mavie inquired.
“No,” Cordelia and Angel said in harmony.
“Well, what’s the problem?” Mavie persisted, watching them unremittingly, her eyes jumping from Cordelia to Angel.
“I guess we don’t really know. That’s why we’re here.” Angel answered lamely, but it was the best he could come up with.
Daven smiled reassuringly, exposing both dimples. “Don’t worry, before you leave here, you two will be kissing and fondling each other, like teenagers in the back of your father’s car.”
Back at their hotel room, Cordelia paced back and forth, all the while complaining.
“I seriously doubt they are going to force us to be intimate in front of them,” Cordelia mocked in her whiniest impersonation of Angel. “We’re just pretending, Cordy, you won’t have to do ANYTHING except for enjoy your vacation, Cordy.” She continued her mumbling, mostly to herself, but his vampiric hearing caught every bit of her resentful protest.
Angel offered her an apologetic look. He really hadn’t thought this through before signing them up for this undercover gig. Sure, it’s easy enough to say they’re married, but acting married was an entirely different cup of tea.
Then letting his dignity get the better of him, he blurted out, “Having to kiss me or to hold my hand is so upsetting to you? I didn’t realize I made such a revolting husband.” His frown was heartbreaking.
Cordelia felt slight jabs of shame digging at her conscience. She wasn’t disgusted by the thought of casually touching or kissing Angel, it was more a protection mechanism for her feelings. After his failure to take notice of her in Sunnydale, she had repeated to herself the many reasons why dating a vampire was not for her. Now that she worked with him in LA, she didn’t allow herself to see him as anything other than a good friend, or family member, even. So to be flirtatious with him seemed–ew, she reasoned to herself.
“I’m just not too enthusiastic about getting pawed by a guy whose heart belongs to a blonde fashion nightmare.”
No response. Crap, did she just send him to his lonely, broody place by mentioning *her* to him? Well if the miserable look in his dark brown eyes doesn’t answer that question, I don’t know what does. Damn…
“Angel,” She softened her tone, “I just think we should set some guidelines for our fake marriage performance. Like, kiss with no tongue and not that often. Maybe we make up for it by holding hands and hugging more in front of Mavie and Daven.”
“Okay.” He searched through one of Cordy’s accessory bags, “Fine by me,” his voice heavy with acidity. Finally finding the Styrofoam cup he was looking for, he then pulled a bag of blood out from the cooler they had brought. After pouring it into the cup, he departed, leaving Cordy alone with her guilt.
Great Cor! Way to make the guy mad. First insult his pride, and then bring up his tragic farce of a love life. Why not just dust him while he’s down.
After dinner, the group assembled in the main lobby for the second time today. When Angel had entered the hall, Cordelia made it a point to hug him and hold his hand. She hoped her gesture would improve his mood.
She smiled radiantly at him, but it was her eyes that whispered the apology. Angel felt a current of warmth run through his body. Smiling back at her, he squeezed her hand in acceptance of her request for forgiveness.
The two hosts were rambling something about how important it was to break down the barriers built up over the years by sweating and aching together. This was going to be another lame activity, Cordelia just knew it.
“These intimate exercises were developed by an exercise teacher named Keeler. You will be performing them on a nightly basis. The idea behind this activity is to discover your limits by getting to know your body in combination to the rhythm of another. You’ll find that giving is easier, but trust and confidence all lie in learning to accept what your partner is giving.” Mavie stood facing her husband, an arm’s-distance away.
“This is a back stretch exercise….slightly bend your knees.” Extending her arms out to Daven as he mirrored her stance, they held one another’s hands. “Slowly bend and crouch down, holding onto each other,” she instructed.
“This will create balance between your bodies.” They stretched their bottoms upward. “You should feel a slight tension between your body and his.” Allowing their arms to remain extended, she added, “Pull away from each other for a count of 10 and then repeat.”
They led the group through the exercise once again, while everyone tried to follow along. Angel felt silly–how was this supposed to establish acceptance and trust for one another? Then, he noticed Cordy’s movements and how she seemed completely at ease with him, their movements precisely in sync with each other. Also, he was actually enjoying the stretch in his back.
“The next one is a tummy crunch. Those of you wearing skirts will have to face away from the group,” Daven said looking at the two women wearing dresses.
Not liking the sound of that, Cordelia played nervously with the edge of her skirt, holding it down tensely.
Lying on his back, Daven’s legs extended upward, his body creating an L shape, his puce colored sweater taut against his abs, detailing the toned muscles beneath. Not a bad body, too bad he’s discovered the softer side of Sears, Cordelia shuddered, as she took in his heinous attire.
Mavie positioned herself in front of her husband, again, emulating his pose. They both shimmied closer together until their bottoms and legs met. They reached to hold the other’s hands and then took turns gently pulling one another up into a tummy crunch. “Take turns slowly pulling and releasing, and don’t bounce.”
Great. How do you put your legs up in the air without flashing the vampire in front of you? This was going to be fun. Cordelia frowned and motioned to Angel.
“You first,” she demanded gesturing for him to position himself on the floor. Angel complied, and she quickly sat in front of him, getting as close to him as possible before putting her legs up in the air. She made an attempt to hold her dress up between his legs and hers, hopefully it would stay up.
Angel was surprised to find he really was enjoying these exercises. It was nice to have someone to work out with again. while this was far from the workout routine he practiced on a regular basis, it was a good stretch, and it felt great.
He was also pleasantly surprised that Cordelia moved comfortably with him, they hadn’t experienced a single snag in their well-oiled machine. All the other couples had been loudly complaining to one another: slow down, too hard, speed up, quit pulling, blah, blah, blah. He had tuned them out and was focusing on Cordy’s melodious heartbeat.
They were almost done with this exercise. Cordy was pulling him up for the last crunch, when her skirt fell from between their legs. He got an unobstructed glimpse at the ruby satin thong she was wearing. He lost all balance and fell backwards, pulling Cordy up in a painfully fast maneuver. So much for the well-oiled machine. He couldn’t think straight, he had the vision of her molded firm ass etched in his mind.
“What the hell was that?” Cordy was rubbing at her soar arms. He realized he must have pulled her up forcefully.
“I’m sorry,” he had an unreadable expression. “I lost my balance.”
Luckily, he was saved from having to explain why his stealthy vampire senses allowed him to lose his balance while performing a SIMPLE exercise because Mavie interrupted with her annoyingly cheerful voice. “Okay, the next exercise is a thigh stretch.”
In demonstration, the couple stood back-to-back, linked arms, and bent at the knees to simulate a sitting position. “Make sure your bottom comes down to the level of your bent knees and hold for a 10-count.” Sliding back up, she added, “Then rest for 30 seconds and repeat.”
The couples once again followed, as the hosts lead them through the thigh exercises again. Fortunately, Angel was able to maintain his composure throughout the exercise, by keeping the visualization of Cordy’s shapely behind in the recess of his mind.
“The last one is a Kiss `n’ Curl,” Daven said, as he got down on all fours, pulled in his stomach and rounded out his back. Mavie did the same directly in front of him, so that their flawless, untousled heads were touching. He flattened his back, while Mavie curved hers upward, looking like angry cats hissing at each other.
“When you flatten your back, tilt your head up.” Daven demonstrated by slanting his head upward, effectively touching noses with Mavie. “Then, give your partner a kiss on the lips.” Kissing her and then beginning the process over again, this time alternating so that the roles were reversed.
Getting into position, Angel and Cordy faced one another, heads joined at the forehead. Hands meeting at the fingertips, they began the stretch. Angel arched his back, then flattened, while Cordy flattened her back, then arched. Following up the movement with a featherlike kiss, a still not entirely coherent Angel was now overcome by the taste of Cordelia on his lips. He licked his lips, savoring the hint of spice buried in a pool of honey.
Never had he experienced anything so delicious in all his undead life, he wanted more. Kiss after delicate kiss, he would eagerly enjoy every last trace of her left on his lips. When the exercise was over, he was truly disappointed.
Cordelia got up from the floor, smoothing down her dress. “Finally over,” she muttered under her breath.
Catching her comment, Angel agreed reluctantly, “Finally.” Turning away from her attentive gaze, he put his fingers to his lips, in a ghost of a caress, the way her lips had felt on them.
“That’s all for tonight, feel free to enjoy your evening with our resort’s amenities. Or you can take a romantic walk on the beach, if you prefer,” Mavie said perkily and then wished them all a goodnight.
It was almost midnight, and Cordelia was finally drifting towards sleep. Her day had been taxing, mostly mentally draining, but her body also felt exhausted, like if she had run a marathon. All that pretending and lying was really hard work.
After pouring herself a cup of the wine Mavie had given them, she had sunk into the Jacuzzi tub, determined to enjoy a nice, long soak. Instead of a nice, relaxing bath, she ended up swatting irritably at the mosquitoes that kept pestering her. Impatiently, she had cut her bath short and quickly finished off the rest of her wine.
Putting on her pajamas, she had then curled up in bed and tried to sleep. Unfortunately, she had spent two hours tossing and turning, unable to sleep.
Her mind kept replaying the day’s events. She kept reflecting on the look Angel had given her as he told the group she was gorgeous. The feeling behind his deep brown orbs had her melting in his gaze. It truly had felt like he really believed the words of admiration he had spoken about her. The tingling on her lips from the feather light kisses Angel had given her during the exercises, had lingered on her lips all night.
But the day’s memories were only part of the reason she couldn’t sleep, the main reason being Angel was still out snooping. As long as Angel was out probing the hotel, she felt uneasy and worried for him. It didn’t matter that he was a careful vampire, she still worried for him.
Finally, a little before midnight, said vampire had strolled into the room and her unease subsided at last, sleep finally claiming her.
DAY 2 – Soul Gazing
Angel woke up just before seven in the morning, unable to sleep a second longer. He had been having erotic dreams all night, featuring a certain brunette, who was sleeping peacefully on the bed, not more than 4 feet from the floor where he lay. But the dreams were not the reason he could no longer sleep. He sensed a new fragrance in the room. It was a heady perfume, spicy and rich–a very feminine musky odor. She was ovulating, and it was driving him wild.
Cordy awoke with a soft whimper, her hand on her lower abdomen. She got up and grabbed for her purse, shuffling through and fishing out a bottle of Midol, uncapping the bottle and forcing two little pills out onto her hand. Swallowing them along with a mouthful of Dasani bottled water she had left on the dresser the night before.
Angel watched her in awe. She was akin to a blossoming flower, and he desperately wanted to drink her sweet nectar. Instead, he decided to run away before he did something he would later regret…or, more accurately, she would later regret. Her scent was driving him crazy with desire, with a need to taste her and touch her.
Hastily, he vaulted up from the ground to the closet and snatched a pair of black slacks from the hanger they rested on. Then, searching through his suitcase, he found a light blue sweater (Cordy had forced him into buying). He stalked into the privacy of the bathroom with his wardrobe for the day in hand, shutting the door soundlessly behind him.
Out of politeness for his roommate’s sake, he had been sleeping in sweatpants and an undershirt. Stripping them of swiftly, he then covered his muscular body with the new ensemble. Emerging from the confinement of the small bathroom, he went to the sink to wash his face and brush his teeth.
Cordelia observed Angel moving about the room frantically as he finished getting ready. Waking up with cramps made her feel a touch irritable, but she wasn’t going to let a few aches get in the way of her plans for today. She was planning to spend as much time as possible lounging on the beach and soaking up the sun.
“Did you find anything last night?” Cordelia asked, mainly trying to get a conversation started with her wordless friend. She knew that if he had found something important, he would have told her already.
“Not really. I checked every single file they have here, and I have not found a trace of Mary Brodigan. Wesley, however, has gotten a bit more information,” He offered hopefully.
He was desperately trying to avoid breathing in Cordelia’s scent as he continued on, “She lives in Arizona, which is why we couldn’t find her in our city searches. He also discovered that she died during the birth, and he is currently trying to locate the father of the missing baby to see if he can give us any more information.”
“When are we supposed to meet with the group in the main lobby?” she asked, suddenly switching subjects on him.
“At 10 a.m., just like yesterday.” Angel was now pouring a fresh bag of blood into a Styrofoam coffee cup. Once he placed the lid on the cup, he walked to the door.
Unexpectedly, he picked up the scent of a demon nearby. He could probably catch it if he hurried, sparing one last look at Cordy, “I’ve gotta go, I’ll explain later.” He opened the door, finding no one out in the hall.
A mosquito flew around Cordelia’s head vanishing before she had a chance to swat at it, “Damn bloodsucker.” Enduring the annoying drone of the mosquitoes during her bath the night before had been maddening, and now in her crampy mood she was easily provoked.
Angel was really taken back by her comment. Whoa, what did I do now? No time for this now, I have to find that demon. Still, his expression was one of complete distress, as his cup of blood disappeared behind his back and out of her sight.
Cordelia instantly realized he thought she meant him and giggled a little at his ridiculousness. “Not you dork, the mosquitoes that won’t leave me alone. It’s this darn tropical environment.”
Relief flooded his face, “Okay, I’ll see you later,” he said as he closed the door and ran down the hall.
Finding no trace of a demon, Angel walked over to the elevator. His perception must be off. He couldn’t take much more of this place. He was already frustrated by the case, and the lack of information, but what really had him wound up was Cordelia. He decided this place was to blame– the activities, they were too much.
He needed to solve this case so that he could get out of here and feel more like himself again. At home, he could hide in his dark office when Cordelia’s feminine cycle was in full bloom. The next few days would be agonizing, with her alluring scent beckoning him, in addition to whatever new intimacy exercises Mavie and Daven had planned.
He spotted the maid’s lounge and went inside, hoping maybe he could find someone who could give him some useful information.
The only maid in the room asked him politely, “Can I get you anything, sir? Are you out of toiletries or towels?”
“Um…yes, I need a few more towels please.” He wasn’t sure how to approach the issue, without setting off warning bells.
The maid went to a nearby cabinet and pulled out a large stack of towels, “Here you go, please let me know if I can get you anything else.” She said smiling courteously.
“Thanks.” A long shot, but worth a try, “My friend Mary was right. You are all so nice here. I’m glad she convinced my wife and me into coming to this retreat.”
“Mary? She was here about three months ago, right?” Angel nodded, not really knowing the time frame but not wanting to interrupt a possible clue. “Oh, she and her husband–Mike, right? They were such a delight to have as guests.”
“You remember her?” Angel inquired casually.
“We don’t have that many guests every week, and Mary was so kind to me, she spent a lot of time talking with me and many of the other staff members here. Please tell her I said hi.”
“I will,” Angel said glancing at her nametag, “Thanks, Becky!”
After leaving the room, he took out his cell phone, cursing a little as he tried to figure the damn thing out. Finally, he managed to dial the office number.
“Angel Investigations. We help the hopeless, how may I be of service to you?”
“Wesley, it’s Angel.”
“Oh, hello,” Wesley said cheerily.
“I managed to pry some information that might help you in your search. Mary did stay here about three months ago, with her husband Mike. That’s all I got, but at least it’s a start.”
“Mike Brodigan? I’ll search for him and give you a call when I locate something.”
“Thanks.” Pressing the ‘end’ button on his cellular phone and then glancing at his watch, Angel grumbled to himself. “Damn it, late for the stupid soul gazing class.”
Hoping Cordelia wasn’t too upset with him for leaving her alone for a few minutes with the group she seemed to dislike so much, he hurried toward the main lobby.
Entering the main lobby 15 minutes after ten, all eyes were on Angel as he walked across the room. It was painfully obvious that everyone had been waiting on him to arrive so they could begin the day’s activities. Making his way to stand by Cordelia, he muttered some apologies to the group.
Promptly commencing the lesson, Mavie stated, “Today we are going to educate you on one of the core lessons in the ancient art of Tantra. Created in India, Tantra means ‘to manifest, to expand, to show and to weave.’ In other words, sex is believed to expand consciousness and to entwine the polarities of male and female into a harmonious whole.”
Daven added, “Tantric sexual practices focuses on prolonging the act of making love and teaches us to make use of powerful orgasmic energies more effectively. Our breathing is one of the methods Tantric teachings use to help you maintain control. You can prolong an orgasm, to maintain a state of sexual ecstasy for as long as possible, by maintaining long, slow, deep breaths.”
Sparing a quick glance at Cordelia, who was rolling her eyes in disbelief, Angel’s imagination went into overdrive. How is it that she can look so cute making those obnoxious expressions? Well she is a hottie, I bet her orgasmic energies are mind-blowing…why is she staring at me…crap, she’s giving me a not-a-chance-in-hell look—how could she possibly know what I was thinking? What is she a mind reader now? Forcing his mind to try focusing on anything besides Cordelia, Angel turned away from her annoyed glare and watched Mavie as she continued the lecture.
“The exercise you will be doing today helps connect you with your partner by clearing your mind and helping you focus on each other. The idea is to harmonize your breathing.” Mavie sat down cross-legged on the floor, resting her hands over her knees with her palms facing upwards.
Sitting cross-legged across from her, Daven mirrored her position. “Take soft, but deep breaths. Gaze into one another’s eyes, making sure to keep them open. Now pay attention to your breathing and match your breaths to one another, or try breathing alternately—as you inhale, your partner exhales. Maintaining eye contact, go beyond the surface, into the soul.”
Mavie turned away from Daven, and faced the three couples, “Now it’s your turn, but, before you begin, we thought for this exercise it might be nice to go outside and enjoy the beautiful breeze – whaddaya think?”
Instantly cutting in, Cordelia declared unwaveringly, “Angel is very sensitive to the sun. We can’t go out there right now. He’ll break out in hives all over his body.”
Puzzled by Cordelia’s outburst, Mavie responded nonetheless. “There is a terrace in the back that is fully covered, Angel can keep out of the sun’s rays but still enjoy the beach breeze.”
Putting his hand on Cordelia’s shoulder as a silent thank you, Angel nodded agreeably to Mavie. “It would be nice to be out in the breeze.”
The group followed Daven as he led them out to the covered terrace. It was a beautiful tropical haven amidst the sandy beaches. English ivy hung from the roof, dangling around the columns holding up the covering, adding even more shelter from the sun. Orchids and Tuberose encircled a large fountain in the middle of the patio. The sounds of cascading water from the fountain and waves crashing from the ocean, combined with the smells of the exotic flowers and the sea breeze, were invigorating.
Mavie placed cushiony mats down on the ground near each couple, telling them to sit down and begin the exercise once she set down the mat.
More prepared today than she had been yesterday, Cordelia chose to wear dark denim jeans and a pink tank top. Her skin had a fresh glow from her morning excursion to the shore. She had spent two hours basking in the sun, and now her skin had a golden luminosity. Her morning cramps were forgotten with the warmth of the sun and the feel of the sand on her bare toes.
Now positioned on the mat sitting cross-legged, Cordelia curled her arms up over her thighs, the gentle wind carelessly tousling her hair. She faced Angel, her knees lightly touching his, as deep brown eyes met shining hazel ones.
Angel was grateful to be outdoors. Although he could still smell Cordy’s enticing fragrance, it was not as overwhelming out here. They stared into the depths of each other’s eyes. Angel, attentive to her breathing, simulated inhaling and exhaling to correspond with her. With every deliberate, deep breath he would take in more of her scent. The energy of their gaze moved back and forth connecting their minds with an invisible bond.
Cordelia gazed into Angel’s eyes without blinking. His deep brown orbs were full of conflicting emotions, moments became minutes as she lost herself deep in his eyes. She could see into his very soul. The man who she had drooled over when she first met him in Sunnydale, then later had disregarded because he became the slayer’s lapdog.
She saw the vampire who rescued her when she came to LA, not only physically, but emotionally, too. She trusted him with her heart and soul. He was her savior, her family, and her best friend, and she loved him for it. She was surprised by how much emotion she was experiencing by looking into his eyes. It was like touching his soul.
Angel focused his eyes on the sparkling hazel orbs before him. She was so full of life, so full of strength. She was a wonderful enigma—one moment she could appear to be shallow and unshakable, and the next she was insightful and vulnerable. Lost in her gaze, as the minutes slipped away, he became more and more fascinated by her.
He saw her spirit, radiant like her smile. She was the girl who connected him to life. Before her, he had merely existed; with her, he was living. She was his savior, his family, and his best friend, and he loved her for it. How was it possible he hadn’t realized how important she had become to him? Her eyes full of emotion, as were his thoughts. It was like touching her soul.
They were snapped out of their reverie by Mavie’s immaculately manicured hand waving back and forth between their gaze. Looking around, they noticed the rest of the group was gone.
“You two have been in a daze for an hour! Maybe there’s hope for you two yet,” she exclaimed with enthusiasm. “Now, come join us for lunch.”
Cordelia jumped up instantly from her cross-legged position on the ground. She didn’t know what had just happened between her and Angel, but she wasn’t about to dwell on it. Suddenly feeling lightheaded, she staggered backwards, nearly falling over, before a strong arm curled around her waist and steadied her.
“Are you alright?” Angel’s expression was pure concern.
“I’m fine, just a bit nauseous,” she managed to verbalize, feeling her on-the-go breakfast of yogurt and graham crackers coming back up. “I think I’m gonna go back to our suite and lie down for a bit.”
Not liking the feeling of helplessness, Angel watched Cordelia withdraw from his embrace and head for the entrance of the hotel. “I’ll come with you….” He walked fast and caught up to her.
“I’m not hungry anyway,” Angel added essentially for Mavie’s benefit.
Cordelia turned to glare at him, her eyes dared him to defy her, “I’m FINE, just need some rest. Plus I’m kinda wanting some alone time.”
He growled a little, but let her go. Damn her stubbornness. That woman never accepts anyone’s help.
After brushing her teeth, Cordelia splashed cold water against her face. She had exhausted the past ten minutes emptying the contents of her stomach, and she wasn’t feeling any better. Thinking back over the past 24 hours, she couldn’t remember what might have caused her to feel this way.
Dinner last night had been nothing unusual, just baked chicken and steamed vegetables. She drank wine last night, but only one glass, hardly enough for a hangover. This morning’s yogurt didn’t taste spoiled. Maybe she was too content enjoying the sun’s warmth to realize that the yogurt had gone bad. That must be it. Food poisoning.
This was so like her life, the luck of the early worm, rather than the early bird. As if on cue, the damn mosquito decided to come buzz around her head some more. Yup, pretty much sums up my existence. Here on a beautiful island with many more sights to see, and here I am with food poisoning and mosquitoes.
She collapsed on the bed, instantaneously falling asleep.
As soon as lunch was over and he was able to make his escape from the group, Angel fled up to his room to see how Cordy was doing. Finding her passed out on the bed didn’t comfort him in any way. He felt her forehead, wasn’t warm. She didn’t have a fever.
Restlessly, he paced back and forth in the large suite. Every few seconds he would glance over to her motionless form. Finally, after two excruciatingly long hours, she began to stir. In a burst of vampiric speed, he was next to the bed, holding her hand.
Cordelia opened her eyes drowsily. Remembering her lousy afternoon and why she was sleeping, she groaned. Angel’s large hand tightened painfully around her smaller hand.
“What’s wrong Cordy?” He was obviously frightened.
“Your hand,” she yelped. “It’s crushing my bones,”
After apologizing, he reluctantly let go of her hand, then sat on the bed next to her. She sat up, no longer feeling queasy or faint. Getting up and smoothing out the wrinkles in her shorts, she said, “I thought I had food poisoning, but I guess not, I feel fine now.”
“Regardless of how you feel now, you should probably get some rest— make sure you don’t get worse.” Angel was beginning to sound like worried parent.
“I’m okay now, Dad, no need to worry. I’m really kind of hungry, think I’ll head out to get some lunch. Coming?”
Angel was beginning to wonder how he ever got along without Cordelia. She had picked out a quaint little restaurant not too far from the resort, telephoned the island shuttle service and told them to park under the awning at the entrance of the hotel. Not only did she get him to the restaurant *without* bursting into flames, she also brought along blood, disguised in the usual coffee cup.
Another terrific couple hours spent in the company of Cordelia Chase. He couldn’t believe how much he had discovered about her in the past 48 hours. It was like he had never really appreciated her before now. Angel was glad that he had tricked her into coming; she was the best travel companion he could have.
“So, I was thinking…why can’t there be couples more like Josie and Travis at this retreat?” Cordelia was recounting her morning trek out to the beach. She had been telling him something about a really great couple she had met, but Angel had not been able to follow along, all his attention on her animated expressions as she talked. He was mesmerized by her, she was absolutely captivating.
“Angel?” Dammit, must have zoned out…
Oh boy—was he trying to act like if he’d been listening all along? She had no idea what Angel had been contemplating during lunch, but she knew for a fact he had not heard a word she had spoken. “Pay the bill, it’s in your hand…you’ve been holding it for the past 10 minutes.”
On their way out of the restaurant, Angel’s cell phone started beeping. He picked it up and put the receiver to his ear, “Hello….Hello? Hrmph, they hung up.” He stated angrily.
“That beeping means you have voicemail.”
“Oh,” was his embarrassed response, as he began pressing many different buttons on the handset.
“Dumbass.” She grabbed the phone out of his inept hands, and quickly dialed the combination to retrieve his voicemails, listening to the message and then handing him the phone when it was over. “It’s Wesley, he said he found Mike. I guess that must be Mary’s husband.”
“That’s right.” Angel realized he never informed Cordelia about what he discovered earlier. “They were guests here about 3 months ago.”
“Guests here? I thought you said they weren’t in the hotel’s database.”
“I couldn’t find her name. I’m sure they removed all traces of her stay, but the maid, Becky, actually remembered Mary and mentioned her husband’s name.”
“Well, you better call Wesley and see what’s going on. Do you need me to dial?” Cordy had a hint of a grin on her face. Angel, however, didn’t look amused at all.
“No, I can make a phone call, thank-you-very-much!” he said indignantly, then hoped to God he really could without difficulty.
Wesley had uncovered quite a bit of useful information. He had spoken to Mike and found that he and his wife had been unable to remember the events of the last night of their stay at Deliciae. He had mentioned that Mavie and Daven did exactly what they promised they would do: ignite the flames of passion in their relationship. He said the morning they left the resort, Mary had been sore, and Mike proudly accredited it to their unreserved lovemaking the night before.
When Wesley inquired about the baby’s abduction, Mike seemed clueless. There was no abduction, the baby was born prematurely. Mary was only in her first trimester, at 13 weeks. She and the baby died during the delivery. He had been with her as the hospital staff tried to stop the hemorrhaging. Tears spilled down his cheeks as he shared with Wesley how he had held his wife’s hand as she slowly bled to death. He somberly commented that the hospital had denied him the right to see his deceased baby.
Angel knew that Mary’s and Mike’s inability to remember the last night at the resort had something to do with Cordelia’s vision. Unfortunately, he didn’t know who was involved or what that had to do with Mary’s and the baby’s deaths.
Now it was basically a waiting game. He and Cordelia would play the role of bait and hope that they could lure the demon. He would be listening carefully and paying close attention. The last night of their stay, he would be focused on Cordelia’s safety, alert to everything transpiring around them. That was his plan.
“You’re INSANE!” Cordelia said speedily packing her clothes back into her suitcases. “Your plan sucks. I’m the one that would be at risk, and I gotta tell ya–I do NOT want want to end up pregnant and then bleed to death. So, alrighty then…I’ll see you in LA.”
“Cordelia…” He captured her arm, but she brushed him off and continued in a rush towards the door, suitcases in hand. “Cordelia!” Angel’s voice was abrasive and his movements lightning quick as he bound to the door faster than Cordy could bat an eyelash. Barricading the door with his bulky body, he seized her suitcases and stared unblinkingly into her eyes.
“I would NEVER let anyone hurt you Cordelia. You have got to trust me, this is the only way we are going to solve this case.” He placed the luggage down on the floor, and took hold of her upper arms. “Look at me, Cordy.” She guardedly lifted her head, her hazel eyes overflowing with trepidation. “I would NEVER, EVER let anyone hurt you, do you trust me?”
She sighed, allowing all hesitation to evaporate from her thoughts, “With my life.”
He relaxed his hold on her arms. “Dork.” Smiling, she joked, “You’d better not let *anything* happen to me, otherwise, you’ll be buying me a whole new wardrobe, or maybe a car.”
The couples assembled once again in the main lobby, this time for a lecture on the male and female anatomies. Fortunately, it didn’t last too long, because Cordelia couldn’t take another second. It was ridiculous: they introduced the group to the different parts of the male and female bodies, naming them and exploring each one to a shameful extreme. She had very little experience in the intimacy department, and even she could have taught this class. Yet, as she looked around the room, she saw the mentally challenged morons taking notes.
When class was over, they all went to the dining hall to eat dinner as a group. Cordelia and Angel sat at the large round table, surrounded by all the other couples. Danny and Marcy, dressed in their typical Hells Angels garb, were yelling and cursing at each other like usual. Greg and Leoni Finley, a geeky, middle-aged couple, were obviously introverts. They barely whispered a sound throughout dinner. Evan and Kara Beckers were very much like Mavie and Daven, annoyingly bubbly, but without the inappropriate groping. Kara had been talking Mavie’s ear off, while Evan and Daven chattered about sports.
This part of the retreat was hell. Having to socialize with these couples drove Cordelia mad. She was happy when the food arrived and the Dellevues and Beckers were *silently* stuffing their faces. Normally she would have been appalled by their manners, but all she cared about, at this moment, was peace and quiet.
Relishing the silence as she ate her meal, she was unaware of Angel’s watchful gaze. He studied her polished table manners. She was elegant and refined, clearly didn’t fit in with this table full of hungry barbarians.
Daven observed Angel’s unwitting admiration for the gracious girl. Getting up, he walked over to stand next to Angel. “It’s obvious you love her with all your heart,” he said to Angel. “It makes no sense to me why you two would have intimacy problems with that kind of emotion.”
At this comment, Cordelia nearly choked on her food. “Yes, all his heart. I’m his whole world. Hmmm, maybe if I was blonde, we wouldn’t have intimacy issues.” Okay, that was malicious, maybe this wasn’t the time to bring out Angel’s poor taste in women.
Ignoring her comment, Daven continued, “What you two need is a few intimacy rituals, start the foreplay long before the actual lovemaking. Let’s see, Mavie’s favorite one is bathing one another, or drinking wine together in the nude. Obviously, those are to be performed in privacy, but there are rituals you can complete in public, such as feeding one another.”
Cordelia couldn’t hold back her acerbic views any longer. “Yeah, ’cause everyone loves to watch couples publicly drool over one another,” she scoffed.
“Cordelia, clearly you are the one holding your relationship back. With a negative attitude, you two will never achieve perfect bliss.”
“That’s a good thing,” she mumbled indistinctly.
“Why don’t you take one of the chocolate covered strawberries and feed it to Angel?” Daven suggested, motioning to the dessert tray.
Backed into a corner with no way out, she sighed, resignedly reaching for the strawberries. She seized one between her thumb and index finger and thrust it towards Angel’s mouth. Before Angel had a chance to react to her movements, she crushed the fruit into his lips, leaving a mess of chocolate on his face.
“Not like that,” Daven said impatiently.
Angel took the napkin from his lap and swiped grouchily at the chocolate. “Thanks for the advice, Daven, but I think we’ll stick to our own intimacy rituals.” He gave Cordy his best I’m-gonna-get-you-back-so-don’t-look-so-smug look.
Daven relentlessly persisted. “Angel, why don’t you give Cordelia a taste of the chocolate pudding.”
Payback was his immediate thought as he at once reached for the pudding. Taking a large spoonful until Daven stopped him, “No, not with the spoon, use your finger.”
“Ew,” Cordelia scrunched her nose up in disgust.
Angel disregarded her expression and scooped up a small finger full of pudding with his right index finger. As his finger approached her face, she appeared nervous, so he took pity. Deciding to be the mature one, he gently placed his finger to her lips, and, as they parted, he slipped the pudding into her mouth. He allowed a faint groan to escape him as she sucked the chocolaty goodness off his cool finger, her tongue velvety smooth, circling around, making sure she got every bit.
Cordelia was surprised at how erotic the simple gesture had felt. A blush crept up her chest and bloomed in her cheeks as his finger slid out of her mouth. She suddenly felt embarrassed and indecent for performing such an intimate act with Angel, in front of a table full of people, no less. She excused herself from the table and went back to the suite.
She reached the room, still flushed from thoughts of Angel’s finger swirling around in her mouth. Her heart was hammering in her chest, while her mind envisioned doing other, more erotic things with him. This damn resort! What were they turning her into? …A ravenous sex maniac, that’s what! Sloppily pouring herself a glass of wine, she shakily brought it to her lips, swallowing it down hurriedly in an attempt to calm herself.
Angel arrived soon after, immediately noticing the wineglass in her hand. Snatching it aggressively from her grasp, he demanded hotly, “Were you drinking wine?”
“Y-Yes.” She tried to sound bold, but the stutter gave away her nervousness.
“Damn it, Cordelia, would that be the wine Mavie gave us?” his voice softening faintly when he saw the alarm in her expression. Lifting the glass to his nose, he sniffed at the contents, “This has something other than just wine in it.”
“I drank some last night, and I’m still alive.” She stated insolently.
“I’m not saying it’s poisoned, Cordy, just remember that Mary and Mike couldn’t remember anything that happened their last night here–it could be drugged. So, please, be more careful from now on.” He reached over, placing his hand on her cheek, in a light caress. “I made a promise to you, remember? But it’s kind of difficult keeping you safe if you don’t listen to me.”
Cordelia nodded a gesture of acquiescence. “Okay, I’ll be more careful…now, if you don’t mind making yourself scarce, I’d like to bathe and go to bed.”
Angel left the room, taking this as an opportunity to obtain residue from the bottom of the wineglass and mail it to the office so that Wesley could do a thorough laboratory analysis to determine its contents. But until he knew for sure what was in the glass, he would be worried for her health.
Angel had a restless night. He had remained attentive to Cordelia’s breathing and heartbeat patterns all night long, even though the overwhelming scent of her fertile body had, again, tormented him unrelentingly. Determinedly, he had remained in the room watching over her, concerned that the drug he had detected in the wine would cause her internal damage of some sort.
On a couple of instances, he had sworn he sensed a demon in the room, but could find nobody in the room, except for Cordy, and no one out in the hallways or the balcony. The sweet tang of her womanly fragrance must have been throwing him off his game.
DAY 3 – A Lesson in Touch
Having been awake all night, Angel was fully bathed and dressed by the time Cordelia awakened. This morning’s cramps were much worse, her lower abdomen was aching from infrequent, yet persistent, sharp stabs of pain. She attempted to get out of bed, but got dizzy and crumpled back onto the bed.
Angel was at her side in an instant, “What is it, what’s wrong?” She could practically feel the panic radiating of him in waves.
“Nothing for you to be concerned about, it’s just…nothing….don’t worry about it. I’ll be okay.”
“What’s wrong Cordelia” It wasn’t a question, it was a demand.
“It’s not like you can’t tell, with your creepy vampire sense of smell and all. It’s a female thing.” Recognizing she was referring to the fact the pain was caused by her ovulating, he calmed down. “Now that I’m completely embarrassed, do you think you can leave me alone for a bit?”
Feeling like he pried into her personal business, he obeyed without complaining. Not wanting to be out of reach incase anything happened to her, he stood outside the room silently and listened from behind the closed door, making sure her breathing continued its steady rhythm.
After taking four Midol, Cordelia was finally beginning to feel better. The pain had lessened to a tolerable, dull tenderness, which a long, hot bath alleviated to almost nothing. Now able to walk without hunching over in agony, she picked out her attire for the day. Choosing to wear a pair of coffee colored capri pants and an ivory halter top, with her comfy beach sandals, she began dressing in front of the mirror.
Spotting a large red mark on her left arm, she frowned grumpily. Darn mosquitoes must have bitten me sometime during the night, well at least its dead now….Wait, is it bees that die after stinging?…whatever…I should just be grateful they aren’t bothering me anymore.
She finished dressing and then strode out the room cheerfully, never even noticing her stealthy vampiric friend hiding around the corner watching her leave.
Angel followed her discreetly down to the main lobby, were she was met by the other couples. He snuck in unnoticed, acting as if he had been there all along. Cordelia made a direct line over to where Angel stood, trying as best she could to avoid Kara’s gaze, so that she wouldn’t have to make small talk with her.
Smiling amiably at her, he asked, “Feeling better?”
“Yes, thanks for letting me be, it was just what the doctor ordered.” She smiled back.
Entering the room in their usual offensive display of affection, Mavie and Daven strolled in. Hands all over the other’s body without any concern over who was in the room with them, after a few minutes of flaunting their fondness for each other, they finally acknowledged the group.
“Good morning all. Cordelia and Angel, I hope you two remembered to do your exercises last night. Since you ran out during dessert, you didn’t get the chance to complete them with us.” Mavie looked distrustfully over to them.
Angel just nodded blankly, hoping they would just let it go. “Were you able to remember them all?” Again he nodded. Darn them and their prodding. Thankfully, she accepted his answer without any additional inquiries.
Daven studied the group, “We are in our third day, and I can see improvement in most of you.” His gaze fell on the Dellevues, “You two have improved drastically, we can see that you are enjoying more embracing and cuddling, you still need to work on the emotional connection. Attacking one another with constant verbal abuse is very damaging in a relationship. Try paying attention while your partner is talking, instead of cutting in offensively.”
Mavie moved on to the Finleys, “You two are doing well, we can see you are trying to move past your shyness and try new things. Did you go out dancing last night?” Leoni bobbed her head bashfully. “Did you make an attempt to dance closely and possibly even kiss one another in public?” Greg grinned and nodded. “Obviously your night went well then.”
She went on to address the Beckers, “Did you two try skinny dipping last night?”
Kara’s face lit up, now was her opportunity to chatter and she was ready to take it. Noticing the excitement in her face, Daven cut her off before she had the chance to start yammering, “The blissful glow on your face divulges everything, my dear. I can see you had a wonderful night.” He turned to face Angel and Cordy, “We didn’t have a chance to give you homework because of your sudden departure.”
Angel didn’t want to give any indication that Cordelia had been sick. Knowing that it would only cause them to ask more questions, and because he didn’t officially know yet if Mavie or Daven were even involved in whatever happened to Mary, he wasn’t about to reveal any details on their night. “I had a headache, so I went to bed early. I think Cordelia stayed up reading.”
Daven frowned, “That’s no way to treat your wife. A headache can be cured with some Tylenol and a little love!”
Cordelia held back the urge to toss her cookies; she couldn’t take anymore of Daven and Mavie’s ridiculous therapy. “What he needed was sleep.”
“No, dear girl, what you two need is more physical contact. We would like you to hold hands, hug, and kiss more. Touch is an essential element of romance.”
Angel saw where this was headed and tried to nip it in the bud, “We get your drift, Daven. We will try to connect more on the physical level by showering each other with much more affection.” Geez, he almost rolled his eyes at his own comment.
“Good!” Mavie exclaimed. “Give each other a kiss.”
“What?” Cordelia asked, thinking maybe she heard wrong.
“A KISS, you know, give your husband a kiss.”
Oh this just gets better and better. I’m gonna kill Angel. He drags me into this. Won’t let me go home, and now he doesn’t even say anything when they try to force us to kiss in front of everyone?
She placed a quick peck on his mouth, moving away brusquely as if his lips seared her. “Not like that.” Daven said with a hint of annoyance. “I don’t understand why you paid good money for this retreat, if you are not interested in learning from it.”
Cordelia felt like screaming. Inflamed beyond all reason, she decided she had enough. She was tired of these stupid people, annoyed with her dumb best friend, and not even feeling well on her only vacation in years. They all were making her out to be the uncooperative one. Well dammit, she was going to cooperate…and then some.
Marching purposefully back over to Angel, her gaze held determination as her tongue brushed across her bottom lip. Angel swallowed down hard, as he instinctively darted out his tongue and wet his lips in anticipation. Pulling him violently against her body, she crushed her mouth onto his. His lips parted automatically, allowing her to enter effortlessly. Her warm wet tongue colliding with his cool smooth one, sparking a surge of passion between them, like a warm front meeting a cold front, a storm had begun and nothing could stop its downpour.
Effortlessly he lifted her from the ground, pushing her back up against the wall, and trapping her there as his hard chest crushed into her soft breasts. The energy from his kiss invaded her body and soul, only to rush back to him in an explosion of raw emotion.
Devouring the spicy-sweet flavor that was as unique as the woman herself, Angel lost all semblance of rational thought. Wanting more of her exotically alluring essence, he wildly gripped her arms holding her still. His mouth hungry, wanting to taste all of her, fervently he thrust his tongue into her mouth and sampled every inch of her warmth.
Returning his kiss with equal intensity, Cordelia wrapped her hands around his shoulders as she deepened the kiss. Her fingers curled around, gripping him tightly, her nails reflexively sinking past the thin knit material and into his skin, her tongue dancing a provocative tango around his cool velvet one.
Stimulated further by her response, Angel moaned into her mouth. Releasing his grip on her arms, Cordelia slid back down taking pleasure in the feel of his body rubbing against hers as she moved, until her feet were back on the ground, their lips never breaking contact. He allowed his hands to roam her bare back, tracing invisible patterns up the trail of her spine. Finally reaching her neck, he cupped his hands over her ears as his thumbs caressed the soft skin of her face.
Coming back to her senses, and realizing what was happing, Cordelia abruptly pushed Angel away from her body. His face clouded by a haze of passion, his eyes staring at her questioningly, until awareness took over and he backed away. Dismissing the fiery passion she had just experienced, to her recently uncontrollable libido.
Both simultaneously became attentive to their surroundings, taking in the dumbfounded group of people around them. Looking flushed and aroused, like if they had just been watching an X-rated movie, the group stared at them tenaciously.
Mavie broke the stunned silence with her annoyingly bright tone, “Well, that was….good.” Her hand fanning her blushing face fanatically, “Let’s move on to today’s activity, shall we?”
Well, not exactly my intention, but I think I made my point. Intimacy rating a one, my ass! Cordelia was satisfied with her performance. Now none of them can say I am the one holding our pseudo relationship back.
After a brief lecture on erotic touching, Daven had taken each couple to a private room. Cordelia and Angel were now in a practically empty room, save for a massage table and a handful of oils spread out on the ground beside it.
“I bet they want us to give each other messages,” Angel stated as matter-of-factly as he could manage, given that his hands tingled in anticipation of touching Cordelia. Although, his mind wasn’t ready to admit he was attracted to her, his traitorous body had long since confessed.
Cordelia glowered at him. “What gave it away Einstein? The erotic touch lecture….or the massage table?” Rolling her eyes, she walked away from him and began opening the different oils and smelling each one, every once in a while finding a fragrance she liked and sighing a muted ‘mmmm’ of approval.
A few minutes went by before Mavie entered the room, holding a couple of towels. “I’m sure you’ve both guessed our exercise today will be an erotic massage.” She handed the towels to Angel. “Because we don’t want you to get TOO intimate just yet, make sure you cover any private areas, and focus on the rest of the body.” She went to leave the room, stopping just before the door, “This is about pleasuring each other, learning what your partner likes.” With that last comment she was out the door, leaving Angel and Cordy alone again.
“Well, this is going to be a long few hours.” Angel said looking at his watch. “I guess we just sit around and talk, until they come back for us. I don’t want to leave the room and get caught—they might just make us do some other activity in front of everyone.”
Cordy got up, clutching a bottle of French Vanilla oil in one hand; she walked over to Angel and snatched a towel from his hand. “Oh, you’re gonna give me a massage. The way I see it, you owe me one,” she threatened.
“Owe you? For what?” Knowing this was a losing battle, he added for good measure, “I thought I paid my debt, by buying clothes for you.”
“Pfft. Do you honestly think we’re even? Just in case you ever think that we are even again, let me just say one word: VISIONS. Now, turn around.”
Angel wasn’t about to argue with her, the thought of her soft skin beneath his hands had him holding his tongue. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, he turned his back so Cordelia could prepare.
Pulling off her capris, Cordelia sat on the massage table, positioning herself face down and placing the towel over her bottom. She untied the back of her halter top, leaving her back exposed. “Okay, ready.”
Turning around, he trembled slightly upon seeing her uncovered sun-kissed skin. Edging towards her, Angel’s eyes voraciously ate up the delectable form that lay in front of him. His fingers tingled, craving the feel of her body and the soft surface of her pliant skin.
Hesitating for mere seconds, Angel hovered his hands within millimeters of her warmth. With the most tender of motions, he brushed his fingers lightly over the cascading tresses camouflaging the column of her spine, noting her shuddering response. Stopping his descent, one large palm resting over the silky locks covering the small of her back, his eyes continued the downward journey. It fell upon the white cotton material hiding part of her beautiful body from his view and lingered admiringly on the sexy curve of her bottom.
“Ah-hem, Angel,” Cordelia protested, “my massage?”
Like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Angel guiltily yanked his eyes away from her lower body. With great care, his hands gently swept the silky locks to the left side of her head and then settled on her shoulders.
Her body quivered in response to the chill of his cold hands on her flesh, prompting Angel to lift his hands away hastily, “I’m sorry.”
“Oh no! You’re not getting away from giving me a massage, broody boy. Rub your hands together, like Mr. Miyagi.”
Turning her head to face Angel, she answered, “Karate Kid,” perplexed brown eyes stared blankly back at her, “you know, wax on, wax off?”
Angel maintained his clueless response which exasperated Cordelia, “Nevermind, just do it!”
Adding a few drops of French Vanilla oil, he clasped his hands together and started rubbing vigorously until the friction warmed them a little. Returning them to her shoulders, he began a slow delicate caress. With measured, deliberate circles he stroked the tense muscles of her slender neck and shoulders, eliciting little mewls of pleasure as his fingertips worked their magic. Pressure points releasing hot tingles as he kneaded his way down to her shoulder blades.
Her whole body hummed with pleasure as Angel’s calloused hands slid over the smooth surface of her back, the natural scent of vanilla heightening her senses as he continued the delicious journey over her body. Never in her life had she experienced such an incredible feeling. His touch remained firm, yet gentle while massaging, fingers pressing down, sliding, circling. Taking his time, Angel meticulously worked every little spot before progressing on, soothing and alleviating all the tension in her body.
Weighty palms molded the overwrought muscles in her back, now moving in long even motions along her spine, each slow stroke taking him outward. Mesmerized by her smooth, luscious skin, now glistening from the vanilla oil, he suddenly needed more; he yearned to touch every part of her. His fingers curled around her sides, accidentally brushing against the plump outer flesh of her breasts. At least he told himself it wasn’t intentional. Until his gaze focused where he’d touched and the urge to experience more warred with his conscience.
Angel’s resolve weakened under the sensation of her warm, voluptuous curves. Each slide of his eager hands along her heated skin brought his fingers within millimeters of those tempting mounds. Then he skimmed forward until his palms cupped both breasts nearly curling underneath before slipping away to less intimate territory.
Mind spinning, Cordelia’s heartbeat accelerated at his touch on her breasts. Fire burned in her womb, a rush of arousal dampening her panties. Dizzy with passion, she sighed a deep sultry sound.
Bodily restraint escaped him upon hearing the fast thump of her heart and sensing her excitement. Angel’s fingers skimmed down the outline of her body down to the towel over her bottom, pushing it along with her deep plum panties until he could see cleft of her backside. His chest rumbled as he suppressed a primal growl, yet he allowed his hands to fall onto the curvy flesh exposed to his view filling his palms and spreading his fingers wide.
Gasping in thirsty swallows, Cordelia savored his cool caresses, his hands sensually rubbing and fondling her receptive form, her shameless body inviting his touch.
He shifted his stance, repositioning so the aching bulge in his pants was no longer smashed against the hard massage table. Trying not to linger along her hips where instinct urged him to take hold, Angel ran his hands down to her calves and feet, but they kept wandering upward circling and kneading the supple muscles of her thighs. Knee to hip along their silken length, up and down, until his motions circled inward.
Moving his right hand to her inner leg, Angel lightly swept it upward pausing near the apex of her thighs. His fingers begged to touch her intimately while massaging the sensitive skin of her leg.
Groaning in response to the sensation of his hand hugging her thigh, Cordelia’s legs spread slightly at his touch. A lust induced haze clouding her judgment, as her body beckoned his fingers to explore.
Angel’s fingers inched up gradually, until they reached the damp material. He stroked his thumb gently across the silk triangle that shielded her sex, eliciting a heady moan from both himself and Cordelia.
Abruptly aware of his lack of control, Angel reluctantly moved his hand, but that did nothing to change the fact that he’d touched her, that he wanted more and his body was agonizingly hard with desire. He felt an intense need to continue, a yearning for more of her—his best friend.
My best friend.
His indecent desire had almost won complete control over his prudence, a few more minutes of recklessness and he would have taken advantage of his best friend. She had given him, her complete and utter trust and he had very nearly let her down. Coming to this realization eclipsed all the arousal in his body. Turning away from the alluring temptation of her wanton body, he faced the bare wall behind them.
Disgusted with his previous lack of self-control, he choked out, “I’m done, you can get dressed now.”
Cordelia finished getting dressed; as Angel waited patiently with his back turned. My my, the vampire certainly had the gift of touch. Good thing he stopped, because she would have willingly done more, only to regret it later. Blushing a little, she thought about how he had touched her, and how willing she had been. She couldn’t even think straight. Her body was singing with pleasure. Every muscle was relaxed, her skin humming with delight. It was heaven.
It was hell. He had spent the whole hour painfully hard with arousal. Her silky smooth skin beguiled his hands to uncover other, more erotic, areas, and he had almost given in. Cordy would have never forgiven him and he would have lost the one person he cared for the most. It was pure torture; spending a hundred years in hell had nothing on this.
Both were so caught up in their own struggle to appear composed that neither noticed each other’s reaction. Cordelia desperately attempted to recuperate from her body’s response to Angel’s touch. Steadying herself, she walked to the door.
“Hey, aren’t you going to return the favor?” Angel joked mischievously, knowing full well he couldn’t even indulge in such an activity without losing all his willpower.
“Favor? You owed me. I don’t owe you anything,” she said smiling brightly. The truth of the matter was, she didn’t trust herself to be alone with an almost naked Angel without jumping him!
Grateful for her teasing response to his thoughtless request, he smiled at her sheepishly. If she were to give him a massage, with how wound up his body was for her, she would end up naked and beneath him in a heartbeat.
They both silently walked out the door and proceeded to the main hall.
Angel was nowhere to be found throughout lunch and Cordelia was been happy for the alone time. She was seriously becoming aroused anytime the attractive vampire was around, and she was worn out from trying to conceal her reaction from him. She needed time to reassess her feelings for her best friend. Instead, she ended up sharing her lunchtime with the Beckers, who just clung to her like leaches, without giving her a moment’s peace.
Wesley had finally acquired more information on the case. He called Angel during lunchtime to pass on his new found knowledge.
Proudly he explained to Angel, how he had contacted the hospital where Mary had delivered her baby and professed to be an LA doctor who had heard about her case. Fortunately, he had talked to someone who had willingly told him the deceased fetus was still being analyzed, given that it was so abnormal.
Awkwardly he confessed that was all the information he had been able to obtain, Wesley still hadn’t determined what composed the substance taken from Cordelia’s wineglass.
Angel also requested that he contact a few of the guests, the vampire’s resourceful photographic mind had memorized from the Deliciae database. Wesley hung up after making a promise to call Angel by evening time, with more information.
Angel had spent lunchtime in the suite, drinking his lunch alone. After his phone conversation with Wesley, he had grudgingly turned his contemplation away from the beautiful brunette, to immerse himself into the details of the case.
His first thoughts had been that the baby was demonic, but then he reconsidered. Mavie and Daven were human, and he hadn’t been able to sense a single demon among the staff at the resort. He felt like he was holding the pieces of the puzzle, but they just weren’t fitting together properly.
Frustrated with the case, he ended up turning his attention back to his feelings on Cordelia. When, exactly, had his thoughts turned from brooding about Buffy, to longing for his best friend? He recognized that Cordelia had given him something Buffy had never given him—full acceptance. He knew so prior to the retreat, yet he had not been reacting to her like this before.
All these darn exercises had unlocked the truth that was confined in his heart: he couldn’t live without Cordy. Sometime between the time he had hired her and the present, he had become dependant on her. He needed her life-force. She was like the sun in his world of darkness— the sun he was condemned to never see again, and now, he craved her light.
After lunch the group had reconvened for yet another lesson, this time on sexual intercourse and technique. Angel arrived late once again, avoiding looking at Cordy, he went straight to a chair to sit down.
What was wrong with him? He hadn’t even looked at her. Maybe she had angered him by refusing to giving him a massage…if he was angry about that, then she’d just let him be, because that was just plain silly! She spent most of the lecture lost in her own thoughts.
When class was over, Angel looked briefly at Cordelia, “I’m gonna go investigate a few things.”
Looking a bit irritated, Cordelia answered, “God Angel, you’re such a baby. Fine, I’ll give you a massage, if you want one soooo badly.”
“A what?” Angel was thoroughly confused. “Massage? Cordy, what are you talking about?”
“You didn’t even look at me once during lecture. You’ve spent the whole class brooding about me not giving you a stupid massage, don’t think I haven’t noticed.”
Well she was right on one thing, he had spent the entire lecture thinking about her, “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I had to watch you during lecture….”
Cordelia mouth opened, ready with a come back to his sarcasm, but Angel continued before she had the chance, “I don’t want a massage. I really do need to check some stuff out. Wes called with some more information, and I wanted to do some recon. See if I can’t find a demon or two.” He smiled tenderly at her, “You can give me a massage later if you really want to.”
“Pfft. As if!” Contrarily, she smiled back.
The evening came quickly, and Angel’s search was unsuccessful. He had not detected anything out of the ordinary. With any luck, Wesley would get back to him soon regarding the substance in the wine. He went back to the room, remembering he had spent the previous night worrying about Cordelia’s health, and he had forgotten to check it out thoroughly.
The lights were turned off, but he sensed Cordelia’s heartbeat. Searching the room he caught sight of her on the balcony, sitting on a lounge chair staring at the full moon shining in the sky. Leaving her to her musings, he searched quietly. No cameras and the room wasn’t tapped with any listening or surveillance devices. Good.
He sat down inside and watched Cordelia out on the balcony. Beautiful and elegant. Just watching her—even from a distance, warmed his cold, lifeless heart. Should he tell her he was developing feelings for her? He wasn’t sure she would reciprocate them, and he didn’t think he could handle her rejection. He would have to go on like normal, didn’t want to lose her friendship by scaring her away with his feelings.
Staring at the moon, Cordelia wondered what it would be like to share this experience with someone she loved. It really was romantic–the beach, the sky, everything. She even was willing to admit that the past few days had awakened a sexual desire in her that she had never really experienced before now. Angel was a hottie, and she could understand her body’s reaction to him, but the ramifications of a relationship with him kept her at bay. She would continue to control any ‘urges’ she might have. After all, they only had another 36 hours to go. She could manage–she HAD to manage. She wouldn’t let this incredibly romantic circumstance create false emotions.
Reentering the dark room from outside the balcony, Cordelia failed to notice Angel’s explosion of vampiric speed as he made a mad dash out of the room. Turning on the lights, she put on her shoes and prepared herself for dinner.
Angel and Cordelia sat quietly at the dinner table, as the rest of the group chattered on.
Cordelia wasn’t in the mood for small talk, she wanted nothing more than to resolve this case and be on her way home. Back to familiar surroundings where she didn’t have to talk to anyone, except for phantom Dennis.
Angel was mulling over the case. Wesley had yet to call him regarding the results of the tests that would tell him what was in the wine. He was also optimistic that Wesley had the chance to contact many of the previous guests from the list Angel had given him.
“Angel?” Mavie asked eagerly.
Yanked from his thoughts, he looked at Mavie, “Huh?”
“I was asking if you two were planning on having children anytime soon?” A warning bell rang out in Angel’s mind. Somehow feeling this was an integral element of the puzzle. After all, Mary had become pregnant either while at the resort or shortly thereafter.
His eyes focused on Cordelia, giving her a let-me-answer look, before fixing his eyes back on Mavie. A few moments of silence passed as Angel considered the best way to respond.
Finally he replied, “We are planning on having children. In fact, we would already be trying to conceive, except intimacy problems keep getting in our way.”
“Careful,” Leoni said timidly, “Greg and I waited because of the same reason, and now it’s too late for us.”
“Marcy and I really wanted to have children, but I’m not able to.” Danny remarked.
“Well you know what they say—there’s a reason for everything.” Yeah! Like, there is no way you two should be allowed to bear children, Cordelia added in her thoughts.
Kara chimed in with her incessant jabbering, and suddenly everyone was talking at once.
After dinner, the group gathered in the main hall to complete the couples’ daily exercises; as expected, it had been much more tranquil than dinnertime. Once, everyone had finished their exercises, Mavie gave them a run down of the next day.
“Tomorrow is the big night…you should already be longing for one another, but tomorrow’s activity should push you to the verge of desire. You will want your partner like never before, or my name isn’t Mavie Evender!” She spoke like a cheerleader rallying the team.
Cordelia watched quietly as all the couples began talking at once. They all seemed delighted with their partners; they didn’t seem like the same group that had been doing these exercises on the first day. Who would have guessed this crap really worked? She was beyond amazed.
Angel was searching through his pockets for his cell phone. It had been ringing for a while, and he had not been able to distinguish the ring because of the noisy chattering. Finally fishing it out of his right pants pocket, he answered. Signaling to Cordelia that he would be going outside to finish his call, he promptly left the room.
Cordelia began to follow after him, when Kara stopped her, “You got bitten by those dang mosquitoes too? My arm itches like the dickens!” she exclaimed, rubbing furiously at her arm.
“Yeah, they got me too, but it doesn’t itch that badly.” She was hastily trying to escape.
“See Daven, Cordelia got bit too, you need to find a way to destroy to vile little blood suckers.”
Now that Kara was distractedly reprimanding Daven, Cordelia snuck out. Hearing the other couples cut in with their bug complaints, before she was out the door and heading towards the serene patio outside.
“Bromocriptine,” Angel repeated. “As in the fertility drug?”
Cordelia saw Angel was still on his cell phone as she stepped out onto the courtyard.
“Oh really? Faintness and nausea.” Her eyes immediately darted up to meet his eyes at the mention of the symptoms she had experienced the previous night.
“Okay, good work, Wes. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” He disconnected his phone. “Cordy, you drank a fertility enhancement drug that helps stimulate ovulation.”
“Is that why Mary got pregnant? They drugged her without her knowing, just so she could conceive…that makes absolutely zero sense.” Her head hurt from the endless conversation she had endured during dinner as well as after the exercises; now combined with the perplexity of the case, her headache was growing to be an immense migraine.
“Well, Wesley also talked to many of the previous guests here and found a pattern, coincidently, one couple out of every group had given birth nine months from their visit.”
“Okay, so they’re helping couples have babies, and that’s a problem why?”
“Not sure, but from the sounds of it, it’s done without their knowledge. Even though the couple is happily expecting the baby, they have no memory of their last night here. Which brings me to my next point—the hospital where Mary died is still examining the deceased fetus.”
“Because of abnormalities? As in demon abnormalities…” she answered her own question.
“I’m not sure, but that would be my guess too.”
Standing silently on the patio, they thought about the case for a few minutes before turning in to go to their room.
DAY 4 – Put It On
Cordelia’s eyes blinked open at the sound of running water. The night had been uneventful and she had slept peacefully without any further problems. With a deep yawn and a sleepy stretch she turned to her other side just in time to see Angel’s naked silhouette from behind the shoji screen. Instantly alert, her eyes widened as she watched his large body bend over the side of the tub to adjust the water temperature.
Steam drifted up in thick clouds as he stepped into the hot water. Absorbed by the movements of the dark shadow along the screen, Cordelia shuffled from beneath the sheets. Invading her friend’s privacy without his knowledge was certainly not polite, possibly voyeuristic and too tempting to resist. Feeling a twinge of guilt, but not enough to look away, she chose to enjoy the show.
With a small sigh, she sunk deeper within the security of the blanket. All the while, her curious gaze never lost sight of the figure behind the screen. She nearly gasped aloud when Angel bumped into the shoji screen just before sinking down into the protection of the bath. It teetered for a moment revealing at first a flash of pale skin before settling into place now providing an unfettered view if she tilted her head just so. From this angle, he was turned away from the bed and couldn’t see her watching. Slowly, he sank below the steaming surface, emerging again with his usually spiky hair slicked back with the weight of the water.
Cordelia’s heart rate increased, ever so slightly as she followed the trail of a water drop trickling its way down from his head to the glistening plane of his chest. Her breath caught in her throat until a tight pressure built up in her chest and she let it go in a heated huff. She was familiar with that chest. After all, she had patched it up on the numerous occasions, but this was different. Now she longed to touch, to run her hand down those muscles, roaming across the smooth expanse of it.
She uttered an ‘mmm’ of appreciation as she dreamt of the feel of his wet skin beneath her eager hands. Just the thought made her melt a little deeper into the bed covers, her body tingling. Her fingers tangled in the sheets, crumpling them as she watched him.
Placing a small dab of shampoo on his head, Angel reached up with both hands to massage it into his hair, his biceps flexing as he lathered on the shampoo. Cordy couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the ripple of his arms. She bit down on her bottom lip, trying to hold back the little rumble of pleasure that burst forth.
God he was sexy…what the hell was this place doing to her? Squirming in irritation, she released her death-grip on the sheets, her hands landing on the cotton covering of her top. The sensation only accentuated the ache building deep inside. Ugh! She was not some sex-driven nymphomaniac.
Preoccupied with her internal debate, Cordelia was caught completely unprepared for what happened next. Just when she was trying to convince herself that there was nothing sexy about Angel, he stood up in full naked glory. A torrent of water washed along his skin, splashing back into the bath. Still within her line of view, he rubbed soap over his dripping wet body. He lathered the soap up his well-formed thighs, over the round curve of his tight behind, around the hips to the toned stretch of his abdomen.
Large as his frame was, he moved with agile grace. Cordelia had witnessed this grace many times while watching him fight, but never in such an intimate way. She followed the trail of foamy suds left behind by the soap, her blood pumping energetically throughout her body as her heart raced.
Longing clouded her mind and she just couldn’t seem to shake the lustful thoughts. It should be her hands sliding across that slick skin. Blood rushed to her face, as she blushed furiously. Nevertheless, her eyes continued wandering over every sexy inch exposed to her view. Almost every inch. Her restless fingers began to toy with the edge of her top, sliding across the warm flesh beneath, stirring sensation and bolstering her resolve.
Gathering the nerve to look where she knew she shouldn’t, Cordelia allowed her eyes to stray down below to his masculinity, and boy howdy was he masculine. In perfect profile, she was able to see everything, including his arousal. Apparently, she wasn’t the only one in this room enjoying his bath.
A small gasp escaped her, as Cordelia watched Angel’s hand fist his growing erection. With a firm grip, he stroked himself, the slickness of the water and his soapy fingers making it effortless. His palm slid slowly up and down the length of his sex and his head fell back in a moan of pleasure. Moaning with him, as softly as she could manage, she felt her face flush more intensely.
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t take her eyes off of him. What she really wanted to do was get into the tub with him and explore every inch of his hard body with her tongue. Her hand slid down to the warmth of her own sex, fingers threading through the curls nestled there. Rubbing at the needy area, she imagined his rough hands massaging her, the way they massaged his own body.
Suddenly, that little fantasy was interrupted by the sound of knocking on the door. Cordy jerked her hand out of her panties and shoved it under the pillow behind her head. Guilt exploded, but the thought of getting caught drove it back. Through slitted eyes, she saw Angel reluctantly release his hold. A low growl of frustration rumbled in his throat as he jumped out of the tub, not bothering to wash off the soap.
He was still dripping as he wrapped a towel tightly around his hips, making sure to confine the evidence of his arousal. Instantly Cordelia dropped her head down to hide beneath the pillow and acted like she had been sleeping the whole time, as Angel went to answer the door. It was room service with a cartful of pancakes, eggs, toast, juice, milk and potatoes. Angel took the cart and thanked the waiter.
After the door closed, Cordelia slowly sat up, stretching and yawning, as if she had just woken up. “What time is it?” she asked in her best sleepy voice.
“Nine o’clock,” Angel replied, turning away from her to hide the grin that was forming on his face. She was a horrible actress, even if he had not been aware that she was watching him bathe, he would have instantly known she hadn’t been asleep from her lousy ‘just waking up’ routine.
“Mmmm, what smells so good?” she inquired as if she didn’t already know.
Congratulating herself on the fact that Angel had no idea she had watched him or that she had found it impossible to resist touching herself while she did so, Cordy tossed aside the sheets and climbed out of bed. Suddenly hungry for food, she headed for the linen-draped cart, her stomach rumbling.
Mavie and Daven had sent breakfast for all the couples. Angel, being very suspicious of all the food, didn’t allow Cordelia to eat any of it. He promised to buy her breakfast from the restaurant downstairs if she allowed him to get ready first.
She accepted his offer, and went out on the balcony to give him some privacy. He got dressed in a flash and left the room, permitting Cordelia to get ready in private.
Angel walked around the hotel, taking in the different smells, to see if he could sense any demons. Whatever was going to happen here was going to happen tonight, and he was taking every opportunity to track down the source before it had a chance to strike. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. There wasn’t a single demon in the hotel. Apart from the handful of moments he had detected fleeting traces of demon scent in their room, he had not found any evidence elsewhere in the resort. He abandoned his search temporarily so he could meet Cordy at the restaurant.
Meanwhile, Cordelia got ready as fast as she could. Grabbing a bag of blood and pouring the contents into a cup, she quickly left the room and went down to the restaurant to meet up with Angel.
Breakfast was a bit awkward. Angel appeared nervous around her, and she couldn’t figure out why. Probably some details about the case he was keeping from her. Regardless of his tense demeanor, she upheld a conversation with him, getting him to talk about his past, like only she could.
Only Cordelia could listen intently while he confessed the horrific sins of Angelus’ past, and he knew it. She was a friend, and he didn’t have many of those in his life. But Cordelia was much more than a friend, and he was finally coming to terms with his feelings. He was certainly going to miss her frequent company when back at home.
Cordelia finished her breakfast, and Angel paid the bill as promised. They were due to meet in the lobby for the morning activity.
Upon entering the main lounge, Daven gave his wife a long-lasting kiss, in spite of, or maybe because of the fact they had an audience. The three couples—besides Cordy and Angel—gawked in admiration at the impassioned display of affection. After what felt like several minutes, Mavie withdrew from his embrace to face the surprised couples. “Tonight is *the* night. We believe each of you will be ready for the next step.”
Still gently stroking his wife’s arms from his position behind her, Daven added, “That being said, we have the final activity for you this morning. It is the most important lesson we can teach you. Foreplay should begin long before intercourse. Making each other feel loved and beautiful is part of foreplay and part of the seduction.”
Mavie moved to the desk at the far end of the lounge, pulling out a notebook and glancing at it. “When you registered we asked you to fill out a questionnaire that told us a little about your interests. Using this knowledge, we have created a unique activity for each couple.”
Daven motioned for Greg, Leoni, Evan and Kara to follow him. Mavie stayed behind momentarily to take Danny and Marcy in each arm and guide them to the door. “Angel, Cordelia, I need you to stay put, I’ll be right back.” Her voice faded as she took the two people on either side of her down the hall and out of sight.
“I can’t believe we have been here for four whole days and still, we know very little about the case,” Cordelia declared gloomily. “What if nothing happens tonight…we won’t have an excuse to stay any longer, and our case will go unsolved.”
“No it won’t, something is going to happen tonight. We will be alert, and ready. Don’t eat or drink anything given to you by the hotel staff.” Angel struggled to sound hopeful. He wanted to alleviate Cordelia’s unease, but he wasn’t feeling all that confident himself.
Standing in complete silence, they waited for Mavie to return. Time passed at a snail’s pace. Minutes seemed like hours in the awkward quietness. After ten long minutes, Mavie returned, carrying a beautiful scrap of folded crimson material in her hand, “You two, follow me please,” she said, turning back around and out the door.
Giving Angel a quick glance, Cordy promptly strode out to catch up with Mavie. In a flash, Angel was right behind her. Not knowing what this next activity would be had her a bit unnerved. She was already experiencing emotions she hadn’t felt before for Angel. She didn’t think she could take another exercise in intimacy without crossing the line of friendship with her scrumptious vampire friend slash boss. It was too much. Lately, her body had been responding to his touch in ways that made her blush, and she was certain, even without his vampy senses, he would be a fool not to notice.
Mavie stopped in the middle of the corridor, turning to her left, and opening a door. Cordelia and Angel didn’t move, but Mavie was already in the room. She gestured for them to follow. Angel went in first, and Cordy followed behind him. The room was empty except for a chair and a stereo hidden away in the furthest left corner. The lights were somewhat dimmed, producing a soft glow on their skin.
“Cordelia, can you please go put this dress on?” Mavie handed Cordelia the silky material she had been carrying.
Unsure of what else to do or say without giving anything away, Cordy seized the dress and left the room.
“Angel, we picked the dress Cordelia is going to wear based on the answers you gave us on the questionnaire. Red is your favorite color and silk is your favorite material, correct?” Angel slowly nodded in agreement. “Cordelia said she used to be a cheerleader, so I’m guessing she is comfortable dancing for you?” Now uncertain, but not sure there was much he could do just yet, Angel nodded again. “Good, you should both enjoy this very much. You can go ahead and sit in this chair.” Mavie said pulling the chair out from the corner and into the middle of the room.
Suddenly, Angel heard Cordelia’s quickened heartbeat approaching, and could smell the faint fragrance of her citrus perfume. Preparing himself for the vision of Cordelia in red silk, he took in a sharp breath. Then sitting to face the door, he waited patiently for his beautiful best friend to arrive. Mere moments passed and then, there she was, like the rising sun, scarlet and luminous, spreading her light and warmth into the dim room.
Standing at the room’s threshold, Cordelia bashfully met Angel’s gaze. Breathtaking. She was absolutely breathtaking. The satiny bodice clung to her breasts, only revealing a subtle glimpse of cleavage. His eyes dropped lower noting how the dress dipped in at her waist outlining the feminine curves of her body before flaring out flirtatiously to mid thigh.
“You look…” sexy, delicious, mouth-watering- his mind wandered endlessly taking in her luscious form “stunning.” He knew he was pushing the boundaries of their friendship with his thoughts just has he’d pushed them this morning when he let her see what the thought of her could do to him. Thoughts he couldn’t help thinking. He wanted to feel her warmth, taste her essence, and then claim her as his in every way possible, so that no other man could bask in her radiance.
How was he going to get through this night without doing just that? He was so close to just taking her, but he wanted…needed her willing and wanting him. “Cordelia, turn around,” he practically growled out the demand.
Hesitantly, she twisted around causing her skirt to lift, just the slightest bit, enough to give him a better glimpse of her golden thighs. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, trying to relieve the pressure of his hardening arousal. The silky material hugged the top curve of her bottom but left her back gloriously bare with only two thin straps crisscrossing at mid back to hold the dress up.
Slowly completing the twirl, Cordelia examined Angel’s expression. He’d never looked at her with so much longing before, his eyes black pools of hunger. A shudder tingled down her spine, instantly eliciting a fiery arousal that dampened her panties. The notion that she might be causing as much need in him as he had caused her in the bath this morning enticed waves of passion that crashed recklessly throughout her body.
Mavie seemed satisfied. “Well you two still have desire for one another, this shouldn’t be difficult!” she exclaimed as she pressed the play button on the stereo. “Just allow your body to tease and temp him; you will both enjoy the stimulation. By tonight, you will experience the highest pinnacles of pleasure. Trust me, works like a charm.”
The song began….an intoxicating combination of persuasive bass vibrations and a hypnotic synthesized harmony. Walking towards Cordelia, Mavie added in a low whisper, “Let the rhythm guide you.” Positioning her hands on Cordy’s hips, Mavie coerced her to swing them back and forth.
Put it on
And don’t say a word
Cordelia closed her eyes and focused on the stimulating music, the stirring poetry of the lyrics, the deep, spell-binding sound of the tenor. His alluring voice dripped with sensuality, sending shivers vibrating throughout her body. Her pulse was in tune with the music, and her breathing began to calm as she relaxed and allowed the slow, seductive beat to lead her movements.
Put it on
The one that I prefer
She never even noticed Mavie withdraw her guiding hands and back away, exiting the room…leaving Angel and her alone to their erotic dance. Controlled by the music, her hips rocked back and forth with the tempo.
Put it on
And stand before my eyes
Her hands rose from her sides and fingered her abdomen, before gradually ascending to skim the outer curves of her breasts.
Put it on
Please don’t question why
Can you believe
Her hands continued slowly advancing to her neck, before sweeping around her silky locks and capturing them in a messy gathering on top of her head, her body still moving to the influential beat. Releasing her right hand, she invitingly guided it back down to the toned expanse of her belly.
Something so simple
Something so trivial
Makes me a happy man
Can’t you understand
Emerging from her daze, Cordelia slowly opened her eyes, watching Angel through lowered lashes. Their eyes met, unleashing a tidal wave of arousal within her body, her breasts forming pebbled peaks in reaction.
Say you believe
Just how easy
It is to please me
His ravenous gaze, slipped away from her eyes to roam her body. The heat, rampantly coursing through her womb, intensified, her body beckoning him. She wanted this. Wanted him. Angel.
Because when you learn
You’ll know what makes the world turn
He let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding. Then, drawing in another lungful of air, he attempted to take in all of her musky aroma. He wanted to drink her in, her scent, her arousal. He wanted this. Wanted her. Cordelia.
Put it on
I can feel so much
Following her movements as she progressed toward him, he held perfectly still. Her step in harmony with every rousing beat of the music, her rhythm graceful and unhurried, he watched anxiously, awaiting her warmth. Her shadow fell onto him, dancing seductively over his features, while he sat still, helplessly captivated.
Put it on
I don’t need to touch
She was so close he could see every indentation and crease of her dark crimson dress. Her scent was spicy and rich with arousal. He was rapidly sinking to the depths of desire. Not just desire…love. He loved Cordelia.
Put it on
Here before my eyes
In his eyes she saw more than lust, she saw passion. Her body ached for his touch, but her heart ached for more. She felt an unfamiliar sensation…love. She had loved before, but had never been in love, until now. She loved Angel.
Put it on
Because you realize
And you believe
He wanted to touch her, caress her face, explore her body. He ached for her. She was fueling the flames of desire within him. He reached out, needing to touch her, but she was out of his reach, and he could not wait any longer. Without hesitation, he advanced towards her, reaching out and placing his hands on her hips, he pulled her close. She stepped into his arms and it was like she had always belonged there.
Something so worthless
Serves a purpose
His hand skimmed the dip of her waistline and continued its ascent to the curve of her breasts. His touch, leaving a scorching trail in its wake, elicited a sultry moan from her. She curled her hands around his shoulders, as he sprinkled delicate kisses up the nape of her neck. His hands caressed her flushed cheeks, then brushing her plump bottom lip with the pad of his thumb applying light pressure. Her lips parted under its weight, luring him with an invitation to enter.
Makes me a happy man
Can’t you understand
Say you believe
Moving his hands to her hair and pulling her in, closer to him. His hard chest crushed against her silky full breasts, his body eagerly soaking up her warmth. His head lowered to hers as his hands tangled in her hair. He tugged gently, bringing her mouth slowly to his, until their lips fused together.
Just how easy
It is to please me
His cool tongue invaded the burning heat of her mouth, sliding in smoothly in a tender exploration. His kiss was a satisfying assault of body and mind. Reaching deeply within, taking her completely, and moving her very soul.
Because when you learn
You’ll know what makes the world turn
They were oblivious to the world around them. All that was left was Angel and her, nothing more than she could feel, and that’s all there was—her Angel.
He captured her bottom lip, with light suction, between his teeth, before reinvading her mouth with his silky tongue.
Concentrating on each other, his eyes focused on Cordelia as he allowed his lips to leave the safety of her mouth and let her breathe. Breathless and ravaged, she gazed back at him passionately. Their bodies still moving together as one, to an imaginary beat.
His hips swayed in unison to hers, as he held her close. Never in his 245 years of undead life, had he felt such a burning need for anyone…and he did need her, un-beating heart, body, and soul.
Her mind whirled with the myriad of emotions she was experiencing. Her body craving his touch, her thoughts filled feelings of love. Love for a vampire, a vampire who was in love with someone else. A vampire cursed with a soul, but could lose his soul in perfect bliss.
The music faded away. Silence allowed the harsh truth of reality to set in as Cordelia extracted herself from Angel’s arms and backed away.
…TO BE CONTINUED…
THIS FIC APPEARS TO BE UNFINISHED