Haute Couture

SUMMARY: Written for Angel’s Oasis Fall Fic Festival. Cordelia wants to focus on the new fashions for Fall but her thoughts keep wandering to a certain manpire. Set after Waiting in the Wings but no Groo-ness.
POSTED: 12 Nov 2006
CONTENT/PAIRING: Cordelia, implied C/A
1) When I think of Fall, I always think of the new Fall fashions and Fashion Week in NYC. I wrote this story about the time of Fashion Week and have been staring at it ever since. Something is missing, I just can’t place it. I sent it to three different betas and nothing. Hopefully, someone can figure out what I can’t.
STATUS: Complete

Cordelia Chase sat at her desk in the lobby of the Hyperion. Or rather, she sat in what could be considered the lobby, if this old place was still a hotel. She often thought that the place was badly in need of re-decorating and that she was badly in need of her own office. She also needed a raise to go along with her new office. How else was she going to wile away her days reading Cosmo if she didn’t have some degree of privacy? Today, she really didn’t need it though. Her boss wasn’t going to wake before dusk and the rest of the gang was engaged in other things. Gunn and Fred had gone out for a late lunch slash early dinner slash make-out fest. Wesley had gotten all sullen and gone downtown to try to find some rare demon guidebook or something. Lorne was scoping out a spot for his new club, one that hopefully wouldn’t get destroyed by some force care of Angel Investigations. Connor was napping with his dad so it was left up to Cordelia to man the fort. She had done it before and as long as she didn’t have any visions, things would be just fine for a lazy afternoon. She didn’t expect the phone to ring as cases had been few and far between as of late.

She reached for her Cosmo and her caffeine free Diet Coke. Despite the pittance she was paid here, she made sure she always had the twenty dollars or so for her yearly subscription to Cosmo. She just charged her drinks right to the company. They could be considered a business expense, as in she wouldn’t do any business without them. She opted for the caffeine free option today since she hadn’t been sleeping well. She didn’t need yet another stimulant to keep her awake. She was doing that well enough on her own.

She usually didn’t have trouble sleeping. That was left up to Broodypants upstairs. However, since the night at the ballet, she found that she couldn’t close her eyes without dreams of Angel flooding her mind. Most of them had started out the same, with the two of them trapped in the dressing room backstage, kissing and caressing. Her dreams took off from there, usually ending with a throbbing need between her legs and sweat soaked sheets. When she woke, she could still feel every searing kiss, she could feel the lingering coolness of where Angel’s fingertips had been. She was more aroused than she had been in her life and that loss of control was something that did not sit well with the brunette.

She had told herself over and over again that her and Angel were possessed, nothing more, in an effort to be rid of the dreams. They had come back to the hotel and gone their separate ways for the evening. Since then, she had been doing her best to avoid the subject all together. She had actually filed, months and months worth of back cases, in an effort to avoid Angel. He had seemed to do the same and kept his distance, busying himself with demon slaughter or taking care of Connor.

Last night though, is what really set her on edge. It hadn’t started out at the ballet. This one was an all too real scenario for Cordelia, which unnerved her even more. It started out innocently enough as an evening after a particularly rough vision. Despite the new demonification, they still had their lingering effects on her. Angel had let her rest in his room and must have forgotten as he crawled into bed with her. She felt his arms encircle her, pulling her close against him. His lips found hers and before she knew it, they were undressing each other. When she woke, she could still feel his skin against hers, the safety and desire she felt in his arms. If it hadn’t been for Dennis and his trusty loofah, she might have had to call into work today.

She was hoping that later this afternoon she could get her mind off her Angel dreams by doing a bit of shopping. Fall always seemed to remind her of back to school and back to school shopping. It was the time of year when she would purge her closets and buy an entire new wardrobe with her father’s credit card. Of course, now she could neither afford to purge her closet or spend an insane amount of money. It was still nice to remember those twice yearly times though, back to school and spring shopping. She sighed happily as she remembered. She might be super heroine extraordinaire but she still had a soft spot for designer clothes. They were just made better, held up better, and frankly, looked better.

Cordelia needed distraction now from thoughts of her former life AND Angel. Thankfully, her Cosmo had finally arrived in the mail. She glanced at Katie Holmes at the cover and snorted. She only wished her life was like Dawson’s Creek. Jo only had to worry about being attracted to her best friend. Throw some demons and vampires into the mix, make that best friend a vampire on the no-bone list, and that would be a show that Cordy could relate to. She flipped open the pages, scanning over articles that would never help her.

“85 Hot Ways to Wow a Man…Yeah, right. I could have written that article myself, I don’t need to read it.” Cordy flipped past it. She glanced over the advice column but nothing even remotely related to her or entertaining enough to laugh at. She sighed to herself. At least there was always the fashion spread. Fall fashions were coming up and she was determined to at least fake the trends this year. She was getting more and more amazed at what she could do at the thrift store with 10 bucks and a hot glue gun. Necessity was the mother of invention. Plus, it didn’t hurt that she could make the best of a bad situation, no matter what.

She paused as she came across the quiz. “Are you Intimidating? Do other women shrink in your presence or roll right over you?” Cordelia shook her head. She didn’t need a quiz to tell her that. They made it sound all so terrible. There was nothing wrong with being in charge. Some people just really needed to be told what to do. Look at Harmony, even as a vampire she needed someone to tell her what to do. Why shouldn’t that person be Cordelia? Frustrated, she went right to the back to see the new spreads for fall.

She moved quickly past the requisite Goth comeback, wrinkling her nose up at it. It seemed that every Fall there was a designer that decided that black was the new black. Someone who decreed that broomstick skirts and Anne Rice bobs were what was in. Puffy poet shirts, even in black, did not look good on anyone. Cordy sighed but she stopped when she saw the spread after the uber-goth. It was sexy and seductive and completely Cordelia.

She closed her eyes for a moment, allowing herself the pleasure of her own imagination. She could never afford the $400 top but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t pretend she was the model in the photo. The royal blue top would compliment her skin and really bring out the undertones of her face. The skirt was tastefully cut so she wouldn’t be showing too much leg. It would be the perfect outfit for the coffee shop date that the woman seemed to be enjoying with the dark handsome male model.

Cordelia imagined herself out on that date. The way she would oh so subtly lean in towards the man and ignore the glances he would try to sneak at her cleavage. It was an asset so she wasn’t about to deny its power. She could see herself getting closer to the man to hear the whispered words. It was something about taking her for a ride in his new sports car. The light blue of his shirt brought out his dark hair and heavy brow. Her eyes would rise up from the coffee cup and meet with…Angel’s?!

She nearly fell out of her chair as she tried to rip herself from the daydream. She brought a hand up to her forehead, eyes wide. It was bad enough that she had been dreaming about him, now she was openly thinking about him during the day, taking her out on a date. Cordy tossed the Cosmo into the trash before she grabbed her Diet Coke. She drained it quickly in one long gulp. With the temptation gone, she was desperate to find something to occupy her mind. She could already feel the familiar want growing in her. She need to squelch it and quickly! She looked to her computer. At least surfing the net was a nice mundane activity that would keep her mind away from Angel.

She hadn’t really gotten a feel for the new Fall fashions considering that her mind immediately went to a coffee shop date with Angel. She looked at the Cosmo in the trash, glaring at it. She could blame the magazine. If the model hadn’t been a dead ringer for Angel, her tired mind wouldn’t have jumped right to that. She looked back to her computer, opening up a browser window. Fashion Week had just wrapped and at least she could look at Spring fashions if the Fall ones were going to make her think about Angel. She found a good site that had all of the Ready-To-Wear recaps on it. She skipped right over crazies like Betsy Johnson and Imitation of Christ and Gaultier. Even John Galliano was pushing towards the ranks of the crazies in Cordelia’s book. She needed something classic, something that she could put together for a few dollars on the fly.

Moschino caught her eye right off the bat as she scrolled through. There were plenty things among the collection that she already had. She had a black satin top that she managed to salvage from her Sunnyhell days. She was just glad that she was able to squirrel away a few designer pieces. Granted, they were far too many seasons old but in a few more years, they would be vintage. Then she would be back in vogue once more.

The satin blouse was paired with a pleated black skirt, another thing that Cordelia had. She leaned forward to examine the piece closer and noticed a striking resemblance to the runway model. Her breasts were bigger and years of eating junk food because it was cheap had given her a few more curves but she could see the resemblance. She was the muse of the collection. Cordy sat back in her chair as she looked at the screen. She remembered when she would have just been able to see that outfit and buy it without batting an eye. Now she was envious of the model, wondering what it would be like to walk that runway, to be someone’s muse.

Before she knew it, she was lost in yet another daydream. Cordelia pictured herself walking down that runway, the flashbulbs going off all around her. She reached the end, turning, a hand resting on her hip. She gave the audience her fiercest look before she headed back down the catwalk. She was working the walk for all it was worth, her hips swaying from side to side. She could feel the fabric brushing against her skin as she walked, exciting her when coupled with the rest of the show. The adoration of her was palpable in the air. It tingled almost with an electricity all its own. She stepped down off the catwalk, rushing to the back and running into a solid cool wall. She didn’t have to say a word. Neither of them did. She merely gazed up into his eyes. She was his muse, the one who inspired him. She felt the brush of his fingers over her jaw line and then over her lips, causing her to close her eyes.

The daydream was so real; she could feel his body against hers. He was crushing her breasts against his chest. It was like a soft yielding silk meeting against metal. She opened her mouth to speak but she was quickly silenced with a finger pressed against her lips. Angel leaned down, barely brushing his lips over hers.

Cordelia snapped out of her daydream again. She shouldn’t have let that one go as far as it did. She shook it off but she was finding it harder and harder to clear the cobwebs from her mind. She could feel Angel’s lips against hers, cool against warm, ice against fire. She reached up to touch her lips just to be certain. She got up quickly from her chair as she felt nothing there. This had to be a side effect of her demonization, it just had to be. Sure, she fantasized, every woman did. But she had never gotten to the point where she could feel the effects in her waking hours. Even now, seconds later, she could still feel the tingles on her skin that his touch had caused in her.

“I have to get out of here. I am going stir crazy.” She said to herself. She closed her computer down and gathered up her things. She grabbed her purse and her keys. She needed to go for a walk. A walk would clear her head and get the Angel fantasies out of there. That was two in her waking hours to couple with the dozens she was having during the night. She scribbled a quick note for whoever would come back, slapping it on the counter. She rushed out of the hotel as fast as her legs would take her.

Cordy took in a deep breath as soon as she hit outside and the sunshine. She walked as quickly as her legs would carry her away from the Hyperion, away from Angel. Even now, she still felt a shadow of his touch from her two daydreams. It clung to her like her like a wet shirt. She slowed as she started passing businesses until she was finally walking at just a leisurely pace. She paused briefly in front of a few stores, during the usual window shopping. She always found it funny that the stores would stock winter coats when it was LA. People would still be wearing bikinis around Christmas time.

She stopped in front of a small boutique, looking in the window. She could see her reflection but she could also see the most beautiful dress she had ever seen. It was in a cornflower blue and looked like it might be jersey knit. It was a wrap dress and thank Diane Von Furstenberg for the invention of those. A woman like Cordelia looked amazing in them. Her eyes moved up to the mannequin and for the moment, she allowed herself to think back to when she owned a dress like that. That was the kind of dress that definitely needed to be taken out dancing.

Cordy could see herself in that dress, the way it would hug her curves, paired with just some strappy sandals. She would have to wear it to Sky Bar or even better, one of those trendy Hollywood hot spots that seemed to change nightly. She would be found dancing among the Hollywood elite as Cameron Diaz shook her booty on the dance floor and Shannon Elizabeth chatted up some of those Jackass guys at the bar. She moved through the crowd among shouts of “Hey Cordelia!” and “Over here, Cordy!” Tonight, she could finally be recognized as the star she really was.

She slipped onto the dance floor right as a pulse pounding bass beat keyed up. She wasn’t much for the techno music but it was hot in the clubs. Plus, it was easy to dance to. She closed her eyes to allow herself to get lost in the music. That was probably her first mistake as she felt a presence behind her. She felt hands on her hips, pulling her back. She could tell it was a man, picking his cologne out from the other mingling scents of the club. She moved back against him and never stopped in her dancing. He didn’t seem to mind. He stood almost completely still and allowed her to dance against him. Every time she tried to turn around, he used those hands on her hips to stop her.

She could feel the hardness of his desire pressing against her and it only fueled her in her dancing. She ground back against him, usually not this free of her inhibitions. She didn’t care though because she was having a good time. She felt his lips against her neck, sending shivers from her spine all the way down to her core. She didn’t protest as he moved his hands up from her hips and against her stomach. She broke away from him just before he could touch the underside of her breasts. She turned and hooked her finger at him as she started to walk away. The darkness of the club had obscured his face but she knew he was familiar. It just felt right.

She waited for him in the darkened hallway leading to the club bathrooms. She could still hear and feel the music. Her heart was keeping time with the beat. Before she could react, he was on her like a tiger. He attacked her lips with his, his hands roaming all over her body. His fingers touched the bare skin of her arms while his lips worked against her neck. His hand slipped up her thigh, pushing the hem of her dress up, as his fingers barely brushed the bottom of her panties. She had never done anything like this in her life but she didn’t care. She wasn’t about to stop now. She felt his lips slipping lowered into the V of the dress, kissing whatever skin he could. She took both sides of his head, pulling him away so she could see her mystery lover.

The sight of Angel for the third time in less than an hour in one of her daydreams jerked Cordy once more into the real world. She stood in front of the shop window and looked at the dress in front of her. She could still feel his kisses. Her skin seemed to burn with the memory of his caress. She could feel her own heat rising up from her body. She swallowed hard. What were a few credit card payments in exchange for a dress that could possibly cause that moment? Cordelia stepped into the shop, determined to have that dress and have the fantasy it stirred.

She moved up to the clerk at the counter. She might not have been wearing designer clothes but the way she held her head would tell anyone that she belonged here. She wasn’t going to wait to get her hands on that dress either. Once she had made up her mind, it was made up.

“I want to try on that dress on display. The cornflower blue wrap one.” Cordelia said without hesitation. These clerks were getting paid well enough to be able to judge her size just by looking at her. At least, the ones at Fred Segal always could.

The salesgirl came around the counter and gave Cordelia a quick once over. She had seen all sorts of celebrities in here wearing K-Mart track suits and Wal-Mart sweat pants so the underdressed girl didn’t meant she didn’t have money. She was working on commission and if she sold this dress, it would be a good day. She brought it back to the girl with a smile. “Dressing rooms are right this way. Would you like something to drink? Mineral water perhaps?”

“Uh…” Cordelia hesitated. It had been so long since she had been in a place where the clerks got you water or espresso and offered you little chocolates and biscotti. The places she shopped, she was lucky if she didn’t get head lice when she came out of there. “Mineral water would be great.”

She took the dress from the girl and moved to the dressing room. She glanced to the salesgirl and pointed to a small patch near her hip. “The stitching is off right here. It looks like the machine jumped. I don’t know if I can take it.”

The salesgirl paled a little bit. She was hoping that no one would notice that imperfection on the dress. “I can knock three hundred dollars off the price.” Even with that discount, she was still going to be making a good bit off the dress.

That went a lot further towards making up Cordelia’s mind. She stopped at the dressing rooms, looking around. The place was empty which meant that she had her pick. It also meant that she could use the three way mirror all to herself. She put her purse down and quickly shimmied out of her clothes. She kicked her shoes off. They were not going to go with this dress. She paused, yelling over the door to the salesgirl. “Do these have matching shoes?”

The girl’s eyes lit up when she heard that the woman wanted the shoes as well. She was going to be able to afford that desk from Ikea at this rate, thanks to the commissions. She called out as she grabbed the shoebox that contained the matching strappy heels. “There is a handbag as well.”

Cordelia paused for a moment in getting herself redressed into the beautiful dress. She didn’t really need the handbag but if she was going to max out her credit card, she might as well. “Sure. Bring it along too.”

The girl was eager to bring Cordelia the shoes and the handbag. She handed them over the door to her. She knew that no matter what, she had to tell this woman that she looked great. She already had her smile in place. She had done this numerous times in the past.

Cordelia took the shoes and slipped them on. She grabbed the handbag as well before she stepped out. She ignored the salesgirl for the moment and moved over to the three-way mirror. She stood there for a moment, admiring herself. She was right. She smiled at herself in the mirror but then she saw the price tag. Her face darkened for the moment but then she looked to her reflection once more.

It looked as good on her as it had in her fantasy. She shivered as goosebumps crept up her arms as she relived part of the fantasy. In that instant, she could feel Angel’s hands all over her, exploring her. He wouldn’t have a reflection so it was almost as if he was here now, behind her. His presence was so real that she could feel the solid mass of his body pressed to her back. She could hear his voice in her ear, telling her how amazing she looked. His words faltered and he got nervous, just like Angel would have. She shivered once more, shaking it off, banishing the ghost Angel. She wanted the real thing now.

Cordelia stepped down from the three-way mirrors, heading back towards the dressing rooms. She slipped inside so she could gather up her street clothes. She was going to wear this out because she wanted Angel to see it when they were alone in the hotel. She held her card over the door for the girl to take. “Charge it.” She said with the same confidence she approached every situation with. Cordelia had made up her mind. The only way to get rid of these dreams and fantasies was to embrace them.



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