In Control


AUTHOR: NICKLE (aka BRENDA)
SUMMARY: CORDY THINKS ANGEL IS BUFFY’S LAPDOG
RATING: NC17
POSTED: 27 Apr 2004
CATEGORY: SMUT
CONTENT/PAIRING: C/A
WARNINGS: Explicit Sexual Content
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: None
STATUS: Complete

 


CHAPTER 1

Life was full of fun little factoids to know and tell. For example: Cordelia knew that watching your lame excuse of a boyfriend make googoo eyes at his little nerdy mouse of a friend was not, in fact, flattering or fun. Neither was hanging out in the freakin’ library, of all places, to hear the 411 on Buffy’s most recent slimebuddy that she was going to have to kill. Not like the rest of them were needed for that. Some of them, one or two of them…ok, just Cordelia had a life that didn’t include the daily soaking of the clothes caked in demon goo. She had other, more important things to do. Like plan her future wedding to Prince William. But no, apparently in a moment of looniness, she’d picked Xander Harris to bestow her attention on . And she had paid for it ever since. Completely cut off from her friends, losing her favorite Jimmy Choo’s on a run through the cemetery, having to drive her Grandma’s geezermobile of an Olds while she tried to get an uninvite levied on her own car. All this joy for the giving Xander the best semester of her life. It so sucked.

Across the library, Angel sat quietly, slouched back in his chair, chin resting on steepled fingers as he listened to Giles drone on about the latest and baddest. Except it wasn’t so bad; Angel had dealt with this demon before. Not like he’d share that. The last couple of times he’d volunteered any information at all, Giles had completely ignored him and Xander had flat out told him to shut up. When they needed his help, they’d ask for it. On the same day it snowed in hell. Angel could have told him that actually, hell could be very very cold and still burn your soul to a sooty ash. He knew that first hand. One hundred years was a long time to live on earth surrounded by your nearest and dearest; one hundred years in hell was an infinite eternity.

He hadn’t even wanted to come tonight but Buffy had insisted. They would forgive him, she said. They would come around. His place was helping her.

It was that last that really pissed him off. His place? Make him a woman and keep him barefoot and pregnant hunched over a stove…all the same thing. His freakin’ place. Shit. His plans were to figure that out on his own, thank you very much. That would be his pleasure and his alone.

Coming back hadn’t been without its pleasures, small as they were. Willow had hesitatingly visited him at the mansion one night, all skinny nervousness and stuttering. She sat there, bravely, proud of herself for her courage, as she told him about the closed loophole on the noose around his soul. She had researched it carefully, and she hadn’t reinstated the damn curse when she resouled him. “You can, you know….” She head leaned forward and whispered loudly, “get HAPPY.” Her eyes grew wide. He did know what she was talking about, didn’t he? Yeah, he knew. He thanked her, and apologized for her fish, and complimented her on her incredible bravery on coming to him alone and sitting there long enough to tell him the big news. Of course, the huge cross that she held in front of her in a white-knuckled death grip, the wooden stake gripped in the other hand, the necklace of garlic cloves and the squirt gun of holy water in her lap did boost the courage quotient somewhat. He sighed, remembering.

Finding out he could enjoy life with fewer limits had been a pleasure. Actually having that enjoyment, now that was another story.

So here he was, in the library with a group of people who hated him and were frightened of him and what they knew he could be. He had tortured them all, each and every one, in some way. And they resented him with each breath they took. Even Buffy. She didn’t trust that the spell was fixed, and he no longer wasn’t fixed. She was deeply mournful around him, like teenage girls are when in the throes of the deep despair of a lost love. God he hated that. He spent so much time reassuring and comforting and being stoic it had taken him a while to admit the truth to himself: he didn’t want her anymore. Acathala had needed his blood, not his soul, and she had handed it over without another thought. Then she trotted off and played poor broken girl with great hair while he had writhed and suffered in the deepest of hells. Kinda hard to get Mr. Happy stand up and take notice after that. He looked around the room disinterestedly while Buffy began barking out orders.

Xander seemed fixed attentively on Buffy while she talked, Willow looked wide-eyed, like she had a secret she just couldn’t hold in another moment. His eyes met Giles’, who stared at him with deep and utter hatred and contempt. Angel sighed. Oz slouched in a chair next to Willow, absently playing with her fingers as he listened to Buffy. And speak of the slayer….she stood there, short and mighty, doling out decrees. God she could yammer.

“Ok, got it, can we be back home by 9:00? Because Tight Spot is playing at the Bronze….”

“Yeah, Cordelia, we’ll try to fit it in around your schedule.” Buffy’s voice dripped sarcasm. Cordelia’s lips drew into a tight line. She had learned a long time ago that no one ever sided with her in a one on one with Buffy. They always sided with Buffy. Apparently being a sidekick meant you got kicked a little on the side if you tried to be a stand up gal.

Angel watched this little interplay with detachment. Cordelia, he hadn’t figured out yet. Buffy used her as a doormat, or tried to, and still Cordelia came back for more. Granted, she came back fighting. And she could outmouth Buffy any day of the week. If Cordelia were a demon, she’d be….a yammerouth. Her power would be to yammer incessantly with pointed barbs until the Slayer collapsed from a brain deflation. Angel grinned to himself; sitting here and listening to Cordelia sometimes was another small pleasure. Although he wondered about her intelligence in choosing Xander to press flesh with.

“Angel!!” he swung his gaze lazily to an impatient Buffy. “Need your attention here. Be on standby for backup. I’ll let you know if I need you.” Angel held her gaze, not responding. Yeah, I’ll do that.

There was an uncomfortable rustle in the room; no one knew what to say in a conversation that included Angel. Out of the corner, Angel heard a mutter, so soft no one else could hear it. “Bet he was on a leash in the bed, too. Jeeze, what a lapdog!” His gaze, intent, slowly raised and rested on Cordelia, who sat absently twirling a lock of long hair between her fingers. She gazed sightlessly in his direction, and started, suddenly realizing that he was staring at her. She looked around in a mild panic; she hadn’t said that out loud, had she? But no one else paid her any attention. He couldn’t have heard that. He was just being creepy Angel. Ignoring him, she continued to twist her hair around her finger.

A lapdog? A fuckin’ lapdog? Angel brooded, lowering his gaze to his hands. Honey, he not only ran with the big dogs, he WAS the big dog. He knew more about sexual pleasure than Miss Cordelia Chase could ever learn in three lifetimes, and if there was anyone here made for that particular little joy of life, it was the cheerleader. He glanced back over at her, oblivious to his gaze. She was a tight little package, firm and nubile. His misguided foray into a love life with Buffy had been a bad mistake. He’d been all caught up in the moment of her innocence and relative fragility. It had been tender and sweet and gentle….not really words that had described him in the past.

Now this little brunette…..she could be taken for a ride. Through the mountains, down in the valley, sharp around the curves and straight down the road to where the sky and earth meet and blend, full throttle. She was built for exactly that. She was built to be driven, and controlled. A lapdog in bed. No one wanted that; it was boring. Now, having control relinquished, that was something altogether different. A lapdog didn’t make that choice, but a woman strong enough to give over to him, that was the bedmate he wanted.

He shifted in his seat, feeling his pants tighten over his groin as the thoughts in his head took shape. There was no dog in this room, but he’d bet good money she’d make a great little pet. His attention came back to the room; apparently the droning portion of the evening was over. Angel watched as everyone rose and listlessly gathered backpacks and bookbags, and quietly rose and stepped back into the shadows, escaping into the evening without another word.

Cordelia and Xander wandered out into the hallway, followed by Willow and Oz. Xander turned to everyone and took a breath. “OK. Let’s try something new tonight.”

Cordy perked up. “And by new, I mean that we do the exact same thing of following Buffy to the cemetery and hanging back so she won’t get mad.” Cordy glared at him.

“Xander, she doesn’t want us there. She’s Buffy, for God’s sake. What she sadly lacks in brains, charm, looks, or fashion sense she makes up for in brute strength. She’s fine.”

Xander looked at her, a crooked grin on his face. “C’mon, Cord, it’ll be fun. You, me, the dark, lots of lipping…”

“No. She’s mean and I hate her shoes. I’m not going. I’m going to the Bronze. I’m going to have fun. You do remember fun, don’t you? I’m going to have some. You losers need me, you know where to find me.” And she stalked off down the hall, angry that even in a group she didn’t like and had little respect for, she wasn’t the Queen.

Outside, an expectant hush settled over the night. Cordy stalked to her car, angry short clicks of her heels as she turned over in her head various scenarios of Buffy begging for her help, her guidance. Of Xander offering himself on the alter of her mercy. Of Willow…..she snorted. Like she’d waste brainspace on Willow. Cordy looked down into her bag, looking for her keys as she approached her car.

“You should have your keys in your hand before you leave the building, Cordelia. That way, you have a weapon in your hand if you’re attacked.” Cordy shrieked, dropping her bag as her head snapped up, meeting Angel’s steady gaze. He leaned against her car, legs crossed at the ankles, arms folded across his chest. His strong, sculpted chest….she sucked in a breath.

“Holy cow, Angel….is that how you kill ‘em…give ‘em coronaries?” She paused a moment, letting her heart calm, before stooping to scoop up the spilled contents from her bag. Angel watched her, not moving. His eyes traveled up the lines of her bent legs, admiring the lightly muscled length..

“Sorry.”

“Yeah, well, whatever.” Sighing, Cordelia rose and fumbled for her keys. “Tell you what. We’ll do the Buffy show. You go sit somewhere quietly and when I need you, I’ll call you.”

Angel met her gaze without blinking. Cordy began to squirm a bit. Finally, he spoke in a measured tone. “Thought I’d hang out with you at the Bronze in case they need us. You never know.”

Cordy looked at him suspiciously for a moment. “OK. I guess. You’re on your own for drinks. And I like strawberry lemonades. No pulp.”

Angel smiled slightly. “Deal.” They climbed into her car and set off, peeling out of the parking lot with a squeal. Angel relaxed back into his seat, watching her as she drove. She tried to be casual, but she felt his gaze on her like a heated blanket. After a few moments of silence, she finally spoke.

“Would you mind not staring at me?”

Silence. “I always enjoy looking at beauty.”

Cordy snorted. “Smooth line. Work often?”

“Not tonight, apparently.” His voice was laced with mild humor. She thought a bit.

Angel in her car. How often had she wanted THAT? Actually, she had thought about Angel in her car, Angel in her bedroom, Angel on a chaise by the pool, Angel….well, just about anywhere. Xander…he was mildly entertaining. He worked hard and was so malleable, usually. Not tonight, but usually. She so ruled him. And for the most part, that was fun, ruling a boy. For the most part. But sitting here, by Angel….

She suddenly saw the difference. Xander was a boy. Angel was a man. Xander, she could predict and control. Angel…..dark, strong, quiet Angel. He was door number three, and she wasn’t sure what was there. But wondering was making her tingly.

She wordlessly parked the car and hopped out, not waiting for him as she took off for the entrance of the Bronze. A strong hand tugged gently at her arm, and she looked at Angel, who had come up to her silently.

”With me.” His grip was firm but gentle, and she was so surprised by his quiet insistence that she only nodded. They walked in together, into the raised hum of the crowd. Angel led Cordy to a sofa in the corner where they could see the stage clearly and sat down beside her. Cordy sat back, a little unsettled at his attention, and pretended to scout the crowd. Angel watched her intently, drinking in the shimmer of nervousness that hovered from her body. She was aware of him, he had no doubt of that. And she was skittish. And she was….he smiled. She was intrigued.

Cordelia tried to shift with the charged atmosphere that had sprung up between them. She looked around, everywhere but at him. He was right at her side, sitting closer than he needed to on the long sofa. She felt his leg pressed against hers, and sucked in a breath. Was he coming on to her? Not like it wasn’t possible, but she had the “Buffio and Angellette” show shoved down her throat so many times she had decided that the only salty goodness she’d be licking would be in her very hot dreams. Yet here he was, sculpted man ‘o hot goodness, pressing his strong, muscled, long leg against her. Like he wanted her.

He leaned over slightly and whispered in her ear. “I do, you know.” She spun her head towards him, shocked.

“How did you….” He grinned. “I mean, what do you mean?”

“You know what I mean, Cordelia. You’re smart. Very smart. I like that about you.”

She gaped at him. “Ummmm……hookay……have you been drinking, you know, something other than a substance Red Cross approved?”

“Nope. Just seeing clearly.” And he was. He was seeing Cordy on the sofa, on the table, bent over the counter….he was seeing it all very very clearly. He leaned in towards her and whispered in her ear. “Want to come back to the mansion….and…talk?”

Cordy stared at him, her lips parted in shock. Angel leaned over and gently tapped at her chin, pressing her mouth shut. “Open it for me later, Cordy.” His voice was a dark whisper, and it sent shivers down her spine. Ohgod. He wanted her. Just like she……just like she wanted him. She nodded, one short nod, and he gently leaned forward and kissed her lips briefly. “Good girl. Let’s go.” They rose and walked out, calmly, his hand on the small of her back, guiding her. They walked silently to her car and she reached for the doorhandle of the driver’s side, but he stopped her. She looked up at him, confused.

“Give me the keys, Cordelia. I’m driving.”

Cordy stared at him for a moment, feeling like something more was being said than a simple desire to drive a car. Wordlessly, she handed him the keys and he walked her around to the passenger side, opening the door for her and gently handling her into the car. She smiled to herself as she watched him walk around the front of the car. Xander hadn’t ever opened a door for her. And the one time he had stuttered out a request to drive her car she had giggled and said, “Right. That will so happen.” And he had never asked again.

So here she was…in her own car, being driven by Angel. Going to his home…his mansion, she corrected herself, smiling. Going to his mansion, and she, Cordelia Chase, was going to show Angel that liplocking with a Queen was quite a step above wasting time with a Buffy.

Beside her, Angel drove, content in the dark. Back to the mansion, inside the door, and he was going to show one Ms. Cordelia Chase that there were no lapdogs to be found anywhere….and that handing the keys over to Angel had given him much much more.


CHAPTER 2

The car sped through the night, the occupants silent through the drive. Cordelia looked out the window as tree branches, spidery against the moon, passed in a blur. She didn’t even look over when Angel’s hand reached over to briefly stroke at the length of thigh bared by the short skirt.

Angel took an unneeded breath, inhaling the teasing waft of arousal that seemed to float off of Cordelia’s skin. She smelled of fruity shampoo, and expensive conditioner, and a faint musk that was all her. She didn’t look at him as he stroked her leg, but he felt her body tense a bit, and heard the increased beat of her heart.

They pulled into the drive at the mansion, and Angel shut off the engine. They both sat, not touching, silent in the car. Cordy felt as if she stood poised on some….starting line. Some threshold.

Cordelia stared straight ahead, not saying a word. After a moment, she unlocked her seatbelt and opened her door, climbing out. Beside her, Angel let go of the breath he didn’t even know he was holding and climbed out of his side of the car. He walked around and took her arm, gently leading her to the front door. At the door he paused, looking down at her a bit.

“Before we go in…” She looked up at him, her eyes wide. He smiled a bit before continuing. “Kiss me.” She looked up at him, uncertain. “If you want more, kiss me now.” With a flutter of a sigh Cordelia rose onto her toes and pressed a kiss gently onto his still lips. He grinned through the kiss and she pulled back, her brow furrowed.

“Thank you for the blessing, Sister Mary.” He grinned at the flash of anger in her eyes. “Now do I get my kiss?” Cordelia practically hummed with anger as she rose back up onto her toes and wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling his head down to hers. Her lips slanted over his, sliding with damp heat as she pressed her body into the hard planes of his. Her mouth teased and cajoled, and she traced over his lips with her tongue, licking his flesh softly. Hah. She thought. Bless that, Angel. And that was her last coherent thought.

Angel suddenly parted his lips and stabbed his tongue into her mouth, stroking the heated recesses with a lazy rythym. His hands rose and gripped her hips, pulling her even closer into him. She felt the thick bulge beneath his slacks pressing into her abdomen, and unknowingly ground into it, wanting more. Angel took over, drawing all her heat from her and teasing her with his coolness. He was thinking how easy it would be to lay her down on the hood of her car……

He broke off, and lowered his head while he tried to regain control. The hood of the car…that was for later. After they had conquered the bed. And the dresser. And the shower. And the kitchen table. And all the countertops. And the sofa. And that huge leather chair, oh yeah…..his mind counted up. Whole lotta rooms in the mansion. Sparse furniture, but it was all sturdy. But right now….just get her in the door. Cordelia looked up at him, her lips swollen and shining in the silvery moonlight. Angel wordlessly stepped back and opened the door, motioning her in. Cordy walked in, her head held high. No need to let him know that her legs were now rubber bands, her heart was racing, and her panties were damp with her want. He didn’t need to know that.

Of course, he did. He could hear her heart thumping beneath her fragile breastbone. Steady and strong, it’s beat was calling him on. He felt it reverb through his body as he walked behind her, shutting the door soundlessly. And he would bet that her panties were damp beyond belief with her musky honey. He could smell it…could practically taste it, the scent was so strong.

Cordelia looked around, her eyes wide. Not what she expected. More…classic…than she would have guessed. No coffins anywhere. No cobwebs. Just kind of quiet. Angel came up behind her and took her purse from her, setting it on a chair. He took her hand and pulled her over to a sideboard table, pouring himself a glass of wine. He looked over at her.

“Want a glass?” She grinned.

“Sure.” He poured a small measure, looking at her from unsmiling eyes.

“A glass, Cordy. No more.” She rolled her eyes and took the glass, holding it to her lips and taking a small sip. Mellow and fruity. She licked a drop off her lips, watching him, and walked to the sofa to sit. “One moment.” She turned to him. “Take off your shoes. I want you to be comfortable.”

Cordelia took in a small breath at the command in his words. He wasn’t asking her. He was telling her. She could quit, she reminded herself. She could walk out, no harm no foul. She took off her shoes and placed them neatly beside the sofa. Angel watched the nonbattle she wagered with herself and smiled softly.

“Very good, Cordelia.” She stared at him a moment before sitting on the sofa, tucking her legs beneath her as she sipped at the wine. Angel sat on the coffee table, facing her, watching her face as she savored the rich wine. He smiled a bit to himself as he watched her. She was probably born 18. She wore self assurance as casually as most women wore blue jeans. He wondered why he hadn’t noticed her in the past as strongly as he noticed her now. Not for lack of trying for attention on her part; early on she had seemed to have the tenacity of a bloodhound on the hunt. But somehow, his attention had been trapped by Buffy and Cordelia’s by Xander.

Cordy stiffened as a guilty thought raced through her mind. Xander. He of the beagle eyes and the endless supply of jokage. Some people might even consider him a boyfriend. She sighed. Emphasis on the word boy. And never had that been so apparent as now, when sipping wine with the hottie planted across from her. Angel and Xander….same planet…different worlds. She bit her lip and looked down at her hands, a shard of angry conscience poking at her.

Angel sensed the shift in her body and mind…the subtle tells that noted her sudden distraction. “What is it?” His voice was low. Cordelia looked up at him, her eyes searching his.

“I’m here. And that’s….” she took a breath. “That’s so….so good. But…” her voice trailed off. Angel watched her a moment, thinking.

“You’ve changed your mind.”

“NO. No. It’s not….well….it’s just…..” She raised troubled eyes to him. “Xander.”

“Xander.”

“Well, yeah.”

Angel looked at her a moment, surprised at the flash of irrational anger that shot through his body. Xander Harris, boy nonwonder. She wanted Angel, he knew that. Ten minutes, tops, and she’d be begging for it. And here she was, allowing Xander goddamn Harris to enter the evening. His hand flexed around the wineglass stem.

“I mean….it wouldn’t be honest…..”

Angel regarded her for a moment. “You feel guilty?”

“Yeah. I do.” She sighed. I want….I want this. I reallllyyyy want this…” Angel grinned and leaned in, taking her mouth gently with his. He felt her shiver a bit and he pulled back, slowly feeling the reins of control settle in his hands once again. “I want this very much….but, this is wrong…..” Angel looked at her impatiently. “It’s wrong until I settle things with Xander. I can’t do that, Angel. I don’t do the whole sneak around very well. It’s….it’s not right.”

Angel looked down at his hands for a moment. “I get that, Cordelia.” And he was surprised that he really did. He just hadn’t viewed Cordelia in this light before. He hadn’t really viewed her at all, her previous attempts to get his attention notwithstanding. But he saw her clearly now, and the more he saw, the more Buffy paled in comparison.

Cordelia set her wineglass down. She took a deep breath and tried to think of how to talk so it looked like she knew what she was doing. “So. Here we are. On the brink of major mackage…I kinda pull the emergency break. I need to….kinda take care of Xander business before moving on. Are you mad?”

She looked at Angel, her gaze clear and steady. He felt a jolt at her directness; there wouldn’t be any games here. Nor, tonight, would there be any “mackage.” He wondered if that was a new slang for intercourse. He grinned to himself. There were generation gaps, and this was more of a generation chasm.

He rose and pulled her to her feet in one fluid movement, yanking her to his chest as his mouth lowered and he gently pressed a kiss to her, quickly and firmly, before setting her back on her feet.

“Go. Do what you need to do. Take care of things with the boy.” He nearly spat the word out. “I understand, Cordelia. You have a good heart.”

Cordy felt something shift in her; something big had just happened, but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. It was as if some decision had been made between them, but she wasn’t sure what that decision was. She nodded and leaned down to get her shoes, slipping them on without a word. Angel watched with hooded eyes, giving no hint to his thoughts.

He took her arm and walked her out to the car. She paused and looked up at him, her face pale in the silver of the bright moonlight. “Mackage will have to wait.”

“I can be patient.”

She smiled at him and climbed in her car and roared off, the squeal of her tires bringing a slight smile to Angel’s lips. That was Cordelia. Over the last several months, he had been spending time with a girl, and now he was going to take a woman. And she’d never doubt who was in control ever again.

Cordelia took in a deep breath as her car sped down the tree-lined street. God, she’d been mooning over a little boy when right there all along was Angel. Goodbye, Xander Harris. Hello, Salty Goodness. She had a feeling Angel wouldn’t be as controllable as Xander had been. But one thing in this world Cordelia Chase was sure of, and that was her ability to rule over any male who even thought to look her way. A few hot and heavy moments with her, and Angel would never doubt who was in control in that little twosome.


CHAPTER 3

“Xander, this has really been the best three months of my life. But I think we both need space….no, no….God that one reeked.” Cordelia took a deep breath and tried to summon a sad but wise expression, staring into her own eyes in the mirror. “Xander, I want you to know that it’s not you, it’s me….yikes. OK. Try to not suck here. Xander, you mean the world to me….but, we both need to move on…..we’ve grown together, and now we’ve grown apart….you’re wonderful, and you deserve someone who really appreciates your, you know, wonderfulness.” Cordy sighed as she picked up her backpack and scooped up her keys. “We can still be friends. I want us to keep the specialness of us….” She swept out of the room and then poked her head back in, flipping off herself in the mirror. “Cordelia, you blow chunks.”

For the last three nights, she had lain in bed, awake and preoccupied and unable to sleep. She had thought about her life, or lack thereof since offering up her popularity on the sacrifice alter of scooby worship. Not like ditching Xander would fix that, but she could certainly be enjoying someone a little hunkier if she was going to be exiled to geekland. And, truth be told, she didn’t know that she wanted to be back in the fold with Aura or Harmony or Tiffannee. Jeeze. Drop a vowel or two, Tiff. Cordy of the old would shimmy into her latest and shortest skirt and stiletto her way back into the graces of the Queen’s court. But this Cordy……

This Cordy had seen a little of life beyond the covers of Elle. This Cordy had personally dusted two vampires all by herself, and this Cordy knew that there was more to life than great shoes. There was also death. This Cordelia Chase had decided that, faced with imminent graduation, i.e. real life, she was going to jettison the trappings and muck of life that was holding her down. Xander was sweet and kind and goofy and funny, but, she was sad to say, he was muck. Sooooo…..jettison in progress. Goodbye, Howdy Doody, hello, Salty Hunk of Goodness. Aieyiyi.

She raced the Queenmobile into the Sunnydale High parking lot and squealed to a stop, climbing out and gathering up her books. Mentally, she checked off her day. Test on Brave New World, French III conversation outline due, break up with Xander, and nail appointment after school. She sighed. This day was so going to suck. She had really hated Brave New World. Like, life was full of little trade-offs. Being in a permanent state of happiness seemed like a good plan to her. Apparently not to those without a cool car and a closet full of Prada, but those people were, typically, whiners. She did not sit and whine. She was not a sitter. She was a doer. And now, she was doing what needed to be done.

“Cordy!” she turned as she walked up the sidewalk to the school entrance. Xander ran up to her and hooked an arm around her waist. “Hey, my girlfriend. We just keep running into each other.”

“Only because I don’t run away fast enough.” Cordelia smiled to soften the snark. Apparently she didn’t make it as soft as she tried to, because his arm dropped away and he stepped back a little, looking around and not meeting her eyes.

“Wow. Ya mad at me?”

“No! No, I’m not. I’m….just….I’m…..Xander…..”

He nodded, looking down. Cordy felt incredibly guilty. Xander hadn’t done anything; she was the one who was tickling tonsils with Angel on the sly, and here she was, kicking Xander like he was some sad little puppy. She was so low.

“Listen…I’m sorry. Haven’t been sleeping well. Maybe we can get together at lunch? I’d really like to talk.”

Xander nodded. “Yeah. Talking. Of the boyfriend girlfriend kind. OK.”

Cordy nodded, wondering why Xander was acting so uncomfortable. She had nailed him way way worse in the past and it seemed to roll right off him. “Ok. We’re done. See ya at lunch.” And she set off, already reworking her breakup speech to make it a little kinder.

Lunchtime, and Xander was nowhere to be found. Cordy checked all their favorite makeout haunts, even behind the furnace in the basement, and there he was not. OK. Typically, lunch meant cafeteria, but she had looked there first, and no Xander. Stymied, she wandered into the library, and poked her head in. The room was empty and she was turning to leave, when she spotted Xander’s backpack laying on a table. She walked slowly into the silent room and looked around.

“Xander?” no answer. She looked in the empty bookcage, and Gile’s office, and even behind the counter in case Xander was once again hiding, waiting to leap out and scare her. She was about to turn to leave when she heard a muffled noise from the upper stacks. She walked cautiously to the stairs, and climbed them, an uneasy feeling tugging at a corner of her mind. Up the stairs, to the right, and down one short aisle. The muffled sounds grew louder…and clearer…and Cordy grinned. No danger here, unless panties had been removed. Someone was having fun of the naughty, mackage kind. Curious, she peeked around the corner of the stacks and felt her jaw drop.

Later, she would look back and wonder which was the bigger shock: seeing Willow locking lips with a person who was seemingly enjoying himself, or seeing that the person was Xander. Cordy held still, frozen in disbelief. Just as she was turning to go, Xander raised his eyes and blanched, seeing her as she stumbled back.

“Cordy…ohgod.”

Willow went even more pale, if that was possible, and she stepped back from Xander with a horrified look on her face. Cordy looked at her with disgust before turning to Xander. “Wow. I guess talk of the boyfriend girlfriend kind couldn’t hold a candle to this. Ratbastard.”

She turned to stalk down the stairs and picked up her speed as she heard Xander running to keep up. “Cordy….ohgod”

“You said that. It sucked, then, too.” Cordy ripped the library doors open and ran out, Xander hot on her heels. He grabbed at her arm and spun her around.

“Please, Cordy…I’m sorry, please….”

Cordy yanked her arm away and slapped at Xander’s hands, mindless of the small crowd that was beginning to gather. “Damn straight you’re sorry. You’re a sorry piece of shit, that’s what you are. I KNEW something was up….I knew you were being goofy…goofier than usual. Willow Rosenberg? Willow Queen of the Nerds Rosenberg? Are you fucking insane?”

Cordy’s voice had taken on a high screech, and Xander began to look around, panicking. He reached out a hand to Cordy and she smacked it away. “DON’T TOUCH ME! I can’t believe I thought we…I mean, I thought you and I….”

Her voice trailed off. “Close the book on us, Xander. That is the deal. You’re a loser, and you belong with a loser. It’s just best if you keep to your own kind.” She walked away and turned to walk back to him. “Just think of this. I wanted to talk to you today to break up with you. That’s right…” Xander’s eyes grew wider and looked….surprised…hurt. “Yeah, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. About how we’ve both grown, and how I hope we can stay friends, and how you’ll always be special, except, not, and please die soon.” And she turned and ran down the hall, past a startled Giles, past a large crowd that had gathered to catch the latest of the Sunnydale Soap. She ran out the door, and down the sidewalk, and climbed into her car, grinding the gears viciously before roaring away in a cloud of angry dust.

She pulled over two blocks away, brushing tears off her face. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. It was supposed to be congenial. The only person crying would be him, begging her to stay, he couldn’t live without her, yada yada yada….that was how it was supposed to happen. No one cheated on Cordelia Chase. She did the leaving, she did not get left. Sniffing, she pulled back out onto the street and drove home, listlessly climbing her stairs and climbing onto her bed face down and burying her head under the large pillow. It was nice and it was dark and it was quiet there, and she ruled all in her room.

The day wore on and the sun slowly dipped down below the horizon. Buffy sat at a table, kicking her legs absently as she looked around, sipping at a cappuccino. Angel watched her from the shadows for a bit, his eyes resting on her face as she listlessly scanned the room. He finally crossed to the table and sat, facing her. She smiled slightly.

“Hey.”

“Buffy.”

Buffy looked at him silently for a moment. He ignored her and scanned the room, looking for a leggy brunette that he knew.

“Angel…” He looked at her. “I wanted……I mean…we haven’t really been alone….”

“Yeah.” His voice was low. “Maybe that’s the way it needs to be.”

Buffy looked taken aback and breathed in deeply, chuckling without any real humor. “Wow. Bad day for the x chromes in Sunnydale, unless you’re Willow….” Her voice trailed off. Angel looked at her, blankly. She sighed. “Cordelia caught Xander and Willow macking in the library. Drama ensued.”

Angel’s gaze sharpened. “Really? Cordelia caught them…macking….in the library?” He was surprised to feel a burst of anger pour through him. “She caught them?”

“Yep. Right there in the stacks. I mean, right THERE. Jeeze. I mean, I knew there was always some kind of lifelong bond between Xander and Willow….I just didn’t know it included the friendly ritualistic exchange of saliva.” She paused, smiling a sad smile. “I bet Cordy’s real pissed. Only thing that makes my day better….”

“…Is the thought of Cordelia in pain?” Angel finished evenly.

“Well, no, not in pain, but you know…in not feel good.” Buffy answered defensively.

“Yeah. I know. Had that feeling myself lately. Wanting something less than unhappy, but not feel good. Thanks. You explained that well.” Angel rose and looked down at Buffy. “Bye.” And he walked out the door, leaving a slayer behind who watched him go with sad eyes.

Angel walked out into the night, his hooded gaze scanning the parking lot before he disappeared into the night. No shiny red car that signaled Cordelia’s presence. She wasn’t here. He was amazed at the spurt of protective anger he had felt at the news of what she had discovered. That had to hurt. Sure, Cordelia had been a possible little buffet for his appetites three nights ago, but she had red-lighted that. She had pulled the brakes because she had a commitment to someone else, and she wanted to not break that commitment.

Angel strode towards the drainage entrance to the sewer lines and wondered when the last time was that anyone he knew made decisions based on honor. Honor was an old fashioned concept, and one Cordelia wouldn’t even be able to name, probably, but she had that very quality in abundance. He moved through the damp darkness with little attention to his surroundings.

Caught with their pants down, so to speak. Angel shook his head. Xander, Angel could believe. The boy was one huge walking hormone. Angel always assumed that his attentions to Cordy had sprung up from being denied access to Buffy. Boys who switch attention so quickly were not necessarily known for fidelity, being far too fickle. But Willow? Shy, quiet, smart Willow? That one Angel couldn’t buy. Willow was the kind of girls all the young men in his township had avoided till the day they were ready to settle down and produce heirs. Angel had always thought of her fondly as the marrying kind. Not the sex in the library kind. Hmm. Goes to show you. Gotta watch those quiet ones. Especially, apparently, if you date Xander Harris.

Cordelia had to be hurt. Angel frowned. This could put a crimp in the big plan. Not that the plan mattered more than Cordelia’s feelings, but…damn. He’d been able to think of little else but the soft skin of her thigh, and the way her tongue stroked and curled around his. He paused a bit, reaching down to adjust his pants. His cock seemed to have taken on a life of its own, and was apparently building that life around Cordelia. Angel sighed.

The saving grace here was that Cordelia was no small girl, she was a woman. Experienced, slightly worldly, very sure of herself. This would be a hot trip to pleasure for the both of them, and, a little lesson for the young woman on the merits of being able to distinguish the lapdogs of the world from the Men. Angel looked up into the inky sky as he emerged from a drainage tunnel by the mansion. Let her lick her wounds…let her settle down….and then he’d make his move. He could be patient. He wanted his woman fully engaged, and not mourning the loss of the boylove of her life.

Back in Cordelia’s room, she looked at herself in the mirror as she smoothed lotion over her smooth legs, tanned and long. She rose and looked at herself. Makeup, perfect. Dress, barely there. Smile, perfect. Hair, bed-hair sexy. She’d cried all afternoon. She was done. Xander thought kissing the poster child for boring was the end all, have at it. She had places to go, people to see, Vamps to mack.

She scooped up her car keys and ran out the door and climbed into her car as fast as the 5 inch Manalos would carry her. Ya lose one boy, go get another. And she had just the “another” in mind. Lookout Angel. Queen C was on the prowl.


CHAPTER 4

The night streaked by in an inky blur as Cordelia sped to the edge of town in her car. She gripped the steering wheel till her fingers were white, and her determined gaze never wavered to the left or right as she drove. The volume on the radio was cranked and she felt the bass reverb through her body as she drove; it felt almost primal. With a squeal of protesting rubber, her tires skidded to a stop in front of the dark mansion. Cordy sighed and turned the radio off, leaving the motor idling as she stared up at the expanse of house. Should she stay or should she go? Seemed simple enough. Turn the key. Open the door. Climb out. March into that house and give that tasty dish an eyeful of what Xander Harris would never have in his wildest dreams.

Cordy felt her breath catch in her chest. Yeah. That sounded good, except she was dealing with someone a little different here. This wasn’t the captain of the football team. This wasn’t anything she knew. She only knew boys. And how they could lie and cheat and…..she shook her head. Do not even go there. Stick to the important parts. Like the part where walking through that door would change everything. Because somehow, Cordelia Chase suspected that Angel, the 250 year old studmuffin, wouldn’t be happy with a few kisses, no matter how fabulous she was at offering them.

But dammit, she’d been the good girl for long enough. She’d given up the hottest cool factor in Sunnydale history to date a spineless biped with all the intelligence of a rock and the twit bailed on her for Willow Rosenberg. Apparently being good counted for nothing. And here’s Angel, all noble and good, except for that unfortunate thing about the evil, psychopathic body timeshare he had going with Angelus, but hey, no one was perfect. She sighed and stared straight ahead, out of the windshield into the night. Face it. Prince William was never going to look her up. A hottie was right in front of her, crooking his finger at her. OK, vampire, but again, the adage about perfection percentages.

She squealed and felt her heart literally catch in her chest as a soft tap sounded on her car window. She turned and looked out the glass at Angel, standing beside her idling car. She rolled the window down and looked up at him, her eyes wide.

“Hey. Just because you’re happy with a nonbeating heart doesn’t mean it’s something I wanna try. Jeeze.”

Angel’s face remained impassive. “Coming in or still making up your mind?”

Cordelia didn’t say a word; she just stared up at him trying to make his face out in the deep still of night. Finally, she turned the key and pulled it out, the sudden silence unnerving. She reached for the cardoor handle but the door swung open and Angel reached in and gently took her arm to help her out. She climbed out and stood, trapped in the open doorway by his large frame. For a fleeting moment she felt helpless, and the thought drifted away as Angel stepped to the side for Cordy to pass and walk into the house. They walked in together, and Angel shut the door behind them.

Cordy looked listlessly around, again struck by the Spartan comfort of the room. She shivered a bit as she stepped closer to the fireplace, holding out her hands to warm them.
A cool breath drifted over the skin at the back of her neck. “Cold?” Angel’s voice was calm.

“No. Maybe. The night seems…chilly.” Cordy sighed. “Or it’s just me. Crappy day. I think….I think my heart is cold.”

“Trust me. It’s not.” Angel’s voice was sure. “I think it would take a lot to cool that heart, Cordelia.” Cordy shut her eyes and blinked at the unexpected tears. He just didn’t know how cold she felt, inside and out. His next words wrapped around her and dried those tears up quickly. “I know about Xander and Willow, Cordelia.”

“Oh, wow.” Cordy whipped around, looking up at him with anger in her eyes. “You don’t really hang with the grapevine crowd that is rolling around in my misery right now, so I guess you heard it from Buffy, the Vampire Layer.” She flinched, hearing the angry words slip past her lips. She sighed. “Sorry.”

Angel’s face didn’t change expression. “Don’t be. I know a little about this…..anger is way easier to deal with than hurt. You have a right to be….”

“Pissed off? Ticked? Chaffed? Totally enraged till I wanna rack his balls up so far he has to have a lobotomy to take a leak?” Angel looked startled.

“Well, a little more angry than I would have thought….”

“Think a little more, Angel. I’m….” she blinked. “I’m so angry right now. God. And here is exactly how shallow I am. I’m mostly mad because he freakin’ beat me to the punch.” She stalked away from the heat of the fireplace. “I was gonna break up with him at lunch. And he blew me off to mack on Willow Rosenberg in the library. I had a little speech and everything. I was trying to be nice. And I get paid back by a loser with the emotional maturity of Spongebob Squarepants to fucking beat me to the finish line. Nice just doesn’t seem to work for me. I’m giving up on nice.”

Angel followed her and leaned down to kiss her gently on her forehead. “I’m sorry you caught them….macking. I know that’s hard.” He frowned. “Happened to me, once or twice. Nothing more….unpleasant….than walking in on someone you trust having sex…”

Cordelia sniffed. “Right. Xander Harris having sex. I bet he hasn’t even figured out that the joystick fits in other places than his hand.” Angel pulled back and looked down at her, his face blank.

“Um. You said they were macking…”

“Yeah. Macking.” Cordelia made kissing noises. “Kissage. Spit swapping. Jeeze, get with it. They were kissing, Angel.”

Angel thought back a bit to previous conversations. “So…..you came here before to…”

“Make out. Kiss. Jeeze.” A faint blush covered Cordelia’s face. “Didn’t think I’d be playing connect the dots with you.”

Angel thought harder. “Sooooo……You and Xander never….I mean…his…um…joystick never….”

“…came near my playstation. Yeah, and thank you for making me have this conversation. I’m going home now.” She turned to go. Great. Could this day hold any more mortification for her than it did at this moment?

“Cordelia.” His voice was firm. “Have you ever….before….have you ever been intimate…” He stopped, frustrated. “Cordelia, have you ever had sex before?”

Yes, apparently there was actually a deeper well of misery and mortification to dip into. She turned to Angel, suddenly tired and swamped with anger, hostility, sadness, and weariness, all at once. “NO. NO. OK? NO. I’ve never had sex. I’ve never had intercourse. Tab A has never been inserted into slot B. Contrary to the rumors, I’ve never had sexual intercourse. I’m a virgin. VIRGIN. Get it? Can I go now, because I think the only thing that would make this entire day worse would be to find out that you’re really a woman or that you’re gay. And then I’d have to kill myself.” She began stalking towards the front door. “Let’s just forget this whole conversation ever happened. I wanna go home, eat five gallons of Chunky Monkey, and go to bed. OK? This thing…” she waved her arms around. “Never happened. Please, please forget it. Nice knowin’ ya, great to chat, see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya….” She wrenched the front door open only to have it slam shut in her face before she could even take a step outside. Angel’s cool body stood behind hers, towering over her slender body. His head dipped and a low voice whispered into her ear.

“No. It’s not ok. Don’t think I could ever forget this conversation.” Soft amusement threaded through his voice. “Don’t want to forget it, ever. So, no, Cordelia, you can’t go just yet.”

Cordelia shivered. Chunky monkey seemed a long way off. Her senses all kicked into overdrive. Tasty Vampire seemed to be here in its place.


CHAPTER 5

Cordelia breathed in deeply, holding her hand flat against the large heavy door as she stared blankly at the finely polished wood. Her voice, when she finally found it, was quiet and high and uncertain. “Um. Angel. Kinda want to go here.”

“Um. Cordelia. Kinda want you to stay.” His voice was gentle, but still firm and sure. He turned her around and looked down at her, his face serious. “Stay. Please.” He looked into her eyes and wondered how he could have ever made such a serious mistake as to think Cordelia Chase wasn’t an innocent. For all her bravado, he could see through it and through her pain to the wounded heart beneath. The wounds were fresh and new and on an unscarred surface. This was all new to her. He stepped back and held out his hand to her.

She stared down at his hand for a good moment and then slowly placed her smaller hand in his, warm and sure. He felt something lift in his chest, as if a part of him had been locked all up inside and was slowly opening up. They remained still by the door, silent, both lost for a moment in their own thoughts. Finally, Cordelia looked up at him, uncertainty in her eyes.

He turned and tugged on her hand, pulling her to the sofa. He sat and pulled her down beside him, trying to think of a delicate way to put it. “Cordelia….” She sat silently, her fingers entwined with his. “Cordelia.” He fumbled for the words. “Cordelia…..”

“Gotta say, if this is your way of reminding yourself that Buffy has left the building, I’m outta here.”

He choked on a laugh and turned to look at her calm face. “No, don’t need any reminding of that. Dammit. The hell with delicacy….” And he let go of her hands and grabbed at her shoulders, hauling her over his lap and cradling her body as he lowered his face to hers and pressed his lips to hers in a hot caress.

She landed with a soft “oomph” and parted her lips, startled, just as his mouth locked onto hers. His teeth tugged at her full bottom lip and she moaned softly, feeling his tongue stroke at the bites before surging into her mouth, strong and possessive. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held on tight, feeling like she was floating and might just float up and away. Her head tilted back against his arm and she lifted her face, giving him more of her mouth….his new favorite candy.

He licked and sucked and pressed and he wanted more. He pulled back, his eyes closed, and rested his forehead against hers. He could hear the ragged thump of her heart, racing as blood pumped through her body at a fever pitch.

Cordelia drew shallow breaths, licking her lips to taste more of him….to take more of him into her being. She felt him lift his head and she opened her eyes to see him staring down at her intently. She drew a deep breath. “Wow. That answers the whole how does Angel kiss question.”

He looked down at her, his expression solemn. “How does Angel kiss, Cordelia?”

She was silent for a moment. “Like he’s thirsty, and I’m a glass of water.”

Angel grinned briefly. “That’s about it, times ten. Add hunger. Add want. Add need. And you just about have it.”

He set her aside, ignoring her confused expression, and rose, looking down at her before crossing to the sideboard and pouring a measure of blood from a decanter. He turned and faced her, meeting her eyes as he took a sip. He wanted her to see this; to understand. Buffy had never been able to watch him drink. It offended her. One in a long list of reasons they didn’t work. But Cordelia Chase…

Cordy sat there, frozen. Literally cold after wading in all that heat of his kiss. She watched him drink, and her mind raced in a jumble. Angel watched her, not knowing her thoughts, and frowned in disappointment. She looked completely repelled. He set the glass down, out of her sight, and said in a low voice, “Sorry.”

“Huh?” Cordelia seemed to draw back into her own mind as she startled and looked at him.

“The whole….blood thing. Sorry. I’ll drink out of your sight. I don’t want to offend you.” He spoke matter of factly, but resigned, as if it was only to be expected that her delicate sensibilities be tested by the evidence of his life force. She watched him a moment then rose and walked to him, reaching for the glass of blood now hidden and holding it to his lips. He looked down at her, surprised, then parted his lips and let the warm coppery liquid spill into his mouth. She watched him, her eyes clear and her gaze even.

“It’s who you are, Angel. I like the whole package. Don’t hide who you are from me. That’s as….dishonest…..as cheating on someone. I’ve had enough of that. Show me the truth.”

Angel blinked; this wasn’t what he expected. He felt his body responding to her like it hadn’t even a few nights ago. Like it never had to Buffy. He’d had want from Buffy, and he’d had passion, and he’d had desire….but he’d never had acceptance. Not really. And this woman, with one simple act, offered him all she was, plus her acceptance. A low growl sounded up from his throat as he grabbed the glass from her fingers and slammed it down onto the table just before snagging her wrist and pulling her behind him as he stalked down the hallway, towards his bedroom.

Cordelia trotted along, trying to not fall off her heels as she ran, and jumbled thoughts ran through her head. Had she done something wrong? She didn’t mean to piss him off; she had meant to comfort him. She was shaken out of her thoughts when he stopped abruptly and she slammed into his back before stepping back and looking up at him with puzzled eyes.

He looked down into the clear hazel depths of her gaze and leaned against the doorframe of his bedroom. “Take a stand, Cordelia. In or out?”

Cordelia wasn’t the least bit puzzled now. She knew exactly what he was talking about. In the door, to the bed, and nothing would be the same. Not going in the door probably meant walking out the front door and going on with her life, wondering for the rest of her life if she made the right choice.

Angel waited patiently; he wanted her to be sure of whatever choice she made. He could honor that choice. Really. He could let her walk out the front door without grabbing her, stripping that tight little dress right off her body, licking his way down that sweetly curved little frame….he shifted uncomfortably. Really. He could. He could let her go if she said….

“I’m in.” Cordy looked up at him, unwaveringly. A feeling of right pooled in her chest. This was right. And this was…this was right now. She looked up at Angel, who looked slightly stunned, and waved her hand in his face. “Angel? I said I’m…” she broke off as he scooped her up and carted her into the room, kicking the door shut behind them. He set her down by the side of the gargantuan bed that dominated the room with its sheer size. She rested her hands on his chest to steady her body as it fairly hummed with anticipation. He looked down at her, first into her eyes, searching for the clarity he needed to see, then down to her hands, resting against the expanse of his chest. He considered her a moment before pulling her hands off his chest and raising one to his lips to kiss briefly before dropping her hands and walking slowly around her, taking in her form…her stance…feeling the edge of excitement that rippled in waves off of her. He smiled to himself. Perfect.

Cordelia remained very still. She felt his hot gaze on her as he slowly circled her, not touching. She felt an unfamiliar heat begin to pool in her stomach….centering down between her legs. She shifted a bit, restless.

Angel stood behind her and inhaled the wave of arousal that poured out of her. He closed his eyes and savored the musky spice, all honeyed heat. He leaned in to whisper in her ear, eyes still closed, “Something you should know, Cordelia…” he felt her body stiffen at the dark whisper. “I don’t wear the leash. I hold the leash.” She whipped around and looked up at him, confused. “I’m not a lapdog, and after tonight, you won’t doubt that a bit.”

Cordelia continued to look up at him blankly, and Angel watched with satisfaction as a fine blush covered her skin when memory kicked in. She looked up at him with a mixture of embarrassment and shock. “You heard that? What is that, some kind of….Vampire hearing good thingy?” Angel grinned down at her. She met his gaze and lifted her chin, placing her hands on her hips. “Well, pffft…..haven’t you heard the one about eavesdroppers hearing….not…..not good things, or something like that….”

Angel leaned down close to her face and said in a low tone, “Haven’t you heard what happens to women who enter dangerous bedrooms?” Cordelia shook her head no, lost in the heat of his gaze. “First, they take off their dresses.” Angel rose and sat on the bed, maneuvering so that he sat up against the headboard, his legs crossed comfortably at the ankles as he watched her. She watched him, and felt her hands rise almost without thought to the zipper at the side of her dress. She pulled it down slowly, the feeling of right increasing as the parting zipper revealed more and more tanned, toned skin.

Angel watched impassively as he said, “Keep going.” Cordelia shot him a look as she pulled the dress off, a little put off by his calmness. He wanted a strip show; she’d give him a strip show. She’d show him that she wasn’t some little delicate flower. She slowly tugged the dress down her arms and let it bunch down around her hips, turning her back as she wriggled, bending at the waist to pull it down her hips and down her legs. She grinned to herself as she heard a muffled groan and she straightened, slowly turning back to face him.

Angel felt the reins of control begin to slip when she turned. Several nights ago, he’d been watching television and came upon the most amazing thing. While channel flipping, he discovered a program called the Victoria’s Secret Runway Show, and the entire hour consisted of young healthy women walking around in underwear. He was amazed. But not nearly as amazed as he was now, watching Cordelia Chase standing in front of him, unafraid and apparently unaffected, wearing nothing more than a black lace low cut bra, really small black panties, and black thigh high stockings. Angel thought at that moment that if he had a beating heart, he’d have a heart attack.

Cordelia grinned to herself. She may be new to some aspects of this evening, but she did know when a man…or a vampire….was taken with her. And this vampire was taken. She preened a bit, meeting him stare for stare, before speaking. “Angel……what happens to women in dangerous bedrooms next?”

Angel thought a moment. “They take off their bras.” Cordelia looked at him steadily, sucking in a breath as she reached her hands behind her back to unfasten the delicate bra. Pulling it loosely to the front, she held the unfastened bra in place with her hands, holding his gaze as she slowly pulled the bra down and off. His gaze dropped to the firm mounds of her breasts, and she felt her nipples tighten into buds under the heat of his stare.

Angel’s voice cracked a bit and he cleared his throat. “Panties. Off.” Cordelia turned, unaware of the blush covering her body. Once again, she presented him with her back. She wasn’t being coy this time; she needed a moment before she faced him. She bent at the waist, tugging the silken panties down over her stocking-clad legs and tossed them aside before standing up and taking a deep breath, holding it as she turned to face him.

Angel uncrossed his ankles and leaned forward a bit, his eyes tracing over each line and curve of her taut body. Cordelia watched him, amazed at the pleasure she was taking in being viewed like this. Boys had wanted her, she wasn’t stupid. But this….this was so much more. Angel WANTED her. No one else. Cordelia. She stared at him a moment longer and then reached for the lace top of one stocking.

“Leave them on.” Angel’s voice was low and controlled. Cordy looked up at him, a little startled, as he rose off the bed and crossed to her. Her hands unconsciously reached up to cover her breasts and Angel snagged her wrists, holding her hands out to her sides. His gaze danced up and down her body, over each luscious curve, lingering on the coral tips of her breasts. She shifted her weight from one leg to another, and his gaze dropped to the curls between her legs; curls he knew that just from her scent would be damp and dewy.

He leaned down and gently kissed at a spot just under her ear, licking at the pulse that called to him. She shivered a bit, and he straightened, looking down at her and holding her gaze as he unbuttoned his shirt, slowly. Time seemed suspended as he parted his shirt and shrugged it off, letting it fall to the ground. Cordelia seemed entranced with his chest and tugged her wrists out of his grasp to reach for the muscled expanse before her eyes, slowly tracing over one chiseled muscle with gentle fingertips. One polished nail circled the flat brown nipple there, and she smiled slightly as it puckered. She raised innocent eyes to his as she flicked her finger at it, feeling it harden even more and his body tense.

“Ya ok, Angel? Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle.” Cordelia whispered, finding the fun in teasing. Angel looked at her, his eyes glowing with a slight golden hue as he leaned down close to her ear while he unfastened the belt at his waist.

“You need to get this Cordelia. I don’t do gentle.” She felt a tremor race up her spine at the dark promise as he unzipped his pants. She held his gaze determinedly, not ready to look at his…joystick….as he pulled his jeans down and off. They both stood there, facing each other, staring and lost in the moment. Cordelia looked up at him with such openness and trust, he wanted to just fall into the hazel depths of her eyes and drown there.

Finally, Cordelia spoke. “Is just standing there your way of telling me you don’t know what to do? ‘Cuz I’m kinda depending on you knowing…” She yelped as he swooped her up and effortlessly tossed her onto the huge bed, smiling as she giggled as she bounced a bit. He climbed onto the bed and reached down to remove her stiletto heels, tossing them aside as his gaze ran the length up her legs, up her body, up to her flushed, smiling face.

“I know just what to do, Cordelia. I know to do this…” his head dipped and he licked at the pulse point at her throat. She arched her neck and he felt her legs flex as she dug her heels into the bed. Holding his demon at bay, he licked down the silk her chest, to the valley between her breasts. All his attention focused on the small telltale rhythmic quiver of flesh that pulsed with a seductive call to his senses. He licked at it, small flicks…..his tongue traveled up the slope of her breast and around. His hand plumped the satiny flesh and held it as he blew softly on the puckered tip. Cordelia held perfectly still, almost frozen. He looked up at her, mouth poised just over the pebbled tip of her nipple. “Do you want me to stop?” His voice was a rough whisper. She met his eyes and shook her head no, and he held her gaze as his mouth opened and he took her breast in….his other hand kneading the twin mound as his tongue laved and swirled and his teeth tugged.

Cordelia felt as though she was gripped in…..an icy fire. That was it….all cool burning heat. And that made no sense, but there it was. Her hands reached down to grip his head to make sure he didn’t have any more foolish ideas about stopping. She wanted this…she wanted his mouth right there…oh wait, there, too…..she moaned softly, arching her back so that she pressed her breasts further to him, offering herself in a need like she had never known.

Angel’s mouth traveled down further, kissing down the gentle slope of her abdomen, pushing his body down between her lax thighs. He gripped her hips and bit at the dip of her waist before crawling further down her body to rest between her thighs. He kissed the skin just above the dark curls between her legs, and felt her body tense. He looked up at her as she popped up onto her elbows and looked down at him, startled and unsure.

“Uh…Angel….”

“Cordelia.” His voice was low and firm.

“I don’t think…”

“Works for me. Don’t think.” And he dipped his head and buried it into her spicy, warm center, inhaling the core of her essence before flicking his tongue out at her clit. He hummed with satisfaction as he heard a guttural groan before she dropped her body back on the bed, and he looked up at her without moving his mouth to see her grab a pillow and smash it down over her own face. Pretty soon, honey, you’ll beg me for it and you’ll sit up and watch me. He grinned to himself and shifted, feeling his cock grow even thicker at the thought. He tugged at her clit with her teeth, chuckling as he heard a muffled shriek from under the pillow. His hand clenched at her thigh and moved to stroke at the soft folds beneath his tongue. One finger, toying with the wet entrance to her core……another finger, joining the first to press slowly in. The muffled shrieking had stopped, and her body was completely still. In fact, she wasn’t breathing. Angel pushed his fingers deep into her in one slick move, and heard a gusty sigh billow out followed by gasping pants. His hand twisted as he pulled his fingers slowly out, and her body arced…..her legs parting wider….her hips pushing out towards his hand.

Two fingers back in…..slowly out……twisting and curling slightly as he fucked her with his hand. He felt her body begin to tense, and her hips began driving against his in a bucking rhythm, harder and harder. He rose up over her and whipped the pillow off her face, looking down at her as he supported his weight on his elbows.

“Look at me.” It wasn’t a gentle request. It was command. She stared at him, fever and want in the hazel depths of her eyes. Her body wanted…she didn’t know…it just wanted. He stroked her slightly, before reaching down between them and placing the tip of his rigid cock at just the right angle….holding it as he began to push in, his jaw locked grimly as he remembered to take it slow. Cordelia parted her thighs wider and reached down to push at him with her hands, trying to pull him in deeper. She was making little whimpery noises, and his cock felt like it was made of steel, and his balls were so tight and heavy, and he felt like some kind of frantic wave poured over him as he raised her hips and drove in one tightly clenched, slick move. He held still, his back taut, and buried his face in her throat as he slowly pulled out and pushed back in. Oh, she was tight. She was hot. She was……kicking him in the ass with her heel and pushing at him with her hands.

“OH GOD”

He sank back into her, his eyes closed. “I know…I know, Baby….”

“GET OFF.”

He stopped. His eyes flashed open and he looked down at her. Her face was pale and sweat gathered at her brow. That wasn’t passion on her face. He held perfectly still, trying to calm his body.

“Cordelia…it’s all right….”

“Are you done?”

“What? Oh. Um….” Cordelia wriggled a bit, trying to get more comfortable. “NO! Don’t move like that….” Cordy stopped and looked up at him, confused. He leaned down and kissed her brow quickly. “Hold still, Baby….it’ll be ok…”

“Um. OK.” But she didn’t look reassured. “Just let me…” and she moved again, slightly adjusting her hips. There. That didn’t feel so….pinched. Maybe if she took it slower, she’d get back to where….she tilted her hips, moving again. Ohhh. That felt better.

“Ahhhhh……Cordelia, really….hold still.” Angel clenched his jaw as her body tightened around his. Unable to stop, he pumped into her again, faster…harder. Cordelia sighed, and her hands held his shoulders as his hips bucked. Seemingly out of nowhere, his orgasm rolled through him, white hot and sudden. He groaned and buried his face in her throat again, hips pounding into her body till he felt his body begin to still and calm. He lay completely unmoving, listening to the sound of Cordelia’s heart beating a soft tattoo siren call to him. Beneath him, she stirred a bit, her legs moving restlessly.

“Okiedokie. Well. Not to be rude here, but….are you done?” Angel held still, then slowly raised his face so he could see hers. Her gaze seemed steady, but her face was still pale.

“Uh, yeah, I guess. I mean, yeah, I’m……done.”

“OK, then.” Cordelia planted a huge fake smile on her face. “Wow. Look at the time.” She wriggled a bit and he levered his body off of hers, rolling to one side of the bed. He lay on his back, a disquieting shame settling in his gut as he heard her soft sigh as she rolled to the other edge of the bed before slowly sitting up. She looked over her shoulder at him briefly before tugging at the bedspread and wrapping it around her body before she stood up, taking care to not meet his gaze.

Angel watched her rustling around, uncaring that his body lay totally exposed. Cordelia stood still a moment, looking around, then asked in a calm voice, “bathroom?” Angel watched her with no expression before pointing to a door set in the back wall of the room. Cordelia gathered up the massive amount of bedspread and held it to her body as she scooped up her clothes and disappeared into the bathroom, the sound of the lock sliding home a loud click in the silence of the room. Angel rested his arm across his eyes, wanting to blot out the memory of Cordelia’s face as he drove into her.

Shit. 250 years old and he had apparently learned nothing. The last virgin he had was…well….Buffy. God knew that was a night to remember. Especially the part where he woke up evil. Which he probably was now, in Cordelia’s mind.

He had to make this better. He climbed out of the bed and crossed to the bathroom door, leaning in and listening and feeling relief at the absence of muted sobbing. He tapped softly on the door. “Cordelia.”

“Uh. Just a minute.” Her voice sounded unnaturally cheery. “Hang on. Girl stuff, you know….”

He waited patiently, and soon the door opened revealing a fully dressed Cordelia, who looked startled to see him standing there outside the door. “OH. Oh, jeeze. Angel, you have just got to stop the stealth thing.” She brushed past him and began looking for her shoes. “I mean, say I had a heart condition, or say I had some kind of peeing problem.” She thought a moment. “Forget that last part, because, you know…..ewwww.” He watched her as she busied herself looking under the bed for her shoe. She chattered on, not giving him a chance to respond. “Look, this was great, but, ya know, the day’s kind of catching up, and I gotta sleep because I have to face Xander tomorrow….” Her voice trailed off and she held still, sadness and grief and anger and loneliness washing over her all at once.

She slowly raised up and faced Angel, her eyes missing nothing. She blanched as she saw his cock, impressive even relaxed. Jeeze, she thought. No wonder. No way did that fit. Those damn romances of my mother’s must have been written by freakin’ nuns.

Her eyes met Angel’s, and he felt her sadness stab him in his still, nonbeating heart. “I’m sorry, Angel. I wasn’t…..I mean, I think I….” she broke off. “I have to go.”

“We need to talk. Let me…”

“No, thanks, I need to go.”

“Cordelia, I want to talk to you about…”

“NO. I have to go. I want to leave now.” She stubbornly held her head up, a tilt to her chin that told Angel that she was done listening. He sighed and reached for his pants, pulling them on and zipping them before walking to her. She watched him, prepared to lash out if he tried to keep her there forcibly.

“I’ll walk you out to your car.” His voice was resigned. She turned and walked out, snagging her keys from the coffee table in the living room before heading out into the still night. She climbed into her car, feeling so empty she couldn’t even summon the interest to cry. Angel watched her a moment and leaned down just before he shut the door. “This isn’t the end, Cordelia. Go home and sleep. We’ll talk later.” He jumped back as she yanked the car door shut and started the engine before speeding away in a squeal of smoking rubber. Angel watched her taillights disappear down the road, then walked into his house, much much emptier without the heart of Cordelia Chase filling it with laughter and warmth.

Cordelia sped down the road, not feeling the careless tears that tracked down her cheeks. Yeah, this day could be a lot worse than just breaking up with someone. And it was.


CHAPTER 6

Cordelia slowly stalked out of the girl’s locker room, cheerleading practice long over. She walked down the grey halls….looking down at the grey floor, and thought, gee. If only I felt as cheerful as that grey. Her feet silently plodded on, and she glanced out at the approaching darkness as she reached her locker. Practice had sucked. Harmony and Aura were rolling around in her misery till their fingers got all wrinkly. Her mind wasn’t really on cheerleading, her heart wasn’t in a cheery mood, and she still felt unsettled and out of place.

It had been one week. Seven days. A kabillion hours, since she had had sex. She had had sex. Cordelia Chase had sex. With not Xander. Wow. Her mind still boggled. She’d had bad sex with, of all the freakin’ choices in the whole world, Angel….god, did he have a last name? Well, anyways, sex with Angel. And it really was ok, up to the point where he’d tried to split her in two. She hadn’t been back to the library since, and she had avoided being around the Scoobs unless she was stuck in class with them. And Angel, she hadn’t heard from. Not that she was available. She had turned off her phone and had spent each night in her room watching damsel in distress movies on the Lifetime Channel, telling herself that it could be worse, like in the movies. She could have amnesia, her daughter could be a hooker, her husband could be secretly gay, she could have some funky illness that required her to wear ugly hospital gowns.

She opened her locker and glanced at the now blank inside of the door. She had ripped down the pictures of Xander and the Scoobs and had torn them up. She had mentally killed them all, except maybe Giles, because he was old and wore tweed and what could be worse than that? She sighed, setting reaching for her books and noticing the checked-out book on Marie Antoinette that was due at the library. Shit. Like she wanted to see those faces. Without the pained expressions they wore while she killed them in her mind, that is. But if she didn’t return this book, Giles would charge her actual money, like there was a rule about when to bring the damn book back or something. Jeeze. Until she had to pay 7 bucks in late fees for Lolita, she had always assumed that the due date was a suggestion.

She thought a moment, clutching the book. Too late for the scoobs to be having their after school meeting….too early for them to be strolling in for the evening’s festivities. She probably had just enough time to slip in, drop off the book, and skip out for home. She gathered up her backpack and the book and started down the hall. God, she felt old. She felt old, and she felt tired. And that whole sex as the end all thing….what a massive disappointment. She kicked at the floor as she strolled down the hall. Life seemed to be full of disappointments lately.

She pushed open the door and looked around the large, darkened room. Good. No sign of life. She slipped in and reached to toss the book on the counter when she heard soft footsteps. She turned and peered into the darkness, and felt her breath catch as Angel emerged out of the dark of the corner back behind some tables.

Angel felt a whisper of relief pass through him. Oh god, finally. He had been coming here every single night since last week, trying to get Cordelia alone. He’d gone to her house and stood around waiting for her to leave; he’d tried to call but got the Chase answering machine; he’d drunk more beer in the last seven days at the Bronze than he’d had in the last ten years, just waiting for Cordelia to stroll in, underdressed and overconfident. He was kind of glad the Bronze meeting hadn’t happened, because he would have to kill any whelp that even looked at her, and Buffy would then come after him, and it would be just bad. So here he was, hoping like some kind of lovesick swain for a glance at his Helen and here she was.

“Cordelia.”

“Angel. Oh. Hi.” Her voice was squeaky. “Um. I don’t know where Buffy is. You might try her at home.” And she turned to go.

“I’m not here to see Buffy.” His low voice was much closer and she jumped, turning again to find him right at her elbow.

“Dammit, Angel, you have got to stop that. Take up smoking. Or knitting. But lose the stealth.” She took a breath. “I have to go.”

“Cordelia. We need to talk.”

“No we don’t.”

“Yes, we do.” His voice was calm. “I wanted to know….I just wanted to ask, how are you?”

“What?” she looked blank, like she wasn’t registering the question.

“How are you? Are you alright?”

“Mmm. Yeah. I’m….I’m fine.” Her reply was guarded. Angel looked at her, measuring her.

“Cordelia….I wanted to talk to you. I think we need to clear a few things up. I think there was….a…..thing….”

“Yeah, I’d say there was a thing. Holy cow.” She looked around, as if hoping for help navigating this conversation. “Look, we were both needy, we were sad, it’s been a crappy few months for both of us; let’s chalk it up to…”

“…It being your first time and you getting stuck with a schmuck for a partner.”

“Well, yeah.”

Angel kept his amusement to himself. Trust Cordelia to call it like she saw it. You always knew exactly where you stood with her.

“Cordy….” His voice was soft and low. “It was…a first time. Sometimes those go a little…wonky.”

“Wonky.” She repeated, suspicion in her voice.

“Yeah. It won’t be that way again.”

“Again?” Her voice rose a bit.

“Next time.”

“Next time?” the squeak was back, and she was starting to panic. “There’s not going to be a next time. Are you nuts?” Her voice rose even higher, and Angel lowered his voice and looked around.

“Cordelia, if your voice gets any higher only dogs will hear you. Calm down.” Cordelia looked at him, shocked, and pressed her lips together. “Good. Here’s the thing. It was me. I wanted …I really wanted you. And I wasn’t careful, like you deserved. And Cordelia…” she looked at him, frozen.

He leaned in to her and whispered, “I want another chance.”

“Oh” Cordelia took a breath. “Well, um…no. But thanks for asking.” And she turned to go. Angel watched her moment and thought.

“Didn’t you find Xander and Willow here?” His voice was calm.

She stopped dead in her tracks and slowly turned around to face him. A fine red haze clouded her gaze. “Yes, dork.” Her voice was pushed out through clenched teeth. “I found them right here in the library, which is pretty funny, since the hardest read Xander gets is when the Far Side uses words of more than two syllables. And by funny, I think you get that I mean, not funny at all, but hatred inducing.”

“Yeah, I get that. So.” His voice was casual. “Think of that every time you come in here now? Them, um…macking?”

She sighed, dropping her backpack on the floor. “Yeah. It was right up there.” She nodded towards the stairs that led to the upper level of stacks. He followed with his gaze, thinking.

“Show me where.” She looked at him, surprised. “Really. Show me where you found them.”

“What is this, some kind of….tourist thing? Ya wanna see the source of my misery?”

He looked at her impassively. “No. Not the source of your misery. The place where your heart was hurt.”

Cordelia looked at him a moment, feeling as if she had been wrapped briefly in warmth. No one at school thought that she might be sad, or hurt. The only compassion she had been shown was from a vampire with erectile dysfunction, and that was exactly how sad her life had become. She sighed and turned towards the stairs, dimly lit by the moonlight filtering in the upper level windows. She walked slowly up the stairs, feeling him right behind her, silently following. She turned the corner and walked down the aisle, pausing at the end and pointing.

“Right there. Loser marks the spot.” And she stared down at the floor, remembering Xander’s shocked face when she found him and Willow. Ratbastard.

Angel stood beside her silently before speaking slowly. “You know….that’s almost like…a ghost. A ghost that haunts your mind. That’s how bad memories are. They haunt you and make it hard to move on. But you know….” His voice remained calm. “…You could take this spot right back.” His hand slowly rose and settled on her hip. She twitched and jumped aside, staring at him.

“My god. You brought me up here for….for that?”

Angel looked at her and leaned into her. “It wasn’t all bad, Cordelia. You liked some of it.”

She was still. “Yeah, ok, I liked some of it.” Her voice was quiet.

“What parts did you really like?”

Cordelia looked at what she could see of his face. He seemed completely serious. She sighed and looked down the aisle, as if to find the answers there. “I liked it when….when you kissed me.”

He leaned down and kissed the corner of her mouth gently. She smiled a little and whispered, “That’s not how you kissed me,” without even thinking. He slowly ran his hands up her shoulders as if to give her time to step back, and pulled her into him, tilting his head and taking her mouth with a hunger that roared through him without warning. She took right back, and moaned as he pressed his hands to her ass, pulling her even closer. His mouth was amazing. Hot and demanding. She felt all her sadness drain away, replaced by an ever growing feeling of need.

She broke the kiss off and stepped back, panting slightly. “Yeah, ok…..that was…..yeah.” In the dim moonlight, she could see his lips twitch.

“Yeah. That was yeah, Cordelia.” He lowered his head a moment, and then raised it again. “Anything else you liked?”

Cordelia smiled, a small lift of her lips. “I liked it when you….” She stopped, not able to voice it. She shyly took his hand and raised it, pausing just before placing it on her breast. Angel looked down at her, cupping the full mound beneath the t-shirt. She looked up at him, her eyes clouding over a bit in the glow of the moonlight. He looked down at her seriously as his hand slowly kneaded and caressed her, feeling her nipple poking out at him into his palm. He pressed his hand against her and slowly began circling her breast with his fingers, smaller and smaller circles, closer to the center. She looked down at his hand, shadowy in the dim light against the white of her tshirt. She raised her wide eyes to meet his and leaned into his hand, her eyes holding his as he began tugging at her nipple with greater pressure.

“Ok…yeah….ummm….I liked that part….” Cordelia’s voice was soft as she leaned into his hand. He smiled into her hair and his other hand lifted to stroke up her bare thigh, up to the hem of her shorts. She shifted restlessly from one leg to the other and pulled her head back to look at the shadowed lines of his face. “Um….your hand….” He slipped his hand beneath the edge of her shorts and stroked at her beneath damp warm panties. Cordelia slowly rose and fell against his hand, lazily rubbing herself back and forth over his fingers. He watched her a moment, sucked in her scent, uniquely hot and seductive.

“Angel.”

“Do you want me to stop? I can.”

“I…..no. Don’t stop.”

He leaned down and tugged at her shorts, pulling them off along with her panties. She kicked her tennis shoes off and wiggled the shorts and panties down her long legs before kicking them off carelessly. Her legs parted and he pressed his palm to her mound, pushing in gently. He brushed his mouth over her ear and whispered, “does this feel good?” as one finger stroked through the slick flesh between her legs.

“Yes….” Her voice was a reedy whisper. Her hands rose and clutched at his arms and her body seemed to rise up as she pressed in harder against his hand. This was the good part, she thought….this had been good…..oh wow…had it been this good?

Angel gently pushed one finger into her tight channel, stroking her with the slowest of caresses. Cordy’s eyes closed and she parted her legs a little …an invitation for more. Angel felt a shiver race up his spine; his control had never been greater. It was strained, but it was taut. Another finger joined the first, and they languidly pushed in and out, a slow, lazy rythym that was slowly driving Cordy to some foreign edge. She whimpered and began rocking her hips against his hand faster, feeling helpless to some need. Angel felt the ridge of his erection pressing against her through layers of clothing; he rubbed his hips against her body as his hands pleasured her.

Cordy panted as she suddenly gripped his wrist. “Angel…” her voice was thin and urgent. He stopped and looked down at her. Her eyes were huge in the darkness, wide and fixed on his face. “Angel. I want…..I want more than your hand.”

He stared down at her. “Baby…..are you sure?” ignoring the relief that began to flood him.

“Yes. Yes.” Her head nodded frantically. “Please.”

Angel reached down between them and unfastened his jeans, pulling out the rigid length of his cock and stroking it before reaching around her body and cupping her ass with both hands. She reached up and grabbed at his shoulders as he raised her up, looking at her face to face. He slanted his mouth over hers and unleashed his control, devouring her mouth with all the natural dominance that drove him. She moaned and rubbed her body up and down over his….he could feel her nipples poking at him through her clothing. He raised his head and looked into her eyes as he hitched her body up a bit, smiling as her legs rose and loosely wrapped around his hips.

“What?” Her voice was shallow, slightly panting.

“Just…..damn….” He managed to grunt out as he slowly lowered her onto his cock….slowly…..waiting for the first sign of discomfort. She slid down onto him, all tight and wet and hot and gripping. Her mouth made a small O of surprise as he slid all the way in, his muscles bunched with the effort of care. He held her easily, and felt her legs qrip his hips tighter as she slowly flexed her body and rose up slightly, dropping back down again in a smooth, silken move.

“Damn” he repeated, closing his eyes. A choked out giggle sounded and he pressed his lips against her head as he lifted her and lowered her, holding her firmly. His legs braced as he took her weight easily, his hands holding her hips with gentle but firm grip. Their bodies moved together, finding a rhythm, slow and easy…..then a little faster. Cordelia felt her body instinctively clench around his cock every time he lowered her onto it, her back arching more and more as if trying to push in closer.

“Angel?” Her voice sounded a little panicky. “Angel? I think….um…..I….” suddenly she threw her head back, her entire body gripped and taut as she came, a startled shriek sounding gutturally from her throat as waves of icy heat poured through her. Angel pumped harder and faster, riding her orgasm to his own, feeling her clenching muscles spasm around his cock as he came. Jesus..it just didn’t stop. He growled, feeling his face transform as his demon appeared, out of control

Cordelia sighed and opened her eyes as he came, reaching up in wonder to stroke the ridged lines of his forehead, her face damp and glowing with a fine sheen as she crooned to him, panting. His body finally calmed, and they both stood frozen, one heart racing, one heart still.

Her legs slowly unclasped from his hips and dropped , dangling as he held her cupped to him. He opened his eyes and looked down at her, feeling her warm fingers brushing over his face, stroking the evidence of the demon that he was. They looked at each other, frozen in time, before he slowly lifted her off his cock and lowered her to the floor. She slid onto her feet and stumbled a bit. When did her legs turn to rubberbands?

Angel grinned and held her arm, straightening her. Cordelia grinned back and whispered, “wow.”

“Yeah.” Angel’s grin slid away as he looked at her. She’d fed him blood, she’d stroked his face. She’d wanted to try intimacy again when he’d been such a lout the first time. Someone was definitely in control here, and he had a horrible suspicion it wasn’t him.

“Angel…what is it?” Cordelia looked up at him, the smile bleeding off her face. He didn’t answer, he just kept looking down at her as his face slowly settled back into his normal visage.

“It’s…..” He looked at her a moment, all glowy, shiny, trusting…every thought she had was there in her eyes. There was no artifice there. And she looked…..satisfied. “It’s you.” He chuckled mirthlessly. “You. I wanted this to be for you. And it ended up being for me.”

Cordelia’s smile reappeared. “It was for us, Angel. It was for both of us.” She looked down, suddenly shy, and grabbed at her discarded shorts just as they heard the library doors swing open and the lights were flicked on. Cordelia blinked, panicked, at the sudden brightness. She looked up at Angel, her eyes wide, as she leaned down to yank her shorts back on. She pulled them up, grimacing as the cool dampness settled between her legs. She looked down the aisle, her heart racing, as footsteps sounded on the stairs. She heard the rustling of clothing, and looked over to see Angel quietly fastening his jeans. He motioned her to be quiet, and they listened as voices whispered to each other, giggling.

“C’mon. Buffy won’t be here for a while…and the G-Man is probably home having tea…” Xander’s voice took on a bad British tone. “Plenty of time to play…”

Willow giggled at him, holding his hand. They stalked down towards their special place….their special aisle, and turned the corner, stopping all of a sudden. Angel and Cordelia stood there, Angel leaning against the frame of the bookshelves casually, Cordelia looking intently at the spines of the books. Her voice was bright and cheery.

“Oh! We’re supposed to be in the…um….section that has the um….history of…um…..”

“Macking?” Angel supplied helpfully

Cordelia shot him an evil look before turning to fake surprise when she saw Xander and Willow. “Oh! Hey!. Um. Just looking for a book. You know me. Study, study, study.” Angel grinned to himself as she chattered. Except for the screwed upright against a stack of books hair, the glowy flush on her face, and the fact that her shorts were on inside out, no one would ever suspect that Cordelia Chase had just exorcised the Xander and Willow macking spot of the library. He leaned over her casually and nodded at Xander and Willow before saying to Cordelia. “I think I have that book at my place. Want to come over?”

Cordelia nodded and snatched up her backpack, slinging it over her shoulder as she passed Xander and Willow, who stood silently, their mouths open. She finally remembered that she was angry at them and brushed by without another word. Angel calmly followed and stopped just as he was walking past Xander to whisper in a conspirital tone. “Thanks. I owe you one.” Cordy heard the low whisper and rolled her eyes as she ran down the stairs, Angel right behind her. They walked out of the library and down the hallway, silently, Cordelia’s head down.

They walked out to her car, not touching, and Angel began to worry. “Look, Cordy, sorry about that…but damn, he was so….I don’t know….outraged looking. And plainly, he has no right to be. And I thought….Cordy’s too nice….”

Cordelia’s head had been lowered the whole time he spoke and he felt panic rise up in him. He looked around, hoping for a clue on how to handle it, when she lifted her face and giggles spilled out. “Oh, God…they know……I mean, I wasn’t real convincing….” And she began to laugh, harder and louder.

“Well, yeah. I don’t think they were buying the looking for a book thing.” Angel’s voice was gentle. “And Cordelia….” She stopped laughing and looked up at him hearing the seriousness of his tone. “This isn’t our dirty little secret. I did that before, and not now. Not with you. Xander needs to know, because when he comes to his senses he’s going to want you back. And he can’t have you.”

“He can’t?” Cordelia’s voice was small, all laughter gone.

“No. I won’t let….” His voice broke off as he looked off into the night for a moment. “I guess that depends on you.” He shook his head…unfamiliar territory. “I guess it depends on…” He looked back down at her face. “You. What do you say? Are you in….or out?”

Cordelia looked back at him, knowing that this time he meant more than going into the bedroom. This time, he meant going into his life. She looked back at the school, at the library windows lit up. She looked up into his eyes, then slowly smiled.

“I’m in.” He opened her car door for her, and she climbed in, smiling as he slammed the door shut and walked around the front of the car and climbed into the passenger seat. “So….” She started the car and sped off into the night towards the mansion. “Got a stack of books back somewhere at the mansion? Because, gotta say….that was something else.”

Angel grinned, looking out into the darkness as it sped by. Cordelia, he thought, I’ve got all the something else you’re ever going to need.

 


…THE END…


 

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