AUTHOR: ROUND ROBIN – MULTIPLE AUTHORS
SUMMARY: Angel helps Cordy through a difficult time.
POSTED: 8 Oct 2004
CATEGORY: ROUND ROBIN / C/A in BtVS
WARNINGS: Sexual Content Likely
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
AUTHOR NOTES: Round Robin initiated by Luckylyn
Cheerleading practice ended later than usual so Cordy didn’t get home at the usual time. It didn’t really matter since her parents were once again gone for one of their trips. Still she was surprised to find the house was empty when she entered. She expected to see Rose who was her parents’ newest housekeeper. Cordy then remembered that Rose went to the grocery store around that time every Wednesday. Her father had a tendency to drive housekeepers out of the house with his demands. Cordy had learned long ago not to get attached. But Rose was sweet. Always baking something amazing and full of fun gossip about the neighbors. In spite of herself Cordy was getting used to Rose being in the house. Even when her parents were home Rose was still the only one who showed an interest. She was looking forward to talking with Rose over dinner about the gossip she was sure to have after returning from the store.
She went upstairs and took of her cheerleading outfit. She then walked into her bathroom and stepped into the shower. She’d just finished washing her hair when the shower curtain was ripped apart and a vampire lunged for her. The only thing that saved Cordy was the fact that she wore a charm bracelet full of crossed and the vampire made the mistake of grabbing her wrist. When he flinched away from her, Cordy quickly ran out of the vampires reach. She went down the back stairs and was confronted with Rose’s dead body lying on the kitchen floor. Cordy didn’t have a chance to react because the vampire was right behind her on the stairs. So she ran out the back door and found her weapon. She jumped into the pool expecting the vampire to follow her which he did. When he jumped in to the water, and then he turned to dust. Cordy developed the habit of getting her pool blessed by a priest. It was the only way she could feel safe swimming at night. She was glad that bit of paranoia saved her.
She got out of the pool and shivered suddenly remembering she was completely naked she ran to the closed back door and found it locked. Cordy looked around her parents fence making sure her neighbors could not see her. She went into the pool house hoping to find a towel but there were none.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Cordy said. She removed the cushion on one of the patio chairs and used it as a shield. She then walked around the house looking for an open window.
Cordy thought over her situation. Her closet neighbor was a perve who had a tendency to leer at her when he thought she wasn’t looking. There was no way she was going to him for help. Then she remembered that Buffy’s house was walking distance. It would take a longer than normal to get there because Cordy wanted to stick a route that let her hide behind the trees. She was so busy concentrating on hiding her body from the people on the sidewalk that she walked right in to Angel. Cordy wasn’t sure if she was relieved to see him when he couldn’t stop staring.
“Are you going to keep staring like a perv or are you going to offer me your jacket?” Cordy said.
“You’re naked,” Angel said simply taking off his coat and handing it to Cordy.
“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” Cordy said taking the coat and losing the hold on her shield. Angel caught a glimpse of her before she quickly readjusted and covered herself. “Turn around.”
Angel just continued to stare and smile at her.
“Don’t make me stake you,” Cordy threatened.
Angel smirked at her and then turned around. He heard her drop the patio cushion to the ground and the zipper of his jacket being closed around her hiding her from his sight. Angel was disappointed but felt guilty. He wasn’t supposed to think of Cordy naked.
“Okay you can look now,” Cordy said.
“So,” Angel began not knowing what to say. “How did this happen?”
“Vamp attacked me in the shower. I made a run for it and got locked out.” Cordy said. “I was smart enough to fill a pool with holy water but for some reason it never occurred to me to grab something to wear when the vamp was trying to kill me.”
“I wonder why,” Angel teased.
“Are you kidding me?” Cordy asked smiling at him. “Am I detecting a sense of humor from Mr. Tall, Dark, and Broodiness?”
Angel smiled slightly. “You killed a vampire in your pool?” Angel asked impressed.
“Yeah,” Cordy said but she wasn’t smiling anymore. “Can you help me get in to the house? We need to call someone. He killed Rose.”
“Rose?” Angel asked gently.
“She was the housekeeper,” Cordy said and then she admitted then what she never admitted before. “She was my friend.”
“Why don’t I take you to the mansion, and we’ll make the call from there,” Angel offered.
Cordy agreed because she didn’t want to look at Rose’s body like that again.
Later she would sit in front of Angel’s fire place watching the flames and wearing his clothes. Angel watched her from his seat in the armchair nearby. He wondered if he should call Buffy or Willow to be there for Cordy but he worried she might resent the attention. The police were currently at Cordy’s house removing Rose’s body. Angel had been the one to speak to the police as Cordy changed in his room.
“How long?” Cordy asked him.
“Right now the house is a crime scene,” Angel explained. “They won’t let you back in for a while. They might let you pick up some clothes though.”
“I didn’t mean that I meant,” Cordy hesitated. “How long before we know if he turned her into a vampire?”
“A few days,” Angel said. “I’ll take care of her if it comes to that.”
“She was a really nice person,” Cordy said. “She liked being a housekeeper because she wanted to be part of a family since she didn’t have one of her own. She lost her husband and children in an accident. It was wonderfully just to spend time with someone who cared about being a family.”
She got up from the floor suddenly. It hadn’t occurred to her to call her parents until that moment. They were so separate from her life. It took some effort to track them down, but she was relieved to get her mother on the phone.
“Mom, Rose was murdered,” Cordy said. “I found her in our kitchen.”
“Who is Rose?” Mrs. Chase asked.
“The Housekeeper,” Cordy replied annoyed her mother had never learned Rose’s name even though she had worked for the Chase’s for over 6 months.
“What happened?” Mrs Chase asked.
“I think this guy tricked her in to letting him in the house and…” Cordy began.
“Did he rob the house?” Mrs. Chase asked getting concerned.
“I don’t think so,” Cordy said and then decided to add. “I’m fine by the way.”
“Of course you are,” Mrs. Chase said. “I’ll tell your father when he comes back from his meeting. Bye Cordelia.”
“Wait Mom don’t hang up,” Cordy said refusing to cry.
“What is it?” Mrs. Chase asked annoyed.
“Rose doesn’t have any family to take care of her funeral,” Cordy said. “We should take care of it.”
“How can we possibly do that?’ Mrs. Chase asked. “We won’t be returning for several weeks, and I’m sure the morgue won’t hold her body all that time. Can’t the police do something?”
Cordy grew angry at the idea of Rose in some unmarked grave, “You don’t have to do anything. I’ll take care of the arrangements. I just need the money to pay the funeral expenses.”
“Fine,” Mrs. Chase said clearly bored with the conversation and then she turned to her assistant Martha who sat beside her. “Martha, call the accountant and tell him to give Cordelia whatever she requires for the maid’s funeral. You should have a check deposited in your account by tomorrow, Cordelia.”
Then Mrs. Chase hung up before Cordy had a chance to reply. Cordy thought she had gotten to the point where the coldness of her parents couldn’t effect her anymore. She a few run away tears fell down her face. Angel came up behind her and pulled her into his arms, but she pulled away.
Angel told her she could take his room but sleep eluded her. She got up and found Angel in his kitchen drinking blood. He tried to hide it, but Cordy saw the container.
“It’s okay, Angel,” Cordy said gesturing to the container of blood in his hands. “This is your house. If you’re hungry, eat.”
He took a sip of his blood and watched her reaction.
“What?” Cordy asked.
“I didn’t say anything,” Angel said, taking another sip.
“You were staring at me,” Cordy said.
“Are you sure you’re okay with the blood?” Angel asked.
“Yeah, as long as I don’t have to drink it,” Cordy said.
“Are you hungry?” Angel asked. “I could make you something.”
“No, I just couldn’t sleep,” Cordy said. “Got any sure fire cures for insomnia?”
“Warm milk?” Angel offered.
“Coco would be fantastic,” Cordy said smiling. “I’m shocked you don’t just have blood in your fridge.”
She watching get the milk and pour it in a pan.
“I got some groceries for Buffy for when she comes here,” Angel said.
“I’m surprised you didn’t call her to tell her what happened,” Cordy said.
“I didn’t think you’d want me to,” Angel said. “Did you want me to?”
“No,” Cordy said. “I’m not really up for Buffy and the junior slayers.”
Angel poured the milk into a mug and then stirred some chocolate powder in it. There were things he wanted to ask her. He especially wanted to know about her parents but he couldn’t ask her then. She finally looked a little peaceful, and he didn’t want to further upset her.
“Thanks,” Cordy said when he handed her the cup. “Have you ever tried Chocolate with your blood.”
“No I never add anything,” Angel said, taking another sip.
“What about some variety?” Cordy said grabbing the box of chocolate powder and taking the blood from Angel’s hand.
The put the blood in the microwave and after a few seconds removed it and added the powdered chocolate. She stirred it and handed it to him. Angel was stunned by the sight.
“Chocolate makes everything better,” Cordy said. “Rose used to say that.”
Angel took another sip from his blood, “She might had a point about that.”
They exchanged a smile. They sat in silence for a while neither of them needing in the mood for conversation. They just drank their coco and waited for the day to begin. Cordy didn’t bother heading to school. She ended up spending the day taking care of the funeral arrangements.
“How’s it going?” Angel asked when Cord finished her last phone call.
“The funeral’s set for tomorrow,” Cordy said. “Sunnydale’s morgue is well connected with the local mortuary. Her body was already transferred before I even called. I just need to finish calling everyone on her address book.”
“I can take care of that,” Angel said, taking the small book from her hands. “You need a break.”
Cordy shook her head, “I have to find a place for everyone to gather after the funeral. My house is currently off limits since it’s still a crime scene. Her landlord told me I have to get Rose’s things moved out immediately so I can’t invite anyone there.”
Angel thought about it and said, “Invite them here.”
“Are you sure? Really?” Cordy said.
“Yeah,” Angel said.
She got out of her chair and hugged him, “Thank you for that.”
Angel waved the address book, “I’ll take care of this. Maybe you could get some sleep.”
“Later,” Cordy promised. “Now I’m going to head over to Rose’s place and get started on moving her out. Her landlord’s being a real jerk about the situation. Then I need to get some clothes since I can’t wear your sweats forever. Then I need to find somewhere to stay while the police occupy my house.”
“Just stay here,” Angel suggested.
“Thanks, Angel,” she replied.
“So you need help taking care of Rose’s things?” Angel offered.
‘You’re already helping,” Cord said. “Besides I spoke to Rose’s best friend Martha and she and her son will help me. Or I should say her son will help me. Martha sounded so devastated on the phone I’m not sure she’ll be able to look through Rose’s things.”
“Call if you need anything,” Angel said walking her towards the door.
“I will,” Cordy said and then she walked to her car.
Angel frowned after watching her go. She hadn’t sleep and she refused to relax even slightly. At some point, it was all going to catch up to her. He just hoped he’d be there when it did.
For what seemed like the hundredth time since Cordelia had left the mansion Angel glanced at his watch.
It sure was strange how quickly he had become attached, not to mention protective, of Cordelia in such a short span of time.
Everything inside him was protesting to the fact he had allowed Cordelia to leave here alone to deal with her former housekeeper’s surly landlord. Common sense told him he couldn’t have gone along with her anyway, it being daytime and all, but still he should have convinced her to phone one of her friends.
Even Buffy, Willow or even that irritating boy, anything but going alone.
Hadn’t she said this landlord was being unreasonable and that was just over the phone, how more difficult could he be face to face? Especially given that fact he was dealing with an emotional teenager?
His mind working overtime to provide him with technocolour nightmarish situations that his new friend could currently be facing caused him to let out an angry growl.
Checked his watch he found that not more than a couple of minutes had passed since last he looked. Why hadn’t she called already? Even if only to say she got to her destination safely!
Searching for a way to vent his anger he picked up the nearest object, a book on the side table by the sofa, and threw it across the room. It collided with the opposite with a satisfying ‘thump’ before falling to the ground to lie half open.
“Whatever did that poor book ever do to you?”
The female voice was laced with humour at his show of temper.
Without looking around he continued to imagine the horrible situations that Cordelia could be finding herself in as he stood there impotently glaring at an inanimate object.
Crossing to his side Buffy placed a comforting hand on his arm as she looked up into his face, “Angel are you alright?”
Mentally shaking himself Angel glanced down into his ex-girlfriend’s concerned face while striving to sound nonchalant. As if he had never thrown his favourite book across the room in a fit of temper and been caught quite literally in the act.
“Buffy hi! What are you doing here? Did we have some plans that I’ve forgotten?”
His attempt to sound and look normal didn’t fool the slayer as she continued to stroke his arm in an attempt to comfort. “No, no plans,” she finally admitted. “I just thought I’d come around and we could just hang. Spend some time together as friends.”
“Erm-Buffy I don’t think this is the right time for a social call,” he tried to sound like he wasn’t trying to get rid of her but as soon as the words left his mouth he knew he had failed. Miserably.
Curiousity peeked she moved to stand directly in front of him, head tilted back to meet his gaze dead on. “Got other plans?”
Although she had tried to sound teasing Angel knew from her stance that he wasn’t the only one failing to cover his real feelings and motives.
Feeling it wasn’t his place to mention to what had happened at Cordelia’s house the night before he opted to try again to get her leave.
“Not plans but I am kind of busy. Can you come back later? Say tonight?”
Ignoring his questions Buffy chose to tackle her growing suspicions head on.
“Angel what is going on? I feel your keeping something from me. Since when do we have secrets anyway? Please, you know you can trust me. Whatever it is I can help, I just know I can.”
Wincing she hoped she didn’t come off as too desperate. As if she were begging for him to tell her the truth. She wanted it to seem like it was his idea to confide in her, not because she had nagged him into it.
“I’m not keeping a secret,” he denied. Irritated that she would accuse him of such a thing. “I’m just really busy today. It really would be better if we could meet up later. I really would be terribly company just now.”
“Then why are you acting so ansty? And why do you want to get rid of me? What’s going on? Are you hiding something from me?”
Suddenly an awful thought occured to her. “Is there someone else? Is that it? Have you met someone else and you want me gone before she gets here?”
The sheen of tears in her eyes made him feel like an absolute heel. Trying to convince her otherwise would probably make him look all the more guilty.
Trying to think of something to convince her that her fears were unfounded Angel had almost come up with something when the sound of a familiar car approaching the house came to his sensitive ears. Silently cursing he opened his mouth in his rush to explain but was cut off as the sound of the front door being opened drew Buffy’s attention away from him.
Frowning at the interruption Buffy turned to see who would feel they had the right to just barge into Angel’s home without at least knocking first when a familiar voice rang out.
“Angel I’m back!”
If that’s who I think it is, there is going to be some major explanations or I’m going to be doing some major bitch slapping! Buffy glared at the empty doorway as the familiar figure of the other girl came into view.
With a sense of dread to rival Buffy’s growing anger Angel watched as Cordelia strode through the door, stopping dead at the sight of the slayer standing in the middle of his livingroom.
A tense air filled the room as the two teenagers stood staring at each other for a long drawn out moment.
Gathering herself Cordelia was the first to speak. “Buffy, I didn’t know you were here.”
Cordelia’s discomfort was obvious to the vampire as his gaze turned in her direction before Buffy’s next words dragged his attention back to her.
“Funny I was going to say something similar.”
Her cold steel filled tone caused a frizzle of fear to shoot up Cordelia’s spine and gave Angel a moment of sheer panic as he foresaw a major battle flaring between the two teenage girls.
Glancing in Angel’s direction Cordelia mutely begged for his help, a move which was not lost on the other girl. In fact it only served to feed her growing anger.
The look in fact only compounded her earlier fear of Angel becoming involved with someone else, hearing Cordelia call out to Angel as she swanned in as if she owned the place had her facing her worse fear. The one where the other teen succeeded in stealing away her one true love.
Time to put an end to this little charade, Cordelia Chase is NOT getting away with trying to steal my boyfriend. She vowed as she conveniently ignored the little voice in her head that mocked her by pointing out that Angel wasn’t currently her boyfriend. She just didn’t want to think about the posibility that their present separation was for good.
They had to get back together! Any other outcome was simply too painful to consider.
First things first. Time to put an end to whatever scam Cordelia thinks she is going to get away with! Crossing her arms over her bosom Buffy pulled herself up to her full height before demanding coolly. “Why are you here Cordelia?”
With a sense of growing dread Angel stepped quickly between the two girls. On alert to stop any cat fight before it started.
“Listen to me Buffy,” he implored. “Cordelia need a place to stay for a few days, her own place is temporarily off limits, so I offered to let her stay here.”
Ignoring the pleading look he sent her way Buffy instead looked over his shoulder at the other teen while still directing her questions towards him. “That still doesn’t explain why she has to stay hereof all places. It’s not as if she hasn’t any friends she can stay with.”
“She is staying with a friend,” Angel insisted. “Me.”
Snorting the blonde cast a disparaging look in the brunette’s direction before moving her eyes to Angel. “Since when are you friends with her?”
Sure that Buffy was somehow insulting either him or Cordelia, more like the latter, but he was unsure how exactly to answer. “Buffy?”
“Come on Angel you can’t expect me to simply accept that you are Queen C over there are all of a sudden friends?” she spat out the last word as if it was a dirty word and left a bad taste in her mouth. “You are no more friends than I was friends with the Master!”
“I’ll have you know that Angel and I are friends,” Cordelia grumbled.
“Right. Sure. If you two are friends either you’re running a scam to worm your way into Angel’s good graces or you have done something to brain wash him into believing your any friend of his.”
Smarting at the accussation Cordelia refused to rise to the obvious bait which only provoked the angry teenager even more.
“Got nothing to say?” Buffy sneered ignorant of the disappointed look being sent in her direction. “Just goes to prove I’m right. Your somehow scamming Angel. Duping him into being friends so you can just work your way into his pants. Again.”
“That’s so not true. I’ve never done that before in my life and would never demean myself to do so.”
Sensing the angry growing Angel moved to place himself between the two girls more firmly when Cordelia’s fire extinguished unexpected surprising both the vampire and slayer.
“Look Buffy I really don’t care what you or that band of misfit you call friends think.”
Cordelia cut her off with a raised palm held up in her direction. “Don’t bother Buffy, it’s a well known fact we will never be best buddies, but I am not making some move on your vampire, trust me on that fact if nothing else.”
“As if I would ever trust you!”
“Buffy please don’t do this to yourself. If you can’t find it in your heart to trust Cordelia then I assume you can trust me when I tell you that there is nothing underhanded going on here.”
“I do trust you.”
“It’s only just me she doesn’t trust,” Cordelia inserted earning herself another glare. Sighing she felt suddenly exhausted, as if she hadn’t slept in a week. “Listen Buffy I’m not going to stand her exchanging barbs or bitchy comments. If you want to know why I’m staying with Angel for a few days then ask him. I frankly don’t care who knows, I just need to go lie down for a little while and forget the past twenty four hours ever happened.”
Seeing the normally confident and straight talking brunette act so defeated Buffy paused in shock. Before she could formulate her thoughts let alone open her mouth to speak the other girl has walked out of the room and was making her way up the long staircase without so much as backward glance.
Watching her disappear out of sight Angel was torn between explaining things to Buffy and following his new friend upstairs. The decision was made for him as Buffy turned to look at him with shocked eyes.
All fears momentarily forgotten Buffy turned to face her former boyfriend. “Erm-Angel what’s wrong? What happened and why is Cordelia really here? I’ve never seen her act this way before.”
Taking a deep breath Angel resigned himself to recounting the events of the last few hours to the stunned slayer.
Angel gave an edited version of what had happened since running into a very naked Cordelia Chase. In fact, he decided that it was probably a good idea to never mention the state of undress he had found Cordelia in, as neither the slayer or the cheerleader would appreciate it. Plus, he had a strong suspicion that Buffy would instantly jump to the wrong confusion, and either he would be dust or Cordelia would be in the hospital.
“So she tricked the vampire to chase her into a pool of holy water. Hmmm hate to admit it, but I give Cordelia points for creativity. Seriously thought, she doesn’t need to stay here with you, getting in our…uh…your way.” Buff said, sitting next to Angel on the couch absent mindedly rubbing her hand up and down his arm.
“She shouldn’t be alone.” Angel replied, it felt like he had done more talking in the past hour than he had done in a week. It made him uncomfortable.
“It’s not like she hasn’t seen a vampire before Angel. Plus, she is obviously using you, wanting to add you to her collection of cast-offs” Buffy retorted back.
Angel looked down at Buffy, and was amazed how young she really seemed at this moment compared to Cordelia. Buffy was worried about the other girl moving in on her territory, while Cordelia was making funeral arrangements. Angel decided to ignore the comment about Cordelia being a boyfriend stealer. “Her parents are away, and there is no one there to support her. She needed somewhere she could feel safe, and this is that place.
Buffy pulled her hand away from Angel’s arm and folded them over her chest, “Is something going on with you and Cordelia?” Buffy finally asking the pointed question.
“Buffy, don’t be ridiculous, she has been here less than 24 hours, and most of that time has been spent putting her housekeeper’s affairs in order and planning a funeral.” Angel was starting to get annoyed at the conversation, and wanted to figure out how to get Buffy to leave so he could check on her. He knew that Cordelia would not back down on an argument from anyone, based on his exposure to date to the girl, and he wondered what had happened while she was out. Plus this conversation with Buffy was going no where.
“Ohh.” Buffy was taken aback at the seriousness of Angel’s tone, and how mad he seemed to be getting. Maybe I am worried for nothing.
“Look Buffy, you’re my girl, you know that, but right now, there is someone who needs help, and that someone is Cordelia.” Angel pulled Buffy’s small hand into his larger one and squeezed it gently, re-assuring the girl that everything was going to be okay.
Buffy smiled, relief starting to set in, knowing that Angel couldn’t possibly have any feelings for Cordelia. “You are too good Angel.” She leaned in closer, hoping he would take that as a cue that she wanted to be kissed.
Angel knew that he was far from good; that after all he had done he could never be good. But maybe helping Cordelia would put him on that road.
“Buffy, why don’t you go enjoy the day and sunshine, I need to check on Cordelia and see if she needs any help with arrangements and such.” Angel wasn’t oblivious to Buffy’s overture, but really wanted to know what had taken Cordelia so long, and that wouldn’t happen with the Slayer in the mansion.
“Okay, wanna meet at the Bronze tonight before Patrol?” Buffy asked, hopeful that she at some point today would get to pull Angel away from her nemesis.
“Sure.” Angel decided that agreeing to go to the Bronze would be the only way to get Buffy out of his house. He leaned down and kissed her lightly on the forehead, then stood up from the couch. Telling her more with his body, than words, that was her cue to leave.
“Good, see you at nine.” Buffy smiled. Angel is so dreamy and good, and mine.
Angel watched her walk towards the door, and held in a sigh of relief that she was finally leaving. He really cared about Buffy, maybe even loved her, but he knew he had other responsibilities to handle at the moment. As the door closed behind the Slayer, Angel turned to the staircase, taking stairs two at a time to go and check on Cordelia.
At the top of the stairs, Angel took in the light scent of the cheerleader, and followed it down the hall, he was pleasantly surprised to find that she had located the master suite in the mansion, his suite, as where she chose to get away from Buffy. He opened the large door, and walked into the bedroom.
A small lamp was still on in the corner of the bedroom, but the windows, thankfully, remained covered by the heavy curtains. Curled on the middle of his bed, on-top of the covers was Cordelia, who was sleeping quietly. Angel could hear the sound of her breathing, and the steady beat of her heart. The gentle light in the room cast a light glow on the girl, and he was relieved to see she was finally resting. He thought for a moment, and realized that since finding her naked yesterday, the girl had not gotten any sleep at all.
Angel stood over the bed and looked at her. She was so different from Buffy physically, with her dark hair and darker coloring, but in so many ways she was similar. Strong willed, brave, a fighter, beautiful; maybe that is why the two girls didn’t get along. He noticed that she had changed out of her cloths and had apparently gone through his closet to find one of his t-shirts and boxers. He liked the idea of her wearing his clothes.
“Hey.” Cordelia said in a sleepy voice, eyes partially open, looking up at Angel.
Angel was startled having been lost in thought, when the Cordelia spoke, he looked down at her, still clinging to his pillow, but looking up at him with a gentle but tired face.
“Hey, sorry if I woke you, I wanted to check to see if everything was okay.” Angel replied in a quiet voice.
“Just resting my eyes. Sit down, your too tall, and it hurts my neck to look at you way up there.” Cordelia said, patting the spot next to her on the bed, her voice still sleepy.
Angel took the invitation and sat next to her on the bed. “Better?” Absently he moved a lock of hair away from her forehead so he could better see her eyes, and then let his hand wander down and gently grasp hers.
“Much. So are you in the dog house with Buffy?” Cordelia asked. She felt the cool fingers of Angel’s hand, and it was such a strange sensation from the heat of her own hand. She pondered it a moment, and gently squeezed back on his hand.
“No.” Angel replied. He decided that the topic of Buffy was a road he just did not want to go down. “How did things go at the apartment, you were gone a long time?”
“It was sad Angel. It was such a dump, and her landlord was gross, and she didn’t have much.” Cordelia looked like she was on the verge of tears. “How is it fair that I have so much and she had so little, and lost her life because she worked for my family?”
Angel looked down at her, she was squeezing his hand tighter now, as if clinging onto it like a life line. “Life isn’t fair Cordelia, some people have more material things than others, you know that.”
Cordelia hiccupped and nodded.
“And don’t blame yourself for her death. Just because it happened on your property doesn’t make it your fault. Did you invite that vampire into your home?” Angel asked
Cordelia shook her head no. “I know, but…”
“This is Sunnydale; it is not exactly the safest spot on the planet.” Angel told her truthfully
Cordelia sighed, “I am just so tired, why can’t things be normal, why does all this stuff have to happen to me, huh?” She looked up at Angel, knowing he couldn’t give an answer to her question, but wanting to ask it anyway. Tears were rolling down her cheek.
“Cordelia you are exhausted and you need to get some sleep.” Angel avoided the question, he had no clue what normal was, hell could anything in life or unlife be defined as normal?
“Yeah…all over-emotional crybaby here.” Cordelia sniffed, and then yawned. She couldn’t remember the last time she had slept.
“Just a tired girl is all.” Angel said, reassuringly. “Why don’t you try and get some sleep.”
Cordelia looked up at him and smiled, she felt like he was becoming a real friend. Most of her friends were just people who wanted to hang with the popular girl, or wanted to be around money. Angel didn’t care about those things, but he did seem to care about her. “Isn’t this the normal time for you to be sleeping too?” She asked, her curiosity about the vampire sneaking out.
“Actually, yes.” But you are in my bed missy.
“But I am in your bed aren’t I…or wait…please don’t tell me you sleep in a coffin.” Cordelia asked, looking over his shoulder for a coffin resting against the wall.
“No that is a myth created by hack writers.” Angel said seriously.
“Well that is good to know, plus hello how comfortable can a coffin really be, all cramped and dark.” Cordelia smiled.
“Dark is okay.” Angel smiled back, glad to see that her good humor was starting to return.
“This bed is big enough, I’ll scootch over and we can both get some beauty sleep. I imagine the dark circles under my eyes are running the risk of covering my cheeks.”
“uhh are you sure Cordelia, I can go sleep on the couch.” Angel said, offering to be a gentleman, even though he knew the couch was the last place he wanted to sleep. And he was tired, even though he needed very little rest, he did need some.
“Come on, we are friends right, no big…just think of it as a slumber party. As long as you don’t sleep naked or get all grabby hands, I won’t have to stake you.” Cordelia rationalized. In the back of her head she knew she didn’t want to be alone. She had spent too much time alone in her life, and now was one of those times she felt really vulnerable.
“I guess I can sleep one day, not being naked, though it will be a hardship to have to share my bed.” Angel joked.
“Pfft…do you know how many guys would give up their right arm for this opportunity.” Cordelia shot back.
“Since there aren’t many guys missing their right arms in Sunnydale, my guess is that very few have had the opportunity.” Angel was very interested in the answer to that question, the thought of another man touching her bothered him more than he thought it would.
“No, I am not easy.” Cordelia responded quietly. Does Angel think that I am that type of girl?
Angel stood up, and smiled “I didn’t think you were Cordelia. I will be a perfect gentleman.” He moved away from the bed and headed to the armoire to grab something to sleep in that would help him make sure he maintained the gentleman status. Maybe something in steel or armor.[i] “Hope under the covers, it gets drafty here, while I go change.”
“No grabby hands, right Angel.” Cordelia said a little louder, as she watched him move towards the bathroom.
“You have nothing to fear from me Cordelia.” Angel tossed back causally. In the back of his head, he was worried that might not be the total truth.
Cordelia yawned, and looked at her surroundings. [i]Who would have ever imagined that I would be sleeping with a vampire? She heard the sounds of the shower start up, and decided that there was no point in waiting up for Angel. She pulled the covers out from under her and crawled into the bed. She was a little surprised to find that the sheets were such high quality cotton; in fact, she would bet her life that they were Egyptian cotton, just like at home. She snuggled into the pillow and closed her eyes. Angel was right she was exhausted.
A little while later, Angel walked out of the bathroom in an outfit very similar to the one Cordelia was wearing. A t-shirt and boxers, but instead of being too big, they were a perfect fit. He knew he looked good, and wondered what Cordelia’s reaction would be, just out of curiosity. He walked over to the bed and looked down, the girl was sound asleep. Angel shook his head and went around to the other side of the bed and got under the covers. His bed had never been quite as warm as it was right now, thanks to the girl sleeping under the covers next to him.
Cordelia woke up took in her surroundings. She moved her hand tentatively, and realized that she was not hugging a pillow or a teddy bear, but that her head was resting on a very male chest, her legs were wrapped around, very male legs, and one of her arms was slung of a very male belly. Her mind shook off sleep and started replaying the events of the past two days. She dropped her forehead down and hit it against the chest she had been sleeping on moments ago. She felt a little dampness, and realized she must have been drooling in her sleep. Gross… ugh how do I get myself out of this one
“Looks like you weren’t the one that had to worry about grabby hands.” Angel said, startling the girl, who had managed to completely wrap her body around his over the course of the day.
“EEEKKK!!!” Cordelia jumped upright at the sound of the Vampire’s voice.
Angel watched the girl scramble back from his body, and regretted not taking advantage of her body heat for a little bit longer.
“Geez Angel, know how to scare a girl.” Cordelia decided to avoid the whole grabby hands comment.
“It’s a gift that I have honed over the years.” Angel absently scratched his head, and looked at a sleep ruffled Cordelia Chase. He had never seen her less composed, and a big part of him really liked waking up with her clinging to him.
“I imagine it is. Seriously though, sorry, must have done it in my sleep.” Cordelia said a bit embarrassed.
“Well, I suppose now I am going to have to stake you.” Angel deadpanned.
“Did you just make a joke?” Cordelia smiled.
“Maybe.” Angel smiled back, enjoying the banter that was going on. It was easy to talk to this girl. Easier than it ever was talking with Buffy.
“You should smile more Angel; you are really handsome when you smile.” Cordelia said, looking down at him from her position of kneeling next to him on the bed.
“Thank you.” Angel looked at her, and appreciated her classic beauty, especially with her hair messy from sleep, and her body still warm from being under the covers. His hands itched to run his fingers through that long dark hair of hers.
Cordelia looked over at the clock on the bedside table and it read 1:30. “So is it the middle of the night, or middle of the day?” Cordelia asked, not quiet sure what time it was, given that she had laid down originally at around 5 pm. There was no way she could have slept for 20 hours.
Angel flipped his pillow over to lift his head up a little higher “It’s the middle of the night, I can feel it.”
“Oh, so it is your daytime now isn’t it?” Cordelia was so curious about vampire habits. Giles kept all of the good books locked up in his office.
“I guess, less of a chance at this time of the day of bursting into flames.” Angel watched as Cordelia shifted in the bed, and wrapped a blanket around her. The way she was sitting, she still had her hip pressed up against his body, and he was glad she had not pulled away.
“True. Do you miss the sunshine?” Cordelia asked, realizing this was a terrific opportunity to get all her questions answered.
“Yes and no. It has been so long since I have been out in the sunshine; it is just a distant memory. Plus even when I was human I was more of a night owl.”
“So can you turn into a bat?” This was something Cordelia was dying to know.
Angel laughed and shook his head no.
“Hmm…’nother case of hack writers…how ‘bout flying, can you fly?” Cordelia was hoping that at least some of the myths were true, beyond the staking and inviting things.
“No, but I can move much faster than a human, it might leave the impression that a vampire can fly.” It was easy talking to her, and Buffy never had taken any interest in knowing about the vampire side of him.
“That explains why you are so good at sneaking up on people.” Cordelia reasoned.
“Helps in the hunting.” Angel said back before even realizing he had admitted to having hunted humans. It was not something he wanted to hide, but he preferred not talking about his days of stalking humans.
“Makes sense, I mean, humans are what vampires eat, so they would have to have skills to catch them. Course if they were all as good looking as you, they’d have no problem getting the girl.” Oops was that out loud?
Angel’s chest puffed out a little. Even though he was a vampire, taken to brooding a good share of the time, he was still male and appreciated when a female took notice of him. “Yes, you have to use all of your assets.” He replied back, not letting her off the hook as quickly as she would have liked.
“So for someone as old as you, you must have an amazing investment portfolio.” Cordelia decided to jump off of the topic of beauty and onto a relatively safer subject – money.
“I manage.” Angel gave a short response to that question. He had money, but much of it was from what he had stolen from victims when he was sans soul. He always felt guilty anytime he spent any of it.
Cordelia yawned, “I guess I am more tired than I thought.”
“You have had a rough few days. Why don’t you try to close your eyes and go back to sleep.” Angel prompted. He realized he had surely missed Buffy at the Bronze, and the last thing he really wanted to do was go find her and have to explain his absence. However innocent sleeping with Cordelia might be, or have been, he knew there would be no explanation he could give the Slayer that wouldn’t result in him missing body parts or worse being staked.
Angel reached out and took Cordelia’s arm, tugging her back down to bed, into his body. She didn’t argue, just adjusted herself so she was resting her head on his shoulder.
“Thank you Angel.” Cordelia said, closing her eyes. Letting her feel safe and secure, even if it was just for one night.
“You welcome.” He was doing nothing wrong, and his friend needed him. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and hugged her slightly. Angel closed his eyes, and decided to go to sleep too, and deal with any repercussions in the morning.
It was raining. The wind and water pounded against the windows. It was a nice sound, it meant that if he really wanted to Angel could go out during the day.
Angel stretched and yawned, looking around the darkened room, realizing that his bed mate was not next to him, more specifically, he didn’t think she was even still in the house. He turned his head and saw a note on her pillow. Funny, already assigning Cordelia a side of the bed. Leaning over, Angel picked up the note.
Gone to Rose’s funeral. Will stop by later.
Her hand writing was strong but not overly flamboyant, as he expected from the girl. Angel frowned reading the brief note again. It sounded like she didn’t plan on staying long when she stopped by, and that did not sit well with him at all.
Glancing at the clock it was almost 4 o’clock. What time is later? Angel wondered, pulling back the covers and deciding that maybe a shower was a good idea. He pulled the t-shirt over his head and then pushed down the boxers, casually tossing them into the laundry basket on his way to the shower.
~ * ~
“Angel are you up yet?” Cordelia shouted from the front door of the mansion. The rain had never stopped all day, and she was soaked through. She couldn’t believe her relief when Rose’s friends politely turned down her offer to come back to the mansion. The last thing she wanted to do was entertain strangers in someone elses home. Cordelia stepped into the hallway and closed the door.
“ANGEL!” She shouted again, with no response. Hmm maybe with the rain he ventured out…no killer rays today. Cordelia turned and looked at her reflection in the hall mirror. She was pretty sure it was the only mirror in the entire mansion, except the standard one in Angel’s bathroom.
“Gesh…can you say drowned rat?” Cordy said to her reflection. “Only one cure for this look…I’m sure Angel won’t mind me using his shower again.” Cordy took off her rain coat and hung it on the hook in the hall, and then headed up the stairs to the master bedroom.
The upstairs was dark, and as she made her way up to Angel’s room she turned on lights. The mansion had a classic beauty…at least that is what Norm and Steve would say on This Old House. Hmmm wonder if Angel would let me renovate?
Cordy opened the bedroom door, another dark room, she reached along the wall, finding the light switch, casting the room in a soft light. She glanced over at the bed…nope no Angel, but she was surprised it wasn’t made. Angel seemed a neurotic enough that an unmade bed would be a big no-no.
Cordelia reached around and unzipped her suit skirt and slipped off her shoes and skirt. As she got undressed she took in the room, liking the dark motif more than she thought she would. She shivered again and decided that a hot shower was top priority. She finished taking off the rest of her clothes and darted for the bathroom.
She opened the bathroom door to find a very naked Angel, moving a razor over his face, scraping away the last of the shaving cream, all without the benefit of the mirror.
Cordelia stood there, frozen, eyes wide and mouth open, not believing what her eyes were showing her…Naked!AngelNaked!Angel…eek, Naked!Cordy. Gasping, Cordelia screwed her eyes shut and and quickly closed the door.
Angel chuckled, he had recognized her heartbeat once she got into his bedroom, but the last thing he expected was her to come into the bathroom soaking wet and naked.
Angel rinsed off his razor and grabbed a dark blue towel off the rack, wrapping it around his waist, he turned and opened the bathroom door. Wonder if she will still be naked? Wonder if she liked what she saw?”
Cordy grabbed the first article of clothing she could find…one of Angel’s dark button down shirts. Slipping it on, she paced back and forth in front of the bed. The bed they had shared the night before. Her stomach was still doing flips over the sight of Angel. Just standing there in all his naked gloriness, in front of a steam covered mirror, shaving without a reflection. His body was still damp from the shower and her eyes couldn’t help travel from his back down to his tapered waist then to what looked to be a rock hard ass.
Cordelia looked at the closed bathroom door, and then turned and faced the bed and shivered, still cold from being in the rain. I am amazed I was able to even move. Cordy thought, and then it hit her, this was the second time the vampire had seen her naked. I am never gonna catch up if he is always around when I am naked.
“Did you want the shower?”
“EEEKK!!” Cordelia spun around and faced a no longer naked Angel, but this was almost worst, as he looked incredibly hot in just a towel, slung low around his hips. “I am getting you a bell and you are going to wear it Mister.”
Angel gave her a devilish smile, banter she wants, banter she will get, “This is my bedroom.”
“So, does that give you a license to sneak up on me?” Cordelia folded her arms under her breasts and stood up a little taller. The move made the bottom of the shirt ride up to expose more of her thighs.
Angel casually looked her up and down, and really liked the fact that she was wearing one of his shirts. He took a step closer into her personal bubble. “I don’t know, do you have a license to sneak up on me while I am shaving?” He looked down at her from his taller vantage point, and was beginning to enjoy how nervous she was getting. Her heart was beating a little faster.
“That was an accident.” Cordelia moved slightly back and felt the edge of the bed against the back of her knees. — no where to go–
Angel reached out his hand and moved a lock of her wet hair behind her ears, and noticed that she was shivering. Maybe it isn’t me, maybe she is just cold. “Your shivering.”
“I got stuck in the rain, why does it always have to rain at funerals?” I’m cold, but thats not whats making me shiver.
“Rain in California is always a lucky break for me.” Angel smiled slightly andmoved his hand to rub her upper arm, creating a little friction to warm her up, glad his body held some residual heat from the shower.
“I guess so, no killer rays,” Cordelia managed to say. How did I end up practically in his arms? “I was going to warm up in the shower.”
I know a way to warm you up…
Angel’s over active imagination gave him pictures of a very naked Cordelia joining him in his shower. It would be fun to scrub her back…and front…
“Why don’t you hop in the shower, I’ll build a fire downstairs, and make you some soup.” The demon in Angel’s head was screaming at him for the lame offer he just made to the barely dressed girl standing an inch away from him.
Cordy looked up, fealing safe, very glad that he decided not to continue the conversation of her seeing him …really seeing him.
“That sounds like a great idea, the best one I have heard all day.” She smiled up at him, not quiet a 1000 watt smile, but a nice one never the less.
Angel dipped his head and kissed her on the forhead and then turned her and gave her a little push towards the bathroom. “Now no peaking, once I hear the shower start, I am dropping this towel and getting dressed.”
Cordy stood at the door, slightly in shock, over the kiss, however innocent it looked, it totally felt like it meant something more. Then it hit her…Angel had made a joke, or at least the beginnigs of one.
“Pfft…in your dreams Big Guy.” Cordy said in her Queen C tone, with a gentle smile to take the edge off. She closed the bathroom door behind her after one last look at Angel standing there in just a towel. Stepping to the shower she turned on the water to get it hot.
Cordy looked at the closed bathroom door. One little peek wouldn’t hurt…right?
Cordy talked herself out of taking a peak at naked Angel. [i] Why torture yourself?[I] Angel was off limits. He was Buffy’s. She’d just gotten over her crush on him and now all she could think about was his gorgeous naked body. No one could blame her for that. Oh wait a sec. Buffy would blame her plenty. Cordy rolled her eyes at the thought.
When she stepped out of the bathroom wrapped in her towel, she was disappointed to find herself alone. She dressed and walked downstairs to find Angel setting the table.
“So you really can cook?” Cordy asked sitting down.
“It’s something I enjoy,” Angel said placing a bowl of soup in front of her. “When you finish this, I’ve got a chicken in the oven.”
“I couldn’t eat that much Angel,” Cordy said.
“You haven’t eaten much at all in the last couple of days,” Angel said sitting down across from her a bowl of soup in front of him as well.
“Considering your liquid diet it’s kinda surreal sitting here having dinner,” Cordy said sipping a spoonful of the soup. “That is good.”
Angel just smiled at her. He liked the almost lustful look she got on her face when she ate something she liked. It made him wonder what other things he could do to get her to make those expressions. But he pushed those thoughts out of his head.
The phone rang disturbing their dinner. Angel got up from the table.
“Hello,” he answered.
“Hi, I’m looking for Cordelia Chase,” the man replied.
“Who is this?” Angel demanded. The police didn’t even know where Cordy was staying so Angel wondered who could have tracked her down.
“Tell her it’s Robert Clark,” he answered.
“Robert Clark?” Angel replied looking at Cordelia.
At hearing the name, Cordy got up from the table and took the phone.
“Robert?” Cordy said surprised. “How’d you know where to find me?”
Angel decided to leave Cordy some privacy and went into the kitchen to check on dinner.
“I spoke to your father and he mentioned what happened,” Robert said. “I’m so sorry sweetheart. I know you loved Rose as if she were your family.”
Cordy teared up at the mention of Rose’s name and said, “She was a wonderful woman.”
“I was surprised that you didn’t call me or Katherine,” Robert said.
“I wanted to, but I didn’t want to make you worry,” Cordy said.
“Is there anything you need?” he asked concerned.
“No, I’m fine,” Cordy said. “You know I can take care of myself.”
Robert replied, “I know you can handle anything, but you can lean on the people who care about you occasionally.”
“I’m fine. Don’t worry about me,” Cordy said and then to distract him she continued. “How is Katherine?”
“Good, I haven’t told her about your situation yet. I wanted to talk to you first so I could tell her how you were doing,” Robert said. “All you have to do is say the word, and I’m on the next plane to California.”
Cordy felt this sense of love and relief wash over her. Robert cared for her like her parents never could. He really would fly all the way from New York just to hold her hand.
“Thank you, but I’m with friends,” Cordy said looking at Angel.
She watched him as he stood in the kitchen fussing over the kitchen. For a moment he looked up at her and their eyes locked.
“I’m being well taken care of,” Cordy continued, looking away from Angel.
“Your father mentioned you were staying with a friend,” Robert said. “But a friend isn’t the same as someone who loves you.”
“You don’t have to fly back here, Rob. I really am doing okay,” she said.
“Well, I took the liberty of booking you into the penthouse suite at La Maison Du Soleil,” Robert said. “I figure you’d want to have your own space rather than staying with a friend and her family.”
“That’s wonderful of you, Rob, but the police are going to let me back into the house in a couple of days,” Cordy replied.
“I don’t think it’s safe for you to stay in that house alone; at least stay at the hotel until your parents return,” Robert insisted.
“I could just stay with my friend if my house isn’t secure,” Cordy said.
“Do you really want to stay at someone’s house indefinitely? Do you really think they expect you to stay that long? I mean it could be two months or more before your parents return,” Rob said.
Cordy didn’t want to leave Angel’s mansion. It was surprising how much at home she felt there, but she didn’t want to turn into that house guest that never left. Angel welcomed her presence now, but she didn’t want him ever to start thinking of her as a burden.
“Thank you, I’ll check in to the hotel as soon as I can,” Cordy said.
Robert sighed in relief, “You’ll be safe there.”
“Give my love to Katherine. Bye Rob, I love you,” Cordy said just as Angel reentered the room placing her dinner at the table.
“I love you too, Sweetheart,” Robert said. “Just remember if you need anything you just have to call. Good bye.”
Cordy hung up feeling better. It was nice that even if she couldn’t rely on her parents she could rely on Robert and Katherine. Angel watched the little smile on Cordy’s face. That combined with hearing Cordy tell the man on the phone she loved him made Angel feel overwhelmed with jeaolusy. He knew he had no right to begrudge Cordy a boyfriend. After all, he had Buffy. But the thought of Cordy with another man twisted something inside him.
“So Robert?” Angel asked hoping his jealousy wasn’t obvious.
“My god father,” Cordy explained.
And suddenly Angel was relieved. He hid his relieved smile as Cordy joined him at the table.
“That smells good,” Cordy said gesturing to the chicken.
“It tastes even better,” Angel promised.
Cordy took a bite and said, “It does.”
And then Cordy frowned slightly. She quickly turned it into a smile and said, “Well I’ve got some good news for you.”
“Yeah,” Angel replied.
“I’m going to be out of your hair by the end of the evening,” Cordy said. “Robert booked me a luxury suite over at La Maison Du Soleil.”
Angel stilled hating what he was hearing and said, “You’re leaving tonight?”
“As soon as you help me load up my car,” Cordy said trying hard to sound excited. “I mean who turns down the penthouse suite at a four star hotel. I can’t wait to use that 24 hour spa.”
“It’s late,” Angel said desperate to stall. There was a part of him that thought the sooner she leaves the better. [i]I’m already too attached.[i] More than anything he knew he wanted her to stay.
“Why move over there tonight?” Angel said.
[i]I should leave[i] “Okay, La Maison Du Soleil can wait until tomorrow,” Cordy said relieved at putting off the inevitable. “I’m tired anyway.”
They stared at each other for a moment.
“Cordy, I…” Angel began.
But he was interrupted by the entrance of Buffy with Xander and Willow in tow. They entered the mansion and joined Angel and Cordy at the table.
Xander was used to battle with Cordelia and didn’t know how to cope with suddenly feeling sorry for her.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” Xander said sincerely.
Cordy noted that he meant it and said, “Thanks.”
“I’m sorry,” Willow said and then handed Cordy a large dish. “I made a casserole.”
Cordy laughed and said, “Thank you.”
Buffy took Angel’s arm so she could take him into the kitchen. She wanted to talk to him alone.
“I figured you were getting stir crazy alone with Cordy,” Buffy said. “Xander and Willow can keep her company so you can get a break.”
Angel didn’t know what to say. Tonight could be his last one alone with Cordy and Buffy and her friends had invited themselves over. He was angry and guilty all at the same time. Buffy was supposed to be the one he wanted, and all he could think about was how to convince her to leave.
The vampire entered the apartment and stood silently waiting for his Mistress to address him.
“I told you not to return until you found the girl,” she said.
“She is registered at La Maison Du Soleil,” he said. “She hasn’t checked in yet but as soon as she does we will have her.”
“Bring her to me alive,” she said. “She will die but not swiftly and by one else’s hand but mine. She will pay for killing my Jasper.”
She looked at the painting hanging on her wall. It was of the vampire Cordy had killed in her pool.
…THAT’S IT FOR NOW, FOLKS…
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