AUTHOR: VISION GIRL (aka CHRISSY)
SUMMARY: Cordelia is sick and crampy, two things that aren’t good when mixed together.
CONTENT/PAIRING: Fluff / Cordelia POV
WARNINGS: None Listed
FICPIC CREDIT: N/A
This is really just a fluff kinda fic. No point to it really other than to express how I feel right about now. The ending is a little meh and I think it needs work and I don’t even consider the title to even be good but I’m jumping in and posting this minutes after writing it since it’s a standalone and I haven’t written a standalone in forever. It’s called taking chances and I hope this was a good one. Gah. Being sick sucks. Oh and to add, this is my first first-person view kind of story. Hope it makes it a little less sucky by saying that.
“Merry Monday,” I exhaled, sipping my coffee. A stuffed nose and sore throat was never a good sign that I would be having a good week. Mondays were assumed, rightly so, to not be the best day out of the week, but how could I sit on the stool in the Lobby of the Hyperion, where I worked day in and day out, and not consider that I’m going to have a miserable week ahead of me? “How was everyone’s weekend? Wait, that’s right. We don’t have weekends off and I just saw you guys five hours ago.”
Five hours of sleep too little. I, Cordelia Chase, a woman in desperate need of some beauty sleep, am used to always require a minimum of eight hours of shut-eye. Before my job took over my life, became it even.
Not even trying to hide the irritation in my voice, I continued to down the scorching hot coffee, ignoring the burning in my throat. Not that it didn’t hurt already. My other hand ran along the edge of a magazine that barely held my interest and flipped the pages every few seconds. My whole body was functioning and it was as if my brain wasn’t the one telling it to do those things. Not that I didn’t mind, less work for me.
Angel, my genius boss, narrowed his eyes and leaned across the counter. “You alright? You sound a little…”
“Stuffed up?” I finished for him, raising my eyebrows challengingly. He could keep up the ‘dumb’ masquerade but I knew he knew what kind of mood my body was in. If there was one thing he was an expert at, it was listening to and observing my body. That’s how he could tell I was okay, in a bitchy mood, or drunk. It wouldn’t be by the sourness in my tone, the eye roll here and scoff there. He knew by the not-so-attractive smell between my legs that this was not a day to mess with me.
“You should take the day off,” he suggested, clearing his throat and crossing his arms over his chest, still leaning against the counter and looking at me. For a moment I figured he was sucking up, remembering how many times he’d done that to get in my good graces, but when I made the mistake of looking him straight in the eye, I saw that he was genuinely concerned for my health. Now I felt guilty for assuming too much. Damn.
“Not when we have work to do,” I should have just taken his offer. Being chivalrous wasn’t something I needed to do on a daily basis. I wasn’t the vampire with a soul repaying for torturing hundreds and having an awful haircut. I guess habits don’t go away as fast as one would like.
Without really thinking about how easy it was for me to turn down a day off compared to my former self a few years earlier, I shrugged when Angel kept looking at me. He knew how sick I felt, he knew my cramps were extremely painful and annoying today. He knew and it pissed me off how well knowledge of me he had was. “Wesley hasn’t translated the text has he?”
My ‘hasn’t’ somehow ended with a ‘d’ and that was when I realized how bad I was sounding. All of my ‘t’s’ were ‘d’s’ and my voice disappeared every other word. I sounded pathetic and that was the last thing I wanted. Mostly because of the look Angel gave me, sympathetic and knowing, and the feeling of Gunn and Fred looking at me with concern behind my back.
The sounds of Gunn’s game boy died when he clicked it off. I made the mistake of letting myself spell out the sickness and now I was going to pay. Gunn hated getting sick, being such a girl about it. Not that any of us wanted a repeat of what happened last time he had a stuffed nose. Too many tissues and that sad little puppy dog look, plus with the snot running down and over his upper lip, the red eyes and chapped lips…I shudder at the mere memory and pray for a moment that I won’t be headed in that direction.
“How sick are you?” he asked from behind, still not daring to approach. For a moment I imagine a billboard on top of my head providing an insight to the inside of my clogged right nostril. What a sight to behold. One that would take the blame off of Gunn for keeping his distance. “It’s bad enough one of us is sick, we don’t need it going around.”
“Shut it, Charlie boy. I’ll go if you want,” I slide off the stool and roll my eyes automatically at the tall, muscular guy. He’s like a brother to me and because of that, sometimes I just want to kill him. “Men.”
Later that day, I splashed cold water over my face, then warm, really warm, and after that, I repeated the process a dozen more times. Didn’t make me feel any better but at least I could say that I tried. Then no one could fuck with me about complaining and doing nothing about it.
Leaning against the sink, gripping the round edges, I decide that looking in the mirror at myself blankly for the rest of the night is what’ll entertain me. No television because prime-time TV with women so thin they could hide behind a telephone poll isn’t what I needed to see.
My cheeks are chubby, bloated. For a moment I think, even wonder, to myself why in god’s name women have to contain so much water and have a period. And why do I have to experience that and a head-cold in the same week? Another question unanswered.
Never tearing my eyes away from the mirror, I turn my face to the left, to the right. Fatty. Sure, I’m no spokesperson for obesity but I’m in the running for it. Whatever happened to that taut body that was to die for? Someone stole it. Probably the same little fucker who steals my socks from the dryer every time I do my laundry.
Turning around, I stand on my tip-toes and raise my ass in the air to examine. Still reasonably good. At least I still have one. But wow, it’s getting a little bigger than I thought. Maybe all that bloating goes to not only my face but my ass as well. Great. And those six tacos I had last week that I thanked god didn’t go to my hips went a little lower. Just fucking great.
Sniffing every five seconds, stupid enough to think that if I do it in quick succession my nose will be magically un-stuffed, I grab some tissue and stuff one up each nostril to keep them from running. I’ve already blown my nose six times in the last hour and I’m not going to do it for another ten minutes. Nope, not going to give in and be one of those people who spends her life savings on tissues. I’d be dirt poor by the second box. In fact, I’m already dirt poor.
I’d kick the bathroom door open if my leg didn’t weigh a thousand pounds. Thankfully I have a live-in ghost and am reminded of it as it opens for me and closes as I walk into the living room. Falling on the couch, I let out a sigh of relief. “Boy, Dennis. I was at work for five minutes and I already had homicidal thoughts.”
A draft of wind blew her hair all over the place. Usually I’d take it as a sign of Dennis furthering the conversation or showing humor, but I wasn’t in the mood. Moving my short hair, which I named Suzy because everything ugly deserves a name, out of my face, I growl. “Jesus. I had it where it looked decent, thanks Dennis. And now you’re on my list too.”
No one likes me like this. No person likes a woman like this, which is understandable if they act like me when it’s this time of the month. Cramps, bloating, swift hormonal mood changes. I don’t blame Gunn for kicking me out. Except he did it because of my cold. Which isn’t as much of a danger to his safety and health as the other case.
Interrupting my oh-so-sweet thoughts is a knock at the door and I can hardly contain my excitement. “Go away!”
The knocking was soft yet persistent, “Cordelia, it’s me.”
“Me who?” I managed to find some humor and tease the vampire on the other side of the door. He could tell I was leading him on and sighed. I rolled my eyes. “Come in, it’s unlocked!”
I was halfway through the sentence and the door was already closed, Angel removing his coat and placing it on the coat rack.
“Wow, you don’t take your time do ya?” I salvage some of my sarcasm and look up at him before covering my eyes with my arm, swallowing hard to try and get rid of the mucus lining my throat. God, I was really sick and disgusting.
“Why do you keep your door unlocked?” Angel asked me, immediately falling into that protective manner of his. I’m away from him for a few hours and he gets that built up need to try and make me feel like I’m two and he’s my babysitter. Just what I need to make me feel better.
“Because any asshole that’s dumb enough to come into my apartment uninvited is gonna realize that this isn’t the week to mess with me. I’d be on the six o’clock news after I got done with him.” I was starting to ramble. I ran out of cold medicine yet was still drowsy. Great.
That’s when Angel, without even knowing it, brought on the guilt again. When he sat down at the other end of the couch, he lifted up a box of medicine, that hesitant grin plastered on his pale yet adorable face. For a moment a saw a little flash of Brad Pitt, that small grin, the extreme sex appeal mingling with modesty. I shook the thought out of my head, as I always did when I let my feelings slip a little when it came to my manpire buddy.
“I would have been here sooner but I realized I got you children’s chewables,” Angel explained with a bashful shrug, placing the box on the counter. “Had to drive all the way back and figure out what was appropriate. You have a cold, right?”
My answer was short and throat, making me sound even more pathetic when my tone reached a high octave. “Yep.”
“Then I had to figure out if you wanted the kind that you swallowed or chewed.”
“And the winner was?”
“Swallow. Unless you don’t want that, I could always go back. I saved the receipt.”
“Whoop-di-doo!” That little revelation actually made me smile, even if my little remark didn’t make Angel smile back. Angel remembering that keeping the receipt was important was a landmark occasion and in her mind she was popping open a bottle of champagne and getting drunk in celebration. “Really, though. Thanks.”
Angel lifted my feet gently and made himself comfortable on my couch, his favorite spot in my entire apartment. With my feet on his lap, he remained quiet for a moment, stealing glances that I could see even with my eyes closed.
Clearing his throat, he moved his icy hands up and down my bare legs, the part of them that weren’t covered by my jean khakis, the ones Angel actually grunted in response for when I asked for input on my new clothes. Usually his icy hands sent shivers up my spine or frightened me, but as he comforted me, caressing my legs, the only shivers I felt were ones forming for entirely different, and surprising, reasons.
A small moan escaped my lips involuntarily and I tried to cover it up with a fake groan. “I hate being sick. And move a little lower.”
He moved his hands lower and lower till I nodded emphatically despite my headache. He was now massaging my feet and I was in heaven. Or as close to it as I could be in my current mood. Drowsiness was starting to pick up and I was getting too comfortable too soon. No way was I going to resort to sleeping on my couch when I had a comfortable, huge bed waiting for me just a room away.
Yet somehow, the couch was warm, welcoming and safe. I was sinking into the cushions, the pillows were surprisingly fluffy and my feet were being pampered by Angel, who sometime in between being the Scourge of Europe and brooding in dark corners learned how to drive a woman over the edge by simple massaging her feet.
“You should take your medicine,” Angel spoke softly and quietly, the timbre of his deep voice sending warm waves through my body. He was a package deal. Hitting all the aching spots on the sole of her foot without tickling her, Angel kneaded her skin with his thumbs, fingers and knuckles skillfully, his rough skin somehow taking on a soothing quality. All of this was lost to me, my eyelids getting heavier and heavier, harder to open. “Sooner you feel better-”
“The sooner I get back to washing demon slime out of my hair,” my retort wasn’t as quick or as full of verve, but I could feel Angel tensing up as if it was a personal dig. “Ignore everything I say, Angel. As long as I’m sick and in this kind of mood, I’m going to be a bitch. You know I love my job.”
Well, love was a strong word to use in reference to my occupation. It wasn’t even a job. It was my calling. But right now it was a big burden; it was actually like a job, one that I groan in displeasure when thinking about it, when waking up in the morning to get ready to go to work. It was refreshing to feel that way, even though I knew I was only disliking it because of my mood swings.
A moment of silence passed between Angel and I and I couldn’t help wonder, even for only a quick second, why this was so simple, so easy. Why could Angel just stop by and be there and bam, I’m close to falling asleep on my couch, comfortable as ever, and I’m letting someone touch my feet. He’d been massaging them for god knows how long and I just now remembered that I never ever let anyone touch my feet.
“Angel…” I say his name quietly, like someone’s listening or we’re hiding from something. Like we’re children playing hide and seek and can’t help but want to say something even if it might give us away. “Why are you doing this?”
“Doing what?” he seemed genuinely lost; like he didn’t know whatever he was doing was that big of a deal. Or maybe he did and he was just really good at lying. I went with the former.
Swallowing the saliva forming in my mouth, I try and hold back a wince in my face when my nose starts to tickle. I look stupid when my face scrunches up and the moment was quiet and undisturbed, I didn’t want to ruin it. “I’m not exactly being the best company and yet you’re sitting here massaging my feet.”
“And?” he asked, as if expecting more. Apparently what was enough of a reason for me wasn’t for him.
“You never massage my feet. You never massage anyone’s feet. You’re just not the kinda guy who massages feet.”
“Would you like me to stop then?” he asked even when he continued to do it.
Biting my bottom lip when he kneaded just the right spot, I tried to fight back a soft moan, knowing one was enough for the night. “Nope. Just making an observation.”
“Wow. You’re really sick to be shutting up so easily.” He was teasing and even if it was a little annoying, it still brought a butterfly or two to my pained stomach.
“You know you love my ass,” Angel had the guts to come up with that remark and I had to give it to him. He usually didn’t have that confidence. I’d call him something mean and he’d cower in fear or throw his hands in the air and walk away. Actually, mostly, he’d take offense and ask if I was serious. I don’t think I’ll ever figure out why my opinion matters most to him.
Then he switched back, “You think I’m fat?”
“No, Angel. You have a tiny tushy. Happy now?” I knew right off the bat that my answer wasn’t any better and I could bet even money on him frowning. I wouldn’t know for sure, my eyes still sealed shut.
“Kinda,” he stopped massaging my feet and sat up, getting off the couch. Before I could attempt at opening my eyes he wrapped one of his arms under my shoulders and the other where my thigh met the rest of my leg.
“Whattyadoin?” I asked my voice slurred and throaty. I couldn’t even protest as he lifted me off the couch and carried me through the room. I knew we were in my bedroom because he stumbled over a pile of clothes I’d forgotten to fold. Thankfully he didn’t drop me and managed to get to my bed. Pressing my body a little closer, he managed to quickly grab the sheets and pull them back without dropping me.
Placing me in the bed gently, he spoke in a simple voice, as if what he was doing was what should be expected. Except it wasn’t. No one did things like this for me and I didn’t deserve it. I’d been a bitch all morning at work about having to be there when I was sick. And Angel still came over with medicine. It was touching and annoying at the same time how persistent he was when it came to taking care of me. “You need sleep and you shouldn’t have to sleep on your couch.”
Pulling the covers over me, he ran a hand along my face and it was chilling to realize my skin wasn’t all the warmer than his. “You need your medicine.”
He left the room and came back within seconds, apparently using that vampire super-speed trick he liked to show off to get some water to go along with her pills.
Stirring as much as my body will let me I wonder for a moment when I got so weak. Before Angel arrived I sure wasn’t feeling good, but now that he was offering help, taking care of me, it was like that was enough for me to give in and accept that I wasn’t strong enough to fight something as natural yet irritating as a cold.
“Why are you doing this?” I could ask him a million times and he could say a million close-to-perfect things in response, whether stuttering them out or not. But I’d keep asking. It was the only thing I could do because deep down I didn’t want him to stop taking care of me. Putting on that mask of stubbornness, having to act like I didn’t need anyone to help me…it was a tiring thing to do day in and day out.
I couldn’t see his smile but I knew it was there on his face. He’d have to be dead inside to not grin at the patheticness of my raspy voice. And Angel, contrary to popular belief, was far from dead inside. “It’s a sight to see, you lying in bed sounding like you sound. Enough for me to ignore the snot running down your face.”
I immediately brought my hand to the area below my nostrils, checking for some sticky liquid. But there was nothing there. Actually, the tissue I had stuffed into my nostrils earlier to keep them from running were still there. Hiding my embarrassment and replacing it with a biting tongue, I opened my eyes slightly, enough that I could make out his face. “Jerk.”
His laugh was deep, a low rumble, sending a wave of security over me. When I heard that laugh I was reminded and assured that nothing was going to happen, and if something did he’d be there to help me through it. It was a sad and pathetic thought, but one that remained in my mind for what seemed forever nonetheless.
Lifting my head up slowly, ignoring the throbbing pain as my headache grew worse, I reached out and searched for the pills. Angel’s hand gently guided mine to his other one holding the pills. I grabbed and tossed them into my mouth, rolling them with my tongue to the back of my throat as Angel pressed the cup of water to my lips and tilted. It was icy cold and ran down my throat painfully along with the two big pills. Definitely not the best of feelings out there.
Once I swallowed I immediately plopped back down on my pillow and smiled weakly. “Thanks.”
“No problem,” he whispered, placing the cup of water on my bedside table and running the back of his hand along the side of my face. On instinct, I lifted my own hand cupped his, stopping it on my cheek as my grin grew a little. “What is it?”
He sounded concerned for a moment and I opened my eyes a little more. “The back of your hands are soft.”
Angel looked at me for the longest time, the smile disappearing from his face and the innocent twinkle in his eyes being replaced by something more intense, more meaningful. He swallowed as if trying to get rid of an over-amount of mucus too, but I knew it was for another reason. “Glad you approve.”
“But there’s one thing you can get me that you didn’t get on your last trip to the store…” I spoke quietly, not bothering to clear my throat and get rid of that raspy quality to it, knowing Angel found it cute or funny enough that he grinned every time.
“What’s that?” he looked at me long and hard, and I returned the intensity.