23: The Date
Chapter 23: The Date
“Are we in a hurry?” Buffy asked Angel as she noticed the car’s acceleration. Angel seemed to have a lead foot and it was a good thing the highway traffic was relatively light at this time of the evening.
Realizing that he had been lost in thought, gripping the steering wheel and simply hitting the gas, Angel eased up on the pedal. “Not really. We have plenty of time to get there and back before sunrise.
“Hope so,” Buffy commented, “considering I have school in the morning. Not that it’s ever stopped me from staying out on all-night patrols.”
“Uh, okay. We’ll keep that in mind.” Angel focused on the road trying to get thoughts of Cordelia out of his head. What was it about scent and instant recollection? The memory of her scent still lingered in his mind. Their scent— it was too damn easy to imagine that was true.
Can’t seem to keep my hands to myself lately. Touching Cordy. Got to stop that. Stop lusting after Angelus’ mate and concentrate on my own business: Buffy.
Silence fell between them for several minutes. It was not their usual comfortable stillness, but an awkward stretch of time filled only by the noise of the wind whipping around the convertible. Feeling a need to say something, Buffy commented, “That was a pretty choker Angelus gave to Cordelia. Not as nice as my Claddagh ring, but definitely cool.”
Angel had noticed before, but felt it was time to ask, “Where is your ring? I haven’t seen you wear it in a while. Not since I got back.”
“Oh. Well— I don’t have it anymore,” Buffy admitted with some embarrassment. “I left it at the mansion. Thought you weren’t coming back. I-I was saying goodbye.”
“I see.” Angel turned his gaze back to the road, the question apparently sufficiently answered.
The short response made Buffy nervous. Was he mad? Did he even care? Sometimes it was difficult to read him. Getting back to the subject of the choker, “Cor showed me the design. There was a sun on one side and a weavy pattern on the other.”
Buffy frowned at the one-word answer. “Angelus had it specially made. Does it mean something Irish?”
Glancing at her, Angel hoped his irritation didn’t show. The symbolism of that gift was the last thing he wanted to discuss. “Yes and no,” he answered and for a second Buffy thought that was all the information she was going to get. “One side is an ancient Celtic knot pattern, but the other is a symbol denoting the Order of Aurelius.”
“A vampire marking?”
“Yes, Buffy. Angelus is a vampire. It’s only natural that he would mark his mate with symbols that have meaning to his heritage.” Angel suddenly wondered if he had said too much.
“That’s the second time I’ve heard Cor referred to as Angelus’ mate,” Buffy shifted uncomfortably in her seat at the thought. “First it was Angelus. Yesterday, when he told you to keep your hands— uh, not to joke around with Cordelia. Now you, too?”
Angel hit the accelerator again, but this time Buffy was too distracted to notice. “It’s a simple fact.”
Trying to remember what Giles had told her about vampire families, Buffy honestly couldn’t remember the dynamics. She knew about the sire/childe bond, but beyond that there was something of a gray area. Especially when there was a human in the equation.
“D-Does that make me your mate? Because I’m your girlfriend and we’ve—?”
“Mated?” Angel heard a harsh laugh leave his throat. “No. It has nothing to do with sex. Officially, it’s a lifebond.”
Buffy’s jaw dropped open in shock at the impact of the word. “Are you saying that Cordelia’s married to Angelus?”
“No! Not exactly,” Angel told her while hating the fact that he had to say anything. “This is a vampire rite, not a human marriage. Cordy becomes an official part of the Order of Aurelius and obtains all the protection, rights and privileges of her station. Most vampire mates are lovers, but that depends on their other interests.”
“Does Cor know that?” Buffy figured it meant Angelus didn’t have to be faithful. “I suppose Angelus can do anything he wants, but what about Cordelia? Does the rule work in reverse?”
There was another long pause before Angel answered, “Technically.”
“Huh. That’s what I thought. Double standards even in the vampire world,” Buffy rolled her eyes.
“Cordelia is bound to her mate and master. Beyond that she would need permission to seek long-term sexual relationships.”
“Only long-term?” Buffy raised her eyebrows. Then his earlier words caught up with her and she had to laugh. Testing out the idea, she sounded it out experimentally, “Angelus is Cordelia’s master. Hah! Bet that doesn’t go over well. Can you imagine mastering that mouth of hers?”
The car swerved sharply as Angel reacted to Buffy’s words, totally putting another spin on them. Hell yes he could imagine mastering Cordelia’s mouth in any number of ways. If Buffy only knew how close he had come to kissing Cordy senseless earlier tonight. Just the thought of it kept him on edge.
Grabbing onto the dashboard, Buffy looked over her shoulder trying to see if they had avoided hitting something in the middle of the road. There was no sign of anything. Thinking about what she had said, a blush crept over her face. “I think I need to rephrase that. I just meant that Cordy has a big mouth and knows how to use it.”
Angel gripped the steering wheel and tried to focus on the road ahead. Sometimes he wondered if people actually thought about what they were saying before they opened their mouths to speak. Or if they had any clue that their innocently meant phrasing took on depraved twists in a vampire’s mind. Well, his anyway. In any case, Buffy’s curiosity kept him focused on the one subject he hoped to put out of his mind for the rest of the evening.
Unfortunately, Cordelia kept creeping into the conversation all the way to the coast. Once Angel started talking, he didn’t seem to stop. This managed to surprise Buffy who realized her boyfriend was more verbal than usual. She supposed it was only natural that Angel might make references to Cordelia since they were living together. Well, living in the same huge mansion, anyway…with Angelus.
As Buffy thought about the fact that there was no double dating tonight, a smile lit up her face. Being alone with Angel like this was a relief. Finally alone. Without the sickening sweetness that was Cordelia and Angelus. Their sugary side contrasted with no-holds barred naughty behavior. Buffy didn’t know which she hated more.
I’m jealous. Okay, so she actually admitted it to herself. Jealous in a way that angered her. She didn’t want to feel that way. Not about Cordelia. Not because Cor was getting something from Angelus that she never got. Maybe. But it did hurt. It actually hurt that Angelus…evil and soulless vampire though he might be…could be so different with Cor than with her.
Angel was another matter entirely. It was all Angelus’ influence. Surely that was it. He was just exposed to the evil vamp’s behavior and was adjusting to having a brother. Hah! A brother. She doubted Angel really thought that way. It had to be difficult enough to adjust to having Angelus in the house. Imagine actually having to live with Cordelia.
Live with Cordelia? Spiced vamp juice. Constant chatter. Messy. According to Angel, Cor was really messy and Buffy knew now that he hated that. He’d certainly talked about it enough tonight. Picking up after Cordelia. Just like he picked up her clothes from the floor that first time when Buffy found her in Angel’s robe the next morning.
Not everything irritated him about the cheerleader. Just look at the way he joined in with her stupid Tweedle chase with Angelus, playing along and laughing at the silly game. Though there was certainly nothing so silly about the game Angel and Cordy played yesterday. Boutique Bondage. It wasn’t really a game at all. Certainly wasn’t fashion advice. Buffy had never felt quite so ignored while in Angel’s presence as she was right then. It was as if Angel and Cordelia were off in their own little world of silk scarves and intricate knots except that it was in the middle of the mall.
It was a toss-up who was more relieved to arrive at the coast. Their conversation turned from issues closer to home to descriptions of the scenic nighttime waters along the shoreline.
“That looks like a sandy spot,” Buffy pointed out a secluded beach coming up ahead. “Let’s stop there.”
“Now?” Angel had figured on another area he knew about further up the coast, but he felt confined despite the open top of the convertible. “Sounds good.”
Buffy wasn’t certain why, but the growing urge to get out of the car made that stretch of beach look really inviting. When Angel talked to her, it was driving her crazy because half of the things he said had to do with Angelus or Cordelia. When he was quiet, Angel seemed surrounded by dark vampiric vibes that set off her Slayer senses. He’d been doing that a lot lately, which gave her the wiggins. At least he had put an end to the flowers and candy routine.
“You’re taking off your shoes?” Buffy gaped at Angel as if she’d never seen his feet before.
Angel tucked his folded socks into his shoes. “Aren’t you? Cordy said we should walk barefoot. Feel the sand between our toes.”
Staring up at him, Buffy’s growing irritation with the Cordelia-factor came to a peak. “You discussed our date with Cordelia? Did she help you plan it, too?”
“No.” Angel realized that he had said something wrong, but wasn’t sure why talking to Cordy about his plans was a bad thing. “I just mentioned the beach. She likes the beach.”
After a few minutes of awkwardness, they settled into a silence reminiscent of their more comfortable walks through the graveyards of Sunnydale. Here tombstones and crypts were replaced by seashells and sea stones, rustling trees by breaking waves and overturned earth by shifting sand. Only the soft caress of moonlight overhead remained the same.
As Angel held Buffy’s hand in his own, it reminded him of the way it used to be between them. Before the deal with the Fates. Before Angelus came. Before they first made love and the curse destroyed the perfect bliss that followed. Just the two of them together with a moment of innocence, peace and contentment.
Naturally, it had to end. A foul odor wafted along the breeze as the wind shifted and Angel recognized the scent as being demonic. “There’s something on this beach and it’s close.”
“I sense it too,” Buffy nodded as she peered into the shadows.
“I have weapons back in the trunk of the car,” Angel pointed out that they should turn around to go get them.
The Slayer released Angel’s hand, automatically moving into a tighter defensive stance. “Too late. It’s already seen us.”
As the large reptile demon attacked, Angel had to admit there was never a dull moment around the Slayer. No matter where she went, trouble seemed to follow, even to a secluded beach on the California coast. He almost welcomed the chance for a fight. The tension and energy that had built up inside him ever since his encounter with Cordelia needed release. A good brawl might be just the thing to work it out of his system.
“Nice spot you picked out for our stroll,” Angel commented wyrly as he bashed the demon’s face with his balled fist.
“Glad you like it,” Buffy quipped while grabbing a piece of driftwood from the sandy shore to use as a weapon. “Great view if you don’t mind the locals.”
The demon swung its long tail in Angel’s direction, catching him on the leg, tossing him to the ground face-first. A loud hiss sounded followed by a spray of fluid from the beast’s mouth. It landed across Angel’s leather jacket and started to eat away at the surface like hydrochloric acid.
“Argh!” Angel jumped to his bare feet and whipped off the jacket as he felt the heat of the acidic venom burn through the leather and the material of his shirt. He could feel the wounds on his back were superficial, but the sudden pain caused him to vamp out.
Buffy noticed Angel’s troubles, but had no time to react to it. She was too busy with the demon. The creature moved fast for something so large and its tail added an extra danger. Vaulting over it, Buffy pounded into its hide with the driftwood. Just as the creature was about to turn its attention to her, Angel wrapped his ruined jacket around the beast’s head blinding it and preventing the Slayer from receiving an acid wash of venom.
The heavy crick of breaking bone sounded as Angel grabbed the demon around the neck and twisted hard. Releasing it, the beast dropped to the ground, its body jerking in response for several seconds before growing still. Stalking around the dead demon, Angel lifted his gaze to Buffy who noticed that while his human face was back in place his eyes remained rimmed with a ring of dark amber. The rigid tension in his shoulders and the predatory stare suggested Angel was having difficulty reigning in his demonic side.
“That was fast,” Buffy commented trying not to stare at him. Angel normally did so well hiding his vampire traits from her. God, he looked so powerful standing there, barely restrained. “I didn’t even get in more than one or two good hits.”
“It was over too fast,” Angel protested with a near growl. He had a lot of fight left in him and there was only one outlet in sight.
A hard shiver traveled along Buffy’s spine as Angel’s dark gaze traveled over her body. She stared back at him with a growing realization that she had never seen him quite so close to his demonic side without him actually being Angelus. Her Slayer senses were reeling, but not in protest.
Barefoot, with his pants rolled up to his calves, sand in his hair and that look in his eye, Buffy felt like she was melting into a puddle. Just looking at him made her want him. Angel had no right to look so sexy when they were miles away from civilization. Miles away from the privacy of his bedroom.
Whatever he read in her eyes, Angel walked over, took the driftwood from her hands and flung it toward the ocean. “The demon pissed me off.”
“Yeah,” Buffy agreed as she recognized that growing feeling deep within her. Though the fight was short, she was still experiencing that adrenalin buzz. “It ruined our date.”
“And my jacket.”
Buffy pouted at that add-on. What bothered him more? The date or the jacket? It didn’t really matter. All she needed was to walk off this adrenalin. They were so far from home. Too far. Much too far to think of the things she wanted to do to Angel. “We could still finish our stroll. Just forget about the demon corpse.”
“I think we’re finished here,” Angel decided as he sensed her body’s reaction.
“No,” Buffy protested. She didn’t want the night to be over. “This is the first time we’ve been alone in forever.”
“We weren’t alone,” Angel nodded in the direction of their dead attacker.
Angel needed to get out of this place. It was happening again. The same damn thing that always happened after a fight. Even thought Buffy had barely gotten warmed up during the melee, she was looking at him like he was on the menu for her next meal. Right now he wasn’t in the mood to say no. All the way here, thoughts of Cordelia had kept him on edge and then the demon attack simply added to his emotional muddle.
He didn’t know if Buffy was reacting to him or he was reacting to the Slayer’s post-demon brawl adrenalin rush. Buffy’s skin practically glowed with energy, her eyes luminescent in the moonlight and the sheen of her blond hair all reflected her inner emotional state which currently could be labeled as…horny.
“Let’s go. If I step on the gas, we can be back at the mansion in thirty minutes,” he told her and was already turning to head back down the beach to the spot they had stashed their shoes.
Back to the mansion? It was her own fault, Buffy realized. Knowing that she had been rather verbal against doing things in public locations, she felt a little guilty about the thoughts that filled her head. Maybe it was that they had talked about Cordelia and Angelus so much that she was spurred on by it, but suddenly the idea no longer seemed quite so bad.
“Angel, wait up,” Buffy had to jog to catch up with the swiftly moving vampire. “We don’t have to leave. We can stay here.”
Stopping, Angel whirled around to face her. “I’m not talking about a stroll in the garden, Buffy. I’m not in any mood to try to make love to you right now. If we stay here, you’re going to get fucked.”
Buffy jerked back at the way he said it. Crude and blatently honest. No hiding what he wanted. Those eyes of his revealing everything dark and sinful inside him.
Breathing hard, Buffy felt the ache in her loins and knew that in this moment Angel was the only one who could sate it. Her body quivered in anticipation of his touch. Of watching his face as she rose up over him and sank down onto his hard shaft. To feel him inside her as she restrained his arms against the sand.
Boutique bondage? Buffy figured she could do better than that.
Already moving again, Angel didn’t expect the move that dropped him to the sand. The Slayer was on top of him with her supernaturally strong thighs pinning him down to the ground. “Not so fast, vampire. I said I didn’t want to leave.”
Reaching up, Angel gripped onto her hair, forcing Buffy’s head down close. Slanting his mouth across hers, Angel kissed her hard bruising her lips with the intensity of the contact. He held her there with the force of his strength, kissing her until she had no air left to breathe, and then releasing her suddenly.
As Buffy took in a deep gasp, he issued a final warning for he was far too close to the point of no return. Already, Angel could tell he was about to give Buffy something she had never experienced before and heaven help her if she tried to stop him once he passed that point.
“You call me vampire?” Angel asked. She never used that term around him. Not to his face. Buffy always preferred to pretend he was human. “You realize that’s what you’re going to get tonight. All of me.”
Panting down at him, pure lust shone in her eyes. If there was a part of her that was scared by the idea, Buffy couldn’t feel it. Her Slayer senses were overwhelming the rest of her, overtaking her other emotions and leaving pure instinct behind. All she knew was that she wanted the creature lying beneath her. Wanted his hardness within her. Needed to control what was hers to control and take what he had to give her.
Buffy’s only response was to rip open Angel’s shirt baring his chest to her view. He growled at her, sitting up to whip her knit top over her head leaving her pointed breasts covered with the thin lace bra. This, he simply ripped away.
Cupping her perky breasts in his hands, Angel nipped and sucked at them until Buffy was writhing her body against him. Her hips shifted firmly against the rigid length in his pants. Reaching between them, she started to unbuckle his belt only to pause at his heated stare.
“Interesting change of heart,” he commented while roughly setting her on the sand beside him, shifting over so that he loomed over her. “So dissenting about the fact that Cordy and Angelus make love when and where they want, but here you are demanding sex on a beach with a view from the highway.”
“Shut up,” Buffy didn’t want to talk about it. She was still working at his belt despite the new position and let out a triumphant sound as it opened allowing her to reach for the button and zipper enclosing him with her eager hand.
Angel let her grasp him, felt her hand moving along his hard length. Thrusting into her tight grip, he asked knowingly, “Is that what you want?”
“Yes,” she panted.
Extracting himself from her grasp, Angel stood up, removing his pants and boxers in one swift move. Standing over Buffy and watching as she wriggled out of her own pants against the moonlit sand. “Tell me what you want. Be honest for once.”
She looked at him confused by his request. “You. Want you.”
“This is what you want, isn’t it?” Angel shifted into his vampiric form causing Buffy to gasp as she saw the changes that took place over the course of his body. The Slayer in her reacted instinctively, launching herself from the ground and lunging at Angel’s body with a strength that knocked him down.
They struggled on the sands, rolling over each other as they fought for supremacy. The sand scraped into the burns on his back, but the pain only drove Angel on. Their primal dance continued until he grasped her ankles and pulled her legs open so that his hungry gaze settled on her wet folds.
For the moment, Buffy didn’t care that she was on her back, only that he was about to penetrate her and fill her up. Reaching between them, she ran her fingers along her sensitive flesh opening and readying herself for the intrusion of his sex. As Angel pressed the broad tip against her, Buffy let out a cry. He seemed bigger than usual and even ribbed in ways that he was not in his human form.
Angel ignored the startled sound. Holding onto her slim hips, he pushed forward in a slow, steady fashion moving against the inner power of the Slayer’s vaginal walls. Wet and slick, she took him to the hilt stretching around him like a too tight glove. Normally, he gave her a minute to get used to the sensation. Not now. He pulled back and thrust forward again with a powerful move of his hips.
That was exactly what Buffy seemed to want. The harder he thrust, the more she moaned in his ear and the faster her hips came up to meet him. Locked together, they moved in that primal rhythm giving and taking. Buffy clawed at his shoulders urging Angel on as she stared into his demonic face.
Then Buffy started whimpering as if something was wrong. Muttering, “Not right, not right.”
Angel didn’t have a clue and truly didn’t care. He wasn’t going to prolong this despite the fact that if he really wanted to he could fuck the Slayer all night. No, he just needed to get off and as soon as Buffy had her first orgasm he was going to let it go.
Then Buffy twisted her body with a move that left her back on top and the look that came over her face as she did so suggested to Angel that their position was exactly what had not been right for her. Swift anger washed over him as he watched her ride his thick erection. Her face was raised to the moon, eyes closed in ecstasy as her hands stimulated her breasts.
She was a beautiful creature, came the thought just before Angel’s anger overtook any trace of tender emotion. Using his abdominal muscles to raise his body up, Angel grasped Buffy’s head yanking her hair aside. Buffy knew one moment of panic before she felt Angel’s fangs rip into her throat.
The blood, hot and vital, squirted into Angel’s mouth and he started to suck it down. Buffy screamed in his ear, tugging at his hair to pull him off of her, but he held tight for the first few seconds tasting blood that was more powerful that any he had ever consumed. Then he was coming inside her, the rush of his body catching up with the heady sensation of having his fangs in her flesh. Thrusting his spurting cock deep into her womb, one arm wrapped around her waist to hold her there.
Just as suddenly as he had bitten her, Angel thrust Buffy off of him, tossing her across the sand so that she lay out of his reach. Blood stained his mouth and his tongue swept across his lips to lap up every precious drop before his senses came back to him.
“A-Angel?” As she sounded out his name, Buffy held a hand to her bleeding neck.
There was fear and frustration in her eyes as Angel prowled across the sand to her side. Dropping to his knees next to her, the vampire stared in horror at what he had done. Where was the love and gentility he wanted to exist between them? How long had it been gone? He had told Cordelia that he never wanted to bite Buffy during sex, not for the pleasure it gave.
This gaping wound on her throat had nothing to do with love or claiming her, Angel realized. What it really meant frightened him in a way nothing had in a very long time. “I need to seal that wound, Buffy, before you bleed to death.”
There was blood staining her hand and dripping down her forearm, Buffy realized as she tried to press harder. “Angel is that really you?”
A dark laugh sounded from his throat. Was she dizzy from blood loss or just doubting that he could lose himself to his vampire instincts? “My soul is bound, Buffy. Angelus and I were separated, but I’m still a vampire. I’ll always be a vampire.”
Buffy flinched as Angel drew close to staunch the bleeding. Sealing the wound meant that he put his mouth on her again. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she recalled Giles saying something about vampire saliva containing properties that could either enhance bleeding or the coagulation of blood. After ministering to her throat for several minutes and apparently sucking up the last traces of blood on the skin of her neck, Angel sat back on his heels.
“Can you stand?”
She nodded, “Yes. I-I didn’t expect you to bite me.”
“I didn’t even let you come,” Angel realized with a harsh laugh.
Rising to his feet, the vampire walked closer to the water’s edge feeling the cool waves wash over his feet. He stared out toward the dark horizon, looking at the way the moonlight brightened the waters. Buffy walked up beside him, bending down to rinse off the blood from her hand and arm.
She was about to ask him if she’d done something wrong when Angel issued orders without even looking in her direction. “Get dressed Buffy. Go to the car.”
It was some time before Angel finally followed her there. The look on his face told her that silence would be safer. He obviously didn’t want to talk about biting her and Buffy wasn’t certain that she did, either. Maybe it was better to forget about it. After all, she’d kind of egged him on tonight. Jealousy over Cordelia’s passionate nature with Angelus led her to give Angel what she thought he wanted. Then there was the fact that she couldn’t seem to stop herself.
Buffy couldn’t read him. She cast furtive glances in Angel’s direction all the way back to Sunnydale, but his poker face was firmly in place. Only his tight grip on the wheel suggested that anything was bothering him. One thing was certain. Buffy knew that she would never look at Angel again without acknowledging to herself that he was a vampire.
The Plymouth pulled up in front of Buffy’s house on Revello Drive after a short thirty minute return trip. Buffy wasn’t certain what to say to Angel, except that she knew things were different between them.
“Will I see you at the Bronze tomorrow night?” Buffy and Cordelia had been planning the get-together for a week.
Angel turned his dark gaze toward her thinking that was a strange first question for her to ask after everything that happened tonight. Where was her rage? Where were the accusations? He certainly deserved both. Tonight had veered so far from what was right that neither one of them could find anything to say.
“The Bronze?” That harsh laugh sounded again. “I’ll be there. Cordy would have my ass if I didn’t show.”
With a brief nod, Buffy said goodnight and watched him drive away. She lifted a trembling hand toward the wounds on her throat realizing they would still be visible tomorrow. “Tell me,” she whispered to the vanishing taillights of the Plymouth as it rounded the corner, “what will Cordelia think of that?”