41: Morning Kisses

Double or Nothing

Chapter 41: Morning Kisses

Giles stood behind the counter in the library attempting to get a little work done despite the sudden appearance of his visitor. He’d had to glance at his watch to confirm the time was actually just after two in the afternoon. Whatever was bothering the vampire, it did not seem to concern him that he was strolling about during the day. Not that the sun had stopped his previous incarnations from getting into trouble, the Watcher considered the fact.

“Are you going to get to the point of your visit or are you simply demonstrating the latest pacing technique?” Giles asked him as Angel followed an invisible trail back and forth in front of the desk.

“I’m upset,” growled Angel with an economy of words. Stopping short in front of the Watcher, he put his hands on the countertop gripping the edge as if it might come off if he put any more effort into it.

“No need to take it out on school property,” Giles raised an eyebrow and nodded in the direction of his hands.

Angel shoved his hands in his pants pockets.

“Should I guess why you’re here in the middle of the day or are you planning to tell me?”

Sarcasm…Angel hated it when the Watcher used that tone with him. There was no use in arguing about it. That was the problem. He’d had arguments up to his eyeballs lately and it was starting to get to him. Through clenched white teeth, Angel revealed his problem, “Cordelia.”

“Ah.” No surprise there. Giles fought off the urge to roll his eyes in true Cordelia fashion. The vampire would think Cordelia was his most immediate problem, but Giles had another opinion. “You lack focus.”

Questioning Giles’ meaning, Angel’s eyes closed into narrow slits of suspicion. “What the hell is that supposed to mean, Rup?”

Ignoring the hated nickname, Giles set aside his task of stamping return dates on library books and gave Angel his full attention. “As the Moirae’s new champion, you lack a certain focus on your work. Frankly, Xander has more discipline than you have shown the past two weeks. All of your attention is elsewhere.”

“On Cordelia,” nodded Angel without apologizing for the fact. As far as he was concerned, that was where his focus should be.

“Yes,” Giles agreed that Cordelia was a major distraction. The brunette was obviously still mourning the loss of her mate while Angel’s frustration with the matter grew by leaps and bounds. All Giles could do was counsel the vampire to be patient and to try to focus on fighting the forces of darkness here in Sunnydale.

Noting the tight clenching of the muscles of Angel’s jaw, Giles opted for the easier topic of conversation. “Buffy reported your activities during patrol last night.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Angel inquired with an irritable look on his face. He was not here to discuss Buffy Summers or the routine patrol through Restfield Cemetery.

“Obviously, I am referring to your lack of initiative in stopping those two vampires last night,” Giles looked flummoxed at the idea.

Two vampires? Angel thought back to the previous night. Patrol had been boring— very. The appearance of two young vampires strolling along the sidewalk hand in hand was a bit of a distraction. Buffy had started after them only to have Angel stop her.

“They were just scrawny kids,” Angel commented with a dismissive shrug. “Hardly worth the effort.”

Giles glared harshly. “Those kids made their way to the Bronze. If Buffy had not trailed after them, they might have been successful in killing someone. She informed me that you decided patrol was boring and went back to the mansion to be with Cordelia.”

Making no apologies for prioritizing his time the way he saw fit, Angel reminded Giles, “Cordelia is the reason I’m here. If you want me to focus on killing demons and helping Buffy protect the Hellmouth then I suggest you help me.”

With a deep sigh, the Watcher realized he wasn’t getting out of this one. He had tried his best to stay out of Angel and Cordelia’s personal business. Unfortunately, it now seemed to be interfering with Angel’s duties. That worried Giles more than he wanted to admit to himself. Everyday in the back of his mind, he reviewed what the Moirae revealed about their champion.

What plagued him the most was the fact that Angel could easily slide from fighting the Good Fight to following a darker path bound to the evil side of his nature. Somehow, the Moirae had made Cordelia a key to Angel successfully navigating one path versus the other. Each passing day added further doubts in Giles’ mind that Angel was currently on the path he needed to be for it seemed that the longer Cordelia rejected his suit the more disinterested Angel became with taking up the mantle of a champion of justice.

“How may I help you, Angel?”

“Call Cordelia out of class. Bring her here. I want to talk to her,” Angel certainly looked determined to do so.


“Because I want to see her,” Angel answered as he started up with the pacing again. “I was asleep when she left for school this morning. There are— issues I need to talk to her about.”

Giles hesitated to ask. “Issues?”

“Yes, dammit,” Angel certainly wasn’t going into all of the details with the Watcher. “Issues. The primary one being that the Ice Queen turns into a raging harpy whenever we’re together.”

“And yet I’m supposed to pull her out of class so she can do so right here in my library?” Giles seriously doubted that was a good idea, adding, “Surely harpy is a rather harsh description.”

Angel paused and turned to him with a meaningful stare. “You obviously haven’t had to live with her for the past couple of weeks.”

To be perfectly honest, Giles had witnessed some of the behavior that Angel referred to and had to agree that Cordelia was less than pleasant. When that cool veneer cracked, it did so with a vengeance. He tried to find something positive to tell the vampire.

“Cordelia is trying to help you acclimate yourself,” Giles commented. “She brought you here and introduced you to everyone.”

Reminding him, Angel countered with, “You called the Scooby meeting and made the introductions.”

“Oh, well, perhaps so,” Giles admitted reluctantly, “but she stayed with you instead of leaving. Cordelia certainly could have done that as there is nothing officially tying her to the mansion except for her place within the Order of Aurelius.”

The low rumble in Angel’s chest suggested that was probably not the best thing to remind the vampire about. “You think she’s getting used to me? Accepting me?”

Giles could almost hear the implied pfft accompanying his expression.

“One afternoon— it was that second day— I went down to the kitchen to warm some blood,” Angel explained. “I was hungry. Cordelia arrived home from school and saw that I was using Angelus’ coffee mug.”

“His mug?”

“She went wild,” Angel’s face showed a flash of the horror he felt. “Screamed at me like a banshee and stormed out of the house.”

“Perhaps it’s only natural for her to be protective of the things that belonged to her mate, especially something so familiar.” Giles felt his heart go out to Cordelia. “Obviously, she returned. Probably just needed some time to cool down and consider how unimportant it was in the larger scheme of things.”

Angel leaned up against the counter. “Cordelia went shopping. For three hours. She came back with every basic necessity known to man and vampire including several mismatched mugs and seven pairs of pajamas.”

“Perhaps Cordy was trying to make up for yelling at you,” came the innocent suggestion, “by buying you presents.”

“I don’t wear pajamas,” deadpanned Angel.


This was exactly why Giles didn’t want to put his nose into their personal business. All topics no matter how remote and unrelated, such as a simple mug, always seemed to lead straight back to the bedroom. In a moment they’d be discussing Angel’s preference for not wearing pajamas to bed and the fact that Cordelia was uncomfortable with that situation hence that addition to the shopping spree.

“We negotiated,” Angel admitted the fact to the Watcher.

“So she let you keep Angelus’ mug?” Giles thought that was a bit of progress.

The vampire shook his head. “No. She took both of them, including my favorite— the one she gave me when mine broke.”


Irritated that he had to make a differentiation between himself and Angel, he clarified, “Angel’s special mug. Cordelia took both of them and threw them in the trash.”

Giles mulled over the outcome. “So Cordelia would rather have you naked than drink from Angel or Angelus’ mugs?”

“I hadn’t thought of it that way,” Angel suddenly smirked at the idea. Maybe he’d won that argument after all, especially considering the fact that during the night Cordelia had curled her luscious body around his sharing her warmth as she snuggled against him in her sleep.

Not that awakening with their limbs entwined and his morning erection pressed between them had provided such peaceful contentment. Cordelia’s clock radio was signaling time for her to get up and get ready for school. With a mumbled complaint, Cordelia was still caught between sleep and wakefulness as she snuggled even closer to the vampire in her arms.

Her lips opened up under his as Angel kissed her awake. It was then that the Ice Queen returned staring up at him from their lip-locked position with that patented glare. Angel chose to ignore the look, merely telling her good morning and placing another brief kiss on her soft lips before letting her systematically detach herself from his arms.

“Have you made any effort to—uh, break the ice so to speak?” asked Giles. “Cordelia is not likely to pick things up where she left off with Angelus no matter how much you’d like that to happen.”

“It could if Cor would just see the truth and accept it,” Angel dragged his thoughts out of their bed and back to the present.

Giles sighed. “This isn’t as simple or easy to understand from her point of view. What have you done to make this transition easier?”

“What have I done?” Angel couldn’t believe that he was the one expected to make things easier. After a moment of staring at the Watcher in silent irritation, he confessed, “I’ve tried every damn thing I can think of to give her all of the space and patience I can allow. My patience is wearing a little thin at the moment.”

“Well, I know that Cordelia was concerned about your continued…attentions,” Giles was trying to phrase it delicately. The sexual tension between the pair was only escalating to the point that it was noticeable whenever they were together. He had to admire Angel’s self-restraint considering his vampiric nature and admitted to some surprise that he had not forced the issue long before now.

Angel let out a dark laugh at the Englishman’s stammering over that particular topic. “If Cordelia was around more, I might have more opportunity to attend to her. She’s been avoiding me like the plague. Uses every excuse she can think of to stay away from me and only comes back home once the sun has set.”

No wonder the vampire was aggravated, thought Giles sympathetically. It was one thing for Cordelia to avoid intimacy, but she didn’t need to avoid all contact with the Moirae’s champion. Socially isolating him could actually create the situations that pushed Angel toward his darker tendencies.

“So she’s yours from dusk until dawn,” Giles murmured.

“Don’t make it sound like a bloody Tarantino movie,” Angel growled at him despite the fact that Angelus had adored that particular horror film. It was not something comparable to his relationship with his mate. Not that she was his mate at the moment— that was the problem. “Cordelia is back at the mansion after dark, but as for being mine…pfft! Don’t get me started.”

“Go home, Angel,” Giles encouraged. “Cordelia is in class and we shouldn’t interrupt her for something that is likely to turn into brouhaha. Focus on what you’ll do tonight. Why don’t you try to be helpful? Offer to assist with her homework.”

The vampire only laughed as if the idea itself was akin to evil itself. “Help Cordelia with her homework? You think I haven’t tried that one during the last two weeks? Let’s just say she refused my help.”

“What was the subject? Perhaps it was something she thought you might not understand.” Giles figured there were few subjects on Cordelia Chase’s schedule of which the vampire was not knowledgeable, but it was best to leave that possibility open.

“World history,” Angel returned smoothly, his eyes black with inner rage at the memory of his own interest in helping her followed by Cordelia’s quick retort. What did she care if the subject was Europe in the 1800s? Did it matter if he was there when his perspective was that of a vampire?

Angel reminded her that the perspective in question was that of Angelus. Did she want to know that? Upon revealing this to Giles, he saw the Watcher flinch in reaction echoing Cordelia’s initial response. “I shouldn’t have mentioned Angelus.”

“No,” agreed Giles quickly. “Perhaps you should refrain from mentioning Angelus until Cordelia comes to terms with the idea that you have his memories.”

“They’re my memories, Rupert. All of them. Mine. I’m tired of pussyfooting around allowing Cordelia to pretend that I’m a total stranger.”

Oh, dear. Giles figured the vampire’s sudden appearance in the middle of the school day did not bode well for maintaining the peace. “If offering your help has been taken the wrong way, perhaps you are making too much of an effort to please her. Women can be a bit contrary that way.”

“I know women, Rup,” Angel forestalled his advice bringing his hand down hard on the counter. “That’s why I’m here. So I suggest you call Cordelia out of class before I start looking for her.”

“T-That’s not a very good idea, Angel,” Giles rushed to convince him. “Nothing can be done to change Cordelia’s mind about your relationship that wouldn’t better be done at home. In private surroundings.”

Angel’s mouth twisted into a smirk. “What did you think I was planning? Seduction in the hallway? Sex in the bookstands? Borrowing Snyder’s desk— or yours?”

“Lord, I hope not.” Giles had the decency to blush when he realized the vampire was only joking. “You should try to focus on the future. On the simple everyday things. She can’t find fault with that.”

“What about last Tuesday?” Angel asked him referring to their research session right here in the library.

“Good point,” Giles muttered suddenly feeling that the vampire wasn’t being given much of a change to make good.

Cordelia and Angel were researching the latest threat when it so happened that they both needed to browse through the Navlix Compendium of Demonology at the same time. The ensuing stare-off quickly resulted in a battle of verbal ping-pong. At its conclusion, Angel and Cordelia were separated by the table and gazing hotly into each other’s eyes, while the Compendium lay in two parts between them.

“Fortunately that was only a copy and not the original,” Giles gritted his teeth and tried not to show his anger over the incident. “Can’t you just let Cordelia have her way for a while? Be the mature one. Treat her with kindness.”

What the hell did Rupert Giles think he was doing if not giving Cordelia her way? “Yesterday, for example,” Angel pointed out to him, “I brought her breakfast in bed.”

“That’s nice,” Giles smiled at the vampire’s decision. “Good thinking.”

Angel leaned across the space of the counter. “She threw it at me.”

His smile faded as Giles gaped in return. “Threw it at you?”

“Cordy actually accused me of trying to win her affections with my cooking, said she was not hungry and threw the pancakes at me,” Angel’s eyes narrowed at the memory.

“You didn’t do anything else to set her off? It just seems a bit much even for her.”

“I kissed her good morning like I always do,” Angel shrugged. “Hardly enough to merit having her breakfast thrown in my face.”

Angel had shoved the breakfast tray onto the end of the bed as he climbed in next to her. His fury was enough to send Cordelia diving for an escape route on the opposite side of the bed, but he caught her half way there tossing her onto her back and towering above her as his knees dug into the mattress.

“What the hell are you playing at?” Angel recalled demanding an explanation.

“Get away from me. Stop trying to make me feel something that I don’t,” she spat the words at him. Breathing fast, her lush breasts heaved against the cotton tank top she wore that night, one half of her touch-me-not pajamas that provoked quite the opposite feelings and reactions from the vampire as the clinging cotton drifted up to bare her taut midriff.

“Your heart is racing, sweetheart,” Angel told her. “It’s not in fear. Shall I guess at what you’re feeling or will you tell me?”


“What else?” The vampire wasn’t going to deny her anger. It was there beneath the surface of that Ice Queen exterior, the face she put on for him each day and presented to the world as Queen C. He knew better. Knew what lay under that icy expression. Angel knew the fire that existed inside her and would rather have it than nothing at all.

Cordelia glared hotly, her skin flushed and her pulse racing in her ears. “That’s all there is.

He watched her shiver under the weight of his stare, heard her pulse quicken, and sensed her arousal despite the vehement denial on her lips. “Stop lying to yourself, Cordy. I’m not buying it. Neither should you.”

“There’s nothing else,” Cordelia sucked in a deep breath at the utter calm that came over the vampire above her. Like the eye of a dangerous hurricane providing a false sense of security, Angel made no move as Cordelia inched further away.

“Going somewhere?” Angel raised an eyebrow and contemplated all the things he wanted to do to Cordelia Chase before allowing her to leave his bed.

Not about to be intimidated, Cordelia narrowed her gaze into slits of fury. “School.”

“I think I deserve an apology before you go anywhere,” Angel told her as he barely contained the urge to paddle her bare ass until his hand was as hot and red as the flesh beneath it. He vaguely recalled suggesting the idea to her as an alternative.

“Never!” Cordelia spontaneously grabbed for the nearest weapon within reach.

Angel stared down at the bottle of Mrs. Butterworth syrup pointed in his direction. “You wouldn’t dare—”


The sticky syrup dripped from Angel’s jaw down to his bare chest exposed beneath his gaping robe. Fascinated horror flashed in Cordelia’s gaze as it followed the trail of syrup slowly making its way down toward the dip of Angel’s navel. The vampire was too busy watching her subconsciously lick at her lips to care.

In the next moment he stormed her mouth with a kiss of such intensity that Cordelia only shuddered beneath him in response. Pulling up slightly, Angel met her gaze noting with satisfaction that lustful surprise had replaced the look of horror at what she had done. A smear of syrup now covered her chin; Angel lapped it up with a sweep of his cool tongue.

Then her hands were on his shoulders, the nails curling into his skin, but only to pull him closer. Angel let out a deep rumble at the sensation wanting more. Sliding his hand beneath her back, Angel pulled her up long enough to whip her cotton tank top over her head. Without giving her a chance to protest, he returned his mouth to hers meeting her suddenly hungry lips kiss for kiss.

Her breasts pressed firm and hot into his chest, the deep cleavage marked with the dark sticky syrup that had tasted so sweet on her skin. As Angel’s mouth left Cordelia’s, she let out a soft moan of protest soon followed by altering gasps and sighs as he worked his way down her throat to her rose-tipped breasts. Those hard little nipples begged for his mouth.

Cordelia rolled her head back on the mattress as Angel’s hands curled around her bare flesh. Those long skillful fingers playing their soft strokes across sensitive territory teasing and stoking her arousal to a fever pitch. Angel reveled in her response as he curled his tongue along the traces of syrup, whispered softly across the beauty of her lush curves and closed his mouth over one pebbled nipple teasing it with his teeth and tongue.

The boxers he had put on before going downstairs were tented with the hard proof of his arousal. It made itself known to the woman in Angel’s arms eagerly calling her attention to itself by pressing into her thighs. Before he could acknowledge the move, Angel felt Cordelia’s legs wrap around him as his erection was cradled against her through the thin layers of their clothes.

The connection even through that barrier served as a wake up call for Cordelia who gave a shriek and suddenly started to protest what was happening. “Angel! Get off of me. Now.”

Slowly, Angel lifted up to meet her panicked gaze. The fear was certainly showing now, but it wasn’t directed at him. Cordelia was scared of her own reaction. “You want me, baby. There’s no need to be afraid of it. Not of me. Not of this.”

Then he kissed her again, softly slanting his mouth across hers. Sliding his lips open and taking her bottom lip between his encouraging her to open up to him. Then his name formed on her lips and Cordelia spoke to him between kisses, “Angel.”

Her hands left his shoulders and her legs tightened around him as he rocked his hips into hers moaning at the sensation of his hard cock as it pressed closer to her heated core.

“Angel,” Curling her fingers into his hair Cordelia alternately kissed and issued her protest at the same time, “I— kiss—want you—kiss—to stop.” Then she was kissing the hell out of him tangling her tongue with his as her fingernails dug into the back of his head.

Cordelia was hot and wet with arousal. Her hazel eyes glittered with it despite her voicing a demand to stop. Somehow, through his own haze of lust, Angel understood the meaning of her words if not the reason for them. “Let me make love to you.” The deep timbre of his voice dripped with sensual vibes as thick as the syrup clinging to their skin.

Then Angel recalled saying something that must have scared her. “I want to be inside you, baby. My cock stroking into you. Deep inside. My fangs— the way you lick them. I want to taste you, sink into that warm tender flesh. Make you mine.”

Caught up in his fantasy, Angel didn’t see the look of fear flash across her face until it was too late. He bent down to claim her lips again only to feel Cordelia’s teeth latch onto his lower lip with a hard chomp. The pain combined with his lust to cause a reaction that only made things worse. His human visage vanished behind the face and form of his demon as the vampire appeared gazing lustfully upon his once and future mate.

“Oh dear God,” Giles gasped in horror wondering what Angel had done to Cordelia in return.

Angel realized suddenly, that he had been talking to Giles all along. The red flush across the Watcher’s cheeks suggested he had not been sparing of the details. “She bit me. Do you have any idea how difficult it was not to bite back?”

Relief poured from every nerve as Giles reacted to the news that Cordelia somehow managed to avoid the vampire’s bite. Considering the passion between the two, Giles doubted that she also escaped consummation of their relationship. It was something he saw as inevitable. The only question was whether Cordelia was going to be a willing participant or if the vampire would claim her without her permission. Her actions to steer his own. Her decisions to guide him onto a path of Good or Evil. Naturally, that had more to it than sex, he presumed, but certainly that was part of it.

Trying to subdue his red-faced embarrassment, Giles inquired, “Did anything else happen?”

Angel gave him a wry look. “I let her go. Cordelia climbed out of bed and ran into the bathroom to get ready for school.”

“You let her go?” Giles was still stuck on that piece of information. Either the vampire had extraordinary control or he loved the girl beyond anything a vampire could ever experience. Stopping when he did must have taken an extreme act of will.

Now the vampire stood before him with gold rimming his dark brown eyes. “I won’t let it happen again, Rup.”

The words came out as a vow, but the Watcher remained confused. What wouldn’t Angel let happen again? “The food fight or Cordelia biting you?”

“Letting her go,” Angel clarified starkly.

“And this happened yesterday?”

Nodding his confirmation, Angel’s thought were already roving ahead to meeting up with Cordelia.

“What happened between then and now?” Giles’ curiosity overruled his own sense of minding his own business. He was so deep into their personal affairs that it no longer mattered whether that was appropriate or even sensible.

“The Ice Queen returned after her away game,” Angel reminded Giles that the Razorbacks were playing the Palmdale Fighting Falcons for the last time that season. “The game ran into overtime so the bus was late in returning everyone to Sunnydale. Cordelia stayed late with the other cheerleaders.”

Giles didn’t really follow the football schedule. “I suppose she was tired coming home after such an exciting game.”

“There’s no need to make excuses for her,” Angel suppressed a growl of discontent. “She’s determined to hold me at arms length. This morning, I thought I’d try that one for myself.”

Seemed like a strange theory. How would holding Cordelia at arms length benefit Angel? Whatever happened this morning must have continued to bother the vampire, bringing him here this afternoon just to talk to Cordelia. His further inquiry brought only a mute stare from the vampire who eventually commented, “I think you’re stalling. Bring Cordy here or tell me where to find her.”

Angel’s patience appeared to be at an end. While Giles had to admit that this was not his business and that the vampire had dragged him into it, he could not do as Angel wanted without offering up some advice.

“Cordelia may be mature for her age, Angel. Certain life experiences have given her a different outlook on life compared to other seventeen year olds, but she is still only a teenager,” Giles gave him a harsh stare. “You have to be the mature one here. She is essentially a young woman dealing with the loss of her beloved mate.”

“Dammit, Rup, she hasn’t lost anything or anyone. I’m here,” Angel shoved a finger at his own chest.

The Watcher knew what he meant, but pointed out, “Cordelia cannot or will not accept that at the moment. No matter that Angelus is part of you or that you possess his form and memories, she knows you are also new to her. Perhaps that is something you also have to accept.”

“I know that, Rupert. Cordelia already knows it, but won’t admit the truth.” He felt the frustration rise up within him. “She can’t accept the change and is hiding behind the pain she’s refusing to let go.”

Giles sighed, removing his glasses only to put them on again immediately afterward as he preferred to keep Angel within sharp focus in front of him. No telling how the vampire might react to this discussion. “Because of the physical separation of Angelus and Angel, Cordelia came to know and love you as two unique beings.”

He paused, waiting for Angel to assimilate that information and accept it as fact. Those dark eyes stared back and silence fell between them. Giles continued when he was certain Angel was listening. “That did not happen overnight, Angel. It has only been two weeks. As Angelus, you brought Cordelia into a very complex adult relationship. Now you’re dealing with the fallout.”

Angel growled deep within his chest causing the hairs to raise on the back of Giles’ neck. He told the Watcher, “I didn’t come here for the I-told-you-so lecture.”

“I can’t stop you from doing what you want,” Giles told him. “Just remember that there are consequences. The Moirae have set you on a course with a divided path. Make certain you choose the right one, Angel.”

“Save the threats, Rup,” Angel responded as he met the Watcher’s sharp gaze. “Where is Cordelia?”

After a moment of contemplation, Giles decided to reveal Cordelia’s classroom location. It would only cause problems to deny the vampire the information easily picturing Angel traveling from room to room in search of the cheerleader. Snyder would be upon them in a matter of minutes.

“This is the fifth period,” Giles commented as he glanced at his watch. “Cordelia will be in her Literature class. Room 207. They’re studying—”

King Lear,” Angel finished off as he swept out of the library with his leather coat billowing behind him.

The fact that Rupert Giles had Cordelia’s class schedule memorized did not really come as a surprise. Angel imagined the Watcher had pulled them out of class for Slayer-related projects on a number of occasions.

Avoiding the patches of direct sunlight pouring into the main hall, Angel headed up to the second floor in search of Room 207. This morning had been far worse than yesterday, he thought as he bounded up the stairs in the deserted hall. Yesterday, he had touched and tasted and all but taken what was his. Today had been about denying Cordelia something she didn’t even know she craved, thought her reaction to those syrupy kisses might have acted as a clue.

Inside Room 207, Cordelia was lost in thought again, her mind far from Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear. All day long, she had been thinking about Angel. About the way she had kissed him yesterday morning and her body’s passionate reaction to his touch. He had been so determined to have her, yet he let her go.

Cordelia thought about what he might have done while she was locked in the bathroom to get all that aggressive sexual tension under control. Had he touched himself? Wrapped a hand around that hard tower of flesh and brought himself to a climax she had denied him? Or had he employed that iron will and simply forced himself to ignore his body’s needs?

He wasn’t even in the room when Cordelia had emerged from her shower to get ready for school. Relieved, she figured he had gone down to Angel’s old room to use the other shower. That had only cause thoughts of licking up that sticky syrup from his chest and dipping her tongue into the well of his navel and slurping up what had gathered there.

Was it any wonder that she’d been distracted at the game that night? Daydreaming about hot, sticky sex with a vampire she still thought of as a stranger— mostly. She’d been so angry at herself for thinking those things. So mad that she practically ignored Angel upon her return to the mansion.

Claiming to be tired, she had showered and dressed in a pair of her comfy cotton pajamas before climbing into bed. What surprised Cordelia the most was that she actually went to sleep not long after turning out the light. She had no clue when Angel came to bed, but found herself back in that familiar entwined position the next morning when her radio alarm musically signaled that it was time to get out of bed.

As always, Cordelia had continued to snooze lightly as the music played, her eyes closed and waiting for the vampire in her arms to stir. Angel always awakened her with kisses. It was an annoying habit considering that she didn’t want him touching her. Very annoying.

Only this morning, the vampire stayed asleep. He didn’t budge when the alarm went off and it was some time before Cordelia realized he wasn’t going to move. There was not going to be a wake up kiss this morning. Opening her eyes just enough to peek at him, she saw nothing on his handsome face to suggest he was not in a deep dreamless sleep. Hard to tell with vampires considering the not needing to breathe.

Slowly untangling herself from Angel’s arms, Cordelia slipped her leg out from between his pausing when she thought he was about to wake up. The vampire only shifted onto his back, the sheet falling down to his hips as his hand slipped down his taut belly.

Seeing him like this with his eyes closed made it so easy to imagine that it was Angelus at her side. That gorgeous face and hard male body within kissing distance. Only, Cordy knew that it was not her mate, nor was it Angel despite the fact that she called him by that name.

If I know it, why do I want his touch? His morning kisses? Cordelia lay upon her side watching Angel as he slept. Tempted, she was so tempted to lean over and press her mouth to his just for an instant. Just to claim the kiss she was now used to getting from him every day.

A flash of anger burst within her chest as Cordelia realized what she was thinking. What she nearly did of her own free will. Slipping out of bed with a speed that nearly caused her to lose her balance, she darted into the bathroom to get ready for school.

Irritated at herself, Cordelia had mumbled under her breath through getting dressed and putting on her makeup. The vampire continued to sleep through it all despite the fact that near the end she had purposefully started to make enough noise to wake the dead. Finally, it was time for her to go downstairs. She had fiddled around so long that there was no longer any time to stop for breakfast and she would have to hightail it to school in order to make the first bell.

Grabbing her purse, Cordelia slung it over her shoulder and trudged toward the door. She paused on the threshold, glancing over her shoulder at her still sleeping bedmate. It was back again— that damn temptation. Cordelia walked back to the edge of the bed standing there staring down at Angel and nibbling on her lower lip. All she had to do was lean over and brush her lips against his. No big.

Only Cordelia felt her pulse racing at the thought of initiating a kiss. Even one that he would never know she gave him. Her lips were tingling in anticipation as they hovered close to his.

Then sanity struck hard making Cordelia realize she shouldn’t be thinking of kissing the vampire who was the Moirae’s replacement for Angelus and Angel. Fleeing the bedroom, Cordelia had slammed the front door behind her on her way out of the mansion.

Driving to school like a maniac on wheels had not been fast enough to escape her own sense of betrayal or the realization that she enjoyed Angel’s kisses. The entire day had been a waste of time. She was so out of it that there was no interest in any new gossip much less learning something from her teachers.

Giles had passed the word around the teachers’ lounge that there had been a recent death in Cordelia Chase’s family. They were all cutting her a little slack at the moment, but even Mrs. Petersen, literature and drama teacher, reacted in surprise as the door to her classroom swung open to reveal the tall young man in black. His eyes swept the room to find Cordelia who looked up at him in seeming shock at his presence.

“I need to speak with Cordelia,” Angel informed the teacher. “Family emergency.”

“Oh! Of course,” Mrs. Petersen rushed to comply with the request. “Go ahead, Cordelia. One of the other students will take notes for you.”

Willow raised her hand to volunteer, “I will.”

Hearing the familiar voice, Angel turned his gaze toward the redhead. He nodded in her direction simply acknowledging her presence as he waited for Cordelia to join him in the hall. There was a look of confusion and concern on her face as she emerged from the classroom, shutting the door behind her.

“What is it? My parents—?”

“Baby, no!” Angel rushed to reassure her. “They’re fine. I needed to see you. To get you out of class for a minute or two.”

Cordelia let out a sigh of relief, but quickly brought up her guard. “What is it, Angel?”

“You left today without something that belongs to you,” he told her.

Raising a hand to her throat, Cordelia felt cool metal of her golden choker. It was the only thing she could think of that Angel could be talking about.

Angel noted the direction of her thoughts, but continued by saying, “I wanted you to have it if you still want it.”

The fingers caressing her face curled to allow his thumb to brush along her lower lip hinting at the direction of his conversation. With a slow dawning, Cordelia realized he was referring to her missed morning kiss and then her heart was bounding in response. “You came here to kiss me?”

“That depends on whether you want it.” Angels stood close, but not quite touching as he moved his hand to the wall behind her. God knows he wanted it more than he should. Enough to come after her.

Cordelia knew she should be saying no. How hard could it be? No. No. No. Piece of cake. Easy as pie. Sticky as syrup.

She lifted a hand between them, planning to push at his chest, but found her hand curling into the lapel of his coat instead. Gazing up into those questing eyes, Cordelia whispered, “Good morning, Angel.”

“Sweetheart,” Angel covered her mouth with his kiss as he pulled her close into his arms. Neither one cared that it was no longer morning.


DoN Chapter 40          DoN Home          DoN Chapter 42

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