8: Old Friends, Taboo Toys, and Books
Old Friends, Taboo Toys, and Books
Curled up on the couch wearing her comfy grey cotton pajama shorts, matching loose top over a white tank, and an oversized pair of white socks, Cordelia was speaking to Aura Albright, one of her friends from Sunnydale. It had been a while since they saw each other. Not since Cordelia left for Los Angeles. Aura had remained behind to go to Sunnydale University, but had already dropped out after landing in a snazzy public relations job.
“Thanks for letting me know about the party this weekend,” Cordelia was glad to hear about her friend’s good fortune, but she could not go back to Sunnydale. Not yet. Maybe after her acting career took off and people no longer looked at her like that poor Chase girl whose father thought he was somebody, and had everything, until the IRS took it all away.
“I’m busy. I’m in a play,” she cheered herself up a little by exaggerating the truth. “Well, it’s really a workshop for a play. In my acting class, but we have big plans.”
Cordelia would have told her more, but the town rumor mill had not stopped working since she was gone. One of the Scoobies must have told someone who told someone else who told Aura that Cordelia was working with Buffy Summer’s former boyfriend at a local detective agency. “Oh! Yes, I’m helping Angel out. He’d be so lost without me.”
Listening to Aura recount her memories of the mysterious hottie who provided them with some occasional eye candy at the Bronze, Cordelia’s nerves were on edge. Fiddling with the hairclip that kept her ponytail flipped into place, she so wanted to avoid talking about Angel. The rumor mill worked in reverse, too, and there was no way she was going to share the fact that she was now living with him. Well, next door to him, but still.
“Yes, definitely,” she agreed when Aura asked her if he was still just as hot. That she could be honest about. “Same salty goodness.” Oh, geez. She had forgotten the way the other Cordettes had talked about Angel’s first appearance at the Bronze. Aura’s reminder brought a flash of heat to her cheeks. “What! No, I am not boning my boss.”
There was barely a pause on the other end of the line. “Why not?”
Oh, only a million reasons.
Finally managing to get off the subject of why she was not taking advantage of the opportunity to seduce her former crush without having to admit that her sex life was pretty much non-existent, she was grateful that Aura didn’t notice that she directed the conversation back to the subject of the party. They chatted over the details for another fifteen minutes before winding it down.
“Have a blast at the party!” Cordelia was sincere about it. “Call me with all of the details. Great. Say hi to the girls, oh, and to your brother Reg, of course. Bye!”
Although it was great to hear Aura’s voice, the whole conversation felt a bit bizarre to Cordelia. She wished that she had something exciting to talk about like getting a spot in a new commercial, or having a hot, rich boyfriend with a cool car and gorgeous mansion. Normally, she would have eagerly spilled everything about meeting up with Angel again. They would have giggled together over the naked Angel rescue when she broke Dr Folger’s lamp. It was certain that Aura would want details described inch by impressive inch. While such a talk might not have been out of place between two girls who had shared secrets about their every male fantasy since they discovered boys were more than just irritating pigtail pullers, Cordelia was not ready to share this one.
Thinking about Angel that way was forbidden fruit. Taboo. Maybe that’s why lately she could not seem to stop thinking about him in all of his pale, naked glory, or the way he became aroused when she kept staring. Maybe he could pretend it was nothing, just a natural reaction, something he had experienced thousands of times over the past two centuries, but Cordelia knew he wasn’t completely unmoved by her. They could not or at the very least should not do anything about it, but it gave her a rush to know she could affect him too.
She had also finished looking through the rest of Darla’s trunk last night. Knowing that Angel was aware of its contents made her wonder just what he was planning to say when they got to that last layer hidden beneath the box of letters. Separated from the delicate silks and satins by a cedar divider were a coiled set of chains, manacles both of metal and fur-lined leather, a number of other bondage toys, including a riding crop, and one very detailed antique dildo.
Cosmo was very educational when it came to things like this. Cordelia was not especially shocked that vampires like Darla and Angelus would get off on bondage. She wondered which one got to wield the whip or if they just took turns. Pain was something she never thought about in connection to sex, and the whole S&M idea usually left her cold. That was before she thought about Angel being more than just a eunuch, which made the thought of just about anything exciting even if it was somewhat kinky.
Cordelia slipped her hand into a mink mitten surprised to find that the ultra-soft fur was on the outside while the inside was made of soft, pliable leather. She picked up the dildo examining it with detached curiosity in much the same way she had looked at all of the other toys. Made of a light-colored wood it was polished smooth and covered by clear lacquer making it gleam in the light against the dark mink. This was no teeny-weenie toy and its impressive size and shape looked more familiar than she wanted to admit to herself.
Following along with a very naughty impulse, Cordelia moved the wooden phallus over to her ungloved hand to test its girth and length with her bare fingers. Wide-eyed and holding her breath, she slid her grasp up and down the shaft and finding it all too easy to picture herself doing that to Angel. The idea shocked her. She covered up the smooth phallus with the mitten intending to block it from view only to realize suddenly there was a reason the fur was on the outside.
Creeped out and turned on by the idea of trailing that soft fur across Angel’s most sensitive skin she dropped the sex toy, flung off the mitten, and sounded out a moan as she slammed the trunk shut. A cold shower did not help. She tried turning on some music and dancing, but for some reason that just made her think about Angel. Finally, she had given up and gone to bed only to toss and turn trying not to give in to the desire to touch herself because it wouldn’t just be random horniness.
It was one thing for a stray thought or two to pass through her head. She did not have control of that most of the time. Stroking herself into an orgasm would not change anything. Angel was still cursed, and still in love with Buffy, even if a part of him was attracted to her. She did it anyway. Slipping both hands under the covers she trailed them across the peaks and valleys of her breasts, sensitive to the soft friction of the cotton tank top she wore in lieu of pajamas. Up and down letting the light touching tease her nipples into a painfully erect state. The edge of the tank top tweaked them as she pulled it down exposing her breasts, pushing the sheet away.
As she cupped them, her breasts overfilled her hands. Just right for Angel’s big hands. Considering the number of times she caught him staring, he definitely liked what he saw. She wanted his mouth there, but not just there. Though she hadn’t actually experienced anyone going down on her Cordelia had a very active imagination, and it was easy to picture Angel’s hands on her body sliding her panties down, his head dipping between her legs, his mouth and tongue and fingers working their flesh magic.
Cordelia’s fingers dipped beneath the lacy edge of her panties trailing through the soft curls to the moist folds below, her hips shifting against the Egyptian cotton sheets she had finally convinced Angel to give to her, the ones they had shared when they were on his bed. Oh! She was so wet and her fingers slipped easily across her heated skin naturally gravitating to the spot that always drove her wild.
Various toys in Angel’s hands flitted through her mind, but they vanished quickly. It was him she wanted. Now. The steady rhythm of her fingers brought his image into sharp focus behind her tightly clenched eyes. She felt sensitive everywhere, hot despite the slow twirl of the ceiling fan over her bed. When Angel’s name repeatedly fell from her lips it was without conscious decision, not because she knew that he was out on patrol.
Her climax came faster and more intensely than ever before, her fingers still sliding across her sensitive sex, hips rocking into them. As awesome as it was it still left her wanting more. There was also that little twinge of guilt threatening to burst the bubble of her little afterglow. Fortunately, she fell asleep before she could think about it too much.
Today was another story. Cordelia had never had to worry about being quiet before. There was never anyone around to hear her. Although she figured that Angel was still out on patrol last night when things got a little steamy that might be different next time. Not that there would be a next time when it was his name on her lips.
God! Cordelia could not believe that she had let herself go there. Using Angel as her sexy male bedtime fantasy was not of the good. Oh, it felt like all kinds of good, but it was not fair to either of them or good for her sanity. Having shot straight up in bed this morning upon waking, she decided to get rid of any lingering evidence of her little hands-on time. Vampire super-senses might not be able to tell who had her hot and bothered last night, but she had no doubts that he would know what happened.
So her loofah got an extra sudsy workout during her steamy morning shower. The bed linen was tossed into the washer, dried, and returned long before Angel woke up. Half a can of lemon zesty air freshener might have been overkill, but after spritzing it around her apartment and the office, Cordelia felt much better about having to face Angel whenever he decided to emerge for the day.
“A little bright in here,” Angel had commented as he moved toward her desk holding his hand up to block the light as it streamed in through the open venetian blinds.
Cordelia noted with satisfaction that Angel was forced to stand ten feet away. Sounding a little snippy, “Not all of us are allergic to sunshine.”
Expectantly, he asked, “Are you going to close the blinds?” Standing at the edge of the shadowed doorway, he couldn’t come any closer.
“No. I have been stuck here all morning making phone calls. I like the light.”
Angel leaned casually against the doorframe garbed in a thin dark grey sweater that hugged his chest and also wearing the jeans that fit him like a glove. Geez, he was hot. It made her want to squirm against her chair to ease the ache between her legs. Trying to ignore the rush of heat that surged inside her, Cordelia flipped through her Rolodex looking for the next number she needed, but Angel wasn’t getting the hint to let her get on with her task.
“Do we have a new case?” he asked.
There wasn’t one. Doyle had not had a vision in the past couple of days and no new clients had come in. “I’m just trying to set up something with my acting class. You never know when fame and fortune will find me and drag me off into the lifestyle I deserve.”
“Oh.” He sounded disappointed.
Cordelia rolled her eyes. “Don’t sound so gloomy. I’m sure some random demon will start disemboweling the local bowling league any time now. Things will pick up soon. This is Los Angeles.”
She picked up the phone receiver and punched in the numbers, her eyes still on Angel as he faded back into the shadows leading into his office. That’s it, Angel, she silently encouraged his retreat. My desk: bright and sunny space. Your desk: dark and somber cave. Be a good vampire and brood a little. Just until I can get my head on straight.
The voice on the other end of the line drew her out of her thoughts and she responded with a smile, “Hi! This is Cordelia Chase.”
Between phone calls and errands, Cordelia managed to avoid Angel the rest of the day. He was not around when she closed up the office and went downstairs. Dinner consisted of an apple because she really did not feel like making the effort to heat something up just for herself.
Dressed in her comfy grey shorty pajamas and a pair of oversized socks, her hair twisted up into a ponytail, she curled up on the couch with the latest issue of Cosmo. She had already read it twice, but there was always some new tidbid to discover.
The phone rang. It was Aura.
Although it was great talking to her Cordelia felt crappy about the way she had exaggerated her success as an actress. Lying to a friend was just as bad as avoiding one, she decided. That was not like her. Angel had no idea why she had pushed him away all day, thank goodness for that. He had just given her the space she wanted.
Deciding that things were as back to normal as they could be and that there wouldn’t be a repeat of last night’s foray into fantasyland, Cordelia headed over to Angel’s place to say goodnight. She was not really sleepy, but it had been hours since she had seen him and it seemed wrong to go any longer without making sure he knew that she was not avoiding him. Well, at least not any more.
Sliding open the connecting door, she poked her head through and looked around for any sign of him. “Angel?”
After a moment’s silence, Angel’s voice emanated from the living room. “In here, Cordelia.”
“Hi,” he said back looking somewhat bemused.
Seated in his favorite black leather chair Angel had a book in his hand. “Oh, you’re reading again. I suppose that’s one step up from sitting here in the dark.”
Angel looked more amused than insulted. Teasing her, “You should try it sometime.”
“Sitting in the dark?” The quick comeback tripped easily off her tongue. Kudos for the effort, big guy, but you’re dealing with Cordelia Chase.
His mouth pressed into a smile. “Reading.” The deep timber of his voice rumbled sensuously making her think of things that had nothing to do with books.
Indignantly huffing, “I read.”
Maybe it was it the book that had him in such a good mood because he had every right to be pissed off at her for avoiding him all day. Stepping closer, Cordelia grabbed the book, not bothering to save his place, checking out the book jacket for details. “Hey, this was written this century! I thought you were all classic novels and demon lore.”
Angel rattled off the names of his favorite authors, a mix of writers both classic and modern. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you with a book,” he confessed as if it said something horrible about her character.
Immediately taking offense whether or not he meant it that way, Cordelia felt the need to defend herself against it. “My reading interests are just different from yours.” She waved his book in the air. “This is a detective story. Are you looking for tips?” His bookcase was on the adjacent wall. Pointing at a row on the top shelf, she curled her lip, “Stephen King? Hello, my life is already a horror novel.”
Cordelia told him she preferred, “Real people and places and the good things in life. Things that don’t remind me that I grew up on a Hellmouth.” Hollywood biographies and unauthorized tell-alls were probably her favorites, fashion and design books, too. Cosmo might not be a book, but it was a must-read. Lately, she had been trying to get her life on track with some self-improvement books.
“I do have one guilty pleasure, though,” she admitted even though she wasn’t quite sure why she felt the need to share it with Angel. “Historical romances. Pure escapist stuff. They’re my catnip.”
“We’re not talking historical romance as in Tristan and Isolde,” guessed Angel who looked like he was enjoying the way she squirmed. “Paperbacks. Buxom women on the covers. Hot sex and dubious plots.”
Cordelia’s insides melted a little as the words ‘hot sex’ sounded on Angel’s lips. “Uh, so you’ve read them?”
“No. Just common knowledge.” Angel was just making conversation, which was something of a novelty. “I just prefer books that are historically accurate, especially if I’m familiar with the location or era.”
No subject being off limits she asked point blank, “So what about the sex?”
Angel stared at her for a few seconds before finally blinking. “I prefer that to be accurate, too.”
Snorting in response, Cordelia told him, “Okay, Mr. Kama Sutra. I just thought that with you being practically a eunuch these days that the sexy stuff might be a nice diversion from missing out on the real thing.”
“Tell you what, kitten,” Angel teased her with the pet name, playing off her earlier catnip comment, “bring me one of your trashy romance novels. I’ll pick a book for you. Give it a chance, and I will do the same. Afterward, we compare notes.”
He got out of the chair and walked up to her so that his height gave him an advantage as he issued his challenge. “Fine, but they’re not trashy. What about this book?” She tapped on the cover. “I’ll just read this old thing. My grandmother was a kid when this was published. Geez, maybe I should make some coffee just in case I need a caffeine boost.”
Angel plucked the novel out of her hands. “Trust me, you won’t fall asleep, but this is part of a long series. You should start at the beginning.”
This was not exactly planned as the start of the Angel Investigations Book Club, but Cordelia had no idea how she managed to end up in a Read-Off challenge. She so wanted him to eat his words about romance novels having dubious plots. There was plenty of plot. There just happened to be plenty of sex, too. Let Angel critique it all he wanted. She would even read his boring old detective novel just to prove that her books were not just pulp fiction.
Pulling out one of her unpacked suitcases from the closet, Cordelia opened it up. It was full of dog-eared books, old magazines, and a few newer acquisitions. She rummaged through it leaving books scattered across her floor. Finally, she decided on one that took place long before Angel’s time. He could not get too fussy about historical content and might relax enough to enjoy the good parts.