If We Fall In Love


IWFIL_500


Cordelia discovers that Angel has written her a love letter.

  • CONTENTS:   C/A in AtS
  • RATING:   PG13
  • LENGTH:   Short Story / 6,500 words
  • STATUS:   Completed
  • 4-PROMPT CHALLENGE:   Training, Blue Jeans, Love Letter Found, Lyrics
  • CHALLENGE CREDIT:   DamnSkippy’s LJ Fic Challenge Site – C/A_at last
  • SONG CREDIT:   ‘The First Time’ by Surface
  • FIC NOTE:   The lyrics part of the challenge was met by rewriting the song lyrics to turn it into a C/A version to accompany the story. This is not a singalong fic.
  • FICPIC CREDIT:   Lysa

If We Fall In Love

Rain pattered as it ran rivulets down the glass panes on the Hyperion front doors. The rare storm worsened minute by minute. Cordelia glanced up from her filing when the lightning flashed again.

Counting the seconds between the lightning and the rumbling thunder was a habit from childhood. She’d chased away her fears this way. Now it was more of a game. “One, two, thr—” a loud crack cut her off, far louder than expected. Her surprised shriek ended in a snort as the empty lobby echoed.

She stuffed the manila folder into the ‘Closed Cases’ section of the filing cabinet. A push shut the drawer with more force than she intended. Giving it a glare when it closed with a bang, Cordelia decided that she’d had enough work for the day. Everyone else had taken the afternoon off managing to get out before anyone realized the weather was going to turn nasty.

When Fred and Gunn invited her to tag along with them to an early movie the idea hadn’t appealed. Neither did the fact that Wesley’s idea of fun was digging through old scrolls and manuscripts at some dusty curio shop. That sounded like work. This was a great day to get lost inside the Beverley Center. No visions. No demons. No worries. Just stores full of gorgeous shoes.

It was her own fault that she’d gotten stranded by the weather. Cordelia walked around the front desk into the lobby watching the rain pour down, lost in thought about the new Spring Collections.

Directly behind her: “Where is everybody?”

Whirling around, “Angel!” she was about to let him have it for startling her when she saw the baby in his arms.

Connor gripped the sides of the bottle Angel held, sucking steadily, but his eyes focused on his father’s face. He wore the Notre Dame t-shirt Angel had been so thrilled about. It topped the baby blue jeans Uncle Gunn had snuck into the shopping basket when Cordy and Fred had gone shopping for baby clothes. He’d been talked into conducting chauffeur duties, but spent half his time cooing over baby clothes and the other half trying to look cool doing it.

“Sorry,” said Angel not looking in the least apologetic.

Cordelia figured she should be used to it by now. “That’ll teach me to let my guard down. Explaining about the others, “They took the afternoon off,” she stepped closer to run her fingertips along the edge of the knitted baby beanie. “No clients all morning. Must be the weather keeping them away.”

On cue, the thunder growled furiously overhead.

When Cordelia looked up again Angel was staring right at her, his brown eyes darkening. “So, it’s just us?” For a casual question, he sure looked uncomfortable asking it. If she didn’t know better, Cordelia would call it fear— or excitement. Either of which left her thinking that the storm was playing tricks with the light.

Joking, “I don’t bite,” Cordelia huffed and dropped her hands to her hips. Angel looked a bit skeptical. She shrugged one shoulder and confirmed again that the others had gone out before the rain started. “So, yeah, it’s just us. Looks like you’re stuck with me.”

Angel went quiet. Nothing unusual there, but he was staring again in a way that still made her tingle. She couldn’t look away either powerless to do anything else. “Cordy, I think we—”

“How about some training?” Cordelia jumped in with the suggestion as soon as it popped into her head. “This is a perfect day for a little one on one action.”

His jaw dropped for a fraction of a second, “Perfect.” Angel’s sudden smile was enough to spark one of her own. Seeing him grin was such a rarity that it thrilled her every time.

Since Connor was already falling asleep after letting out a belch they took him upstairs to tuck him into his crib. The damp basement was no place for an infant. Angel switched on the baby monitor and tossed the receiver onto the bed in preparation to take it with them. Cordelia turned her attention back to Angel who grabbed a pair of black sweat pants and a top from his dresser drawer.

A paper flew out from beneath the clothes fluttering to the floor between them. “I’ve got it,” Cordelia reached toward it noticing the bold scrawl across the parchment-style paper.

Moving fast, Angel was there first snatching it from the floor. He shoved it back in the drawer closing it before Cordelia managed to draw a surprised breath. Walking to the bed, he tossed the clothes on it, standing there with his back turned toward her. Finally, Angel glanced over his shoulder, “I’ll meet you downstairs.”

He had to be kidding. No way was she leaving yet. “What was that? I thought I saw my name.”

Jaw tightening, Angel yanked his shirttails from his pants. He began to unbutton his shirt, the movements sharp and quick, almost angry. Off came the soft grey silk. Angel stripped it away revealing the tattoo she’d seen so many times before, dark against his pale skin. It seemed strange that he felt comfortable taking off his clothes in front of her, yet couldn’t even tell her the simple truth about a piece of paper. Somehow that was just Angel.

Glancing toward the dresser, Cordelia thought about making a run for it. She’d taken half a step in that direction when Angel suddenly blocked her path. “Don’t,” the soft warning came with a low growl.

As imposing as he was being so big, broad shouldered and half naked, Cordelia noticed a sliver of vulnerability that surprised her. Thinking wryly that he usually reserved that for the blondes in his life, her curiosity was tying her up in knots. There had to be some way to get into that drawer.

Poking his belly, she said, “Dork, you’re only making it worse. Now I’ll just have to guess.” Angel looked horrified. “Hmm, what could it be? A shopping list— ‘Cordy’s Christmas Presents’. I like that idea. Maybe I can add a few suggestions.” The panic dimmed in his eyes, his shoulders less tense. “Must be something else.”

Enjoying teasing him, Cordelia faked a move to the left and then darted right. Angel was there in under a second having anticipated her trying again. This time his big hand curled around her waist physically reeling her back to him. Squaring up directly in front of her again Angel looked stern in the face of her laughter.

She hoped he didn’t think it was over that easily.

Pissoffedness seemed to be winning out over Angel’s nerves taking a mean bite out of her amusement. The determined expression told her there was no way he was going to let her look at that paper. At least not without a little more proverbial arm twisting, “C’mon, Angel. It’s not like I don’t already know what it is.”

She felt his grip tighten and then loosen to the point that his hands dropped away. “Y-you do?”

There was a 99.9% chance that it was a drawing. What else would it be? That wasn’t the paper he normally used for sketching, but it was the only thing that made sense to her. It was still a guess as to why Angel had a drawing of her stuffed in his dresser drawer.

“I fell asleep in here a couple of weeks ago,” Cordelia reminded him of the night they saved Fred from the creepy number guys. One minute they’d been feeding the baby and talking about how to spend the money and the next she’d gone out like a light. Assuming that Angel hadn’t actually slept all night long the opportunity was certainly there.

When she woke up late the next morning, Connor was back in his crib and there was an indentation in the pillow beside hers. Angel had emerged from the bathroom wearing his blue robe and toweling his hair. Cordy couldn’t remember exactly what they’d said to each other, but it was comfortable rather than being embarrassing or awkward.

Thinking about it now made her realize how normal it had felt at the time. Trust Angel to think there was something wrong about sketching her. Cordelia didn’t understand why he was making such a big deal about it unless it was because she happened to be sleeping at the time, or in his bed.

Unless there was something about the drawing Angel’s inner perv didn’t want her to see. Crossing her arms, she crooked an eyebrow at him. “Do you have something to confess?”

Angel was doing that horrified thing with his face again. “C-Confess?” Oh, yeah. She had him cornered now. “You were asleep.”

“Hello, I’m Vision Girl.” So what if that had nothing to do with it. “Nothing gets by my radar. Well, not much. I want it now. Let’s have it.”

Angel frowned. “Now? Honest, Cor, it was just a spontaneous thing.”

“When I was asleep?” Cordelia rolled her eyes. Yeah. Pulling out a pad and pencil was really spontaneous. Not. And now he wasn’t even letting her see the results. “Not up to your standards, I suppose. Didn’t you like it?”

Looking almost sheepish about it, Angel rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, yeah,” his mouth quirked into crooked smile

“Don’t you think I’d prefer to be awake when you go all Titanic on me?” Even if it was with clothes on.

“Titanic? I never…well, maybe once or twice…,” he mumbled behind his hand, “like the sunbathing in the courtyard…or that time when you—,” and then burst out, “but not with Connor there, too. Not that night.”

“Huh?” Cordelia tried to make sense of Angel’s babbling, but was more interested in getting her hands on that drawing. “Whatever. Just show me.”

Holding out her hand for the drawing she was surprised when Angel’s hand enveloped hers. His thumb pressed softly against her pulse point as he moved her arm out of the way to step closer. Wondering what was going on Cordelia lifted her gaze to find him closer than she thought and the distance getting smaller with each passing second.

Angel closed the gap, his mouth brushing hers softly. He felt cool against the sudden rush of heat flushing her face. Oh. My. God. Head rush. Mmm. Dizzy, Cordelia lurched back, grabbing onto Angel’s arm with her free hand. After gaining her balance she lifted her fingers to her lips still feeling the impact of the soft kiss.

“Why’d you do that?” Cordelia demanded breathlessly as she tried to suppress the urge to get him to do it again. Without waiting for an answer, she squirmed out of his hold. Her heart felt like it was about to pound right through her chest. In its brevity, the simple little kiss had left her body tingling and her head in a mess.

Naturally, Angel hadn’t said a thing. He looked at her as if she was supposed to get the reason he got the sudden urge to mack on her. Hoping he didn’t notice the tremble in her voice, “If you’re trying to distract me from getting that drawing…,” Cordelia warned him she wasn’t that easy.

Quite cluelessly, Angel asked, “What drawing?” He looked more confused than anything.

Seeing that he was going to play dumb, Cordelia shook off the effects of the kiss. No way was he going to get away with playing that kind of game. She hadn’t thought him capable of it. Not to mention the fact that he was supposed to be her best friend. “The drawing in your drawer. The one you won’t let me see. That drawing.”

Again with the denial, “There’s no drawing.”

Brow arched, “Pfft.”

Angel stopped her from heading for the dresser again. “It’s not a drawing.”

Cordelia’s gaze slid back to his. Lifting a finger to make a point, “So why the kiss then? Explain that one.”

Stumbling through a rambling explanation that started to sound like Fred on a bad day, Angel finally got to the point. “You asked me if I had anything to confess about that night and then told me to show you.”

“The drawing.”

“The drawing doesn’t exist,” Angel growled in seeming frustration. “You said you knew that I kissed you.”

Her jaw dropped in sudden understanding. “That’s what you had to confess? That you kissed me. Wait. You kissed me?”

“It was an accident.”

The eyebrow arched again. “Right. Your lips just happened to connect with mine during the middle of the night. Lucky for Connor you didn’t squash him.”

Angel mumbled something that sounded like, “He wasn’t there at the time,” and hastened to explain the reason. It included rolling over on Connor’s bottle early on during the night and waking up, realizing the two of them were there in his bed and that the baby needed a diaper change. Afterward, it made more sense to put him back in his crib.

“So you got back in bed?”

“I was still tired,” Angel answered defensively. Even though it was nighttime when any other vampire would be roaming the streets, he’d already put in a long day of fighting for justice—or Connor’s college fund. Not to mention Fred’s head.

The innocent image in her head of shifted dramatically when the baby was suddenly out of the picture. Cordelia wondered what she’d done to prompt Angel to kiss her. “So this alleged kissing took place when you crawled back into bed with me.”

Angel seemed embarrassed by it and even more that he’d repeated the offence. “It wasn’t alleged. And don’t make it sound sleazy. It wasn’t that kind of kiss. You were there. It just happened.”

“Pfft. Since I was asleep, I don’t remember it. Thanks for the demo by the way.” The kiss wasn’t so much offensive as it was disturbing, but in a way that left her wanting to try it again. This time for longer than 2.5 seconds.

A groan sounded from Angel. His head dipped low, a frown marring his handsome face. “Cor, I’m sorry. This is all a big misunderstanding. The letter…it explains everything. Only it’s not finished.”

Her eyes drifted toward the dresser drawer realizing that Angel had been telling the truth about it. There was no drawing, only an accidental kiss that she couldn’t remember, a brief reenactment that she would never forget and a letter no doubt apologizing for his infringement of her personal bubble.

Cordelia wanted to ask what prompted the kiss that night, but stopped before the question spilled out. He’d admitted that he was tired. Maybe he hadn’t even been thinking about her when he leaned across the bed and planted one on her. What if it was Buffy or Darla or someone else from his list of chippies on his mind?

Gross. That had to be it. Eew. That was all kinds of wrong.

She imagined Angel climbing back into bed, already half asleep, aware only of the fact that someone familiar was in bed with him. Not her, of course, because it wasn’t like she fell asleep in his room everyday. He’d probably just acted on instinct or memory, leaning across to kiss her goodnight.

Only it wasn’t her in that thick head of his. It was some blonde.

No wonder he felt like writing a letter of apology. “Then I guess you’d better finish it.” She sure as hell deserved more than that for acting as a stand-in for someone else’s lips. “Or you can skip the apology and just promise me it won’t happen again.”

Angel looked crushed. She’s seen him that way before and he was definitely not relieved by her gracious effort to let him off the hook. “Look, it’s no big deal. We’re still friends. You made a mistake. I’ve forgiven you way more than this, so just forget it happened.”

Not that she expected him to jump for joy, but some reaction would have been nice. He stood silently, lost in his thoughts, looking as miserable as the stormy weather outside. “Maybe we should skip the training session today.”

“No way. I’m stuck here on my afternoon off. It’s your duty to entertain me,” Cordelia wasn’t about to let him stay in here and brood the rest of the day.

It took more cajoling to get Angel to agree, but finally he relented. Forgetting all about the mysterious letter, Cordelia headed down the hall to her bedroom to change clothes.

Normally she just grabbed whatever from her closet. She was just going to end up hot and sweaty anyway. But it took twice as long to decide what to wear and it annoyed Cordelia that she wanted to show up for a training session with Angel looking her best. Just because that little kiss was on instant replay.

“What the hell.” Cordelia snagged the red Lycra outfit knowing that it clung to every curve.

By the time she got downstairs Angel was already in the basement. The door creaked on its hinges though she imagined he was already aware of her presence. His back faced her as he worked on something along the far wall. An old dresser’s dummy by the looks of it.

Wondering if he was still hung up on feeling guilty about the accidental kiss or their little reenactment upstairs, Cordelia leaned against the wooden railing and watched him. “That your new sparring partner? Maybe you prefer her to me.”

Angel glanced her way. His mouth curved upward just a fraction hinting at a smile. “She does have certain qualities. Quiet. Stays put. Easy to handle.”

“And a natty dresser,” Cordelia briefly eyed the tattered dusty material pinned in place.

When her attention drifted back to Angel she found he wasn’t looking at the mannequin, but at her. His eyes followed her from the top step down to the bottom and traveled along every line and curve along the way. This wasn’t the first time she’d noticed him staring at her. Angel was definitely all male. It just came naturally.

Male stares rarely left her feeling flushed or achy. There was a hint of desire in Angel’s dark brown gaze that she’d never seen. At least not with his soul and senses intact. It was there in his eyes for an instant. She blinked and it was gone. He was just himself again, a friend who preferred blondes, who was upset about an accidental lip-lock, who was the most important person in her life.

“Too bad for Miss No Personality. If she wants you she’ll have to go through me first,” Cordelia brushed past Angel just barely touching his arm with her shoulder to give the mannequin a playful push. “I think I can take her.”

Silence.

Turning around slowly, Cordelia expected Angel to be there. He was halfway across the room picking up the crossbow that he’d put down next to the baby monitor. So much for having a little fun. It looked like they were getting straight to business.

“Why the crossbow?” They’d already covered the basics. Cordelia had spent quite a bit of time with swordplay, too. It was the intricacies of the hands-on stuff that she wanted to spend more time on. “I thought we’d practice those moves you were showing me.”

Angel stilled for a moment. “Not today. You should work on precision shooting. I don’t want you to hesitate the next time when it comes to pulling that trigger.”

He meant the night she went after Billy. “I thought you didn’t want me to shoot him. That was why you fought him. So I wouldn’t kill him.”

She took the crossbow when he held it out to her. It was light and balanced, perfect for a woman. Angel knew what her aim was like. Steady, but imperfect. He also knew why she didn’t pull the trigger that night. “You hesitated because of me.”

They used hand carved wooden bolts instead of modern metal ones because they came in handy when fighting vampires. “One inch the wrong direction and you would’ve been a big cloud of dust. You’re too important to me.” The words popped out, surprising them both. Cordelia tagged on quickly, “—and Connor and to the Powers and the people you save.”

He leaned in close providing a front row seat to his fury. “Don’t you ever put my safety above your own. Next time pull the damn trigger. Don’t think. Just shoot.”

“Whatever,” Cordelia shrugged. She’d do what she thought was necessary when the time came.

Grabbing one of the wooden quarrels from the pile on the small table, Cordelia proceeded to load the crossbow. The sound of her name was more of a low growl warning her not to ignore his wishes. “You want me to shoot you? Fine.” She stood, pointed past him toward the mannequin’s chest, glared back at Angel and squeezed letting the bolt fly.

Boink. Whoosh. Thunk.

The shot rebounded off of the dummy changing direction in mid-air. Angel whirled into action closing his arms around Cordelia and pulling her into a protected position closer to the floor. Cordy barely had time to let out a shriek before he was helping her back to her feet again. It happened in an instant.

Angel stared down at the unarmed crossbow in her hand as he unconsciously rubbed at his chest. “Uh…,” Cordelia turned from the thankfully uninjured manpire to the similarly unmarred mannequin. “Looks like the ricochet shot works. My aim is deadly if you’re a rhododendron.”

The crossbow bolt appeared to be imbedded in a basket of fake flowers nearby. Cordelia dipped her head and smiled infectiously. Shaking his head, Angel tried and failed to keep a straight face. “It’s a hydrangea.”

“At least it wasn’t you,” Cordelia stressed pressing her hand over his heart. He closed his hand over hers, their fingers tangling. “Otherwise I’d—”

“What?” Angel prompted her for more, but Cordelia was already lost in the images filling her head.

Muttering, “Otherwise I’d have no one to fight the vampires in my vision,” Cordelia’s words weren’t exactly what she’d planned to say. There was no time to consider the fact that the thought of losing Angel actions scared her to the depths of her being.

Angel looked lost for a second. “Vision. You mean now?” It was so different now that she didn’t writhe in pain every time a vision hit. The floating thing seemed to come and go with no warning.

“There’s a woman. She’s caught in the rain. Car broken down. No cabs. Nobody around except a couple of vampires.”

The cloud cover provided more than adequate protection from the daylight. Due to the rain it looked more like nighttime. A vampire could easily get around in weather like this, though why he would want to was a mystery. Angel never hesitated.

Cordelia grabbed the baby monitor and followed him back upstairs as he took the steps three at a time. By the time she caught up, he was already swinging his jacket on over his workout gear. Not his usual attire for a mission, but there was no time to change clothes.

“Watch out for the one in red. He’s stronger than he looks.”

Angel nodded.

“And the one with the snaggled fangs has a mean left hook.”

Normally the thought of Angel fighting two vampires would hardly disturb her, but for some reason Cordy felt extremely tense about letting him out of her sight. There wasn’t anything specific from the vision. She just had this crushing feeling that she couldn’t let him go without saying something.

“Okay. Take care of Connor. I’ll be back before long.” Angel checked his jacket pocket for the stake he usually kept there. He headed for the door.

Cordelia grabbed him by the sleeve. “Wait.” Not even certain why it was necessary.

He stopped and turned, staring down at her intently, his eyes drifting down to her mouth and lingering there for a moment before making their way up again. Her breath caught in her throat soundlessly trapped there as Angel’s hand reached up to cup her face.

Fingers barely touching her cheek, his thumb skimmed across her bottom lip so lightly that it tickled. Her eyelids fluttered closed under their own weight as Angel leaned in to press his mouth to her forehead. Lips cool against her skin, but not where she wanted.

Oh, God.

Startled, Cordelia opening her eyes. Angel was already gone. The burst of moist air from the open door had told her that much. She traced her fingertips across her mouth back and forth hoping she’d just imagined the rush of excitement she’d felt. This was Angel’s fault for kissing her twice in the same day—once on the lips.

“It’s not like he hasn’t done that before.” Cordelia told herself she was being an idiot for reading too much into it. She squinted at the bright flash of lightning outside and turned away from the doors to head upstairs. The loud bang of thunder set off car alarms outside.

A familiar cry sounded through the monitor in her hand. “Uh oh.” Connor normally slept through just about anything.

Cordelia immediately headed upstairs to Angel’s room. The squalling got louder as the sound from the monitor amplified what she could hear. She flipped the off switch and set it down on the bed. Lowering the side rail, she reached in to lift the baby into her arms. “Look at those tears,” she said in her soft baby voice.

Setting into a bouncy walk, Cordelia whispered that he was safe and loved. The wailing stopped almost immediately. Soon, Connor was asleep again. She held him for a while, just watching him breathe, fascinated by the little life snuggled in her arms. Angel’s son.

Just why that made her feel gooey inside instead of reminding her of Darla wasn’t even a consideration.

She just let herself enjoy the moment and continued on their bouncy walk until it took them past Angel’s dresser. Cordelia glanced at it as they passed by, her gaze falling on the third drawer. Instead of circling the room again, they bouncy walked back the way they came this time stopping at the dresser for a minute of deep contemplation.

To snoop or not to snoop?

“Sorry Connor,” whispered his Aunty Cordy, “but you’re asleep and Daddy is being silly about not letting me see the apology he’s writing.”

With the sleeping baby tucked back into his crib, Cordelia headed back to the dresser on her tiptoes as if afraid her sneakers might make noise. It wasn’t as if anyone would catch her. Angel was out on a mission and the others weren’t likely to come up here without making noise.

Once the drawer handles were in her grasp she paused long enough to ask herself if she was doing the right thing. Angel obviously had an issue with her reading the letter even if it did have her name on it. He made a big deal for something so silly. It was only an itty bitty accidental kiss that probably meant nothing. That thought stabbed deep even if she didn’t know why. Yanking the drawer open, Cordelia rifled through a neat pile of black and grey clothes to get to the bottom where Angel had shoved the folded parchment.

There it was: her name written in Angel’s familiar bold scrawl. Centered and straight, it looked so formal. Not addressed to Cor or Cordy, but Cordelia. It felt heavy in her hand. She turned it over to see a cracked wax seal. The broken red wax clung to two halves of the parchment.

Angel had finished the letter and then changed his mind. He’d gone to a lot of trouble just to apologize for a kiss she didn’t even know about. Stumbling over the words required for a real apology, even a simple ‘I’m sorry’ apparently wouldn’t do. Maybe it was expected back in the powdered wig days, but it seemed a little excessive.

Shaking her head at the mystery that was Angel, she unfolded the paper and started to skim to get to the I-mistakenly-kissed-you-because-I-was-dreaming-about-blondes part.

“Dear Cordelia, Let me first apologize…, blah, blah, blah,” her eyes scanned down without really seeing the words. “Waking up beside you,” she paused to mumble that any other guy would be counting his blessings.

So far the words ‘Buffy’ and ‘Darla’ had eluded her. Continuing to skim the letter, she read, “Makes me want to start over again…,” Cordy looked over at the crib where Connor slept. “Wait. What’s that supposed to mean? The kiss wasn’t that terrible. He said he liked it. Of course he liked it. Pfft!”

Accidental or not, kissing Cordelia Chase was not an experience a man was going to regret. No living man anyway. And of the undead variety—not that anyone else would get close to her lips—Angel was probably the only manpire who’d brood about it to the point of writing an apology.

Cordelia let out a little growl of frustration when she realized she’d lost her place. After a second or two of searching for the ‘starting over’ part, she decided to do just that with the letter.

Dear Cordelia,

Let me first apologize that these words come to you in written form. Lately I cannot form a coherent sentence when we are together. The reason has become so obvious to me that I am certain it has not escaped your attention.

Yes, she’d noticed that he’d turned into something of a stuttering, clumsy dork lately. But that wasn’t so bad in comparison to being soulless. Cordelia would take goofy Angel any day over Angelus. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, the whole Darla fiasco brought them all closer together. It hurt like hell to think about, but in the end Darla was dust and Angel was here with her—and the rest of the gang.

Waking up beside you today made me realize just how much our relationship has changed during the past few years. We have been through so much together, yet our friendship is stronger today than ever. I cherish that and every breath you take. You touch my heart in ways I never thought possible for someone like me.

That made her smile. She remembered the day they were all saying they loved each other and how Angel had been such a dork about declaring his feelings. Words weren’t exactly his forte. No wonder he had to resort to an apology letter. It was a nice one so far. Cordy was already feeling light on her feet, a warm glow building up inside as Angel’s words made her happy.

Maybe this apology thing wasn’t a bad idea after all.

Putting my feelings into words isn’t easy. I often wonder if you can tell from the look on my face just how much I care for you. Or that it makes me want to start over again as more than just a friend and your champion.

Cordelia blinked. She’d found it: the starting over part. “More than just a friend?” Whoa. That couldn’t mean what she thought it did. Her heart leapt catching somewhere in her throat because suddenly she couldn’t breathe.

The next line confirmed her suspicions.

The first time I dreamt of loving you I knew…

This wasn’t a letter of apology at all. It was a love letter from Angel. Stunned, Cordelia flipped the parchment over to confirm that it was her name written there. Turning it over again, she found the uniquely scrawled ‘Dear Cordelia’ was still at the top of the letter also suggesting that she wasn’t seeing things.

“Angel’s saying…,” Cordelia was finding it hard to grasp the whole concept, “that he loves me.”

Swaying on her feet, suddenly feeling wobbly, Cordelia kept on reading. Feelings that Angel apparently couldn’t express directly to her came pouring out on the page in her hand. The thought of it both scared and thrilled her because knowing that he cared that way opened a cache of feelings. She reread the part where he described feeling this way forever.

Cordelia hugged the letter to her chest, a grin playing across her face as she though about what Angel was saying to her. It occurred to her that he kept talking about dreaming of a future with her as if it couldn’t happen. A panicky feeling hit. She snatched the slightly crumpled letter back into reading position scanning again for the spot where she’d left off.

Next was the confession about kissing her. It happened just like he said. Spontaneous. A momentary lapse of reality where Angel’s desires overtook his reasoning. That he’d leapt out of bed upon realizing what he’d done, wanting more, but uncertain she would want to take their friendship to the next level.

Not that they could, Cordelia cautioned herself not to get too excited. There was a curse to think about. While the idea of loving Angel and being back in bed with him filled her head with sexy images, it was impossible. She couldn’t tell Angel that she felt the same way. Instant Angelus.

It felt like the oppressive weight of the curse was suddenly on her shoulders. The bottom of her little bubble of happiness burst. This was so unfair. How could Angel tell her that he felt this way when they couldn’t do a damn thing about it? Eternal frustration was—

something Angel was going to get really familiar with unless he found another blonde to bone.

Fat chance of her letting that little scenario happen. There was a little more to the letter, so Cordelia went back to it convinced that this was the part where Angel was going to remind her that despite the love he professed nothing could ever happen.

Until recently the kind of happiness I dream about would be forbidden, out of reach for me, even dangerous to our family. I am ashamed to say that it was the dark time in our past that saved my soul, secured it for all time. Wesley has been sworn to secrecy on this matter until I find the right time to reveal it to you.

“Wesley is in so much trouble,” muttered Cordelia drawing out the last word. How could he keep something like that a secret? No wonder he’d been jumpy around her lately.

Cordelia let out a little squeal. She was literally floating on air when Angel’s voice came from behind her. “Wes isn’t the only one.”

“Gah!” The unexpected interruption broke whatever subconscious reflex that kept Cordy floating. Her arms flailed wildly and the floor started to come up fast.

Catching her at the last second, Angel held her in his arms for a moment as he took in the sight of the letter in her hand. “You read it.”

He set her back on her feet before giving her a chance to answer. “Most of it.”

“Oh.” Angel looked half hopeful and miserable all at the same time.

Cordelia knew how he felt. Despite having read the letter, she wasn’t quite willing to believe it yet. It made her realize that she’d been hiding from her own feelings. The anger that she’d felt when he fired her. The hurt that broke her heart when she no longer had him to depend on to fight her visions. When he seemed to throw their friendship away. The betrayal she felt, especially when Darla showed up. It was the real reason she was so willing to forgive him his faults and behavior.

It was so simple Cordy didn’t know how it was possible that she never saw it coming. She loved him and wanted him so much it was difficult to stop herself from throwing herself into his arms. “Just for the record: I love you, too.”

Angel stared back at her completely stunned. “The letter—I just didn’t know how to tell you any other way.” He reached out to pull her back into the circle of his arms and Cordy went willingly, eager to be there.

“But you didn’t give me the letter,” she pointed out feeling the damp of her clothes where he’d held her. Angel was soaked to the skin, body cool, jacket slick, clothes clinging. No signs of injury that she could see.

Raising her eyes to his again, Cordelia saw him struggling for the right thing to say. “You deserve to know what’s in there, Cor, but I wanted you to hear it from me.”

“Sounds loud and clear to me,” she stood on her tiptoes to wind her arms around Angel’s neck. The letter floated back to the floor. “But tell me anyway.”

The nervous as hell look faded as Angel looked into her eyes, cupped the soft curve of her cheek and told her for the first time that he loved her. Cordelia saw the promise of a future she had never even conceived, a dream of what could be now that they were in love.

The End.


The First Time

Original Lyrics by ‘Surface’ (You Tube Video – Outside Link/New Window)

You know I won’t forget
the time we shared together holding hands
And walking in the park
Sometimes we’ll have to do it all again
we were so happy then
I have no regret

Can you tell from the look on my face that
I love you more today

The first time I look into your eyes I cried
Do you remember the first time
We fell in love
You look into my eyes wiped the tears away
The first time
When we fell in love

Althought sometime has passed
I still remember just like it was yesterday
The time is moving fast
The love I have for you
Time won’t ever change I’ll always feel the same
Now until the end

Memories we’ve shared will live forever
Deep inside my heart I know I’ll never fall again

 

Lyrics with a C/A Twist by Lysa

With every breath you take
You make my life feel oh so new
And how you touch my heart
It makes me want to start over again
As more than just a friend
Spend it all with you

Can you tell from the look on my face
just how much I care for you

The first time I dreamt of loving you I knew
This would last a day past forever
If we fall in love
You look into my eyes and I wonder if you see
Dream of what could be
If we fall in love

Although happiness
Forbidden, out of reach for me, no longer
I’ll say for the first time
The love I have for you
Time won’t ever change I’ll always feel the same
Now until the end

I dream of loving you forever
Deep inside my heart I know I’ll never fall again.


 

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