Open Invitation


OpenInvitation500


Cordelia is unaware that Angel is now Angelus and invites him into her home.

  • CONTENTS:   C/Aus in BtVS
  • RATING:   NC17
  • LENGTH:   Short Story / 5,800 words
  • SEQUEL:   ‘Promise of the Night’
  • STATUS:   Completed
  • FICPIC CREDIT:   Lysa
  • WARNINGS/SPOILERS:   Explicit Sexual Content / Character Death

Open Invitation

The library’s demonology books provided no new clues about defeating the Judge, a creature whose only purpose was to seek out and destroy humanity. Maybe it wasn’t a new theme on the Hellmouth, but this particular baddie was virtually indestructible. Ideas were running thin.

“Got anything?” Willow looked up from her seat behind the computer. Her usual websites for demony info were coming up empty.

Xander hopped down from his perch on the countertop. “Nope. Nada. Zilch. Zero.”

Letting out a frustrated sigh, “Same here,” Cordelia closed the old book she’d been studying. “If this Judge is such a hot shot, why can’t we find anything on him?”

Without waiting for a response, Cordelia headed back to the stacks for another book. Xander followed, partly because he needed another book, but mainly because it gave him the chance to talk to Cordy privately. Tiffs were still commonplace even though they were secretly seeing each other. Today was no exception and now they had an argument to settle.

Cordelia saw him coming and braced herself for a continuation of their little talk. It had been a really long day and she wasn’t in the mood to fight. With an exaggerated pout, Xander whined, “Come on Cordy, can’t we just kiss and make up?”

Kissage in the library. There was something forbidden and thrilling about the idea. Or maybe she was just a sucker for big brown puppy dog eyes. The idea of having some fun here in the land of seriousness by making out with Xander was a thrill. For once, his attention was all on her, right where it should be.

Giving in would make it seem like she was letting him win. Cordelia wasn’t about to let him do that. Refusing him despite the temptation he offered, she quirked a brow and told him, “I don’t want to make up.”

His goofy smile started to fall and she realized he was about to give up. No way. Not after he’d gotten her all excited about sneaking kisses. Just because she didn’t want to drop their argument didn’t mean the idea was all bad.

Cordelia liked the tingles she got when kissing Xander. She felt safe and a little bit out of control all at the same time. “I’m okay with the other part.” Something about it seemed forbidden and exciting just because they were Cordelia Chase and Xander Harris and nobody knew what they did when they were alone together.

The grin was back. Xander could be so cute in that dorky kind of way. Brave when he needed to be. He wasn’t the complete loser Cordelia once thought him to be. Except for the lack of fortune, reputation and any kind of cool car, he was actually a great guy. Unfortunately, he had a way of rushing off to be with Buffy or Willow all of the time instead of her.

Still, he was here now and that meant he was all hers. Neither one of them openly admitted they were dating. That is, if you could call hidden smooch sessions dating. Cordelia wasn’t so sure what she wanted to call it or if she should even admit it to anyone. What cheerleader wanted to be seen dating one of the school’s biggest dorks? Hello! Neither the Scoobies nor the Cordettes had a clue and she liked it that way.

Once the green light was given Xander practically attacked her mouth. She gave him props for eagerness. The fumbling hands weren’t quite as shaky or tentative as they were before. When he made a move to grope her breast, Cordelia didn’t stop him.

A loud gasp sounded from the far end of the row. Coming up for air, they saw that they had an audience. Willow stood gaping at the sight of them. Cordelia recognized the look of betrayal on the other girl’s face as she stared at Xander. Pure horror, maybe. For an instant, Cordy felt like she’d won something.

The thrill of getting caught wore off almost immediately. Before anyone had time to say anything, Willow darted down the steps and headed toward the library door as fast as her legs could carry her.

Xander tried to stop her. “Willow! Willow! We were just—”

“Hey. Not so fast.” Cordelia reminded him they were in the middle of something. “I think Willow can figure it out.” So much for keeping this to themselves, she thought, rolling her eyes at the drama of it all.

Straining at the light hold she had on his sweater, Xander looked pained at being held back. “But…”

“It’s too late,” Cordelia told him woefully. “Now everyone will know.” She didn’t see the point in trying to convince Willow otherwise.

Xander was already halfway down the stairs when he paused to say, “I have to go after her. Explain what we were doing.”

“That part was obvious.” Cordelia followed him down the steps. “If anyone needs to think up explanations, it will be me. Everyone will be asking me if I’m out of my mind for kissing you.”

“We can argue about it later, Cor,” he suggested still edging toward the door.

Once again he was leaving her to run after one of the other girls. Making an effort to stop him, Cordelia grabbed onto his shirtsleeve again, thinking that she was giving him one last chance. “Maybe I wanna argue about it now.”

Looking over his shoulder at the still swinging doors, Xander realized Willow would likely be at the front hall by now. “Let’s argue later about arguing later.”

“Grmph! Just go,” Cordy released him then gave him a look that suggested he was abandoning her.

Xander looked pretty pitiful as if the decision was ripping him up inside. “I do have to go.”

It should have been easy. It shouldn’t have been an issue. Crossing her arms, she ordered him, “So go!” Her heart squeezed tight, but Cordelia didn’t let the pain of it show on her face.

Relieved, Xander pushed open the door, but paused long enough to say, “Okay, but I need you to do something. I have a plan to stop the Judge.”

Fine. They’d stick to Scooby business. As of now their kissing encounters were going to come to an end. She’d find someone better. Someone who’d pay her the kind of attention she deserved. Someone more mature, richer, a better kisser— though she had to admit that Xander was getting pretty good— and totally hot.

Cordelia was enjoying her little revenge fantasy when she realized that Xander said he had a plan. “You said you had zilch.”

“Actually, kissing you gave me an idea.”

“You think about other stuff when you kiss me?”

Eyeing her skin-tight top and pants, Xander told her, “Go home and get changed. Wear something…trashier. Meet me at Willow’s house in an hour.”

He looked serious. Okay. Even a Xander plan was better than no plan at all. “Care to let me in on this plan that I’m a part of?”

“No.”

Hands on her hips, Cordy asked, “Why not?”

“Because if I tell you, you won’t do it.”

Deciding that he was probably right, Cordelia agreed and headed for the shortcut through the gym. Her car was parked behind it. As she exited the school, she found that it had been raining. They had been closeted up for so long at the library that she never noticed the downpour. Scattered raindrops still fell from the clearing sky.

Walking along, she dug through her purse looking for her car keys. Two cats ran out from behind the dumpster startling her. Jumping out of the way, she let out a shriek as her purse tipped. Its contents spread across the damp blacktop of the parking lot, several items actually rolling under her car.

“Damn.”

She picked up all of the items she could reach, but realized with horror that her car keys and her favorite lipstick were out of reach under her Corvette. No way she was getting her clothes wet and dirty by crawling under the car.

“Rotten luck,” she muttered. “Those weren’t even black cats. Where’s Xander now that I need him? Running after that red-headed busybody.”

There had to be a way of handling this without running back into the library to beg Giles for help. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw the dumpster. “Eew! Gross.”

That dumpster held some bad memories. The last time she was near it— actually in it— the trash bin held body parts of dead girls. Figuring that there might be some empty boxes from the cafeteria or something she could use to put on the ground, Cordelia headed toward it. Cautiously opening the lid, she cringed at the scent of rotted vegetables. There were no obvious signs of dumped corpses sticking out of the refuse, so she reached in to grab a flattened cardboard box.

Cordy pulled it out and set it down on the ground next to the car. She knelt down low and reached out as far as she could stretch without any success. With a flash of genius, she remembered seeing a broken mop handle in the dumpster. Retrieving it, she went back to her task.

A surge of triumph coursed through her as the keys and lipstick came within reach. “Hah! Go me. Guess I don’t need a guy around for anything after all.”

“I could show you a thing or two that might change your mind.”

A short shriek sounded as Cordy jerked up to her knees and saw a pair of black shoes directly under her gaze. The lights were now off in the school for some reason, and there was only moonlight above. There was a sensual twist to the familiar voice and Cordelia thought she saw a flash of white fangs in the shadowy face above.

Gripping the broken mop handle, she wondered if the tip was pointy enough to use as a stake. “Angel?” She wasn’t sure. He sounded different. Almost flirtatious—which was impossible considering that he was totally into Buffy.

“Yes, it’s me,” he confirmed and held out a hand to help her up. “Nice view, by the way.”

Even as her shoulders relaxed, Cordelia realized that he was looking down from a very advantageous angle straight into her cleavage. Typical guy, she thought, rolling her eyes. “You scared me. Stealthy vamp guy does it again.”

“We’ve done this before,” Angel said, effortlessly tugging her to her feet. He looked scrumptious for a vampire. “This time I caught you before you hid in the dumpster.”

“Don’t remind me,” Cordelia gave a dark laugh. “Not one of my favorite occasions.”

Angel smiled pleasantly. “Have you been out here very long?”

“No. Long enough to scatter my stuff everywhere and try to pick it up. You would not believe how much I have in this purse.” She laughed at the fact that she was actually having a conversation with Angel. That hadn’t happened in, like, forever. “What’s the deal with the lights? Maybe we should check it out.”

“Were you out here when the lights went off?”

Cordelia shrugged. “I didn’t even notice until you came along.”

“So you haven’t talked to Buffy in the last hour or so?” Angel mused and held out his hand for the wooden weapon.

Giving him an odd look, Cordelia asked, “What’s with the interrogation?” She readily handed it over to him and then bent over to brush off her pants. The cardboard had looked clean enough, but she didn’t want to chance it.

A clatter sounded as Angel tossed the broken mop handle away. She suggested, “If you’re looking for Buffy,” which wouldn’t surprise her in the least, “she’s still out on patrol. You should check in with Giles.”

“Actually, I just finished with Buffy,” he told her somewhat cryptically, a strange little smile tugging at one corner of his mouth.

Cordelia wasn’t surprised that they’d been patrolling together. “Please tell me that you got rid of the Judge. If you did I won’t have to go through with Xander’s plan.”

Angel seemed surprised that Xander had come up with an idea. “So where are you headed?” he asked curiously.

“Home. I have to change into something more—”

Finishing when she trailed off, Angel asked, “Comfortable?”

“Trashy.”

As she said it, Angel’s dark gaze slipped downward to her midriff top with its deep vee neck and the skin tight hipsters Cordelia was wearing. She’d learned to ignore lustful stares, but had never seen Angel look at her that way before with desire so openly written on his face. His gaze lingered on her rounded breasts, the curve of her waist, the flare of her hips, the juncture of her thighs, down to her sandled feet and painted toenails.

By the time he lifted his eyes again, Cordelia was quivering from the attention. It felt like he’d touched her, a phantom caress sweeping electric tingles across her skin. “Maybe I can help,” he offered silkily and only after her breath caught in her throat added, “with the plan.”

“Okay.” Cordy knew that Angel couldn’t really be coming onto her. Somehow, it had to be her imagination. This was all Xander’s fault. If he hadn’t run out on her and left her eager for kisses, she wouldn’t even consider the fact that Buffy’s boyfriend would be checking her out. “I’ll be happier having you along. Vampire skills might come in handy.”

Cordelia pressed the button on her key ring that unlocked her car eliciting a beep and a flash of lights. Angel’s hand closed over hers and gently took the keys. “I’m sure they will.” There was that purr again that made her shiver. “My skills are yours tonight. Let’s start with my driving. Why don’t you relax? I’ll take the wheel.”

There was something too suave about the way Angel acted that drew Cordelia’s suspicion. Something was going on here, but she hadn’t figured it out yet. At least Angel was paying attention to her even if it was in that old fashioned way of his. She decided to let him drive and slid into the passenger seat when he opened the door.

Once he was in the car, Cordelia fished for news. “What happened on patrol? I know you said you didn’t get rid of the Judge, but did you two have any luck?”

“Yeah, actually, we got lucky.” There was a pause as Angel said it, presumably as he maneuvered the car out of the parking lot onto the street. Got lucky? Cordelia’s imagination went into overdrive: Buffy and Angel together on a stormy night. “We managed to avoid being incinerated.”

Relief sounded, “Oh, good.” Not that it was any of her business if Buffy was boinking Angel, but a part of her really didn’t want it to happen. Quickly adding, “Avoidance of looking like burnt toast is always a good thing. I guess that leaves us with Xander’s plan.”

“What is his plan?”

Shrugging, Cordelia admitted, “I know nothing except that it involves me wearing trashy clothes.”

“Are you sure that he’s taking you on a mission and not planning something more… personal?”

Cordelia’s mouth dropped open. “Who, Xander? Pfft. Of course not. He wouldn’t dare try anything.”

The attempt to hide the relationship didn’t get very far. “He’s already been touching and kissing you tonight.”

“What?” Cordelia sputtered. “H-how do you know that? Willow hasn’t had time to tell Buffy yet, so she couldn’t have told you.”

Angel shifted gears and the car sped up as they turned onto Thousand Oaks Drive. “No one told me anything. I can smell it on you.”

Cheeks flaming, Cordelia lifted her fingers to her lips and thought back to the times she and Xander had snuck back into the library when Angel had been around. He had not given any indication that he’d noticed. “Not that it’s any of your business, but he won’t be kissing me anymore. And he certainly won’t be doing it tonight, plan or no plan.”

After a long period of silence, Angel asked, “You broke up?”

“We were never officially together, so I suppose we didn’t have to break up.”

He drove for a while longer without saying anything. Typical for him, but for once Cordelia was just as silent. She wasn’t happy about her non-breakup with Xander. It was totally his fault, but the fact that the blame was all his didn’t make her feel any better about it. After this thing with the Judge was over she resolved to get on with her life, sans Scoobies.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” Angel startled her out of her thoughts. His face was a mask of quiet resolve, sad, but not overly heart broken. “Buffy and I— we split up tonight, too. Irreconcilable differences.”

“What?!”

This had to be the reason for his sudden come-ons. Angel was on the rebound. Now his strange behavior started to make sense. “What happened? You were all over each other last night when you thought no one was looking.”

Angel raised a brow and glanced at her meaningfully. “But you were…looking?”

“Hello! I have eyes. Hard to avoid it.”

A low grunt of what might have been agreement sounded from his throat.

Still reeling, Cordelia thought about what she’d seen just last night, the two of them kissing like they couldn’t get enough of each other. She realized, “You dumped her the day after her birthday. Or were you the dumped one?” Buffy was an idiot if that was the case.

“It was a mutual decision. I showed her who I really am and she couldn’t handle it.”

Couldn’t handle what?

“Buffy has seen your game face plenty of times, so you had to do something to make her mad at you.” Cordelia folded her arms in front of her. “Did you try to bite her— like a vampire hickey thing?”

“Oh, Cordelia, Cordelia, you do tickle my funny bone.” There had been little in her experience to indicate that he had one until now. “Don’t be stupid.”

After the harsh ‘stupid’ comment, he smoothed it over with a smile, a soft sexy grin that made her stomach flip-flop. “I-I still don’t understand. What with all the kissing yesterday—”

“Kissing the wrong person can still be exciting,” Angel glanced her way. “You know how it is. Gets the blood flowing, but it means nothing.”

It certainly looked like something. “Nothing?”

“Like you and Harris. I can’t believe you let that moron get so close. You deserve better than that, Cordelia.”

No arguing that one. “True.”

“You know how he dotes on Buffy and the depths of his loyalty to Willow. You come in a distant third.”

That was true, too. Cordelia couldn’t deny it. The pain of it twisted her gut. She’d been complaining about it all day. Then Xander had to go and prove her words by running after Willow.

“He can’t even make up his mind what he wants. Can you really smell him on me?” Lifting her shirt to her nose, Cordelia didn’t detect anything except fabric softener.

“His scent is all over you, but it’s just his skin and the scent of his clothes having rubbed against yours.”

Cordelia scrunched up her nose. “You can tell all of that? God, I hope I don’t smell. What do I smell like? Not bad, I hope.”

He thought about it for a moment. “Your skin is scented with raindrops, soap, just a hint of your perfume and—”

Cutting him off, she gasped, “What? Not dumpster odor, I hope, because that would be gross.”

Angel paused at the light at the corner of Maple Court Road taking the opportunity to look into her questioning eyes. “My senses tell me more than you realize.”

That sounded like a polite way of saying he knew the reason her panties were damp with arousal. She supposed he could hear the way her heart was beating faster than it should. Or noticed the way his touch had left her trembling. She didn’t plan to be attracted to Angel. That was just the way it was. The way it had always been.

Until now she’d had plenty of reason to ignore it. She’d gotten over the fact that he was a vampire. Angel might not be as cuddly as a Care Bear with fangs, but he was one of the good guys. Dependable in a crunch, strong, handsome, made her insides do funny little twirls of excitement. Maybe a vampire slayer like Buffy had a hard time getting over the truth about Angel, but from Cordelia’s post Xander-is-a-jerk perspective, he looked pretty damn good.

“Oh. Well, if I smell that bad, I don’t want to know.” Cordelia decided that she was going to shower before heading out on Xander’s little mission. “How many showers do you think I can take in twenty minutes?”

There was that little quirk of a smile again. It was like ending it with Buffy rid him of some serious burden. Wow. He was actually lightening up a little and that was sexy.

“That depends on whether or not you’re alone. Twenty minutes might not be enough for one.”

Now that wasn’t subtle. Not at all. Angel was teasing her. Flirting. Surely he wasn’t serious about it, not after just breaking up. So why was her imagination going wild and picturing him all naked and gorgeous as they lathered each other up?

Down, girl.

“That was a rhetorical question. Besides, Xander expects me at Willow’s place.” She sounded almost disappointed about it. Not that she was really considering showering with Angel or that he was really suggesting it. Time to find out. “Are you flirting with me because you’re interested or because you’re just trying to take my mind off what happened tonight?”

Angel pulled to a stop at her front gate. His hand reached out, fingers curling around hers. “Maybe I’m doing both. Would that be wrong? We both know there’s something between us.”

Well, she was 100% certain of her feelings, but not about him. It was always blonde ambition with Angel. Buffy all the way. No matter how hard she threw herself at him. Flirted. Hinted. Practically kidnapped him the night he’d rescued her from that same dumpster and asked him to take her home because she was feeling fragile. He’d left her at the gate. This was as far as they’d gotten.

“Here we are again.” Cordelia stared down at their clasped hands and felt fidgety. Any other guy she’d know exactly where she stood, but Angel was something else. “Home sweet home.”

Those smoldering brown eyes made her melt. “What’s the gate code?” It took her a moment to remember.

Cordelia let out a shuddery breath at the sharp sense of loss that hit when his hand pulled away from hers. When Angel he turned to punch in the code she rolled her eyes at her response. Sheesh, desperate, much?

Trying to focus on their original conversation, she asked, “So you can really tell that Xander kissed me?”

Angel’s mouth tightened up before he answered, “Yes.” He didn’t volunteer any more information. He just left it at that.

Just as well. God, she didn’t want to talk about Xander, but thinking about him made it easier to ignore her suddenly renewed desires for Angel. He was a vampire, after all. A dead guy. Having a walking corpse as a friend was one thing, but wanting to jump his bones was another.

What was it that had scared Buffy away? It would’ve taken a crowbar to pry their lips apart. Maybe it was the whole vampire/vampire slayer thing. Instincts got in the way of happily ever after. Cordelia was all about listening to instincts. They’d saved her neck a few times.

“Park up front by the steps. There’s no one home right now,” Cordelia pointed to the curved drive that led directly to the front entrance. Their five car garage was toward the back of the house. “My parents are in Las Vegas. Daddy’s been kind of stressed about work lately. I think he needed a vacation.”

When the car came to a complete stop, Cordelia reached for the door handle. Angel’s hand covered hers. “Let me,” he said and then exited the car on his side. A silly little thrill shot up her spine at the gentlemanly move as he opened her door and helped her out of the car.

If Xander actually ever tried that she’d be suspicious of his motives. Angel was just old fashioned. Okay, maybe a little prehistoric at times. But on him, it was sexy.

They walked up the steps. He still had her keys and made the obvious choice to open the front door as he picked the house key from the others. The latch opened and the door swung inward at his gentle push, but Angel didn’t move inside.

“What are you waiting for?” Cordelia asked and then gasped when she remembered. “Oh, you’ve never been inside before. I guess that means you need an invitation.”

Angel waited silently, expectantly.

Deciding to tease him, she moved closer heading toward the doorway. “My parents always told me never to invite anyone into the house when they were away. I think they meant not to have any wild parties. Still, it’s good advice. You are a vampire.”

She took a step toward the threshold and felt Angel’s hand swiftly encircle her wrist. The loose grip was enough to stop her progress. God, he’d never touched her quite as deliberately as he’d done tonight, never spoken to her so directly before. Maybe Angel had finally woken up to the fact that there was something better out there for him.

“Take the advice, Cordelia,” his hushed tones caused a shiver. Angel smoothed his thumb over the pulse point at her wrist. Close, their bodies nearly brushed together as he said, “Don’t let me in if you don’t trust me.”

Tiny pinpricks left a trail of goosebumps on her skin. It wasn’t fear. Surprise, maybe. She did trust him. The little warning signals had nothing to do with the fact that he was a vampire. Choosing to ignore them, Cordelia reached up with her free hand to place it over his heart.

Laughing off the sense of seriousness that descended between them, Cordelia tossed her hair over her shoulder and smiled at him. “Who knew you could be such a dork. I trust you. My friends always have an open invitation here. That includes you.”

Cordelia led him inside, pulling back on the wrist he held until his big hand engulfed hers instead. “Come inside. I’m not going to have you skulking around the grounds while I get ready.”

Once inside, Angel dropped his hold and she immediately felt the loss of his touch. She watched him for a moment as his eyes wandered around the foyer with its grand staircase. “We probably don’t have time for the full tour,” she said, wishing they did. “The formal living room and dining rooms are over there. Daddy’s study is through that door. The kitchen is toward the back.”

Angel’s eyes followed the path of the stairs up to the second level balustrade. “Mind if I wander around while I’m waiting?”

“Go ahead. My rooms are upstairs. So, uh, that’s where I’m going.” Oh, geez. “If you want to watch t.v. or listen to some music, you could come with me. There’s a room next to mine where you can hang out.”

At the top of the landing the house separated into two wings. One held her parents’ rooms and two guest suites. The other wing belonged to her. The bedroom was twice the size it used to be. When she was 14, her parents had renovated the place for her birthday. An adjacent room served as her walk-in closet. The en-suite bathroom was actually one of her favorite places, with its huge tub. The lounge was across the hall and her personal gym beyond that.

He said nothing, just followed her up the stairs. Cordelia felt his gaze on her all the way up to the second level. It shouldn’t have been a big deal. She’d had people up here plenty of times. Guys, even. Not that anything ever happened. It never seemed right to make out while your parents were in the house.

But they were gone now, a little voice in her head reminded. Cordelia promptly told herself to shut up. Thinking about kissing Angel was a bad idea. Still, Xander would deserve it if she gave into her curiosity and the attraction that had never gone away. And whatever Buffy had done to screw things up between her and Angel, it was her own stupid fault.

“You can wait in here,” Cordelia showed him the lounge. When their arms brushed together accidentally, she froze, staring up, her entire body on alert knowing she wanted something from him.

Swaying closer, Cordelia looked up to see the matching hunger in his dark eyes. She let out a shaky breath, glanced at his lips, and lifted hers higher without a conscious decision to do so. At the last second, Angel’s words whispered across her lips, “Go take your shower.”

For a second she felt the sting of rejection. Then she realized, Oh, God. Xander lips. Heat flushed her cheeks. No wonder he didn’t want her kissing him.

“I’ll be as quick as I can.”

“I can be very patient.”

That sounded like more un-Angel-like flirting leaving her confused and feeling a little dizzy. Maybe he was just being polite. Angel had the politeness thing down pat. Even though he had admitted being attracted, she decided to set the record straight. She liked to know where she stood.

“Look, Angel, I know you just broke up with Buffy and I—I’ve decided to stop seeing Xander, but this thing between us is—”

“Going to happen.”

Stunned, Cordelia took a step back and bumped into the doorframe. He sounded so confident. Even though the idea secretly thrilled her, Cordelia didn’t like being taken for granted. “In your dreams, buddy. I’m not that easy.”

Angel had the gall to chuckle. “Who was about to kiss whom?” He moved close again forcing her to put a hand up to maintain a smidgeon of space between them.

The hard edge of his belt buckle dug into the heel of her hand. Wincing at the sharp sensation, Cordelia slid her palm across the front of his shirt sloping up to his chest, all solid male beneath her touch. “Doesn’t matter. That doesn’t change the fact that you’re on the rebound.”

“Don’t waste your time arguing about the inevitable. Tell me, kitten,” he whispered the endearment as he leaned closer and trailed a finger down from her shoulder to elbow, creeping her out and turning her on at the same time, “have you two done more than kiss? Because it seems to me that you would have plenty of opportunity.”

It was hard to be irritated when his touch turned her to jelly. Instead of her usual crushing remark, she managed a weak, “Hey, what kind of girl do you think I am?”

“Beautiful.”

“Oh.” Well, she couldn’t deny the obvious. About time he noticed. Cutting him some slack, “I think you keep forgetting that we’re in the 20th Century. Girls don’t have to stay virginal until we get married or die from boredom.”

Angel looked amused. He continued to crowd her against the doorframe, standing so close that it kept her on edge. She didn’t want to run. Right now the urge to slap his handsome face put an almost irresistible itch in her right hand. Her life was already like some horrible B-movie at times. She didn’t need to make it worse.

“So tell me— are you?”

Staring back, Cordelia gave him her best you’ve-got-to-be-kidding stare. “Virginal? That is strictly on a need to know basis.”

The corner of his mouth curled just a bit. “Maybe I need to know.”

“I shouldn’t have to point this out to you,” Cordelia huffed, “but just because I’m a cheerleader doesn’t mean I’m a slut. Xander and I never moved beyond the kissing stage—well, unless you count the groping in the broom closet two days ago.”

Somehow it sounded less romantic when she said it aloud and Angel wasn’t exactly impressed, either. “Groping in the broom closet?”

“Don’t look so shocked,” Cordelia laughed at his stunned expression. “What do you expect— Don Juan? Xander is just a high school guy, not a two hundred-year-old manpire with oodles of experience. Geez.”

Damn, that sexy smile was back again. Where had he been hiding it? Nervously licking her lips, Cordelia wondered if Angel was just curious or asking for another reason. His questions were intimate. Considering their limited past interactions, Cordy was confused by the sudden attention. Not that her body seemed to care. It was practically humming.

“Er— Angel, I have to get ready if we’re gonna be at Willow’s house on time.”

Cordelia showered as quickly as she could, dried off and put on her fluffy bathrobe. After drying her hair she walked back into the bedroom. Several items of clothing had been draped across her bedspread while she was out of the room. Creeping across the carpet on her bare feet as if the discovery was due to some strange phenomenon instead of the obvious, Cordy realized that Angel had gone through her closet and selected clothes for her to wear on this mission of trashiness.

Not only picked out a top and skirt, but his selection process also included choosing her underwear. She nibbled on her lower lip while examining his choices. There was a combination of black lace, sheer silk and soft leather on the bed. Things that she had worn with other items, but never together.

Reaching for the lace panties, Cordy slipped them on under the robe sliding them up her legs and over her hips. Untying the knot in the belt, she let the terrycloth robe pool at her ankles. She put on the matching black bra next, glancing at her reflection in the floor-length mirror. There was a little garter belt that had actually been part of a costume and black silk stockings that felt like heaven against her skin as she slipped them on. The leather mini-skirt came next followed by the silky black top that was practically transparent making her breasts stand out like beacons in the sexy bra that showed them to their advantage.

Staring at her own image, Cordelia reached out to touch the flat surface of the mirror as if she could block out the startling view. Just the thought that Angel had been rummaging through her panty drawer and closet to select what she was wearing made her head spin. She lowered her hand from the mirror, pressing it to her skin, running a finger down the edge of her bra where it showed through the sheer top.

Then another finger, not her own, traced the same pattern at her back. Angel’s voice deepened as he pressed his cheek against her loose hair. “Nice tattoo,” she felt his touch brush across the part that peeked above the low rise mini.

Cordelia’s eyes darted upward, staring into the mirror futilely. Naturally, the vampire cast no reflection. Her breathing was shaky and her heartbeat sounded loud in her ears. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough,” he continued to trace patterns against the silk top.

A flash of anger hit at the wrongness of it, but mainly because it hadn’t diminished the thrill. “Not only do I not like being spied on— you went through my stuff,” she accused.

“Do you like what you’re wearing?” Angel purred in her ear eliciting a tiny moan. Her head fell back against his shoulder, eyes half closing. “Amazing how you can dress like that and yet look so innocent and vulnerable at the same time. Pure sweet sex standing there on a pair of incredible legs.”

Cordelia was certain the outfit qualified as trashy. She thought of the mission. “D-do you think this is what Xander had in mind?”

Angel’s reaction couldn’t be seen in the mirror, but she sensed anger sweep through him and take hold. The teasing finger that roved randomly across bits of her exposed flesh was joined by its mates in gripping her hip. “Forget about the whelp, Cordelia. I think we both know I’d react badly if he ever saw you like this.”

“You take a lot for granted. Maybe I want him to see me. Unlike some people around here I’m not the type to be lead around on a leash.” Her brow curved challengingly as she paused for effect. Still staring into the mirror, she added, “I’m not yours to order around.”

“Not yet.”

“A-Angel?” Cordelia was feeling aroused and a little scared at the same time as she realized he had no intention of letting her go on the mission. This wasn’t just about flirtation. There was no mistaking his arousal as her body pressed close against his. “What are you doing?”

He answered her with a caress, his hands sliding circles across her skin until she was trembling under his touch. Fear or anticipation? Cordelia thought it might be a little of both.

“Do you know what you do to me, Cordelia?” A whisper sounded in her ear, low and rough as if it came on a moment of self-discovery. “What you’ve always done to me?”

“No,” Cordy shuddered against him as a wave of pleasure followed the soft press of his mouth against her earlobe.

Cordelia stared into the mirror seeing her reflection writhe in reaction and feeling Angel’s cool hands on her body, but without seeing him. Those incredibly capable hands curled around her breasts just testing their weight, cupping gently instead of mauling like other guys might do.

“I want you,” his voice descended into a near-growl she felt all the way down to her belly. His confession made her head spin, but before Cordelia could respond, Angel added, “Normally, I’d make you wait. Drag it out until you were desperate for me, but there are too many distractions outside these walls. It has to be tonight.”

Anyone other than Angel would’ve been out on his ass from the moment she’d seen that he’d touched her clothes. Cordelia couldn’t deny that it turned her on. That this dangerous game made her want to forget that only an hour ago she’d been Xander Harris’ unofficial girlfriend or that Angel was just on the rebound.

Yanking herself out of his embrace, Cordelia whirled around to face him. “Stop this!” She planted her hand on his firm chest and pushed herself back out of his embrace until there was visible space between them. “What’s gotten into you? One night of being Buffyless and suddenly you’re all ‘I want you’.”

“Nothing’s gotten into me. For the first time in ages I feel like myself again. You’re thinking too much, Cor. It doesn’t suit you.”

Rising anger swept through with a flash of heat burning her cheeks and hammering her heart. It wasn’t so much the insult—for which he would pay later. “Why tonight?” Standing toe to toe with Angel, she poked a finger sharply at his chest. “Don’t think that you can snap your fingers and get me into bed. I’m nobody’s one night stand.”

Angel stared down into her eyes until she thought she’d combust. He was closer than she expected, crowding into her space, his face only inches away from hers. “You’re right about one thing, Cordelia,” he enunciated each syllable of her name so that it clung to his lips like sticky honey. “You’re worth much more than just one night.”

Air hitched in her throat as she drew in a breath and for a moment it was her turn to forget about anything beyond the reach of her senses. The way her anger faded into a sea of confused feelings and the undeniable attraction that kept floating back to the surface. “W-we should go. They’ll be waiting.”

Brushing past him, Cordelia headed back across the hall. Not about to be put off, Angel called out to her, “Can you deny that you want me?”

Hah. Not likely. Cordelia was certain he could sense the proof of it. Damn vampire senses. “You blew your chance back at the Bronze when I first set eyes on you.”

Confusion sparked his gaze for a moment. Apparently he thought the first time they had crossed paths was at the library. “That doesn’t matter now.” Angel palmed her face brushing his thumb against the curve of her cheekbone. “Aren’t you curious to know how we kiss?”

The question itself was a tease luring her in. Ignoring the urge to find out proved impossible. Her gaze dropped away from his eyes down to his tempting lips still shiny from the subtle sweep of his tongue. One quick kiss couldn’t harm anyone.

Cordelia’s lips opened instinctively as he pulled her close, their bodies finally making full contact. The delicious press of her curves against his body made her moan and she threw her arms around his neck to hold herself there. His provoking kisses made her knees go weak. He sucked on her lips until they were ruby red from the contact, licked them in a way she felt all the way down to her belly where a persistent bulge pressed against her softness.

For a moment, Angel lifted his head to stare knowingly into hers. Cordelia moaned a protest, swiftly pulling his head down to kiss him again. She heard him growl and his big hands spread over the curves of her ass, bringing her into closer contact with his cock, and lifting her up off her feet. She crisscrossed her ankles behind him, holding tight.

With her breasts practically in his face, Angel bent his head to lick at the shadowy cleavage created by the lacy lingerie. Cordelia shuddered lustily at the hot wave of sensation. She’d never been this turned on before, felt so wet down there.

Angel slowly set her down on her wobbly legs. She pressed her hands against his chest searching for stability, finding him solidly sexy. Hazy eyed with arousal she moved her hands up and down across the soft grey shirt acting as a barrier to the thick muscle beneath.

He threaded his fingers through her hair, gently caressing her scalp as he rubbed his mouth against the soft tresses. His path wavered moving across her rosy cheek, and finally to her lips where he made a gruff whisper, “Be mine tonight, Cordelia,” before covering her mouth with another drugging kiss.

Words she’d imagined a thousand times. This time real. No time for consideration. Or thought of consequences. Her answer was in her eyes as their kiss ended. Angel took one step back watching her with a hungry light glinting in his gaze. Almost predatory in its intensity.

It didn’t frighten her. Cordelia felt exhilarated. She already missed the excitement of his touch. “Yes.”

Consent was barely out of her mouth when Angel’s large hands snagged her beneath the arms, lifted her up and tossed her onto the bed. Somehow they’d made it all the way into her bedroom without her noticing. Bouncing onto the mattress, Cordelia let out a little shriek of laughter that quickly faded into a sigh when Angel immediately followed her down. His broad shoulders blotted out the light. The weight of his body descended onto hers, moving and shifting as his renewed kisses ventured to bits of uncovered skin.

Cordelia nipped at his chin, licked at the bump of his Adam’s apple, and tried her best to unbutton Angel’s shirt. The skillful distraction of his mouth and hands kept her head spinning. A moue of frustration sounded at her trembling fingers as they fumbled together. The tiny buttons wouldn’t cooperate.

Finally, Angel sat back, his powerful thighs straddling her. Black pants stretched tight across thick muscle and heavy arousal. He yanked the shirttail loose and pulled the shirt over his head, his smooth, pale torso stretching as he moved. The buttons on the cuffs popped off and he discarded the grey silk on the bed.

Sitting up, Cordelia ran her hands across his chest enjoying the sensation and the deep grunt that sounded from Angel’s throat as she lightly trailed her nails across his nipples and licked at his collarbone. Angel grabbed her wrists, and nudged her back down to the bed, restraining her for a scary moment when his eyes flashed gold.

He quickly flipped them over, his back to the bed, Cordelia straddling him. “Oh,” she gasped upon settling down on the unmistakable thickness now wedged between her thighs.

Angel only grinned before pulling her into another kiss, his hips grinding up at a slow pace that seemed designed to drive her insane. She’d never really cared about what was in a guy’s pants before. Health class and a few too many classic statues of nude males had left little to the imagination. Or so she thought. Groping sessions hadn’t exactly provided much enlightenment compared to the big bulge rocking against her secret places.

Tonight, with Angel, she was ready to find out. Cordelia clasped his face with both hands, taking over when his kiss teased too much. She opened her mouth across his, letting her tongue dip inside, her hair falling in a curtain around them. He let her explore his mouth, eagerly plying him with wild kisses.

Cordelia felt his hands clench her hips when the tip of her tongue traced the bumpy housing of his fangs along the roof. A long moan sounded into her mouth. He rocked into her rhythmically settling off internal sparklers when he bumped into her clit time and again.

Hazel eyes slammed shut, the distraction shifting her focus, her mouth lifting away from his. Angel growled when she stopped. He lifted one hand to her nape holding her just tight enough to draw her attention. They rolled again, his body covering hers with Cordelia’s legs splayed open, and Angel rocking into the cradle of her hips. She whined needily, her body shifting into his, recognizing that it wanted more.

He ran the flat of his hand down from her neck, fingers trailing across her pulse, to the curve of one breast where he traced the scalloped lace through the diaphanous blouse. “I want to see you now.”

She’d never trembled so much in her entire life. Inside, it felt like her whole body was quaking. One hope filled her thoughts. Maybe he couldn’t tell.

Rising onto his knees, Angel backed off the bed pulling her with him so that she sat on the edge. He sank down in front of her with his hungry eyes staring into hers; his hands braced on the bed bedside her. Nervous, Cordelia started to reach for the tiny pearl buttons on her blouse wondering how she could handle them when she’d failed to undo his.

“Let me,” Angel’s fingers brushed hers away. “You’re wearing the clothes I selected. It’s only fair that I take them off.”

Cordelia’s eyebrow twitched into a high arch. “If you say so.” Suddenly, her nerves steadied again. She felt smothered by her clothes despite the skimpy outfit.

One by one Angel threaded the buttons through their holed, his fingers sliding down silken skin with each step. Done, he brushed the blouse away from her left shoulder and leaned in to kiss the soft golden skin he’d exposed. With a gentle tug, the thin material fell away pooling at her wrists and behind her hips fully revealing the sexy sight of her breasts cupped in the lacy bra.

He reached forward, but only to drop his hands to her wrists, popping open the last buttons holding her blouse in place. Cordelia almost felt disappointed, thinking he would touch her. Beneath the thin lace, her breasts felt sensitive, achy and far too perky.

Angel’s hands stayed at her wrists as Cordelia subconsciously arched toward him and enticingly displayed herself. Lightly, he rubbed his lips across her breasts, licking at the edge of lace and skin, barely grazing her nipples. She let out a cry of want and tried to pull her hands loose in order to lead him where she wanted, but while his grip was gentle, it was also unbreakable.

Retaliating without forethought, she leaned down and nipped at his ear. Angel raised his head, capturing her mouth in a punishing kiss that only added fuel to the fire. He stripped away her blouse then hooked a finger beneath her bra strap. Cordelia felt it drop down her arm. Angel followed suit with the other, and then shifted to look down at her breasts as he reached behind her to unclasp the hook.

Lace rasped across her nipples as the cups fell away. “You’re beautiful,” he told her again. With two fingers he traced the curve of one breast, finally opening his palm to close around it. Cordelia arched into his touch instinctively searching for more, her eyes shuttered closed, head thrown back.

“Beautiful and mine,” he muttered possessively causing a thrill. His touch was electric revving her up and shocking in the way it made her want so much so fast. The flat of his tongue lapped along the warm pulse pounding in her throat, which should spark a danger signal or two, but all it did was make her arch into his touch, desperate for more.

She lay supine again, legs raised on the edge of the bed to release the pressure on her back. Angel was on his feet arched over her, kissed sucking softly at her neck and across her collarbone as his hands caressed her naked breasts. With her hands free, Cordelia nudged his head lower, her fingers pleading when the words she normally relied upon sounded out in unintelligible mewls.

Angel got the hint. His mouth closed over one nipple, sucking soft and deep, eliciting a low cry from Cordelia’s throat. A wet pop sounded at its release. He flicked it with his tongue and followed with caresses as he moved across to her other breast.

Writhing in pleasure, she hooked one leg over his hip, needing the closeness of their bodies. Her miniskirt was jacked up around her waist. Angel held her that way for a moment and put his hand on her belly letting his thumb stretch down to follow the elastic line of her panties.

Arousal soaked through her crotch to the tented front of Angel’s pants. He held still, no longer thrusting against her, just watching and waiting for a reaction. She licked her lips as she watched him, still trying to catch her breath. “Angel,” the growl won out as she struggled to lift herself up on her elbows.

“Want something?” His eyes darkened as his hand dipped beneath the elastic band and threaded through her trimmed curls to tease her slick flesh, sliding, rubbing, fingering her in an off-beat rhythm that made her curl her hips and open her thighs just a little wider.

“Yes! Ooh, yesssss.” Cordelia arched into his touch. Her hand skittered down toward his, stopping short of helping or hindering his stroking actions.

“Tell me what you want, Cordelia.”

More. He already knew, but wanted the words on her lips. She gave him a look that begged for everything. “Just you.”

He stopped, pulled his hand out of her panties and eased her back down to the bed. With practiced ease, he began to remove his shoes and socks. His belt came off next. A loud clank sounded as it hit the floor. “Say it, Cordelia.” Her gaze focused at his navel and the thin line of hair coming into view as Angel unbuttoned his pants and reached for the zipper.

On the bed, Cordelia rose to her knees facing him, her hands sliding across smooth skin to his shoulders. She leaned forward to convince him with a kiss. “I want you, Angel, so much”

A hand clasped her chin holding her gaze to his. “Use my real name tonight.” Angel’s command confused her for a moment.

Thinking hard, she finally remembered, “Liam,” flashing a triumphant smile.

Angel scowled. “Don’t try my patience. That’s not my name.” He trailed his fingertip along her collarbone. “It’s Angelus. Use it.”

“Angelus.” The name rolled off her tongue as she tested the sound while trying to guess if he was joking. “No way. Isn’t that the name the evil you used back in the day?”

Another intoxicating kiss distracted her from the question. Cordelia tightened her arms around his neck pulling herself flush against him, her breasts pressed into him. “Forget about the past,” he said while smooching his way across her lips. “It’s now that matters. Tonight. The way I make you feel.”

Cordelia could deal with the fact that she was about to make love to a vampire. This was Angel, after all, a onetime fantasy now real and more exciting than her dreams. Besides, Angel was a good guy as well as being a hottie. Being reminded that he was once an evil soulless mass-murdering blood-sucker wasn’t exactly a big turn-on.

With her sexiest smile, the one practiced a thousand times in her vanity mirror along with her thousand watt grin and icy glare, Cordelia urged him on, “Right now I’ll call you Geronimo if you want—as long as you keep kissing me.”

A soft bark of laughter followed before he continued his trail of kisses. He was so hot when he smiled. Make that hot anytime. Angel lifted a knee onto the bed. Before she could blink Cordelia found herself stretched out across the messy comforter.

Catching her lower lip between her teeth, she watched his body bend over hers and his head descend. For a moment she thought he was going there. A flash of anticipatory panic hit causing her heartbeat to thunder in her ears. But Angel dipped down at her belly pressing feather light kisses across her skin. Then his wet tongue rimmed her navel sending shockwaves deep within.

Noisy breaths left her throat, pants and half moans. Cordelia gripped his shoulders, her hands moving restlessly, her hips arching off the bed with each caress. A thumb hooked under the elastic edge of her panties. Instantly still and wide-eyed, Cordelia stared down at the hand slowly disappearing beneath the black silk.

Fingers threaded through the hidden curls covering her mound reaching lower to cup her there where she was so hot, slick and sensitive. He held his hand there without moving it, just holding her there as he stared into her eyes. “Mine,” Angel shifted upward to claim her mouth again.

“Yes.” She liked the idea. Cordelia eagerly accepted his kiss. It left her breathless and hungry for more.

Slowly, Angel released her and removed his hand from her panties. She reached out to him, but he shook his head. “Patience.” He mapped the contours of her legs with his hands, the combination of his touch and the sheer silk stockings driving her crazy with want. Every time he slid up to her thighs, his fingers running over the garters, the lace edge of the stockings and her bare skin, Cordelia let out a moan.

Angel seemed to get off on the sounds, so she didn’t bother to try to contain them any more. He was on his knees between her spread thighs, his unbuttoned pants still tented with the evidence of his arousal, hard and untouched. Cordelia’s curiosity and her desire to quickly put an end to their foreplay, no matter how delicious it seemed, took over.

She pushed into a sitting position and grabbed his head with both hands. Enjoying the surprise on his face, she grinned just before kissing him and trying out that thing with her tongue that made him moan earlier. He did it again when the tip caressed the roof of his mouth.

Emboldened by his response, Cordelia let her hands follow the angles of his chest to his waist, her fingers slipping across the front of his pants. A gruff rumble sounded into her mouth followed swiftly by an explicit word that might have been a curse or a prediction.

As Angel eased her back down onto the bed, he swept his gaze across her wild hair, bare breasts, golden skin and the contrast of black silk. “Kitten, you’re turning into quite a tigress. I might have to keep you.”

“Maybe you should,” Cordelia’s hinted that she had no intention of letting this be a one night stand.

Angel shifted to stand at the foot of the bed taking her panties with him as he went. He slid them slowly down her legs, biding his time, tantalizing her as he went with a simultaneous caress. Bunching them in his hand, Angel tucked them into his pocket. Then he reached for his zipper and eased it down.

Cordelia gulped and turned her eyes toward the ceiling. A dark chuckle sounded that irked her into focusing on Angel again. Naked, he was beautiful in his maleness, with contrasting dark hair and pale skin. His strength evident in the broad shoulders and angled muscles, defined yet not exaggerated. Torso angling downward to the dip of his belly button and the intriguing little line of hair that flared into a dark thatch around the base of the hard shaft jutting sharply from his body and the soft pouch beneath.

Kicking his pants aside, Angel climbed back onto the bed. A head rush caught Cordy by surprise as she rocketed into a sitting position again. “Scared?” she heard him ask and realized her eyes were closed. His fingers gently swept across her cheek before he took her chin in hand.

Her eyes blinked open. “Scared? Pfft. No.”

Good thing he didn’t call her a liar because she was borderline petrified by the idea of Angel putting that thing inside her. Maybe it wasn’t as big as it looked. Cordelia decided to test the idea and shake off her jitters at the same time. Reaching forward, she trailed a hand from his chest all the way down to his cock. Her fingers wrapped around him somewhere in the middle barely meeting as they circled his girth.

So much for that theory.

He’d gone completely still, his eyes hooded and dark with lust as they focused on the sight of her hand as she experimentally stroked him. Cordelia stayed away from the tip that looked so alien peeking at her from its foreskin and shiny with fluid. Until he reached down to enclose his big hand over it, and practically growling at the feeling as his hand half-covered hers while they both touched his cock.

“You like it there?” Cordelia took his wrist in her other hand, easing him away so she could fully explore him.

She recognized the look that suggested he wanted to throw her down on the bed a moment before she was tumbled across it. Angel kissed her like a wild man, hungry and demanding. His mouth trailed across to her throat. He licked her there, grazed blunt teeth across her pulse point and licked again, tasting the rise of blood to the surface.

Before Cordelia could even think about why that might be dangerous, Angel moved on to her breasts. His hands plumped them up for attention, which he gave in full. Below, she could feel his erection pressing into her thigh. Shifting instinctively, she moved so he came into contact with her aching center. They both moaned. Angel’s hips bucked forward, the contact setting off sparklers again.

Reaching down between them, Angel took his cock in hand, positioning the tip at her opening, sliding it around the wetness of her outer lips before penetrating. Cordelia let out a little noise and grabbed two handfuls of comforter, her eyes riveted to what was happening. Angel’s hands curled over her splayed legs to close over her hips.

The urge to scoot away was strong, but Cordelia knew this was just the hard part. It had to get better. With just the tip inside her she already felt stretched open and the feeling wasn’t the greatest. She whimpered for him to get on with it. Angel complied by rocking into her, his cock shifting deeper and deeper breaching through the thin virginal barrier to bury himself inside.

“Too much,” she squirmed and pushed at his shoulders as he lowered himself onto her. “It’s too much, Angel. It hurts.”

“Angelus,” the growl reminded her of his request to be called his original vampire name. Cordelia didn’t give a damn what he wanted to be called. She fought his kiss when it came until his tongue darted across her lips and her mouth opened to him like a flower to the sun. Her arms stopped pushing him away and looped around his neck.

He started to move, his shallow thrusts causing darts of residual pain. Stretched so tight, Cordelia whimpered against his mouth. His fingers found her clit rubbing it again and again as his thrusts became heavier, faster, deeper. The pain diminished leaving startling sensations in its wake.

Cordelia clasped her legs around his back, her hips shifting into his thrusts. God, yes, that was good. She smiled into his shoulder as she held on tight. Kissing her way up to his ear, she nipped at the lobe. “Are all vampires built like redwoods or just you?”

“Mine is the only cock that concerns you,” Angel reached around to squeeze her ass. “Say my name, tigress. I want to make sure you know who you belong to.”

The possessive tone might have been a turn-off if he wasn’t inside her when he said it. At that moment, she wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiment. Each hard stroke brought her closer and closer to the fireworks set to go off inside her. Calling Angel by his old fashioned full name was hardly a sacrifice.

“Angelus.” A hint of gold appeared in his eyes. “Angelus.” She said it again. After that it was hard to say anything coherent at all. Every thrust brought another ‘ahh’ to her lips or some other sexy moan that caused him to grunt his approval and fuck her even more vigorously.

His body banged into hers almost painfully, but Cordelia didn’t want him to stop. She screamed as she came, clutching his muscular ass with both hands and grinding into him. The intensity of her orgasm was like nothing experienced during her late night, under-the-cover masturbation sessions.

A stray thought popped into her head. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong.

Another surprise: Angel wasn’t finished. He was still hard. The tempo slowed down. The rhythm changed. No longer fast and rough, gentling again, and stirring up new feelings even while her insides seemed to be reeling. Still sore, Cordelia felt her body accommodating him, opening up, clenching around him. Their hands coasted across each other’s skin now glistening with sweat. They kissed tenderly.

“Tell me, Cordy,” Angel nuzzled her jaw pushing it to expose the turn of her throat to his view. His lips grazed her silky skin. “Where were you the day the Watcher told your precious Scooby Gang about my past?”

The question caught her off guard. Cordelia was enjoying the new pace and shifted her legs higher. “What’s this, Angel, Twenty Questions?”

Using that name was a mistake. He reared back onto his knees, pulling out of her while simultaneously vamping out. Cordelia let out a confused shriek when a hand wrapped around her neck. He yanked her forward.

“What’s my name, Cordelia?”

Stubbornly, she answered, “Angel— or Insane Bastard. Take your pick. Get away from me. What is your problem?”

“I don’t have one now that the fucking soul is gone. You have Buffy to thank for that, tigress. My curse is broken.”

Cordelia stared into his demonic yellow eyes, horrified at the realization of why Angel had seemed so different tonight. This wasn’t Angel at all. This was the demon in his purest form. Somehow she doubted he was here just for the sex. “You’re going to kill me tonight, aren’t you?”

The tears stung her eyes, but wouldn’t fall. Angry shrieks sounded when he forcibly flipped her onto her stomach and pressed her into the mattress with his own weight. “You might as well relax. I’m not done with you yet.”

Frightened and unable to move, Cordelia felt more kisses raining in a trail down her spine. He licked at the tattoo he’d admired at the small of her back, something she’d done on a whim. Despite being afraid, she couldn’t contain her verbal reaction to the sensation as his wet tongue circled the sun and moon design.

Shifting again, Angelus pulled at her hips until she was positioned on her knees, still bent over while his hands roved over her ass and thighs. His touch was toxic and yet stirred something inside her. Trapped between her fear and desire, Cordelia twisted to watch as he reached between her thighs to stroke her pussy.

A whimper caught in her throat when she tried to contain her response. Her hips bucked back toward his hand silently encouraging more despite the wrongness of it. A long finger penetrated the outer folds as he stroked into her wet heat. “No. Don’t. Please, Angelus.”

Begging only spurred him on. Angelus replaced his finger with his cock. Penetrating deeply on the first stroke, he held her hips as he pistoned into her slowly. No longer playing the part of Angel, he dropped all pretenses by telling her how lucky she was that he didn’t have time to torture her properly.

“Normally I’d drag this out for weeks, even months, before taking you into my bed.”

“Shut up.” Cordelia couldn’t listen to him and simultaneously contain her response to the slow, deep rhythm of his fucking.

“I’d stalk you until you started jumping at shadows,” Angelus revealed sinisterly. He ran a hand along her spine and snagged a handful of wild tresses tugging back until it was just this side of painful. Adding, “Until you wanted to find me there.”

The slow pace was starting to get to her. Cordelia thought she might be able to get past this if he got on with it, but Angelus seemed both determined to and capable of making her come despite knowing what he planned. Vehemently denying that she would ever get obsessed with him, “Never. I’d never want you,” she contradicted herself by whimpering lustfully as his hands shifted around to play with her breasts.

Angelus lifted her torso off the bed pulling her body closer into the vee created by his spread thighs. Bracing her hands on his knees, Cordelia rocked against him trying to make him hasten the process or fuck her harder, but the pace remained methodical and slow. Cordelia was getting desperate to come, an urgency building up inside her.

He was at her throat nudging her hair aside and exposing the long cord of her neck and its fluttering pulse. The flat of his tongue dragged across it followed by the teasing scrape of fangs when he opened his mouth. A whimper of fear escaped in anticipation of a bite that didn’t come.

Angelus pressed his mouth to her ear, telling her, “You want what I’m giving you.” The hand holding her throat slipped down the length of her torso to place where they were joined together. A dark chuckle sounded at her body’s automatic response.

“I hate you!” Cordelia shrieked and kept shouting it until she was hoarse with it. That didn’t stop him. Instead, he started fucking her in earnest. Cordelia’s orgasm hit with the force and surprise of a rising tsunami.

Pulling out, Angelus flipped her over and pounded back in without missing a beat. He gave her the freedom of her hands. Cordelia saw it as an advantage, but his broad shoulders were immovable. Scratching and biting followed. Her nails scraped at his chest and neck. She flung her upper body off the bed, wrapping her arms around him to gain leverage, sinking her teeth into his jaw deep enough to draw blood. It had an unexpected reaction. Instead of howling in pain, Angelus’ moan was deeply sexual.

Only after he tackled her to the mattress and pinned her hands over her head did it occur to her that biting a vampire might not be the best form of defense. A predatory gleam darkened in his golden eyes. Muscles bunched and strained across his chest and neck. Fangs flashed white a moment before they descended toward her throat.

Cordelia screamed as the fangs pierced her neck. Momentary pain followed by wet warmth and the sensation of Angelus’ open mouth and tongue. Dizziness hit at the sound of gulping. Then he came with such intensity that he lifted his head away to call out her name during the last few hard thrusts.

Terrified, she pleaded for her life. “A-Angelus, please, I don’t want to die.” Cordelia knew the sex was only a prelude to her death, but held onto the slim hope that she could convince him to let her live.

“Pleasure and death are my gifts to you, Cordelia.” Angelus watched her tears pour forth without a shred of remorse. It was an emotion he knew nothing about. His softening sex slipped from her body leaving a damp trail across her thigh when he pinned her down. “Enjoy oblivion while it lasts.”

Returning to her throat, Angelus lapped at the blood leaking from the twin wounds. Pure pleasure rose from his chest in the form of a deep rumble. It was impossible to move, so Cordelia reminded him weakly, “I hate you.”

Angelus didn’t bother to respond. She felt her blood being drained and the vampire’s tongue lapping sensually as he fed. Even now she felt a tingle of desire. “Hate you,” Cordelia muttered so softly she wasn’t certain that she had said it aloud.

Maybe she just hated herself for falling for the adoring Angel act. Buffy’s stoic lapdog was suddenly flirty and chatty. That should’ve tipped her off. Cordelia remembered that she had thought his behavior was out of whack, but how was she supposed to know his curse was breakable? She’d trusted him. Wanted him. Worst of all, liked the broody guy.

Somewhere in the haze overtaking her, Cordelia muttered, “Could’ve loved you.” She started to drift off and felt someone patting her cheek.

“Wake up. Open your eyes. Don’t die on me yet,” ordered Angelus as he shifted to her side. “How do you feel?”

Cordelia struggled to focus. His demon features morphed back to his handsome face, Angel’s face. “I’m dying, you bastard. Take a guess.”

Gently threading his fingers through her hair, easing the wild strands away from the bite on her throat giving him an unobstructed view. “Feisty to the end. I’m going to watch you take your last breath.”

“Thirsty,” Cordelia muttered.

Angelus lifted his arm, slit his wrist and held it to her mouth. “Then drink, tigress. You may die, but I’ll make sure you live again— as mine.”

The End.


SEQUEL:   Promise of the Night: Darkness   (Completed Novel-length Story)


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