Scenes 81 – 90

Season of Solace

81: The Crawford Street Mansion, Central Sunnydale

Angel Stunned2

Angel stood staring at the closed bathroom door stunned that Cordelia had just beaten him at his own game. In her case, “Later,” sounded more like a promise to drive him crazy with wanting her.

On top of everything he was feeling tonight, it was like lighting a fire inside intended to consume him. He wanted to show her in more than mere words that her desire for him was returned, needed to feel her heart beating against him. All he had to do was go in there.

Listening, he heard her shuffling around behind the door. The cabinet doors opened and closed as she looked for the towels. Rollers on a drawer slid open and then water started to splash in the sink. Knowing the contents of the drawer, he guessed she was after the toothpaste and imagined her standing there thinking about using his toothbrush.

“There’s a new toothbrush in the cabinet behind you,” Angel called out to the door and then decided it was time to give her a little privacy. He heard her gasp, let out a gruff little growl and then move over to the cabinet.

“Are you sure you don’t have x-ray vision?” Cordelia called out letting the cabinet close with a bang.

Letting that one go, Angel figured he had time to change clothes before she returned. He could do with a shower, too, but there were other things that he needed to do if Cordelia was going to stay the night, and every night to come until he was convinced that she was safe from harm. He glanced back at the bed and figured he would have to drag one of the chaise lounges in for himself.

Angel hung his leather coat in the closet and started on the buttons of his shirt. He normally did not wear anything to bed. With Cordelia around, he figured he better opt for boxers or sweats. Not tonight, though. Planning to change into a clean shirt and pants, he knew that he needed to be ready for anything. The demon managed to track Dru for quite some time before finally losing the trail, and Angel still did not know how he had managed to find Cordelia at Bev’s place.

For all they knew, he was aware of Cordelia’s associations and might find his way here. It was a remote possibility, but Angel was not going to take chances. The mansion itself was wide open to attack. Starting tomorrow, he would need help to secure it.

Stripping off his shirt, Angel noticed that the shower had not come on yet. All he heard was muffled cries coming from behind the door accompanied by the soft shifting of the layers of her dress rubbing against each other. Just when he was about to approach the door, it flew open to reveal Cordelia teary-eyed, frustrated and ready to scream. She stalked out of the bathroom heading directly for him while holding up the long skirt of her gown with both hands.

Stopping arms distance away, she dropped her hold letting it flounce back to the floor. “This dress is evil,” she announced and sniffed away the last of her tears.

“Definitely wicked,” Angel muttered in agreement though he had a feeling she meant something different. “Problems?”

It took a moment for his words to sink in. She had not expected to find him half naked and the experience was a little distracting as her flustered gaze traveled down his bare chest. With a slow blink, she realized Angel knew she was staring.

Turnabout was definitely fair play in her book. “Problems? Oh! Yes. Dress. Evil. I need help.” Cordelia pointed toward the overly snug bodice and Angel’s eyes took their time lingering over the curves. “The top is too tight to pull down,” she told him, “I can’t yank it over my head and I can’t reach all of the buttons.”

If she had a pair of scissors, Cordelia would have cut her way out she so wanted to be rid of the dress. It reminded her of Drusilla and that made her think about Bev. She did not want to think about Bev tonight. This had already turned into the worst day of her life. She could not take one more rotten thing even if it was just a dress with a thousand evil buttons.

“Turn around.” The order rubbed at her frayed nerves making her want to defy that simple request even if it got her what she wanted. Though, that was not all she wanted if the antsy, anxious feelings building up inside her had anything to say about it. An hour of crying under a hot shower might take care of it, or spending it being distracted from reality just by being held in Angel’s arms.

Slowly, Cordelia turned around, glancing at Angel over her shoulder. A gasp escaped as she saw the way he looked at her with that sinful stare and crooked smile. Just that was enough to cause hot licks of fire in her belly. He had not made a move to touch her yet, and when he did, it was only to let the tips of his fingers slide through her hair.

Cordelia eyes fluttered closed at the sensation. All he did was smooth her hair over her shoulder, but the simple touch seemed to ignite something inside her. Having his hands on her right now might not be the wisest idea. She waited for his next touch anticipating the buttons coming undone so she could escape this sudden need to press her palms against his skin, her lips against his throat.

Her hands fluttered nervously at her belly then moved up to gather the hair he had tucked over her shoulder, the repetitive motions somehow so soothing. Angel moved closer. He was right behind her now, just inches away. His hand stroked up her spine, fingertips brushing over the open buttons she’d been able to reach and passing over the rest.

Then his hands were at her shoulders massaging the tension he found there to send shockwaves down to the point between her thighs. “Angel.” It came out on a moan and Cordelia was not certain what she was asking for, whether it was for more or less of his tantalizing touch.

The lightest stroke of his fingertips between the open top buttons of the gown moved to the closed vee. He felt cool against the fiery heat of her skin. There was an unmistakable pop as one button opened and the back of her gown was peeled just the tiniest bit more. Repeatedly, she felt the slide of Angel’s fingers on her spine until he reached the few at the bottom that she had managed to undo on her own.

The slightest hint of a tortured moan escaped Angel’s throat as that last button popped open to reveal the smooth curves of her back from her elegant neck all the way down to the shadowy cleft of her bare bottom. He thought of what they had been through tonight and what she had whispered in his ear. Despite his rampant arousal and the fact that he could scent hers, Angel knew it would be better to ignore it.

Now that he had accomplished his task, conquering the evil buttons, Angel knew that he should stop touching her warm, silken skin. Any gentleman would step away without a lustful thought, but even as a human, gentlemanly behavior had never been a priority. The opposite was more his routine. At the moment, his nerves were too frayed to fight the urge to stay close. He could not move away from her, instead leaning in to kiss the curve of her neck.

“You’re so beautiful.”

Angel curved his hands around her waist pulling her back against him. Warm skin, silk and the nubs of those pearl buttons pressed into his bare chest, but the contact also brought her taut bottom up against his arousal. Her gasp turned into a tempting little moan as he rocked forward in response.

“Did you mean what you said earlier?” Angel’s nose nudged her ear, his words a caress across her cheek.

Cordelia turned in his arms, the dress gaping dangerously low until she looped her arms around his neck. She did not pretend to misunderstand him. “Yes. Are you ever gonna shut up and kiss me?”

With that irreverent form of permission, Angel pressed his lips to hers, planting a slow, hungry kiss across her mouth.

82: Bev’s House, 21 Quincy Street, Eastside, Sunnydale

Clothes in Trash Bags

“Just the necessities.” Buffy handed out the trash bags they were going to use in lieu of suitcases. Those were probably somewhere in the garage and it was not as if Cordelia was going to be staying at Angel’s place long-term. “We’ll do this quick and get out of here. Take just enough for a few days.”

Xander looked doubtful as he stared down at the garbage bag in his hand. “This is Cor we’re talking about, Buff. What’s a necessity to her might fill a U-haul.”

Glancing around Cordelia’s bedroom, Buffy noticed she seemed to have brought a lot of stuff from her parents’ house. Giles had not mentioned any details only that Angel had told him Cordelia was living here now. She had a feeling something was going on other than Cor’s parents just being of town.

Pushing her thoughts aside, Buffy decided it would be better to focus on the task at hand. “The mansion is only a few blocks away. I think we’ll manage.”

“What about Bev’s car?” suggested Willow who was not so thrilled about the idea of hauling Cordelia’s stuff all over Sunnydale by hand. This neighborhood was not exactly the safest even if they did have a Slayer for company.

Xander’s eyes lit up at the thought of driving the convertible. “Oh, Willow, you have such a sexy brain.” He wrapped his arms around her, bouncing at the same time. “I adore your brilliance.”

Though it did not seem very respectful, Buffy could see that the argument against using Cordelia’s dead grandma’s car was already lost. She brushed off Xander’s enthusiasm as his way of dealing with the situation. Besides, actual transportation would get them to the mansion faster. “Okay,” she sighed, “but we’ll need the keys.”

Extracting herself from Xander’s bouncy hug, Willow started moving toward the hall. “I’ll start with the bathroom: toothbrush, hairbrush, hair products, makeup… hmm, I think Xander was right.”

Nodding, Buffy commented that she would grab the clothes. Xander glanced around the room again and grinned wickedly as he caught sight of the dresser. “I’ll start with the panty drawer.”

Buffy grabbed him tossing him out into the hall. She pointed in the direction of the living room. “Keys,” she ordered firmly, which drew a pout from Xander.

Apparently, he was cursed never to get into Cordelia’s panties, even if it did take browsing through her dresser drawer. “What? I picked a necessity,” he argued to no avail.

83: Angel’s Mansion, Crawford Street, Central Sunnydale


Angel’s kiss lit a warm burn in her belly. Wanting more, her lips tingled beneath the soft weight of his. When the gentle pressure suddenly lifted away mid kiss, the acute loss of sensation sparked a moan. Their eyes met for an instant, his dark, smoldering with emotions she had no time to fathom.

All Cordelia knew was that being this close felt as vital as breathing because when Angel touched her she could think of nothing else. All her troubles disappeared beyond the fog that clouded her brain and blocked out anything except the sweet solace of sensation.

She brushed her fingertips across his cheek tilting her parted lips toward him, his name whispered across his skin. Eyelashes fluttered closed again. Angel captured her lower lip with a soft suck then darted his tongue teasingly across its plump surface. Widespread hands roved endlessly tracing paths across skin and silk.

Eager to touch him too, Cordelia’s hands left the soft strands of his hair to move across broad shoulders and sweeping between them to the muscular expanse of his bare chest. The motion rubbed the back of her wrists against her sensitive breasts. Their velvety peaks pressed against the cloth of her gown causing her to arch forward. Angel moaned into her mouth as her rounded nails scraped gently over his nipples before her hands moved to a natural resting spot near the top of his belt.

Hips connected, his spread stance making a ready home for hers. There was no mistaking his physical response as his hand swept down her bare spine bringing them closer together. One of her hands slipped down to his hip closer to the hard bulge pressing against her belly, lingering there curiously before skipping back up to the safety of his waist.

Angel’s lips slid down to her pulse point lingering for the space of a few heartbeats. Her eyes blinked open for a single moment of clarity. She wanted to make love with him. This was not just another one of their recent fun, but not going anywhere make-out sessions. Somehow, she knew, even aroused as this, Angel would manage to stop if she asked, but the honest truth was that she wanted more. Right now, she needed it.

Clasping his jaw, Cordelia turned his head for another kiss needing his mouth on hers. The fingers of her other hand came up to trace the shell of his ear and then grasp the nape of his neck. Their lips pressed tight and held for a second, her knees nearly buckling as Angel opened up to her letting her tongue slip inside to taste him.

His strong hands were at her waist, holding her up until Cordelia was steady on her feet. The momentary dizziness had her clutching his shoulders again. They broke apart with only the flickering candlelight blinking in the tiny space between them.

“I want to see you.” Angel’s words sounded as thick as honey and sent a ripple of lust down to the hot, achy place between her thighs. “All of you.”

Cordelia licked at her lips, partly nervous, but mostly missing his kisses. His eyes were full of contradictions. She saw that now. Sinful darkness demanding to be sated, and anger tempered by some steel thread of control. Guilt flashed in those ageless eyes, but something else was there, too. She did not really know if it was love, but there was enough to convince her that Angel’s feelings for her were real.

As Cordelia reached for the loose edge of her bodice, his hands covered hers and gently pulled them to her sides. A shiver of anticipation sent tingles along every direction as Angel’s hands slid along her arms in an up & down motion dragging the silk gown with him as he went. His eyes held hers for another instant before dropping to follow the trail of her gown as it peeled away from her breasts.

Another husky rumble left his throat as she was revealed to him by millimeters, the silk slipping slowly over her curves. His hands slipped up again, his thumbs catching the gown where it had stretched across her distended nipples to tug it down to the point where she could lift her arms out of the sleeves.

Free of impediments, the gown dropped rapidly to her waist clinging precariously to her hips, now trapped by their close-knit bodies. Watching his every reaction, Cordelia saw him drag his tongue across his lips as her breasts came into view. Curled fingertips traced a line from breast to hip, then turning and spreading out to lay claim to the supple curve of her bottom bringing her body in perfect alignment with his.

The tips of her breasts brushed up against Angel’s chest. She moved to wind her arms around his neck, but he dipped his head so that his mouth once again found the pulse point at her throat, blunt teeth nipping softly. Somewhere in the back of her mind, a little warning bell sounded, but Cordelia pushed those thoughts aside for the moment.

Tilting her head, she gave him better access and was rewarded with a hot trail of kisses down to her collarbone. Eyes closed, she felt herself dipped back, a move that kept their hips locked and her breasts fully exposed to his view. Anticipating Angel’s hands and mouth to squelch some of that achy feeling inside her, she let out an impatient moan, opening her eyes to find his were tinted with gold.

One large hand slipped up to her breast filling his palm, his eyes riveted as he plumped it, thumb circling along its curves and teasing sensitive flesh that puckered under the attention. Cordelia’s fingernails curled into the nape of his neck subconsciously urging him forward until a low sound in his throat caught her attention.

It sounded like encouragement. Arching forward into his hand, Cordelia mewled in protest as he freed her breast, his hand skimming beneath the cascade of her hair to grasp her nape and bring them face to face. Angel planted a hot kiss on her lips before taking a step mere inches back.

A rush of air followed as the silk gown slipped down over the length of her supple legs pooling at her feet. Angel watched its progress, his heavy-lidded gaze slowly dragging back up to linger along her toned golden thighs and the soft brown curls forming a trim triangle at their juncture. The sweet scent of arousal filled the air, her skin hot, flushed with desire.

Inwardly, Angel cursed himself for taking advantage of the situation. Yet he had to touch her, breathe in her scent, press his lips to her skin to taste her. Helpless to do anything else, his emotions were strung tight like a bowstring, and any random interruption might snap his control.

He had been through hell tonight all because he feared the worst, believing that the demon might have taken Cordelia, done things, gone through with the plan to spill her blood. If not the demon, then Drusilla might have been playing at some revenge game. The sight and scent of Bev’s blood that had not quite left his thoughts— and the disgust he felt because on some level he realized he had let himself breathe it in deep.

The relief he had felt at finding Cordelia unharmed played havoc with emotions far more instinctual and much too close to the surface. Angel knew that he should be doing nothing more than safeguarding Cordelia, but he needed the reassurance of her touch and something more real than what he saw with his eyes, what she’d whispered in his ear.

Just how far was too far, he wondered, as he watched Cordy kick the discarded dress away with feigned confidence. He knew her well enough to detect the act. There was no mistaking her sudden shyness as her lashes shadowed her eyes.

“Beautiful,” Angel rumbled ardently, his fingertips just skimming the curve of her bare hip. He could see the effect of that single word as if he had told her something she knew all along, but needed to hear him say it.

Cordelia wound her arms around his neck, standing on her tiptoes, and pressing those magnificent breasts against him as she reached up for a kiss. He could not deny her what he wanted himself. Pressing her lips further open, Angel’s tongue lashed across the smooth inner flesh slipping inside and darting away again drawing hers into the open. Caressing it with his own, the wet slide of their tongues made him think of the warm, wet place between her thighs.

The thought of laying Cordy down on his bed, hair streaming across his pillow as he spread her open to his gaze flashed on instant replay. He could already taste her arousal on the air, and before considering her inexperience, stroked his long fingers between her thighs, both of them reacting to the contact.

Cordelia gasped into his mouth, her first instinct to clench her legs together, but the insistent strum of his fingers slipping along those intimate folds felt glorious. She clutched alternately at his face, his shoulders, and his muscular arms feeling the shallow rhythm of his tongue matching the strokes below.

When Angel’s fingers slipped away, Cordelia sounded out a soft cry of complaint. He clasped her face, staring intently into her eyes. “I want you in my bed, Cordy, but it’s impossible to go all the way.” Somehow, he found the sense to remind her of the danger. Stressing, “You know that,” while trying to convince himself to listen, too. His body certainly was not paying attention.

“Don’t stop now. I want it.” Against his lips the soft words were half plea, half demand. She kissed him, lips locking with his as her palms slid down his torso in a v-shaped line toward his belt buckle.

Angel figured she would stop there, but Cordelia was more brazen than most virgins he had encountered. Reaching between them, she cupped him, her fingers finding his shape. After standing so shyly under his appreciative gaze, she now wantonly stroked him with her hand.

A growl of pleasure rumbled from his chest as he let her fingers roam free despite the urge to grasp her hand to form a tighter grip. The friction of his pants and her unskilled fingers teased deliciously against his fully aroused cock. It felt damn good. He wanted more, far more than he should expect despite the eagerness of her response. Definitely more than was safe.

After the events of this hellish night, Angel wanted to give her a taste of oblivion, a moment of blissful peace where only the two of them existed. He held onto a shred of doubt that true bliss was possible no matter her beauty, or the way he felt, his emotions spiraling out of control. On some level, he conceded it as a selfish excuse, but Angel was too overwrought, telling himself that he could keep it together.

Letting his desire for her outweigh the dangers, he could not deny either one of them this brief distraction. Leaning in close, Angel nibbled at her earlobe for a second before the husky promise of his voice sounded in her ear, “I’m going to enjoy making you come apart at the seams.”

Those brown eyes sparkled as she challenged, “Think you can?”

“Let’s find out.” Angel maneuvered her back toward the bed.

Tossing the coverlet toward the bottom, he lifted her up, placed a quick kiss at the corner of her mouth and gently set Cordelia down in the middle of the bed.

Cordelia’s first instinct was to make a grab for the loose sheet to cover herself. She was not used to being so exposed even if Angel’s every touch and glance, not to mention his words, was enough to convince her he thought she was beautiful. That just showed his newly improved good taste in girlfriends.

Who ever said blondes had more fun never met Cordelia Chase. She did not want to remind Angel of anyone else tonight.

A gasp of anticipation caught in her throat as she watched Angel toe off his boots. The sight of him trying to look sexy while removing his socks caused Cordelia to bite down on her lower lips to prevent an escaping hysterical giggle. She lowered her lashes, glancing away in order to regain her composure, and when she looked back, Angel’s hands were on his belt, unbuckling and slipping the leather through the loops.

Things were not so funny all of a sudden. Nervous tingles swarmed in her tummy as her eyes locked with the motion of his hands. He deftly unbuttoned his pants, his fingers moving to catch the fastener on the zipper. Her own hands clutched at the sheet as he paused mid-motion, her eyes darting from the obvious bulge that he was about to reveal up to his face and back down to his hands.

Cordelia wanted to see if reality matched what her visual imagination had come up with. What she had been feeling was certainly out of proportion to everything she had seen in the past. As man-sized packages went Angel’s came in extra large. That was almost as terrifying as it was exciting.

Her hair cascaded forward as she lowered her gaze to the edge of the sheet that she had draped over the strategic parts of her body. Suddenly, the mattress dipped with Angel’s weight and Cordelia’s eyes darted up to see him kneeling on the bed, legs spread apart, hands resting on thickly muscled thighs as he sat on his heels watching her.

Blinking twice, “Your pants are still on,” she observed in shock.

“Let’s just take one thing at a time, okay?” suggested Angel tracing a finger over the exposed curve of her knee. His slight touch left her tingling for more. Moving slowly, his finger tripped up to the smooth bronzed skin of her arm joined by the rest of his hand as he reached her shoulder and then sliding up cupped her face.

A sigh escaped her lips, one Cordelia barely noticed as she relaxed into his touch. Her lips felt swollen as she licked at them, eager to feel his mouth against hers. “Kiss me,” she urged leaning forward an inch expecting him to come the rest of the way.

What she got quickly turned from a soft velvety kiss into one that fired up her blood, heart pounding, and breath coming in audible pants in between kisses. She was not sure when she ended up back in his arms, but Cordelia was now straddling one thigh. The forgotten sheet was loosely tangled around her hips and legs while Angel’s hands wandered from her back to the curves of her breasts.

A grunt of pure male satisfaction rumbled against her throat as he filled both hands with her breasts. Pressed one last lingering kiss to her pulse point, Angel moved on to his newest discoveries. Teasing touches and open-mouthed wet kisses made her arch closer, her whole body tingling from the attention. Then Angel nipped at the tempting target of her nipple, drawing it into his mouth for a moment and then pulling back to blow air across its wet surface, and turning to give equal attention to its twin.

Cordelia squirmed against the hard thigh positioned between her legs. The friction was delicious and she remembered how it felt with his fingers rubbing her there where she was so slick and sensitive. She moaned at the loss of the sensation as their bodies shifted and Angel laid her down upon the bed.

Braced on his arms above her, Angel took a moment to enjoy the gorgeous image she made, matching the one he had imagined. Her golden skin flushed with arousal, soft hair spread out across his pillow, beautiful body tangled up in his sheets on his bed. And she was looking at him with that mix of love and lust that went straight to his cock keeping him hard and heavy pressing anxiously against his pants.

Angel dipped his head back to her breasts letting himself enjoy the feel of the warm fleshy globes against his cheek and mouth, the taste of her on his tongue as he rasped it across her skin. He arched into her hands as they came up to clasp him to her, warm fingers spreading through his hair and moving across his shoulders, but he was no longer content with just her mouth or the tempting curves of her breasts. He wanted to bury his face between her thighs and taste her arousal.

Distracted, she never noticed that he reached between them to snag the edge of the sheet and send it floating down to join the rest of the bed covers. He soaked in her scent and every little pant and moan she made as he kissed his way across the golden plain of her taut belly, hands grasping at her tiny waist as he darted his tongue into the dip of her navel.

“Angel,” the sound of his name on her lips made him press his hips hard into the mattress as he flattened his body out between her open thighs. He flicked a short glance at her face to see a hint of panic there upon realizing that she was spread open to him, his broad shoulders now blocking her from shutting her legs. “What are you— oh!”

Cordelia realized what he intended and the thought of it thrilled and scared her at the same time. Considering Angel’s probable experience and what she had gleaned from the glossy pages of Cosmo this was going to be good, very good. That did not stop her from holding her breath in anticipation as she stared into eyes that were no longer a shade of midnight, but tinted with gold and full of lust.

Propped on her elbows, she watched as Angel’s dark head dipped down rubbing his face against her soft curls. Cordelia felt herself blushing, but the light pressure made her throb and she cried out at the wet scrape of his tongue along her most intimate flesh. Hearing his heady moan at the taste of her, her eyes glazed over as she watched him focus on that part of her she only touched when bathing or sometimes in the quiet solitude of her own bed.

She flopped back on the pillow, her hips bucking against his mouth as his lips and tongue worked their magic. Angel’s hands initially framed her hips then slid down to the supple flesh of her thighs holding her open to him as she writhed against the soft cotton sheets, pleasure streaking through her body.

At first, Cordelia could do nothing except react, her focus turned inward. Embarrassment soon melted away under the sensual onslaught. She arched against Angel’s mouth as his gentle licks and soft suckles sought out every intimate fold. Deliberately, his caresses avoided the one spot her instincts told her she wanted him to be and the hard little nub was aching for attention.

Cordelia rubbed low on her belly, fingers brushing the edge of soft hair inching toward her sweet spot. Sensing what she was after Angel decided not to tease her any longer. He raised his head a fraction of an inch and flicked his tongue across her clit eliciting a soft, “Guh!” and chasing her hand away from territory that was decidedly his at the moment.

Every little moan and cry turned him on more. His stiff cock was trapped between layers of cloth and a mattress that was a poor substitute for the slick tunnel of untried flesh he had found with his tongue. Dipping in, Angel opened his mouth wide, delving deeper and then leaving the honey-filled depths, tongue dripping with it, to focus on her clit again and again. Her throaty pleas filled his ears, her legs splayed open wide.

Glancing up at the extraordinarily sensual picture Cordelia made as her hands caressed the curves of her breasts Angel continued his constant flicking motions and slipped his middle finger into her slick opening.

It startled her for an instant, surprise on her lips, but then Cordelia surrendered to sensation. It felt incredible. Gentle strokes back and forth, shallow and deep, along with that sinful tongue lapping and flicking at her clit brought her to a crest of pleasure that left her riding wave after wave. Her breaths came in gasps with unintelligible cries escaping in between as Angel greedily lapped up the hot spray of her orgasm.

Slipping in a second finger without missing a stroke letting her feel herself stretch each time he plunged forward. “This should be me,” he growled a bit as his body shifted upward only slightly mollified by the fact that Cordelia continued to spasm around his fingers.

Cordelia hissed a vehement, “Yes,” feeling her body humming to his rhythmic strokes. Anxious hands reached out to touch him moving along his shoulders, curling over his nape, fingers threading through his hair. “Please, Angel.”

Crawling his way up her body, Angel rubbed his face along her belly leaving damp spots behind, lapping at them with his tongue as he went along. Finally removing his fingers from her sensitive flesh, he sucked them into his mouth, an ecstatic expression forming as he savored the taste.

He expected to shock her virginal sensibilities with that one, but Angel was not about to deny himself every bit of pleasure he could glean. There might never be another night like this where he lacked the control to avoid temptation altogether, where the nature of events rang a morbid cord that fed his demonic urges and wracked his soul with guilt. All that and yet his heart flooded with emotions in the wake of Cordelia’s admission of lust, knowing that she felt more for him, too.

Neither one of them was sated. The hungry kisses that followed only managed to stir them into a frenzy of escalating need. Angel tried to hold back, to focus on her pleasure alone, but Cordelia’s hand determinedly found its way between them. The brush of her fingers against his erection was enough to cause Angel to rear away up onto his knees growling her name.

“Cordy, no!” The harsh tone of his voice softened at her hurt expression as if he had spurned her first touch. “We can’t do that. I know I’d—”

A determined glint appeared in her eyes now darkened with arousal, “Yes we can. We can do anything we want and tonight I want all of you.”

Scrambling onto her knees, she kissed him before he could say anything to refute her words. Her hands slid down this torso to linger at his waistband close to the half-opened zip. Angel’s hand fisted in her hair as he pressed his lips hard against hers plundering her mouth because it shut her up. Cordelia was saying exactly what he wanted to hear, not what he needed in order to find the strength to say no again.

Breaking away, he pulled back just enough to challenge her, “Take a good look at what you’re asking for.” He reached down to fully unzip his pants. The gasp of anticipation in her throat was the first sign that his mistake would cost him. It was impossible not to soak in every little reaction, to drag his eyes down those gorgeous curves to the damp curls between her thighs and imagine what it would be like to take her.

The tip of her tongue licked sensuously at her lips, an unconscious little move at the sight of his open zipper and the shadowed flesh beneath. Angel’s whole body was taut as he dropped his hands to his side, waiting to see if she would take up his dare or flee into the safety of the bathroom.

Cordelia tugged her moistened lip into her mouth, staring wide-eyed for all of three seconds before flushing hotly, a secretive little smirk appearing. “If it’s just a banana, I’m going to be really disappointed.”

84: The Police Station, Westside, Sunnydale

Police Desk

“Released?” Puzzled, Wesley peered down at the open logbook searching for any sign of Faith’s name. He requested the desk clerk check again. “She was brought in no more than an hour ago on rather serious charges. Either the American legal system is far more efficient than I imagined or you are making a mistake.”

The man behind the desk shut the book against further prying eyes. “It’s you that is making the mistake, bub.”

Wesley bristled at the man’s tone. Standing straight, his hands on his lapels, he stared back determinedly. “Perhaps you remember a brunette?”

After a short pause, he nodded, “Maybe I do. Attitude, dimples, leather pants?”

Now they were getting somewhere. “Yes! That’s the one,” Wesley kept looking around the open station from desk to desk trying to catch sight of the officers who took Faith into custody. “Is she in the detention area? I’d like to arrange counsel for her.”

“I already told you she ain’t under arrest,” he barked impatiently. “How many times do I gotta tell you?”

“That is impossible.”

Sighing deeply, the desk clerk buried his face in his hands and rubbed hard. “I’m getting tired of your face. Leave or I’ll let you check out the detention area on a permanent basis.”

Wesley’s eyes widened at the threat. “Oh. There is no need to be rude about a simple inquiry. My… friend was arrested tonight and I won’t leave without some satisfaction as to her whereabouts.”

“What is the problem?” Giles stepped up to the counter next to Wesley. He had been parking the car having decided to allow the younger man the privilege of taking the initiative regarding his Slayer.

However, he had not been willing to let the new Watcher go on his own. No matter that Faith had a new Watcher, Giles still felt a sense of duty and responsibility toward her and— dare he even think it— friendship.

“This…this officer refuses to explain Faith’s whereabouts,” Wesley sputtered angrily.

Giles raised a brow. “Is that so,” he glanced at the desk clerk’s badge, “Officer Ledger? I dare say there is some misunderstanding. It might be prudent if—”

“She. Ain’t. Here.” His face flushed a beefy red color. “You English people got some problem with English? Sheesh. Your little brunette just left. She made a quick statement to one of our detectives and then she left.”

Wesley and Giles exchanged glances. It was the latter who finally spoke up, thanking Officer Ledger for his time. They made a hasty retreat. When they reached the parking lot, Wesley stopped short. “There is something very unorthodox about this whole business.”

“I agree,” Giles nodded, “but if what I think has happened has actually happened then tonight may not have been a complete tragedy.”

Feeling drained, Wesley muttered, “I could really use a cup of tea.”

“Let’s find Faith first,” Giles suggested clapping him on the back. “I think it’s high time to fill you in on a few details about your Slayer.”

85: Elsewhere . . .


Moving West on State Street, Xander drove slowly in order to make the trip last a little longer. Chances were that this would be his only opportunity at driving the classic car. Buffy sat next to him and Willow was in the passenger seat. They had stuffed the trash bags with Cordelia’s belongings in the back, not bothering with putting it in the trunk.

“Could you go any slower?” Buffy eyed the speedometer. “I could’ve gotten there and back by now.”

Xander strummed his fingers against the steering wheel. They had come to a stop at a red light. “I was just doing a little thinking, Buffster,” he offered up his most charming smile.

“Uh oh!” Willow gulped ominously. “Xander thinking!” She quickly made a closing zipper motion across her mouth when he gave her the stink eye.

Buffy just stared back waiting for the bomb to drop.

“It’s awful isolated in that mansion,” Xander pointed out. He had been thinking about Cordelia being on her own up there with only a vampire for company. It was one thing for them to team up for patrol or to train together in the basement, but he did not like the idea of her sleeping at the mansion.

“Cor is better off hiding out than being out and about where that crosathnam demon can track her,” Buffy countered even though she did not exactly like the idea either.

Despite Willow’s zipped lips, she offered up, “But it’s not very secure there. We just walked in. The gate was broken. Parts of it are wide open to anyone or any thing who feels like coming for a visit.”

“There’s still the idea of Cordelia staying at my house,” Buffy frowned at the idea. Giles had a point about not putting her mother in any danger.

A car horn honked behind them prompting Xander to notice the green light. He put his foot down on the gas pedal and started the car moving again. “Back to the thoughts I thunk. We should camp out for the next few days. Buffy can patrol the perimeter while the rest of us set up security inside.”

“Camp out, huh?” Buffy mulled over the idea for a few seconds. Picturing Cordelia and Angel living together even for safety’s sake made her stomach churn. “You’re right, Xander. We should stick around just in case something bad should happen.”

Willow’s eyes widened, “Do you really think the demon will track Cordelia down again?”

It took a second for Buffy respond, realizing that her best friend’s idea of bad was a lot different than her own. Her plan to oust Cordelia and keep her own feelings for Angel at bay had gone so wrong. Those two just seemed to be getting closer and there was nothing like a tragedy to spur things along.

Buffy had to trust her instincts. “We’ll be there if he does,” she answered. “So maybe we ought to go home first to get our stuff.”

“Don’t forget to stop by the all night Quick Mart,” Willow reminded them that there was probably no food in the house. “We’ll need goodies.”

Since Xander was already halfway through the intersection of State and Crawford, it looked like he was in agreement. He quipped, “First stop, Revello Drive.”

86: Angel’s Bedroom, Crawford Street Mansion, Central Sunnydale


“Don’t be so grumpy,” Cordelia laughed at Angel’s dark scowl. “I didn’t say that it looked like a banana. I haven’t even seen it yet.”

Stunned, Angel didn’t know whether to laugh or growl at that, but a smile worked its way onto his face, matching hers. His hand came up to her caress her cheek, thumb roving across the curve of her lips and then replacing it with his mouth, gently this time in contrast to the last one, softly smooching, enticing her to open to him.

Cordelia’s hands were stroking up and down the ladder of his ribs momentarily distracted from her task. His free hand slid down the curve of her back clasping her rounded bottom with a large palm and giving it a little squeeze before sliding it back up to join the other. She was addictive and he wanted more from her than he dared to admit.

The longer Angel thought he was in control of his needs, the easier it was for him to go one step further with a kiss here, a caress there, just a little more. So, he gave in to Cordelia’s wishes, seduced by her innocent enthusiasm. Cupping her face, Angel spread teasing kisses across her mouth, cheek, and the curve of her brow before turning his lips to her ear to prompt her, “Touch me.”

“Here?” she ran a fingertip across his collarbone following it up with a kiss to his shoulder. Angel merely shook his head allowing her to play her little game and allowing himself to enjoy the anticipation. The roving fingertip moved downward on a winding path across his pecs to rub his left nipple.

The fact that it hardened under her touch seemed to catch Cordelia’s attention as she flicked her eyes up to his, asking, “What about here?” Then her wet tongue snaked across it, her teeth scraping just enough to elicit a grunt of pleasure. He thought of the ways he wanted to teach her to use that facile tongue and telling her where he liked to be bitten.

Angel’s thoughts moved in the direction of the hand now rubbing a circle around his navel realizing that he could not take the teasing much longer. He wanted her hand on him now. When Cordelia purred in his ear, “Am I getting warmer?” Angel covered her hand with his and led her directly down to the place he craved her touch..

A sharp gasp sounded from Cordelia’s parted lips, her eyes widening with shock. Then his hand slipped back out of his pants leaving Cordelia’s fingers splayed out across his thick erection, velvety smooth and throbbing in her hand. Her cheeks flamed red as her shyness returned, but hearing Angel moan in pleasure at the contact chased her nerves away.

Tentatively, she moved her hand, fingers brushing lightly along his shaft and the soft pouch. Going on instinct, Cordelia glided her fingers up and down taking hold on the third stroke. Angel seemed to like it considering the way his hips bucked in response.

He muttered something against her mouth just before pushing his pants down over his hips. Their eyes clashed for an instant before hers dropped to see what Angel had revealed. Cordelia forgot to breathe for a second, holding her breath in total fascination at the sight of her hand wrapped around him.

It only took a few strokes before Angel completely lost his resolve about stopping at letting her bring him off with her hand. Just when he had come to the conclusion that it would be impersonal enough to avoid any danger was a mystery because there was nothing remotely impersonal about it. He could still taste her orgasm on his tongue, scenting it in the air around them, her arousal so apparent that he had to touch her again.

Capturing her hand, he moved with her for a few strokes showing her the pace and rhythm he liked. Then he wrapped his arms around her, easing them both down on the bed, ridding himself of his pants. Braced above her, Angel settled into the valley of her thighs as her legs parted to him leaving room for Cordelia to continue to stroke his cock.

Angel buried his face into her neck to ply it with hot kisses, his hands sliding from her thighs to breasts, fondling them, his mouth coming into play even as his hips thrust forward with the movements of her hand. Hot, clenching arousal held them captive. Cordelia’s legs curled over his hips instinctively pulling him closer to the source of her need.

Throbbing, the hot sweep of her hand was too much, too fast as Angel felt himself now aching for release. Angel captured her wrist guiding her to let go and taking the other to press her hands up above her head. “I want you too much,” his words had her trembling as his hips crashed forward to press his hard length against her slick folds.

When he banged up against her clit, Cordelia saw stars, a cry escaping from her throat. Angel’s name was on her lips again, wanting more, telling him not to stop. Releasing her wrists, he reached between them to rub the swollen little nub and slide two fingers inside planning to bring her off again while trying his damndest to ignore what he really wanted.

Free of his hold, Cordelia clasped his face, staring up into eyes full of conflict, “I want you, too. Now, Angel, please. Now, now,” she muttered in between kisses to the rhythm of his fingers. The gentle thrusts were shallow, fingers curling inside her, rubbing places that left her quaking inside.

Angel’s mouth was a distraction all of its own, but she noticed the few seconds of time where his fingers left her body, moaning a protest in response. She opened her eyes, preparing to tell him to keep going. Then her gaze fell down to Angel’s rampant erection, now fisted in his hand and shiny with her own wetness.

Releasing his hold, Angel spread Cordelia’s thighs gazing hotly at the sight of her, his eyes glazed and body taut with need. Every instinct demanded he take her, make her his, bury himself to the hilt deep inside her. One hand dropped down to rub a thumb along her slick folds, the other moving back to his cock stroking the blunt tip up and down her swollen crevasse bumping her clit and then dipping inside, trying to stop, but desperate to feel the tight squeeze of her body around him.

Once there, he wrapped his hands around the top of her thighs thrusting slowly forward, watching the sensuous expression on Cordelia’s face alter to reveal a hint of fear. Angel was riveted by it unable to tear his gaze away from hers and heard himself muttering something he hoped was soothing as he thrust deep, taking her virginity.

Cordelia cried out once, her arms wrapping around Angel’s shoulders when he lowered the angle of his body. One hand caged her jaw, turning her to meet his kiss as he held his hips still, allowing her to adjust to the intrusion, but fighting against his own desire to take her fast and hard.

Her pliant lips melted under his, their kiss escalating quickly into a fiery clash of pure need. When Cordelia’s hips made a slow circle, her tight heat clenching him, Angel took it as a sign to move withdrawing his length until only the tip remained and then thrusting forward. For her sake he tried to take it cautiously, starting slowly, but the traces of discomfort masking her face soon vanished.

Cordelia swamped Angel’s senses. The feel of her body relaxing beneath him and the trust she showed each time she tilted her throat toward his kisses awakened his possessive streak. Every thrust inside her stirred it further. Cordy was his now and although his demonic senses were attuned to the hint of blood that mixed with her arousal he did not have to fight an overwhelming urge to stem his need to taste it.

Right now the only thing that mattered was the incredible feeling building up in his loins and the hot clench of Cordelia’s body around him each time he buried himself to the hilt. The sounds of her escalating pleasure filled the air and Angel delighted in every lusty little mewl she made.

The hands clutching at his shoulders moved to stroke his back as her hips rocked up to meet his. Flexing his body, Angel kept up with the delicious rhythm and moved to brace himself freeing his hands to caress the silky skin that was now shiny with perspiration. Cupping her breasts, he toyed with the velvety peaks with his mouth and fingers.

Cordelia was so caught up in sensation that her eyes were shut tight, head tilted back against the pillows as her body arched against his. The momentary pain she had felt was nothing compared to the sparks of pleasure that came with each stroke. An urgency built within her that made her push that much harder against him. The bang of his body against her clit made her hiss at the sweet throb. She could feel him inside her seemingly harder than before.

When he called her name it took her a moment to find the will to open her eyes. “Look at me,” she heard him plead for it. The raw edge to his voice told her that Angel was about to lose control and she wanted to see that half expecting him to morph into vampire form. “Look at me, Cordy.”

Dark with passion, his eyes were again tinted with streaks of gold, a hint of bony ridges showing across his brow. Cordelia planted a hand on his cheek, lifting her mouth to his, opening to let his tongue stroke hers. Licks of fire spread out deep inside her, liquid heat pouring around Angel’s hard cock as his thrusts sent her hips crashing into the mattress.

She reached a pinnacle of pleasure screaming his name as Angel reached down between them to gently rub her clit with his thumb. Her knees flexed up higher grasping at him as he fucked her with an untiring intensity. Sliding her hands down his back, Cordelia filled her hands with his buttocks feeling the hard muscles flexing beneath her grasp as she climaxed around him.

Angel felt her orgasm take over as Cordy keened in pleasure, her body tensing and contracting around him. She looked so beautiful stretched out beneath him, flushed skin, rosy lips parted and damp from their kisses, dark hair cascading across his pillows, her nipples dark and erect against the paler globes of her gorgeous breasts.

Amongst the random sounds of her pleasure, he felt her lips move against his cheek as she muttered, “Love you.”

Suddenly he clasped her hips, thrusting faster and harder before, and letting her words fill up the empty places inside of him to sooth away the anger and fear he had felt at the possibility of losing her. His climax was almost silent compared to hers, but no less intense as he poured his heart and need inside her.

87: Angel’s Bedroom, Crawford Street Mansion, Central Sunnydale


Anyone human would be relaxed, sated. Instead, Angel remained on edge, angry for giving in to desire. The curse and the consequences of making love to Cordelia weighed heavily on his mind. He had been a damned fool to risk his soul. He recognized that fact even while coveting every moment.

Guilty thoughts filled his head as he lay spooned against Cordelia waiting for the inevitable to happen. Fear of the consequences had him mentally lashing out at those who were far out of reach. Damned gypsies. Even though the blame lay closer to home with himself.

Cordy slept soundly making adorable little snuffling sounds now and then as she dreamt. With her body curled naturally into his, the smooth silk of her back and bottom warmed him. Tugging at the sheet until it draped over her legs, Angel paused to trace the feminine curve of her hip. His finger pads followed the dip of her waist spreading out across her soft belly and brushing up against the curls between her thighs.

Applying gentle pressure, he drew her closer into his lower body unable to resist the sensation of her lusciously ripe bottom against his loins. Even now, wracked by guilt and fear, his body had a mind of its own, stirring heavily against her. The thought of making Cordelia his again was far too tempting.

So beautiful.

Closing his eyes, feeling the deep pulse beneath his hand, Angel listened to her body’s rhythms. Drinking in the intoxicating aroma that was Cordy covered in his scent, he felt headily possessive.


The fleeting fantasy of waking her up preceded images of her response. Given the chance, Angel knew he would find it hard to let her out of his bed. Once was not nearly enough, but it would have to be.

When Cordy had drifted off in his arms, he had chosen not to awaken her. Keeping her up all night long was a tempting prospect, but one he could not afford to risk. It was all too easy to imagine her shuddering with pleasure as he took her time and again, hearing her call out his name until she was hoarse with it, and saying what he wanted to hear again.

She loves me.

Possessive thoughts mixed with soft, tender feelings, enticing darker desires, and dreams of a future he had no right, no hope to consider. None of it mattered now. He had made love to Cordy under the illusion that he could control his own feelings, that he would limit himself to bringing her pleasure without seeking his own.

Now we’ll both pay for it.

As would countless others when Angelus was free of the fetters of his soul. It was inevitable and now there was nothing he could do except wait.

Angel tried to remember exactly how long it had taken the last time. Of course, back then he had been ignorant of the danger, lost in the hazy afterglow of his feelings for Buffy. It was not instantaneous. There was no doubt in Angel’s mind that while he was with Cordy he had forgotten all about his past mistakes, about Bev’s tragic death, and anything else that detracted from his own feelings.

She was vulnerable, needing comfort, not seduction, yet he had gone precisely where his feelings led him. One step too far. Taking her. Making her his. The need to do it again tugged at his senses. Self denial was never his strong suit. It was a struggle he faced every day, but this was different than the basic need for blood. Not just a purely physical craving to get laid. That hadn’t been the driving force behind this lapse. The memory of it felt so intense, incredible, but the whispered, “Love you,” resonated even more.

Everything he kept coiled up inside, thoughts and needs, and feelings erupted in a burst of joy hearing Cordelia say those words. Cordy loved him. She loved him. Only after he gave her his all did it he realize the extent of it. The danger he had placed her in because he could not contain his lust. The circumstances held no comparisons, but how could the outcome be different?

Selfish bastard.

Desperation churned at the thought that he might lose his soul and Cordelia in the process. Then he considered there was something to be done. He knew that he should be putting some distance between them just to give her a chance at escape. Better yet, he should look for a stake and take care of things before his soul was gone and he was incapable of stopping himself.

But what if there was a chance? It did not seem likely that the curse would allow him to make love to Cordelia without the damned ‘happiness clause’ kicking in. One look at her flooded him with emotions that he could not compartmentalize, mentally boxing away for safekeeping as he did with so many other things.

After a moment’s hesitation, Angel let the words take focus in his mind, and the feelings they engendered resonate within him.

Love you, too.

He dared not say them aloud. Doing so might be the one thing to push him over the edge. Just thinking them was terrifying enough.

After a butterfly kiss against her silky shoulder, Angel nuzzled his cheek against the warmth there before reluctantly pulling away. Lacing his fingers behind his head against the pillow, he stared at the cracks in the ceiling as he waited for the ticking time bomb within him to explode.

Silently damning gypsies everywhere for their method of vengeance, he counted off the seconds. Angel could not understand what was taking so long. Despite his ideas about leaving, he knew any attempt to put some distance between himself and Cordy would be futile. He could not imagine Angelus not tracking Cordy down.

Angel also knew that he was too selfish to stake himself. As long as there was a chance he would not lose his soul, he had to take it. He would not give Cordelia up that way. Life had not been fair to her and he wanted to be the one to make it better. The longer he waited without any change, he began to consider the notion that perhaps the tragic events of the night and his own fears about what might happen had prevented perfect happiness.

That seemed ridiculous. Cordelia’s warmth seeped into his skin as she lay curled up beside him sleeping blissfully. One glance was enough to remind him of every kiss, every touch, the way her hot sheath clenched around him, and the joy he had felt when Cordy said she loved him. God, she loved him.

It made him want to show her once again how much he felt for her, to tempt fate again. If he had somehow managed to avoid losing his soul this time, the next would be even more dangerous. His restraint only went so far. Now that he had had a taste of her, and taken her innocence, he doubted his ability to resist by stopping at kisses.

Silently, Angel cursed his weakness. Remembering her soft pleas, he knew that he’d had the opportunity to put a stop to it before things went too far, but he’d fallen for the fiery gleam burning in her eyes matching his own. Saw in her what he needed.

The excuses did not matter. Right now Angel had Cordelia’s safety to consider. He waited until he figured too much time had passed. Nothing was going to happen. At least not anything related to him. Her attacker was still out there, however. It was a tracker by nature and there was no telling if it might find a way to locate Cordelia here at the mansion.

Angel decided he needed to stop focusing on himself and start thinking about securing the mansion. Unfortunately, that meant leaving Cordelia alone for a while. She was sleeping soundly ignorant of his fears.

When he moved to get off the bed, Cordelia shifted as if sensing his loss. She grabbed his pillow hugging it to her chest, letting out a soft little laugh in her sleep that made him wonder what she was dreaming about. Angel stood there watching her for a few minutes until he dragged himself away.

He was nearly dressed, just buttoning up a clean black shirt when a sound caught his attention. It came from downstairs. The sounds were coming from the foyer, footsteps and muffled voices. Feeling violently protective, he took one last look at Cordelia before slipping out into the hall and shutting the bedroom door securely behind him.

88: The Avalon, Regency St. Luxury Apts, Southside, Sunnydale


Observing his arrival, Nicolau’s favorite childe gasped eagerly, “You have returned early from the gathering, my prince.”

Unlike his minions whose Galician ancestry was similar to his own, all of pale olive-hued complexion, and dark nearly black hair, Isobel was fair by contrast. Once, she had been a courtier’s unmarriageable daughter, an independent wild child who caused scandal at every turn. Nicolau found her vibrant beauty and passionate nature irresistible.

Curiosity overshadowed self-preservation when she discovered his true nature. Finding him with fangs bared over the throat of a busty chambermaid, she waited and watched from the shadows as he fed. Nude, he had planned to couple with the wench, but seeing Isobel’s excitement rather than revulsion changed his mind. He had enjoyed her games of seduction, but had resisted the urge to feed from her. Too many willing subjects were available to waste her on that particular need.

Nicolau had dismissed the maid, after a short time, leaving her woozy, but alive. Blood clung to his lips. He licked it away as he approached Isobel. Stray drops trickled into his short black beard layering it with red. “Your heart flutters like a dove. Do I frighten you, Lady Isobel?”

Stepping closer, her bare hands explored his shoulders, the shape of his chest, lingering there for a moment in the soft patch of hair before trailing down his cool skin to the hard shaft that announced his arousal. Her skilled fingers teased his sensitive flesh tracing his ridges and finally curling around his girth and drawing a low moan from his throat.

Perhaps she meant to placate the beast within him, taming him with pleasure. “What are you?” If so, Nicolau indulged her curiosity, ever patient, enjoying the stroke of her fisted hand. “You warm to my touch. Are you not a man as any other?”

“More than a man, a vampire. I am the shadows in your room at night. The chill in the air.” Nicolau had always had a bit of a flair for the dramatic. Part of him wanted the fear she did not seem to possess, expecting a different reaction. “I hunger for blood. It gives me strength, longevity, powers beyond your comprehension.”

He widened his stance giving her better access to his aching jewels as her actions sped up. “Grip me harder,” he ordered only to have her wontonly comply.

Isobel’s attention dipped down to his erection as it swelled to a fuller, firmer state in her hand. Suitably impressed, she peeked up at him with a little smirk only to find that he had reached the limits of his patience. He curled a hand around her throat, tilting her chin up with one nudge of his thumb, and kissed her until the blood trapped in his beard smeared across her face.

“Please,” the soft sound brushed against his lips when he allowed her a breath.

It was not a plea for mercy, he recognized, as she clung to him. The unmistakable scent of arousal clung to her heated skin. Nicolau swept her up in his powerful arms to carry her to bed. Easily, he dealt with her voluminous skirts and white shift draping them over her legs as she parted them. The cage like pannier was less easily positioned, but it was no more a barrier than the ivory stockings tied above her knees with small silk bows.

Like the ladies of the times, Isobel wore no other undergarment. Her sweet little muff of blond curls framed a swollen pink slit already wet with her juices. Resisting the urge to plunge his tongue deep inside, he merely licked his lips anticipating the many things he was going to do before tasting her.

Nicolau slid his hand from her bare thigh along one silk-covered calf down to her delicate ankle. Lifting her foot, he began to unlace the bindings of her leather shoe, planning to enjoy every moment. He had no idea if this would end with their coupling, or if he would be forced to make her take her discovery to the grave.

Dark thoughts were distant ones as she beckoned him. “Do not undress me yet. I want you now.”

Kneeling on the bed, he reached beneath the layers of clothing to palm her ass, sliding around to close his big hands over her hips, and positioning the tip of his cock at her entrance. Before thrusting forward, he stared down holding her gaze to ask, “What do you think of me, little dove?” The mask of his humanity slipped away becoming rigid and angular, white teeth sharpening into jagged fangs.

“Must you talk so much?” Isobel hardly blinked at his shifting features having seen them already. Her complaint accompanied a pout as she flexed her hips as if trying to screw herself onto his cock.

With a laugh, Nicolau gave her what she wanted, something that would become habitual between them. If he had one weakness, it was Isobel. They were lovers for nearly a year before her father announced that his assignment in Galicia had come to an end. Isobel refused to go with him, and though he might have agreed to continue their relationship at the status quo, she wanted more.

As always, he let her have her way. Nicolau had defied clan tradition not only by siring an outsider, but transforming her into a childe of the blood. Those who might balk at his actions would have no power over her. Only the Master of Solaris could prevent Isobel from taking her rightful place in the hierarchy of the clan, and being so focused on his worship of Amolon and the power promised to them, the master cared little for politics.

A hundred and fifty years later, Isobel was still viewed as an outsider. The nature of his people made them wary, but she was treated with deference. Obeyed, when she asked for it. They adored her beauty, but knew her charm could turn deadly. She was just as likely to kill out of sheer annoyance, as she was to seduce you into her bed.

Nicolau could never get enough. The sire bond between them was unbreakable, and the feelings that warmed his heart seemed exponentially stronger. As a vampire, Isobel was wilder and as uncontrollable as ever, but admittedly, he liked that. When their interests clashed, she bent to his will, but often defiantly found a way to remind him of the power she possessed over him.

Isobel never needed to make an effort to look seductive. A man need only look at her to want a taste of her lips, or to feel his cock harden with need. Being a vampire made it worse with his enhanced libido. Some days it was difficult to do anything except get lost in her arms, keeping their bodies connected through touch or sex.

Looking at her now, Nicolau could see more questions forming on her rosy lips. Kalesh’s direct involvement signaled that the day of the ritual was finally near. Isobel wanted the details having earlier voiced her complaint at being excluded from the meeting.

Her mouth was a soft circle of temptingly pink lips, her deep blue eyes wide and alert as she wisely chose to let her curiosity slide. Nicolau was in no mood for answering dozens of questions. Kalesh’s cavern gathering had left him irritated rather than inspired.

Allowing himself a momentary distraction, he paused long enough to kiss her with cool, sedate control. With a seductress’ skills, Isobel attempted to distract him with the flick of her tongue along his lips and by deliberately pressing her hand between them to cup his sex through the thin barrier of his tailored pants. Hardening fast at the delicious friction, Nicolau determinedly grasped a handful of golden tresses pulling her away when she might have succeeded at making him forget his duty.

Now was not the time to get lost in passion. “We will continue later.” The promise of it burned in his eyes as Nicolau gently kissed the corner of her mouth.

Isobel’s pretty pout vanished. She knew well enough that only matters of the greatest importance would cause him to put a stop to their mutual pleasure. She was far too intelligent and confident of her own role to doubt that.

“Nico, tell me of your troubles. I will bathe in the blood of any who oppose you or the House of Solaris.”

Her temperament suited him perfectly. When the situation called for her to play his lady, her decorum was normally above reproach, although her natural curiosity combined with her demon instincts in a way that made it hard for her to fit in with those who practiced patience and restraint. His Isobel was a vicious, blood-thirsty killer and she knew how to suck the marrow out of a man in any number of ways.

When the time was right he planned to hold her to her sanguine promise. “Come along, my dove,” he clasped Isobel’s wrist to guide her across the room. “Let us take a dip in the Jacuzzi. I have had an appalling evening.”

Having brought a few of his most loyal followers with him, Nicolau had tasked them with turning their temporary domicile into something loosely resembling the comforts of home. Considering that these were the most luxurious apartments available within the city limits, the series of connecting suites felt cramped and bare compared to his palatial estate.

Nicolau and Isobel discussed the events of the gathering finally deciding that it was time to come up with a solution. When called to join the master vampires the minions eagerly obeyed though they discovered quickly that it was not an invitation to join them in the bubbling waters. If they were disappointed that this was a strategy session and not a prelude to something sexual, they did not show it.

Besides, one never knew where Nicolau’s generosity ended and Isobel’s frolicking would turn deadly. That was how they had been turned, after all. Learning obedience, knowing when to speak and when to act was all a part of the game. Those who learned the meaning of loyalty and survived long enough were promised their fair share of a reward upon Amolon’s arrival to this world.

Arranging for his minions to follow up on the crosathnam demon’s information, Nicolau described the vampiress. His orders were simple, “Find her.”

“What if the human is already dead?” After all, humans were usually good for a quick bite.

Instead of being angry at the suggestion, Nicolau calmly pointed out that the situation was not ideal for the Varstrae’s captor to catch a meal. “The demon was doing battle with the Slayer. She would not have placed herself in such danger simply for prey.”

Isobel agreed. “Perhaps this girl is special, a human minion, or a pet perhaps.”

There were a number of theories, but it was decided that there was still plenty of moonlight left to begin gathering information. Their enthusiam reignited his. The thought of capturing Amolon’s Pure One invigorated Nicolau mentally and physically. He pulled Isobel across his lap guiding her hand down to his erection. He watched her sink below the water, the strands of her blond hair floating to the surface as she took him into her mouth.

Nicolau closed his eyes, his head tilting back at the pleasure he was receiving. It was almost an afterthought when he waved his minions away, “Go now. Return when you have news.”

89: Giles’ Place, 523 Oak Park Street, South Central Sunnydale


“Faith will turn up when she’s ready,” Giles assured Wesley as they emerged from the car. Having had no luck in locating her at either her rented room or at the library, the two men decided to return to Giles’ apartment.

Wesley was not looking forward to another night on the couch. Events had moved rather quickly and they had never gotten around to arranging his accommodation. He had considered renting a room at the Downtowner to be near his charge— until he had gotten a look at the place. It was quite puzzling that the old motel with its apartment rentals was not located in the downtown section of Sunnydale.

Still affected by jet lag, Wesley felt a bit bleary eyed, but he was alert enough to notice the dark figure seated on the front stoop, leaning up against the door. “Good Lord! There’s our missing Slayer.”

Inquiring after her health, “Faith, are you well enough to stand?” Giles hurried over to her side with Wesley following close behind.

She cracked a smile, hard to do with a split lip. “I got here, didn’t I? It just looks like I was run over by a Mack truck.” A grimace appeared as Faith leveraged her way to her feet by pressing against the stone step and the wooden doorframe.

While Giles fumbled with his keys trying to get them inside before they disturbed his neighbors, Wesley continued to watch Faith. The brief glimpse of pain he had caught vanished behind a determined mask as she met his gaze, holding it with equal intensity. Realizing that he had never finished introducing himself before the police interrupted, Wesley made another attempt.

“I’m your new Watcher, Miss Le—”

“Faith,” she cut him off. Never one to stand on ceremony, she had no intention of being formal. “You’re Wesley, right?”

After a pause where he considered whether or not it was appropriate for a Slayer and Watcher to address each other so informally, Wesley nodded curtly. “We have been searching for you all over town.”

“Then you should’ve looked here first,” Faith snapped back. She followed Giles inside as soon as he opened the door.

Wesley opened his mouth to retort only to close it again when Giles commented, “We were both concerned about you. It will take a while for your injuries to heal.”

“It’s nothing,” Faith shrugged it off moving past him to lean against the back of the couch. “A hot shower and I’ll be fine.”

Slayers possessed amazing healing abilities, Wesley knew. He could already tell that the swelling along her mouth and jaw had lessened during the past couple of hours. Although, he winced inwardly, the dark bruises were still evident. “Perhaps you should take—”

Faith cut him off again, addressing Giles as she asked, “Where is Cordelia? If you two have been trailing me, I’m guessing she’s okay.”

Put out by the rather rude interruption, Wesley decided to allow it to slide. After all, her concern for her friend was obvious even if she tried to sound rather blasé about it. Perhaps it was just the fact that having a stranger present, Faith was not willing to reveal her true feelings on the matter. After all, she did claim to have killed the girl’s grandmother albeit accidentally.

“Angel found her,” Giles explained which seemed to come as no surprise at all to Faith. “Apparently, Drusilla had taken her. I am afraid that I don’t know any details. Only that she is safe.”

Faith seemed to relax, her shoulders dropping a notch. Asking, “Where?” to which Giles explained simply, “The mansion.”

Wesley did not find that answer half as comforting as the two of them did. Was he the only one who saw something wrong with a young woman staying alone with Angelus at his own lair? Soul or not, he was still a vampire.

There would be plenty of time to explore his own interests in studying Angelus’ transformation into an ally of those who fought the Good Fight. For now, Wesley was curious to discover the reason why Faith was released from police custody. Giles had hinted that there was conspiracy afoot.

Indeed there was. Wesley never had a great love of politics back home much less in small town America. There were members of the Watchers Council possessing political connections necessary to the success of their mission, but Wesley never aspired to those ranks as his talents seemed focused elsewhere. He found it quite interesting to learn that the path of a Slayer and a politician could lead to such intrigue.

“Mayor Wilkins knows all about Slayers and vampires,” Faith told him. “I think he knew who I was even before we met.”

A cursory glance at Sunnydale’s municipal structure had listed the mayor’s name and his status as a seemingly uncorrupt figure, a smiling, kind-hearted man who showed great interest in creating a safe, caring environment for its citizens. That in itself should have been a red flag.

Faith went on to tell him that the mayor had befriended her. “I fell for his shtick hook, line and sinker.”

There was no doubting that it made her angry. She did not react well to having a vulnerability exposed. Having read Faith’s file thoroughly Wesley understood why she might be led astray by a seemingly kind man whose only intention was a fatherly interest in her wellbeing. That she might think he was safeguarding her secret rather than planning to exploit it.

Fortunately, it sounded as if Faith had cottoned on to his act and brought up her concerns with Giles. There was something the mayor was planning, something big that would affect the whole town. He had not revealed it yet, but Faith was certain that he would if she continued to maintain his trust.

“I’m supposed to keep an eye on B,” Faith’s explanation merely confused him. Who the devil was Bea? The kidnapped girl was Cordelia Chase and the dead woman Beverly. He rattled off a mental list of names only to feel his cheeks flush when Faith caught the confused glaze in his eyes. “B as in B for Buffy.”

Wesley darted a glance toward Giles who was wearily rubbing at his temple. “We haven’t told Buffy about any of this,” he said to Wesley’s surprise, “just to keep up appearances. I’m not certain how well she would deal with keeping such a secret from the others. Knowing would only endanger them. We’ll fill them in when the time is right.”

“Naturally I will say nothing,” Wesley assured them, “but what makes you so certain that the mayor is evil?”

Faith’s jaw tightened as she stared back. There were many reasons. The kind of undead, demonic company he kept, for instance. Only one example was really needed to make her point. “He wanted Bev dead.”

According to what Giles had told him, Mrs. Quinn had no connection to any Slayer activities with the exception of being the grandmother of Cordelia Chase who was described to him as being a friend of the Slayers. Wesley pushed his empty cup and saucer away as he leaned forward to ask, “Why?”

“Something about his plans for the bingo parlor,” Faith shrugged as if she did not get it either. “Or maybe the fact that there were a few seniors in town who wanted Bev to run for mayor. It had nothing to do with Cor. Wilkins wanted me to kill her as proof of my loyalty.”

Horrified, Wesley glanced back at Giles who was slowly sipping at his tea, lost in thought. The casual comment and the fact that Faith had already confessed were rather damning. There was only one conclusion that Wesley could make regarding Faith’s quick release from police custody and the lack of charges. “The policemen who arrested you are involved in a cover-up.”

“As dirty as they come,” nodded Faith pushing away from the table. “There’s just one problem. I didn’t actually do it.”

“You didn’t?” Wesley perked up at the news feeling rather relieved that his Slayer wasn’t guilty of manslaughter. “Your friend will be relieved to hear that.”

A glum expression appeared as Faith slowly rose from her chair. “Cordelia can’t know the truth, Wes. Not until this mess with the mayor is done.”

Wesley barely noted the abbreviation of his name. He hung on to every word as Faith described what happened. The demon had wrested the dagger away delivering a killing blow to Bev Quinn when she got in the middle of the fight. Nevertheless, Faith considered herself to be fully responsible. “If I didn’t accept that dagger from the mayor, Bev might still be alive. The truth doesn’t change the fact that she’s dead.”

The last few words came out with a shout as Faith whirled around and sent a ceramic lamp crashing into the nearest wall. Then she went to the wall kicking it, punching at it with wild fury, fists coming away with fresh wounds and her long hair flying free around her shoulders. She stopped suddenly, standing completely still with her head dipped and her bloodied hands still curled into fists at her side.

Wesley gaped at the sight uncertain what to say or do. An uneasy silence settled around them until a single sob brashly broke the quiet and then faded into a long sigh.

90: Angel’s Mansion, Crawford Street, Central Sunnydale


Moonlight streamed across the foyer from the open front door. Angel wondered if he was going to have to deal with an attack or less innocuous intruders. Was this just another daring group of teens planning to spend a night at the ‘haunted’ mansion? Stealthily, he moved amid the shadows.

From the dark corridor on the landing above Angel noted that the heavy circular table normally located at the center of the room now had a spot in the corner. Trash bags and rolled up sleeping bags were piled up inside the door indicating this was not the sign of a demon attack. Now he had to add one more theory to his list, this one far more likely.

Angel executed a leap over the balustrade landing with catlike ease on his feet. More annoying than regular intruders, he realized just who he was dealing with, recognizing the muffled voices emanating from outside. Killing them was out of the question— though their timing might merit a broken neck or two. Getting rid of them was less likely than making bloodstains disappear.

The sound of a car idling and the sound of the trunk being closed alerted him to their means of arrival. They had taken the Plymouth. From the looks of things, they had not only brought Cordelia’s belongings, but were planning to move in, too.

The engine turned off. Footsteps shuffled around on the cobblestones. “Whose car is that?” Buffy asked as she spotted the Desoto that Angel had left up front.

“Ooh!” Xander was there, of course, “I dunno,” a vein of interest sounding while Willow honed in on a more specific query.

“Angel has a car?” She made it sound like they expected him to get around town by camel. Not that he had bothered to keep a car of his own in a very long time, but that was beside the point. They had never seen him with a car had they?

Small town Sunnydale had made one seem unnecessary. Though it was nice to drive the convertible around town when taking Cordelia from place to place, he realized.

Now Buffy sounded doubtful, “I dunno. There’s a lot I don’t know, lately,” Angel caught her mumble.

A wave of guilt rolled over him again. Now there was even more she did not know. Though he felt the need to warn them of the potential dangers, Angel knew Cordy would have his hide if he hinted at the fact that they had had sex. Buffy’s presence might actually put a damper on any random blissful thoughts running around in his head, so he decided to rethink chasing the gang off.

Xander walked straight past him as he stood in the shadows. He carried in a trash bag and dumped it on top of the pile. “Angel has a cool car and lives in a bonafide mansion. Something is seriously wrong with my karma. What’s he got, huh?”

“A refrigerator full of blood,” Willow quipped as she strolled in behind him.

“And fangs,” Xander nodded apparently no longer feeling quite so jealous. “Let’s not forget those.”

They still had not noticed him when Buffy entered immediately making eye contact as he lurked nearby. “Hi Angel, we brought Cordelia’s stuff.”

Xander and Willow turned, gaping. Managing only an “Eep!” and an “Uhh!” they waited as Angel and Buffy moved in their direction.

“Sleeping bags?” Angel asked as he glanced down at the pile.

Buffy stole a glance at the other two. “Those are for us. I—we figured we could help out with the guard duty. The mansion is so big and open and all.”

“The grounds are unsecured,” Willow pointed out. “The gate is wide open and there are big ol’ gaps in the fire-damaged areas.”

Conceding that it actually sounded reasonable, Angel put up no argument. He originally thought it best that the others wait until the morning in order to give Cordy time to rest and adjust. Security was still an issue. While Angel doubted that Angelus was going to make an appearance, it certainly did not hurt to have a Slayer around just in case.

Willow was right, too. The place was not exactly easily defended. The mansion’s north wing was a burned out husk with easy access to the habitable sections.

“You can stay,” Angel told them gruffly. Before anyone could ask, he added, “You can handle things down here.” Instructing Buffy to take the first patrol outside on the perimeter of the mansion, he told Xander and Willow to set up their supplies there in the foyer where they could keep an eye on the front entrance.

He fended off questions about Cordelia answering briefly that she was sleeping. It had been a long night, he explained and they needed to keep things quiet. They were solemn, commenting on Bev’s death and mentioning that Giles and the new guy were going to the police station to see Faith.

Angel considered going back upstairs, but decided to head down the hall to his study for a while. Still confused about the curse not kicking in, he had a lot to think about regarding his relationship with Cordelia. Was it worth risking her life knowing that he had little control when it came to wanting her? Maybe it was better to end it now.

Scenes 71 – 80        HOME       Scenes 91 – 100

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