Soulbound – Book 2: Chapter 17
There was nothing physical left to mourn. Doyle was gone, his heroism resulting in the ultimate sacrifice. Together, Angel and Cordy watched the video of Doyle attempting to act for the commercial she wanted to film. He was terrible, but they watched the thing so many times they lost count. Just to see him again, to hear his voice.
Even if it was painful to hear him say time and again, “Is that it? Am I done?”
Doyle’s friends knew how they wanted to answer— with a resounding, “NO.”
Cordy sat at Angel’s feet, her head resting on his knee and her arm curled around his leg. His hand was in her hair, stroking softly and trying to give her a little comfort. Angel’s pant leg was moist from her pooling tears. The soft sniffles were turning into sobs again.
When Cordelia suggested this activity, Angel had hoped the video would provide some catharsis, but it seemed only to make things worse. Taking the remote, Angel turned off the television and VCR in mid-commercial. Cordy’s head darted up in protest as she let out a wail. “No! Bring him back. Don’t turn it off, Angel. Just one more time.”
“You’ve had enough,” he told her firmly. “We both have.”
Rising onto her knees, Cordy tried to reach over for the remote. He held it away. She scooted over closer. He held it higher. Letting out an angry roar, Cordelia crawled up onto his lap and grabbed his wrist. Angel let her have the remote, but now he had her in his arms.
Palming her face, he brought her around to meet his gaze. “This is hard on both of us, Cordy. Don’t make it worse.”
“It can’t get any worse! Doyle is dead!”
“Shh!” Angel ran a hand along her back with long strokes, simply trying to sooth away the tension there. Slowly relaxing, the knees on either side of him flexed deeper as she lowered herself fully onto his lap, her bottom settling low on his thighs, closer to his knees.
Cordelia still held the remote with one hand, but the other held on to a handful of Angel’s shirt. “Why did this happen? Why?”
“I wasn’t fast enough,” Angel blamed himself for it all. “I should have seen Doyle’s punch coming. Then I got tangled up in that blasted cargo net. Wasted precious seconds trying to get loose. Then it was too late.”
“It wasn’t your fault!” Cordelia was quick to point out.
“The mission was mine, Cordy. Not Doyle’s. If anyone was supposed to die in that fight, it should have been me.” It sounded like the vampire actually believed that. “The Oracles promised me you would all be safe.”
“The Oracles— the ones who took away your happy fun day?” Cordelia wasn’t certain of all of the details Doyle mentioned. In fact she did not recall Doyle giving her any. “What do those two have to do with this?”
Angel was startled by the ‘happy fun day’ comment. Obviously, Doyle had been talking, but what the hell kind of picture had he painted for Cordy that would give her the idea the day could be described that way? It had been joyous, sexy, and blissful, and even those descriptions paled to the memory of it. Okay, so maybe the happy fun day thing worked, too.
That day was just one more thing he had lost recently besides Doyle’s camaraderie not to mention his unique abilities. If it hadn’t been for Doyle acting as his seer, Cordelia might never have reentered his life. Then again, the Oracles were tangled up in Doyle’s visions. So he supposed he had them to thank for Cordy as well.
That bites it! “The Oracles work for the Powers that Be. Forces of Order. The good guys, supposedly. They’re blasted interfering know-it-alls who keep screwing with our lives.”
The angry retort caused Cordelia to jerk in surprise, sending the remote tumbling to the ground. Angel grasped her hips tightly, pulling her closer as she nearly lost her balance.
“Sorry,” he apologized doing his best to rein that anger in.
“Don’t bottle it up,” Cordelia’s palms pressed against his shoulders, shaking him slightly. “That’s what you’re good at— suppressing your feelings until they get you broody. Let it out, Angel.”
“Not a good idea,” his voice was edged in his pain.
She was tired of this feeling that he was hiding something. Just like Doyle hiding the fact that he was half demon. Poking at his chest with her index finger, Cordelia pressured him for a response. “Talk to me. Say what’s on you mind.”
Now he did not even give her a verbal answer, pressing his mouth closed as if he was a three-year old trying to hold a confession from his mother. Then he finally ground out a response when it appeared that she wasn’t going to let up until he opened up.
“Don’t push me,” Angel warned.
Poking again, she told him, “Just emote— like they told us in drama class. Get it all out there.”
“Emote?” Angel thought she was either insane or didn’t realize what she was doing.
Cordelia smacked his chest, and then moved to get off of his lap, but the hands on her hips kept her in place. Already experiencing a loss of emotional control, Angel realized that Cordy was summoning up something even more intense.
“Stay put,” Angel commanded as his fingers curled into her bottom.
Angry that he wouldn’t share his feelings, she screamed at him, “Let go of me!”
Her eyes were locked fiercely upon his. Then he advised her, “Listen to me when I tell you not to push me too far. I’m a vampire, not some simpering idiot like some of the men you’ve been dating.”
Was this jealousy in his voice? Cordelia quirked an eyebrow as she commented. “Man. Not men. Pierce was an idiot, but there was only one of him.”
“Forget that bastard! I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about us,” Angel growled. “I can’t have you pretending I’m human, Cordelia. You can’t do that. I have instincts you don’t understand and opening up to my emotions, well— things could get out of hand. I don’t want you hurt.”
“So— you’re a vampire.” Cordelia blinked, “This is supposed to be news? I’ve known that like forever. I don’t pretend you’re human.”
Angel flashed a look of doubt. “Are you saying it doesn’t matter?”
He meant the Vampire— Human part of their pact. “Why would I start treating you different now?”
“Because now I can’t seem to keep my hands off you!”
“Oh.” Cordelia recognized the fact that she was still in his lap.
He confessed, “It was easier when you didn’t want me.”
A puzzled look followed. When was that? “When was that again?”
“When you found out I was a vampire.” Angel reminded.
Okay, Cordelia decided. As long as she had him talking, she would continue on with this little confession spree. “I-I do want you, Angel. I can’t deny I wish you were human. It would simplify things.”
“Yes,” Angel knew that it had. When he went to her at the park in Santa Monica, Cordy had accepted him into her arms without hesitation. Had he still been a vampire and done the same, Angel doubted a similar outcome.
“What happened on your missing day?”
The direct question could not be avoided— but he could try to ignore it, he decided.
Persistent Cordelia asked another. “Doyle said that you spent the day with me. Is that right?”
Cordy’s hands were resting on either side of his chest as she squirmed slightly on his lap. The idea that a human Angel chose to spend that day with her seemed too much like one of her many fantasies about him.
“Did we spend time in the sun?” She asked him, remembering what information she had squeezed out of Doyle. “At the beach, maybe?”
The memories made his eyes dark as Cordelia watched for his answer. Finally, he spoke, “Yes, at the beach. We talked. Watched the sunset.”
“Do you miss the sun, Angel?”
I miss you more, he thought. “Yes.”
“What else happened that day?” Cordelia sensed there was more. Getting information from the stoic vampire was like wringing blood out of a stone.
Angel shook his head, closing his eyes at the tidal wave of memories. He did not want to forget them, just suppress them when Cordelia was around. One of her hands crept up to his neck, her fingers cupping him there, forcing him to look at her.
“Did we do anything else together?” There was a catch in her voice.
“We made love, Cordy,” Angel told her. “That’s what you want to know, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Cordelia felt herself trembling at the thought and the mild arousal she felt turned to shocking need.
The reaction wasn’t lost on Angel who noticed everything, seeing the way her nipples peaked hard against her thin sweater and how her eyes dilated as they met his gaze. Was it a reaction to him or the thought of him being human? Maybe it was time to find out.
Angel’s hands slid up to her shoulders where he hauled her up against his chest. Cordy let out a little cry of surprise, “Oh!”
“Yes, Cordy. Oh, indeed. Can you feel what you do to me?” Moving one hand back down to her hips, Angel pressed her bottom downward until her crotch met the hardness of his groin.
Feel it? Couldn’t miss it. Subconsciously she rotated her hips to get just the right angle. Then let out a little moan of need. “A-Angel.”
“That’s it,.” Angel held her tight as he lifted himself a fraction higher. “Now, give me your mouth. Kiss me.”
Moaning louder now, Cordelia reacted on automatic seemingly no longer in control of her own actions. Just listening to him, wanting him. Wondering what they had done on the day he spent as a human, the day that did not really exist. Remembering their kiss of goodbye when she thought he would die, when she realized that she didn’t think she could live without him. Realized— that she thought she loved him.
Wrapping one arm around his neck, the other clutched somewhere along his hard chest Cordy opened her mouth to his. Angel rocked her body against the rigid erection in his pants and felt the softness of he breasts crushing into his chest.
It was a wet kiss, mixed with tears. The taste reminded them both what led them here. Mourning Doyle. It was enough to shock them apart for a second, just long enough to elicit fresh droplets of remorse, but there was an urgency now that could not be ignored.
Angel dragged his mouth across her cheek licking at the saltiness there. Taking away the evidence of her pain and sorrow, he crept back into the hollow of her mouth mimicking movements from below. And Cordy held on as tight as she could pressing herself against him, feeling, just feeling this thing between them that wasn’t entirely full of the pain and aguish of their mutual loss.
Through the barrier of their clothes, they felt their arousal peak. Growing frantic, wanting more. Then Cordelia felt a pinprick against her tongue as it rasped against the sharp edge of a fang. Breaking away from his kiss, she realized that Angel was now in game face, staring down at her with his amber eyes. Their hips stilled in mid-motion before setting back down to the couch.
“Moment of truth, Cordy,” the vampire stared hard. “Is this what you want?”
Collapsing against him so that her head was tucked into the crook of his neck, Cordelia whispered, “No, Angel. Not like this. This isn’t about us. It’s about the people we were on your lost day. It’s about Doyle and us trying to forget what happened tonight.”
Angel slipped back to his human face though she could not see it. He continued to rub softly along her back, providing a soothing rhythm that calmed them both. Then he felt the moisture of tears on his neck and the soft sniffle that accompanied them. “Shh! It’s gonna be okay. We’ll get through this.”
“It’s just that— I just feel so guilty about Doyle,” she admitted. “So guilty.”
“B-because Doyle is— was my friend and I loved him, but I think he loved me, Angel. I mean really loved me.”
“Yeah.” Angel wouldn’t deny it.
Cordelia kept holding tight and talking into his throat unable to look at him. “I-I cried when it happened. I cried because he was dead, but there was— the other thing.”
“I felt so relieved, Angel. I was just relived that it wasn’t you,” she sobbed loudly as she held onto him for dear life.
Angel’s arms were around her. It was a good thing that her face was hidden, because he figured if he looked into he eyes he’d be kissing her again. And kissing led to other things which included comfort sex. Angel figured they’d gotten close enough to that without taking off a single shred of clothes.
The brilliant words that would sooth her nerves and quell her fears did not come. So Angel simply held her until her racking sobs turned to sniffles and then to the softer sound of her breathing. Exhausted with grief, Cordelia soon fell asleep in his arms.
Carrying her into the bedroom, he put her down on the top of the coverlet. Then deciding that her clothing was restrictive and that she’d be uncomfortable that way, he set about methodically removing her clothes. Gently, while trying to maintain his composure, Angel removed her shoes and socks, placing them carefully together next to the bed. Using all his skill at undressing women, in order not to wake her, Angel took of her pants and sweater, leaving her only in her matching green silk panties and bra. Angel folded the clothes, placing them on a nearby chair.
Stirring slightly when the air brushed across her skin, Cordelia rolled into the spot that Angel prepared for her— on her usual side of the bed. He stood staring at her for long minutes, until her eyes flickered open to see him there.
“Angel?” Her sleepy voice was uncertain that he was real.
“Sleep tight, Cordy.”
“Don’t go.” Reaching out her hand, she pleaded softly for him to stay. “Just hold me. Hold me in your arms tonight.”
Cordelia was asleep again before Angel could reply, her arm now dangling off the bed. He tucked it in, planning to head back to the sofa. Then a moan akin to fear sounded from the bed. Turning back, he decided to stay, promising himself that this was just to keep her content and to be close if she awakened in the night.
Something hard and cool was pressing her down into the bed, Cordelia realized as her eyes fluttered open the next morning. The comforter was nowhere in sight. An arm— Angel’s naked arm to be more precise since it was most definitely attached to his hard naked Angel body. Sometime in his sleep, the vampire had flung it across her waist.
But it wasn’t his arm that really grabbed her attention. Grabbed. Hmm. That was a fitting word, Cordelia thought as she suppressed an embarrassed giggle. The strap of her silky emerald bra had fallen down— or been pulled down during the night taking the thin cup with it. Angel’s fingers were contentedly curled around the bare curve of her right breast.
Oh, God! How was she going to get out of this one?
Angel was snuggled against her as if he had searched for her warmth across the bed and kept he close all night. She vaguely recalled asking him to stay with her— just so she could sleep. Never realized that her instructions had included stripping her down to her bra and panties. Or groping her boob, for that matter.
Grabbing at her bra strap, Cordy yanked it up, forcing Angel to move his hand. It settled on her lower abdomen, just below her navel. His fingers were so close to the edge of her panties and the thought that he might accidentally slip his fingers underneath the edge gave her a little shiver.
As much as Cordelia would have enjoyed watching Angel sleep or even staying long enough to take a good look at what he wasn’t wearing under the covers— she could not. She had an audition this morning. Why today? Doyle would be the first to tell her to get on with her life, so Cordy figured that she would go for his sake.
The last thing Cordelia did on the way out of the office was eject the VCR tape of Doyle’s commercial and put in into her purse. It seemed apparent that Angel would never watch the tape again. Whenever she got lonely for Doyle, Cordy figured she could watch it with Dennis.
The audition did not go well; even Cordelia realized that as she went through the motions before the panel. Normally she charmed everyone with her personality and gorgeous smile, but not today. She kept crying through her lines.
The panel offered her another chance, but that was when it happened— when Doyle’s little parting gift kicked in bringing with it pain and disorientation. Needless to say, Cordy did not win the Stain-Be-Gone commercial. She left with a consolation migraine instead and headed straight over to Angel Investigations.
Angel was standing in the outer office when Cordelia arrived. She looked gorgeous with her long chestnut hair flowing over that green top that left her shoulders exposed. He just loved catching little glimpses of skin. Tossing her things directly only the floor, Cordy stalked toward him with this strangely determined look in her eyes.
Before the vampire could ask what was up, Cordelia was inches away and grabbing him into her arms. Throwing one arm over his shoulder, she lifted her mouth to his initiating a kiss that seemed more about contact than comfort, more about persistence than passion. Taking over the kiss, Angel wrapped his arms around her moving one down to place a hand over the tattooed area of her lower spine and tucking his fingers just inside her pants to cover it.
“That was a delicious surprise,” Angel commented as they emerged from the kiss.
Cordelia looked up at him with a discerning eye. “Did you feel anything? Cause I didn’t feel anything.”
“What?! You didn’t?” Angel knew that Cordelia liked his kisses. She loved his kisses. There was a time that she couldn’t get enough of them.
“Urgh!” Cordy sounded out her frustration. “That means I still have it! Damn, I can’t believe he did this to me!”
“Who did what?”
Cordelia explained that it was Doyle’s fault. “He kissed me just before he leapt off the platform. I thought that meant something, and instead— he used that moment to pass it on to me!”
As Angel wiped his lips, looking at the slight residue of her lipstick, Cordelia tagged on, “Why couldn’t it have been mono or herpes?”
“C-Cordelia,” he still didn’t understand the problem. What had Doyle done to her?
“I didn’t ask for this responsibility,” Cordy pointed out. “Unlike some people who shall remain lifeless! I don’t have anything to atone for. If they know what’s good for me, the Oracles and the PTB better just stay out of my head.”
“The Powers-that-Be,” Angel realized that somehow Doyle’s status as their seer had been passed on to Cordelia Chase. “You had a vision.”
Cordy told him about the fact that her audition had been ruined by the way she reacted to the vision. And the pain. Let’s not forget that drool-producing incident. When Angel felt that it was safe to inquire, he asked about the vision.
“It was— a thing.”
“An ugly gray, blobby thing.” Cordelia waved it off as insignificant in comparison to her issue. “What difference does it make?”
Reminding her that visions were usually a sign of trouble, the vampire commented, “It depends on whether it was an ugly, gray, blobby dangerous thing!”
Ranting, Cordelia told him, “I don’t care, I want it out of me! And if kissing is the only way to get rid of it I will smooch every damn frog in this kingdom!”
Just then, a small demon emerged from the office restroom. “Sorry, I thought I heard voices.”
“Cordy, this is our new client—,” Angel was attempting an introduction when Cordelia swept across the room to kiss the guy, “Barney.”
Afterward, Cordelia made a face, muttering under her breath. “Maybe not every frog.”
Lower beings, the required prognostications have come to pass. The Seer-to-Be has now become that which was intended, setting her on the path of future destinies. Through the sacrifice of the Seer-Before, our Champion remains a strong presence against the coming darkness. Chaos reacts to the defeat of the purebloods by calling up another army, this one entirely human, cloaked by the protection of man’s law. Before it is over, before Chaos returns the darkness to the light of day, our Champion will again call upon the wisdom of the Powers-that-Be.
SOULBOUND – BOOK TWO – THE NEXT CONNECTION: CHAPTER LINKS