Soulbound – Book 2: Chapter 5
After the microwave dinged, Cordelia removed and opened the popcorn bag. Moving back into the living room, she sat listening to Doyle as he argued with one of his many contacts on the phone. He’d decided to track down Spike for Angel by calling in a few favors, but it seemed that everyone he called reminded him that he was the one owing.
Having slammed down the phone, Doyle flopped back onto the couch. “No luck. So, you were telling me about Spike.”
The constant phone calls kept interrupting. “Oh, yeah. Spike’s nearly done Buffy in a few times. I mentioned that he’s killed two Slayers already?”
“Oh, and this one time he and Dru raised this demon that burned people from the inside. It was this whole weird thing with an arm in a box.” Cordy thought back to the night of Buffy Summer’s birthday party.
Doyle didn’t get it. “An arm in a box?”
Nodding, Cordelia was about to explain further when the phone rang again. With a sigh, she realized that gossiping with Doyle was not taking her mind off the things that Spike said back at the garage. Now she couldn’t seem to get the vampire out of her head. What was it about the things he said that gave her such a wiggins?
Maybe it wasn’t just what he said, but the way he reacted— hiding nothing, putting it all out there for her to see. Acting as if she was the one with the faulty memory instead of him, the lame brain! Spike barely knew her. So what made him think he was an expert on Cordelia Chase?!
Munching on her popcorn, Cordy shifted in the chair swinging her legs over the side. She had changed into shorts and a t-shirt, wearing her hair long and loose. It felt oh so good to be out of that dreaded slutwear. Though it certainly made Doyle and Angel stand up and take notice in more ways than one— as if she hadn’t seen that coming the minute she got dressed this morning.
Spike noticed too and was surprised that she wasn’t a vampire. Maybe slutwear was the in thing for female vamps this season, she mused. Or every season. Oh, yeah! He’d been surprised to find her human, but not at all surprised that she was here in L.A. with Angel.
Did Angel send his vampire family regular updates on email? Hah! She could imagine Spike’s reply. Dear Peaches, Drusilla and I are still basking in the afterglow our latest bloodletting! Cordy paused in her popcorn munching long enough to scrunch up her nose. Eew! So not happening.
More like he was spying on Buffy and the Scoobies. No doubt Willow told them all about her little talk with Angel and how Cordelia was now working as his secretary. Thinking about it, Cordy conceded that it was not true either. When Angel told him about her being here as his secretary, Spike looked— bewildered.
Maybe he imagined the other things Angel could be doing with her rather than having her typing and filing. Yeah. Other things. Probably things that involved her and black leather. Not that Angel would think them. Not seriously. Except for that taunt this morning about letting her have her fun and talking punishment later.
Cordelia’s mouth quirked into a smile. Sometimes Angel was too hot for her own good! Those dark eyes had sparkled in mischief— and lust as he looked at her. Angel hadn’t tried to hide the fact that he found her sexy in Doyle’s carefully selected slutwear. Too bad the vampire had left them alone most of the day, letting them wage their little battle over the outcome of the bet without him playing referee. Now sorry she had warned him off, Cordelia realized that playing Doyle’s little dominatrix game with Angel in the mix might have been fun.
The thought made Cordy sit up with a start as she realized the direction of her thoughts.
Angel was a vampire and her boss, not someone who should be driving her imagination wild. After experiencing the nightmare that was Angelus, even Buffy had to think twice about getting groiny with Angel again. Cordelia wasn’t about to begin now.
So maybe Spike had picked up on the fact that she didn’t like seeing blood and bruises marring Angel’s handsome face. Caring wasn’t allowed unless it came in the form of being Angel’s human pet? The blond vampire had gone on about his grandsire being greedy with his ‘property’ and actually had the nerve to imply that she was it. Cordelia once read in a demonology book at the Sunnydale library that vampires were possessive creatures.
Pfft! Possessive and obsessive was more like it. Cordy didn’t need a book to tell her that.
That didn’t mean she was at Angel Investigations as the Bride of Dracula! Since when had she ever given that impression? Was she wearing a sign that screamed— bite me?”
Yeah. He obviously thought it should be on her neck considering the way he had wigged out at the scar-free zone. What’s with his big deal? People usually freaked when seeing a scar— not the lack of one. As far as she knew, Spike had not even been around for the barbeque fork incident.
Or was he? Actually, Cordelia couldn’t even remember the accident, just what Joyce had explained. So why was Spike so certain she had been bitten by a vampire? The shock on his face at her explanation was honest enough, even though Angel had told her Spike was a masterful liar. Why lie about that? It meant nothing— except for the huge bill she was still paying off for having it removed. Anything that dented into her shoe-purchasing power was significant.
Spike seemed to hint at things that never happened. Bitten by a vampire? Cordelia felt sure she would remember being munched on. Spike probably just had her mixed up with someone else.
Cordy mulled over the idea with obvious doubt. No way! A guy forgetting Sunnydale’s Queen C? Not gonna happen, even if that guy was an evil bloodsucking vampire.
So if Spike knew who she was, expected to find her here with a vampire scar on her neck while possibly considering that fact she might actually be a vampire— who did the biting? It came to her with a clarity that frightened her. Now she really had a wiggins!
Spike actually thought it was Angel. He thought Angel bit her, marked her, made her his.
“Didya hear me, Cordy?” Doyle’s Irish brogue cut through her private musings. “Tell me you’ve been listening to the plan?”
What plan? She simply shifted her head in his direction. “Plan?”
Doyle rubbed a hand on the back of his neck. “I’ve had three phone calls while you’ve been staring at the wall tossing that popcorn into your mouth.”
“I would have shared.”
“That’s not the point,” Doyle grumbled. “You should be thinking about Spike and Angel, not daydreaming about Keanu Reeves again or whichever movie star has given you that sultry glaze in your eyes.”
Cordelia opened her mouth to shove his assumptions right back at him, “I wasthinking about Spike and Angel.”
“Oh.” Doyle gave her a stark stare. “Then what do you have to say? Have you come to any startling conclusions?”
“Yeah,” Cordy told him as her hand drifted to her throat. “Spike is a dumbass! I think it must run in the family.”
Doyle grabbed the half-empty popcorn bag out of her hands, shoving a few kernels into his mouth before filling Cordelia in on what she had missed. One of his contacts came through at last. Angel called immediately after that, received the news with a growl of satisfaction and headed off to the Orbit Room to find Manny the Pig. Manny apparently had the low-down on Spike.
“So what’s this great plan?”
“That was it,” Doyle responded while grabbing another handful of popcorn.
He handed the near-empty bag to Cordelia. “So Angel goes to the Orbit Room, beats up a man named Piggy who is supposed to play nice and tell him where Spike is hiding? Then Angel kicks Spike’s ass out of town?”
Nodding, Doyle told her she had it. Close enough for starters, anyway. Getting out of the chair, Cordelia paced around as she started feeling nervous. She had no doubt that Angel could win against Spike in a fair fight. He was taller, stronger and more experienced than the younger vampire.
“I don’t like this,” she admitted clutching at her suddenly queasy her stomach.
“Spike not only threatened Angel,” Doyle reminded Cordelia, “— he threatened you. If you believe Angel is going to sit around and wait for Spike to make his move, you don’t know our vampire boss half as well as you imagine.”
Cordy let out a long sigh as she stared over at the telephone. “He’s gonna call, right? To let us know if he found Spike.”
“He’ll be okay.”
“Spike doesn’t fight fair,” she cried out.
“Don’t worry about it,” Doyle pointed out that Angel had a distinct advantage. “He’s got the Ring of Amara.”
“Spike said he wasn’t wearing it!” Cordelia couldn’t believe that Angel would take it off. Now that she thought about it, he had not even left the building to bask in the sun. Dumb vampire! He preferred to brood in the darkness even when the light could be his for the taking.
Doyle stopped short, having been pacing opposite to her tract. “Damn! You’re right.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Cordy asked.
“If you’re thinking that we should haul ass back to the office and start looking for the damn ring and get it to Angel,” Doyle began already reaching for his car keys, “then I’m thinking we’re thinking the same thing.”
Across town, Spike was already in the process of ransacking Angel’s place. Looking in every nook and cranny, tipping over canisters, boxes, cups and chairs in search of the ring’s hiding place, he let out a growl of frustration when he came up empty handed.
“This is getting old real fast. If I was a ring— where would I be?”
Now he was in Angel’s bedroom. Dark and sedate. Understated. Subtle. Except for the huge bed with its iron framework. Nothing subtle about that. Grinning, Spike paused in his search long enough to check the bed-frame for signs that Angel and his hot-blooded mate were having fun and games.
Angel had called her his secretary, stopping him from referring to Cordelia Chase as his mate. Spike hadn’t figured that one out yet. The chit had the guts to remove the mark of Angelus’ claim, yet remained here with him. Funny that none of her clothes were in the closet, he noted. Spike was digging through the drawers of a high-boy dresser when he found a small framed photograph of Angel, Cordelia and Buffy.
“Why isn’t this on display?” Spike looked down at the photo with a wry smirk. “Looks like Slutty the Vampire Slayer got left behind in Sunnydale. Poor Slutty! Missing out on that vampire loving. Someone ought to fix that.”
Giving up on finding the ring, Spike took the stairs at a gallop. He was standing directly in front of the desk near the entrance when he detected a tantalizingly familiar scent an instant before he heard soft footfalls and sound of her breathing. “Hello, chit.”
Spike turned to find Cordelia holding a crossbow aimed at his chest. She was dressed in the burgundy and gold colors of her old high school. Shorts and a t-shirt. Nothing fancy like the designer clothes she used to wear. Unfortunately, neither was it skin-tight black leather making him want to sink his face between the corset-enhanced cleavage of her breasts.
Disappointed, Spike found himself pouting a little. Not that he hated the cheerleader look, but the effect was quite different. “Where’s the leather, luv?”
“I donated it to Goodwill.”
“Too bad,” the vampire told her with a shrug. “Angel does like that leather and lace look on his women.”
“Stop saying that,” Cordelia raised the crossbow just a little higher.
Doyle stepped into the room now carrying a gun. Warning, “That’s close enough.”
Irritated, Spike tossed up his hands before settling them on his narrow hips. “What’s with you guys running in packs? Who the hell are you again, mate?”
“More than meets the eye,” Doyle figured a half-demon could give a vampire a run for his money as long as the fight didn’t last too long.
“Ooh, the Mick’s got spine!” Spike chortled before threatening, “Maybe I’ll snap it in two.”
Since the evil vampire didn’t seem to be kidding, Cordelia reminded him that they were not exactly defenseless. “Do you want me to use this?”
“You’ll be dead before that arrow leaves the bow.”
Gulp! Nope. Wasn’t kidding. Cordy let the bow slip down again.
“Now, where was I?” Spike took up where he left off. “Put that gun away, Irish. I’ve got other uses for you and the chit. I’m bloody tired of looking for that ring. I think you two should take over.”
“Why would we help you?”
Spike realized that he had forgotten to tell them. They were gonna love this. “Well, Mick, it’s because I have your boss chained up and bleeding. Marcus— the vampire I’ve hired on this special occasion— is an expert in doling out pain. He’s a bloody king of torture, he is. Humans, demons, politicians— makes no difference.”
His audience of two was gaping in horror at the dark images in their heads. Spike loved it. Now he was having fun again. Continuing, “Some say Marcus invented some of the classics, but he won’t tell me which ones. Beneath that cool exterior, you’ll find he’s a very shy guy— except with kids.”
“Kids?” Cordy asked.
“His favorite bedtime snack.” Spike explained, “He apparently likes them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, too.”
Eew! Vampires could be so— evil. Cordelia glared at Spike with all the hatred she could muster. “Why are you doing this to Angel? He’s your blood.”
“Because I bloody well WANT MY RING!” He yelled, adding, “And because the bastard deserves it. Stupid poof! Won’t tell me where he’s got it hidden.”
“You’re an idiot, Spike,” claimed Doyle still holding the gun on him.
“You think?” Spike had a hand on his chest demonstrating a hurt look. “Because I’m not the one who fell into my trap when his little minions fed him the wrong information. I’m not the one chained to a ceiling with hot pokers in my side.”
The blast of the gun went off, the bullet lodging in the floor between Spike’s booted feet. “That was a warning shot, vampire.”
Cordelia nearly jumped out of her skin at the gunshot, then had to watch Spike’s reaction as he lunged at the dark-haired seer, fangs exposed in fury. The gun was ripped out of Doyle’s grip in one moment and the Irishman was laid out cold on the floor the next. It had taken Spike only seconds, during which time Cordy was too surprised to respond.
“Hey!” Cordelia finally managed a protest then remembered that she had a crossbow in her hands. Without thinking about the consequences, she pulled the trigger.
Spike dodged the arrow. As it thudded into the wall, he was already pulling it out of her grip, tossing the weapon to the floor. With both hands on her upper arms, he held her up against the hard wall of his chest, baring her neck to his fangs. Cordelia shrieked in protest only to feel Spike’s mouth whispering across the sensitive skin over her pulsing carotid artery.
Then he— was sniffing her. What was it with vampires and the sniffing?
“S-Spike,” she pleaded when he did not chomp down right away. “Don’t do this. Let me go. Let Angel go.”
Her body jerked in response to the moist sensation of the flat of his tongue licking her hot flesh. Shuddering, Cordelia wondered when he would get on with the biting. The vampire lifted his head to comment, “You taste like him, you know.”
Turning her head, Cordelia gave him a startled look. “What?!”
“There is just a hint of it wafting close to your skin,” Spike’s expression had changed from fury to wonder. Having a human as a mate had to be a challenge, constantly wanting to taste as well as touch. This taste he noticed did not come from Angel holding onto her hot-n-sweaty naked body after a good hard shag, but from within.
Changing his mind about draining the chit, Spike pulled her toward the desk. “C’mon. I have a better idea. Grab that pen and write your annoying Irish pal a little note. Tell him to look for the ring. He can bring it to me if he finds it. I’ll give you the address.”
Doing as instructed, Cordelia had no choice but to drop the note on Doyle chest. Spike’s punch had knocked him out cold. Then the vampire grabbed her by the wrist, leading her outside to his car. That was how they’d known he was inside. Should have just let him drive away and follow him back to his hideout, but no! Doyle wanted to confront Spike.
Men! What was it that constantly drove them into these testosterone challenges? Looked like Doyle wasn’t gonna like the outcome of this one. At least he was alive, the dumbass!
Tossing Cordelia into the passenger seat of his car, Spike ordered her to stay put while he walked around to the other side. As if she was going to leave! He obviously planned to take her to Angel even if it was for his own evil purposes. If she was gonna die, then at least she would get to see him again.
That thought disturbed Cordelia, sending her into a brooding mode that would challenge Angel on his grumpiest days. “Do as I say once we get inside,” came her instructions. “I can’t guarantee that Marcus won’t take an interest in torturing you in front of Angel.”
You mean that’s not already the plan?
“Besides, that’s my job!”
Oh. Well that made sense.
SOULBOUND – BOOK TWO – THE NEXT CONNECTION: CHAPTER LINKS