Her skin glowed in the weak basement light. She was perspiring from the strain of her new regimen. Sweat pored off of her in streams, but she didn’t give up. She would show him that she wasn’t easily worn down. But he was pushing hard. Harder than before. She had pissed him off and she was going to be the one to pay for it.
“Come on, Cordy, controlled breathing.”
“I am! If you just get off my back.” She was spent, exhausted.
“You’ll know when I’m on your back, little girl. Lest we forget which of the two of us asked for these lessons? Now lets try again, breathe in on one, hold for a beat then release … slowly.”
“Cause you’re the expert on breathing now?”
“I know that you are rasping and your heart is beating twice as fast as it should be.”
She tried again, slowly shifting her weight keeping the balance, but she was struggling. His hand came to touch her on the small of her back pressing down firmly. Her breath rushed out of her and she nearly toppled over.
“You have to get the balance, Cordelia, or it won’t work.”
“I’m not a goddamn vampire, Angel, what your asking me to do is impossible.”
“No, it’s not, you’re just not trying hard enough. I want you to do it and I don’t want to hear anymore of your complaining.”
Cordelia pushed off on her hands, then spun on the ball of her foot; bringing her knee up directing it towards Angel’s midsection. He easily side stepping the attack. She over balanced and did fall this time, landing clumsily on her bottom.
“Get up and try again!”
“Here’s a idea, why don’t you use one of your newly acquired demon powers?” She looked up at him with a question on her face. “Get off you ass an try again.”
She had enough.
“Hey! I didn’t make that deal just so I could be here to hear you whine about the unfairness of it … or maybe I did, but that doesn’t give you the right to try to guilt trip me whenever you feel like it. And it doesn’t give you permission to work me into the ground just because I kept secrets!
“You were dying and you kept it from me, Cordelia!”
“Do you really want to talk to me about keeping secrets, Angel?”
He unclenched his fist then, letting his shoulders sag. She watched as the strength seemed to melt out of him.
“I just don’t like thinking of you all alone with that burden.” he leaned back against a wall and she crawled over to join him.
“That’s why I didn’t tell you, doofus.” Her elbow swung out and got him in the arm. He lifted it, drawing her into a cool hug “Also, working me to death? Kinda defeats the whole purpose, don’tcha think?”