Fresh raindrops spattered against the windshield as Angel eased the Plymouth into a parking space near Cordy’s apartment. The street and sidewalk looked like wet obsidian, reflecting the misty halos of the streetlights in the puddles that had formed there.
Cordelia shifted and sighed in the passenger seat, but didn’t wake.
The storm that had drenched them -- and saved her life, back in the rocky canyon -- rumbled away to the north, and another was sweeping in to replace it. A weak flicker of lightning danced along the horizon, illuminating a tower of clouds, the apartment building in stark silhouette against them. It was coming fast, and it was big.
He killed the engine and glanced over at Cordelia, and then at the glistening hood of the car. It felt like a dream, her warm body beneath him, around him… He inhaled deep. Acknowledged the leftover adrenaline, the pump of borrowed blood, and the smell of sex that clung to them both.
He didn’t understand what had happened. Why Cordy had initiated it. That wasn’t her. Wasn’t them.
Something wasn’t right.
Lightning pulsed again, brighter this time, and an answering grumble of thunder made the car shudder. Cordy flinched, and opened her eyes.
“Are we home?” she asked, her voice rusty.
She pulled his damp coat closer around her, and peered through the windshield. “I don’t suppose there’s an umbrella rattling around in your trunk-of-death back there?”
He shrugged. “Sorry, no.”
She sighed, looked up at the sky, and reached for the door handle. “Probably not a good idea to be waving metal objects around out there, anyway.” There was a long, uneasy silence, during which she avoided his eyes. Finally, she pushed the door open. Fresh, rain-scented air rushed into the car as she swung both legs out onto the footpath, and looked back over her shoulder. “Um, I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Wait!” he said, too fast, too loud. He couldn’t leave it like this. Couldn’t let the strange, strained vibe fester overnight. Couldn’t ignore the deep gut feeling that something was wrong. Or the frown she was now sending in his direction. “I mean -- I should escort you inside. Make sure you’re --”
“Safe?” The word came out as a short, barking laugh. “I just killed some big stinky demon with nothing but an axe -- and saved your ass in the process, by the way -- and you’re worried about me walking 30 feet to my front door?”
“In the middle of the night, half-naked, yes,” he said, trying to ignore the sudden memory of her, dappled in raindrops, pulling his palm to her breast.
“Yeah, well, someone went all Incredible Hulk on my clothes,” she replied, her face softening as she adjusted the coat again.
Angel pocketed the car keys. “So I owe it to you to get you inside with your modesty intact. Humor me.”
They climbed out of the car, and as they ran up the path, the rain intensified -- a million little starbursts on the concrete. Cordy’s front door flew open as they approached, and Angel put a hand on the small of her back and hustled her inside, slamming it shut behind them.
She jolted at his touch, jerked away like he’d pinched her. But when her eyes flashed to his, the shame he expected to see wasn’t there. Only -- heat. What the hell was going on? Was there something in a sulphur demon’s blood that enchanted people? Not that he knew of. Probably something he needed Wesley to look into.
And then he thought again of Cordelia, curling eager fingers around him, and decided Wesley definitely did not need to know about this.
The thermostat on the butter-colored wall clicked up several degrees, and the lamp-lit room began to warm, a cozy haven against the storm outside. Dennis, ever present, jiggled silk flowers in their blue glass vase, obviously glad to have her home.
“There, you see? Safe,” Cordy said. She waved her hand around the room. “Monster-free-zone.” As if on some movie-track cue, thunder cracked overhead, and the lights flickered.
Angel shuffled his feet. “Okay, well. Good. I’ll go then.”
“Your coat.” She grasped the collar and held it out from her body, towards him, like he needed a reminder of how it looked.
“Tomorrow,” he said, putting his hand up in the international signal for ‘stop’.
“Right.” She let the damp material fall. “That’s, uh, yeah. Good idea. Goodnight, Angel.” She leaned towards him, lips heading for his cheek, but at the last moment she pulled out and offered him her hand instead, and then pulled it away and looked at her nails before he could touch her.
More thunder, rolling across the sky like a giant barrel, tumbling through the clouds. Angel could feel the hair on his arms rising, energy crackling in the air. Whether it was coming from the electrical storm, or his proximity to Cordelia, he wasn’t sure.
He turned to go. He needed to go. It was the only safe thing to do. Whatever was wrong, it could wait until tomorrow, when he didn’t have her taste on his tongue, and her scent curling up from beneath his clothes.
If it were just a matter of controlling himself, clamping down on the feelings stirred up by the way she’d touched him, he could deal. But it was obvious he wasn’t the only one having trouble shaking off what had happened.
Cordy always got her own way. He wanted to be at maximum safe distance if she decided once wasn’t enough. And by the look in her eyes, and the heady scent that drifted off her as she got warmer, he figured ‘if’ was about to become ‘when’.
Angel squared his chin. Took a deep breath and pulled the door open. Concentrated hard. Just step out, and keep walking, he thought. Go home and take a cold shower. Everything will look different in the light of day.
A brilliant white flash -- framed by the doorway -- dazzled him, and the immediate roar of thunder that followed made the air vibrate. He recoiled a little, then squared his shoulders, headed out into the night and --
bounced straight back into the room like a bungee was attached to his belt. He staggered, and regained his feet just in time to avoid crashing into Cordelia. The door slammed shut so hard the wall shuddered, and pictures jangled on their hooks.
Cordy gasped and pressed a hand to her chest. “Is this some sort of new vampire rule? ‘Cause I thought I pretty much knew them all by now.”
“No,” Angel said, shaking his head. He reached over and felt the doorframe, searching for the electric shimmer of magic, then tried the handle. It opened straight away.
There was a gush of energy, and the knob was wrenched from his hand as the door banged shut again.
Cordy made a little clicking sound in her throat, a noise of frustration. “Dennis! What are you doing? Let Angel out.”
The door rattled resolutely and the lock clicked shut.
Dennis never did this sort of thing without a good reason. Angel shivered -- an icy finger trailing down his spine, prodding the foreboding in his stomach back to life. What could be so wrong to make Cordy act as reckless as she had tonight, and to make Dennis try to stop him from leaving?
Sure, she’d been through a tough week. The fake visions from Wolfram & Hart had really knocked her around. But she said she was fine now. Had she lied? He cast his mind back to that night, to Cordy -- crying, lacerated, burned and disfigured, telling him she was scared. Scared all the time.
Hell, she was just a girl, and sometimes he forgot that. Expected her to deal with things the same way Wes and Gunn did. But they had training, street-smarts, the kind of hardness that came with a life spent immersed in the fight against evil. Cordy was a rich girl from Sunnydale who’d caught a bad break and faced it with more courage than he’d thought she possessed.
“What?” Cordy said, putting her hands on her hips. The coat bagged open at the neck, giving Angel much more of a view than he expected.
He dragged his eyes to her face. “Sorry?”
“Your brood face just went on.”
“No it didn’t,” he protested, trying to look nonchalant. Times like these he wished he could see his reflection in the mirror behind her.
She waved a finger at him, and took a step forward. “Angel, after all this time you think I can’t tell when you’re brooding about something? What gives?”
One beat. Two.
“Are you -- okay?”
She gave a nervous-sounding little laugh. “Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, tonight, when we -- you know…” he fumbled for the words.
“Boinked?” she said, one eyebrow going up.
“Um, yes. I don’t understand. Why?”
“God, Angel,” she sighed, turning away, black-shrouded shoulders slumping. “Do we have to analyze this?”
He didn’t know what else to say -- couldn’t think of any way to word it that wouldn’t make her angry. The silence pulled thin between them, broken only by the sound of rain lashing her big picture window.
Then she shrugged and turned back to him, her face wide open, and when she spoke her tone was soft and vulnerable. “I don’t know what came over me, really. I almost died back there.” Two steps closer. “And when you looked so freaked, it just -- got to me, I guess, that you cared that much. Plus, with the touching. I am a woman, you know.” Another step towards him. “And you’re pretty hot, for a dead guy.”
She was too close. He could feel the heat shimmering off her, like haze in the desert. “I was scared, Cordy. You know how much you mean to me.”
“Well, duh,” she said, her voice suddenly lower, breathy. “It’s not every day someone busts an evil guy out of a fiery prison for me. I don’t forget that stuff in a hurry.” She reached out, pressed a hand against his chest, as if feeling for a heartbeat.
He swallowed hard. “So tell me what’s wrong.”
She flinched, took her hand back and held it protectively against her chest. He felt the walls slamming up around her, and that hot, wanting look in her eyes died. “Nothing. I’m just tired. It’s been a tough week. I’m fine, really. I’m all over fine like a rash.”
On the mantelpiece, Cordelia’s cheerleading trophy rattled, a loud, angry sound, and a few pens and matchbooks clattered to the floor. She whipped around, and hissed through clenched teeth. “Dennis!” The noise stopped.
Cordy pushed past Angel, tried the door again; slapped her palm against the wood. “Ugh!”
Angel could smell her frustration, see her desperation to get rid of him, knew he’d hit too close to the mark. “Why don’t I just sit awhile, let you take a shower and get out of that wet coat,” he suggested, lowering himself into a nearby chair.
“Fine,” she sighed. “Don’t make my upholstery wet.” She turned and vanished into the hallway.
A towel bobbed into the room, and dropped in Angel’s lap. He stood, folded it over twice, and placed it on the chair. “Thanks, Dennis,” he said, sitting down on it.
He heard the bang of the bathroom door, and after a few moments the sound of water flowing through pipes. He leaned forward, put his elbows on his knees, rested his face in his hands. Every instinct he had told him something was deeply wrong. Something Cordelia was hiding --
He rose, removed his wet boots, parked them by the door, and walked as quietly as he could to Cordy’s bedroom, keeping one ear on the sound of running water. Thunder rumbled ominously as he stood in the doorway and his conscience pricked, just a little, as he contemplated what he was about to do.
In the corner of the room the laundry hamper shook a little, and the lid slowly levitated, a white cotton shirt rising like a charmed snake from the depths. It floated towards Angel, hovered just in front of his face. Why was Dennis bringing him dirty laundry? He reached out to catch it and the smell curled around him.
Disinfectant. Drugs. A flash behind his eyes -- Buffy, pale and cold in the sterile room, his bite livid red on her neck -- Wesley, bruised, charred, a long plastic tube snaking from his arm -- Cordelia, strapped to the bed, screaming and crying, sheepskin cuffs around her wrists as she kicked and strained…
“Dennis, Cordy’s been to the hospital?” Angel whispered, his stomach clenching. He dropped the blouse back in the hamper and closed the lid. Dennis knocked once. “Why?” After a small pause there was a hissing sound, and a large plastic box slid out from beneath Cordy’s bed, bumping against Angel’s socked feet.
He bent down, released the lid at the corner and peered inside. Bottles, lots of bottles, some almost empty. Half-a-dozen different types of drugs. Brown envelopes addressed to her. The sticker on the top left corner was the same on all of them. St Matthew’s Neuro-Psychiatric Unit.
Oh, God. The visions.
All the blood in his veins turned to ice. Things were so bad she’d been seeking medical attention -- for what looked like a long time -- and she’d never mentioned it, not once. Why would she keep that from them? Unless…
Above the rhythmic sound of the rain, he heard the shower squeak off. Hands shaking, he jammed the plastic lid back down, kicked the box under the bed, and slid back into the living room, grateful for vampiric speed and stealth.
He sank, shaking, into his chair, and picked up a magazine, staring at it with unseeing eyes. If he was right, then she was dying. Oh, God. Obviously she didn’t want him -- anybody -- to know. But why? They could help, take the visions away before they did too much damage…
His mind boomeranged back to that night just a week ago, when he sat by her side on the bed. Her voice, croaky, faltering. “If I lose the visions, I wouldn’t be able to help you any more.” Back further, to the night they’d returned from Pylea, as they all sat in Lorne’s wrecked club, settling their nerves with scotch and tequila. She’d told him how the Groosalug was supposed to take her visions. One little com-shuk and she’d have been free. She knew then that they were hurting her, and yet she still clung to them. Stubborn, loyal Cordelia. Dammit.
“Now there’s something you don’t see every day.” Her voice made him startle and fumble the magazine. He glanced up, guilty. She was snuggled in a midnight blue terry-cloth robe, pink-faced, hair towel-dry, and she quirked an eyebrow when she saw his face. “Jeez, Angel, you look like you just discovered hair gel has gone out of fashion.”
He wanted to rear up out of the chair, grab her by the shoulders and shake her so hard that her eyeballs rattled like marbles in her head.
“Hello? Earth to Angel? I’m not letting you read Cosmo any more if it freaks you out this much.” She pulled the glossy volume from his hand.
“I’m -- do you think the door is open yet?” he said, suddenly desperate to escape. He wouldn’t let her know, wouldn’t give her the chance to refuse help again. Had to get back to the Hotel and find a way. Take them before she could stop him. Do it before she knew what was going on. Maybe she was too brave and stubborn to admit she was sick, but he wasn’t brave enough to lose her.
“Still jammed,” she sighed, pulling on the knob. “Dennis, you are so dead. No Friends for you this week!” she shouted at the ceiling, hands on her hips.
Angel could feel the anxiety, the tension building, every muscle in his body singing. Had to get out. Had to save her -- “Stand back.”
“Oh, no you don’t.” Cordy stood against the door as if shielding it from a bullet. “Not this time, buddy. The Super already thinks I’ve got an anger management problem. No more breako dooro. Capiche?”
He got in her face. Close. Closer. “Get out of the way.”
She gave him her death-stare, brows knitting together in an angry frown as her finger came up to wave in his face. Opened her mouth to speak --
And then the world drowned in a blaze of light. A great, percussive boom rent the air and Angel felt his eardrums compress. There was a shower of sparks outside the window, and the room plunged into darkness.
With a gasp, Cordelia threw herself against him, fingers squeezing his still-wet sweater against his shoulders. Her heart hammered like a little bird’s wings against his chest. Blood, adrenaline, life singing in her veins -- but for how much longer?
He couldn’t lose her. Couldn’t let her go. “Cordelia,” he said, the word crumbling in his throat.
She tilted her face up, her breath coming in little, hot puffs against his chin. For a moment they were both frozen, and he knew he should pull away, ignore the way his body responded to the scent of fear and sex. But then he caught the gleam as her tongue wet her lips, and no power on earth could have stopped him winding his arms around her, lowering his face and pressing his mouth to that damp, shining spot.
For a second he felt her stiffen, then relax, melting against him. Angel walked her back, feet tangling, and his arms hit the wall. He leaned into her, pressed her full-length against the plaster. Rocked his hips against her stomach and reveled in the friction as he began to get hard.
Tongues darted out, tangled, melted together as their kiss deepened. Hands grasped, fumbled, worked their way into clothing, and he sighed into her mouth as her warm palms found his stomach, branded her prints onto his chest, rubbed his nipples into hard little points. His knees trembled, and together they slid down the wall to the safe harbor of the floor.
There, beneath the archway, he pulled Cordy into his lap, fisted a hand into her hair, and ate her mouth.
“Angel,” she gasped, pulling back, dragging in deep breaths. She freed a hand from his sweater, and in the watery blue light he could see her fumbling with the tie of her robe. He grasped the ends, yanked, and there was the sound of tearing cotton as it came away, loops and all, and slithered into the darkest corner of the hall.
A frustrated groan rumbled in her chest. “I’m not going to have any clothes left if you --”
He ducked his head, gently bit the side of her breast, and her words died away, replaced by a moan that brought him to fullness in seconds. Lightning strobed, filling his vision with bright flashes of hard, damp nipple and dimpled flesh. Angel’s mouth watered and he sucked her in, relishing the warmth against his lips, the hard little bud rolling over his tongue. He worried it with his teeth, felt her squirm in his lap and the movement against his cock was so good, he wanted to press her against the floor and bury it deep inside her, now.
Maybe she felt him react, press back against her, because an indecent little moan vibrated against his mouth and she did it again, grinding her ass against him. God, she was so warm, with the smell of rain and arousal and come oozing from her -- and this was going way too quickly...
He released her breast with a soft ‘pop’; took a deep, calming breath and blew it out across her nipple. Felt the tightness in his balls subside just a little as she hung her head back and allowed the cool air to flow over her. He followed her momentum, eased her all the way down to the polished floor and peeled back the robe to expose her, head to toe.
She was glorious, skin luminous in the blue flicker of the lightning, long, lithe legs, the dark triangle of curls between her thighs, heavy breasts spreading across her chest, and the seductive curve of her neck. Her pulse rang loud, filled his ears until it could have been his own heart beating. Her eyes, deep, dirty pools. They drew him in, begged him for so much.
And he noticed, for the first time tonight, the large, dark rings beneath them.
“You’re staring,” she murmured, her voice so quiet he could barely hear it above the rain.
“You look tired,” he replied, heart lurching. He reached down to touch her cheek, run a finger over the blue-gray hollow below her eyelashes. One solitary tear escaped, leaving a diamond track across her temple, and disappeared into her hair. His gut twisted again. Couldn’t lose her. “Cordy--?”
“Shhhh.” She reached up and pressed a finger to his lips. “No talking. Just -- get naked already.”
Angel hesitated, torn between the want burning in his groin, and the need to help her, save her, now.
“Please?” Cordy drew her finger down, over his chin, his Adam’s apple, and let her hand fall to her chest. The other came up to join it and she cupped her breasts, lifting them, pinching the nipples, and Angel’s brain short-circuited, every rational thought swept away by need.
He grasped the hem of his sweater, pulled it up and off, tossed it across the floor. Cordy’s fingers were already on his belt buckle, tugging the wet leather free. Her wrists nudged his erection, and he couldn’t get his pants undone fast enough. He staggered to his feet, shucked them off, kicked them aside. Toed off his socks and stripped the boxers down his thighs. She sat up, grabbed them and pulled them the rest of the way, until they slid from his ankles and joined his other clothes -- a damp black pile against the door.
He was totally naked before her, for the first time, and she knelt, hungry gaze fixed on him, standing proud and full. For the second time that evening, her tongue wet her lips, and, oh God, was she really about to --?
Her fingers touched the back of his thighs and Angel felt his eyes roll back, his stomach quiver, as she palmed the thick muscles there, pushed her hands up, over his ass, and squeezed. Her lips, hot and wet, closed over his hip and he felt her breathe deep.
Angel put his hands in her hair, just rested his fingers on her head as she kissed him, with long, moist sweeps of her tongue. Just below his navel, his thigh, the crease at the top of his leg where the hair grew darker and thicker. Dammit, she was everywhere except where he really wanted her, and without realizing it, he growled.
Cordy’s eyes shot up, took him in, and he could see the hot spark catch and burn in her pupils as one hand slipped between his legs and cupped his balls. There went his knees again. One touch from her and he was jelly. He leaned forward and splayed his hands against the wall for support.
And then her fingers were on him, pulling him to her. Angel struggled to keep his eyes open. Wanted to see himself disappear into her, inch by inch. Jesus God she was so warm and moist, her tongue lithe and mobile, taste buds rough on the head of his cock. Sweet torture, the long slow drag as she pumped him with her hand, sucked deep and hard with her mouth. Angel hung his head, let the wall take his weight, and surrendered to her.
Cordy, his touchstone, his friend. His heat, his sun. So precious.
And if this was what she needed, right now, he’d give it to her. He’d give her anything.
Just a couple more strong pulls and all the energy in Angel’s body began to spiral downwards, concentrating at the part of him nestled in her right palm. He bit his lip, willed himself to stillness, but his body was a traitor, hips jerking forwards, upwards. Cordy didn’t flinch, but increased the pace, the pressure, opened her throat and welcomed him.
With a shout he was gone, emptying himself into her. The white flashes behind his eyes were mirrored outside as the storm raged on. Wave after wave crashed over him, and when he could think, see again, he was trembling.
Cordy rose, her robe spread on the floor behind her like a shadow. She reached up, pressed the palm of her hand to his cheek, then leaned in and kissed him. Angel could taste himself on her tongue, salty, rich. His hands left the safety of the wall, spanned her slim waist, slid down and around the perfect curve of her bottom.
Immediately the tension began to build again. For a brief moment he wondered how, in the space of a few short hours, his control had been broken so completely. And then Cordy’s arms curled around his neck, her mouth harder and more desperate against his, and even the word control was a distant memory, washed away like leaves danced and swirled in the gutter during a downpour.
Angel wanted to feel her life force. Wanted to be inside her. Deep. Full. Complete.
He lifted her and she took his lead, raising her legs, gripping his waist with her thighs. Her center came crashing down on his, and already he could feel blood returning, filling him again. The sofa was just steps away and he backed towards it, not breaking the kiss. He sidestepped the coffee table and when his calves hit fabric, he relaxed, let himself topple back, and she rode him down into the soft chocolate-colored cushions.
She pulled away, sat back, tilted her head to one side. There were those dark eyes again, so full of unspoken things.
Thunder broke the air.
“What?” he asked, as her gaze swept over him.
“I can’t see you,” she said, leaning forward so her breasts brushed his chest, and her lips scorched his earlobe. “Want to see you.”
On the coffee table, a candle sputtered to life, the small flame growing tall and bright. Across the room, another. And another.
Cordy sighed, stretched like a cat, and her skin glowed golden in the dancing light. Her breasts, round like suns -- he had to fill his hands with them. Her breath made a harsh sound in her nose as he touched her there, and she shuddered against his thighs. Angel could feel her pulse in that hot, slick place, drumming against him.
Heat was pouring out of her, soaking through his skin. Warm, God, so warm. So full of life.
His hands left her breasts, running down her body. It was like stroking hot velvet, and he smoothed his fingers down her sides, curled them over her hips, and stretched his thumbs to meet over the most sensitive place of all. Cordy shivered, stilled, then shivered again, pressing against them. Angel felt every muscle in her body go taut with need, with anticipation.
He pulled her closer, stomach to stomach, so he was pressed against her entrance. She reached between them, guided him in. So wet, so ready. She engulfed him, drove her hips forward, swallowed every inch.
For a long moment she was still, and Angel reached up to touch her face. Her eyes zoomed in on him, glittering with unshed tears, lonely, lost. Then she blinked, and the shutters came down. She planted her palms on the back of the sofa, either side of him, and began to move. He pinched her hips, guided her speed, thrust gently.
If he was right -- if she was dying -- he was damn well going to make her forget about it tonight. He might not be able to get her to admit it. Might not be able to save her. But he could at least do this.
He could give her oblivion.
Angel leaned forward, captured her mouth, reveled in the twin wells of warmth as his tongue echoed the thrust of his cock. Long, slow, languid. He held her hips back, teasing, making her wait, then easing back in. Deep. Deeper.
Rain hammered on the windowpane behind them, a steady drumming, mixing with the sound of Cordy’s heartbeat, her breath. Her thighs quivered against his hips, and soft little moans purred in her throat. He could feel her, tight, close to the edge, and released her hip, slipping one finger down through the mat of shining curls, seeking out her sweet spot. She began to vibrate, like the air outside shook with thunder, and then she popped, clenching around him and riding him hard. He let go of her, fisted great handfuls of cushion, gritted his teeth, held his own orgasm at bay.
This was not over yet, not by a long shot.
When she stilled, Angel laid her back against the cushions, settled between her thighs, pulled his legs up onto the sofa and pressed his feet against the armrest. Cordy made a little humming noise, ran her toes up the backs of his calves, settled them behind his knees.
“Okay?” he asked, stroking her forehead. Sweat dampened his fingertips.
“Mmm,” she said, and when her eyes opened, the darkness, the blank emptiness was gone. Warmth shone there. “That was nice.”
“Nice?” He mock-frowned. “Just -- nice?”
She smiled. A real, full-blaze Cordy grin. “Yep.”
“Well,” Angel said, moving his hips just enough to make her gasp. “I think we can do better than nice.”
He thrust once.
“Again,” she whispered.
Another, harder. Her toes curled against the backs of his knees.
“Again.” This time her voice was dark, needy.
He slammed into her, felt like he was arrowing straight up into her chest.
She caught him in the full beam of her eyes, and a fire burned there. The word came out slow, dirty. “More.”
Deep inside, his demon turned, restless.
He rammed home again, and this time her hips shot up to meet him. Bones collided, skin bruised.
“Yes,” Cordy hissed, throwing her head back, exposing her throat to him.
So alive, blood roaring beneath her skin. Angel’s forehead rippled. God, he could fuck her to shreds…
“No,” he grunted, dragging himself back from the edge, feeling the ridges subside.
“Harder,” she panted, bucking against him. The sofa trembled. Cordy’s fingers dug into his ass. The spear of pain went straight to his cock, and she must have felt his response, because she did it again, nails cutting into flesh.
“Cordy.” Her name ground its way between clenched teeth.
Five minutes ago she had been day, now she was night. Drawing him in, her fists pounding his back, her lips forming his name, soundlessly. She wanted more, more than he was able to let himself give. So close, so easy just to surrender. Too dangerous.
He grabbed her wrists, stretched his arms over her head, buried his face in her neck. Felt the pound of her pulse beneath his lips. Let the desire pour through him, accepted it, and channeled it to where his body merged with hers.
Time began to stretch. The tightness in his stomach, his balls, grew. Dimly, he felt Cordy pull a hand free, her body twisting as she stretched her arm out, and then there were hot trails of fire down his back. Angel’s head snapped up. He saw the flicker of the candle above him, the drip of wax as she tipped it, letting hot drops rain on his skin, where his tattoo straddled his shoulder-blade. The pain burned to his core, melted the dam, and the tide broke free. He lunged, roaring, every muscle on red alert, engulfed in the sensation of spilling himself inside her.
And then, exhausted stillness. Cordy’s harsh breath against his ear, her heartbeat thudding through him. The crackle of wax solidifying on his back. Angel breathed deep, gathered himself, let the sound of rain and wind ground him again. So long since he’d let so much go.
Cordy tapped the back of his calf with her foot. “You’re heavy,” she grumbled.
Angel propped himself up, elbows sinking into the cushions, hands on her shoulders -- took in her glowing face, wild, rumpled hair, chest and neck flushed red, mischief sparkling in her eyes. Like she didn’t have a care in the world. His heart squeezed tight in his chest.
“Nice?” he asked.
“Whoo doggie.” She slapped his butt.
A weak tremble of thunder, and the wind knocked at the window. Time to get back to the hotel and start researching.
“It’s late,” he sighed, carefully pulling out. She had to be sore, but she didn’t show it. He stood, looked around for his pants. “I should go.”
“It’s still nasty out there,” she said, and for a second that dark look crossed her face again. Conveyed unsaid words. Stay. Hold me.
Angel hesitated. What if there wasn’t time? Every second could count.
Her eyes caught his, begging.
Tomorrow. He’d start first thing. Somewhere there would be a way to fix this. But for now, she needed him here. He held out a hand, and pulled her up. “Maybe I should wait it out.”
The vase on the coffee table rattled approvingly, and the candles winked out one by one.
“I think you should,” Cordy replied. She squeezed his fingers, and led him to the bedroom.