Cordelia had learned how to laugh again. Her old, cool, laugh. She used it for Doyle's dirty jokes. For Kate's attempts at flirting with him. When he brooded. And when they fell into bed together. Every night for the last two weeks, her joyful and cynical laughter had punctuated their wild passion.
Passion that stayed out of every other aspect of their joint existence.
Their unspoken deal held. No love. No promises. Nothing but companionship. She woke up, slipped out of his arms, dressed in her second-hand suits and went out to auditions. She would return to the office in time to answer afternoon and evening calls and to look blithely in the other direction if Kate arrived and fawned over him.
Angel had never known a woman who had no jealousy. But then again, jealousy was a sign of something deep. . .of a bond neither of them were willing to recognize. Not after Xander. And not after Buffy. Or *was* he willing? Did he want her to love him?
He shuddered involuntarily, leaning against the door he'd just shut. The helpless lure of romantic tragedy. He was addicted, wasn't he? A regular Hamlet. His masochism knew no bounds. . .leading him to want the heart of a woman who no longer wanted to admit she had one.
All he knew was that her poverty-modified sophistication, her bitchy insults, her soft touch. . .all made him want to slam her up against a wall and spill his sorrow and anger into her tumultuous depths.
"God, Delia. . ." he sighed, darkly, banging the back of his head on the door.
"What?" She came into the small living room, clad only in her pale pink chemise and high heels. She fiddled with one earring, taking it out as she spoke. "Is Doyle demoning the agency while you take a brood break?"
"He's giving my #1 fan the run-around," he replied, grimacing. Katherine "Kate" Adams was cheery, with curly blond hair and a nice smile. A perfectly nice girl. Unfortunately, a "perfectly nice girl" couldn't hold a candle to an effervescent, giving, Slayer. . .*or* to a bitter but caring ex-cheerleader.
"She wants you," Delia murmured, knowingly, dropping her earrings on the coffee table. Her dark hair was pinned up, off the nape of her neck. He could feel her pulse speeding up from across the room. She looked like a sleek society wife undressing after a cocktail party. *His*?
"So do you," he pointed out, shrugging out of his leather jacket. . .tossing it onto one of the hideous, overstuffed chairs.
"As if." She rolled her eyes, giving him a vapid smile.
"'As if'"? he repeated, arching an eyebrow.
"So we have sex." She shrugged imperiously, eyes daring him to defy her logic. "It doesn't mean I want you."
"Liar." The teasing left his tone. Delia couldn't hide all things behind humor. They both knew what they had was all ready infinitely more than empty physical satisfaction. "You want me," he said simply. "You *need* me."
She shook her head, choking words against her fingertips. "No, Angel. Don't make this more than it is. *Don't.*" It was a plea. She turned her back to him, wrapping her arms around herself. Her tan was unmarred by bra or panty lines. . .the only blemish was the entry wound scar from that long ago fall. "We're friends. And we fuck. That's what. . .what makes it livable."
"For who?" He undid his cuffs, pushed up the sleeves of his black silk shirt, trying to keep from stalking to her and shaking her. "I don't think you're really a casual sex kind of girl."
"So what?" She whipped around, cold Queen C. once again. "So *what*, Angel? You love Buffy remember? You lost your soul because of *her*. Not *me*. You don't love me. I can't love you. And thinking about that makes me *die* inside. So mindless screwing is what we get. I *have* to be heartless. . . and I do it well," she assured, loftily.
Oh, yes. She did. And that wasn't the Cordelia Chase he wanted. Not when he'd seen the other, held her as her tears soaked his skin, and drowned in her heat. He was selfish. A demon of a different kind. . .wanting her life instead of her blood.
"Delia." His feet thawed, releasing him to cross to her. "I'm sorry." Her features didn't soften. Remained harsh and remote. "I'm *sorry*," he repeated, cradling her face between his palm. "About all of it."
"Are you sorry about the alley? About stopping that man?"
The sheen of tears in her eyes was the crack in her facade. Revealing the emotion she tried so hard to hide. The insecurity.
"Never!" he gasped without the assistance of air. "Never that."
"Then that's all the commitment we need." Her arms came up to clasp him. Her mouth welcomed his. A stay of execution. Her kiss was absolution.
They stumbled to the sofa and she clawed at his shirt. . .tugging it out of his pants and ripping it so the buttons popped and went flying. Her lace chemise was quickly shimmied out of and tossed away. He lowered his lips to the valley between her lush breasts and tasted the perfume she'd spritzed there in the morning. The tart chemicals, the tang of her sweat and slickness of her skin.
Her fingers threaded through his hair. . .her thighs clamped down around his hips as she rubbed against his groin. "Angel, Angel. Just *fuck* me," she moaned.
"Not 'fuck'," he hissed through gritted teeth, willing his rampaging hormones to obey him. "Say "make love", Delia."
"No." Tossing her hair and giving a kittenish pout, she reached down to unbuckle his belt and pull down the zipper of his jeans. He caught her fingers before they could draw him out and guide him inside her.
"Say it," he murmured. "Please, give me at least that." He was a ruthlessly self-involved bastard, but he wanted the words.
Her anger was calling to him, raising the fight. Her body was tight with wanting and *his* wanted to give it to her. Fast, furious, and violent. But not yet. Their eyes were battling for dominance like their wills. Challenge delaying what his demon and her humanity were both crying out for. Minutes eked by.
"Please," he growled, suddenly game-faced. On the verge of grabbing her hips and slamming viciously up into her.
"Fine! *Make love to me*, Angel." The words were ragged with hunger and concession. "Make love to me, damn you!"
Victorious, he surged forward, impaling her and capturing her mouth in a ravenous kiss.
So he was too far submerged in her depths when his alarm bells began to go off. Too single-minded in his pursuit of the place that made her clutch his hair and moan.
Somewhere outside their erotic tableau. . .the door opened. Brisk footsteps skidded to a halt. And a low cry echoed.
They froze. Delia was poised above him, her inner muscles quaking on the brink of ecstasy. In slow synchronicity, their eyes moved to the doorway.
Doyle was sheepish and red-faced. "I-I'm sorry, I seem to have interrupted somethin'," he quipped, stumbling backwards.
And behind him, her white-knuckled fist pressed to her lips. . .face ashen . . .green eyes blank with shock. . .was Buffy.
"No. . .no. . .this can't be." Her voice was hollow, racked with horror. She shook her head. Backed away. Bolted.Angel gasped as Cordelia shifted. . .his demon rippled on and off his face. He couldn't move anywhere but into her, even though his heart screamed for him to push her off his lap and give chase.
"I'm on it, Boss." The door slammed and the demon was gone before his request was even finished.
Silence except for one person's heartbeat and staggered respiration. Minutes eked by once again. This time *she* needed something from *him*.
"Angel?" Dark brown eyes beseeched him. Her arms slid down around his shoulders and she buried her face in his neck as her hips began to move in a slow, grinding, rhythm. "Don't leave me," she pleaded into his throat. "Don't leave me here alone."
He kissed her hair numbly, trying to allay her fears as his body and his soul raged against each other. "Delia. . .I-I--" *Buffy's eyes screaming of betrayal. . .her pain. . . her shock. Delia's body, so hot and so deep. Her salt tears chafing his skin. Sleeping securely in her arms.*
"I *won't*. I won't leave you."
He thrust into her rapidly, shivering. This was it. . .he'd wanted Cordelia to reach out. To admit she wanted and needed him. And she'd done it. Forcing him to make a choice of his own.
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