Part 11 – Stupidity
Cordelia stared into the fireplace and watched the flames create shadows and play with the light in the room. The fire took the chill off of the mansion and it the soft glow from the fireplace was relaxing. She sighed, this argument had been going on for about 15 minutes.
"But Cordelia, I don't think it is a good idea for you to be alone. What if you pull one of your stitches?" Angel asked, pacing back and forth across the living room.
"Then I will take my cell phone and dial 911, Angel." Cordelia said calmly to the vampire.
"Maybe you could use your phone and call your friend Harmony to come over and sit with you." Angel suggested, and then almost immediately amended, "No, she is not responsible enough, too ditzy. Willow, I trust Willow, lets call her to come over. Or better yet, maybe Giles or Buffy's mom." An adult present would be the best Angel reasoned in his mind.
"No way is Buffy's Mom coming over to baby sit me. I tell you, I am absolutely fine, and can be left alone for a couple of hours while you kill bad guys." Cordelia said firmly, but when she sat up on the couch she groaned a little, her body still sore and recovering.
"That is it, I am not going anywhere, let me help you." Angel said, moving to her side instantly upon hearing her small moue of pain. He fussed with the lap blanket she had over her legs pushed a pillow behind her back. He hated hearing her in pain.
Cordelia pushed him away. "Angel stop it, stop babying me. I am fine, yes a little sore, and yes I will make small noises noting that. But you are making me insane. If you don't go out on patrol with Buffy, I am going to go back to my house." Cordelia threatened. Cordelia hated using that threat in particular because she hated the thought of going back to her house and be all alone, but something had to be done. She could tell that Angel was going stir crazy because he had been cooped up for so long. He needs to go out and kill something, Cordelia thought, understanding that his demon side was as much a part of what he was as the human side.
"That is a low blow Ms. Chase." Angel said, calculating in his mind that she would not want to go to an empty house, especially in December, now that the holiday season was almost upon them.
"Angel you need to go kill something. Go. Patrol. Now." Cordelia said firmly.
Angel moved from hovering over Cordelia as she lay on the couch to kneeling down on one knee so he was almost face to face with her. Angel took one of her hands in his hands and clasped it gently. He looked at her, "Cordy, I need you to be better, I don't need to kill anything." Angel was totally serious.
Cordy gave him a smile, not a 1000 watt smile, but a small one, that let him know she appreciated his attention. "Angel, go be a champion for me, I am going to catch up on my English homework, and when you get home you can fill me in on the chapters I decide to skip."
"Are you sure?" Angel asked, one more time in a quieter voice, using his charm to get her to say no, so he could stay with her.
"Yes, absolutely. Throw a couple of logs on the fire and then go find Buffy." Cordelia internally cringed at sending him to his lover's arms.
"Your wish is my command sweetheart." Angel instead of standing up he leaned in and kissed her on her forehead, using his lips to sense a change in her body temperature, making sure she hadn't developed a fever. He also listened to the steady beat of her heart, and felt better. After the gentle kiss he stood and then put more logs on the fire.
Angel returned to her side, satisfied that the fire was roaring at a sufficient level then leaned back down and kissed her softly on the lips, a gentle miss you type of kiss, "I will be back in a couple of hours."
"And I will be here reading when you get back, or napping if this story doesn't get any better." Cordelia smiled, she loved the cool feel of Angel's lips on hers.
Angel put on his leather duster and headed for the door, looking back and one more time assuring himself that Cordy was okay. He gave a little wave as he walked out the door.
He gently closed the door behind him and breathed in the cool December California night air. He didn't need the oxygen but liked the smell of winter air. Now to find Buffy and get this patrolling thing over and get back home. Home to Cordelia.
Cordelia watched him close the door and looked down at her book she was reading for English class – Wuthering Heights. She just couldn't get into it, it was so sad, and she had enough of sad romances. Her life was a sad romance. She was pretty sure she was in love with Angel, and appreciated how he was taking such good care of her, she knew his heart belonged to little Miss-Blonde-from-a-Box.
...later that evening at the Cemetery
"Well that was easy." Buffy said sarcastically, wiping the dust from the sleeves of her brown leather coat.
"Yep, love it when we get demons and vampires, makes for a good work out." Angel said, stretching out his back. Cordelia was right; it was good to kill something.
"So, want to go over to the Bronze, maybe get a coffee?" Buffy asked, moving closer to Angel, into his personal bubble.
"No I really should get back." Angel stepped slightly away from Buffy, increasing the distance between the two of them.
"Why what do you have to do?" Buffy asked slightly confused as to why Angel wanted to go home to an empty house.
"Cordy has only been home from the hospital for a week. I don't like the idea of her being all by herself." Angel said flatly.
"Cordelia is staying with you?" Buffy looked at Angel, and had noticed that he was physically putting distance between the two of them.
"Yes, she took care of me when I got back from Hell, this is the least I could do for her." Angel had a feeling this was the night that he and Buffy had the "talk"
"Doesn't Cordelia have a family or servants who can take care of her?" Buffy said coldly.
"No, she doesn't, her parents are traveling, and you know that. Even if she did it wouldn't matter." Angel said, not quite sure how to put into words with the Slayer how he really felt about Cordelia.
"What do you mean it wouldn't matter?" Buffy asked, having a feeling that this conversation was not going to be pleasant.
"I care about Cordelia, and I am not going to let her be alone anymore." Angel said, putting his hands into his jacket pockets.
"Are you saying you and Cordelia?" Buffy couldn't get out the words that hung in the air that Angel and Cordelia were together.
"No, we aren't, we haven't. But I..." Angel stuttered, he wanted this conversation to be over. "I care for Cordy a great deal."
"Are you in love with her?" Buffy asked, practically biting out the words.
Angel didn't say anything; he just looked at her, the look in his eyes telling Buffy everything she didn't want to know.
"But what about us, you said you loved me?" Tears flowing down Buffy's cheeks, she wanted answers, she wanted Angel to tell her that she was wrong.
"Buffy, I know this is going to be hard for you to hear, but, us, there is no more us." Angel said quietly. "Look, I do love you, will always love you on some level, but we can't be together."
"Well I doubt Cordelia will give you perfect happiness." Buffy huffed.
Angel held back a growl; he knew Buffy would be angry and that her first inclinations would be to attack Cordelia. "I don't know about that Buffy." He said truthfully, what he felt for Cordelia was running much deeper than what he had felt for Buffy. With Buffy it was kind of like puppy love. With Cordelia he felt it with his soul.
"But she is so, so, Cor-del-ia." Buffy said, making Cordy's name into an all descriptive adjective. She was at a loss, crying quietly, realizing that she was loosing Angel. "Angel I don't want to loose you." She finally said, stopping the sobs.
"You lost me when you sent me to Hell Buffy." Angel said, finally saying what had bugged him for months that she had never even apologized for sending him to hell.
"But I had to save the world." Buffy said, the words sounding lame as the exited her mouth.
"I know. Buffy it's over." Angel said, with finality in his voice.
Buffy did the one thing she had always been good at, she ran. She couldn't continue this conversation with Angel and couldn't face him anymore. She wanted to cry, wanted to die, wanted to know why Angel would choose Cordelia. She ran fast, fast as her slayer body would take her away from Angel.
Angel watched her go, as he followed her moving form moving across the cemetery, he realized how young Buffy really was, and how different she was from Cordelia. Break-ups are never pleasant, but at least she didn't stake him.
...at the mansion
Cordelia closed the book and looked into the fire, she couldn't read anymore. It was too sad a story and she was so emotional since getting out of the hospital. She was crying and she wasn't sure if it was the story or if it was her state of life. She held the book to her chest and sobbed. I am in love with Angel and he loves Buffy.
The front door burst open and Angel flew into the Mansion, his broad sword drawn, ready to do battle. He had heard Cordelia's sobs as he approached the house and thought for sure something was attaching her. He looked as saw that the house was quiet, and Cordelia had looked up from the fire place and was looking at him with tears in her eyes.
"Angel what are you doing." Cordy asked, trying to casually wipe the tears away from her eyes, shocked at the dramatic entrance made by the vampire.
Angel moved quickly to her side and grabbed her in a hug, lifting her off the couch. He felt over her body, making sure there were no new injuries. His hand passed over the bandage covering her stitches from the surgery. Cordy whimpered at the touch. "That is it, I am taking you back to the hospital, your still hurt." Angel said, bending down and picking her up, carefully swinging her legs over his arms and cradling her back.
"Angel stop, put me down." Cordelia said firmly, pushing away from him as he held her close to his body.
"No, they need to make you not be in pain anymore, I can't see you in pain anymore." Angel said, not knowing himself how to make the pain go away.
"Angel put me down right this instant." Cordelia said more forcefully, realizing that he was not being rational.
"Your crying." Angel stated, not setting her down but keeping him close to his chest where he could feel her heartbeat.
"Was crying, it was stupid, noting, I am fine." Cordelia said softly, looking up at the concern in Angel's eyes.
"You didn't tare your stitches?" Angel asked, trying to determine if he could smell fresh blood, but was lost in the scent that was totally Cordelia's.
"No, now put me down and you can check my bandages if you like." Cordy said, in a calm voice, hoping this time the dork would listen to her.
Angel thought for a moment and realized that was a good idea, he would check her bandages, and then he would know for sure. He set her gently back down on the couch and lifted up her t-shirt. Being this close to her and smelling her was making his demon come to attention. He wanted to mark her and make her his property. Angel pulled back the bandages slightly and saw the ugly red scar and that the stitches were oozing slightly, but not too bad. The doctor had told him that was a possibility, and to just keep changing the bandages and she would heal in time. "Not bleeding, but these need changing. I will be right back." Angel stood and went into the kitchen to get the special hospital supplies they had been sent home with.
Cordy looked down at herself and saw the ugly scar, sad that it would always be with her, remind her of how Xander had betrayed her with Willow, how that Angel and Buffy were meant to be together. She softly started crying again, not able to help herself, hating the fact that she had tears left to shed.
Angel walked back in with a bowl of warm water and bandages. He sat the bowl down on the coffee table and then sat on the edge of the couch next to Cordelia. He looked at her and saw she was crying again. "Shhh," He tried to sooth her. Angel took a clean cloth and began cleaning the wound gently.
"It is so big and ugly," Cordelia gulped between tears, "and I am stuck with it, a permanent reminder of my stupidity." She watched Angel care for her, how gentle his touch was, as he finished cleaning the wound and then putting a new bandage on.
"This little mark, you won't even notice it in a few weeks." Angel said, hating the fact that her skin had been marred. "I am going to look like a freak next time I wear a bikini." Cordy said, noticing that Angel's cool hand was still resting on her stomach.
"Not as long as you wear as swimsuit and not those little pieces of fabric you usually call a swimsuit." Angel said, deciding that maybe this little scar would keep her covered up. He didn't like the though of other men looking at his Cordy.
"Pfft." Cordy replied. The banter made her forget her tears, the real reason why she was crying.
"And your not stupid, well maybe a little for dating Harris." Angel teased.
"Well your choice of girlfriends is not much better, Mr. Dating-the-girl- who-sent-me-to-Hell." Cordelia said it, not having planned to comment on his dating Buffy again.
"Huh?" Angel asked confused, what was she talking about.
"Well you know you, Buffy, star crossed lovers, remember?" Cordelia said, she decided that sarcasm was the only way to avoid a tear fest.
"Cordy, why do you think I am dating Buffy again?" Angel asked, regretting having gone out on patrol tonight.
"I saw you two the night I fell. It was obvious, and I know your heart belongs to her." Cordy said, looking away from Angel, back to the fire in the fire place that was now starting to die out. Maybe it was time she went back to her empty parents house, especially after this conversation.
"You saw us, when?" Angel was confused; the only thing he had done with Buffy the night that Cordy fell was fight a gang of vampires. There had been no getting back together.
"I'm not sure, sometime that night. Willow and Xander and you and Buffy, cozy as a double date." Cordelia was trying to picture the scene she had remembered so clearly before that was now becoming a hazy unclear memory.
"Cordelia, there is no me and Buffy." Angel said.
"Pfft." Cordy continued to avoid Angel's eyes. Angel noticed her aversion to his eyes and moved a hand up to cup her face, so that she was forced to look at his face.
"Did you hear me, there is no me and Buffy." Angel said, pouring so much emotion into those words. "I care about you Cordy."
"I know we are friends Angel, but you belong with Buffy." Cordelia said, looking at his face, something registered there that she couldn't quite place. She was willing to let him go for his true love.
Angel looked into her eyes and saw the confusion in them, as well as a spark of something he had seen building for quiet a while.
"I take it back, you are stupid Cordelia Chase." Angel said firmly, still holding her chin gently in his fingers. "What" Cordy gasped.
"Yes you are stupid, stupid because you think I would go back to Buffy." Angel said.
"I am not stupid, you dork!" Cordy practically shouted, not believing that he was calling her stupid.
"I am calling you stupid because you can't see what is right in front of you." Angel said, looking into her eyes, into her soul.
"You're the only thing I can see in front of me now, dorkus." Cordelia huffed. What had gotten into him, what was this conversation about, Cordelia wondered.
"Exactly. Don't you get it? Probably not, you probably need me to show you." With that Angel bend down and captured her lips in a kiss that wasn't a friend's peck on the lips. Or a kiss hello or goodbye; or a thank you kiss for the nice presents. It was a full on, I need you, want you, have to have you type of kiss. If she wasn't laying down on the couch, Angel was sure he would have gotten her to lift her foot off the ground with the type of kiss he bestowed on her. He pulled away and looked into her confused hazel eyes.
"Huh?" Was all Cordelia could manage to get out, her head spinning from the impact of the passionate kiss she had received.
"Don't be a dork Cordelia." Angel smiled down.
"Why did you?" Cordelia asked, still in shock.
"Easy, because I love you." Angel smiled again and then bent his head down and captured Cordelia's mouth in another brain numbing kiss. He pulled up satisfied that he had rocked her world, as he heard her heartbeat speed up.
"You love me?" Cordelia was shocked she was able to get out another three word sentence.
"Yep Stupid, I love you." Angel said, it was easier to say I love you to her the more often he said it.
"Don't call me stupid, dorkus." Cordelia said and then pulled his head back down to kiss her again.