TITLE: Once Upon a Time (1/4)
AUTHOR: Dannyblue
E-MAIL: dannyblue2@yahoo.com
SUMMARY: This just isn't Cordelia Chase's night.
SPOILERS: Story takes place in season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after Angel loses his soul.
RATING: PG
PAIRING: Angelus/Cordelia implied.
FEEDBACK: Yes, please.
DISTRIBUTION: Nothing Fancy, of course. Anybody else, all you have to do is ask.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Angel, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, or any of the characters in the Jossverse.



Part One: A Late Date


Cordelia Chase glared at her watch. It was 9 o'clock. Which meant Xander was an hour late.

An hour!

"I don't believe this," she said through gritted teeth. "I'm being stood up by a loser."

Cordy sat stiff in her seat, arms folded tight across her chest. Refusing to pout—that was Cry-Buffy's department—her furious, hazel gaze scoured the room. It was a Friday night, so the Bronze was packed. But Queen C could tell there was no-one there worth her time.

"They're all at Roxeanne Ryan's party," she muttered. As one of Sunnydale High's elite, she'd been invited…of course. But there was a catch. She could not, under any circumstances, bring Xander.

So Cordy decided not to go. For one thing, she had this strange, alien urge not to hurt Xander's feelings by going to a party he wasn't "cool enough" for. Where this urge came from, she had no idea. She just hoped it didn't get out of hand.

And, more importantly, there was no way Roxeanne Ryan was telling Cordelia Chase what to do. This way, instead of looking desperate enough to ditch her boyfriend to go to the party, it looked like the party was so not worth her time, she was willing to blow it off.

"And wouldn't you know it," she groused. "I miss out on the social event of the month for him, and he doesn't even show up!"

Her only consolation was that the rest of the so-called Scooby Gang hadn't shown up either. Buffy, Willow and Oz had decided to meet at the Bronze at eight…which Cordy made sure to bitch about. She was trying to teach Xander that hanging with his friends didn't qualify as a date. And, no, in her car at the Lookout didn't count either.

Still, the fact that none of the others were there either could only mean one thing.

"They're off fighting some giant slime demon," she muttered. "Or stopping a virgin sacrifice."

Their latest Scooby adventure must've started when she was at the hair salon. And, of course, she'd been left out again. Not that she actually minded. When the choices were a deep-conditioning via scalp massage delivered by a gorgeous—although gay—guy with a killer body, or tracking down a hungry, two-headed hell beast…

Well, there was no contest.

Cordy sighed. There was no use waiting. Xander wasn't showing tonight. So, she'd have to wait until tomorrow to start making his life miserable.

"And I might as well swing by Roxeanne's," she decided. "Principles are great and all, but why waste a Friday night?"

Standing, she swung her purse strap over her shoulder.

"Leaving so soon?" a familiar voice asked from behind her.

Cordelia froze. An icy shiver raced up her spine, then made a quick return trip back down. Her heart dropped, like a tight rope walker's, whose rope had just snapped.

A situation that would be preferable to this one.

"You've done something with your hair," the voice continued, sounding as friendly as friendly could be. "It looks nice. Smells nice, too. I like it."

Cordy just managed to contain a whimper. Along with the blinding terror, she felt another, unpleasant sensation. It took a moment to realize it was oxygen deprivation. It seemed she'd stopped breathing, and was now in serious need of air.

Cordy took a deep, shuddering breath. "Angel?" she whispered, and hoped she was wrong. Couldn't the person behind her be a completely normal—and not dead—guy who sounded like Angel? Was that too much to ask?

"Cordelia?" the voice mocked. And Mr. Tall, Dark and Deadly walked around in front of her.

Seeing him in the flesh upped her panic level. That cute but predatory smile of his wasn't big on the soothing either.

"Cordelia, Cordelia," he tsked. Casually, he eyed her up and down. And seemed quite pleased when she shivered. "What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" His smirk turned into a full-blown grin. "All alone."

Cordy let out a shaky sigh. Closing her eyes, she thought, with a touch of fatalistic humor, This just isn't my night.




(TO BE CONTINUED)