The Colour of Her
*~*~ Part Seven ~*~*
"That was fun." Angel stopped short just as Cordelia withdrew her keys to her apartment.
She turned around. "Yeah ... It was." An awkward silence ensued as Angel grasped for the right words to describe what a magical night it had been.
It *had* been magical. Fun, nice, gentle, promising ... and magical. Never in his two-hundred and something odd years as a vampire had Angel experienced such light-hearted happiness. Sure he had loved during that time, but the love had pulled him in all directions, flooded him with its inexorable passion, a tide that was so all-encompassing it had ultimately swept all happiness away.
But this was different. This was slow, sensual, sweet. Cordelia was first and foremost his best friend, and anything that would or could arise between them was just an added bonus. And tonight had proved that - he had asked her out to dinner because he had wanted to see her happy, see her smile ... and if he made himself happy in the process that was just a happy consequence.
But could this really last? Could they have this added closeness, this increased affection and not have the consequences that came with it?
She looked down at her hands, fearful of what Angel was going to say yet knowing its inevitability.
"... What's happening here?" He couldn't keep the hesitation out of his voice as he looked hopefully at his beautiful companion. Was there a way, somehow, somewhere that the fairy tale of this night could continue?
"I don't know Angel." She sighed as she turned the keys in the door, letting them both into her apartment. "I mean ... I had fun. And that was good, right?"
Angel watched her as she dumped her keys on the table. "Yes but ... I mean, what's happening here? With us?" He sighed in frustration, gazing at Cordelia in front of him helplessly. "I'm ... I'm feeling something Cordy. And ... I'm not sure ... what are we going to do about it?"
Cordelia returned his gaze steadily. "What do you want to do about it?"
Angel ran his hands through his wind-swept hair. "I don't know. I want ... I'd *like* to ... have more nights, you know, like tonight." He smiled. "But ... there's the whole vampire situation. And the curse thing. It wouldn't be fair on you, even if ... I mean, you're young and beautiful, and you should have someone *normal* in your life. I'm ... I'm the opposite of normal."
Cordelia marched up to him, keeping her gaze firmly plastered on his face as she said softly, "But what if I don't want normal?" She questioned him, arching an eyebrow in defiance. "What if I'm sick and tired of normal ... of doing what's right, or doing what *should* be done? What if I just want to be happy?"
"But Cordelia." Angel sighed. "It can't ... it wouldn't be good for you. You must see that."
"Angel. I'm a big girl, I can make my own decisions." She sighed as she bit back the rising acridness of her tone. "I had fun tonight, didn't you? I mean ... I really had *fun*. I don't remember the last time I had that much fun." She added softly.
Angel smiled in agreement. "Me too."
"Yeah, so ...?"
"So ... maybe we should wait. You know, see how things pan out?" Angel added helpfully.
"And see how much, you know, fun we can have ... until we stop having fun."
Angel paused in consideration. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt if we just went out ... you know, as friends."
"Yeah." Cordelia chimed in, liking the direction the conversation was going in. "And you know, friends do stuff. Like going on dinner dates ..."
"... having coffees together ..."
"... seeing a movie or two ... or three or four ..."
"... and you know friends go dancing with each other ..."
"So." Cordelia grinned at Angel expectantly. "Do you think we can do the friend thing?"
Angel nodded, his eyes twinkling in the dim light. "I'm sure of it. I mean ... we're already friends, right? What's the harm in remaining ... friends?"
"None whatsoever." Cordelia grinned impishly.
Angel found the fairy tale much easier to believe in Cordelia's presence, but he knew that once he was out of her intoxicating vicinity, he would be beset by the same doubts that would continue to plague him about her. About them.
The mature, responsible and he conceded, the guilt-ridden part of his mind screamed to him that this was all wrong. It was wrong because he didn't *deserve* to be happy. After all the innocent lives he had taken, how could he have the gall to even *try* to be happy? How could he, having not fully atoned for his past sins be worthy of this happiness? Be worthy of Cordelia?
He frowned. He wanted her to be happy, he truly did. And he certainly wanted to be happy ... and what was happiness without Cordelia? But he owed it to her to try to make her see how *wrong* this was. How truly undeserving he was of her love.
"Cordy." He said as she stepped closer and closer to him, titillating his finely-honed vampiric senses with every step. "You have to realise what you're getting yourself into. I mean, I ..." He caught another whiff of her delicious scent. "I think .. I really, kinda, you know, love you ..." She arched an eyebrow in acknowledgment but continued her progress, " ... which is, you know, great. But I'm a vampire Cordy. I mean as vampires go I'm pretty nice, but ... I'm still a vampire." He started retreating backwards, wanting to say what needed to be said. "And vampires ... have needs. You know, with the blood sucking and other ... stuff. There's a lot you don't know about my demon ... I mean, I'm good at the control thing, I've had a lot of practice at it, but frankly ... I mean, there's ... stuff you don't know ..." He finished helplessly.
Cordelia had somehow skilfully cornered him. Angel found himself ... cornered, with absolutely no room to manoeuvre. No room at all.
She pinned him next to the wall, one hand obstructing his last chance of escape. Her eyes glittered in the dimly lit apartment, and Angel felt himself becoming mesmerised by its glint. Cordelia looked ... she looked very dangerous. Yes, there was definitely a dangerous glint in her eyes. But she also looked really, out-of-this world, amazingly ... sexy.
"Hmmm?" He couldn't stop staring into her eyes.
"Shut up and kiss me."
With that Angel lost all ability to control himself as he quickly returned her passionate kiss, his arms quick to entwine themselves around her body. He felt himself being pressed further and further into the curves of her body by the sheer force of her passion, and Angel felt the last remnants of restraints snap as he returned it to her with a vengeance.
Cordelia was lost in the urgency and passion of the kiss, so much so that one minute she felt herself pinning Angel to the wall of her apartment, and the next she found herself on the floor, ripping Angel's silk shirt off and nearly snapping the buttons in the process. Her pulse quickened even more at the sight of a shirtless Angel perched on top of her, his well-sculpted body pale and heaving in the dim light. Was this perfection? She wondered silently within the vaults of her mind.
And then all other thoughts were driven out of her mind as he slowly, deliberately leaned in. Closer and closer he came to her lips, his hands simultaneously snaking their way up her body on its seductive journey. Slowly they crept up the length of her legs, her thighs, her hips as she sank into his kiss. Cordelia felt herself shivering involuntarily at his touch as he let his hands stop, stationing them at her waist.
What was the vampire doing? Cordelia almost growled. She grabbed his hand with one of her own and guided it almost urgently under her top, her skin tingling, letting them rest over the curve of her breast.
The invitation seemed to be enough for Angel; with astonishing dexterity he quickly undid the straps that was holding her top up and allowed his hands full range over her entire body, exploring its every dip and curve. Cordelia arched her back involuntarily as Angel gently dipped his head onto the curve of her neck, lightly brushing his lips to her increasingly warm skin.
This felt ... well, obviously it felt damn good. More than just 'good'. But somehow a small shred of Cordelia's mind remained intact enough to warn her not to go beyond the limits of their 'friendship'. If she was really going to make it work with Angel in the long run, vampire with a soul, it had to stop - now. Before they went past the point of no return.
"Angel." She stopped her rampant hands almost regretfully and sighed. She felt him likewise stiffen as he realised the impossibility of what they had been about to do.
He sighed almost despairingly. "We can't do this."
She shook her head although Angel was still dipped into the curve of her neck. "Um ... so I guess you should, you know, get up."
Angel lifted his head and looked down at her, straight into her eyes. "I guess I should." He couldn't however resist the temptation of looking down onto her uncovered chest, now devolved of her top. "Nice view." He smirked.
Cordelia wacked him playfully in the chest before covering herself with her discarded top. "You better believe it, vampire boy. Careful diet, good mileage. Now scoot."
He smiled as he rolled off her reluctantly and went in search of his shirt. A part of him yearned to take her into his arms again and ravage her like there was no tomorrow, but he was definitely glad that Cordelia had had the maturity and presence of mind to put a stop to ... whatever they had been doing. Because he wanted his tomorrow to be with Cordelia, and if they had done anything more it would've made it nearly impossible. Nearly impossible because of the curse ... and a whole lot of other vampire-related concerns.
Angel carefully buttoned his shirt up as Cordelia watched. While it had been good, she wanted to be able to have a tomorrow with Angel that would be fun. Free of all the curse related angst, free of all the 'we've had sex and what are we going to do now' angst. Free to be with Angel, her best friend ... her saviour ... her soul.
"So ..." His head snapped up at the sound of her voice.
"I guess I should go." He looked intensely at her, his eyes sparkling. "It was ... fun, Cordy."
She giggled, and Angel had to laugh along with her at the inaneness of his remark. It made his heart feel a little lighter, and he realised that even though he wanted so much more with her, he was content to take what she was able to give. Content to share what he was able to give. This was good. But most importantly of all, it felt right.
She ushered him out the door, and he was about to walk away when she called him back. "Angel?"
"You free tomorrow night? You know, we could have dinner or something ... as friends." She smiled mischievously.
He grinned back at her as he pretended to sigh. "I'm buying, aren't I?"
"Yeah, but it'll be worth every cent."
"I'll bet." He muttered as he turned around and started down the apartment stairs.
A tiny smile crept over his features as he heard the door close behind him. Jingling his keys in his hand, he mind raced over how in just one night, his entire world had changed. It had changed because now Angel was intoxicated. He was intoxicated with *all* of Cordelia ... her smile, her taste, her scent, her soul ... her vibrant colour. There was just so much of her to know, to discover, to learn.
And Angel couldn't wait to begin his lesson.
(c) Vivian Ngan July 2001