"Okay, you have to eat now. C'mon Connor, that's my boy …" Cordelia almost let out a scream in frustration as she looked around the previously clean and spotless Hyperion kitchen, which currently resembled a war torn country with bits and pieces of food thrown haphazardly around her. She knew she would have to clean this up before Angel came back. He was so anal about little things, like say, cleanliness. Who cares if towels weren't folded just right after she washed them? They were only going to be used again. And dirtied. And –
A loud splat caught her attention and she turned just in time to see Connor throw the entire contents of the jar out the window.
Cordelia let out a scream before calming herself down.
Get a grip Chase.
"Okay, you want to play buster? You want to make poor Cordy, your father's remarkably gorgeous and devoted friend tear out her beautiful hair? 'Cause I gotta to tell ya, that's not happening. I've been through too many ghosts and icky demons to let a hyperactive Powers protected little boy get the better of me. So what if you're super strong? I'm stronger. And also, do you think I'd let anyone - Angel's baby or not - ruin this new hair style? It cost me big bucks and I'm not about to let anyone mess with it, okay? Got that mini-Angel?"
Connor made a strange, gurgling sound in return.
"Nope, didn't think so." She grabbed a towel that seemed to be clean and began wiping remnants of food off his bright, chubby face. "Look, Cordy would be really really happy if you just finished this …" she eyed the remaining jars of food dubiously, "… this yummy, nutritious, vitamin-packed mushy brown stuff before your Daddy comes home, okay? Yes, Cordy would be really happy. Would you like that sweetie? Make Cordy happy?"
Connor laughed, his large brown eyes twinkling in the light.
Cordelia sighed. What was she to do? He wouldn't eat. She'd tried everything in her book which, considering her non-experience in all baby matters, wasn't all that long to begin with. But still, he had to eat. The baby book said so. Page 47, where it said that all babies needed nutrients, and any malnutrition could stunt growth in later life. And other bad stuff.
"What's going on?" Angel's loud voice made Cordelia jump in fright.
"Angel, don't do that!"
"Sorry." He said sheepishly. "I didn't think I was skulking."
"Well duh." Cordelia huffed, clearly annoyed. "You were being stalker guy again. You know you can't do that now. What if I'd been holding Connor? I'd have dropped him. Do you want me to do that?"
Angel hung his head apologetically but remained smiling. By the looks of things, Cordelia had been having a tough time with Connor in the kitchen and the experience had strained her nerves to breaking point.
"Sorry." He walked over and picked his son up. "And how're you doing little man? You eat your food like you're supposed to?"
"No." Cordelia cut in quickly. "You know Connor is remarkably like you."
Angel's face beamed with pride. "Yeah?"
"Yeah. He's stubborn. And when he doesn't want something, he throws it out. Through the window." She pointed at the broken pane.
"Well … he's just spirited, that's all. Determined to do his own thing. I'd say that was a good thing, wouldn't you?" He paused as he set Connor down. "And I've never thrown anything out the window."
Cordelia made a 'whatever' face at him.
They both stared at the innocent little cherub, sitting boot deep in green-coloured mush on the floor.
Angel quickly knelt by his son's side, happiness glowing on his face. "Cordy, did you hear that? Connor spoke. Connor spoke!"
Forgetting the trauma Connor had put her through the last few hours, she joined Angel and knelt by his baby's side, at least as enthusiastic as he was in exhorting Connor to speak again.
"Say it again, sweetie. What did you say?"
There was a pause, in which Cordy held her breath and Angel would have held his breath, if he had any breath to hold in the first place.
"Da da." Connor pointed a chocolate coated hand in Angel's direction. "Da da."
Angel lifted him up and hugged him excitedly. "Yeah … yeah I'm your daddy. Good … good boy."
Cordelia beamed at both of them, holding one of Connor's tiny hands in her own. She caught Angel's happy gaze and smiled back her delight. If somebody had told her last year that she'd be transported into raptures of delight at Angel's son's first words, she would've snorted and sent them on their way to the nearest mental institution. Of course, she would've sent them on their way even if they had told her Angel would have a son.
"That's so cool. Angel he said his first word. That's so cool!"
Suddenly Connor pointed one chubby hand at her, and bellowed. "Ma ma!"
Cordelia started before turning a dozen shades of red. Avoiding Angel's equally startled gaze, she admonished his baby, "No sweetie, not ma ma. Just Cordy. It's just Cordy, okay honey?"
Connor stared defiantly at her. "Mama, mama, mama." Before Cordelia could say anything else, he continued. "Mama, mama, mama. Mama, mama, mama."
In desperation she tried to stop him. It was, unsurprisingly, making her feel really embarrassed. Like she could be anyone's mother. Like she could be mother to Angel's child. 'Cause normally that would involve certain activities that they could not do, all thanks to Angel's little curse. Which was … so not the point at the moment.
"Sweetie, just Cordy. Say it … Cor-dy." She looked at him hopefully.
"Or, if you can't say Cordy, you can just say Cor. Can you say Cor honey? Just Cor?"
She looked at him in frustration, still refusing to meet Angel's gaze. "Okay, don't say Cor. How about … CC? Cee-cee?"
"Mama." And just to emphasise his point, he pointed a single chubby finger in her direction.
She let out a tiny scream in frustration. "Argh. Fine. Whatever." She turned to face Angel. "You have to clean up after your son now, because I'm tired and I need to lie down, okay?" Without pausing for a response, she swept out of the kitchen leaving Angel and Connor marooned in a sea of splattered food.
Angel looked cheerfully after Cordelia's retreating figure and turned his son in his arms around to face him. "Between you and me, I think mama's just fine."
(c) Vivian Ngan January 2002