Gia rolled over onto her stomach, pillowing her head on her arms as she watched him read. The glasses were perched on the end of his nose and the only movement was his eyes flicking back and forth across the page.
He was older than her father. Daddy would die if he found out about Angel, but she couldn't muster the impetus to care. She'd always thought it was tacky when old guys hit on young girls. They looked sad and lame. But when Angel walked into the upscale home décor boutique where she worked and purchased a wrought iron bed frame that cost more than her car, she couldn't resist writing her name and number on the back of the receipt. Two days later he called. In the store, she had assured him he would be pleased with the bed. He was.
Those were the good old days. In two years, things had changed significantly.
"You said we were going to go out," she said, trying not to whine. He never responded well to whining.
"We did go out," he said absently, pausing to turn the page.
His hair was flecked with silver at the temples, but he was still a damned attractive man and better in bed - and out - than any of the guys her own age she saw. The way he looked in those leather pants and the black linen button up shirt were enough to get her wet - even with him paying her no attention.
"So you got laid and now I'm just supposed to be content?" she snapped. "It's Friday night and I'm sitting at home watching you read."
He turned to look at her, slowly taking off the glasses. "No recriminations, Gia. You know the rules."
She scowled at him, pushing herself into a sitting position that caused her already short skirt to ride up even higher. "We're in an open relationship, Angel," she said dryly. "That doesn't mean I'm your whore."
"No," he said blandly, "it doesn't. What it does mean is that I told you what I was going to do before I did it and I gave you the opportunity to react at that point."
Her teeth ground together. "And if I had said 'no'?" she offered.
His expression was neutral. "What do you think?"
She stared at him, hating him, hating herself more. She knew exactly what would have happened. He would have done it anyway and she would now be at home alone, rather than watching him read. She knew exactly how much leeway she didn't have with him, how much he didn't care and still she couldn't make herself leave. The way he touched her, fucked her, talked to her. No one else made her feel that way. Even knowing she was getting only a fraction of what he had to offer, she couldn't turn away. "Do you love her?" she asked thickly.
Angel looked at her, his gaze deep and unfathomable, completely unreadable. He was still, so still it was almost unearthly. "Do you really want me to answer that question?"
"She's never going to leave her husband," Gia informed him bitterly. "Never. And she doesn't deserve you anyway."
His eyes narrowed. "How do you know what she does and does not deserve?" he asked quietly.
A tingle of warning tickled up her spine, but she ignored it. "She's cheating on her idiot husband," she said. "And lord knows she's dicking you around. I've seen her and trust me, the bitch is not worth it."
She hadn't seen him move, but suddenly he was right in front of her, his face hard. Very slowly, he lifted his hand and caressed her cheek. "I like you, Gia," he said in a near whisper. "We have a lot of fun together. But if you ever talk about her again … " He looked right into her eyes and smiled tightly. "Don't do it."
From Buffy's perspective, there were definite drawbacks to Angel heading his own company. Like the fact that if he felt so inclined, he could take off work in the middle of the day, go home, get drunk and watch the video feed from the cameras in her house. Buffy could smell the alcohol from the doorway to his media room and almost turned around and left. Almost. She was still pissed about Gia and she felt like fighting. Confessor indeed. He might have fun with his little whore, but he had better not bring the bitch anywhere near her again.
He was slumped down in the couch, an empty glass on the coffee table, a cigarette smoldering between his index and middle fingers. She didn't know why he did this. He was watching the feed from her bedroom. Buffy blushed, looking away from the screen where she was having sex with David. It was old footage. Buffy got rid of those sheets last May. She started cycling them out, brightly patterned, obnoxious sheet sets so that she could date the tapes Angel was watching without having to ever discuss it with him.
Angel watched this particular tape a lot. Buffy didn't know why. As far as she was concerned, it hadn't been a particularly stellar performance on either her or David's parts.
"We're not supposed to meet today," he said dryly, obviously unconcerned with her unexpected presence. Absently, he flicked an ash in the ashtray.
"Plans change," she snapped.
He shrugged, but didn't look at her. "How do you know I don't have company already?"
When she didn't answer, he turned around to look at her scowling countenance. He snorted. "Or maybe that's exactly what you were hoping for," he mused. "Is that what you wanted, Buffy?" he mocked. "Did you want to find one of my girlfriends here and have a hair pulling match?" He smiled and turned around to face the TV again.
"I called your office and Kathy said you were out," she said through clenched teeth. Buffy didn't like Kathy anymore than she liked Gia. She was fairly sure that Angel had spent more than a few lunch hours screwing his secretary.
"Took the day off," he said offhandedly.
"To get drunk."
"Yes," he drawled, indifferent to her censure, "to get drunk and to watch you fuck."
"Why do you do this?" she asked wearily.
He poured two fingers of Scotch into the empty glass and tossed it back in one gulp before dropping it on the table. "You're faking it in this one, Buffy," he said blandly. "You and ol' Davey having a nice little go-round on a Saturday night. Your orgasm isn't real. Davey's got his dick inside of you and he doesn't even know it."
Buffy flinched. She'd never watched the tape, but Angel was probably right. She did fake it … a lot. Of course that didn't answer her question. "Why do you do this?"
"You're a fake, Buffy," he said. "You're married to a man for whom you have no passion. You take his name, you play stepmommy to his kids, you accompany him to dinners and make polite chitchat so everyone will think he has a perfect marriage."
He stopped, taking another drag off the cigarette. "But you fuck me. And you're a fake with me too. You can't admit that there is anything between us. Fine. Be a fake. I don’t care. Because your words lie, but your body never does, no matter how much you wish it would. But I like to remind myself what you look like when you fake it so I can be sure that every time I make you come, that it's real."
He turned around and looked at her, his eyes smoldering. Buffy's stomach clenched tightly. "I've never faked it with you," she said quietly.
"I know," he said with a smirk.
She turned and walked out of the room, heading for his bedroom. She was looking around the apartment for any signs of his chippie, but all of the mess was his. In his room, the bed was unmade, the sheets tousled, but only one pillow was dented and the scent was all Angel.
She could feel him standing behind her.
"Do you want to check the closets?" he asked. "Maybe see if I have a few co-eds stashed in there?"
She spun around, glaring. "Why do you do this?"
Angel snarled. "Every morning you wake up with him and there is nothing I can do about that."
She took a deep breath, looking at him warily. Angel would never intentionally hurt her. She knew that. But she also learned the hard way that he would hit back if she pushed him too far. In fact, she thought that might be what he was doing.
"Does she have nice tits?" Buffy asked nonchalantly, turning and pacing over to his balcony.
Angel followed. "I take it you mean Gia," he said blandly.
"She's the only one I know about for certain," Buffy answered tightly. "So yes, Gia."
"Her tits are fabulous," Angel said honestly. "And that girl has absolutely no inhibition. There's nothing she won't do for a come."
Buffy's shoulders stiffened and he could see the hard set of her jaw reflected in the sliding glass door. He stepped closer, so that his thighs were barely brushing against her ass. "Gia has this mouth … Damn. I don't know who gave her the pointers, but she could teach vacuum cleaner engineers a thing or two about suction."
He bent to nuzzle against her ear and she turned her head sharply away. He chuckled at her ostensible dismissal of him. Buffy loved to play this game. She’d be all full of righteous indignation, throwing her tantrum, assuring him that he would never get to touch her again. Of course, it was all a farce. She just wanted him to work for it, to get a little rough with her. He had no trouble obliging. His hands found her hips and pulled her back against his body.
"Not that I would know from recent experience," he said wistfully. "She was upset with me last night because I took her back to her house smelling like you and refused to fuck her."
Buffy snorted. "I bet," she derided.
"Do you want to ask her?" he offered. "I can call her. She doesn't like you. She called you a bitch. She said I treat her like a whore and that I'm in love with you."
Buffy's breath caught painfully in her throat. That was the last thing she expected him to say. Her bottom lip trembled and the words spilled out before she could stop them. "Was she right?"
He was perfectly still, the only sound his breath puffing against the shell of her ear. She heard him wet his lips with his tongue. "Do you really want me to answer that?" he asked.
She screwed her eyes shut, letting her head fall back against his shoulder. "No," she whispered. "No."
Angel pulled her closer, one of his arms banding across her waist. "Gia's a pistol," Angel said hollowly. "She gives me hell about the other girls. She interrupts me on dates, leaves her undies in my car. But she never pushes the subject of you, Buffy. She never breaks the rules about you. And sometimes she knows that I'm thinking about you when I fuck her."
Buffy swallowed thickly, shifting her weight on the balls of her feet. She was so angry, so upset and so aroused all at the same time. "You have rules?" she asked, trying to ignore the demands of her body.
He pressed a hard kiss against her hair. "Not for you, Buffy. For them. You get anything you want."
She flushed hotly at his words, her heart singing at his confession. Their relationship was supposed to be purely physical, but some part of her knew that was a bald-faced lie. She needed to hear that she was special, that she had concessions his other lovers did not. She needed to know that she was first in his heart. She licked her lips. "I want you," she said breathily, arching back against him.
"I’m all yours," he said. "I've always been yours, Buffy."
She twisted around in his embrace, her breasts pressed against his chest, looking at him with hot eyes. "Show me," she demanded.
He smiled lazily, his hands on her hips pushing her back the half-step necessary for her back to make contact with the sliding glass door. He dropped to his knees, his hands playing along her stocking-clad legs. His fingertips traced her ankles, up her calves, they dipped behind her knees. “Pull your skirt up,” he commanded.
She was breathing hard, her chest rising and falling rapidly. She licked her lips wetly before her perfectly manicured fingers found the hem of her skirt and pulled it up around her waist.
Angel smiled in pure masculine satisfaction at the sight before him. Buffy in stockings and a garter belt and nothing else. He could see perfect, finger-print sized bruises on her hips from his performance last night at the restaurant and it filled him with wicked delight. Leaning forward, he pressed his mouth against the downy hair between her legs. She was already wet, the scent of her arousal overwhelming his senses.
Carefully, he coaxed one leg over his shoulder, watching as she splayed her hands against the glass for leverage. His mouth found her once again, his tongue tracing the seam between her netherlips. She mewled, her hips pressing into him. He licked her with long, languid strokes, his tongue tracing around the entrance to her body before working his way back up to her hard, slippery nub.
One hand threaded through his hair, holding him against her while she arched into him. “Inside,” she cried breathily.
He complied willingly, his fingers biting into the perfect globes of her ass as he tilted her hips so he could stab his tongue inside her clenching channel. She cried out, her body trembling as she climaxed. He rode out her orgasm, licking and suckling her until her leg threatened to buckle.
He pulled her to the floor, settling her on her back as she fought to regain her breath. One of his hands notched her leg around his hip while the other unzipped his pants far enough to free his erection. Without a word, he slid inside her.
Her eyes went wide and she moaned, her leg tightening around his waist. He fucked her hard, his hips slamming against hers in a punishing rhythm. She writhed under him, unbuttoning her blouse and pulling down the cups on her bra. He took the hint, dropping his head to suck a pebbled nipple between his lips.
She hissed his name, arching against him. One of her own fingers found her clit, manipulating it in time with his thrusts and in mere moments, she was coming again, her sheath rippling around him. He pressed his face against her neck, grunting loudly as he spilled inside her.
Hours later, they had finally made it to the bed. The sun was going down, but neither of them was inclined to move. As far as David knew, she was on an overnight trip to Los Angeles. Angel had been adamant about that. “I don’t care what lie you have to tell him,” he had said tightly, “but you’re not leaving.”
For once, she hadn’t been inclined to argue. She didn’t know if David believed her or not. But then again, David didn’t want to see anything wrong and his denial was her most powerful ally.
She had clicked off the phone and then Angel fucked her against the wall until she lost consciousness. Buffy looked down at his arm thrown over her waist. Turning, she studied his face half-buried in the pillow. She kissed him on the cheek and he made a rumbly noise, turning his head so his mouth could search out hers. He murmured her name against her lips.
When she finally pulled back, she studied his face again as he tried stubbornly to go back to sleep. “How do you always get the name right?” she asked.
“My name,” she repeated. “I can wake you up from a dead sleep and you always say the right name.”
“If I was blind I would see you,” he murmured.
Buffy stared at him for a moment, denying herself the heartache those words wrought. She couldn’t think about that. Those words were remnants from a former life. “Why do you tape everything?” she asked.
One eye opened and he glared at her. “You’re not going to let me sleep, are you?”
“No. Now answer my question.”
Take a deep breath, he stretched, rolling over onto his back. “Sensory perception,” he said by way of explanation.
She stared at him, clearly unimpressed with his answer. “What does that mean?” she asked.
He rolled his eyes. “Sometimes you are so blonde.” He held up his hand to fend off her smack, chuckling. “Okay, okay,” he placated. He sat up in bed, rubbing his eyes. “Buffy, I was a vampire for two and a half centuries.”
“Not exactly a news flash,” she noted wryly.
“Yeah, well,” he continued, “vampires have much more highly developed senses on almost every front than humans do. Memory is sharper, smell, touch, all of it is so much more acute.”
She was quiet for a long moment. “Do you regret being human?”
“No,” he answered automatically. “I can walk in the sun, play with my grandchildren, eat a steak, make love to you. I couldn’t do any of those things as a vampire. But there are tradeoffs.”
He looked at her very seriously. “Buffy, I remember everything about the night of your seventeenth birthday.”
She blushed, looking away. “Yeah, well, I hadn’t really forgotten it myself.”
“No,” he said. “You don’t get it. I mean I remember every. single. thing. I remember every word, every touch. I remember every kiss. I remember how the rain tasted when I licked it off your skin. I remember every impatient roll of your hips, every breathy little moan. I remember how you felt around me, how your nails dug into my back. I remember everything you whispered in my ear.”
“Okay, I get the point,” she said, unable to meet his gaze.
“Do you?” he asked. “I remember those things because the memories were created when I was a vampire. I don’t have that now. Human memory is softer, cloudy, vague impressions wrapped in emotion.”
“So you tape everything so you don’t miss anything?”
He shrugged. “Yeah,” he admitted.
He studied her face for several
long moments. “I already lost you so many times, Buffy,” he said.
“My memories were the only things that made that bearable.”
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