Buffy took a deep breath, steeling her resolve. Lips set into a hard line, she lifted her hand and knocked crisply on the door. She could hear footsteps approaching, but they couldn't blot out her heart pounding in her ears.
Angel pulled open the door, blinking twice at the sight of Buffy dressed in a black satin robe. "Uh, yes?" he squeaked. He quickly coughed. "Buffy is there something I can do to- uh, for, for . is there anything I can do for you?"
"Were you serious about me posing for you?" she asked quickly, her tone completely businesslike. She kept her manner as serious as she could and found herself struggling to keep her eyes on his rather than looking at the floor.
He stared at her blankly for several heartbeats. "Yes," he finally answered. "I would love to sketch you."
"Three hundred dollars, right?" she asked. "Cash."
Angel nodded and then groaned and shook his head. "Wesley would kill me," he said.
"My brother doesn't have anything to do with this," she countered, her expression hard. "I'm doing this on my own. I'm an adult. Neither Wesley nor my father has any say in my life now."
I'm going to Hell, Angel thought. "Okay," he said, standing back to let her into his penthouse apartment, "Come in here before someone sees you in that."
Buffy thankfully hurried into the apartment, brushed past him and waited for him to close the door, looking around nervously. Now that he had agreed, this suddenly felt like an asinine way to make money, but three hundred dollars for lying around for an hour or so couldn't be that wrong, no matter how it felt.
Angel walked stiffly to his bedroom and didn't look back at her as he pulled the comforter off the bed and threw it aside on the floor. He rumpled the black silk sheets and closed his eyes for a split second, taking a deep, hard breath. Then, moving into motion as if he hadn't stopped, he scattered the pillows over the bed as if it were from lovers tangling together in intercourse.
"Lay down," he said, gesturing at the tousled bed, "and I'll just...uh...get my, get my stuff."
Buffy waited until he left the room before slipping off her robe, leaving it pooled at the end of the bed. She climbed on quickly, not wanting him to see her in any lewd position when he walked back inside the room. She carefully arranged herself in the center of the bed, covering up almost completely with carefully arranged pillows and sheets.
That was how Angel found her when he came back into the room. His brow wrinkled as he looked over her, seeing nearly none of her golden, decadent flesh in the open.
"What?" she asked as he looked over her, not speaking.
"You said you'd pose nude," he said carefully.
"I am buck naked here! Are you blind?" she snapped, knowing her cheeks were bright red and the blush was quickly traveling down her body.
"Believe me, baby, I can see just how undressed you are," he said huskily.
"Well, okay, fine," she said, somewhat mollified, "can we just get on with this?"
He sighed in exasperation, leaning his sketchpad against the wall. He didn't want to do this. He didn't want to be the nice guy again. But this was Buffy. And Wesley was his best friend. And he couldn't just push his ethics aside no matter how much his cock was screaming for him to do just that. "Buffy, why are you doing this?" he asked after a long pause.
She scowled. "Just do it."
"Not until you tell me why you need the money. Is it for rent?"
She pursed her lips together tightly, not wanting to answer. "Yes," she finally admitted.
He shook his head and reached for her robe, tossing it to her. "Then get dressed and go back to your apartment. This month's rent is on the house as is every other month until you can afford it."
"No," she snapped, sitting up in bed so fast the sheet fell to her waist. She quickly grabbed it, blushing again. "I am just like everyone else. I don't want your charity. All of the other tenants have to pay rent, so will I."
"Buffy, you're not like all the other tenants," he explained. "I've known you since you were born. Your brother is my best friend. I can't take advantage of you like this."
"You're not taking advantage," she protested. "This is a business transaction. You pay people to model for you, I need money. Pay me and you'll get your rent."
"Trust me," he said dryly. "I've never offered for Harris in 2D to work off rent by posing nude. I'm not being a martyr here. Just put your clothes back on."
She shook her head, tears pricking her eyes. "Please, Angel," she said softly. "I need to do this. I need to make it on my own."
He sighed and against his better judgment, finally nodded. "Okay," he said, "you can model, but if you're going to do it, you have to do it like a professional. I can't have you huddling under the covers."
Biting down on her bottom lip, she nodded. "Fine," she said, pushing off the blankets. She laid back on the bed and stared at the ceiling, trying not to cover herself up.
Angel took a deep breath. And another. He couldn't even begin to count the number of times he'd had this very fantasy. As professionally as possible, he walked over and arranged her as if she were a mannequin. Except, of course, when someone positioned an inanimate object, they rarely held their breath . and they rarely had an erection.
After he moved her into the position he wanted her, he sat down quickly, hoping that the stiffening in his groin would go away but he knew it wouldn't. He also wished that he could block himself with the sketchbook as he sketched her, but he knew that wasn't possible either. The fact was that having Buffy within sight was enough for him to harden. Having her naked in his bed, hair spread out around her, her naked body lying against his sheets was enough for him to completely lose control.
He had wanted her from the time he first found out that girls actually had far more interest than cooties. He had stayed as nice and brotherly as he could to Buffy as they were growing up because Wesley was his best friend, but now things had changed. She was an adult, a startlingly beautiful adult. All he wanted to do was throw the sketchpad aside and climb in there with her. There was something very natural and right about her being in his bed and his arousal was rising in agreement.
He began to sketch her slowly, methodically, making sure he got every detail of her soft curves, the slight bend of her hips, the crease of her brow, the arch of her back against the sheets. He wanted to get it all on paper and then follow each detail with his fingers on her flesh.
Shaking his head, he tried to concentrate more on the lines he was drawing rather than the body the lines were making up, but he couldn't. He wanted her and with a passion that years of fucking other women didn't sate. He wanted Buffy Summers and the fact that she was naked in his bed was the most sensual thing he had ever witnessed.
"Uh, Angel," she said meekly, "is there any way you could turn up the heat?"
His eyes immediately flicked to her rock hard nipples and he forced himself to look her in the eyes. "Uh ... s-s-sure," he muttered. Very carefully, he unfolded himself from the chair, trying to figure out how he was going to stand up without embarrassing himself. He quickly came to the realization that there was no way he could possibly achieve that goal. In a moment of exasperation, he set down his pencil and stood. He didn't look at Buffy, he merely walked over to the thermostat and turned the heat up to eighty-five, walked back to the chair and sat down. He picked up his pencil, poised to begin sketching again and looked at Buffy. Her eyes were big as saucers. She quickly looked away, blushing from the roots of her hair to the tips of her toes. "You're very beautiful," he said by way of explanation, unable to keep the huskiness from his voice.
"N-n-no problem," she squeaked. Buffy couldn't meet his eyes. Not after she saw his ... She couldn't even finish the thought. Angel was beautiful. He was rich. He was an artist who did nudes all the time. He could have any woman he wanted. Why on earth would he get a hard on looking at her naked? But he had. Absolutely no doubt about that. Her blush intensified as she remembered exactly how impressive it had been. She shifted uneasily on the sheets.
"Are you uncomfortable?" he asked.
"No," she replied, but couldn't help shifting again.
"It's okay, Buffy," he said. "We can finish this later."
He smiled at her slowly. "I generally don't finish a sketch in just one sitting."
"Oh," Buffy managed in a weak, husky voice. He turned and began to move his art supplies back out of the room in a show of deliberate slowness.
Buffy took the opportunity to scramble to the end of the bed and scoop up her robe. She checked him often to see if he was peeking as she struggled to get her arms in and wrap it around her body. Her hands were shaking so badly, she wasn't sure how she accomplished the task. Hurrying toward the door, it didn't even occur to her to say goodbye until she touched the doorknob. She squeezed her eyes shut and cursed silently before turning around.
She found him leaning against his bedroom doorway, arms folded across his broad chest. She couldn't help but let her eyes graze his body and land directly on his tented groin before quickly raising her eyes back to his.
"I didn't mean to make you feel." he started and paused as he searched for the right word. He was actually glad his mouth was still working, with the way the rest of his body was focused on sex. Hell, if she asked him what he had just said, he wasn't certain he would be able to answer correctly. Instead, he moved and stalked toward her. The thudding in his chest should have been alarming, but it made him feel invigorated for the first time in a long time.
"That's okay," Buffy said quickly as he moved toward her. Moving backwards, she let out a shuddered, panicked breath as she slammed back against the door. "I wish I didn't have to . but I do ." she mumbled as she felt for the doorknob behind her. By the time Angel reached the door, she had made it out into the hallway and proceeded to run away from his apartment - or more accurately, him.
"I'm guessing that one of your dates fell through," Wesley said dryly, looking at Angel's grumpy countenance across the table, now littered with empty martini glasses.
Angel smiled tightly. He wasn't about to confirm any suspicions, especially when his blue balls were courtesy of his best friend's beloved baby sister. It made him feel dirty just thinking about the things that he wanted to do to Buffy. Of course, not dirty enough to make him stop fantasizing. Why was it that women flocked to him but that none of them really captured his interest - except Buffy, the one woman he couldn't have?
It was some sort of sad joke. As an only child, Angel had always enjoyed being around Wesley and Buffy, they were the siblings he didn't have. When they went to boarding school together, his bond with Wesley only intensified. But one Christmas vacation, everything had changed. They came home and Angel was excited to see Buffy, the girl he thought of as his little sister. Only he found out when he looked at her that there was absolutely nothing brotherly about the way he felt toward the gorgeous creature who was his best friend's sister. Ever since then, Buffy had been his preferred masturbatory fantasy. Which, once again, made him feel dirty, but it was safe. While fantasy Buffy gave him endless pleasure, he avoided the real Buffy as much as possible. Avoiding her was the only option. He wasn't strong enough to be around her without jeopardizing his entire relationship with Wesley and the rest of the Summers family.
He had honestly thought he could go on avoiding her for the rest of his life. But one night when she showed up, pounding on his apartment door, soaking wet and needing a place to stay, he agreed to lease her an apartment. Actually, it wasn't so much as he agreed as it was that all he could say was "yes". He couldn't say much else. Her shirt was wet and her nipples were completely visible through the thin fabric. He probably would have taken her right then, but he had company. Never shy, Darla walked out of his bedroom wearing nothing but a sheet and shooed Buffy out the door before dragging him back to bed. For the last eight months, Buffy had lived downstairs in apartment 2G. For the last eight months, he had been forcing himself not to show up at her door in the middle of the night. And now she was posing nude for him to make rent. There was no way this could end well. No way. And of course, he had no intention of changing a damn thing.
"I see you're feeling especially talkative this evening," Wesley added when Angel's irritated smile yielded no reply. "Surely the doxy broke out in a horrible case of the hives to pass up an evening with you, Angel."
Angel sneered across the table in warning at his friend and then blinked before sighing, "Sorry, Wes. I'm just a little-"
"Not at all," Wes said waving his hand in dismissal, "But I think I should like to meet the girl who has caused you to get in such a twist."
"Yeah," Angel laughed sarcastically, "Wouldn't that be funny?"
The following evening, Buffy paced in her apartment nervously. Rent to Angel was only getting later and when she finished balancing her checkbook, she thought about throwing up. She would owe him two hundred more plus the electricity bill she hadn't paid yet. She ran her fingers through her hair worriedly and continued her trek around the living room.
She had to go back up there and finish the sketch and then she should start looking for yet another job. Her job at the University's library might have been fine if she hadn't started taking classes this semester. She hadn't been living away from her family nearly long enough to get the complete student aid she needed and now she couldn't even pay the rent or the electric bill, not to mention the depressingly empty refrigerator in the kitchen.
Unfortunately, she couldn't even worry about how her stomach was growling or how the bills were due without thinking of Angel and what had happened when she had posed for him. It wasn't right to be as attracted to someone who was almost family, but whenever she thought about him, her heart skipped a beat. She couldn't believe he was truly attracted to little, mousy, virgin Buffy. It wasn't possible. But then again, Angel was a guy. Just because he had a physical reaction to her nude body didn't necessarily mean he was "interested". Faith's favorite word of advice was that all men were beasts. That thought should have reassured her. Instead, it merely made her wonder more. Which wasn't good, especially considering she was heading straight into the beast in question's lair.
When Angel answered the door, he was barely managing to hold a stack of assorted magazines and mail in his hands while he had one of his shirts clasped in his teeth. He nodded Buffy inside and disappeared in the second bedroom he used as his office. Buffy heard a loud crash and muffled cursing before Angel reemerged. He looked at her and shrugged. "Sorry," he said, "just trying to clean the place up a little. Didn't want to scare you."
Buffy smiled, both flattered and amused that he had been cleaning his apartment for her. "The place looks fine," she said truthfully. It could probably use a little straightening up, but Angel was no slob. And his apartment was decorated absolutely beautifully. It was a far cry from her hand-me-down sofa and rabbit ear television.
Angel looked at her and nodded. An uncomfortable silence fell. Buffy motioned towards the bathroom. "I thought that I'd just change here this time," she said. "I really didn't feel like running into one of my neighbors in my robe."
"Oh," Angel said, "yeah, sure. No problem."
Ten minutes later, Buffy was attempting to relax as she stared up at the ceiling of Angel's bedroom. He had apparently remembered her temperature issues from the last time because his room was toasty warm despite her complete lack of clothing. But the warmth didn't make her feel any more at ease. At least Angel was distracted as he hunted through stacks of sketchbooks, apparently looking for one in particular. Buffy blushed crimson as her stomach growled loudly for what felt like the tenth time.
Angel stopped riffling through sketchbooks and looked at her. "Are you hungry?" he asked.
Her blush intensified. "Nope," she said. "I'm fine."
Angel shrugged, going back to his searching, but her stomach growled again. He turned and looked at her. Really looked at her. Naked as a jaybird, it wasn't like she could hide anything. Angel frowned. "When was the last time you ate?" he asked.
"I had some crackers before I came up here," she said somewhat truthfully. It was actually one cracker that she found while cleaning out her backpack. Not one of her finer moments to be sure.
"What about a full meal?"
"Uh...I'm dieting - "
Her excuse was cut short as Angel threw his own robe at her, glowering. Dutifully, Buffy shrugged into the robe and followed him out to the kitchen. He pulled open his refrigerator and Buffy's mouth watered. Oh groceries, how she had missed them. She remembered her own sad refrigerator with its jar of mustard and some expired cottage cheese. Angel turned around and looked at her. "What do you like to eat?" he asked.
"Really, Angel, I'm not hungry," she lied.
He knew she was lying and rolled his eyes as he started pulling items out of the refrigerator. She was certain she was drooling and her stomach began nearly roaring as he placed eggs, bacon, cheese, bread and orange juice on the counter. He seemed to be an expert in the breakfast department as he began frying an egg while he poured her a glass of orange juice.
"Angel," Buffy said, talking loudly over her belly's ravenous sounds, "You really don't have to go to all this trouble."
"Sit down," he said, motioning at the kitchen table absently, focused on his task. He didn't stop to look at her as he started brewing coffee like it was 8 AM rather than 8 PM. Tossing a towel over his shoulder and whistling a jaunty tune slightly off key, he tossed bacon into a second pan.
"Angel..." Buffy said reluctantly after a second, biting her lower lip. Nervously she rubbed the cuff of his silk robe between her fingers. He winked happily at her as he placed a thick slice of cheese in her hand, turned her shoulders toward the table and went back to his work. She forced herself not to gobble the cheese and pecked at it lightly as she watched him move around the kitchen. Sweet Jesus, what other man looked like that while doing something as mundane as frying an egg?
on to part 2
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