By the time she realized the gravity of her mistake, it was too late. He wouldn't be deterred. He wouldn't be reasoned with. She couldn't spin this moment, control it like she did every other second of her life. She remembered the pop psychology tidbit that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. She should have known that just like every other time in her past, he would be the exception.
Buffy loved her husband. She didn't have a wandering eye. Unlike some women in her social circle, she didn't order her groceries online so the cute little college boy would deliver them. She didn’t forget to wear her wedding ring to tennis lessons at the country club. Buffy liked Marcus at the office. She thought he was extremely attractive and funny. But when he pushed the line and showed up at her hotel room during the Boston conference with a bottle of wine the previous year, she reported it to Human Resources.
Human Resources was never going to hear about this one. Not that they could do anything about Angel, but still.
She wanted this to be cold. She wanted it to be mindless and animal. When he pried open the door, standing there all in black and looking as sexy as he had been when she knocked him on his ass in that alley, she naively thought she could keep it in check. She was wrong. This defied logic. She knew this wasn't that forgotten moment twenty odd years ago. This wasn't his basement apartment in L.A. He hadn't been miraculously turned human only hours ago. She wasn't available.
But none of that seemed to matter. When he threaded his fingers through her hair and backed her against the wall without a single word, she didn't think for even a moment to call security. She didn't protest that she was a married woman. She didn't remind him that their relationship was dead and buried. Her heart sang at the feel of his hands on her body, his breath in her ear. She ran her hands up his chest, bit down on his lip and discovered - in a moment that was both agony and ecstasy - that twenty years of human living could not wipe the truth of Her Angel from her cells.
If I was blind, I would see you.
Twenty years couldn't change that. An eternity couldn't change that. It was laughable to think that a tiny little detail like the fact that she was married to someone else could have any bearing on her reaction to this man.
She sighed his name, levering herself up to wrap her legs around his waist and he growled in appreciation, deepening the kiss, his fingertips biting into her thighs. "Mine," he rumbled and she wept with the certainty of his words.
His head snapped up and he scanned the room for any convenient horizontal surface. His vision lighted on the small breakfast table and his lips curled into a feral grin. It dimly registered that the crashing noise was her laptop. She didn't care. All that mattered was getting his shirt off. She tore at the buttons while he carelessly hiked her four hundred dollar skirt up to her waist and ripped off her panties. They both fought to get his pants open and then the waiting was over. In one deep thrust, he was buried inside her. Her back corded, her body trembled as she climaxed immediately, screaming his name.
He buried his mouth against her neck, his blunt teeth biting down on the spot that years earlier bore his brand. It had faded over time, diffused into nothingness, but he found the spot unerringly. She groaned, threading her fingers through his hair, pushing him harder against her neck as his lower body pistoned against hers.
Nothing had ever been so right.
“At least we didn’t break the table this time.”
“Yeah,” Angel snorted, pulling her closer against him as the lay on the floor. He stopped. “What do you mean?”
“I remember,” she said blandly. And much to her own shock, it was bland. She held none of her former bitterness over that forgotten day. Though if she had been completely honest with herself, the lack of bitterness was probably due to the fact that her naked flesh was currently pressed against Angel’s, his seed sticky between her thighs.
He pushed himself up on one elbow and looked down at her. “How long have you known?” he asked, his expression guarded.
“Since Willow brought me back,” she answered, meeting his gaze without guilt.
He nodded. “You never told me,” he said quietly.
She smiled ruefully. “How exactly was I supposed to tell you, Angel?” she asked – and more than a little bitterness seeped into the words. “I really didn’t want to call Spordelia and ask if I could borrow her boyfriend for a heart-wrenching sewer conversation.”
His expression was unreadable and he finally stated, “Cordy wasn’t my girlfriend.”
Buffy sat up, wrapping her arms around her knees and stared at him, her lips in a tight, thin line. “Yes she was,” Buffy answered evenly. “She was your best friend, your girlfriend, your constant companion. For a while, she was the mother of your child.”
“Buffy – “
She pressed a finger over his lips. “She was,” Buffy repeated firmly. “But that’s okay, because when you finally did lose your soul, it was with the aid of some evil magician.” She smiled and it was a malevolent, mirthless expression. “I always took a great deal of comfort from that fact.” Her lips twisted even more cruelly. “Oh yeah, and the part where she pulled a V.C. Andrews and shacked up with your kid was pretty good too.”
Angel narrowed his gaze at her. “My bastard son sleeping with my girl tends to be a recurring theme,” he said in a biting tone.
She blushed deeply, turning to stare at the mess of papers scattered about the floor.
“At least Spike didn’t knock you up,” he mused, “but then again, Cordelia had the excuse that she was evil. I’m not real clear on your reasoning.”
She turned and looked at him, her face absolutely placid. “You left me,” she said. Buffy rose to her feet and headed into the bathroom.
Buffy walked out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around her slight body. “You’re still here,” she said, watching Angel lounge on her bed, rifling through the contents of her purse. Rolling her eyes, she walked over to the bed and snatched it out of his grip. He relinquished it with a frown, but lay back on the bed, his hands behind his head, eyeing her expectantly.
“You can go now,” she said firmly.
He smirked. It would have really pissed her off if it didn’t also make her knees weak. “It took me two days of juggling appointments to fly out here to see you,” he said. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Angel – “ she started and he reached up, his hand wrapping around her forearm and pulling her down on top of him. She struggled to keep her towel on while trying to crawl off of him and finally gave up, abandoning the towel and smacking him on the shoulder.
He grinned at her unrepentantly and then with absolute gentleness, reached forward and cupped her face in his hands. She didn’t consider fighting as his lips brushed against hers, feather light. “I’m not leaving, Buffy,” he whispered. “Not again. I’m going to have you in whatever way I can have you.”
She let him roll her over onto her back, but her expression was serious. “I’m married,” she said.
“And you’re sleeping with me,” he noted bitterly.
“Slept,” she qualified.
“Sleeping,” he countered.
She frowned and his expression turned predatory. His hands traveled over her bare body and she couldn’t control the goose bumps his touch raised, or the fact that she arched into his questing fingers. “I’m not going to leave you alone, Buffy,” he said seriously. “Not anymore. Not after this.”
“You have to,” she grated tightly. “This can’t happen again.”
“What can’t happen again?” he asked coyly, moving over her body. She screwed her eyes shut, but in direct opposition, spread her thighs for him. Her groan was equal parts shame and bliss as he entered her body. “This can’t happen again?” he asked, his voice harsh as he pumped in and out of her. Buffy moaned, her legs wrapping around his waist. He was right and she knew it. She wasn’t going to turn him away. She had never possessed the strength for that. Even when he was an evil, murdering demon she couldn’t kill him. There was no chance that she was going to ban a willing, human Angel from her bed, husband or no husband.
“This one?” she asked, running her finger along the shiny raised scar on his left shoulder.
“Car wreck,” he said, “about five years ago. I got rear-ended on the freeway. Dislocated my shoulder. I had to have surgery.”
“You were in a car wreck?” Her voice was a near whisper.
He nodded. “Happens.”
She took a deep breath, her lips pursed together and lay back on the pillow, looking at him warily. He ventured closer, running his fingertips over her cheekbone. She pulled away, shaking off his touch.
He removed his hand. “What’s wrong?”
She huffed and then narrowed her gaze at him. “Sometimes I really hate that you’re human,” she snapped.
He smiled at her. It was crooked. Her heart nearly stopped. “I missed you too, Buffy,” he said, leaning forward to kiss her.
And she kissed him back. Because that was what she meant.
David met her at the airport. He didn’t notice the dark, looming presence as the Masons waited to claim Buffy’s bags. He didn’t notice the man who shadowed them to the parking garage. He didn’t notice the black Mercedes that followed them back into the city.
He did notice that his wife seemed tired and distant. He assumed it was travel fatigue. He suggested that she take a bath and go to bed early. She thanked him and kissed him gently on the cheek.
Buffy sat in the bathtub and cried because never in her life had anything felt so absolutely right and so perfectly wrong. She couldn’t do this. Angel was her past. Their time in Chicago had been glorious, but it couldn’t continue. She wouldn’t cheat on her husband. David was a good man. He deserved better than deceit.
She wouldn’t meet Angel. She would avoid him and eventually he'd go away. He’d fade into the background again and eventually she would be able to get on with her life. She would be a good wife to David. She would make him happy.
“This one?” Buffy asked, running her finger over the rough scar on his forearm.
“Accidentally gouged it helping Connor set up a swing set when his daughter Emily was about four.”
Buffy laughed. “I can’t imagine you with grandkids,” she admitted, her nose crinkling.
“I’m a fabulous grandfather,” he boasted. “It’s just the parenting part where I’m a flaming failure.” He pointed to the scar on his naked thigh. “That’s where Connor managed to stab me with the screwdriver later that same day.”
“He stabbed you?”
Angel’s lips pursed together. “There’s some lingering tension between my son and myself,” he admitted.
Buffy thought about Dawn and sighed. “Nothing turns out the way we plan, does it?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he mused, pulling her naked body flush against his own. “Sometimes things even out in the end.”
“Is that what this is?” she asked. “The end?”
He shook his head. “No, Buffy. This is just the beginning.”
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