Without turning around from her position at the weapons cabinet, Buffy knew that Angel was the one pushing through the Hyperion's doors. "Hey- " she said as she swiveled to face him an unbidden smile fixed firmly on her lips.
She stopped mid-sentence as she saw the voluptuous brunette trailing behind him into the lobby. It was a week since she last saw Angel. Four days since Lindsey raised all sorts of uncomfortable questions that left her with nights full of sweaty, frustrating dreams. Logically, Buffy convinced herself that Lindsey was full of it. There was nothing between her and Angel. Nothing at all. But it didn't stop the near violent jealousy that burned through her as she watched Faith - Buffy knew instantly that was who the painted whore was - saunter behind Angel in a vaguely obscene way. Buffy kept her eyes glued on Faith as Angel approached, noting the fact that if Faith's canvas army bag was any indication, she was planning on moving in.
Taking in the clearly unhappy expression on Buffy's face, Angel smiled. "Buffy, Faith. Faith, Buffy," he said offhandedly. "Slayer, Slayer," he tacked on cheekily.
Faith finally looked at Buffy and snorted as she rolled her eyes. "Anotha princess," she derided. "Great."
Angel looked at Faith, a small smile playing on his lips. "Yeah," he said playfully, "Buffy's not much to look at ... " He ignored Buffy's glare of pure hatred. "but this princess has your Slaying records beat in every category."
Faith's smirk of superiority died.
"And she's mastered the fine art of getting her ass to work on time," Angel continued pointedly. "And she plays well with the team." His expression was now completely sober. "You might want to take a few pointers," he finished.
Faith was now staring at Buffy with a look of open animosity. "Well isn't that just wicked convenient," she said. "Pollyanna can do my job better than me and I bet she always eats all her vegetables and says her prayers before bed, too."
Angel looked nonplussed. "Oh, no," he mocked in a scathing tone of voice, "is this going to be another pity party? I'm afraid I didn't wear my hairshirt today."
Faith's jaw tightened as she glared at him. "Look boss, you're the one who wanted ta get all twelve steppy with me. I didn't ask for your help."
"Ask," he said wryly. "You're right, it was more of a cry for help. 'I'm bad! Just kill me! Just do it!' You really weren't looking for a one way ticket out of this world, you were just practicing for your summer stock auditions."
Faith flinched and Angel momentarily regretted his words. But only momentarily. The demons she would face nightly sure as hell wouldn't treat her with kid gloves. Why should he? Nevertheless, his demeanor softened, though it lacked none of his former seriousness. "You're tough, Faith," he admitted freely, "and worth saving, but you were out of control. You have a hell of a lot of potential and I don't want to see it wasted. But I've dragged your ass out of the fire for the last time. Your grace period is gone. Pull your weight or get out. Buffy set the standard and you meet it or you're on your own."
Faith nodded curtly, her expression shuttered. She hefted her army green bag over her shoulder. Mutely she turned and headed up the stairs like a good soldier, disappearing around a corner. The slamming of a door echoed in the quiet hotel.
"So that's Faith," Buffy said coldly. "Nice to see she's so well adjusted."
Turning to face her, Angel struck out lightning quick and grabbed Buffy's wrist. His face was hard as his thumb played lightly over the raised scars. "Being the Slayer is a rough gig," he said matter-of-factly. "You all deal with it in your own ways."
Buffy wrenched her wrist out of his grasp, glaring.
"Don't get pissy with me," he said, "I'm just pointing out that until you've walked in her shoes, I wouldn't be so quick with the judgment. Faith has her good points."
"Oh trust me, I know all about her good points," Buffy snapped. Without waiting for his response, she turned and stalked over to the front desk, doing her best to ignore him.
Angel stood, rooted to his spot, watching her fume. He could understand her rivalry with Faith. It was natural. There was only ever supposed to be one Slayer. The fact that there were two was bound to have unpleasant side effects. But even that didn't explain her childish reaction.
More amused than irritated, Angel followed her to the front desk, standing several paces behind her. "Mind telling me why you're pouting about this?" he asked.
Twisting around to face him, Buffy snapped, "I'm not pouting!"
He smirked. "Really?" he mocked.
"Don't you have somewhere else to be?" she demanded. "Like maybe you could be helping Faith and her body built for sin get comfortable upstairs," she offered.
Angel's face went blank for a split second and then he laughed in sincere mirth. "You're upset about the note I put in Faith's file?" he asked, his eyes twinkling with amusement.
Buffy fumed, her jaw muscles flexing as she ground her teeth together. So it was him! That just pissed her off more. "I'm not upset," she lied venomously. "I don't care what you do with Faith. Or to Faith. In fact, maybe you should go check in on her like a good sponsor. It could be touch and go without you to watch over her."
"You're mad," he said, his lips twisting into a smile of self-satisfaction.
"Why would I be mad?" she asked, her voice much higher than usual. "It's not like I could even begin to compete with slut-o-rama up there. Besides, I'm not much to look at."
Her chest was heaving with anger, her eyes lit by an internal fire. As far as Angel was concerned, she had never looked more beautiful. Without stopping to question his motives, Angel had her backed up against the counter, his tongue tangling with hers before she knew what was happening.
As soon as she realized what was going on, Buffy should have pushed him away. She didn't. Instead, she threaded her fingers through his hair and proceeded to give as good as she got. She suckled on his tongue, nipped at his lips and generally mauled his mouth. He wasn't complaining, though some part of his brain was still holding him in check. His hands rested neutrally at her waist, itching to do more. He settled for kissing her back with every ounce of carnal knowledge he possessed poured into the gesture.
Buffy sensed his reserve and it fanned the dying flames of her anger. She knew without question that he wouldn't dream of holding back with Faith. She didn't know why he was doing so with her, but she decided to be offended. Luckily, she wasn't completely weaponless in this war. As they continued to kiss, one of her hands left his neck, splaying over his chest, exploring the contours of his body. As she scraped her nails down his silk covered chest, he growled lightly and kissed her more insistently. Emboldened by his response, Buffy abandoned the tame gestures and went straight for wanton, rubbing herself against him in open invitation.
Angel couldn't think. He was painfully aroused, hungry for the taste and feel of this woman. His fingers bit into her hips, lifting her so she could wrap her legs around his waist, positioning her damp softness right where he needed it. He growled again, pressing her against the counter, thrusting against her as his hands roamed her body, cupping a full breast through the flimsy cotton material of her shirt.
Buffy whined in absolute surrender, tightening her legs. She was completely helpless to stop him - not that it would have occurred to her to do so. He laid her back on the counter and Buffy went willingly, pulling him with her. He crouched over her, still molesting her mouth, still thrusting against her as he rolled a pebbled nipple between his thumb and forefinger. Buffy's nimble fingers found the buttons of his shirt and swiftly had them undone, pushing the material out of the way. She broke off the kiss to nip down his neck. Angel groaned and lifted himself off her enough to allow him to unbuckle her belt. Not even his undoing the button on her jeans or hissing her zipper down were enough to snap Buffy to her senses. As he tried to inch the confining denim down her legs, she obligingly lifted her hips to help. Soon she was wearing nothing but her sleeveless pink tanktop and a lacy white thong, laid out on the Hyperion's front desk, much more Slayer Buffet than Slayer Buffy.
Where all common sense had failed them, the shrill ringing of the telephone mere inches from their ears succeeded in interrupting their mutual molestations. Angel was still crouched over her, one of his fingers hooked under the waistband of her panties. Their eyes met, both of them panting harshly as the phone rang again.
Buffy licked her lips nervously. She flicked a glance at the phone and then back to Angel. "Maybe I should ..."
"Let it ring," he growled, kissing her again. He grabbed the hem of her shirt, breaking off the kiss only long enough to pull the garment unceremoniously over her head. Buffy pushed his shirt completely off of his shoulders and her fingers were fumbling with the buckle of his belt as the machine picked up. She heard Wesley's recorded voice inform the caller of how busy they were - no doubt - and to leave the appropriate information.
She couldn't make her fingers work enough to get his belt undone and settled instead for cupping him through the supple leather of his pants. They both groaned aloud as her palm pressed into the rigid length of his sex, stroking him lightly.
That was, of course, the cue for everything to go wrong. "Buffy," Lindsey's voice chimed happily, "haven't managed to catch up with you for a while. Just wanted to know if we could get together again some night this week. I know you know who this is. And don't mention anything to the boss. Later, darlin'."
The second Angel heard Lindsey's lips wrap around his woman's name, all playfulness was gone. Rage trembled through his powerful frame. Moving painfully slow, every minute action calculated, Angel stared down at Buffy. His large hands framed her face so she couldn't look away. "Get together again some night," he repeated, his voice taut, incredulity and fury warring on his features. "When exactly did you get together with Lindsey at night in the past?"
"I, uh ..." Buffy trailed off pitifully.
Angel dipped his head, staring right into her eyes. "When were you with that worthless, treacherous, soon-to-be-painfully-murdered sack of shit?"
"I didn't - " Buffy began. "We didn't ... I mean ... " She took a deep breath, her fear fading in the wake of her growing anger. What right did he have to treat her like this? They weren't a couple! He had no right to know anything about her and Lindsey. And trust issues much? He was acting like all Lindsey had to do was snap his fingers and she would jump in the sack with him. Of course, given the fact that she had been in the process of losing her virginity to Angel on top of the Hyperion's reception counter, maybe he had his reasons to wonder. Which brought up a whole different host of issues.
Oh gawds, she was one of those girls.
"Get off me!" she snapped, pushing ineffectually at his chest. She needed to find her clothes fast.
Angel didn't budge an inch, glaring down into her defiant countenance. "When?" he demanded.
"None of your business," she ground out, trying to wriggle out from under him.
Angel growled in frustration. "Stop squirming," he said through clenched teeth.
Buffy ignored him, determined to get free, get dressed and get out. She was oblivious to the effect her writhing was having on his ability to reason. Angel had to release her before he did something he would regret. Abruptly he stood up, pulling Buffy off the counter and setting her on her feet before giving her a small shove away from him. She stumbled backwards, sitting down hard on top of Willow's desk. Her hair was a mess, spilling uncontrollably around her shoulders. Her chest was heaving with the force of her breath and she was dressed in nothing but her underwear, a matching white lace demi-cup bra and thong. Angel looked at her a moment, his expression unreadable, before he scooped his own shirt off the floor and threw it at her.
"Why the hurry?" he sneered, watching her cover herself with the blood red silk that still held the heat of his body. "I know Lindsey isn't better than me."
Buffy glared at him and his ego. "My hurrying doesn't have anything to do with Lindsey."
Angel swallowed harshly, forcing himself to calm down. He wasn't accustomed to losing his temper. He never lost his temper. He was always completely, uncompromisingly calm ... except when Buffy was involved. "This is serious, Buffy," he said. "Lindsey is dangerous. When were you with him and why?"
She wanted to scream in frustration. "I didn't do anything with Lindsey!" she shouted. "We just talked. It was completely harmless."
"Harmless?" he choked in disbelief. "Lindsey McDonald is a lot of things, but harmless isn't one of them. He just talked to you, huh? I bet he did. Don't worry, give Lindsey half a chance and he'll talk himself into your pants."
"Well if he's trying to talk himself into my pants, he sure has a funny way of doing it," she said dryly. "Besides, I already know that everything he said is a lie."
"Indeed," Angel replied coolly. "What did he tell you?"
Buffy laughed mirthlessly. "He told me that you love me," she said bluntly.
Angel blinked. "He told you ... " His voice trailed off and he looked at Buffy, his face utterly blank.
Shouts were audible from the courtyard in front of the hotel and Buffy and Angel knew they were about to be joined by the rest of Angel Investigations. Mutely, Angel picked up Buffy's clothes, clamped one hand around her upper arm and dragged her into Wesley's office, locking the door and closing the blinds behind them.
Angel pulled one of the blinds down far enough to verify that Wesley, Groo, Gunn and Willow were indeed walking into the lobby. He watched them filter in, listening as Willow replayed Lindsey's message and deleted it without placing a call back card on Buffy's desk. He made a mental note to give Willow a raise.
Turning around, Angel faced Buffy. Her anger had faded, leaving her feeling awkward and vulnerable. She was mindlessly rubbing her upper arm where he had grabbed her. Angel stepped closer, relieved when she didn't move away. He stilled her motion by gently grasping her wrist in his fingers. She looked up at him, her eyes wary.
"Did I hurt you?" he asked quietly.
She shook her head. "I'm fine," she replied.
He took a deep breath. "I'm ... sorry," he said, the word sounding unfamiliar on his lips. "I didn't mean to scare you or insult you. I was just worried. Lindsey hates me and he knows that hurting you would be the perfect way for him to get even."
"That's what he told me," she said flatly.
Buffy looked at his hand, still wrapped around her wrist, and slowly covered it with her free hand, pulling it against her chest. She felt, rather than saw, him sigh as he leaned in closer. "Why would hurting me hurt you?" she asked quietly. She looked up at him through her lashes.
He shrugged, shifting uneasily. "I don't know - " he began, then stopped. "I just ... " He took a deep breath and said very seriously, "I would kill him if he ever hurt you, Buffy."
She looked up at him, into the lightless depths of his eyes and knew he spoke the absolute truth. Angel was a product of his upbringing, of a reckless, selfish mother and a cold, controlling father. He hadn't been taught unconditional love or even basic kindness. Nothing in him was predisposed to gentle emotions. But the fact that he lacked the vocabulary for love didn't mean he lacked the ability.
"Lindsey stopped in the office last week," she explained. "The others made it clear he needed to leave, so he did. He caught up with me a few days later on patrol. We talked. We parted ways. I haven't seen him since."
"You weren't supposed to be patrolling last week," Angel said gruffly, pulling her closer.
Buffy went willingly into the circle of his arms. "I was bored," she said unrepentantly, thrilled that he was letting the Lindsey subject drop.
He grinned at her wickedly. "Well maybe I'll have to keep you busy then so you stay out of trouble."
"Really?" Buffy asked with a smile. "And how do you propose to do that?"
She sighed as his lips met her own. Gone was the earlier frantic hunger, but the passion between them was still plenty hot. His arm wrapped around her waist, holding her tightly to him as his other hand sifted through her hair. Buffy's fingers played along the contours of his bare back, tracing the line of his spine, lightly scratching over the shoulder blade that she knew carried his tattoo.
He slipped a hand between their bodies, undoing the buttons of his shirt which shielded her body. He parted the material, his fingertips skimming over her bare flesh. Delighting in the shivers of pleasure that shook her slight frame. As he pulled her to the floor with him, she did not protest. She eagerly parted her legs as he slipped his own thigh between them. His teeth nibbled at her bottom lip as one of his hands undid the front clasp of her bra. He pushed the cups aside, palming her bare breast. With a whine, Buffy arched into his touch, her nipple pebbling against his hand. He broke off the kiss to slip her nipple into his mouth, teasing it with his tongue. Buffy's fingers threaded through his hair, holding him to her as she moved restlessly beneath him.
The doorknob rattled, startling Buffy. Angel lifted his head from her breast only long enough to bellow, "Open that door and I will sell you into slavery in Pylea."
By the time Buffy heard Wesley's muffled, "Yes, sir," Angel was already suckling at her other breast. Before long, he abandoned her breasts, kissing a line of fire down her stomach, stopping long enough to dip his tongue teasingly into her belly button. Buffy giggled and tried to roll over, but Angel held her fast. He kissed along her hipbones, pressing a hard kiss to her tattoo. His lips then ventured low across her belly, his tongue toying with the edge of her thong. Once again, he hooked his thumb under the material and looked up into Buffy's eyes.
She was breathing hard, her lips parted in a pant. She bit down on her bottom lip, nodding almost imperceptibly. Temporary insanity, that's what it had to be. She couldn't really be consenting to have sex with Angel on the floor of Wesley's office. She just couldn't. She let her head fall back, staring blindly up at the ceiling, oddly noting that Wesley needed to paint. Her thoughts didn't linger long on the paint.
Angel grinned against the warm flesh of her abdomen and skimmed her lacy thong down her legs before insinuating himself between her thighs. Buffy moved nervously, looking anywhere but at him. Part of Angel was fiercely happy for the innocence that her actions belied, but he soon set out to make her forget about any modesty or restraint, to forget about everything but her hunger for him.
He gently pressed his lips to the downy hair covering her sex, his tongue tracing the delicate seam between her nether lips. She sucked in her breath, arching against him. Angel chuckled, but once again held her down, lowering his mouth to her again with wet, open-mouth kisses. Using his thumbs, he parted her, licking her with the flat of his tongue, delighting in the feel of her fingernails biting painfully into his shoulders. She smelled unbelievable, hot and wanton, her very essence a siren call to his body.
Buffy was made for him. They were a matched set in every way and her reactions told him that even though her mind might protest, her flesh knew the truth. He knew exactly how to touch her, how hard to suckle, when to delve deeper - not because he knew women, but because he knew her. He sucked her hard, slippery, little nub between his lips as two of his long, talented fingers plumbed her depths experimentally. She was tight, so tight and his body ached painfully to be inside her. But this wasn't for him. Not yet.
Angel had always enjoyed this. Since his first fumbling days as a young teen, he had found power in the ability to bring women pleasure. He loved listening to their breathy moans, the delicious hitches in their breathing. But now, all his other memories dimmed in the reality of Buffy. She was beyond his wildest dreams, a wanton creature thoroughly created for him and him alone. The way she tasted, the way she smelled, it was all so perfect. His fingers delved deeper and he felt the physical evidence of her virginity. He couldn't prevent the growl of absolute male satisfaction that rumbled in his chest. With the evidence of her surprised groans, her continual blushing, he knew no other male had trespassed on his territory.
Filled with masculine pride, he suckled harder, curling his fingers inward, knowingly stroking her g-spot. Buffy let out a breathy whine, her thighs tightening against his sides as her hips rolled. He granted her unspoken plea, humming gently around her slick bud.
Her body corded, her back bowing as she climaxed under his touch in a series of breathy whimpers. He continued to suckle her, riding out her wave of pleasure before finally lifting his mouth from her as she went bonelessly limp. His expression smug, he crawled up her body.
Languidly, she turned her head to him, lazily kissing him. She noted with some mortification that his face was wet - wet with her fluids. She blushed, but kissed him deeper. Angel smiled against her mouth, one hand cupping her cheek.
Though she was horribly embarrassed, she met his gaze before pressing a gentle kiss to his lips. He smiled at her before rolling onto his back, pulling her astride him. She looked down at him, her blond locks fluttering wildly around her bare shoulders. His hand traced along her jaw, down her throat, then followed the line of her collarbones before cupping her breast. The other hand bit into her thigh. Buffy could feel him, still hard, pressing against her though they were separated by his leather pants.
Her tongue snaked out to wet her lips before she looked down and very deliberately found his belt buckle with her hand. With an agonized groan, Angel closed his hand over hers, stilling her movements. His eyes pressed tightly shut, he cursed under his breath. "I can't believe I'm going to say this," he muttered. Opening his eyes, he looked up at Buffy, his lips pursed together in a decidedly unhappy line. "Not tonight," he said. "Not like this."
Buffy looked down at him, confused. She was suddenly painfully aware of her nudity as she visually scanned the room for her clothes.
Angel saw the hurt on her features and mentally cursed himself again. "It's not you, Buffy," he said.
She looked at him, her expression incredulous. "Oh I know," she bit back sarcastically. "It's you, right? I can't believe I'm such an idiot."
He growled, clamping his hands around her hips as she tried to crawl off him. "Damn it, Buffy," he swore. He thrust up against her and despite her pain and anger, she groaned, her eyes fluttering shut at the wicked sensation. "How can you think I don't want you?" he demanded.
Opening her eyes, she met his gaze, more confused than ever. "Then what are you waiting on?" she countered.
He opened his mouth and then clamped it shut. And opened it and clamped it shut again. "Damn it, I'm trying to do the right thing," he snapped.
"So you're Bill Clinton now?" she asked. "What you just did to me wasn't sex and now to keep your conscience clean, we can't actually consummate anything?"
He gave her a withering glare. "Why do you always have to make everything so damned difficult?" he asked. "I don't want it to happen like this. I don't want to fuck you on the floor of Wesley's office." He stopped himself and reconsidered. "Scratch that. I very much do want to fuck you on the floor of Wesley's office, but I'm not going to."
"Why not?" she demanded.
"Because you deserve better," he growled.
Buffy took a moment to appreciate the absolute insanity of their argument and let out a snort that soon snowballed into a full-blown fit of the giggles.
Angel laughed too and then groaned helplessly. "This is going pretty well, don't you think," he said wryly.
When she was recovered, Buffy's hand once again found his belt buckle. Angel narrowed his eyes at her. "I heard what you said," she announced, cutting off his lecture. "But I also know that you're not the only one who gets to play."
Shocked, but excited by her bold declaration, Angel relaxed back on the floor, acquiescing to her demands. There was nothing more sexy than Buffy when she was determined to do something - especially when it was to him. As her hands finally released his belt and carefully slid down his zipper, he hissed.
"Going commando, Angel," Buffy mused. "Color me not shocked."
Angel's reply was cut short by her hand wrapping around his stiff cock. His breath caught in his throat and he arched under her, his fingers biting into her thighs. With her free hand, Buffy worked the tight leather down his hips far enough to free his rigid sex and then went to work exploring him. Buffy may have been a virgin, but she was no innocent. She'd seen her share of naked males in the past and she knew enough to know that Angel was one hell of a specimen. She stroked him, delighting in the strangled noises issuing from his throat.
Her hand was slick with the pre-ejaculate beading from the head of his cock and she used it to ease her movement. She took her time, seeing how he responded to different speeds, different pressures. She stroked him from root to head, watching his nearly pained expression, delighting in the feel of his hips straining under her. Her hands roamed over him, testing his girth, gently cupping his testicles which tightened under her touch. She looked down at his sex and unconsciously licked her lips in a timid gesture. She'd never given a guy that sort of satisfaction. She'd never felt even remotely compelled to take one into her mouth, but she remembered the way Angel's mouth had made her feel and she wanted to experience that power. She wanted to make him as mindless as he made her.
She abandoned her position straddling him, moving to crouch next to him, giving her better access. Angel opened his eyes and was about to protest the loss of her delicious weight on his hips when he realized what she intended to do. She leaned forward, wrapping her lips around the mushroom head, and he couldn't restrain a sharp cry of pleasure. She swirled her tongue around him, taking in his distinctive taste and texture. Ford had always wanted her to do this and she had always balked, finding it dirty and degrading. At the moment, she felt anything but degraded. His taste was musky, vaguely salty and all Angel. She suckled him more insistently, searching for his flavor. He mewled helplessly, one of his large hands finding the small of her back and kneading in time to the pressure of her mouth. Having the ability to make Angel pant her name in breathy little whines filled her with power. He was helpless beneath her, dependent on her for pleasure and she loved it.
She stroked him faster, sucking on the head of his cock as her hand pumped relentlessly. His body went taut and he choked out her name, trying to warn her. Buffy knew what was going to happen. She knew that she could pull away. But she didn't. She sucked him harder, taking him deeper into her throat as he spilled into her waiting mouth. Buffy swallowed him down, sucking his softening flesh clean of every drop.
Her face burned both with satisfaction and embarrassment. What would he think of her? Nice girls weren't supposed to do what she had just done. Tentatively, she sat back on her heels, licking her lips as she turned to face him.
Any worries about him being disappointed with her were quickly assuaged. Angel threaded his fingers through her hair, pulling her close for a deep kiss. Buffy was certain a guy wouldn't want to kiss her after that, but Angel growled in obvious pleasure as he licked at her lips, tasting himself on her. It was long moments before they finally broke apart. When Buffy finally pulled back, she met Angel's eyes. The naked longing there burned through her body. It wasn't a physical need, but something deeper, something infinitely more vulnerable.
She could sense a war within him, a conflict to which she was not privy. But as soon as she recognized it, he shuttered his gaze. She could almost feel him pull away from her emotionally.
He looked at her, his gaze flat and appraising, his manner cold. She had the impression he had just come to some decision. He seemed upset with himself. "They're going to wonder what we're doing in here," Angel said, his eyes on the door.
Buffy blushed slightly but shrugged, trying to ignore how much his change in demeanor bothered her. Great, now he regretted what they had done. "I didn't think you cared one way or another what people thought," she said.
"I keep my own counsel," he replied dryly, his manner brusque, "but regardless of what your father or the social gossips might say, I don't make it a habit of carrying out my affairs in full view."
"Oh," Buffy said softly, feeling infinitely stupid. So she was an affair. She forced herself to smile, not wanting him to see how his cold, businesslike manner stung. For some insane reason, she thought this little interlude meant ... something. How perfectly naïve of her. What did she think? That Angel was going to make a profession of his undying devotion just because she swallowed his cum? Her stomach roiled uneasily. He was obviously upset, most likely with himself.
Turning his attention from her, Angel reached out and grabbed her shirt. He handed it to her abruptly. Buffy was unable to meet his eyes as she clasped the shirt to her bare chest, feeling raw and overexposed. She'd heard of bad morning afters, but this was unbelievable. Pushing herself to her feet, she reached for the rest of her clothes and turned away from him. Angel found his clothes as well and in moments they were both dressed. He reached for her and she held still, feeling awkward and unsure as he casually picked a few pieces of lint off the back of her shirt. She wondered if it was proper etiquette to thank him for letting her come first.
"There's a mirror in the bathroom," Angel said. "You should do something about your hair."
Buffy nodded and was grateful to close the door to the private bathroom. She stared at her reflection under the harsh light. Her hair was a mess and her lips were swollen. There were slight abrasions on her cheeks and chin from his stubble-roughened face. She looked like a two-bit whore. She felt like one too.
She took a deep breath. She couldn't fall apart. Not now. Later, alone in her own room she could curse her stupidity, but for now, she had to get through this without letting Angel know how much he could hurt her - how much he had hurt her. She turned on the water and splashed some on her face before rinsing out her mouth. She couldn't get rid of the taste of him. Mentally pushing away that fact, she patted herself dry with paper towels and did her best to right her hair. It wasn't perfect, but since she'd already been on one patrol tonight, no one would expect her to look impeccable. Not that she ever did look impeccable anymore. Buffy frowned again, looking at her cosmetic-free face and the uninspired ponytail. Oh yeah, she definitely looked like someone Angel would get serious about. She was an idiot. But once again, she forced the thoughts away. She had to be strong for a while longer. Taking a deep breath, she opened the bathroom door and faced Angel.
He nodded to the outer door without a word. Buffy followed his order and pulled open the door. Walking into the area behind the former reception desk, she saw that Wesley and Willow had already left again, but that Faith was now talking to Groo.
"B," Gunn said with a whistle, "what were you doing in there?"
"None of your goddamned business," Angel said, exiting the office on her heels. Gunn clamped his mouth shut, not having realized it was the boss locked in the office with Buffy.
Angel looked at Buffy, his expression cold and hard. He handed her a piece of paper. "Corner of Twelfth and Walnut. Demon named Merle. Find out what he knows about any black market Ferula-Gemina. Beat it out of him if necessary."
Buffy nodded. So they were just going to pretend nothing happened. Fine by her. "You got it," she said.
"Gunn," Angel continued, "get Wesley on the phone. I need him back here. I'm going out of town for a few days and he's in charge."
Seeing that she was dismissed, Buffy turned, heading for the doors. Her eyes caught with Faith's. The brunette smirked knowingly and then mimed wiping the side of her mouth. Buffy blushed, but kept going.
[end chapter 13]
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