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SERIES: My Destiny Series, Installment 7
RATING: Rated PG-13 for language.
SUMMARY: The seventh installment of the My Destiny Universe. Doyle attempts to makeup for his unfortunate faux pas.
Cordelia sprinted up the stairs, unwilling to take the chance that Bertha might leave her hanging around outside Angel's apartment. Legs, she thought. That's all I am. Not, hi Cordelia, how are you feeling today? Instead, she got, "hi Legs". A body. That's all she was. That's all she ever was.
Cordelia felt tears well up in her eyes.
"Why can't anyone love me the way Angel loves Buffy? What's wrong with me? I'm cute; I have a great personality. I don't run around killing things that go bump in the night. I'm popular girl. Why does everyone keep forgetting that."
Cordelia looked over her shoulder as she reached the top of the stairwell. No one had bothered to follow her. She supposed that should make her happy, but it didn't. She wasn't even worth the trouble. Cordelia held in a sob as she opened the door and walked to the entrance of her apartment.
Cordelia sucked in a breath. She hadn't noticed Doyle standing by Bertha. She kept her face slightly averted from him. In her experience, tears were a sign of weakness. A sign of vulnerability. She'd learned that from an early age.
When she was little, her mother had entered her in beauty pageants. The ones where little girls got dressed up in evening gowns and make-up and looked at least thirty-five. She'd always done well in those pageants until it came to the talent competition. Her mother insisted that she sing Stardust by Cab Calloway. She adamantly insisted that the family had class. For some reason, she thought if Cordelia sang that particular song, everyone else would believe they did too. What her mother didn't seem to understand was that Cordelia couldn't sing. She tried her hardest. She'd put on an appropriately sad smile and do a sophisticated little dance but it didn't matter. She still couldn't sing. The judges had marked her last and her mother had been furious. She had told Cordelia that she was a face and nothing more. Cordelia remembered crying, only to have her mother cut that off quickly. "Keep crying like that and you'll ruin the only asset you've got. Believe me, you're going to need it. The good Lord knows that you'll never get by on smarts," she'd said. That was the last time Cordelia had cried, until tonight. Part of her knew that Doyle didn't mean anything by it, but it hurt nonetheless.
"Hi," she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Doyle cleared his throat, unsure of how to approach her. This wasn't the time for friendly banter. This was serious. As he watched her turn her face away, he realized that perhaps it was more serious than he had initially anticipated.
She stood silent for a moment. He'd never actually used her name
before. It had always been Toots or Legs or some other equally obnoxious
nickname. Now, of all times, he pulled this. She didn't really
want to answer him. She wanted to stay angry. It was safer
if she could be angry. It wouldn't hurt as much. It would be
his fault. He would be a jerk and that's
all that would matter. Just like Xander.
"Oh, so now I'm Cordelia, huh? Well let me tell you something mister. You're rude and obnoxious. You don't value my opinion. I'm not some stupid bimbo. I know I'm a California girl, but I can think. I'll have you know that this is my natural hair color."
Yup, Doyle thought, this is definitely more serious than I thought it was. She actually assumed that he thought she was stupid. Man, have you fucked this up. Doyle looked at her for a moment, attempting to figure out the best way to approach the situation.
"Cordelia-" As Doyle stepped closer to her, she turned her face further away from him. "No, please don't turn away from me. I just want to apologize." Doyle placed a trembling hand on her shoulder. Shit, he thought. He hadn't felt this unsure of himself in a long time. Centuries of living and he was acting like an adolescent boy.
Cordelia felt her body stiffen at his touch. It was the first time that he had touched her. She'd known him for a year and they'd never so much as brushed shoulders. She wanted to revel in his touch but she was afraid. This is all a trick, she thought. They suck you in so they can drag you down. Even Xander was guilty of that.
"Please Doyle, please just go." Her voice held a plea for understanding. She prayed that he would leave this be; that he would let her climb into her apartment and shut the door. It was easier to be numb than to feel. Cordelia felt a tear slip down one cheek. Much to her dismay, she felt Doyle's fingertip trace the path the tear had taken until he caught it as it trembled at her jaw line. She looked up at him through wet, spiky lashes.
He examined the tear that clung to his fingertip. He had caused this. There was no one else to blame. The dark, clutching feeling of shame welled up from the pit of his stomach. He stared at the tear for a moment longer before shifting his gaze to meet hers. He looked into her eyes and was lost.
She braced herself, waiting for the laughter. She had cried. He had called her a silly name and she had cried. There was no excuse for such behavior, she thought. Cordelia Chase cry? Just imagine what mom would say, she thought.
"Cordelia," Doyle started again, "I think you're the only woman I've ever met who actually looks more beautiful when she cries." Doyle stared at her. It was as if the tears had temporarily melted her icy facade to reveal the vulnerable, sensitive woman underneath. He was finally seeing the real Cordelia, and she was beautiful.
Cordelia stared at him in a stunned silence. He meant it. No
jokes; no laughs. He wasn't trying to be funny. He was speaking
from his heart. Cordelia blushed. She watched as he inched
closer. He moved with the fluidity of a large cat. She'd never
allowed herself to notice that before. He stopped mere inches from
her. She looked up into his sage green eyes and forgot
to breathe. He was going to kiss her. She could feel it.
Doyle stared into her eyes for a moment. He couldn't believe he was doing this. He searched her eyes for any sign of resistance. He didn't sense any. Doyle's eyes dropped to her lips. They were still trembling. He watched as they parted ever so slightly. She was inviting him in.
Cordelia shivered as Doyle ran his hands up the length of her arms
and over her shoulders. His hands cupped her face gently. This
time as he met her eyes, he could see a distant fire burning within them.
He felt himself throb in response. No, he thought, this was not the
time. He leaned forward and felt her hair licking at his face.
He smiled and inhaled the scent of her
fragrant tresses. He pulled her closer to him.
Cordelia's knees buckled at she felt his desire pressing into her side. Where is this coming from, she wondered. All there had ever been between them was this weird sort of comedic bantering. Well, maybe it was flirtation but that was all, just a little mild flirting. Cordelia's breath caught as one of his hands dropped to her waist and he pulled her even closer to him. THIS was more than a mild flirtation. She looked into his eyes and saw how much he wanted her. This was much more.
Doyle leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers. His tongue paused for a moment as it licked at her lip gloss before venturing into the depths of her mouth. She tasted of cinnamon. As his tongue crossed the barrier of her lips, he felt her tongue brush against his for a fleeting moment and then it was gone. He went slowly, exploring every inch of her mouth. He noticed the sharp intake of her breath as he ran his tongue over the smooth surface of her teeth. She's been hanging out with Angel too long, he thought. He pulled back and began to worry the surface of her lips with his teeth. After each tiny nip, he lavished her lip with a long slow stroke of his tongue.
Her tongue snaked out of her mouth in desperate search of his. She longed to draw it back to the warm haven of her mouth where it belonged. As he felt her tongue brush against his, Doyle pulled away. If he didn't stop now, he wouldn't. He didn't want a quickie on the landing in front of her apartment. Cordelia deserved more. He deserved more.
He looked at Cordelia. Her eyes were still pressed closed as she recovered from the kiss. Her chest heaved as she panted with the exertion of their passion. He breathed deeply, attempting to slow his own breathing. He pulled her close and whispered in her ear, "I'm sorry".
~~*~~ Fin ~~*~~