NOTE: This fic is not necessarily complete, but there will be no more installments to it. Read at your own risk.
“Who signed off on this?” Olivia asked, striding onto the set, warily eyeing the large, unmade bed situated under the lights.
Buffy stared tightlipped at her father’s personal assistant and lover, wrapping her belt tighter around her robe. Buffy liked Olivia, but at twenty-three, she wasn’t about to be bullied by anyone, not even if they claimed to have her best interest at heart. “I did,” she said, flipping her hair defiantly.
Olivia shot a withering glare at where a makeup artist was kneeling in front of the man sitting on the bed, touching up blemishes. He was wearing only a pair of black leather pants. “You agreed to the photo shoot with that ... animal without consulting anyone? Not me, not your father.”
“I’m an adult,” Buffy said shortly, “I don’t need anyone’s permission.”
Olivia leaned in closer, not wanting to be overheard by the myriad people milling around. In this town, the walls had ears. They’d learn your secrets and then stab you in the back without thinking twice. Right now, Buffy was at the top of her game and she could not afford a publicity debacle of this magnitude. “Think of your career,” Olivia hissed.
“I am thinking of my career,” Buffy bit back. “Just because Daddy wants to see me be little miss goodie two shoes for the rest of time doesn’t mean that’s what I want. I can’t be bubblegum and kittens forever. If I want any sort of longevity, I have to start redefining myself.”
Olivia frowned, but knew Buffy had a point. In this industry, image was everything and the public was getting tired of hers. Buffy was third generation entertainment industry darling. Her grandfather, Miles Summers, had been a huge silent film star. When sound revolutionized the industry, he faded behind the scenes, amassing an enormous fortune producing and directing films. His only daughter, Joyce, had been a modest success as a child star, but had faded from the public view by the time she hit high school. She spent most of her days raising hell and living life to its fullest, with her name and connections procuring her invitations behind the scenes at a lot of the hottest shows in history. Joyce met Rupert “Ripper” Giles in the late seventies. He was the lead singer and guitarist for a famous British rock band. The affair was passionate and volatile, on again off again for years until the birth of their daughter, Buffy, when the relationship affectively ended.
Buffy followed in the family tradition. She had been a child star, a regular staple on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon from the ages of five to fifteen. Her teen years were spent crafting a squeaky clean image as a pop singer. That wholesome image had made her more money than she could ever spend as well as catapulted her into the limelight. But at twenty-three, she was getting tired of being the good little girl. This photo shoot was just one of many ways she intended to make herself over, regardless of what her father thought was best.
“I’m sorry, Olivia,” Buffy said curtly, “but I have a job to do.” With that, she walked toward the bed where the makeup artist was just finishing with her ... co-worker? co-model? The photo shoot was for Rolling Stone, part of a “Beauty and the Beast” layout they had planned pairing the industry’s hottest young bubblegum princesses with rock’s reigning bad boys. Buffy wasn’t exactly looking forward to getting physical with the man sitting on the bed, but she wasn’t about to lose the cover to Britney Spears and Fred Durst.
He looked up as she approached and Buffy felt more than a little apprehension. Angel Roarke was the bassist of the industrial heavy-metal band, Thanatistic Impulse. Buffy wasn’t a fan. In fact, Buffy was scared of their fans. They were big into the disaffected youth. There had been a couple of deaths at their shows, nothing the band could have prevented, but still, it didn’t look good. Plus, their videos and album covers were very up with the blood and gore. Buffy just didn’t get it. They seemed to like wearing black and being really pissed off. Personally, she didn’t think that was too productive.
She smiled tightly, extending her hand. “Hi, nice to meet you.”
Angel took her hand, looking her directly in the eyes and giving her a firm shake. “Likewise,” he said. She watched as he shifted nervously on the bed. Taking a moment, Buffy studied him and realized that underneath the tattoos and leather, he looked rather pale. It took her a moment to realize that he was terrified.
He smiled up at her somewhat sheepishly. “Sorry,” he said quietly, “but I lost a bet, so I have to do this. I’m not really ... into the whole modeling thing.”
She shrugged, finding his confession incredibly endearing. “I do it all the time,” she said. “Don’t worry, I got your back.”
He smiled at her so gratefully that she couldn’t help but smile back. She sat down on the artfully rumpled bed, running her fingers along the black silk sheets. She looked over at Angel, taking note of the intricate Celtic tattoo on his back. Her fingers were hovering over his flesh, almost to make contact when she realized he was trembling. She pulled back.
His face was set in hard lines and he looked, if anything, angry, but his hands were clenched so tight that his knuckles were white and his entire body was shaking lightly. She leaned in closer, whispering. “It’s okay.”
He let out a sharp, shaky laugh. He wrung his hands together. “I just ... “ he said, floundering. “I really hate this kind of thing.”
Buffy looked around the room at the army of photographers, gaffers, grips, makeup artists, staff from Rolling Stone, not to mention her own personal assistant, Anya. It would be enough to make you feel awkward and exposed. Buffy really hadn’t thought much about it. She’d been in front of the camera since before she could walk. It was an old hat. But apparently for all his gruffness, Angel was new to this.
“Okay?” the art director asked, slapping her hands together. “We ready?”
“Sure,” Buffy chirped with faux enthusiasm. Angel remained silent.
Angel was horribly uncomfortable and self-conscious as the art director and her assistants tried to arrange him on the bed. They sprayed him with water from a little mister bottle and he looked about as happy as a wet cat.
The art director frowned. Angel did not look happy or comfortable, much less like he was in the middle of some passionate embrace. “Well, maybe once the two of them are together,” she said with a shrug. “Ms. Summers?”
Without a second thought, Buffy dropped her robe and crawled onto the bed in only a tiny little bra and panty set and a pair of stiletto heels. “Where do you want me?” she asked perfectly nonchalant.
Angel held statue-still as she crawled over his body, the art director situating her straddling his waist. A few makeup artists came over and they misted Buffy with water as well, then the photographer started snapping shots. He’d yell out directions, turn this way, arch that way, hand here, leg there, but obviously, they weren’t getting what they wanted. They called a break and the art director and photographer were speaking in rapid, hushed tones, looking over at the subjects.
Buffy stared down at Angel with a grin. “You holding up okay?” she asked.
He let out a tight breath. “I hate this.”
“Come on,” Buffy goaded. “Performing is performing. You get up in front of thousands of people. How is this any different?”
“Being on stage is ... it’s not like this,” he said. “This is just so ... artificial. There’s no connection, no nothing. It’s all so fake.”
“It’s art,” she said wistfully.
He sighed, obviously unconvinced.
The art director quickly approached. “Okay,” she said, smiling tightly. “We think you should lose the bra.”
Unperturbed, Buffy shook her head. “I don’t do nudity,” she said. “It’s in the contract.”
“I know,” the art director said quickly, “so work with me on this one. What if you take off the bra, but we have him cup your breasts?”
Buffy seemed to consider this for a moment. “No nipples,” she said. “I won’t sign off on a picture where you can see my nipples.”
“Not a problem,” the art director assured her.
With a sigh, Buffy sat up, her pelvis sealing against Angel’s as she unhooked her bra. She held the flimsy scrap of material in front of her chest looking at him expectantly. “Hands?” she prompted.
He stared at her like she was insane, but tentatively held his hands out. She immediately grabbed them, situating them against her chest. She pulled on the bra, removing the material that had been separating their flesh.
Angel stared up at the rafters, trying to ignore the sensation of Buffy’s breasts in his hands as she arranged and rearranged his grip, trying to get “maximum cleavage”.
She suddenly went very still and Angel reluctantly met her gaze. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, blushing madly. While his mind was in turmoil and he would rather be anywhere but here, his body couldn’t ignore the fact that one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen, much less touched, was currently straddling his waist wearing nothing more than a g-string while she situated his hands on her breasts. He had never been more embarrassed.
“It’s okay,” she said lightly. “It happens.” She did her best to ignore the feel of his erection prodding against her intimate parts.
Buffy had hurriedly gotten dressed after the shoot, intent on running anywhere but there. She thought she had been appropriately nonchalant about that whole thing, pretending his erection against her was something of the norm. Even though she hadn’t actually experienced a shoot like that before, it should have been the norm.
But it wasn’t.
She clutched her bag more closely as she headed out into the parking lot, slipping on her sunglasses, lost in the memory. Something about the way his large hands covered her breasts, those deep, velvety brown eyes raking over her and his impressive sex pressing against hers had affected her in a way that she hadn’t expected. She had actually gotten aroused and the more apologetic and sweet he became, the more she wanted to forget she was in a serious relationship.
What was worse was that shoot went successfully after that. Very successfully. The art director raved after the shoot, exclaiming that they looked like they were made for each other. Both of them had mumbled in response and took off running in opposite directions.
Buffy shook her blonde head doubtfully and put more confidence in her step. Angel was a death metal head and nothing like the sort of man she would ever become involved with. First of all, he would certainly send her image tumbling in the wrong direction if she were really involved with him outside of the shoot and secondly, he was sexy in a way that would make her forget who she was and what she was trying to do. No, she was safer with men like Riley, who was handsome and wholesome, certainly not geared to sending the media into an ecstatic frenzy.
“Buffy!” She turned slowly and closed her eyes briefly behind her sunglasses before opening them again in time with a deep breath. Angel was leaning against his sleek black convertible BMW. He still had on the leather pants but had thrown on a button down white shirt that he hadn’t bothered to button. She was having trouble remembering what she had been thinking a moment before.
“Angel…” she started, knowing at some point she would remember the rest of her sentence.
“Look,” Angel said interrupting her. “I know you probably have places to be but I feel really bad about what happened in the shoot. What if I buy you a cup of coffee and attempt to apologize?”
“Really, it’s no big deal,” she stammered, but her temperature was rising. Just because she had been on his lap half naked an hour ago did not mean she was just going to give it up to some raging metal freak. Who the hell did he think he was?
“Hey,” Angel said, holding his hands up. “I’m not trying to get in your pants here. I’m really trying to apologize. I was a basketcase before you climbed in my lap. It was unprofessional.”
Buffy took a deep breath. “I have an appointment,” she said truthfully. “Thanks for the offer for coffee, but really, it’s fine. No worries.”
Angel felt like an absolute ass by the time he reached the private recording studio the band was using for the summer. What had he been thinking? Buffy Summers might have tried to put him at ease while it suited her purposes, but it sure as hell didn’t mean she actually liked him. He felt like a complete idiot. She probably got asked out ten times an hour by men far more suave and sophisticated than himself.
Maybe he was going insane. Sure, he got more than enough propositions from groupies or other social leeches who were attracted to money and power, but he wasn’t in her league. He was a loser from the rough side of Boston who happened to fall into something good. Hell, even his luck wasn’t his doing. All of Thanatistic Impulse’s success was due entirely to Spike’s constant pushing. As much as it annoyed Angel at times, he had to admit that if Spike weren’t so hell bent on fame, they’d still be playing house parties in Southie.
“How’d it go?” Spike asked as Angel entered the control room where Spike and the producers were listening to playback of the tracks recorded late last night. Oz and Lindsey wouldn’t be in for hours yet. Angel wouldn’t be in himself if he hadn’t been forced to get up and go to that photo shoot.
“Asshole,” Angel groused, throwing a wadded up piece of paper at Spike’s head.
Spike batted it away, smirking. “Oh come on, princess,” Spike goaded. “We all know you have the prettiest mug of the bunch. Overhanging brow not withstanding.”
Angel flipped him the bird. “Bite me,” he snapped. “Next time you want publicity for the band, you’re doing it. I don’t get paid enough to put up with this crap.”
Spike rolled his eyes and lit a cigarette as Angel took a seat. “Get off it, Peaches,” he said. “It had to be amusing at least. The bird’s a sweet piece of ass.”
“Never again,” Angel bit out with finality.
It was three in the morning when they finally took a break. Angel poured himself a cup of coffee and walked out to the parking lot to get some peace. The recording studio was on a private estate in the surprisingly secluded Hollywood Hills and the view from the parking lot was amazing. Angel leaned a hip against his car and stared out at the twinkling night sky. How did a jerk like him get to a place like this?
The thought sobered him and Angel remembered he was supposed to call his mother. He cursed and looked at his watch. Taking into account the time difference between L.A. and Ireland, she’d definitely be up. He reached into the glove box and pulled out his phone.
The little chirp when he flipped open the phone alerted him to the fact that there was a voice mail for him. He frowned. Not many people had this number. He pushed the button for messages and held the phone to his ear.
He couldn’t help the smile that spread across his features as he listened to Buffy’s rambling message that oh, he probably thought she was a dork and she hoped he didn’t think she was psycho but she had reconsidered and yes, she would like to go out for coffee some time. With a nervous laugh, she hung up. There was a second message from her leaving her pager and cell phone numbers.
Angel stood nervously outside of Buffy’s apartment two days later and struggled not to turn and leave as he waited for her to open the door. He hadn’t expected to meet with her that soon and he certainly hadn’t thought they would be having coffee in a nonpublic place. He half expected someone else to open the door. It wouldn’t have shocked him at all if she gave him the wrong address and made him look like an ass because he popped a woody during the photo shoot. Not his best moment by a long shot.
He almost turned to leave when the door opened and Buffy stood there, tightening the ponytail in her hair. He didn’t openly stare or give her lithe body an appraising look, but he couldn’t help but notice the low rise jeans and little halter top she wore. Most women simply were not this gorgeous.
“Hi Angel,” she said, smiling nervously. She stepped aside and to let him inside. “Sorry I kept you at the door for a minute. My appointments today ran long, so I’m running a little late.”
“Is this a bad time?” he asked, glancing around her slightly cluttered place. It was in disarray and yet he was willing to bet she had picked up before he arrived. Three pairs of shoes were piled by the front door, a library of fashion magazines were stacked on her living room table and a piece of clothing he was sure was a beige sweater peaked out from beneath the couch cushion. On every available surface there were pictures of smiling friends, some he recognized from the media and a few he didn’t.
“No, I’m free for the afternoon now,” she said, flashing him another smile. She padded barefoot to the kitchen and he followed behind her, intently watching the sway of her hips in those tight jeans. Her coffee pot was sputtering as it brewed and he sat down as she opened the cabinets to retrieve two mugs.
“How do you take your coffee?” she asked, rummaging through another cabinet that was adorably sloppy. “I think I might have one packet of artificial sweetener in here somewhere.”
“Just black, thanks,” he said, biting back a grin.
She smiled shyly at him and very carefully poured the coffee into the mugs, leaving plenty of room in hers for milk and sugar. “I hope you don’t think I’m like some mondo ho,” she said, starting to babble nervously. “I know that these days ‘having coffee’ is some big euphemism for come over and jump your bones and I just wanted you to know that I really did just want to have coffee.” Her face was now flaming bright red. “It’s just that trying to go anywhere public in this town ... “ she sighed deeply. “You know, some photographers would catch us and next thing you know, according to them we’re engaged and we bought matching Chihuahuas and – “
“It’s okay,” he said with a grin, cutting off her stream of chatter. “I understand the need for discretion. Privacy is a pretty elusive commodity in this town.”
She glanced sideways at him with a wry grin. “It really is.”
“So who are they?”
Buffy walked up next to Angel, looking at the photographs that decorated her mantle. “That one is me and Xander and Willow.”
He half turned, looking down at her. It was hard to concentrate with her standing so close. He could smell the welcoming vanilla scent of her perfume, he could see the gentle swell of her breasts thanks to the low-cut shirt. He tried to forget just how perfect his hands had felt pressed against her warm flesh, but he couldn’t. “And they are?” he prompted, forcing his brain away from such thoughts.
“Friends,” Buffy said, more than a little wistfully. “Real friends.”
“As opposed to imaginary friends?” Angel teased.
Buffy smiled up at him, but it was a bit melancholy. “As opposed to the ever present group of actors and actresses that want to cozy up to you in order to try and steal some of your fame,” she said quietly.
Angel looked down at her seriously and for a moment had some insight into how lonely her life must be. When he met her, he bought the packaged version like everyone else. Buffy was young, rich, beautiful. She must be leading a life that the rest of the world could only dream about. But here, in her elegant but modest home, he got a different view. Buffy couldn’t go out in public even for something as harmless as coffee without having to worry about it being splashed all over the front pages of tabloids. She had obviously been burned by relationships in the past, both platonic and romantic.
“It must be difficult for you,” he said, stepping slightly closer. Without even thinking, he brushed a stray lock of golden hair off of her shoulder. The intimacy of the movement made her catch her breath. She took a step back until her should blades were resting against the mantelpiece.
“What?” she asked, startled. He smelled like soap and leather with an intoxicating twist of something else, something indescribable. She breathed him in with every breath and forgot what she had been saying. He was so close, his body was just a hair from brushing against hers. It was torture. All she wanted was for him to touch her.
“You’re the dream, Buffy,” he said, softly. “They all want to be like you, to have what you have. It’s good that you have real friends, people you can trust.”
Her breasts were brushing against his chest now. She pressed her thighs together as a startling lust swirled through her. She focused on his face, beautiful and chiseled. He lowered his head to hers and stopped inches from her lips. One large, elegant hand cupped her cheek.
“Kiss me,” she demanded breathily, snaking her arms around his neck. With a groan, he lowered his mouth to hers, softly at first, slowly, until she was mewling against his seductive mouth. Death metal head or not, even if this was the worst mistake of her life, she didn’t regret giving in to him or pressing her body against his.
He pulled her up so that she was inches off of the floor and she jumped up, wrapping her legs around his waist. Once again his erection prodded against her most private place. She squeezed against him, pulling them more closely together.
“God Buffy,” he panted. He lowered her to her elegant couch and buried his hands in her hair, kissing her more deeply.
“Angel,” she whispered.
Groaning, he tore his lips from hers, leaving them both breathing heavily. “Tell me to leave,” he growled, pressing himself fully between her thighs, “because I want you and if you don’t stop me…”
“Angel,” she whispered again, pulling him closer. Her nipples were so hard, they ached. She was willing to beg him to touch them and to ease the throbbing between her legs. She bit at his lips, pulling his hands from her face to her breasts. “Shut up,” she groaned as he rolled her nipples in his talented fingers.
Angel wanted to protest more, but he wasn’t an idiot. He knew he might very well never get another chance like this and he would never forgive himself if he didn’t take it. He wasn’t in Buffy’s league, he knew that, but he didn’t care. He kissed her harder as one of his hands found the hem of her halter top, searching for a way to get her out of it. After what seemed like hours of fruitless toiling, he broke off the kiss with a frustrated growl, pushing himself back so he could look at her shirt.
Buffy giggled. He was absolutely adorable. Licking her lips, her eyes caught his. “Let me,” she purred. And with nothing more than a flick of her wrist, the shirt was undone.
Angel had thought he couldn’t get any harder than he already was. He had been wrong. Her giggle, the purring, sensual voice ... Buffy Summers was the most seductive creature he had ever seen. Carefully, he clasped the material of her shirt in his fingers and slowly pulled it aside, once again baring her beautiful breasts to his gaze. He groaned. She was so fucking perfect.
Dipping his head, Angel lapped and suckled at her nipples. Buffy’s breathing became more erratic. Her fingers twined through his hair, holding him to her chest as she arched into his touch. Angel nuzzled against her, imbibing her perfect scent. Slowly, he became aware that she was tugging at his shirt and he immediately complied, shrugging out of the offending material. They both groaned as his bare chest sealed against hers and their lips once again met.
Angel’s hand cupped her breast, tweaking her nipple before tracing down her torso. His fingers toyed with the waistband of her jeans, giving her every opportunity to refuse. But she didn’t refuse. So Angel’s talented fingers found the button. She sucked in her breath as he released the button, but kissed him even harder. That was the only encouragement Angel needed as he worked the zipper downward.
Startled, Angel immediately turned toward the voice. He had about half a second to register a very large, very pissed off preppy guy glaring at him before the fist impacted with his face with startling force. Angel toppled off the couch, fighting to get his bearings as he heard: “You want to tell me what the fuck you think you’re doing with my girlfriend?”
Angel pulled himself to his feet and stepped predatorily forward. Buffy was struggling with her shirt and flushing a violently bright red. Instead of attacking the idiot who hit him, Angel moved smoothly in behind her and carefully arranged her halter, resealing it to her delectable body.
“I think you’ve touched her enough, freak,” Riley ground out, stepping forward.
“Riley,” she sputtered, losing every bit of the suave demeanor that previously seemed to ooze effortlessly out of her. She stopped his approach by placing her hands on his broad chest. He glared down at her angrily.
Angel fought between fury with the intruder boyfriend and anger with Buffy. He cursed himself bitterly as he reached for his shirt. He didn’t read tabloids but surely someone as stunningly beautiful and talented as Buffy Summers had a guy. Obviously, he was too fucking thick to realize she just wanted a tumble before her boyfriend came home. Angel wasn’t the kind of guy you dated in public. He was the kind you fucked on the sly and then sent away before the respectable guy came back. Buffy’s only mistake was misjudging time.
Angel said nothing as he slipped into his shirt and headed for the door. He was hoping he could make it before he lost his temper and crunched the pretty boy’s face in.
“You think you’re just walking out of here?” Riley demanded, following him. He grabbed Angel’s arm and pulled him back. “After you groped my girl, you think I’m just going to stand back and let you leave?”
With a snarl, Angel spun around and clamped a hand around the boyfriend’s neck, slamming him against the wall. Two framed pictures swung dangerously on their nails, threatening to topple to the floor.
“Don’t tempt me, boy,” Angel growled, tightening his grip. He slowly uncurled the fist he didn’t realize he’d clenched with his other hand. Without even looking at Buffy, he released Riley and strolled out of the apartment, feeling more hurt than he expected he would. He got into the elevator and rode down the first floor, more disgusted with himself by the second. Did he really think he had a chance? Did he really think he was more than a walking cock to her?
“Fuck,” he mumbled, sliding into the seat of his car. For a second there, nestled between her pretty little thighs, listening to her breathy little moans, he actually thought that she cared for him, that what she felt was genuine attraction. He started his car and roared out of the parking lot as quickly as he could, cursing the whole way home.
Riley Finn. That’s what the boyfriend’s name was and he seemed to be every bit as much the prissy bitch Boy Scout as he had first appeared.
Angel didn’t want to know his name. He didn’t want to know anything about him – or Buffy. But it seemed that he couldn’t escape them. Everywhere he went, there they were on the cover of a magazine or on an entertainment news show or the topic of conversation at the table next to him in a restaurant. Buffy Summers and Riley Finn were Hollywood’s golden couple. Finn was every bit as squeaky clean as Buffy appeared. He was a rising star with the Lakers and just reeked of wholesome midwestern values.
Riley Finn was respectable, dependable, solid and decent. He was everything that Angel wasn’t. Or at least he was everything that Angel didn’t appear to be.
Angel knew people wrote him off. He knew they took one look at him and presumed to know everything about him. Obviously, given how he made his money, he had to be some druggie, burn-out, high school drop-out, delinquent, moron, groupie magnet who didn’t have a thing going for him except for the fact that his fans had no taste. No one bothered to look beneath the surface. Not even Buffy Summers.
Angel grimaced at the thought. Why couldn’t he get her out of his head? She’d been like all the others. Sure, she wasn’t as forgettable as your average groupie, but she hadn’t wanted anything more from him than any of them did. She wanted to have a good time in bed and get gone. She hadn’t asked him about himself or exhibited any particular interest in his life. After the fiasco in her apartment, she hadn’t even bothered to call him. She was probably too busy trying to smooth things over with Dudley Do-Right. Angel should have beaten the shit out of him. It would have done nothing but reinforce the negative stereotypes people already had of him, but at least he would feel better.
Then, maybe he could get Buffy Summers out of his head. Of course, Angel knew he was lying to himself. He couldn’t stop thinking about her, about everything about her, about how damn charming she had been. He liked her, even after the way everything had turned out. And he hated himself for that. He hated the fact that he was being a putz. And he hated the fact that he was actually looking forward to the party next week where their picture on the cover of Rolling Stone would be unveiled.
Angel had received the phone call yesterday. He and Buffy had the cover.
Buffy had been ready to leave for the party an hour and a half before she finally left her apartment. She was so nervous about seeing Angel again that she nearly threw up in the shower. Besides the fact that Riley was pissed off at her because she didn’t invite him to come along, her father had called her going apeshit about the dress she wore on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Her new sexy image was going well with her fans, but between Olivia, Riley and Giles, this redefinition of her image was going to be harder than she thought.
She perched on the edge of her sofa, trying not to wrinkle her dress and looked down at the Cosmo for a moment. She thought it was sexy. What was wrong with a little cleavage anyway? Her father had the nerve to say the designer forgot to put the top on her dress. “It’s Versace, Daddy,” she had said, as if that explained everything.
An hour later when she arrived at the Rolling Stone party, she altered her definition of sexy. Just inside the door was an almost life size print of the cover. She sucked in a breath and her jaw dropped for just a moment before she recovered. She was all but nude straddling Angel’s waist as if she were in mid-grind against the erection she remembered quite clearly. Something about the way her breasts fit into his hands made her stomach flip flop. The art director had been right. They did look perfect together. Her heart ached at the realization.
The right thing to do would have been to talk to Angel, to let him know the truth about what happened after the horrible altercation in her apartment. Yes, she had a boyfriend, but she had never cheated on Riley before – had never really even been tempted.
She hadn’t intended to get physical with Angel. Oh hell, the truth was when she invited him over for coffee, she didn’t have a clue what she wanted from Angel. He was sweet and he had depth. But Buffy couldn’t lie to herself. She never had any intention of simply being friends with Angel. Angel wasn’t the kind of guy you could just be friends with. Angel was the kind of guy you ended up naked on the couch with.
But at the same time, it wasn’t just physical. Being with Angel, talking to him, kissing him, just looking at him felt ... right. It felt so natural and so damn pleasurable, intoxicating almost. Buffy knew she screwed it up. She knew Angel had to be pissed at her. She knew she should feel awful about betraying Riley, but she didn’t.
“This way,” Anya said, steering Buffy to a small room away from the milling photographers and journalists.
Buffy let her personal assistant guide her into the room, no doubt to be professionally prepped before officially accepting the “honor”. Buffy really wasn’t sure she should be honored by this whole event. It seemed rather silly that a picture of her in a g-string should be something worthy of this level of notability.
The room was quiet. The Rolling Stone PR people had yet to arrive. “Your lipstick is smudged,” Anya said in a detached manner. “Let me go find some tissue.”
Anya left and Buffy let out a taut sigh. She swiveled and caught sight of something out of the corner of her eye. Turning full around, she was shocked to see Angel leaning against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest and wearing a decidedly surly expression. He looked unhappy, but he also looked delicious, dressed in a pair of black leather pants and a black silk shirt.
“Angel,” she said nervously. “I didn’t see you there.”
“Buffy,” he said, nearly grunting her name. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t hide the heat in his eyes, both of anger and of lust, but the rest of his body language was unapproachable.
“I wanted to apologize,” she started quietly, “for what happened-“
“Don’t worry about it,” he said easily, shrugging. He crossed the room to give them more distance from each other. “We don’t have to make it into a big deal. It happened.”
“But it was a big deal…to me,” she pressed. “I should have told you about Riley. I should have…done something,” she said faltering.
“But your basketball boyfriend just slipped your mind?” he snarled, surprising them both. He crossed his arms over his chest and erased the look of surprise from his face. Who cares if she knew she hurt him? He was sure she did it all the time.
“You make me sound callous,” she said.
“Oh, and you’re not,” he mocked. “You’ve never cheated on your boyfriend before. I was different.”
She looked at him, her lips slightly pursed, hurt reflecting in her eyes. “You are – were,” she hastily amended.
Angel opened his mouth for what would have no doubt been a scathing reply, but he was cut short as the door opened and the Rolling Stone PR team entered. A few of the people glanced at Buffy and Angel, their eyebrows raised before they conspicuously tried to avoid looking at the couple. The couple who weren’t supposed to know each other. The couple who looked to be sharing a very private moment.
Leaning in closer, Angel whispered, “I’ll play nice for this stupid press conference, but I warn you now it’s just an act. I don’t want anything to do with you.” He was so mad that it sounded convincing even if he knew it was a lie. Pissed or not, Angel wanted nothing more than to chase off the interlopers and pick up with Buffy where they left off.
Angel plastered his face with his best bored expression, but the truth was, he couldn’t believe how many people showed up for this stupid photo op. Spike would kill for this level of press coverage. TI couldn’t buy media interest like this. Angel’s palms started to sweat. He hated crap like this.
Though he looked outwardly composed to everyone else, Buffy knew that Angel was on the verge of some sort of panic attack. Playing up to the photographers, Buffy smiled brightly, pushing herself against Angel’s side. It was a friendly gesture, two colleagues doing their parts to promote their efforts. Buffy’s hand rested at the small of Angel’s back, and with her thumb, she traced small circles. Little by little, she felt him relax. When it came time to take questions, Buffy took the lead. Her manner with the reporters was flirtatious and witty. She guided Angel, giving him a few opportunities to make the perfect comment so he appeared reserved rather than scared.
Immediately following the photo op, Buffy and Angel followed the crowd out of the room. Buffy threaded her arm through his and pretended it was he who was escorting her, rather than the other way around. Chichi, the newest and most swanky nightclub in Hollywood, was starting to fill with people. Angel stiffened as he saw that the Rolling Stone photographers were far from finishing snapping pics.
“It’s okay,” she whispered as they were escorted toward a plush little corner of the club. “We’re almost done.”
He plastered on a fake smile and kissed her cheek. “You are a great actress, Buffy,” he crooned. “You had them all convinced that you’re some innocent little kitten. Such talent you have.”
“I’m not some monster,” she purred back, keeping a smile on her face as well.
“No, you’re too beautiful to be a monster,” he whispered. He tucked her more closely at his side and inhaled her scent. “You’re the antichrist.”
Casually Buffy glanced over her shoulder, making sure that no one was watching. Smirking, she trailed her fingertips lightly over his groin. “Is that why you’re half-hard right now thinking about how bad I am?”
He groaned, grabbing her hand and forcing it away. “Devil,” he muttered under his breath, trying to sound far more irritated than he actually was.
Buffy merely rolled her eyes and guided him to large booth in the corner already packed with people.
Buffy smiled as she saw Faith waving. Faith had been her friend for years, one of the few people in the business that Buffy did consider a true friend. As children they had worked together on a youth-oriented variety show. Both of them had gone on to have successful careers, albeit very divergent. Faith was the bad girl. Her videos could only be shown after ten on MTV and her reputation was absolutely scandalous. Of course, Buffy knew the truth. She and Faith were actually very similar, they just had very different media spins. Faith was no more a whore than Buffy was a saint, but people felt better if they could categorize you in only one way.
Buffy pulled Angel into the booth, making introductions. There was Faith; her boytoy of the moment, some model named Kristof whose real name was probably Bill; Kendra; Cordelia; Xander and Anya; and Willow. Angel smiled politely. With the exception of Kendra, Kristof and Cordelia, he was already familiar with everyone else at the table even if he hadn’t been formally introduced.
The evening wore on and the cocktails flowed. Angel wanted to maintain his animosity at Buffy. He wanted to be pissed at her for using him. But the truth was with her looking as absolutely delicious as she did, pressed against his side with her hand occasionally brushing against his thigh, all he could think about was how much he wanted to be alone with her.
Being alone with her didn’t seem to be in the cards. As much as he really disliked social situations, he found Faith and Willow, in particular fun and charming. Buffy chatted with them and Xander as if they could see right down to her soul and she had nothing to hide. She was lighthearted and thoughtful, making sure she kept him in the conversation and explaining the things that needed back story.
He was doubly confused as the evening wore on. Buffy showed all of the traits he had originally thought she had and none of the evil bitch he had been trying to drum up in his imagination for the past few weeks. She was utterly delightful and it just pissed him off more.
“Gods, I am starving,” Buffy groaned after two hours of cocktails and conversation. “I didn’t have time to eat dinner before the shoot. Do you think they have a kitchen here?”
“Not here, B,” Faith answered readily. “They have cherries and oranges and limes up at the bar. Tell you what, I’ll flash him and you sneak in and steal some fruit.”
“I should go and help hold up your shirt,” Xander offered helpfully, waggling his eyebrows at her. Faith snorted indelicately and Buffy laughed. Xander would forever be a twelve year old. The fact that Kristof was sitting there meant absolutely nothing to him.
“There’s a restaurant around the corner,” Angel said just loud enough for her to hear. “It’s a hole in the wall, but they have the best pizza.”
“Sold,” she said, scooting out.
Everyone was invited to come along, but suddenly everyone had plans, drifting off in separate directions. Buffy thought it was strange but wasn’t at all disappointed. Her whole body seemed to tingle from being so close to Angel. She was sure having dinner with him was going to be a bad idea. She was still shocked when he informed her that she wasn’t going by herself, that he would escort her to the restaurant.
She rolled her eyes at her own reflection. Angel was really trying to be pissed off over the make out session gone bad, while she was just trying to understand it. She had never felt anything like she felt with Angel. Since then her relationship with Riley had started to tumble even more than it already had been. Buffy knew she should feel bad about that. Really, she should. But looking at Angel, she couldn't seem to make herself care.
The restaurant was small, obviously family owned. A gray-haired old woman with laughing eyes smiled at Angel as they entered, shooing him toward his favorite table.
"Looks like you have a fan," Buffy teased.
"I'm a good tipper," Angel replied deadpan.
Rolling her eyes, Buffy took a seat. Their order was taken quickly and too soon, there was nothing left to do but look at each other. Angel did his level best to stare at the plastic philodendron on the wall, but it wasn’t much of a cover.
Buffy smiled at him. "So, you want to tell me why you're here having pizza with the antichrist?" she asked lightly.
Angel stared at her, his lips pursed together tightly. It was a damn good question. "Maybe I'm just a masochist," he replied.
Buffy took a deep breath. She wasn't much of a gambler, but for now, she was laying all her cards on the table. "Or maybe you like me," she offered. "Just a little."
Frowning, Angel held his hand up and indicated a space of about an inch between his thumb and index finger. "A little," he conceded.
By the time dinner had ended, Angel and Buffy had worked into a great conversation. He was surprised that once again she didn’t seem callous or plastic at all. She was genuinely a sweet person who seemed to share most of his political viewpoints, as well as a few of his hobbies. She was a dream come true – a wet dream come true.
He walked her back to her car and couldn’t resist leaning in and kissing her lightly, but it turned into something more than he intended. He pulled away and scowled at her, backing off. They had avoided the topic of her boyfriend all through dinner and Angel nearly had allowed himself to forget Riley Finn existed. Nearly.
“Angel,” she said, struggling to collect her thoughts, “I wasn’t lying to you before. I’ve never cheated on Riley before except with you. It never occurred to me to look at someone else. He’s perfect for my image and he’s a great guy and you…”
“And I’m the worst possible thing that could happen to your career,” he finished for her. “I get it.”
“Exactly,” she whispered, looking at him from under her lashes. “Come home with me.”
Angel started to open his mouth to make excuses to leave and take a very cold shower when her words made it to his heated brain. He looked down at her with a shocked expression. “What?”
“I know you like me a little,” she teased, lightly tracing her fingers over the rigid outline of his cock through his leather pants. She pressed her lips against his again and he growled into her mouth as he deepened the kiss and threaded his fingers through her hair.
“I’m not getting punched in the face again without fighting back,” he said in a low, predatory voice. “You come home with me.”
“Okay,” she chirped and twirled around to climb into her car. He stared blankly at her car for a second before making his way to his. He couldn’t believe that worked. He couldn’t believe he was taking Buffy Summers home to have sex with her. The Buffy Summers. The golden pop star whose career was made entirely made up of bubblegum and kittens was going to climb into bed with someone like him. It was ridiculous.
And once again the definition of how hard he could possibly be was redefined.
The entire thirty minute drive back to his apartment, Angel was worrying about what to say, how to act, what to do. It turned out all of his concern was for naught. He parked his car in the drive and opened Buffy's door for her as soon as she stopped. And then she was in his arms. Angel wasn't exactly sure how she had gotten there. He had his seduction all worked out. But alas, the planning was blown and it was seriously looking like he was about to be as well.
They managed to make it inside the front door before they collapsed onto the floor. Angel had never been so happy he lived alone. He'd declined the offer to room with the other guys because he hated their parties. He liked peace and quiet - and the ability to fuck Buffy Summers in the front entryway without fear of being interrupted.
The seductive glance Buffy gave him as she unbuttoned and unzipped his leather pants was enough to make him groan out loud with the feeling of her hand closing around his throbbing hot cock made him hiss with pleasure. Gods, he wanted her. As she bent down to take him into her hot little mouth, he gathered her dress with his fingertips, inching it up until he could see her golden skin. He arched against her lips, immersed in pleasure. Taking the cue, she sat up and tossed the designer garment aside.
Angel pulled her to his lips and kissed her thoroughly, reaching between her thighs to caress her sex through her lace panties. She moaned adorably against his mouth, moving her hips with his probing fingers. He knew a woman like Buffy Summers deserved better than the hallway floor. He realized that being half dressed and groaning like a couple of beasts on the floor was probably not how she was used to being treated. He also knew he didn’t care.
With a growl he flipped them over, placing his hand behind her head to keep it from thumping on the floor with her landing. With little preamble, he pushed her panties to the side and slid into her decadently wet heat. She was so unbelievably tight around him and felt so perfect, it was all he could do not to spill into her.
She moaned his name, her perfectly manicured little fingernails biting into his shoulders as she arched up against him. She had never been like this before, her body on fire, overwhelmed with her need for him. She kissed him ferociously, biting at his lips and he returned the favor.
They strained against each other, both fighting for climax. Buffy reached the peak first, crying out his name, her body clenching around his. Angel groaned in the most exquisitely pained pleasure as her release set off his own and his hips slammed against hers twice more before he finally spilled inside her.
Long moments later they were still lying on the floor. Well, Buffy was laying on the floor. Angel was still crouched over her, doing his best to spare her his weight. Angel lifted his head and looked down into her sated features. He gave her one last, lingering kiss before he moved onto his side. As soon as he did, something became readily apparent.
“We didn’t use anything,” Buffy said.
“I was just thinking that,” Angel replied.
The silence hung in the air for a moment. Then another.
“I’m on the Pill,” Buffy said awkwardly. “I mean, a kid is so not in the plans right now.”
Angel nodded. Buffy looked at him. Buffy kept looking at him. “I’m clean,” he said. “Look, I know I’m in a death metal band, but I’m not a tomcat. I’m discerning. And careful.”
Buffy sighed in relief, but the awkwardness set in. “Where’s the bathroom?” she asked.
Rising to his feet, Angel helped her up and walked her through the house to the master suite. He showed her the bathroom and left her alone.
While she showered, he prowled around the house looking for something to do while he waited for her to come out. What he did was what he was the best at – brooding. The truth was that he’d never met a woman like Buffy before. She was intelligent, elegant, fun and charming in the most surprising way. She was overly independent, an all around smartass and had the most beautiful peaches and cream body he had ever seen.
He hated that bit of awkwardness that always came after the most passionate sex as if fate just had to balance the scales. For two cents, he’d be in the shower with her licking little droplets of water from her pretty, rosy nipples. But no, instead he was feeling like a stranger in his own house. It was unacceptable because just the thought of her infuriated him, heated him up, made everything fuzzy.
When she stepped out of the bathroom, smoothing down her wrinkled dress, he was waiting for her. Her face was clean of any trace of cosmetics, her hair was wet and her dress was irreparably in disarray. She was the most gorgeous thing he had ever seen.
He crossed his arms over his broad chest and looked her over for almost a full minute before she raised an arched brow in askance.
“I want you to break up with that do-gooder boy scout of yours,” he demanded, piercing her with his dark eyes. “I’m not going to compete with him.”
“I won’t date you publicly, Angel,” she said, just as determinedly. “I made that clear.”
“I’ll hide in the godamn shadows then,” he growled. “What I won’t do is sit around and wonder if you’re with him.”
“And what makes you think you can boss me around?” she said indignantly with a toss of her damp, blonde hair. “If you think I’m going into this relationship being the submissive little woman, you’ve got a lot of other thoughts to get through that thick scull of yours.”
“This relationship?” he asked. Now he was the one to arch a brow. And smile. He had her. He felt like shouting with joy.
“And I’m busy,” she said, pretending to have not heard his question. “I won’t be able to spend every waking minute with you.”
“I’m busy too,” he said, grinning crookedly at her.
She turned to the mirror in his bedroom and examined her face, checking for invisible flaws, but he could see the light in her eyes. She had done some thinking in the shower too. He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her, nuzzling her neck.
“I really like you,” he said, honestly, meeting her eyes in the mirror.
“I like you too,” she admitted, blushing.
“Break up with him, alright?” he asked, smoothing his hands over her belly and pressing himself against her as he worked his hands over more of her body.
“Alright,” she said, turning in his arms.