Subtlety >> Bruja

C/A spice: Mild/Medium

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She checked her reflection in the glass. She’d had her dark hair done late that afternoon, just in time for the play tonight. She’d also had her nails done. The red dress - to be worn before and after the performance - was new as well... The dress and nail appointments were unexpected bonuses from Angel that morning. Even though vampires have dead hearts, they kind of understand the things a woman needs. Who knew?

"Doesn’t look like your guy’s going to make it."

Irritably, Cordelia turned to face her speaker.

Jo Dead Hamilton peered through the window and folded her arms across her breast...

"He’s not my guy." Cordelia corrected sharply. If Angel’s anybody’s guy, he’s Buffy’s. And obviously you’ve got me confused with Watch-and-Wait-Frantically-Girl, looking out the window hoping for a guy to show up. Nope. Gave that up sitting by the phone on Friday nights."

Jo Dead shot her an apologetic look. "Sorry. Didn’t mean to scrape a nerve there."

"...I was hoping to see my boss. That's not like pathetic guy-waiting. He promised he would be here if he could get away."

* * *

Your father, your family, betrayed you. Let me take care of you...

Your mother never cared about you, either. She pretended to because it helped her to preserve her image in front of the other women. She pretended to be your family.

In the darkness of her mind, Cordelia was convinced that what the voice told her was true. Her parents had concerned themselves with their own wants and needs. Cordelia had only been an accessory to them. And in that moment, all the pain and anger she’d carefully locked away inside herself spilled loose inside her heart and her mind.

For one soul-searing moment, Cordelia felt totally alone in the world...

Everyone should have a family, Cordelia. Join me and we will make those people who have pretended to be your family hurt for the way they have treated you... You’ve never belonged to anyone the way you could belong to me Come to me. Let me show you the truth. You never need to be alone again.

Cordelia reached for the offered hand. It was horrible to be alone. She knew what. She’d spent her life primarily alone despite all the hangers-on she’d had at Sunnydale High. In the end she’d had to turn to Buffy and her friends for company. And that had let into Xander’s arms for a while. Maybe that hadn’s been meant to be, but for a time it was true. Since she’d been in Los Angeles, there hadn’t been anyone who care about her.

No one, the voice agreed, reading her thoughts.

No one, Cordelia thought, losing herself to the painful loneliness, no one - "Except Angel," she said aloud. She stared straight into the woman’s face. "Angel has been there for me since day one."

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