Setting the New Boundaries

Cordelia let herself into Giles' flat. He'd given her the key after the third time they'd been together. She usually had instructions before she came over. Often he'd have her strip and put the leather cuffs on, wait for him on the bed or by the mirror. When she was particularly hungry, or he was being stern, she'd have to pick a punishment toy to keep by her. She'd run them over her naked skin, anticipating. Sometimes it would be hours before he could get away. There were times when he'd find her curled up at the foot of his bed asleep, naked and hugging a flogger to her breasts.

Not today.

She wanted to check on him. It had been close to a week since his dismissal, and the Council still hadn't sent a suitable replacement. Buffy was staying home a lot, taking advantage to spend more time with her mom. Faith was being impossible. She didn't believe that she needed a Watcher anyway, so she wasn't about to co-operate with anything Giles suggested.

That false Watcher had been enough of a try for Faith. She'd fooled Faith, fooled them all. Giles had conceded that if it hadn't been for Angel, the woman would have succeeded. Willow had gotten hurt, and Giles had gotten a vicious crack on the head. Xander and Faith had gone fighting solo and tried to ambush Angel. It had been an ugly mess.

Knowing that about Xander and Faith had made Cordy's guts run cold. She'd known at the time what it was. No matter what she did for him, he was still haunted by Buffy. He was jealous of Angel, always would be. Cordelia wasn't a complete idiot. She knew that if just once, Buffy had reached for Xander when Angel had changed, he'd have dropped Cordy like a bad habit. It was like she was steeling herself against it. Waiting for the axe to fall. Never giving too much of herself away. Never saying 'I love you.'

Which is what made the whole thing with Willow such a shock. She had no armor against it. She never thought, never would have believed Willow would have done that. Not to Oz anyway, leave Cordy out of it. She could see Willow wanting to get a bit of her own back after all the bitchiness of the years. But Oz? Oz was a much nicer person than Cordy was. He'd never done anything to hurt Will, not ever. She knew that for a fact, she'd known him longer than any of them.

The worst part was knowing that she was the biggest sort of fool. Cordy had known the risk all along and still let it slap her in the face. She'd trusted all of them, believed in them. She knew better, should have known, she never was going to fit in. She'd never be one of them.

Xander had come to the hospital, guilt all over his face. She couldn't talk to him, couldn't look at him. It hurt too much. More than anything she'd ever suffered physically. More than anything she'd ever known. And she'd only had herself to blame.

The doctor tried to stress to her how bad the injury had been. She'd almost died. Her parents hadn't wanted to believe it and she hadn't cared. The only thing that struck in her mind is how cold she'd gotten while she was bleeding there.

Giles had called her. He'd been the only one. He'd come to see her. He'd brought grapes, like he had for Buffy. Then he'd discovered why she hadn't brought anything to Buffy before. She hadn't known you took things to anyone in the hospital. Nobody had ever done that for her, not before and not now. There were no flowers (apart from Xander's, that were left up front because she couldn't bear to see them), no cards. It had practically taken an act of Congress to get her mom to bring her a hairbrush and a change of clothes. The nurse told her that 'that kind gentleman' asked if she'd had many visitors and of course the nurses were too nice to lie. She hated hearing that. She didn't want his sympathy. She didn't deserve it.

He gave it all the same.

It was only a few weeks later that the affaire had started.

Cordelia loved what he did to her. It was the only time she felt like her real self showed. It was okay to trust him. He was the only person she knew that she had no doubts of. He didn't take her for granted. He made her feel beautiful again. He broke through to her. He made it safe for her. She didn't care how twisted and bad it looked to everyone else. It made her feel somewhat whole again, made her feel worth something. The fact that it was secret helped, too. She couldn't bear to be exposed to scrutiny. She felt sheltered from the storm here. He took care of her.

Cordelia waited patiently for him, doing homework. It was nice doing real homework here, where it was peaceful and quiet. There weren't the constant phone calls for her mother, the interruptions of the calls to her which had her mother giving her that look of why-do-you-think-we-gave-you-your-own-phone-Cordelia, the constant have you seen this, could you bring me this, and I need you right now. She was reading Jane Austen for English. She really liked it, though only Giles was permitted that bit of knowledge. Finally she heard the familiar chug of his little car. With a smile she put the kettle on.

Giles walked in and dropped his satchel in a chair and shrugged off his jacket. He hung it on the tree and then crashed onto the sofa. "Bleeding Christ."

She looked up from the table. "The kettle's on."

"Thank God." He groaned. He took off his glasses and dropped them on the coffee table. He covered his face with his hands and then ran his fingers through his hair. "I've been shouting on the phone at the Council all afternoon. You wouldn't believe it. I've told them and told them to just send Marcus down from Toronto. He's the only one who has any hope in merry hell of getting a bridle on Faith. The bastards just won't listen! They don't want Marcus, because we know each other well, and he'll be too inclined to see my side."

"Is that what they told you?" Cordelia put the teapot on the table and fetched mugs.

"Oh, no. They 'want to keep Marcus in reserve since he has the most experience in fighting vampires of all the Members'. Even though, he's probably the best trained fighter that we've got and can certainly get both Buffy and Faith up to scratch. Plus he's good-natured enough that they might actually listen to him." Giles sighed. "Are there any of those sausage rolls left? And maybe those cheesy things?"

"Giles, they're kolaches. And yes, I think so." Cordy went and found them and put them on a plate. "You ate all the cheese straws."

"A sausage roll is a sausage roll, whether it has a polish name or not." Giles said philosophically. "Joyce came by the library this morning. She's worried. She may have had troubles trusting me, but she knows that I care about Buffy and what happens to her." He took the tea mug from Cordelia's hands. "Ta. It's taken so much trouble to bring her round. If they send a bullockly Watcher, who tries to run roughshod over her…" Giles' shook his head. Cordy set the kolache on the coffee table in front of him. "And Faith is being completely unco-operative…and determined to add years on my life."

"She's still not going for the new Watcher idea?" Cordelia shoved her book aside to make room for the teapot and knelt by Giles.

"Oh, no. She's above all that. She's superhuman, what does she need of us mere mortals?" Giles snapped airily. "I'd take a crop to her if I thought it would make any difference."

"Always works with me." Cordelia grinned.

"You're infinitely more trainable, my dear." Giles cupped her jaw and looked at her fondly. "It's taken all of Buffy's persuasion to keep Faith showing up for training sessions. I think Faith only agreed to that just for a chance at a spot of violence." Giles set his cup down. "Hang on! What are you doing here?"

"I came to see how you were doing." She nibbled on a pastry.

"Oh…" Giles reached out a hand and drew her up onto his lap. She wrapped her legs around his thighs. "One grace is that Buffy's sense of loyalty has wiped out her anger with me. Though I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing, I'm grateful."

"Giles, she has to know how much she means to you."

"I failed her. I threw her to them and stood by and let it happen."

Cordelia pushed down on his shoulders. "Stop it. Stop it right now!! You've saved her more times than I can count. Don't do this to yourself."

Giles put his arms around her and hugged her tight. He touched her face. "Where are your parents? Do you even have them?"

"Well, they still get mail at my house." She smiled at the solemn expression on his face, like he was trying to determine whether or not she was joking. "No, they had a meeting with the accountant and are going to dinner and bridge tonight. They won't be back till late." She leaned over and kissed him.

"So you came to me." A light sparked in his eyes that seemed to travel through her body and warm her groin. "I've neglected you lately."

She shook her head in denial.

"No, you've been very patient…and very, very dear." He kissed her slowly, luxuriously. "I think it's time we took care of you." His hands tightened possessively around her waist. Her breath caught. "Tell me, Cordelia. Tell me what you need."

She hesitated, trying to put her thoughts in order. This wasn't what she expected, but it was what she craved. They hadn't been together in that way for a while now. She'd been focusing on making sure he was okay, so she hadn't thought about it much. At her indecision, he reached his hand up to her breast, and then pinched her nipple through the silky fabric. Sliding his other hand over her body, he moved it to cup her bottom. Her hands tightened on his shoulders and she gasped.

"It's been a while since you felt my hand on you, hasn't it?" His tongue rasped over her lower lip. His fingers grew tight on her nipple. She moved her hips forward, digging into his groin. "I think you've missed it."

She nodded. Of course she'd missed it.

"Tell me, Cordelia. You know the rules, you have to ask me. You know I would not deny you." His voice was rough with desire. "Tell me what you need."

Cordelia's brain finally caught up with her body. The feeling of the warm hand against her bottom flooded it her with longing. She wanted a spanking. She wanted the intimacy of being over his lap, of feeling his hand relentless on her. She wanted that closeness. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "Spank me? Please, sir…it's been so long. I want to be over your knee…like the bad girl I am…please," she ran her teeth over his ear, "punish me, sir."

He loved it when she begged. She still blushed from it, even after all this time. He told her the humility of it was good for her, she was entirely too proud.

He pushed her back in his lap, and nodded to her. "Go upstairs and get undressed. Choose one of the paddles from the chest and wait for me by the bed. I'll be upstairs directly."

She slid off his lap and went up the stairs. Cordelia undressed quickly, folding all her clothes and stacking them on the bench at the foot of the bed. She went to the chest at the bottom of the wardrobe and pulled out her favorite paddle. It was a flexible leather paddle with rabbit fur on one side and a rosewood handle. Holding it to her, she went over beside the bed and knelt. He didn't have to tell her that he wanted her on her knees. She learned by now. She kept her gaze downward.

After endless minutes, she heard his footsteps on the stairs. Giles stopped by the bench at the foot of the bed and undressed as well. Watching each piece of clothing softly drop and seeing his long, sensitive hands take them up and fold them carefully, spurred her anticipation. Everything he did was sexy to her. She struggled to keep her gaze lowered, even though she loved looking at his body. She heard a soft thud as he tossed something on the bed. She watched his legs and feet as he walked to her.

His fingers touched her hair. "Is that what happens? You feel like a bad girl?"

She evaded the question. "Bad girls get punished, sir."

He lifted her face to see his own. He gave a small, stern smile. "So do good girls. And you are my very special girl, aren't you Cordelia?"

"Yes, sir." She said, breathlessly. God! Only he could get her this way! She was on fire from longing and he'd barely touched her. He held out his hand. She handed him the paddle with a blush. He laid it on the bed and then sat.

"Come here."

She moved to him on her knees. She climbed up to his lap and felt his strong hands pull her into position. Giles slid a hand between her thighs, making sure she'd parted them enough. He liked to touch her while he spanked her. Cordelia rested her face against the covers and laced her hands behind her neck. His fingers found her anal opening, moist from the overflow of her heated vagina. He rubbed her gently, releasing a moan of desire from her throat.

She wasn't sure of what he was doing. He switched hands, still stimulating her ass, but she could tell he was moving the other arm. He was up to something. She was curious, but knew better than to rise up and look. Then she felt the cool, thick lube as he applied it to her asshole. She moaned again as he penetrated her with his fingers. His fingers pulled out and she felt something soft and thick being pressed inwards. It slick with wetness, he pushed the toy slowly, carefully into her ass. He twisted it and then it was in. She could feel the flared end against her skin. She felt full, not as full as when he took her there, but nicely filled. Cordelia growled in pleasure. She heard him wipe his hands on something. She felt something tickle her leg. She shivered. He laid a hand flat on her bottom.

"It's only the cord. Keep still." He said sternly. She obeyed him instantly. Then, he turned it on and she almost jumped out of her skin. Cordelia felt the vibrations deep inside her. Oh, it felt so wonderful. She shivered all over. "Special girls…good girls…get rewards, Cordelia."

He let her lay there and feel the sensations for a couple of minutes. He stroked her bottom, lightly and then with more force. Lifting his hand, he gave her a stinging slap. She groaned. The combination of the sting and the vibrations was exquisite.

Giles spanked her soundly, slaps raining down until she felt soft and defenseless. She loved it. Loved the way his hand molded against her skin, the way her skin and his hand heated up. He was perfect, knowing as if by instinct how much she could take, growing more steadily severe. She loved the pain and the pleasure it brought, filling her senses with arousal. The intimacy of it overflowed her, blocked out everything else. She never felt quite as awake, as aware as she did while this was happening.

He stopped and petted her. It felt like her bottom must be glowing pink. She moaned. Giles moved his hand and she felt the vibrations in her ass increase. She gave a squeak. Her pussy was flowing like a river now. "Do you want more?" he asked.

She moaned an affirmation.

He grabbed one cheek in a punishing grip. She jumped. "Answer correctly."

"Yes, sir! Yes, please, give me more! Oh, god…Giles…please!" She babbled out.

She heard the soft sound of his hand lifting the paddle. She relaxed her body, waiting, longing for it. It cracked against her bottom. She squeaked. He pressed a hand against the small of her back. Her hands moved from her neck. After the second and then the third harsh slap of the paddle, one of her hands instinctively dropped back. He seized it.

"If you don't want this used on those lovely breasts of yours, you'll hold your position." He snapped. She stammered out an apology and the first tears pricked her eyes. She didn't always cry. Just about always she wept from the intense emotion raised in her, not from any pain he inflicted. The feelings rushing inside of her now, the bad girl shame, the desire, frustration at not keeping her place was welling up. It was purging her, cleansing her.

The paddle came down again and again, the sound of the leather striking filling the room, filling her head. She moved past the resistance inside and let the feelings rise. She let her tears flow. He turned the vibrating toy up even more and she couldn't help the sounds rung from her as the spanking drove her higher and higher. Her body pressed harder against his leg, driving for stimulation against her clit as the paddle danced against her bottom.

He stopped for a moment and lifted the hand from her back. He changed hands. The paddle started to strike again, with more force. She cried out now, and had to grip the bed cover. The other hand slid between her legs and found her clit. Oh God! He wanted her to come while he spanked. It was too much! She came hard, crashing and flooding, crying out with a wail. Giles turned the paddle over and ran the soft fur over her abused flesh. She shivered all over, her body in spasms of ecstasy.

He turned off the toy, but didn't remove it. He gathered her in his arms and kissed her tenderly. He rolled her onto her back. She whimpered as her tender bottom hit the covers. "Lift your legs, Cordelia. Raise them up."

Obediently she lifted her legs. He positioned them over his shoulders. He looked at her vulva. He parted her labia with his fingers. She blushed under his scrutiny.

"Oh, yes." He said softly. "Just perfect."

He turned the toy back on as he lowered his lips to her exposed vulva. Her legs shook and she moaned wildly. It was incredible. She lifted her hips, pressing her clit hard against his mouth. Cordelia grasped out wildly at the headboard, looking for something to hang on to. Her whole body ached with the fire of it. He tongued her expertly, bringing her sharply, wildly to orgasm.

She thought she'd faint. She really thought she'd pass out. Then, he was kissing her. She could taste herself on him, feel the moist lust on her own face and she was grounded again. The panic died down. Looking in his eyes she felt safe again.

Giles reached for the nightstand and took a condom out of a drawer. He handed it to her without a word. Part of her wanted to refuse, frightened by how aroused she was, by how out of control her orgasms had been. Part of her just wanted to crawl back inside herself, just suck him off and be content with that, rather than face the feelings.

If he noticed her hesitation he didn't say. He supported her legs on his shoulders and waited. Before she could think anymore, she tore open the package and rolled it on him. "Take me, sir!"

He surged forward and drove his hard cock deep into her. He felt bigger, just huge, with her legs elevated. Giles was well endowed sexually, it had taken time for her body to adjust to him. He still left her unintentionally sore rather often. This time, she felt filled completely, with his cock pushing deep and that toy filling her ass. He pressed the little control box into her hand. "Don't turn it off," he growled sternly. She wondered if he could feel the vibrations too, coming through her muscles. The thought was arousing. She boosted it up a notch and cried out in pleasure. His groan of bliss proved her theory.

The higher Cordelia turned up the vibrator, the harder he thrust into her. She writhed under him, loosing herself in sensation, overfilling with ecstasy, coming perilously close to panic, loosing all control. She gave inarticulate animal sounds as she came over and over. She could hear his voice, thick with passion, talking to her, comforting to her. She trusted him, she could let go now, he would catch her and he would keep her safe. She let herself shatter.

Cordelia didn't faint, but came perilously close. She felt stunned, free of her body, floating out. He came with a hard thrust, gasping her name. He lowered his head, and his sweat dripped on her own damp skin. He turned the vibrator off and clutched her close to him. She felt his kisses, his hands and let herself come back to his arms.

They held each other for a long time, not speaking. It was only his stroking of her hair that let her know that he was still awake.

"Now, will you tell me without evading, Delia? Does this make you feel like a bad girl?" His eyes were full of concern.

Cordelia cursed her choice of words. "Yes…No…I don't know. When we're doing it…I feel wonderful…I feel taken care of…I feel okay. But…"


"I feel bad for wanting it like I do…I mean, other girls don't get into this stuff like this…none of the other girls read the things I did, dreamed about the things I did."

"Probably more than you think. They were like you were…too ashamed to talk about it." Giles turned her head toward his and looked into her eyes. "Do you think there's something wrong with you?"

Cordelia didn't want to answer. She didn't want to face the answer.

"Delia, it's alright. There's nothing wrong with you. All you are is a very brave young woman experiment with her sexual self. You're breaking a lot of the taboos that have been set for you. Having shame come up about that is only natural." He kissed her forehead. "Do you think I'm bad or twisted?"

"No! Of course not!"

"But look at me. I'm not only engaging in a lot of exciting and to say the least unconventional sex games with you, I'm also close enough in age to be your father. To say that I was taking advantage of you would be the kindest thing that could be said." He traced her lips with his finger, silencing her protests. "Now, if you don't think that about me, why do you think that it's acceptable to think that about you?"

"I don't know…I just…do…maybe because you are older and a guy. You're supposed to have lovers and do wild and exciting things…and I'm supposed to know less and be less sure of myself and not really want it…unless we're really in love and then it's okay but only if you go first…and I'm supposed to say I really love it, but only with you and because it's with you and if it wasn't it would be icky."

Giles' face scrunched up a little, like he wanted to laugh, but was holding it back. "And that isn't how you feel."

"I want to know more, and I really want do more. About the just being with you stuff, well, I don't know since I've only been with you like this…but I don't think it would be icky…but…I'm not sure." Cordelia shook her head. "I'm so confused."

"It's all right to be confused. I was, when I first started."

She looked at him with surprise.

"What? I didn't pick this up over night." He grinned and tapped her nose. "And I didn't learn it out of books. I was young and confused…dealing with conflicted feelings…a bit like you, I think."

"How did it start for you?" She was nervous about asking. Giles almost never talked about his past, mostly because of the demon and that guy dying and all. She was wildly curious, though.

"I'll get us a drink and then lets get under the covers. I'll tell you about it."

Sex toys put away, juice for her and a watery scotch for him brought up, and they crawled into the bed again. Giles carefully set the alarm in case they dozed off. Propping up the pillows, he handed her the juice glass. "I'll try to remember to pick up some of that lager you like. It's just juice, though. You shouldn't have alcohol when you're dehydrated."

She smiled at him in thanks.

"Now, you know that I shucked off my duty and took off to London. I fell into a bad crowd. Actually, I went through a few bad crowds then. London in the seventies was a giant playground then. Sex, drugs were everywhere. This was before AIDS, you know. The sixties were gone, and there was a lot of anger, disillusion, and sheer indulgence. I fit right in.

"I had gone on a club crawl with a mate of mine and he heard about this very private, very kinky club…he swore he knew somebody that could get us in."

"Ethan?" She guessed.

"Yes, Ethan. If there's a greater corruptive influence on the planet greater than Ethan Rayne, I don't know about it." He sighed. "So, I went along…after a lot of convincing talk and a couple of tenners we got in. It was a fetish club. Drink everywhere, drugs all around for those not playing, and the smell of leather everywhere. There were St. Andrews' crosses against the walls, where slaves were being flogged. There were mistresses riding on the backs of crawling slaves. Masters leading beautiful girls on leashes. It completely blew my mind. It was like something I'd only dreamed about." He took a sip of scotch. "I felt so hungry sitting there. That's the only way I can describe it."

Cordelia nodded, picturing it in her own mind.

"Ethan was snapped up right off. He was so lithe and pretty then, you can't imagine. He swung both ways and that made him in high demand most of the time anyway. He'd try anything once."

"The slut." She said, mildly.

Giles laughed out loud. "Yes, exactly. And the glitter style only accented that. David Bowie and Iggy Pop were horrible influences for him."

She grinned and cuddled closer. "You're much butchier." She still remembered the photo of him in the leather with the guitar.

"That was a bit of a disadvantage. Nobody was really sure where I fit in. Whether I was a top or bottom. And I couldn't have said if my life depended on it. So I just sat, drank a bit, watching everything, changing places with everyone in my mind…and then she walked up to me. Sinead, tall, beautiful and Irish."

"Like the singer?"

"I don't even know if the singer was born yet. It's the Irish name for Janet."

"What did she look like?"

"Very stylish. You'd have loved her. She was dressed in an old fashioned dress from the thirties, black satin. High heeled boots with a riding crop sticking out of one. Long black hair cascading down, very blue eyes, and fair skin. She wore a ruby on a gold chain. She took the chair next to me and crossed her legs.I thought my eyes were going to leap out of my head. And she asked me what I wanted."

"What did you tell her?"

"I said, 'Everything.'" He finished the drink. "She said she could teach me. God, it's shocking now to think how quickly she took my measure. All I did was nod like a fool. Then she ordered me to get her a drink. She was very exact about what she wanted. I had to order it, make sure it was correct, bring it back to her."

Cordelia closed her eyes and nodded. She remembered doing that to poor Jonathon on that first date with him. It had given her a rush to make him do that, and then to make him send it back and do it all over again, just to see if he would to please her. She told Giles about it.

"Yes, it was that sort of thing. Apparently it did please her, and she told me to follow her if I wanted, and we would discuss it in private. I followed her back to her townhouse. We had coffee and talked. She told me how much she wanted me, how sexy she thought I was. It was a heady feeling. She told me she could train me, teach me to be her slave, to give to her, to receive from her and then she could draw me out, teach me to Dominate, and I would learn to give back. if I was willing to stay with her. I told her my desires, my feelings..things I'd never told anyone, not even Ethan. And she understood. It was if she understood everything about me.

"It was ideal at the time. I wanted to lose myself, forget all the responsibilities that were going to be forced on me. I was become a different person, a far different person than my father that he knew, than the disgruntled University student. With Sinead I felt like I was someone to her."

"Did you love her?"

"I thought I did. Now, I'm not sure if it was that I loved her or that I loved what she brought out in me, what she gave to me. She taught me confidence, not just bravado. She taught me patience and discipline, without having me sacrifice my aggression. My desire, my passions were glorious to her. She didn't think I was powerless, gutless, a waste...she liked me as I was, and loved who I was becoming. Now I look back and realize what a risk it was, in trusting her like I did. I barely knew her when I put myself in her hands. However, she never forgot what I'd given her with my trust. She never made me regret it." He gave a fond, far away smile that warmed Cordelia. "So now you know. I've knelt, just like you. Felt the whip, just like you. And I liked it, just like you do. She held me when I was confused. She listened to me when I talked about secret things. Sometimes, she dragged these things out of me. I was ashamed at times, just like you. Then we switched, she submitted to me and I had to learn new boundaries, new rules. I had to come to terms with loving someone and still willing to hurt them for their pleasure. More taboos to break. Over time, I grew into myself and let go of the old definitions. I accepted myself."

"Why did you break up?"

"She went to Canada. She thought it was time for her to move on...that she'd taught me as much as she could teach me. That it was time for me to go on my own." He sighed. "I didn't believe it then, and I'm not sure now. It was the only time I really felt like she wasn't telling me the full truth."

"Do you think there was someone else?"

"I thought so. Now, I'm rather sure of it. She probably thought it was easier if she kept that from me. I don't know if that's true or not. I was hurt and angry. Ethan reappeared out of nowhere, just like always. He caught me like a hungry spider when I fell, and I lost myself in him. That was a mistake, the biggest of my life, misjudging him."

She kissed him, stroking his cheek.

"Cordelia, listen to me. I won't have you lose you self-respect over this. I don't want you hurting yourself. We can stop this anytime, if that's what you need. I care about you too much."

"This is the only time I don't feel helpless." She said, softly.

"I understand that." He touched her face. "I know how hurt you've been. You've been trying hard to bear it, and you've gotten so much better. It hasn't been easy." He swallowed. "Maybe it's time you should start seeing other boys again."

"I have been...I've dated..."

"For appearances you've dated. That isn't the same and you know that. Cordelia, I can't tell you how much having you with me, sharing this, has meant to me. I'm very honored by what you have given to me...but I don't want you to use this as a wall to hide from the world. I don't want to do that myself, either. Can you understand that?"

Eyes filling with tears, she nodded. "We don't have to stop, do we? I mean, we could both try to reach out see people, I'll go out more..."

"Find our feet?"

"Yeah. I don't want you to feel bad about yourself, either. about you too much too."

He kissed her deeply and gently. She hugged him, holding him tightly. "You are so beautiful to me." He whispered.

"Really?" She asked, her voice small to her own ears.

"Really." He stroked her hair again.

Cordelia snuggled close to him and threw her leg over his own. His lips brushed her forehead. She closed her eyes.

His voice was gentle. "I was there in the beginning and I was the spirit of love. Now I am sober. There is only the hangover and memory of love and only the sorrow. I yearn for happiness, I ask for help, I want mercy. And my love says, 'Look at me and hear me because I'm here just for that...I am your moon and your moonlight too...I am your flower garden and your water too. I have come all this way eager for you...without shoes or shawl. I want you to laugh, to kill all your love nourish you...Oh, sweet Bitterness! I will soothe you and heal you. I will bring you roses...I too have been covered with thorns.'"

The beauty of the words left her astonished. She opened her eyes and looked at him and saw his eyes were moist. Their lips found each other with unspoken feelings.


Note: The quotation is from 'Bitterness' by Rumi.