Standard disclaimers apply.
Hearts Next to His Name
By Raine Wynd
Cordelia Chase isn't one to go tripping down memory lane. It doesn't serve her much good, and after being impaled through the stomach, she'd decided to live her life one day at a time. Some weeks, it actually works, and she doesn't think about Sunnydale or her increasingly fading chances of being the famous actress she'd thought she'd wanted to be, once upon a time.
Some fairy tales didn't come true, and the ones Cordy knew did were kin to Freddy Kruger. She didn't dream of being swept away by a prince, not anymore, but it wasn't that long ago that she did.
So when her hands dig through the back of her closet in search of a blouse that wasn't stained from demon-fighting or worse and come across a battered, blue wirebound notebook, she lets herself remember, just for a moment.
Taking the notebook back to her bed, she sits down, and opens the pages to read her first entry upon her arrival in L.A. Even before she's finished the short paragraph, her mind takes her back, and she hurriedly scans the pages, trying to find if she'd written about Doyle, if she'd said anything.
And the pages are empty, devoid of anything beyond the first few paragraphs, and she knows it's deliberate: she didn't want to write about how her dreams had turned to dust in far too short of a time. Because looking back was for fools and dreamers and people who hadn't learned the first time how fickle Fate could be, and she was none of them. She was a child of Sunnydale who'd survived everything the town had to throw at her: heartbreak, high school, and hell, and sometimes, when she looks back at it, it's all one and the same and she doesn't dare poke beneath the surface of the memories to figure out which is which. Someday, she promises herself, someday, she'll let herself figure it all out, the chances she never took, the freedoms she never had because of circumstance and prophecy and, yes, Fate.
She had never written hearts next to Doyle's name because she hadn't loved him. Hadn't dared. He'd been a demon, and her Scooby-Gang-trained mind had automatically lumped him in the category of "nice now, but possibly life-threatening later." It had hurt to remind herself that, to bring up the automatic defenses of a lifetime of being Queen C, because she'd wanted to forget, to treat Doyle as human as anyone else. She couldn't let herself do that; that way led to madness. If she forgot what Doyle was, it would be all to easy to make the next leap and forget that Angel was a vampire with a soul because of a curse, and how that curse could be reversed in one moment of pleasure. If that happened, she would be better off writing those damn hearts because she'd be just as much of a fool.
For a moment, she thought of calling Buffy, of asking how she could deal with loving Angel, and then stopped. Even in her own mind, that didn't sound like a conversation that would go over well, and something of the Queen Cordelia that survived in Cordy now was scandalized at the mere thought - scandalized enough that Cordy decided to not try. She wasn't quite ready to admit how she felt, didn't want to think about how to deal with it, but still, the feeling sat there, patient as any cat and twice as twitchy.
In any case, it didn't change anything. Nothing did, and with an impatient sigh, Cordy ditched the notebook into the trash. If she didn't get dressed, she would be late, and then she would have to figure out some way of explaining to her mother why she'd failed to show up to meet her new stepfather.
Again. Granted, the last time was due to some Angel Investigations business, but that was something her mother didn't understand, and Cordelia wasn't sure how to explain, anyway.
Silently, Cordelia hoped that her new stepfather wasn't a demon of any sort, and that he was as nice as her mother claimed. Then she took another deep breath, and decided that if her mother was happy, she'd let it slide. Whatever came next would just have to be dealt with when it came, not before. Besides, if there was trouble, she would have had some kind of vision by now. That decided, she hastily donned a dress, and headed out the door.