The Rules of Attraction
Summary: Incidents in the lives of two intertwined downward spirals.
“I’m not sure who’s fooling who here
As I’m watching our decay…” –Tori Amos
And then there was the night she walked in and he was getting blown by a prostitute, not that she cared, but it was just something she never would have expected, Wesley and a hooker and an unlocked door. It’s completely out of character and thus there’s more to it than appearances. She’s gotten to know him too well. Even so, the message still hurts.
Not this week, dear. I despise you.
She gets it, she really does. Most days, Lilah despises herself. But of course, there is only one response to such blatant rudeness. He isn’t even surprised (maybe just a little annoyed) when his electricity is shut off two days later because she “forgot” to pay the bill. He can hear her sneering. Who’s the prostitute now? Don’t ever fucking forget who keeps you off the street, babe.
He arrives at her oh-so-trendy apartment with the riding crop and a penitent expression on his overbred, beautiful face. And she’s standing in the doorway looking down on him, wearing a pair of those nylons with the seam up the back (no underwear, of course. what would be the fucking point?), a pair of high heels, a sheer black robe, and a pearl necklace. He can see the faint hint of the scar on her left breast. Bite marks. Vampire bite marks.
She knows he’s looking at the scar and in the back of her mind, she remembers the wine cellar, the stench of human piss and fear and blood drowning out the sanity left in her mind, and god, she’s on her knees all over again, Drusilla’s cold hands pulling her neck back by a good sharp tug to the hair. Darla is looking at all the pretty, moisturized skin exposed for her and she is smiling the smile of a hungry law professor looking for a blow job.
“Grandmummy,” Drusilla’s whine echoes. “If I’m a good girl, might I ‘ave a taste of ‘er?”
Darla licked her lips, and Lilah has never been able to shake the mixture of terror and vague arousal that Darla’s gesture produced. Darla licked her lips. Licks her lips, cups Lilah’s breast and shifts into monster.
“Of course, honey darling,” Darla says, flickering her eyes to Lindsey, who is hard as a rock at the floor show and Lilah hates him a little more. He might have tried to get interested in her at a more opportune moment, the short queer fucking redneck.
(“I don’t fuck girls, Lilah. And I sure as hell don’t fuck men with breasts, which is what you are.”)
Darla buries her teeth deep into Lilah’s breast and Wesley’s staring at the scar, thinking of his matching ones. They both have so many scars, though Lilah’s paid good money to get rid of all of them but one.
“If all the monsters were dead and gone,” he says, thinking of how mild Angel had been, telling them the lawyers had been locked in the cellar. “What would we do?”
She reaches out, grabs his hand, and puts it directly on her scar.
“There wouldn’t be any difference,” she lies, looking at the riding crop with wanton, blatant, dripping need. “We can make them faster than we can destroy them.”
“Very deep,” he says dryly, wondering why she’s exposed the mark for him. She doesn’t like him to touch it generally; there had been a fiasco of an evening not unrecently where he’d licked it and, panicking, she’d kicked him in the bollocks while wearing a pair of Manolo Blahniks. “Get in there and assume the position.”
Slowly and deliberately, she backs into the empty room (in high heels, a talent she picked up during dance classes in college), removing the robe and dropping it, arching her back while she does it. He can see how aroused she already is. Something about the menace always works for her.
He still hasn’t quite connected the wine cellar to any of it. That’s just trauma; they have plenty to go around. Besides, he has his own disturbing issues to consider. For example, as Lilah slides her arms behind her back, locking them briefly as she arches into a brief backbend, he can feel his cock half-hard against his pants. He is going to hit this woman with a riding crop (not hard, and the thing is soft enough as it is, but still) and he will enjoy it.
The part where she’ll enjoy it more still hasn’t quite managed to fully digest in Wesley’s brain; he’s sure that somewhere, her intense orgasms are a mistake and possibly even a hallucination on his part.
“Didn’t you hear me?” he asks mildly, sounding like his father and noticing the first time that the VCR is whirring and the TV has been turned off hastily. “I said assume the position, Miss Morgan.”
She knows he knows about the part where she’s been watching porn. She did it on purpose (mostly), because Wesley was obviously overdue to pay her some quality attention. She’d sent him the memo via the electricity and so clearly had had the whole thing carefully orchestrated.
With the same smile on her face (well, more affectionate and definitely more aroused) that she’d had the day she’d fondly told Gavin Park to eat penguin shit and die, Lilah leans forwards and grips her ankles.
He’s got his hand on her hip and his cock rubbing against her ass before she can count ten. And she, oh yes, she is soaking wet.
“Dear,” he says, the strands of the whip sliding across her back silkily, “What were you watching?”
She can only half look over her shoulder at him, hair falling everywhere.
“I wasn’t watching anything,” she lies with a smirk. There is a drink on the coffee table and a bowl of celery on the couch. “Maybe CNN. I think.”
She can hear the whip hiss through the air, but stop just short of her skin. Instead, Wesley is pulling her up by her shoulders, pressing his mouth to her ear as she rocks against him.
“Don’t lie to me,” he murmurs, tickling her stomach. “You’ve left the box on top of the television.”
“If you want me to play, don’t be so obvious,” he reprimands, wondering when he’d fallen into the role of her stern top. It’s self-evident that she’s a pushy bottom, but dominant has never been a word used in relation to Wesley and he’s not sure it’s fair even now. “Behave yourself.”
“I don’t want to,” she says, leaning her head against him and as she says it, it’s true. “I’m tired of rules and elaborate rituals and dances and games. I need something else.”
He temporarily lets go of the whip and moves his free hand between them, moving over the curve of her ass before stopping at the crotch of those ruined nylons. To quote whatever third-rate porn she’s been watching, she’s so fucking hot she might burn up.
“Is that right?” he asks, wondering if this is the invitation for him to just bend her over and fuck her ’til she screams. “You seem rather fond of our rules and games. After all, you invented most of them.”
“They do the job,” she admits, knowing he doesn’t quite get it. BDSM is entertaining, if not entirely her scene, but it’s all a means to an end. “But I need–I want–I need to feel it, dammit.”
Almost instantly, both of his hands are at the top of the nylons, tearing them in half, leaving her exposed. He’s still fully clothed, though she can tell that he’s starting to chafe in more ways than one (no way he’s wearing underwear either). And he doesn’t get it, though he’s doing the job, too.
Feel what, that’s what he’s wondering. She sounds so plaintive, as far as someone half bent over can sound plaintive. They don’t feel; that was the point. For him, it’s still the point.
“I thought feelings were for the weak.”
“Fuck you,” she says breathily, twisting around to face him and putting her arms around his neck so that they are close. Eye to eye. “I’m not talking about feelings. I’m talking about–”
He pulls her closer with one arm while the other covers her mouth, swallowing her words before she can explain herself and make herself anywhere close to human. She can’t make him feel; that’s not allowed.
She gets it. She knows what he’s looking for as she draws one finger into her mouth and sucks, hard.
They are not talking. She is undoing his jeans, thank god for button-fly, and Wesley is still sort of struck at the fun of having Lilah suck on his fingers (bastard pervert) and they’re both not looking at that riding crop on the floor.
Instead, she’s got her hand around his cock and his damp fingers have slid to those antique pearls (a gift from grandmother, she swears) and ever so gently tugs, pulling them against her larynx. He can hear the muted whimper and they’re stilling standing? That can’t be right.
Rather abruptly, as Wesley has been waiting a long while, and one can’t be a gentleman forever, he jerks Lilah’s arms away from his body and forces them behind her back.
“Ouch,” she says softly, as if she’d pricked her finger or something. “Yes?”
In response, he walks them toward the bed. The bed has been necessary since yet another incident involving a spectacular bill for cleaning an Italian leather sofa that he’d had to work off by escorting her around town like an actual boyfriend for an entire week. That would have been all right except for the part where they’d run into Fred, Gunn, and Gavin Park. Within five minutes of each other.
The bed is posh anyway. Good for sex. Though the sex is always good with her.
He’s currently got her pinned to the mattress, though pinned is a vaguely incorrect term when there’s no resistance. Wrists are held tight, check. Lower bodies are pressed together, check. The right legs are spread, check. But she’s not playing fair.
She doesn’t look bored, or angry, or turned on. Lilah looks tired and sad. She looks like someone who’s gotten beaten up her fair share, too.
Where did he go wrong? All of this thinly veiled violence and misogyny is usually grist for her mill, fuel for the fire. He can’t stop–he doesn’t want to stop–but this is, bloody hell, no good at all.
“What?” he asks, staring into confused brown eyes. She clearly doesn’t know, either. How very like a woman, and why does he only consciously allow himself such thoughts with her?
She doesn’t quite understand why, but she leans up and kisses him, an actual kiss, not one of those mouth-to-mouth half-bites, half-fucks that they’re used to sharing. There’s something tentative about it, the gentleness of lip against lip and something clicks into place.
He kisses back, really kisses back, and somewhere in there, lets go of her wrists. They’ve gotten quite busy getting him completely undressed for the first time in a long while, and he gets it, hard in the back of the head like a cuff from his dad.
He’s kissing her like he never wants to stop and it’s unexpected, so unexpected that Lilah’s having a hard time processing that this is still Wesley. Wesley, who seems to not understand that he’s got an ugly streak that makes his beautiful wounded man act even sexier. He can be so cold it burns. Wesley, who has been getting off on finding where her edge is.
This is new and strangely distracting. Grudgefucks get predictable. Games get old and Lilah can’t bear boredom. Boredom is worse than hell, no, boredom will be Lilah’s hell, an eternity filling out tax forms for Wolfram and Hart Corporate, Hell Division.
She’s actually kissing his shoulder and murmuring something that sounds like, “now, please” and he’s suddenly insane with needing to fuck her now, but gently! Or perhaps not gently, but with more passion, less speed, and more interest than usual, when she’s just the instrument for releasing all the monsters inside.
She wails as he pushes inside of her, as if it were the first time and not the what? Tenth? Twentieth? (How many summer evenings has he wasted fucking her raw and getting a few blows in for fun?) He doesn’t know but by god, it’s different.
“Like that,” she says distinctly, cutting through all the noise in his head. “Oh, like that.”
He doesn’t want to hit her. She can tell from the stunned expression on his face. She can’t help but smile before moaning again. It’s good, it’s so fucking good, it doesn’t even hurt and it’s still good, the kind of good it was back when she was a fucking kid. How old was she when it was good and sweet? Before it was a power game, before it was all calculation and edges.
Fifteen? Fourteen? Sixteen? Ever?
“What?” he asks, slowing down in confusion.
“Don’t stop, dammit,” she cries. “Don’t–I want you–”
Nothing she’s ever said to him, even in the heat of passion, has been anywhere close to this genuine (she wants him, and she wants him badly enough to let down some of her barriers) and it just pushes him over the edge. He comes hard, biting down on her shoulder until he realizes he can taste blood and when he looks up, he knows.
Worst possible thing he could have ever done. Which, of course, is a Wyndam-Pryce specialty.
“Get the fuck off me,” she snarls. “Now.”
He’s all too happy to comply. She’s halfway across the room, hand on her shoulder to cover the bite, before he can find his jeans and there’s an ugly look on her face that he hasn’t seen in a long while.
“I’m sorry,” he mutters, feeling humiliated and foolish. Damn it, he should have known, but she doesn’t need to act like he’s violated her. As if he’s any fonder of vamps than she is.
“Yeah,” she replies flatly. “Whatever. You got to hurt me like the big mean man you want to be and I got to feel it like the needy bored bitch monster I am. It was fabulous, just like it always is. We’re done here for now, right?”
“I’m certainly through,” he says, resentment bubbling up like an overdone porridge. “Of course, I got off.”
The only reason she doesn’t cry or scream or throw something is because he wants her to. She gazes at him, as steely-eyed as she can manage with a bite mark on her shoulder and a nice new psychic wound to discuss with her psychoanalyst Thursday.
“Keep it up, Wes,” she manages, sounding stronger than she feels. “Pretty soon you’ll be done with the soul bullshit and then the fun can really start. Now get out.”
He inclines his head sarcastically and smirks. She knows the smirk; she practices it regularly. It doesn’t look very good on him, actually, because it’s too smug for words.
“Until next time, then. Sorry to trouble you.”
And he walks out, feeling like maybe he won the round even though he fucked up so badly that he’s surprised he’s still standing. Maybe she’s got a point about the losing his soul bit. Staring too deep into the abyss and all that. But the electricity will be back on tomorrow, and he hurt her but good. All in all, a slight victory for Wesley.
And Lilah’s left in her oversized apartment alone, pretending that she’s not crying, and staring into the nearest mirror to examine the newest scar. She decides she’ll keep it as a reminder. She kept the Darla scar to remind her that there’s nothing in the world to truly fear.
This one? This one reminds her that love is death. This one tells her that she can’t ever relax or she’ll be more than weepy and angry and alone. She nearly lost a lot more than a round of a stupid hate sex game that doesn’t matter in the long run, Lilah thinks to herself as she swabs the wound with rubbing alcohol. She almost gave in; almost let herself feel something for someone that wasn’t calculated.
It might not be a victory, but it’s a lesson she takes to heart as she pulls on a comfortable cotton nightshirt and goes back to the couch to get some sleep.