by Esperanza

Cordy was flipping idly through an old issue of Vogue when the door to Angel Investigations opened, revealing a very nervous looking Kate. Cordy looked up expectantly, and sighed in annoyance as Kate just stood there.

"Is there something you need...Kate?" Cordy prodded, trying to go into secretary mode like Angel taught her but her patience was wearing thin and she briefly considered telling Kate they were closed. Cordelia Chase was just not cut out to be a secretary.

"Is Angel here?" Kate asked, holding up a work file.

"No...he's off rescuing some nonpaying client, which means I'm not going to be getting a paycheck. But I guess you could wait for him...if you really wanted to." Cordy waved at the chair opposite of her before, returning to her magazine. Kate nodded and sighed, exhausted and sick of this stupid case, before taking the seat offered by Cordelia. Angel had become Kate's lifesaver whenever a case got too frustrating or she got too stressed. She'd just bring it to Angel and within 48 hours, he usually had it solved. It was a hell of a lot better than asking someone at the station for help.

Cordy looked up to see Kate leafing through the file she had with her, and she could see how tired and stressed Kate was by just the way she held herself. "You know, you seem a lot different from the last time I saw you." Cordy started as Kate looked up. "The last time I saw you were quite open and seemed to be prone to crying episodes. Oh, and you kept talking about your dad!"

"Sorry, about that. I'm usually less..." Kate seemed to fumble for the appropriate word.

"Completely out of your mind?" Cordy supplied helpfully and Kate blushed slightly, making Cordelia think that Kate could be really beautiful if she wanted to be.

"Yeah." Kate said, catching Cordy's eye and holding it for a little bit longer than necessary, making Cordy blushed slightly this time and look away. The moment was clear and both women understood what had just happened: Kate had attempted to flirt with Cordelia. Cordy wasn't sure how she was supposed to react while Kate was beating herself up over the completely inappropriate move.

Silence descended over the two women as each tried to figure out how to break the tension. Cordelia finally got fed up and blurted out, "Were you just trying to flirt with me?"

Kate's cheeks became rosy and she ducked her head slightly, telling herself she should have known that this was not a good time to go flirting, even if Cordelia was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. "Yeah...I guess I was. I'm sorry."

"Don't be sorry!" Cordelia jumped in quickly. " I mean, it's flattering. I don't think that I've ever had a woman flirt with me before." Cordelia made the cutest face trying to remember, and Kate couldn't help but highly doubt she was the first woman to flirt with Cordelia. Cordy looked at Kate unsure for a moment, and Kate couldn't help feel like she was being sized up. Not that being sized up by Cordelia Chase was a bad thing; it just presented the risk of coming up short.

"Are, a lesbian or something?" Cordelia asked suddenly.

"Yeah." Kate answered, watching, as Cordy seemed to have an internal debate. Kate guessed Cordelia hadn't had much contact with people who were gay, judging by her reaction.

"But...why? You are beautiful; you could probably have any man you wanted." Cordelia said. She couldn't help but feel perplexed. When she thought of lesbians, she thought of Ellen or the popular image of the hairy, butch feminist. She thought of woman who, honestly, probably couldn't get a good man. Kate was different...she was beautiful, smart, and was still a lesbian?

Kate felt her mouth drop slightly, unsure if she wanted to laugh or be outraged at what Cordy was saying. Seeing the other girl's genuine puzzlement, Kate decided neither would be the wisest path. With an amused smile she gently explained, "Cordelia, I'm not gay because I can't get a man. I'm gay because I like woman and feel attracted to them. I think woman are beautiful and desirable, and strong, sweet, and smart." Kate said adding, "At least some of them."

"Oh." Cordy replied, her brain running over what Kate just told her.

Kate could see that she had just tried to explain something that nearly impossible to explain to people who didn't understand and she wasn't sure how Cordy was taking it. On one hand, Cordy hadn't gone screaming into the night but on the other hand, she had really said anything. Kate decided it would be best if she disappeared for a while.

"Look, I'm going to leave this file for Angel. Tell him to call me." Kate said as he got up and left a slightly stunned Cordelia who had a rather pensive look on her face.


"Dennis, I'm home!" Cordelia yelled as she entered her seemingly empty apartment at a little after two in the morning. She threw her mail and keys on the hall table and went straight to the kitchen, famished since Angel didn't exactly keep his fridge full of stuff she could eat. Pulling out a carton of coffee ice cream she went over and flopped down on the couch. It was late but she wasn't at all tired, her body used to the weird hours required when you worked for an ensouled vampire.

"Can we talk?" Cordelia said after a moment of peaceful silence where her thoughts seemed to drift back to the conversation she had with Kate earlier. It was pretty much all she had been thinking about.

After a second, Cordelia could hear a distinct knock, signaling yes. Living with a ghost had proved to be pretty easy once they set up some ground rules. Dennis wasn't allowed in her bedroom or bathroom and he had to remain quiet when she had company, unless it was Doyle and Angel. They had even set up a way of communicating with one knock meaning yes and two meaning no.

"I found out that woman I told you about, Kate, the one I thought had a thing for Angel is actually a lesbian. Do you know what means? It's when..." Cordy started to explain but was cut off by a sharp, impatient knock. "Okay, I was just making sure."

"It's just there weren't many gay people in least I didn't know any, although I had my doubts about Faith. But she was twisted. It's not like I think all gay people are twisted because Kate seems cool but it was never something that affected my life." Cordy said, licking the ice cream off the spoon. "It was just something that people talked about or that was on television."

"Now there someone who I know is a lesbian in my life, and I don't think it's so weird. In fact, it seems pretty normal, you know? This is the nineties." Cordy said and Dennis replied with a knock.

"Dennis, I don't know what exactly this means but I've been having these thoughts ever since I talked to Kate." Cordy admitted, a blush rising to her cheeks. It had been so long, not since her painful breakup with Xander that she had felt like this. This heart flutter that was impossible to name but seemed to be the only pure thing that ever existed. "I mean, I would be lying if I said I had never thought about it before, because I have but I just ignored it."

Cordelia was quiet for a moment, lost in her own thoughts, before suddenly asking, "Do you think there is anything wrong with being gay, Dennis?" After a moment of apparent thought, two knocks sounded, meaning no. Cordy couldn't help but smile.

"This is something deep in me that I've never wanted to face, never thought I could, but things are so different now. My life here can be whatever I want to be, away from my parents, and Sunnydale society, and Harmony and her sheep." Cordy said softly. "It's scary, though."

"I can't help but be scared of what it means to admit that I'm attracted to woman. It makes me different and I don't have to have a certain amount of strength for that. There aren't many things that scare me but making myself different, to open myself up to ridicule is one fear I can't imagine ever over. What would Doyle and Angel say?" Cordy licked her spoon clean for a final time before putting the ice cream away and the spoon in the dishwasher. She was slowly learning how to keep her apartment clean, a skill she never had to learn when she was younger.

"But being who I am, being able to be honest about this thing I always kept hidden, well, it outweighs all that. Does that make sense?" A knock sounded and Cordy smiled.

"You know what its like, sorta, don't you? To feel a certain way even if people disapprove." Cordy paused and a faint knock sounded, quieter, signaling Dennis didn't want to talk anymore. She tried talking to him about his mother and fiancé before, only to have him close up on her and refuse to come out for days. He didn't even leave her messages with the magnetic poetry on the fridge like he usually did. Today's message said, "We should have Xmas dinner with A and D."

"Christmas dinner with Angel and Doyle is a good idea," Cordelia called knowing that even if he didn't want to talk, Dennis could still hear her.


As Cordelia took a long hot shower and got ready for bed, her mind stayed on Kate and all the things she had dared to think tonight. What did the meaning of her thoughts? As much as she was afraid to admit it, Cordelia knew she would never understand unless she took that step, that jump that frightened and excited her at the same time. If she didn't, it would just stay another thing that she let slip away from her, another truth about herself that she let keep hidden. She had done it so many times, to fit in, or to keep appearances of the happy Chase family up.

Kate fascinated Cordy and she couldn't get her mind off the beautiful, strong cop who seemed so unafraid to admit these truths about who she was. Cordy remembered talking to her and how amazing she looked when she blushed that faint blush and how incredible her lips were...perfect for all the things that Cordy couldn't get her mind off. The way she talked, so confident and the way she spoke of made Cordy feel her heart flutter and a desire in her that she hadn't felt in so long that it had become almost foreign to her but here it was, back when Cordy thought of Kate.

Cordelia climbed into bed and sighed, her heart pounding like it hadn't done in years. She had to do it, to admit to herself and others what she had struggled to keep hidden for so long. She was going to take that step and Cordy knew exactly whom she wanted to take it with.


Cordelia narrowed her eyes as she fiddled with the business card in her hand, trying to gather the courage to just call Kate. She was thankful Doyle and Angel had gone out again so she didn't have to do this in their presence. When she had come to work to work this morning she had known exactly what she was going to say but suddenly, faced with the idea of actually calling Kate and asking her out on a date seemed like the scariest thing in the world. This was the final step. This made it all real for her, and Cordy couldn't help having second thoughts.

What if Kate actually said yes? That meant they would go on an actual date, together. It was the most exciting, scary, wonderful thought Cordy could imagine. Cordy had been on hundreds of dates in her short life, most ended being just a waste of time, but she had never felt this way about the idea of spending time with someone. A date meant getting dressed up and going out to dinner, Kate and Cordy would talk and even share a goodnight kiss. Cordy's hand went up to her mouth instinctively at the thought of kissing Kate and trembled at the thought of their soft lips pressed together. Would it be like kissing a guy? Or would it be softer, sweeter, and make her tingle all over like she always secretly imagined?

First Cordelia had to get up the guts to actually call her.

"Get a grip. You are Cordelia Chase." She murmured to herself as she picked up the phone. She was scared to a degree, but it was more than just that. This was the final step in admitting the truth about herself and not having to pretend so much anymore. Her hand shaking, she dialed the numbers.

"Detective Lockley," Kate answered in her tough-cop voice. Okay, it's now or never. Cordy took a deep breath and plunged right in.

"Kate? This is Cordelia. I'm sorry that I'm calling you at work."

"It's okay, Cordy." Kate said, her voice growing softer when she heard who it was. After their conversation yesterday, Kate never thought Cordelia would speak to her, much less call her at work. Kate's heart started beating a little faster, despite the fact she was sure this call was probably business

"I was just wondering if you would you like to take me to dinner sometime?" Cordy asked suddenly, knocking Kate from her thoughts. She opened her mouth to reply but found that her throat was suddenly not working properly. This amazingly beautiful woman, who Kate tried not to think about, was asking her out on a date. Suddenly, her heart was pounding and her breathing seemed to even speed up. It had been so long since anyone had made her feel this way.

Cordy could not breathe as she waited for Kate to say something, anything.

"I would love to take you to dinner." Kate finally said softly and Cordy could help but break out into a huge grin. She had just done the one thing she thought she'd never do. Cordelia Chase just called up at a woman she was interested in and asked her on a date. And she had said yes. Cordy couldn't help but feel that it was the most incredible, honest thing she ever done. It was like the truth was out, that Cordy was attracted to women, but suddenly what people thought didn't matter so much. She didn't care about what people said or thought about her. She could worry about that later, after she got off the phone. Right now, all she cared about was that Kate said yes.


Cordy stared at herself in the mirror, trying to decide if she looked all right or not. She couldn't remember being this nervous about a date in years. Getting dressed for her date with Kate had taken her forever and she had changed three times, and still wasn't sure if she was happy with the results. She had finally decided on a short black skirt and a black tank top that was accented by sequins and rhinestones. Her hair was down and curled in that sort of wavy way she really liked. But would Kate like it?

"Dennis," Cordy called, walking out of her bedroom, "Do you think I look good?" She turned around and there was a very loud, definite knock signaling yes.

"Thanks." Cordy said, smiling. Sometimes living with someone wasn't all that bad.

Five minutes later, there was a knock at the door. Grabbing her purse, she glanced in the mirror one more time and then opened the door to see Kate standing there, looking just as nervous as Cordy was and just as beautiful. She was wearing a short, spaghetti-strap dress and her blonde hair was pulled up with strands hanging down. If Cordy's heart could possibly go any faster, it did at the sight of Kate.

Kate could barely believe she was here, taking Cordelia out on a date. She looked so incredibly beautiful and sexy that it felt like Kate stopped breathing for second. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah." Cordy said, slightly breathless and closed the door behind her.

They rode the elevator in silence, just casting glances at each other until Kate reached over and touched Cordy's arm. "You look beautiful." She said softly and Cordy felt like her heart might burst. She couldn't stop the smile from spreading her face.

"Thank you. So do you." Cordelia replied and Kate smiled this little smiled that seemed to make things a little bit easier for Cordy. Whatever might happen tonight was okay, whatever she might be risking was okay because it was worth it.


After the initial discomfort, the two women fell into easy conversation with each other. Most of the time Cordelia's dates were filled with inane conversation about stupid things, but Kate didn't go on about the things her dates usually did or ask idiotic questions. She was smart and seemed to actually care about what Cordy was talking about. Plus, Kate made her laugh.

It was like everything seemed perfect all of the sudden. Cordelia could hardly believe that she was a great date with Kate, a beautiful woman and it felt so right. They were at the cutest Italian restaurant and Cordy had expected to be concerned about what might happen or what the other customers thought about the two of them having dinner together but Kate had a way of making her forget all the stuff she thought she'd worry about. Instead, she found herself talking about Angel and Doyle, about her dream of being an actress and even a little bit about Sunnydale. Cordy had almost slipped up twice about the vampire bit and the true nature of Angel Investigations but had managed to recover before Kate asked questions.

"You get used to Angel after a while...even though he has a tendency to brood and refuse to ask clients for any money. How can you run a business without billing your clients?" Cordy said as she sipped her dinner cappuccino. Kate smiled at Cordy's exasperated question.

"Well, that's one positive thing about working for the city. You get a regular paycheck, no matter how small it may be." Kate said. The waiter suddenly appeared and dropped the check on the table, which both women stared at. Cordy was dumbfounded at what to do. Usually, she always let the guy pay no matter who had asked who but the same rules didn't really apply. She had done the asking, after all but then Kate was the one who had chosen the restaurant. Cordy knew there really wasn't much of a point for this internal debate, considering that she only had a few dollars in her purse.

Kate seeing the confusion and slight panic in Cordy's eyes, she reached over and picked up the check. "Hey, I've got it this time." Kate said, as Cordy breathed a sigh of relief. Then Kate's words really sunk in. Would there be a next time?

After paying the check, Cordy and Kate walked out to the car in silence both thinking about one thing as the night pulled to a close: the goodnight kiss.

Cordy's heart seemed to hammer in her chest at the thought of kissing Kate. Did she want to kiss Kate? There was really no question that she wanted to kiss Kate very much. She wanted to kiss Kate so badly that there was a dull ache in her heart when she thought about it. Did Kate want to kiss her? Usually, Cordelia was pretty good at reading people but she couldn't help but feel clueless in this situation. Kate knew she really wanted to kiss Cordy she wasn't sure if Cordy wanted to. She wasn't sure what Cordy thought of her or their date. Hell, Kate did not know what she thought about it herself.


"So," Cordy said as Kate pulled to a stop in front of Cordelia's apartment building. Kate looked over at Cordy, noting how cute she was when she was nervous. "I guess this is goodnight."

"I guess so." Kate replied and Cordy felt her heart sink slightly. Kate wasn't making any move to lean in to kiss her and Cordy bit her lip slightly. This was definitely not the way she wanted the night to end. And Cordelia Chase was used to getting what she wanted. Her desire to kiss the woman across from her out weighed her total fear, so leaning over to touch Kate's arm; she brought her other hand up to the blonde woman's face. Slowly she leaned in even further to press her lips to Kate's. Gently, Kate started to respond, kissing her back and tangling her hands in Cordy's soft hair. Cordelia took advantage of Kate's open mouth to explore it with her tongue.

The touch of their tongues together sent desire shooting through both women. Kate moaned slightly and finally gave in to kiss totally, wrapping her arms around Cordy. The kiss grew passionate as Cordy returned the embrace. All was lost in the daze of Kate's soft lips and arms. Before she could even realize it, Kate was pushing her away.

"What? Did I do something wrong?" Cordy asked as she tried to catch her breath. Kate was breathing heavily and had her eyes closed, like she was trying to get in control of her emotions. Cordy felt a kind fear that was unfamiliar flow through her.

"No," Kate answered with a sigh. She looked over at Cordy and saw the fear in the other woman's eyes and she shook her head. It wasn't like Cordelia thought, it wasn't that Kate didn't want Cordy or that the kiss they had just shared was not the most amazing thing ever. "No, you did nothing wrong. It's just..."

"What?" Cordelia asked and Kate tried to gather her thoughts.

"Cordy, I can't be your phase." Kate finally said, softly. Cordelia looked perplexed and Kate felt her heart jump into her throat. How could she possibly explain? "What is mean is that two days ago you didn't understand how I could be a lesbian and now here we are kissing, and we both know that wasn't a simple goodnight kiss. It felt like a beginning."

"It is." Cordy softly insisted, trying to understand what Kate was doing. The only thing that seemed to make any sense was that seemed to ending this before it began.

"It can't be. I'm really happy that you've finally admitted that you are attracted to women and that you've begun exploring your sexuality. But I can't be involved with you." Kate finished saying, hating the words but knowing they were necessary and true. This date had been amazing and what she felt for Cordelia wasn't simple, and Kate knew that she could and would fall in love with this woman.

"I don't understand. You don't want to be with me?" Cordy said as tears filled her eyes. This was not how it was supposed to go. They both felt it, so what was the problem?

"No, I do want to be with you. Cordy, I think that if I were to be involved with you I would end up falling in love with you. In fact, I think I've all ready started. That kind of opens up a big opportunity for me to get hurt and I couldn't take that. Everyone goes through phases and Cordy, you are young and questioning which is good, but I am twenty-seven years old. I know what I want and that's not going to change. What I fear is that what you want will change." Kate finally finished.

Cordy just looked at her as a tiny tear finally spilt over her cheek. What Kate was saying was clear. Kate was afraid that she would change her mind, or that this was a phase she was in. Afraid that Cordelia would break her heart. It was a familiar fear, one that Cordy had every time she started a relationship but Cordy tried to no to let stop her from feeling. Kate seemed to be frozen with fear and Cordy knew if she didn't think of something to say she would lose Kate forever.


"No," Finally Cordelia managed to get that simple word out.

Cordy stared at Kate, this amazing, beautiful woman who had made her feel so much, all these emotions and thoughts that Cordelia had spent her whole life trying to deny she had. She had buried them so deep inside but this one woman changed all that. Kate made Cordy want to feel these things and experience them, and although she was still scared as hell Cordy knew it was worth. Cordelia wanted to be with Kate more than she had ever wanted anything before. She just didn't know how to tell Kate that.

"What I want won't change," Cordy said quietly. Kate looked at her and sighed.

"You say that now but you don't know..."

"You're right, I don't know." Cordy suddenly interrupted Kate. "I don't know what's going to happen and neither do you. You think I'm not scared? Kate, I don't think I've ever been so scared and I've seen some scary things in my life. That won't go away and there can't be any guarantees, but that's just the way it is. It doesn't change the fact that I want to be with you!"

Kate closed her eyes, wanting to believe Cordelia with all her heart but so afraid to. God, she wanted to be with Cordy. She wanted to kiss her and hold her and make love to her and never let go but was Kate willing to take that risk, knowing that this young, beautiful girl would have the power to tear her apart if she wanted to. All her life, Kate had been taught by her father not to show emotion, to keep yourself tough and distant, and don't let your heart get the better of you.

"I don't know how to not be afraid, how to give myself the chance to be happy with you. It is just not how I'm made. I'm sorry, Cordy." Kate whispered as tears came to her eyes. She was starting to cry and couldn't stop herself, even though she tried to never cry in front of others.

Cordy didn't say a word; she just wrapped her arms around Kate and held her as silent tears ran down her face. It was unlike anything Cordelia had ever experienced, this raw emotion that seemed to be coursing through her. Only one thing seemed to matter at this moment was Kate.

"Do you want to be with me?" Cordy asked softly as Kate lifted her head and Kate nodded, not yet trusting her voice to speak.

"Then that's the only thing that matters. I know you're scared. I am too." Cordy said, taking Kate's face in her hands and leaning close to her, to get near her body's softness and warmth. "But, baby, I would rather say I gave up my heart and had ripped out of my chest then to say I never gave it to anyone."

Kate felt her resolve crumbling. What Cordelia said made so much sense and she knew, in her heart, that it was the truth. She wanted to fall in love with Cordelia, no matter what might happen. She wanted to make herself vulnerable at least this once because it was worth it. One look into Cordy's eyes confirmed that fact and Kate leaned in very slowly and brushed her lips across Cordy's. Years of trying to be tough and not feel seemed so pointless now, all those times she had pushed people away and not let herself see what was right in front of her. She had always pretended she was completely honest, yet deep down Kate had always been a liar. A liar because she never admitted to the truths about herself and her emotions.

As Kate kissed her very softly, Cordy's heart was singing with joy as things started to make sense. When they had started this, Cordelia had felt like the fearful, vulnerable one, but these few moments in the car had proved otherwise. Kate was just as scared and confused, as Cordy was, just as unsure about her own heart. In was this moment that Cordy really understood what was happening between them. This was about two people who were both flawed and scared trying because it is worth it to fall in love. This was not an experiment or a trial run of this new sexuality but something deeper. Cordelia Chase was falling in love with Kate Lockley.

"Please, be with me tonight." Cordy whispered and Kate nodded, knowing she was agreeing to more than just a night. She had just told Cordy what had been in her heart all along: they were meant to be together and nothing, not even fear or uncertainty could change that.