InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Office Politics ( Chapter 6 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Six~~
~Office Politics~


'They can see no reasons
' 'Cause there are no reasons
'What reason do you need to be shown?'

'Tell me why? I don’t like Mondays
'Tell me why? I don’t like Mondays
'Tell me why? I don’t like Mondays
'I want to shoot ... The whole day down …'

-'I Don’t Like Mondays' by the Boomtown Rats


Valerie strode into her office in a fine temper.  Thanks to that no-account, overgrown delinquent, she’d stomped all the way home—no small feat since he lived practically on the other side of the city—only to realize once she’d gotten there that she’d been so angry that she’d left her car parked on the street outside Zel’s estate.  By the time she’d called a taxi to take her to pick it up and drove home, she’d had a hell of a time getting to sleep the night before, and consequently, she’d overslept this morning, meaning that she’d had to take what amounted to a five minute shower.  Unfortunately, the water heater in her apartment building had broken and wouldn’t be fixed until later today—a message that she hadn’t received until she was standing there, shivering as she gulped down a scalding hot mug of chamomile tea.

Since she hadn’t had time for breakfast, she could also add being ravenous to that list—yet another thing that she could blame on that damned Zel Roka.

Heaving a sigh, she rubbed her temple, rifling through the pencil drawer on her desk for the small bottle of Tylenol that she kept there for dire situations.

Blast him, anyway.  Intolerable miscreant that he was, she knew that agreeing to be his attorney would be the worst choice she ever made.  At least she’d been able to make the best one, ever, too, in dumping the damned fool, and while the smallest, tiniest voice whispered in her head that he’d probably never find anyone else stupid enough to take on his case, she refused—absolutely refused—to let herself feel bad about that, either.

He had his chance, didn’t he?  She’d given him very explicit terms—terms that anyone could understand and that would only benefit his situation, but no.  No, no, a thousand times, no . . . He honestly possessed the unmitigated gall to be offended and even put upon that she would inhibit his lifestyle, even if it wasn’t permanent, and even if the constraints might even benefit him in the end.

Shaking out two pills into the palm of her hand, Valerie frowned at the dosage then shook out two more for good measure.  Her hands were still freezing from that stupid shower.  ‘Idiot rock star,’ she fumed as she downed the pills with a couple slugs of water before taking a deep breath and flopping into her chair.

She had just started reviewing her list of meetings for the day when the door opened, admitting an absolutely smug-looking Zel Roka.  “Mornin’, babe,” he greeted between bites of cream filled, chocolate covered doughnut.  “Wan-a-bite?”

“Ugh, no,” she muttered, waving a hand dismissively.  “What are you doing here, Mr. Roka?  I could have sworn that I said everything that I needed to say to you last night.”

Why, oh why, did he have to grin at her like that?  She stifled a sigh, determined not to let him see how horribly he’d already managed to crawl under her skin in the span of a few seconds.

“Well,” he drawled, sauntering over and settling himself in the chair across from her, “I had an appointment with your boss—the Xavier Bainey, esquire, himself.”

“Did you?” she asked mildly, reaching for the file on top of the neat stack in the tray.  “He gave you the doughnut, I take it.”

“Yeah,” Zel remarked, wiping his fingers on his tattered jeans.  When she made no move to question him further, he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees as he continued to grin at her.  “Not going to ask me what about?”


“O-O-Okay,” he drawled with a breathy chuckle.

“I have an appointment in ten minutes, so if you could just leave . . .” she suggested when he made himself comfortable once more.

“So what are you?  About a ‘B’?” he asked suddenly.  “I’d have guessed a ‘C’, easy, after seeing those pictures, but damn, I can’t see how you manage to hide them so well, if that’s the case . . .”

Valerie glanced up, blinking in confusion since she wasn’t entirely sure exactly what he was talking about—until she saw where he was staring and until she noticed that he was holding up his hands as though he were juggling a pair of breasts . . . Uttering a harsh growl born of abject frustration, Valerie shot out of her chair and started around the desk, intent on telling Zel Roka exactly what he could do with his brand of perversity when the knock sounded on her door.

She spared a moment to pin him with a warning look that even he couldn’t possibly mistake before stomping over to yank on the handle.  “Yes?” she snapped.

Van Delainey, another attorney who had been hired in about the same time she had, blinked and stepped back, his friendly smile faltering though it didn’t disappear completely.  “Morning, Valerie.  I just need the Norton case file . . .”

She blinked in surprise, then shook her head and frowned.  “That’s my case.”

Van opened and closed his mouth, his cheeks pinking slightly, then shrugged.

“Valerie, Valerie!  Just the girl I was meaning to talk to!  Right this way, right this way!  Van, I’d imagine that file’s on her desk, so why don’t you help yourself?” Xavier said as he strode over, one of his patent-lawyer smiles in place.  He leaned to the side to look around Valerie and waved at Zel.  “Ah, Mr. Roka!  We’ll just be a minute.  Shall we?”

Valerie clamped her mouth closed as she followed her boss down the long hallway to the posh office at the end, and Xavier didn’t speak until after he’d closed the door.  “Doughnut?”

“Oh, no thanks,” she said.

Xavier held one out to her, anyway, then took a huge bite when she shook her head.  “Mr. Roka came by this morning to let me know how thrilled he is that you’re taking his case.”  He chuckled, looking positively like the cat that ate the canary.  “Well, of course you know that, considering he’s sitting in your office right now, eh?”

“What?” she blurted before she could stop herself or even spare a moment to at least modulate her tone.  As it was, she could only assume that Xavier was either so absorbed in what he viewed as a small victory or he had simply chosen to ignore the harshness in her tone.

Xavier set the doughnut on a napkin and grinned, showing far more teeth than the standard-seven that he normally flashed on a regular basis.  “He’s very pleased with you, Valerie!  Whatever you’ve done, you’ve managed to make a hell of an impression on him!”

“But I haven’t—”

“Anyway, anyway, he was a little concerned that you wouldn’t have enough time to devote to his case with your current workload, and I agree, so I’ve asked some of the others to take a few of them off your hands for you.”

“A few of them?” she echoed dumbly.

Xavier grimaced and nodded.  “Well, more like all of them—except for Mr. Roka’s of course.”

“Those are my cases,” she interrupted with a shake of her head.  “My clients trust me, and some of them have rapidly approaching court dates!  Surely you cannot mean—”

He chuckled and clapped her on the shoulder in a completely good-natured sort of way.  “From what I understand, Mr. Roka gets into trouble when he’s bored, so I think it is in his best interest that you handle his case exclusively.  You understand the exposure that a client of his caliber can bring in, right?  We may not be able to get him off the hook completely, but if you can just get him a drastically reduced sentence, then it’ll really bring in the clients!  Word of mouth, Ms. Denning!  You can see the big picture here, can’t you?”

“Th-The big picture?” she stammered, shaking her head as she struggled to grasp Xavier’s reasoning.  “The man is a walking, talking parasite!”

“Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t have the right to adequate legal representation,” Xavier went on, spreading his hands wide in an effort to help Valerie ‘see the light’.

She heaved a sigh and rubbed furiously at her temples as the throbbing in her head broke into a full-out jackhammer.  “I . . . I can’t . . .” she very nearly whimpered, more to herself at the prospect of having to deal with the likes of Zel Roka.

“Sure, you can!” Xavier insisted.  “Listen, Valerie, I didn’t want to mention this until things were a bit more official, but Halsey is leaning toward retirement soon . . . The little woman wants to travel the world while they’re still able to enjoy it, and he’s never been able to tell her ‘no’, you know . . . So if you can help to bring in that kind of business, well . . . ‘Denning’ would certainly look good on the company letterhead, don’t you think?”

Valerie heaved a sigh and scrunched up her face.  “I’m really trying not to,” she muttered.

Xavier chuckled.  “Look, Valerie, whatever you have to do, just keep him out of trouble.  If that means you have to babysit him, then babysit him!”

“Why me?”

“Mr. Roka specifically said that he wanted you to represent him—you, and no other.  Think about the publicity!  He is extremely high-profile.  I mean, this case is huge!”  He paused here to cast Valerie a bright, broad grin.  “I have a good feeling about this!”

That statement only served to draw another low moan from her.  “He’s completely unsalvageable, and he doesn’t give two cents for propriety.  Just a spoiled, pampered rock star that got caught doing something entirely stupid—something that any normal person wouldn’t be able to get away with.  Forget about saving him from getting what he deserves—he’ll be lucky if he isn’t hung out to dry by the judge.”

“It doesn’t matter if he’s acquitted or not.  No one actually thinks that he will be, but if he’s happy with his representation, then he’ll recommend us, and that is worth its weight in gold!”

Stifling a sigh as the dull realization that she just wasn’t going to win this battle started to sink in, Valerie heaved a sigh.  The real problem with men like Zel Roka was that everyone was too quick to cater to his every whim, and this just emphasized that point, as far as she was concerned, and now she was being basically ordered to pander to his whims, and that really didn’t sit well with her, at all.

Xavier, sensing that he’d won, leaned back against his desk and smiled happily.  “You don’t have to like him,” he added almost as an afterthought.  “Just keep him out of trouble.”


Valerie stomped back into her office a few minutes later after having taken a long time returning, mostly because she needed to calm herself down after Zel Roka’s latest show of highhandedness.  She’s been hoping in the back of her mind that he’d gotten bored and left.  No such luck, she realized as she stopped short, her eyes narrowing dangerously.  Sitting behind her desk, he wasn’t even attempting to hide the fact that he was snooping through her drawers.

With a very loud snort, she stomped over, slamming the drawer closed so abruptly that he barely had time to yank his hands back.  “Get out of my desk,” she gritted out from between clenched teeth.

That he grinned at her was not surprising, all things considered.  Actually, he was bordering on gloating, damn him.  “I’m hungry,” he said as though the thought had just occurred to him.  “How about some real breakfast?”

“I have business to take care of, Mr. Roka,” she replied.  “Now, move.”

Zel waved a hand at her as he opened another drawer.  Pulling out the expensive leather planner that she’d bought herself as a college graduation present, he actually had the audacity to open it up and scan the pages.  “‘Dinner with Brekradge: six p.m.’,” he read.  “Who’s Brekradge?”

She tried to snatch it away but missed when he jerked to the side.  “One of my clients,” she informed him.

“Lucky bastard,” he muttered, flipping through a few more pages.

“Can I have that back?  Please.”

He ignored her, of course.  “‘Meeting Marvin . . .’ Marvin?  Who the fuck is Marvin?  Who the hell names their kid ‘Marvin’?”

Pressing her lips together into a thin line, she crossed her arms over her chest and slowly counted to twenty.  “None of your business,” she said.

“He a client?”

Twenty-one . . . twenty-two . . . twenty-three . . .’

“No, and there’s nothing wrong with that name.”

“Yeah, if you’re the fat kid,” he retorted with a cheesy grin.

“He’s a very nice man,” she bit out stiffly.  “It’s a lot better than being named ‘Zel’.”

“I’ll give you points for the effort,” he remarked mildly.  “Not nearly as insulting as it could have been, though.”  He grinned lazily—that dangerous smile that she had a feeling she was going to come to despise.  “So who’s Marvin?”

Letting her arms drop, Valerie stomped across the room and yanked open the cabinet, rifling through the active case files to locate Zel’s.  “If you must know,” she began in a haughty tone, yanking the file out of the drawer and shoving it closed—hard, “he’s my fiancé.  That’s right, my fiancé.  My fiancé is named Marvin, and it’s a very strong name that means ‘eminent marrow’, possibly Welsh in derivation.”

Wo-o-ow,” he drawled, slowly shaking his head as he leaned to the side and propped his elbow on the back of the desk chair.  “So you really hate it, huh?  Can’t blame you.  Reminds me of little green men . . . in skirts . . . with vaporizer guns . . .”

“For your information, I happen to like the name ‘Marvin’, and I looked it up because I wanted to know what it meant.”

“You sure about that?  The only time someone gets that defensive about something like that is if they didn’t like it to start with, and they’re just trying to convince themselves that it ain’t really as bad as it sounds . . .”

“Yes, well, that shows how very little you know, Mr. Roka.  Anyway, Marvin’s none of your business, all right?  So drop it.”

“How can a woman as hot as you be engaged to someone named Marvin?” he went on, completely disregarding her warning that he’d do well to let it alone.  “I gotta tell you, the only ‘Marvins’ I’ve ever met had really small peenies . . .”

She couldn’t staunch the flow of blood that shot into her cheeks at his unwelcome commentary.  “Not everyone is as obsessed about size as you seem to be, you know, and not that it matters to you, but I’ll have you know that Marvin certainly isn’t . . . small . . .!”

“Okay, so you’re engaged to the one Marvin on earth who has a reasonably sized cock.  So what’s this paragon of pecker-tude’s last name?  Do I know him?”

Gritting her teeth as she reminded herself a few times that she absolutely was not going to lower herself to Zel Roka’s level, she strode over and tossed the file onto the desk before pinning him with a completely blank expression—no small feat, all things considered.  “There’s no way in hell that you know him,” she remarked.  “Now will you leave?   I need to look through your file, and I can’t do it while you’re trying to start a fight with me.”

“All right; all right, I’ll lay off your darling Mervie.”

“It’s “Marvin’, Mr. Roka—Marvin.”  Stifling the urge to roll her eyes, Valerie tried to grab the planner again.  “Didn’t you ever learn that it’s rude to snoop into other people’s things?”

“What?  This?  This is just a planner, V.  Ain’t like it’s a diary or nothin’.”

Heaving a sigh at the deplorable nickname that he seemed to have adopted for her, she tried to remind herself that she was supposed to be working for him, even if she’d rather be stranded in Antarctica without a coat.  “Look, Mr. Roka, I’m a very busy woman.  I have things that I have to get done, and I can’t do it if you’re hanging around here, pestering me.  Why don’t you go find something else to do?  Preferably far away from here . . . Go play on the Interstate or something—just go away . . .”

Snapping the book closed between his hands, he let it fall harmlessly on the desktop as he shot her what could only be described as a completely petulant pout.  “But I’m bored!” he whined.

Valerie snapped her mouth closed on the retort she’d been forming as her chin snapped up to stare at him.  “Oh, my God!  What are you?  Five?”

The pout didn’t wane.  If anything, it became more pronounced.  “Well, you didn’t have to take that tone with me,” he muttered.

“I take that back.  I was being too generous.  I’ve met five year-olds who weren’t as infantile as you.”

Zel wrinkled his nose and got to his feet, still obviously pouting.  “Why you gotta do me like that?” he protested.

Valerie let her face fall into her hands then rubbed it for good measure, her sigh echoing against her palms as she struggled to retain some measure of control over her rapidly skyrocketing irritation.  “Can you just go find something else to do?”

“O-Okay,” he drawled, sounding entirely suspect.  “Guess I can take a hint . . .”

She rather doubted that he could but said nothing as he stood up and headed for the door.  Digging his cell phone out of his pocket, he dialed it as he reached for the door handle.  “Hey, Maddikins . . . I don’t suppose you’re free . . .?”

Eyes flaring wide as a slow comprehension dawned on her, Valerie ran across the room, smacking her hand against the door that had just started to open.  Zel shot her a cursory glance as Valerie yanked the cell phone out of his hand.  “He’ll call you back,” she growled then clicked it ‘off’.  “You are so not going to do what you were thinking about doing!” she informed him.  “Madison is a nice girl!  I’m not going to let you use her!”

He actually looked vaguely irritated at the verbal set-down.  Staring at her for a long moment, he squinted slightly as though he were trying to figure out exactly what she was thinking.  She shook her head slightly, mostly because of the icy shade of gray his eyes were today, but stubbornly stood her ground.

Suddenly, though, he laughed.  The lightning-fast changes in his mercurial mood were going to take a bit of getting used to, she supposed.  “I’m really hungry,” he finally said, dragging his fingers through his currently-light brown hair.  “That doughnut just wasn’t ‘breakfast’ . . . So how about it?”

She opened her mouth to tell him that she certainly wasn’t hungry, but her stomach rumbled ominously, which only served to further his amusement.  “God, you sound like you’re gonna eat me,” he remarked as he reached for the handle again.  “’Course, if you wanted to eat me, I’d be more than happy to let you . . .”

Shaking her head since she was starting to wonder if he really didn’t realize when he was saying entirely inappropriate things, she hesitated for a moment before retrieving her purse from the cabinet near the door.  “All right,” she allowed almost grudgingly.  “We’ll consider this a business lunch.  I’ve got a few things that I need to clarify with you, anyway . . . and since it’s a business lunch, then I’ll allow you to pay for it.”

He held the door open as she ducked under his arm in passing.  The husky sound of his laughter was enough to shake her senses just a little, and he followed her out of the room.  “I think I can handle that,” he agreed amiably enough.  “Does this mean I get to choose the place?”

“Absolutely not,” she informed him brusquely as she stopped beside the receptionist sitting just outside her office.  “Anne, forward my calls to my cell, please.”

“Are you sure?” he continued, sparing a moment to wink at the receptionist who blushed deep crimson in response, “because I know this great little seafood place . . .”

Valerie sighed and led the way to the elevator, unable to shake the nagging feeling that she was sorely going to regret taking on Zel Roka’s case . . .

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~

I Don’t Like Mondays” originally appeared on the 1979 album, The Fine Art of Surfacing by the Boomtown Rats.  Song copyright 1979 to Bob Geldof and John “Mutt” Lange.

== == == == == == == == == ==
Final Thought from Valerie
He’s a walking, talking headache
Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Subterfuge):  I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga.  Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al.  I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.