InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Child's Play ( Chapter 13 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Thirteen~~
~Child's Play~


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'< i>The cowboy kills the rock star …
'And Friday nights gone too far
'The dim light hides the years
'On all the faded girls …'

-'Broadway' by The Goo Goo Dolls

-Evan-


"So, V . . ."

Valerie sighed and slowly, pointedly, turned a rather bored stare on Evan.  "Have I told you lately that I really don't like it when you call me that?" she asked.

He waved a hand dismissively and frowned as he touched the key on the baby grand piano.  His frown deepened as he hit the key a few more times, pausing a moment to listen to the note that lingered in the air.  "Ah, damn it . . ."

She blinked as the papers in her hand tilted back, forgotten.  "What?"

Letting out a deep breath, he dragged his long fingers through his now-blue-black hair.  "Needs fucking tuned," he complained.

She smiled almost snidely.  "You mean you can't do that, yourself?"

He shot her a somewhat droll sort of look despite the hint of amusement in his eyes.  She was in rare form, wasn't she?  Then again, she always was, wasn't she?  "I can, but it's a pain in the ass.  Rather just pay someone to do it."

"See?  That's entirely your problem, Mr. Roka," she said, turning her attention back to the document she was reading.

He wandered toward her, draping himself over her shoulder.  Her back stiffened almost instantly.  "What is?"

She had to clear her throat before she spoke.  Evan didn't miss it, either.  "Y-You . . . You don't do anything for yourself; you just pay other people to do it for you."

He chuckled at the absolute breathiness in her tone.  Damn, she smelled good.  There was just something about her, wasn't there?  Something innately . . . sexy as all hell . . . "Oh?  You know, V, I'm a very busy man.  I don't have time to sit around here, tuning my piano.  What's wrong with paying someone else to do it?  Doesn't the other guy deserve to make a living, too?"

She spared him a chagrined sort of look.  "And you're trying to tell me that's the reason you won't do it yourself?"

He shrugged.  "You know, that peeved look of yours is hella hot . . ." He shifted his gaze downward and grinned.  "Speaking of 'hella hot' . . . I can see down your blouse, too."

She rolled her eyes and smashed her hand into the center of his face, shoving him back abruptly as she got to her feet.  "You're just foul," she muttered, unable to hide the blush that stained her cheeks a pretty shade of pink.  "Why are you so foul?"

He really did try not to laugh.  Seriously, he did.  It just didn't work.  "I dunno, V.  Why were you in my bushes?"

For the briefest of moments, she actually looked like she just might hit him.  Suddenly, though, she smashed her hand over her mouth and laughed.  "Jerk," she managed to choke out between giggles.

He hopped over the back of the chair and landed neatly in the seat.  "Yeah, but life'd be boring without me, right?"

She snorted and shook her head though her smile had yet to fade, which, in Evan's considered opinion, made it all worthwhile . . . "Anyway, I have to get going."

Narrowing his eyes as she started stashing things into her attaché case again, he wasn't entirely sure that he liked the idea of her leaving . . . "Why?" he asked in a thoroughly neutral tone of voice.

She didn't answer right away.  In fact, he was starting to think that she wasn't going to answer, at all, when she finally shrugged and uttered a brisk little sigh.  "I have dinner plans," she told him.

Little alarm bells started sounding in his head.  It might have had something to do with the altogether smug little smile toying with her lips.  "With whom?" he asked.  'Score for me . . . that sounded neutral enough, too . . .'

Oh, he really didn't like the way the smug little smile turned slightly coy . . . "My fiancé."

He snorted.  Loudly.  "Oh, ri-i-i-ight . . . what was his name?  Irwin?"

Those gorgeous hazel eyes narrowed menacingly.  "Marvin," she corrected.

He waved a hand in blatant dismissal.  "You don't say . . . So, where are we going?"

She blinked.  "We are not going anywhere, Mr. Roka.  Marvin and I are going to dinner, yes, but you are staying here, out of trouble.  Do we understand?"

He pasted on the most tolerant little smile he could muster.  "But it'd only take me a minute to change . . . Aw, hell, I just need a shirt . . ."

"No," she stated flatly, crossing her arms over her chest to pin him with a no-nonsense glower.  "Absolutely positively not."

"But I want to meet this pillar of society," he assured her.

She rubbed her forehead in a completely exasperated sort of way.  "Just stay here and be good, can't you?"

He grinned tightly.  "V, baby, I'm always go-o-od."

She snorted.  "You don't know the meaning of the word, 'good'."

The grin took on a lazy sort of tilt.  "Well, depends."

"On what?" she shot back.

"See, there's 'good' and then there's 'go-o-o-od' . . ."

She stared at him for a long moment, completely nonplussed.  "Hmm, then let me clarify: tonight you will be 'good'."

He chuckled at the way she held up her hands and pinched her thumb and index fingers together with both hands to emphasize her point.  "Good's no fun, but go-o-o-od . . . That's all right."  She slowly shook her head.  "Want a demonstration?"

She reached for the case.

"Tell me what's so fantastic about a guy named Moravin," he countered.

"Mora—It's 'Marvin', you doofus," she retorted hotly.

Evan grinned.  "Yeah, whatever, whatever. Tell me what's so great about him."

She rolled her eyes, and for a moment, he seriously thought that she wasn't going to answer him.  "Well, unlike you, he's a nice man, a good man."

"Nice is overrated," he countered with a grin.  "Is he tall?"

She shot him a completely chagrined sort of look.  "What does his height have to do with—?"

Evan leaned forward on the back of the chair to leer at her.  "Is he a big man?"

A flash of comprehension flared to light behind her gaze, and she narrowed her eyes as her cheeks pinked prettily.  "The biggest man," she shot back.  "Huge."

Evan chuckled mercilessly.  "Huge, huh?"

"Bigger than you," she retorted airily.

"Ah, come on, V!  I wanna meet Mervin!"

"Marvin."

He wrinkled his nose.  "Yeah, yeah, him!"

"No."

"Why?"

She stopped, her head snapping up, but she didn't turn around to look at him right away, either.  "Oh, my God, you sound like a child," she muttered.

"But if I don't come with you, I'll get bored," he warned her.

That didn't really work, not that he figured it would.  "Why do you want to come with me, and don't give me that bullshit story about wanting to meet Marvin, either," she said as she whirled around to stare at him once more.

Evan snorted.  "But I do want to meet him to make sure you don't meat him, because it's just not cool if my fiancée is out meating other men, savvy?"

She blinked, her cheeks pinking yet again, mostly because of the accompanying hand gestures that Evan had made to emphasize his point about 'meating' Marvin.

"I am so not your fiancée," Valerie bit out.

Evan grinned.  'Okay, so maybe the gestures weren't what she took exception to . . .'

"And you are not coming with me."

"All right, but tell me one thing, V."

She was dangerously close to losing her temper, if the flash in her eyes meant anything at all . . . "What?"

"Hypothetically speaking, if Mork—"

"Marvin."

"—Yeah, him—were to walk out in front of, say, a bus and bite the big one, would you marry me then?"

'Any more pissed off, and I just might see steam escaping from her adorable little ears . . .'

". . . No."

"V—"

She snatched up the attaché case and stormed toward the foyer, stopping just outside the doorway to swing around and glower at him once more.  "I mean it, Mr. Roka.  You aren't to leave this house for any reason at all!  You cannot afford to get into any more trouble than you're already in, so stay put!  I mean it!"

He heaved a sigh as she stomped out of the room.  Moments later, the resounding echo of the front door slamming preceded the vast wash of emptiness that always seemed to accompany the woman's departure, and Evan frowned.

Everything about the situation seemed wrong, didn't it?  Valerie . . . She didn't belong with this 'Marvin' guy, no matter how 'great' he was, damn it.  Even he could see that much.  The thing was, he wasn't sure how he could convince her.  He'd never had to do something like that before . . .


-Valerie-


Valerie followed the maitre d' through the restaurant to the small table beside the huge windows that looked out over the crowded street.  It was a special place to her, and she couldn't help but smile as the man pulled out her chair to seat her.  "Thank you," she murmured, flashing a bright grin at him.

Marvin stood up and hurried around the table to brush a chaste kiss over her cheek before sitting back down.  "Everything okay?  You're a little late . . ."

She waved off his concern.  He knew well enough that Valerie prided herself on being punctual, but she didn't feel like talking about the reason she'd been late, to start with.  After all, it'd taken her drive across town as well as a half-hour shower before she had calmed her irritation at the damned man enough to get ready for her date with Marvin, in the first place.  "I got a little tied up," she said.  "I'm sorry."

Marvin smiled in the endearingly sweet way that he always did.  "It's okay," he assured her.  "I had a call, anyway . . ."

"Anything important?"

He shook his head.  "Well, Winston Levine—you remember?  I told you about him . . ."

She frowned as she considered the name.  "Oh . . . San Francisco, right?"

He nodded enthusiastically.  "Right!  Anyway, he didn't flat-out say so, but I think that his group is seriously considering offering some financial assistance on the project."

"Really?" she blurted, her eyebrows lifting as a smile surfaced.  "That's fantastic!"

Marvin flinched and shrugged.  "It's not official, of course, but . . ."

Valerie shook her head.  "If anyone deserves it, you do, and I'm sure that they know it, too."

He smiled though he didn't look entirely convinced.  "Anyway," he breathed with a little chuckle, "I'm starving!"

She laughed and glanced at the menu out of habit.  She always had the same thing, at least in this restaurant.  "M-Marvin . . ."

"Hmm?" he intoned without glancing up from his menu.

"I'm glad you chose this restaurant," she said.

He peeked up at her, his expression blank for a moment before he smiled.  "It's a special place for us, right?"

For some reason, his words made her unaccountably happy.  That he remembered it like she did . . . 'Okay, so maybe he's not as . . . as exciting as Zel Roka, but he's reliable . . . dependable . . . and he remembers things that are important to me, too . . .'

Marvin laughed again.  "This is the place where we were the first time anyone called to have me come out to give a presentation to get funding."

She blinked, her smile fading slightly, and when she lifted her gaze to meet his, he'd already looked at his menu again.  "Yeah," she ventured, shrugging off the momentary disappointment in his answer.  "It's also the place where you asked me to marry you."

Marvin shot her a quick smile.  "Well, that, too," he agreed.  "Seems like this restaurant is good luck for us, huh?"

Valerie nodded.  "Y-Yeah . . ."

"Evening, folks.  Do you know what you'd like or do you need a little more time?"

Valerie smiled politely at the waiter and handed him the menu.  "I'd just like grilled chicken breast salad—may I have the chicken on the side?"

"Sure," he said, punching her order into the electronic transmitter.  "And you, sir?"

Marvin stared at the menu for another minute then finally smiled at the waiter.  "I'd like the grilled pork loin, please."

"Baked potato or fries?"

"Baked potato, thanks."

The waiter smiled.  "Okay, and to drink?"

"Iced tea," Valerie said.

Marvin nodded.  "Sounds good."

She turned her attention back to Marvin as the waiter hurried away.  "I'm glad you're in town," she said suddenly.

Marvin looked a little surprised but chuckled.  "Me, too.  I missed you, Val . . . You know, I was thinking . . . I mean, I know the Fourth of July is a few months away, but Hayes Mayward was telling me that he has this great place out on Cape Cod, and he mentioned that there'd be room for a couple guests this year out there . . . He always has guests, and they spend the day on the yacht, watching the fireworks from the water . . ."

"Really?" she asked.  "That sounds like fun."

He shot her the boyish grin that she knew so well.  He rather reminded her of a happy child that had just been praised by the teacher for being the only kid in class to score a hundred on his spelling test.  "I thought you'd like it."  He laughed suddenly and shook his head.  "I'll just have to remember to get my Scopolamine patch prescription filled so I don't end up seasick."

She laughed, too.  "Good idea," she replied.

"I told him I'd talk it over with you, but if you don't mind . . ."

"I'd love that," she assured him.  Glancing up, she started to say something else about it, but frowned when she caught the disapproving gazes of a couple at a nearby table.  They looked away quickly, the woman leaning across to whisper something to her date, who looked at the newspaper he was holding.  A moment later, they both peeked at her again, and she lifted her chin proudly and slowly turned away.

Marvin shifted his eyes from Valerie to the couple and back again.  "So . . ." he drawled slowly, his tone a little overly cautious.  "That article in the paper . . . Did you really hit your client?"

Gritting her teeth together, she tried to force a little smile.  "That was . . . taken completely out of context," she replied, "and he deserved it."

Marvin nodded slowly, thoughtfully.  "You . . . you hit the Zel Roka?"

"Marvin . . . He's obnoxious, okay?" she muttered.  "And what do you mean, 'the Zel Roka'?  You don't even know who he is, do you?"

Marvin laughed and shrugged.  "Just because I don't listen to the radio a lot doesn't mean I've never heard of him."

She sighed and rubbed her forehead.

"Okay, okay," he relented quickly, sitting back as his little smile widened just a touch. "I'm sorry; I'm sorry . . . You . . . You're not going to hit me, are you?"  He laughed.  "Oh, hey . . ."

Still a little irked, she tried unsuccessfully to hide her pique.  "Yes?" she asked.

Marvin grimaced at her clipped tone.  "Uh, nothing," he hurried to say.

"What?" she prompted, forcing a smile as she tamped down her irritation.  'Stop it, Valerie.  You're not really even mad at him, remember?'

Marvin shot her an apologetic half-smile.  "Well, I just wondered . . ."

"Wondered what?"

He leaned forward slightly, his normally ruddy complexion deepening in hue.  "You remember when I told you about the investor from Denver?"

She frowned in concentration, trying to remember the man's name.  "Oh, um . . . the newspaper guy, right?  Owns the Denver Daily?"

Marvin's grin brightened considerably.  He was always inordinately pleased when she could remember specifics about the investors that he talked about.  "Yeah!  Gus Johnston!"

Valerie smiled, too.  "Right . . . What about him?"

The self-consciousness seeped back into Marvin's green eyes, and he spared her a half-grimace, half-smile.  "W-Well, he's got a sixteen year-old daughter—Justina—a huge Zel Roka fan . . . and I thought . . ." He winced, as though he believed that Valerie wasn't going to like whatever it was he had been thinking.  "See, when I mentioned that you were his lawyer, she asked if you could . . . could get his autograph for her . . ."

Valerie smiled and shrugged.  "I'll ask him," she promised.  "I can't guarantee anything.  It may depend upon his mood," she cautioned.

It was enough to satisfy Marvin, though.  "Thanks, Val.  You're the best!"

Her cell phone rang.  She ignored it, reaching over and tapping the 'off' button to send the device into standby without so much as glancing at the caller ID, but Marvin's phone rang, too.  "Oh . . . um, it's Hayes Mayward—you know, the guy on Cape Cod?  Let me tell him that you like the idea of visiting them over the Fourth of July . . ."

She nodded and smiled at the waiter as he set her salad on the table.  Her cell rang again, and she answered it without bothering to check the number since Marvin was still talking on his.  "Valerie Denning."

"Hey, baby!  Whatcha doin'?"

Closing her eyes, she rubbed her forehead, wondering why she'd ever thought that she'd actually be able to get away from that man for more than a few hours . . . "Is there something you needed?"

He chuckled—airy, breathy, entirely too familiar.  "Well, funny you should mention that, V.  See, there's been a bit of a . . . I guess you could call it a misunderstanding . . . Don't suppose you could come on down here and help a brother out?"

"Misunderstanding?" she echoed, groping for her purse.  "What kind of misunderst—?  Come down where?" she demanded suspiciously.

"Now, sweetheart, before you get all pissy—"

"Try again, Roka.  I'm well beyond 'pissy' . . ." she warned, trying in vain to use one hand to pop the lid off the small bottle of Advil she'd taken to carrying around the same time she'd been coerced into taking on Zel Roka's case.

"Hurry it up, Roka.  You know the rules.  Five minutes."

Valerie's eyes flared wide as she lowered the phone and glanced at the caller ID.  'NYPD . . . Oh, Zel . . .'

"Yeah, okay," he drawled.  "So how 'bout it?  Come down here and pop me from this joint?"

"What did you do?" she demanded in a deathly quiet tone.

"I'm tellin' you, it was just a misunderstanding," he maintained stubbornly.  "Anyway, I'm at the 19th, and the cops are pretty tight today.   I'm guessing their favorite doughnut shop was closed down or something . . ." In the background, she heard a dull 'thump' followed in close order by Zel's exclamation.  "Ow!  You hear that, V?  Police brutality!"

"Yeah, well, if that's your attorney, Roka, then it's no big thing.  According to the papers, she beats on you, too."

Valerie stifled a low groan and furiously rubbed her forehead.  "I hate you," she muttered, heaving a sigh. "I hate you, hate you, hate you . . ."

"I know; I know," he muttered then chuckled again.  "Come on, V!  I don't wanna stay here all night!"

She had better than half a mind to let him do exactly that.  Too bad she simply couldn't  . . . "Isn't there someone else you can call?" she asked pointedly.

"No," he said.  "Attorney only."

"Fine," she said, slapping the phone closed as she snatched her purse off of the table.  "Of all the idiotic, stupid, moronic, retarded . . ."

"Val?"

She blinked and glanced at Marvin.  "I'm sorry," she said with a shake of her head.  "My . . . client . . . has been arrested.  I've got to go down to the 19th Precinct and pick him up."

Marvin's eyes widened.  "Oh, uh . . ."

Forcing a smile to reassure him, she shrugged.  "We can finish this back home, right?"

He smiled and nodded as he stood up and came around to squeeze her hands, tugging her down just enough to kiss her cheek.  "Sure," he told her.  "Take as long as you need."

She turned and headed toward the doors, her gaze darkening with every step she took.  Why—why—couldn't he ever do anything without getting himself into trouble?  She should have known, shouldn't she?  He caused an uproar whenever he went anywhere, didn't he?  And he just had to go out when she'd expressly forbidden it, didn't he?

Well, no matter.  That damned man was going to listen to her, whether he liked it or not.  She'd get him out of jail, take him home, and lock him in there if she had to; just see if she didn't . . .


-Evan-


"So, you want to tell me what that was all about?"

Evan shot Madison an overly-innocent look and shrugged.  "I dunno what you're talkin' 'bout, Maddikins."

She rolled her eyes and shook her head.  "Don't even try to give me that," she countered mildly enough.  "V looked mad enough to spit, and I suppose you had something to do with that."

He snorted and flopped onto the sofa.  "You're giving me far too much credit, you know.  Besides, V's always mad at me."

"All right," she relented easily enough as she sauntered over to sit beside him.  "So why did she have to pick you up at the 19th?"

He shrugged.  "Madison, did you know that there's an ordinance or something against public performing without a permit anywhere in New York City?"

Her lips twitched.  "Is there?"

He grinned.  He couldn't help it.  "Oh, yeah."

She giggled.  "Don't you have a permit for that?  I mean, you do gigs in New York City all the time . . ."

He snorted.  "Apparently, that's different, too.  If you're performing on, say, a street corner, you have to have a vendor's permit, and that aside, did you know you're not allowed to perform on any street corner on Madison Avenue?  Go fucking figure."

"So you were hauled in for that?"

Evan actually grimaced.  "Well, no . . ."

"Oh?"

"Well, for that I was fined five hundred bucks, but apparently they were a little worried about my welfare since there were about a hundred or," he coughed indelicately, "or maybe a few more kids hanging out with me . . ."

Madison covered her mouth but couldn't contain her laughter.  "I see . . ."

"And . . . Well, those kids had traffic stopped for about two blocks."

Madison's lips twitched a little more, but she said nothing.

He shot her a longsuffering glance and shrugged offhandedly.  "I need a smoke.  Got one on you?"

"Hmm, can't say I carry that sort of thing around with me," she allowed.

Evan leaned forward and pulled open the drawer under the coffee table, grabbing the bag of dope that Mike had given him just after his first meeting with Valerie Denning.  "Hey, get in that table beside you.  I think I got some papers in there . . ."

Madison did as she was told and scowled.  "Why's it so hot in here?" she asked suddenly, wrinkling her nose.

Evan frowned as he concentrated on rolling the joint on the table.  "Ah, the air's on the blink.  They'll send someone out to fix it tomorrow, they said."

"Ugh," Madison muttered.  She got up and wandered over to the living room control panel, fiddling with the settings.  A moment later, the electric buzz kicked in, and the hulking windows retracted, letting in a slight breeze that didn't really help as much as it teased them.

Dropping the rest of the bag into the drawer once more, Evan reached for his lighter and slumped back against the sofa again.  "Damn," he muttered, taking a long drag off the joint.

"I think it's going to rain . . ." Madison said.  She'd ventured out onto the patio and was staring up at the sky.

He made a face.  "You know something, Maddy?"

"What's that?"

Evan smiled a little sadly as he stared at the smoldering end of the joint.  "Have you met this Marvin of hers?"

Madison heaved a sigh and wandered back into the house.  "Officially?  No, but I have talked to him on the phone a couple times."

Evan cocked an eyebrow, holding out the smoke in a silent invitation.  "And?"

She shrugged, taking it from him and pulling a deep drag.  "And . . ." she shook her head.  "Well, he's not a bad guy, per se," she allowed though she didn't sound entirely pleased with it, either.   "I mean, Valerie's not stupid, you know?  If he were shitty to her or something, maybe it'd be easier, but . . . I don't know.  It's not that he doesn't care; it's that he doesn't care enough . . . Does that make sense?"

Sitting up, Evan tugged his shirt off and tossed it on the floor, followed in close order by his pants.  "That's better," he breathed, stretching out on the sofa again, bare-assed naked.  "So you mean he's got his priorities fucked up."

Madison considered that and nodded.  "That sounds about right."

He took the joint back, dragging off it as he contemplated Madison's words.  "She'll always be second or third with him, you mean?"

"The first time I met her, she'd sort of just wandered into my shop off the street.  Starr had started to tell her that we were by appointment only, but . . . but she just looked so . . . sad . . ." Madison waved a hand and started to peel off the tight black cotton dress she wore.  "Anyway, that was the second time good ol' Marvin pushed off their wedding date," she said, carefully laying the dress over the back of a chair to keep it from getting wrinkled.  She laughed suddenly, shaking her head as though she were remembering something good.  "I fixed her all up, and we went out that night.  Went to the Bunny Hole and got her completely plastered with just two house specials . . ."

"Oh, yeah?" Evan asked with a lazy smile.  "Damn . . ."

She turned on her heel and headed outside again.  Evan figured that she was going to take a quick swim to cool off, but he didn't follow her.

It bugged the hell out of him, didn't it?  Why in the hell would a woman like V put up with that kind of bullshit?  It didn't make any sense; not to him.  A woman like her should be pampered and coddled and given the best of everything . . .

And maybe . . . Maybe he was the one who could show her that . . .


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'Broadway'< /i> by The Goo Goo Dolls first appeared on the 1998 release, Dizzy Up The Girl.  Copyright belongs to John Rzeznik.
Bearing in mind that this is quite a distance into the future, we're taking a few liberties with ordinances and the like.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Reviewers
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MMorg
oblivion-bringr ------ malitiadixie ------ darkangel05 ------ Usagiseren05 ------ Jester08 ------ OROsan0677 ------ Sovereignty ------ Dark Inu Fan
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Final
Thought from Evan:
'Em damn Marvins
==========
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.
~Sue~

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