InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Anger ( Chapter 15 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Fifteen~~
~Anger~


-OoOoOoOoOo OoOoOoOoO-

'So take me as I am
'This may mean you'll have to be a stronger man
'Rest assured that when I start to make you nervous
'And I'm going to extremes
'Tomorrow I will change
'And today won't mean a thing …'

-'Bitch' by Meredith Brooks.

-Valerie-


Valerie plodded along the path that led through Central Park, drowning out the sounds of the city with the steady tones of Crystal Ladders, one of the newest and most cutting edge bands to rise up from the new music scene based in St. Louis.  A curious mix of folk and blues and rock, Crystal Ladders, along with the few other bands that had come to light recently, had adopted the tag of 'fu-blues'—fusion blues—to describe their collective and distinctive sounds.

She sighed but kept running, savoring the slight tickle as sweat dripped down her neck, only to be absorbed into the neckband of her tank top.  But the normal sense of peace that the exercise inspired was missing, wasn't it?  She'd gotten up early, unable to get back to sleep after Marvin's tossing and turning had awoken her a few hours ago . . . She was having entirely too much trouble dealing with her emotions, and while she knew somewhere deep down that she really had no one to blame but herself, she couldn't help the irritation that she really had let Marvin talk her into changing her plans.

With a sigh, she quickened her pace.  All right, so that wasn't entirely fair, either.  Marvin hadn't changed her mind.  He hadn't even really tried.  Still, she'd seen it in his face: had seen exactly how much the whole thing meant to him.  She knew that, didn't she?  And yet . . .

And in the end, she'd felt bad—felt horrible, actually.  Somehow, he'd managed to make her feel like the world's worst girlfriend with just a simple look.  Marvin's research . . . It could change the world, couldn't it?  At least, he could change it for a number of families who were still struggling, wish and hoping for a cure for neuroblastoma—a rare form of childhood cancer that, in the later stages of development, tended to be fatal.  Marvin's younger brother had died from it, and he'd devoted his entire life to trying to find a cure for it.

In fact, it was Marvin's absolute devotion to his cause that had first drawn Valerie to him.  She'd met him during her junior year of college.  He was giving a student lecture for childhood cancer awareness in one of the free lecture halls, and a friend of hers—a medical student—had talked her into going along.

She'd been mesmerized by Marvin's passion, his dedication, and after the lecture, she'd asked him to have coffee with her . . .

And maybe he wasn't exactly the most charismatic man in the world, but he was a good man.  Maybe he wasn't as tall and good looking as Zel Roka, but he always came off as entirely approachable: warm and affable, with a friendly smile and an enthusiasm that couldn't be denied.

So maybe that was the real reason that she'd felt so bad when she'd realized that this precious fundraiser of his was happening the same weekend when she'd already made plans to do other things.  Marvin was right.  Every time she went to one of the lawyer conventions she sometimes attended, she did complain that they were boring and almost a waste of time, so really, how would he have known any different?

Slowing to a walk, Valerie dug a bottle of water out of her fanny pack as she strode around the wide area where she always took a moment to cool off before heading back along the trail once more.

Why hadn't she told him?  Why hadn't she bothered to explain to Marvin that she wasn't going to a conference?  Why hadn't she just said where she really had been planning on going?  Marvin would have understood.  Marvin always tried to understand, and even if he didn't particularly care for the idea of her going to her younger sister's middle school graduation, he would at least have told her that, if it was important to her, then it was important to him, too . . .

Still . . .

It was just hard for her to talk about; that was it.  It always had been.  Her story was so much different from Marvin's, and while he tried to understand, she knew deep down that there were parts of it that he didn't, and how could he when she didn't, either?

Marvin's parents had died, and he and his younger brother had ended up in the custody of the State, he'd told her.  Sometime in the commotion of being moved and settled in with a few different families until he'd found a family who had kept him for most of his youth, his brother's symptoms had been overlooked, not purposefully, no, but in the chaos, what one family might have noticed, another one had missed . . . It wasn't that they didn't care: it was more that they just hadn't realized: that's what Marvin had said, and at first, they had trouble placing the boys together, as well, so he hadn't really noticed much, either, in the few instances when they'd have visits together.  Finally, though, they'd found a permanent placement with a very sweet older couple, but by then, his brother's condition was a lot worse, and he'd died less than a year later.

Marvin had continued to stay with the couple—the Robbins.  That couple had raised him until the husband died.  By then, Marvin was seventeen, and he'd stayed with the wife until he'd graduated from high school.  She died of a heart attack, complicated by pneumonia when Marvin was in his last year of college . . .

But Valerie's story?  It was much, much uglier than that, and maybe that was the real reason why she was loathe to talk about it, and while she'd told Marvin quite a bit of it, she certainly hadn't told him all of it.  It was just something that she didn't want to talk about much, anyway, so the bits and pieces that Marvin knew only served to show him the parts that she, herself, understood . . .

And maybe that was part of the reason why she'd wanted to go on that trip; part of the reason why she hadn't told Marvin—hadn't told anyone—her true destination, and while she tried not to be upset with Marvin for inadvertently making her feel badly for wanting to go, she couldn't quite help herself, either.

She took a deep drink from the water bottle and sighed.  When she'd left her apartment, Marvin was still sleeping, snoring lightly.  That was it, wasn't it?  She'd just had to get out of there before she let her emotions overwhelm her . . .

Letting out a deep breath, she pulled out her cell phone and dialed Madison's number.  She'd meant to call her when she'd gone out to jog, but it was too early then, and while it was still early enough, at least she wouldn't feel so badly about waking her up . . .

"Hello?" she answered, sounding oddly 'awake', given the relatively early hour.

"Hi, Maddy.  I just wondered if you could fit me in to do my hair on Saturday?"

Madison shuffled some papers around, probably looking for her planner, and very likely unable to find it, either.  "Saturday?  Wait . . . I thought you were going to be out of town this weekend . . ."

Valerie grimaced since she was planning on that and had told Madison and Zel exactly that the other day when she'd unceremoniously found the two of them, curled up together on Zel's sofa—naked.  She'd been furious, of course.  How dare that manipulating, conniving, odious man coerce Madison into going along with whatever nastiness he had in mind . . .? That he'd just grinned that intolerably smug grin of his and told her that nothing had actually happened was arbitrary.  She didn't doubt for a moment that he'd done something bad, and she'd told him as much, too—after she'd tossed a glass of icy cold water on the two of them, anyway . . .

"I was.  I'm not now," Valerie replied curtly.

"Oh, that didn't sound like a happy thing," Madison drawled.  "What happened?"

Heaving a long sigh, Valerie shook her head.  "Marvin got a last minute invitation to some fund raiser thing," she admitted.   "Anyway, he really wanted me to go with him, so I told him I would."

"Fund raiser thing?" Madison repeated.

"Yes, some black tie thing . . ."

Madison suddenly groaned.  "Oh, no!  Tell me you're not wearing that perfectly awful sack you call a dress."

Valerie rolled her eyes but finally managed a little smile.  "It's not that bad," she argued.

Madison snorted indelicately.  "It's not bad," she agreed mildly, "it's awful, and if you're planning on wearing it, then you can forget about me fixing your hair."

"Actually," she cut in before Madison could really get herself worked up, "I was wondering if you've got time to go shopping with me, too."

"New dress?" Madison mused.

Valerie sipped the water.  "Yes."

"And new shoes?" Madison pressed.

"Ma-a-aybe . . ."

". . . Can I pick the shoes?"

Valerie laughed.  "Within reason," she allowed.  "I don't like heels . . ."

Madison sighed.  "You love heels, V; you're just engaged to the world's shortest man."

Valerie tried not to laugh outright.  She did smile.  "He's not that short," she argued.

"Short enough," Madison rejoined.

All right.  She had a point.  It didn't bother her, though—at least, not that much.  Sure, Marvin was about four inches shorter than her.  Still, what he lacked in height, he made up for in personality . . . "You know, many of the world's greatest leaders weren't particularly gifted with height," she pointed out.  "Look at Napoleon.  Look at James Madison . . ."

Madison didn't reply right away.  Valerie figured she was staring at the phone receiver or something.  "I'd hardly put Marvin on par with any kind of military leader," she muttered.

"All the same," she maintained stubbornly, "I was going to go shopping, anyway . . ."

"Ah, what the hell?" Madison blurted suddenly.  "Count me in!"


-Evan-


"Cut, cut, cut!" Buzz Marleighvaughn interrupted with a heavy sigh, waving his hand in an irritated sort of way, nearly catching what was left of his frizzy brown hair on fire with the cigarette dangling limply between the knuckles of his third and forth fingers.  "What the fuck was that, Roka?  Sounded like utter shit!"

Evan didn't comment as he offered a shrug and grabbed his balls in a gesture meant to let Buzz know what he thought of the interruption.

"Yeah, whatever.  You gotta grow some, first," Buzz muttered.  "Anyhow, take it again from the top, and this time, try to sound like you wanna be here, you little cocksucker."

He rolled his eyes but grinned.



"'You tell me that you want me,
'It don't really mean a thing . . .
'If you tell me that you need me,
'Then you just tease me . . .
'So get down on your knees and pray . . .'"



Heaving a sigh, Evan yanked off the headphones and tossed them aside.

"What's the matter?" Mike asked through the intercom.

"The matter?" he echoed with a nonchalant shrug.  "Easy.  I don't fucking like that song."

Mike blinked, exchanging glances with the legendary producer.  ". . . But you wrote it."

"Yeah, well, I changed my mind.  I don't like it.  Forget it."

Mike shook his head.  "Zel . . . We're on a fairly tight schedule here," he reminded the rock star.  "We really need to get these tracks down—"

Evan headed for the door of the sound-proof studio and pushed into the hallway just as Mike stomped out of the mixing booth.  "Listen, Roka—"

"I'm just not feeling it, Mikey," he replied.  "Give me a week or two to do some rewrites—hell, I might just scrap that one entirely—dunno."

Mike sighed and rubbed a weary hand over his face—not entirely surprising since they'd been in the studio for nearly fourteen hours now.  "Wicked Soundsations isn't going to like this," he predicted slowly.

Evan snorted and scratched at his head.  "What are they gonna do?  Drop me?  Big deal.  Even if they did, I'd have another contract in less than a week."

Which was true enough, and Mike knew that, too.  To be honest, Evan highly doubted that they'd be too upset over the delay, anyway, all things considered.  It wasn't as though he gave them a lot of trouble, as far as meeting deadlines.  In fact, this would only be the second one he'd pushed back in his career with them—a far cry from some of the other 'artists' who threw hissy fits constantly because their underwear was bunched up a little too tightly.

Without another word, he headed for the stairwell, foregoing the elevator since he really didn't like those things in the least.

Stopping between floors long enough to peer outside, he grimaced.  It wasn't surprising in the least that his presence must've been leaked to the press since there were a handful of reporters outside, but he didn't feel like hanging out, for once.  True enough, normally, he rather enjoyed taking a few minutes or longer to chill with the fans that had managed to track him down.  It never ceased to amaze him, how crazy-insane his fans tended to be, and talking to them was always damn funny, if he didn't have any prior obligations.

Today, though . . .

Today he had other things on his mind: most importantly, someone in particular that he was anxious to see . . .

So he turned on his heel and headed upstairs, not stopping until he stepped onto the roof of the recording studio.

It only took about thirty minutes, give or take, of sprinting and jumping to reach the roof of the townhouse, and, satisfied that he wouldn't be seen, he dropped into the alley beside it.

"I see . . . Oh, no . . . I understand.  It can't be helped, right?  Of course not . . . Just get better soon . . . Okay, absolutely!"

Evan lounged casually in the doorway with a lazy smile on his face as he waited.

Gin Izayoi Zelig heaved a sigh and set the cell phone onto the table beside her, her shoulders slumping, her absolutely adorable little hanyou ears drooping.

"What's wrong, Mama?" he drawled without straightening up.

Gin sighed and shook her head, opening her mouth to say something.  Suddenly, though, she snapped her mouth closed as her eyes widened, as she stared at him for several calculating moments.  "Oh, it's awful!  Terrible!  Horrible!"

"Aww, I'm sure it's not that bad," he remarked.

She heaved a louder, longer sigh and rubbed her forehead.  "It is," she countered.  "I just don't know what I'll do!"

"'Zat so?"

She nodded dramatically.  "It's so so!"

Judiciously hiding his amusement, Evan shrugged.  "What happened?"

Gin twisted her fingers together in an exaggerated slow of impatience.  "We-e-ell," she drawled.

Evan chuckled.  "Now, Mama, you can tell me," he assured her, rather enjoying her feigned reluctance to voice her problems.

"You see," she finally said, "it's about the bachelor's auction . . . David Vanderwahl—otherwise known as 'Eligible Bachelor Number Ten'—broke his leg yesterday while he was waterskiing."

"That's too bad," Evan remarked.

Gin's eyes grew round, and Evan chuckled.  At moments like that, it was simple to see how his father succumbed to a woman like her . . .  "But it's for charity, you know, and ten bachelors would have brought in so much more money than just nine, and Mr. Vanderwahl was really the best looking of them all . . . He was People magazine's fifteenth most eligible bachelor last year."  She trailed off and tapped her chin thoughtfully.  "My goodness, who was number one on that list, again . . .?"

Evan's grin broadened since he knew damn well where his mother was going with this.  To be honest, it rather amused him.  "People magazine?  Don't recall reading it . . ."

"Oh!  That's right!  You were the most eligible bachelor last year!  My boy!" Gin exclaimed proudly.

Evan chuckled.  "I wasn't," he argued with a shake of his head.  "Zel Roka was."

She waved a hand as though it was of no real consequence.  "Same thing; same thing," she insisted as she wandered over to finger a lock of his bright, copper-red hair.  "So . . . Do you suppose you'd do your mama a favor?  It's for a good cause . . ."

"I don't know, Mama . . ."

"Please?"

He grinned again.  "What about Bubby?"

Gin laughed and kissed Evan's cheek.  "Your brother's married, and I don't think Sydnie would like it if I were to auction him off!"

Evan made a face.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of truth in that . . . "Yeah, you wouldn't get so much out of him, anyway.  He's too anal to impress the ladies—unless he flashed 'em his weenie.  That might get him some attention."

Gin giggled, her cheeks pinking up prettily at the mere thought of the aforementioned 'weenie'.  "Oh, I don't think that'd be in good taste, do you?"

Evan shrugged.  "I dunno, Mama.  Women seem to like my weenie all right . . ."

The twitters of laughter escalated.  "Oh, well . . . It was just an idea . . . You're so busy, anyway, but maybe I could talk your father into letting me sell him . . ."

The aforementioned 'father' walked into the room, glancing up from the papers in his hands with a somewhat quizzical look on his face.  "Sell me?" he echoed.

She giggled and hurried over to her mate, slipping her arms around his waist and giving him a quick squeeze.  He retaliated by kissing the top of her head, eliciting another round of giggles from her.  "I know; you're busy, but I just lost Eligible Bachelor Number Ten," she informed him, her eyes wide and blinking.  "I thought Evan would be a suitable stand-in, but he's so busy . . . I mean, you're just a tai-youkai, after all, not an internationally famous rock star!"

Cain snorted indelicately, likely at her allusion that he was 'just a tai-youkai'.  "Um, Gin, you're selling bachelors," he pointed out.

"That's right, Zelig-sensei."

He stared at her for several long moments.  ". . . But I'm married, baby girl—very married."

"We could market you as 'Semi-Eligible Bachelor Number Ten—brooding unknown artist," Gin went on.

Cain chuckled and shook his head.  "Maybe, but everyone there knows damn well that I'm your husband," he reminded her, "and I don't really brood . . ."

"Horse piss," Evan shot back.  "How'd they know any such thing when you're not even going with Mama, Cain?"

"Well, you do brood a little . . ." Gin went on.

"Is there something you wanted, Evan?" Cain asked, making a point of ignoring Gin's commentary, at least for the moment.

Evan shot his sire a cheesy grin. "I just came by to check on my hot date," he quipped.

Gin giggled, unable to control her humor. "You're such a sweet boy!"

Evan chuckled.  Cain rolled his eyes.  "Just make sure that damned Wayne Buchanan stays the hell away from her, understand?"

Evan scowled in concentration, turning his gaze upward as he considered the name.  "Buchanan . . . Buchanan . . . Oh, that old bastard with the house in Malibu who's always trying to lure Mama down for a visit?"

Cain grunted, his expression darkening just a little more.

"Oh, he's harmless!" Gin insisted.

"Yeah, well, he can keep his harmless ass away from you," Cain muttered, flipping the long end of his ponytail over his shoulder.  "How's court going?"

Evan tried to hide the grimace that surfaced on his features.  It didn't work so well.  He didn't have a doubt in his mind that good ol' Cain already knew damn well, 'how court was going': he had too fucking many spies at his disposal not to know.  Still, he forced a small smile and shrugged offhandedly since his mother's pleased expression had taken on a much graver note.  "Fine," he told them both.  "Nothing to worry about.  Got the best lawyer money could buy."

Cain cocked an eyebrow.  "And that's why she was beating on you in the paper the other day?"

Evan really did grin at that reminder.  "Well . . ."

Cain heaved a sigh.  "Take it easy on her, will you?" he admonished.

Evan chuckled.  "Don't worry about it, Cain.  I got it all under control."

"Of course you do," Gin insisted with an encouraging smile.  "Don't worry, Cain.  Evan's a good boy, and they'll see it, too."

Cain didn't look nearly as confident as Gin did, but he did manage a tight little smile.  "If you say so, baby girl."

"Don't lose sleep over it, Cain," Evan went on airily.  "Zel Roka ain't got nothin' to do with the precious office of the tai-fucking-youkai."

"Evan . . ." Cain began in a warning tone.

"What do you think, Zelig-sensei?" Gin asked suddenly, giving her mate a reassuring squeeze as she shifted from one foot to the other, feeling the tension tightening over the room.  "Bachelor Number Ten fell through, and I was trying to convince Evan, here, to fill in."

"Sounds about right," Cain remarked with a shrug.  "Besides, it is for charity."

Evan snorted but grinned.  "I don't know, Mama," he drawled slowly.

"Then again, Bas did sell for, what?  Seven-hundred-fifty thousand the year he let you talk him into it?" Cain mused.

"Oh, that's right!  That was the year before he met Sydnie, wasn't it?  He was our biggest money maker," she told Evan, as though he didn't already know that.

"Like I give a shit how much you sold Bubby for," Evan scoffed.

Cain nodded slowly.  "I suppose it would be a pretty big blow to the ego if Evan couldn't raise as much money as Bas."

"Could, too," Evan muttered under his breath. His parents didn't seem to have heard him.  "Fine, fine, I'll do it," he said, injecting just enough boredom into his tone to let his parents know exactly what he thought of the entire affair, "but it isn't because Bubby did it."

Gin squealed and clapped her hands happily as she bounced toward him to hug him tight.  "I knew you wouldn't let me down," she insisted.

Evan smiled and kissed Gin's cheek.  "'Course not, Mama . . . Seven-hundred-fifty, you say?"

Gin nodded and laughed once more.  "That's right."

Evan's smile widened.  "Not a problem," he told her.  "Not a problem, at all . . ."


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A/N:
'Bitch< /b>' as performed by Meredith Brooks first appeared on the 1997 release, Blurred Edges and is copyrighted to Meredith Brooks and Shelly Peiken.
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Final
Thought from Evan:
Too much upper-ass-crack for me …!
==========
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~
Chapter 14
Chapter 16
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