InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Anything ( Chapter 20 )

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


-OoOoOoOo OoOoOoOoOoO-

'You're running through my veins you feel like a freight train,
'I'm trying everything to keep my hands off of you.
'Just give me something,
'Please just give me anything,
'Cause I want you.'

-'Give Me Anything' by The Maine.

-Valerie-


Valerie sipped the glass of champagne as she glanced once more at the man—the one she knew and yet, she didn't.  Zel Roka?  Evan Zelig?  Just who the hell was he?

Currently dancing with his mother with that thoroughly besotted expression on his face, as though he had won the greatest prize of them all, he smiled down at the woman with absolute affection, unquestioned devotion, and his words made sense . . .

"That woman is everything—everything—that most women could never, ever be.  She means everything to me.  There's nothing in this world that I wouldn't do if she asked me to.  She asked me to escort her here, and I said that I would.  If she asks me to go home with her, well, then I'll do it.  If she asks me to sleep with her, then I guess that I'll do that, too.  I would die for her, Valerie.  Tell me: would your precious Marvin do that for you?"

She meant everything in the world to him because she so obviously adored him.  Even Valerie could see it, shining in the woman's eyes every time she looked at him: her son.  A sad little smile twisted her lips; one that didn't even come close to reaching her eyes.  'What is that like, really?' she couldn't help but wonder.  To have such a doting mother . . .?  He'd been raised by that kind of woman?  No wonder he had such a devil-may-care attitude . . .

Valerie had been sorely mistaken, and she knew it.  Thing was, the couple of times she'd tried to approach him since the altercation to apologize, he'd turned away, pretending that he hadn't seen her when she knew damn well that he had.

And she deserved that, too.  There wasn't a question about whether or not she did; she knew she did.  Still, all she wanted to do was apologize for jumping to conclusions.  If he'd just let her, that was . . .

The song ended—an old-fashioned waltz—and Valerie clapped politely along with everyone else.  Out of her peripheral vision, she saw Marvin, engaging one of his associates in some sort of banter, and it felt like some sort of messed-up dream.

Still, there was an odd sense, too, that she'd seen him before, wasn't there?  A sense that she knew this Evan—he was a stranger, and yet, he wasn't.  She'd seen him before; of that she was certain . . .

The glint of faux candle light from the table decorations caught her eye, and Valerie frowned, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose.  Veiled in the dusky shadows in a booth toward the back of the dining room all she could see was the yellowish glow of the electric candles reflecting off the pale hair of the booth's occupant.  Clipped short and tidy, he didn't seem out of place in the restaurant, yet there was something about him—about his presence—that seemed to fill the spacious room.  He had his face buried behind The Wall Street Journal, but he seemed to sense her perusal. Darkened eyes slowly rising, locking with hers for the briefest of seconds, he nodded curtly, the candle light shining off his wire-rimmed glasses before lifting the paper once more, covering his face more completely as he reached around the paper to retrieve the cream colored bone china coffee cup . . .

An audible gasp slipped from her, as her gaze unconsciously darted around to locate the man in question.  That was . . . was him?  That day in the restaurant . . .? 'B . . . But . . .'

It was just too much to take in, too much to make sense of.  First things first, though, she really needed to apologize to him . . .

"Val!  Hey, Valerie!"

Turning abruptly, she couldn't even summon a token smile as she spotted Marvin heading for her.  Still too angry over the entire auction incident—he'd spent a lot of money a little too impulsively, in her estimation—it was just something else to add to her growing list of reasons why she'd have been better off to stay in bed today.

"You having a good time?" he asked as he grasped her elbow gently and gave her an affectionate little squeeze.

She nearly choked.  "Uh, fine," she lied.  If he hadn't noticed that she most certainly wasn't having a good time, then she wasn't going to point it out, either.

He grimaced.  "Look, I'm sorry about the auction," he admitted sheepishly.  "I just figured that it was for charity, right, and we always donate to charities, anyway."

Valerie waved a hand, unable to trust herself to respond to that.  "Marvin, I think I might go home," she blurted, unsure exactly where the sentiment had come from but understanding that she meant the words as soon as they left her mouth.

"Wh-What?  Why?"

Stifling a sigh, she managed to summon a weak smile.  "Nothing.  I just, um . . . I have a headache . . ."

"Did you take some Advil?" he asked, concern evident in the depths of his gaze.

"Yeah, I did," she said.  "It's not helping much . . ."

"O-Oh . . ."

The sigh she'd been trying to stave off slipped out, and she shook her head as his expression registered his disappointment.  "You could stay," she told him with a little smile.

He shook his head and shrugged, trying to put a good face on whatever he was thinking.  "It's not that," he told her.

"Then what is it?"

He forced a smile and shook his head again.  "Uh, nothing."

"Marvin . . ."

He grimaced, hearing and interpreting the tone in her voice for what it was: a warning.  "I was just thinking . . . I mean, you've met Evan Zelig, right?  He seems like a pretty decent guy.  He participated in the auction, so he has to be all right.  So I was just thinking that if you could dance with him, you could, you know, put in a few good words for me."

"I-I don't think—"

"The Zelig Foundation is huge, Val, and they love to donate to anything that helps children especially.  If they knew about my research, maybe they'd help underwrite it—heck, they might fund the entire thing, they're that big . . . And then . . . and then I could come home, and we could get married, and . . . and that's what you want, isn't it?"

She grimaced, hating the hesitant tone in Marvin's voice—hating herself for making him feel as though he had to walk on eggshells around her.  He was a good man—a very good man—and he didn't deserve her antagonism.  "Of course I want that," she told him, her smile finally genuine even if it were a little weaker than usual.  "You know I do."

Marvin perked right up.  "Yeah?  So what do you think?  You look good—well, you look fantastic.  How could he possibly say no to you, right?"

Her smile faltered slightly.  "R-right . . ."

"It can't really hurt to ask him, can it?  I mean, just ask him to dance.  Anything; anything . . . just get him to talk to you, maybe."

It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him that she really didn't think that Zel—Evan—would go for it, but he looked so hopeful, so pleased, that she simply didn't have the heart to put a damper on it for him.

"That's my girl!" he said as she nodded and turned to walk away.

"And then . . . and then I could come home, and we could get married, and . . . and that's what you want, isn't it . . .?"

She winced inwardly.  'It's not that simple, Marvin . . .'

And that was the entirety of the problem, wasn't it?  Absolutely nothing had been 'simple', not since the day that Zel Roka had walked into her life . . .


-Evan-


"Will you be staying in the city long?"

Evan chuckled and shrugged noncommittally as he danced with a woman who had introduced herself as Mina Brannigau.  "Unfortunately, not too long," he said.  "The city's a bit too crowded for my tastes."

She frowned in a pretty moue, twisting a long lock of kinky-curly yellow-blonde hair around her finger.  "Oh, that's a shame," she told him.  "I love the city!  It's so exciting!"

"Is that what you call it?" he teased.  "I can think of a thousand things I'd rather be doing."

"Oh?  Got anyone in mind to do those . . . things . . . with?" she asked rather breathlessly.

Evan smiled.  "Not at the moment."

He could sense her approach long before she made her presence known, and for once, he wasn't inclined to make things easier for her, either.  But with every passing second, her ambivalence grew, reaching out to Evan and nearly making him falter—damn her for making him feel bad when she was the one who had jumped to conclusions—when she had been unwilling to even listen as he'd tried to tell her . . .

She finally cleared her throat.  "Um . . . hi . . . excuse me.  I wondered . . . I wondered if I could . . . could cut . . . in . . .?"

Flicking an entirely calculated, cold look over her, Evan deliberately took his time in answering.  "I'm a little busy right now, if you please," he informed her brusquely.

She blushed but stubbornly refused to back down.  "Just—Just one dance, please," she said, lowering her voice to a near-whisper.

Evan neatly shrugged off the hand that she'd placed on his forearm to stop them.  "Maybe later . . . Ms. Denning, was it?  Or would you prefer . . . Mrs. Pinkle?"

Her blush darkened furiously and she nodded jerkily.  "Just . . . just Valerie is fine," she added for good measure.

For some reason, her reaction was enough to put a sore strain on the already temerarious hold he had on his temper.  'So she wants to play it like that, does she?' He snorted.  "I don't believe that I have anything to say to you," he replied tightly.  As far as he was concerned, that should have been warning enough.

"Zel, please!" she hissed, grabbing his arm again as he started to turn away.

He narrowed his gaze on her, shifting from her face to her hand that was clutching his sleeve and back again. She must've figured out that her actions were entirely out of line, and she yanked her hand away though she still made no move to back down.  "Excuse me a moment, Miss Brannigau?"

The woman didn't look pleased, but she nodded and forced a little smile as Evan turned to face Valerie.  "I've told you, Valerie.  There is no Zel Roka; not really.  I'm Evan—Evan Zelig."

She flinched but nodded.  "O-okay, Evan," she amended.  "Please.  Just one dance—please."

He slowly shook his head.  "And why would I want to do that?" he countered quietly.

She didn't respond right away, but her gaze did slip to the side for just a moment—toward the little man who was standing in the small circle of men admiring his mother.  Evan's eyes widened.  "Is that so . . .?" he muttered.  "I guess I should have known that it had something to do with him."

Valerie sighed though she neither confirmed nor denied the charges.  "Just one dance," she murmured just loud enough for him to hear her though he doubted that anyone else dancing nearby could.  "Please . . . I'll do your laundry for a week or a month or . . . or I'll . . . I'll owe you."  Seeing the impassiveness on his features, she blundered on.  "Just one dance . . . I'll . . . I'll do anything . . . just please . . ."

He cocked an eyebrow and frowned at her.  "Anything?  Is that your offer or his?" he asked, jerking his head toward Marvin.

She understood his question and grimaced, wringing her hands a little in her nervousness.  "Mine," she blurted quickly—too quickly.

An entirely familiar sort of irritation ignited deep inside him; one that he'd thought he'd gotten over years ago—irritation spawned by the unintended feeling that he was never good enough, that he was just being used for his face, his body, for whatever reason and whatever rhyme . . . and that Valerie had brought that back to him now, of all times, and in this place . . .

"Anything," he repeated flatly.  "Is that right?  For just one dance, you'd promise me anything."

She nodded emphatically, ignoring the foreboding tone in his voice and latching onto his words, alone.  "Yes, that's right," she agreed.

"Well," he replied stiffly, angrily, "how could I possibly refuse an offer like that?"

Valerie said nothing as Evan pulled her into his arms, hating himself for the momentary satisfaction that ebbed through him as her acute anxiety abated.  She was turning him inside out, and she didn't know it—and at the moment, he highly doubted that she'd even care . . .

'Anything . . . Anything . . .'

What was it about that word that pissed him off?  He clenched his jaw tighter.  Because she made the offer just to satisfy that little fucker she was engaged to, wasn't it . . .?

She tried to talk to him.  He could hear her voice, but her words were blunted by the anger that just kept growing deep inside him.  She couldn't reach him . . .

"Well, you know, I just broke up with Mitch . . ." and a week later, "Oh, we got back together . . . uh, Evan?  Could you, you know, not mention last weekend to him . . .?"

"Evan Zelig?  Oh, he's a great guy, but he's just not 'boyfriend' material . . .  Who'd be dumb enough to be his girl?  Guys who look as good as he does?  They're never faithful . . ."

"Oh, come on . . . I'm sure if you got her tickets and backstage passes, she'd give you a good fuck for them . . ."

It was harmless, right?  It was all in good fun, and no one got hurt.  Everyone knew from the start, didn't they?  Just a good time, and no strings attached . . .

And somewhere along the way, he'd just accepted it, hadn't he?

'Damn . . .'

The song ended, and Evan stepped back.  Valerie started clapping politely, along with the rest of the people on the dance floor.  He didn't wait for her to stop.  Grabbing her hand, he pulled her through the crowd so quickly that she nearly stumbled, catching herself on the back of his jacket.  He didn't stop moving, either.

He could hear her voice, calling out to him.  She didn't understand where he was taking her, did she?  Evan didn't really think about it too much, either.  All he knew was that he couldn't stand it; couldn't take that one last insult on top of everything else; not tonight . . . Dragging her along the perimeter of the room until he located one of the side rooms, he pulled her inside and let go long enough to close the door.

"Zel . . .?" she squeaked, rubbing her wrist where he'd held onto her.

Evan slowly turned to face her, careful to keep his expression completely blanked as he stared at her.  "Evan," he stated once more.

She swallowed hard.  He could see her throat move.  "E-Evan . . . What—?"

His scathing glower cut her off abruptly.  "Anything, Ms. Denning—your word, right?  Anything?"

She blinked and shook her head, unable to grasp his meaning though he could feel her trepidation climbing higher.  "I-I-I don't . . . understand . . ."

Stuffing his hands into his pockets, he shrugged, affecting a bored stance, a monotone.  "Anything, by literal definition: noun—at least, in this case—meaning any thing whatsoever, any such thing, no matter what, according to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.  Your word, correct?"

She shook her head again, playing dumb or really confused; Evan couldn't discern which and didn't really give a damn.

"Come now, Ms. Denning.  You're really not that stupid.  Or rather, your fiancé isn't, is he?  I mean, he is the one who put you up to it, right?  To garner my support for his cause?"  Her cheeks paled, and he chuckled nastily.  "I see."

"M-Marvin's research," she stammered, her cheeks pinking with acute embarrassment at having been found out so easily.  "He's trying to find a cure for neuroblastoma—a rare and often fatal form of childhood cancer," she blundered on.

Evan narrowed his eyes slightly though his expression remained impassive.  "Save the speech, Valerie.  You sound like some pamphlet I've already read before."

She flinched but fell silent as the tension inside her rose just a little higher.

"So now that you've made your pitch, I suppose I ought to tell you that the Zelig Foundation is my mother's cause; not mine.  I just happen to share the same last name; that's all.  Now, about Marvin's offer . . . Willing to sell you cheap, isn't he?"

"He didn't sell me," she argued though her tone lacked any real conviction.

Evan's eyebrows shot up in a mock display of feigned surprise.  "'Promise him anything, Val—anything' . . . Isn't that what he told you?"

"That's not what he—"

"I hardly think that you possess the ability to read one's mind, do you, Val?  How could you possibly know what it is that he meant?  'Anything' . . . That was the word you used, so I will assume that it's the one he used.  'Anything'."

He could see it on her face, couldn't he?  He was right, and she . . . "You're taking it out of context," she blurted, her cheeks reddening as she struggled to rebuff him.  "That's not—"

"Anything for just one dance," Evan repeated, narrowing his eyes.  "Well, I did dance with you, didn't I?  So now it's time to pay the piper."

She swallowed hard and forced herself to meet his gaze.  "What . . . What do you . . . want . . .?"

He chuckled.  "Maybe you are a bit stupider than I thought," he replied with a mocking shake of his head.  "What, indeed?"

She shook her head, her eyes even darker next to the stark pallor that had leeched her skin of color.

"A blow job, Valerie, and given that your . . . fiancé . . . is so lenient with you, I would suppose you're probably pretty damned good at giving them, right?"

She sucked in her breath sharply, recoiling as though he'd struck her.  Evan steeled his resolve, his anger growing instead of waning . . . "N-No!" she choked out.

"No?  Really."

"N-No," she insisted once more.

He chuckled nastily.  "Oh, so you really expect that you can demand that people do what you say when you cannot make good on your own word?  Rather hypocritical, if you ask me, Ms. Denning," he said.

"I never said I'd . . ." she swallowed hard, her eyes brightening as a very definite air of panic ignited.  "I didn't say that," she whispered.

"Oh, but you did," he argued.  "You said 'anything'.  Well, my idea of 'anything' is a blow job—nothing personal.  Nothing that means anything at all.  You do it, and I promise you, neither it nor you will mean a damn thing to me an hour from now."

She flinched at his derisive tone, and she shook her head again.  "I . . . I can't."

"Sure you can," he told her coldly.  "You can, and you will, and do you know why?"

She smashed her hand against the bottom of her nose miserably.

Evan ignored the dull hum in the back of his mind; the one that gained momentum like a freight train.  "Anything, Ms. Denning.  Those were your terms.  I didn't twist your arm, now did I?  Unless you're not a woman of your word, in which case . . . Can you really expect anyone else to abide by your terms?" he goaded.

"I-I'm trying to keep you out of trouble," she pointed out though her voice lacked any real conviction.  "This isn't—"

"Think of it as a business deal," he interrupted coldly.  "A verbal agreement is no less binding than an actual contract; am I correct, Ms. Denning?  You're the lawyer.  You tell me."

She nodded once, her eyes filling with just a little more worry; a little more trepidation.  "Y-Yes . . ."

He considered that and finally nodded slowly.  "You wanted something from me—to dance with me so that you could pimp Marvin's research to me, right?"  He held up a hand to silence her answer.  "So you bought that dance with the promise that you'd do—and I quote—anything."

She opened her mouth to argue with him.  He narrowed his eyes, effectively silencing her protests, and she jerked her head once in a nod.  "Y-Yes . . ."

"That's right," he agreed thoughtfully—mockingly.  "Now I've decided that I want a blow job as your payment.  Now get on your knees and do what it is that you willingly promised to do.  After all, all I'm interested in are whores and hussies, right?  So I suppose that you'll have to do, Ms. Denning."

That barb struck home, didn't it?  He could see it in her eyes.  Tears washed into her gaze.  Evan gritted his teeth as she slowly, clumsily, sank to her knees.  When she did nothing else, though, he sighed.  "It's just a blow job, Val—think of it as repaying a debt.  I'm not going to help you."
She sniffled as the scent of her tears hit him hard.  Evan scowled.  "Stop it," he commanded quietly, rage seething just below the surface of his contrived calm.  "This is what you wanted, Valerie.  I never asked you to offer me 'anything'.  Do it your damn self."

She choked back a sob as her cheeks reddened again, as she slowly, shakily, reached out to unfasten his pants.

Evan bit down on the inside of his cheek hard and shook his head.  It's what she wanted, wasn't it?  'Anything . . .'

"Just one dance . . . Please . . . I'll do your laundry for a week or a month or . . . or I'll . . . I'll owe you . . . Just one dance . . . I'll . . . I'll do anything . . . just please . . ."

She started to tug on his belt.  He yanked away for a moment.  "There's really no need for that, is there?  Just pull it out and suck it.  No big deal, right?" he scoffed.

She bit her lip, as though she were gathering her courage.  Just why did that piss him off even more?  Her icy fingers slipped into his pants, faltering as she grasped him, and for one excruciating moment, he closed his eyes, hating the fact that his body was responding to her, hating the scent of tears: hating himself—and just for the moment, hating her . . .

She pulled his penis out of his pants, blinking quickly, blinking back tears that rose to the surface.  Lips quivering as she forced herself to open her mouth, she rose up slowly, leaning toward him, her cheeks reddening even more with every passing moment . . . The heat of her stunted breaths baiting him even as he knew somewhere deep down that it was wrong—this was wrong.

She choked on a sob that she was struggling to hold back, as two fat tears seeped out of the corners of her eyes and slipped down her ashen cheeks.  Somewhere deep down, Evan could feel something within himself breaking wide open, as though the last bit of decency he had was somehow obliterated in the space of an insular heartbeat . . .

And then he pushed her hands away and stepped back, zipping his pants as he started for the door.

"Zel . . ." she murmured between quiet sobs.

Evan paused with his hand on the door but didn't look back at her.  "On second thought, I don't think I want or need your fiancé's whore."

And he slipped out of the room with the sound and the scent of her tears digging into his soul . . .


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'Give Me Anything' first appeared on the 2007 debut EP release, The Way We Talk and is performed, written, and copyrighted to The Maine.
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Final
Thought from Evan:
Advil, please
==========
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 19
Chapter 21
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