InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Benevolence ( Chapter 29 )

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


- OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Doing it all for my baby ...
Because she's as fine as she can be.
Doing it all for my baby ...
For everything she does for me ...'

'Doing it All for My Baby' by Huey Lewis and the News.

-Evan-


Evan ran a hand through his freshly cut hair with a grimace and a sigh as he glanced at his watch and headed for the stairs.  Running late was never his idea of a good time, and it didn't sit well with him that he'd gotten delayed in a meeting—a meeting that he hadn't actually wanted to attend, in the first place—when he had other things on his mind, to start with.  After all, what did he care about the business side of the music industry?  He didn't, damn it, and wasting a whole afternoon, sitting around with a bunch of old bastards who lived with the illusion that they weren't really as old or bastardly as they wanted to think just wasn't his idea of fun, after all.

Besides that, he was finding it increasingly difficult, not to point out the obvious to them: they were old, and they weren't cool, and the only reason that women tended to flock around them was because they liked to flash their net worth on their sleeves, as it were, and honestly, how much were women like that really worth, anyway?  Even so, the bigwigs in those meetings were always chuckling nervously, telling Evan that he 'sure knows how to get attention' while wagging their fingers in abject disapproval with their hands on their wallets, greedily pocketing the cash that Evan brought in for them, in the first place.  After that had come the lecture—the overdue chastising for his recent legal problems.  The powers that be were worried that Evan was going to end up in the brig for an extended stay, thus adversely affecting his recording contract.  Mike had talked fast to reassure them that there wouldn't be a problem, but Wicked Soundsations wasn't entirely sure that they bought into it, either.

Normally, he tried to avoid those meetings like the spawning grounds for the Plague.  Damn that Mike for tracking him down before he'd had a chance to escape . . .

Madison had even started to give him the third degree when he'd finally wandered into his house a little while ago.  He'd told her to be there no later than four p.m., and he was the one who had been late.  Good thing it hadn't taken her long to cut his hair.  Still, the damned meeting was more than enough to rankle his nerves, and the last thing that he wanted to do was to start off the benefit date on a bad foot, so to speak.

But he'd agreed to the date, hadn't he?  And all because of his sweet and precious Mama . . .

Evan let out a deep breath and slapped his hand against the panel that opened his closet and stomped inside, grimacing at the very idea of willingly donning one of those obnoxious suits that he so abhorred.  "Respectable, my ass," he muttered.

He'd just finished pulling on a pair of slate gray slacks and a white button down shirt when he heard the unmistakable voice call out from downstairs.  "Evan?"

He broke into a slight smile as he grabbed the matching dinner jacket off the hanger and stopped long enough to grab a pair of black leather shoes and thin nylon socks before heading out of the closet and toward the hallway once more.

"Hey, V.  Sexier than hell, as always," he greeted as he loped down the stairs.

She didn't even glance at him as she stared with abject horror at the painting that had just been hung over the sofa in the living room.  "Oh, my God," she murmured.  "What the hell is that?"

"Oh, you like that?  It's called 'Death of a Rock Star'."  He chuckled and dropped the shoes and socks onto a nearby chair, slinging the jacket over the back as he sauntered over to stand beside her.  She was eyeing the painting with a very real air of disgust.  Evan supposed he could see why, given the subject matter . . . "Wicked, isn't it?" he said, his grin widening as he took in the visage of Dieter's painting once more.

She spared him a rather menacing glance and sucked in her cheeks as though she were pondering something.  "You're not serious," she asked slowly.

Evan shrugged.  "Hell, yeah!  It's me!"

She snorted and waved a hand to shut him up.  "I know it's you, you dork!  You're . . . you're . . ."

"Dead?" he supplied when she faltered.

Valerie nodded and waved a hand at the painting in question.  "Yes!"

He laughed.  "Yeah, I am!  It totally rocks!"

She affected a shudder.  "What the hell is wrong with you?" she demanded, though her tone had taken on a more plaintive twang.  "Why on earth would you want to hang something that . . . that . . ."

"Awesome?"

Her hazel eyes narrowed dangerously.  "That disgusting in your living room?"

Evan sighed dramatically and slowly shook his head.  "Why you gotta be such a ball-buster, V?"

She blinked at him, snapping her mouth closed on whatever it was she'd been about to say, then let out a deep breath.  "Do you really want your mother to see something like that?  Don't you think that it'd give her nightmares or something?"

Taking his time as he worked the buttons on the front of his shirt, Evan shrugged offhandedly.  "My mama would think it's fantastic," he replied glibly, knowing damn well that Gin probably wouldn't think any such thing, but unwilling to concede, either.  "She's very liberal, my mama."

"No mama is that liberal," she argued, turning away from the masterpiece with a very loud snort.  Only then did she frown at him fully since she'd finally gotten a good look at him, he supposed.  "What did you do to your hair?" she blurted.

Evan glanced up from his cuffs to cast her a quizzical glance.  "What do you mean?"

"It's short again!"

"Well, yeah," he replied, smoothing the long sleeve of the shirt with his fingertips.  "Benefit date, you know."

She snapped her mouth closed, the wind apparently taken right out of her sails at that.  "Oh, that," she muttered, shaking her head as she strode over to the table where she'd deposited her attaché case earlier.  The fact that she still looked less than mollified did not go unnoticed, though Evan did manage to hide his amusement before he laughed outright and ended up getting his ass kicked for the trouble.  "Arabella Gascony, right?  Don't do anything to give the old woman a heart attack."

He laughed.  "I dunno, V . . . Older women, you know . . ."

She almost smiled—almost.  "She's old enough to be your grandmother," Valerie pointed out reasonably.

"I could dig them old family jewels," he quipped.

Valerie didn't look like she found him nearly as amusing as he did.  "What does that mean?"

Evan rolled his eyes as he tugged on his slacks and sat down to don the socks and shoes.  "I mean that there's something special about every woman, and it doesn't matter if she's old enough to be my grandma or not—By the by, V, I'll have you know that my grandma is hotter than hell, too . . ."

"Ugh, you can't take anything seriously, can you?"

He shot her a wide grin.  "And where would the fun be in that?"

Valerie sighed.  "Twisted," she muttered under her breath as she turned back to eye the painting yet again.  "God, that's just hideous . . ."

"I kind of like that I'm lying in a pile of trash," he ventured.

She sighed again.  "With about fifty needles sticking out of your arms . . . Seriously, Evan, that's enough to give me nightmares . . ."

"Aww, V, so you really do care."

And she snorted yet again.  "In your dreams, rocker-boy."

"You know, if you asked Deet nicely, bet he could do one of you, too."

"Why would I want a picture of me, lying dead in an alley?" she countered.

Evan wiggled his eyebrows.  "I could be your Angel of Death, baby," he offered.

Valerie shook her head and made a show of blustering, but not before Evan had discerned the hint of a blush that had filtered into her cheeks.

'I love that woman . . .'

'Me, too.'

"Will you marry me, V?"

"No," she replied without missing a beat.  "Why don't you quit asking?"

"Ah, you don't really want me to do that," he insisted airily.

"You know, even this benefit date goes against your agreement with me," she pointed out.

"Oh, come on . . . It's for charity," he replied.  "V?"

"What?"

"Are you jealous?"

"Wh—I—Y—No!"

Ah, her irritation was certainly a sight to behold and definitely worth the mischief she could direct at him, Evan figured.  Eyes sparkling as indignant color blossomed in her cheeks, she was positively seething in all her haughty glory, and because of that, he just couldn't help adding, "Don't worry about it, V.  I'll still come home and sleep with you."

She buried her face in her hands at that reminder, mostly because she was the one who had been completely wrapped around him this morning, lured close by the warmth of his body, he supposed.  "You're such a jerk," she complained, her voice muffled by her hands.  "Why are you such a jerk?"

"I don't know, V.  Why were you hiding in my bushes?"

He barely managed to duck in time to avoid being hit by the remote control she'd snatched off the coffee table and launched at his head in one fluid motion.  His laughter did nothing to alleviate her frustration, and in the end, he had to grab his jacket and make a break for the foyer, dodging whatever the woman managed to find to throw at him.  "Later, V!" he called, slamming the door behind himself as Bone pulled up with the limo . . .


-Valerie-


It occurred to Valerie that this was probably not her brightest moment as she carefully lifted her gaze and shifted it around the dimly lit bar.  It wasn't the best place to be, but it was as close as she could get since the restaurant where she'd followed Evan and his date was completely booked—for the next month.  They did allow her to sit in here, though, which was good enough since she could see the table where the undercover rock star was.

'That liar!' she fumed, narrowing her gaze on the couple seated in the posh restaurant.  'Old woman, my ass!'

It didn't matter what Valerie had thought, the woman seated with Evan was anything but 'old', and for some reason, that irritated her even more.  If the girl was more than twenty-five, Valerie would eat her purse, and judging from the way the woman kept staring at him, she wouldn't have a single complaint, no matter what Evan suggested that the two of them did after dinner . . .

"Are you jealous?"

The very memory of that question was more than enough to elicit a low growl from her, and Valerie gritted her teeth.  'Jealous?  Really . . . That's just . . . just stupid,' she fumed, grabbing the glass of white wine in front of her and draining it in one gulp.

'Yeah, but if you're not jealous, why are you following him?' her conscience prickled.

Valerie snorted inwardly and motioned at the waiter to bring her another drink.  'I'm making sure that he behaves himself; that's all.  God only knows that he can't be trusted any farther than I could throw him . . .'

'Admit it.  He's really not that bad.'

She tapped her fingernails on the small, high table where she sat.  Evan leaned to the side and said something that made the ditzy looking ash blonde laugh prettily, which, in turn, made Valerie grit her teeth harder.

He was completely insufferable, wasn't he?  Okay, sure, he had his moments when he even bordered on sweet, but after last night, Valerie had to wonder.  The man had climbed the fire escape and leapt to her balcony because he was bored?  Just what on earth had he been thinking?  She lived on the twenty-fifth floor of a thirty-story building.  If he'd slipped or fallen . . .

And that was the crux of it, wasn't it?  He never did think, never stopped to consider what his actions might mean.  Too impetuous and far too handsome . . . She'd dated a couple guys like him a long time ago, well before she'd met Marvin.  Selfish: that was what they were, and it wasn't because they were necessarily bad people, either.  It was purely because they'd always been given exactly what they'd wanted whenever they'd wanted it because no one had ever told them otherwise, and they'd always thought that women would just go along with whatever they wanted, just because of the way they looked.

Never mind that he'd actually put on a real suit for this occasion, too.  Valerie tried to tell herself that she didn't care, that she understood that it was because he was out representing his family, and that was the difference.  Still, if he could stand to wear that sort of thing for this so-called date, why couldn't he wear one to court where it might help to make a difference?

All in all, she just didn't understand him.  The same man who could be so entirely infuriating could also be soft and gentle—she knew that from last night, and as much as she was loathe to admit it, she knew well enough that there really was more to him than she'd initially thought.

Frowning as he stood up and reached for the woman's hand, Valerie couldn't help the rise of irritation as he led his date toward the dance floor.  There was nothing untoward in the way that he held her, either; nothing even slightly less than upstanding at the attentive way he listened as she spoke to him.  He'd pulled out her chair to seat her, had stood up when she'd excused herself to use the powder room, and there wasn't a doubt in Valerie's mind that the man actually possessed impeccable manners, and yet . . .

And yet, something unsettled her, too: something about the cut and trimmed visage he presented.  The last time she'd come face to face with that man, in particular . . . well, she didn't really care to dwell on that; not at all.  Even so . . .

There was an entirely unapproachable quality to him when he looked like that, wasn't there?  The kind of self-assured aloofness that she couldn't quite understand.  He wasn't two different people, and she knew that well enough.  Just how good was he at hiding the one persona or the other to fit the situation at hand?  Which one of them was truly the real Evan Zelig, anyway?

Biting her lip as she ran her fingertips lightly around the edge of the fresh glass of wine that the waiter had silently delivered, Valerie was no closer to making sense of him than she had been at the very beginning.  She'd thought that he was easy enough to read back then, and maybe things would be simpler if he'd continued to be the obnoxious rock star that had swaggered into her office in the beginning.

There was more to him than that, wasn't there?  The sweet man who smiled like a little boy whenever his mother tousled his hair . . . the man who spent one afternoon each week teaching children how to play the piano . . . the man who said outrageous things simply because they occurred to him . . . the man who sat in a quiet and darkened corner of a small New York City eatery buried behind the Wall Street Journal with a cup of herbal tea . . . the man who sported more hardware on his person than anyone else she'd ever met . . .

And what was it about all of those things that seemed so very contradictory and yet somehow in accordance with the overall personality of Zel Roka and Evan Zelig?

She didn't understand him.  She rather thought that she never would.  Then again, she didn't really have to, did she?  No, she just had to represent him in court . . .

The thing was, the more she looked over the information she'd been able to gather regarding the night in question, the more it didn't make sense.  Okay, so he was a self-professed reprobate, and maybe he was a little loud sometimes, but . . .

But Evan wasn't an unkind person, and even after the fiasco of a fund raiser, she knew instinctively that his reaction hadn't been calculated or contrived.  It was instinctive, she supposed, the way he did everything in his life: spontaneous and maybe a little cruel, but then, she'd been cruel to him first, hadn't she?  As much as she hated to admit it, she was a royal bitch that night, and Evan's response, however cold, was entirely deserved.

The couple returned to their table in time for their dinners to be served.  Valerie heaved a quiet sigh and checked her watch.  She had no idea how long this 'date' was supposed to last, but she didn't like it; not at all.  Evan might be behaving, at least for the moment, but that didn't mean he'd continue to be as upstanding as the night wore on, and even if it did, what, exactly, was she supposed to do?  The man didn't want to have his wayward tendencies curbed.  He'd protested them mightily enough.

She snorted indelicately as she stared at the two sitting at the table, casually enjoying their meal.  She knew damn well that Arabella Gascony was an old woman.  She'd seen her at the fund raiser.  She had to be at least seventy-five, and that woman sitting with Evan?  That most certainly was not her.

In fact, the only thing that had saved Valerie's temper from soaring right off the charts was the very real look of surprise on Evan's face when the door to the stately townhouse in downtown Manhattan had opened to reveal this girl.  Unfortunately, Valerie hadn't been near enough to actually hear the explanation that Ms. Gascony had given when she'd gently pushed the girl closer to Evan.  He'd recovered from his apparent shock quickly enough, sparing a moment to kiss the old woman's hand before offering the girl his elbow to escort her to the waiting limo.

"You know, don't you think you're being a little obvious?"

Valerie jumped and glanced up in time to catch the very broad grin on Bone's face as he slipped into the high stool across from her.  "Oh, uh . . . I-I was just having a drink," she lied.

Bone nodded though the expression on his face was one of complete disbelief.  "So you weren't out spyin' on Zel?"

Casting a surreptitious eye around to make sure that no one else was listening, Valerie shrugged and leaned forward just a little.  "Of course not," she barked.  Did her voice really sound that rough and edgy?  She certainly hoped not . . .

"Eh, he ain't interested in her," Bone said, nodding toward the dining couple.  "It's all for charity; that's all."

Valerie barked out a terse laugh as her cheeks shot up in flames.  "I don't care!" she retorted.  "I just wanted a glass of wine!"

"Yeah, anyway, he won't do anything that might look bad on his mama, you know," Bone pointed out.

Valerie wrinkled her nose.  She'd figured as much.  Then again, if she'd known that, just why had she followed him?  'Don't answer that.'

The bodyguard gestured at the waiter and pulled out a platinum credit card.  "Coke," he said, handing over the plastic, "and put all the lady's drinks on this, too, would you?"

The waiter nodded and hurried away.  Valerie shook her head.  "Really, Bone, you don't have to do that."

Bone chuckled and shook his head.  "Sure I do," he argued mildly.  "Orders from the boss, after all."

"That's ridiculous!  I have money!  In fact, I—" Cutting herself off abruptly as her eyes widened, Valerie gasped as the underlying meaning of Bone's words sank in.  "He knows I'm here?" she almost squeaked.

Bone shrugged though his grin widened.  "Not much gets past him," he replied.  "He also said that you should probably order something to eat, too, because you don't hold your liquor well, especially on an empty stomach."

Valerie's mouth dropped open as indignant color flooded her skin.  Snapping her mouth closed, she snorted loudly.  "I can hold my liquor well enough," she argued haughtily.  "Tell your boss that he can drop dead."

Bone only laughed at that as Valerie grudgingly reached for a package of Saltine crackers nestled in a small wire basket in the center of the table.  "They serve damn good wings here," Bone offered.

Valerie opened her mouth to tell him that she wasn't at all interested.  A moment later, though, her stomach growled, and she gave up with a longsuffering sigh.  "How good?"

Bone slipped off the silly hat he always wore and set it on the table.  "Baby, they could make your mama cry for shame."

"That good, huh?"

He nodded.  "I tell you what: if you insist on following Zel around all night, the least you can do is let him pay the bill, right?"

For the first time that evening, Valerie broke into a very small smile.  "Right."


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'Doing< /b> it All for My Baby' was originally recorded by Huey Lewis and the News on the 1986 release, Fore!.  Song written by and copyrighted to Cody and Mike Duke.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Reviewers
==========
MMorg
Migoto —— CandyEars —— malitiadixie  —— AtamaHitoride —— Sesshomaru4Kagura4ever —— OROsan0677 —— AngelsRebellion —— My-Only-Love —— Meru —— lilswtheart9811 —— Sovereignty —— Tatiana —— Dark Inu Fan —— GalacticFire —— sunshine161820 —— lemonera —— JKD1989
==========
Forums
laura.beth —— OROsan0677 —— angelfire777 —— phoenix123 —— Tetsusaiga —— Mangaluva
==========
Final
Thought from Evan:
So she's hangin' with the Bone, eh?
==========
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 28
Chapter 30
« Fanfic Author Profile »
« Other FanFics By This Author »
« Add Author to Favorites »

« Write Review »
« Read (2357) Reviews »
« Add Fan Fiction to Favorites »
« Alert Webmaster »