InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Seven Days of Hell ( Chapter 32 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Thirty-Two~~
~Seven Days of Hell~


'< i>Follow me – everything is all right …
I'll be the one to tuck you in at night
And if you wanna leave, I can guarantee
You won't find nobody else like me …'

-'Follow Me' by Uncle Kracker


She was dying.  She knew she was.

'Just . . . put . . . one foot . . . in front of . . . the . . . other . . .'

Oh, it sounded like good advice, didn't it?  Not even two hours into it, and she already wondered if she hadn't bitten off more than she could chew, so to speak.

But no, it couldn't possibly be this bad all week, could it?  It was just the ungodly hour that was making the jog to the recording studio seem endless . . .

As if it weren't bad enough that she'd awoken with that despicable man in her bed—he'd let himself in through the window, much to her chagrin—he'd rather unceremoniously announced that it was time to head out.  She'd glanced at the clock with a groan since it was only two a.m., and had opened her mouth to tell him exactly what he could do with that idea when he'd grinned—damn him—and reminded her that if she refused to go, then she'd be calling it quits and that he'd appreciate a nice scroll-y border around her full page ad, thank-you-very-much.

He had to be joking; there was no other logical explanation.  He was just being an ass and trying to make her cry uncle.  Her brow furrowed belligerently as she quickened her pace a little.  'Yeah, that so isn't happening, big boy . . .'

And if that weren't enough, then, too, were the pants, or rather, Evan's hideous choice of jogging attire.  Neon orange, skin tight shorts with a white upside down triangle, complete with red reflective border and the word, "yield" written across his rear end . . . Those damned shorts were downright indecent and entirely appalling, and that man only grinned when she'd insisted that she wasn't going anywhere with him wearing those.  That he wasn't wearing shoes or a shirt was arbitrary, at best.  No, her main complaint was those ungodly shorts—and his incessant goading, too.

Then he'd made it quite clear to her that he would consider her reluctance to be seen anywhere near him as a forfeiture on their wager, and didn't that just figure?  He was trying to embarrass her, and she . . . She had no choice but to go along with his brand of insanity.

And she desperately wanted to believe that the jogging thing was just his way of being a jerk; she really did.  Too bad that she couldn't ignore the voice in the back of her head that kept insisting that he was entirely too physically fit for it to be a fluke, after all.  If he had broken a sweat yet, she'd eat her jogging shoes . . .

Sure, she tried to jog every day, and yes, she was rather proud of being in shape.   Then again, she wasn't used to running around anywhere at this time of day, either.  There was a certain level of clammy moisture in the spring air that was compounded by the darkness, settling in deep as a chill within her very bones that she just couldn't shake off.  Unable to concentrate on the steady rhythm of her feet hitting the pavement as she did her level best to ignore whatever commentary that diabolical hoodlum was tossing back over his shoulder at her, she found that the very sound of her movements was drowned out by the soft but steady hum of the limo that was trailing just behind her, complete with flashing lights and a widely grinning black man behind the steering wheel . . .

"You know, V, if you'd rather, you could just hop into the limo with Bone and follow me to the studio," Evan called, turning around and running backward without missing a beat or slowly his pace.

She lifted her chin a little higher and doggedly increased her pace in response.  "Turn around and keep moving, Roka," she managed without sounding too out of breath.

He chuckled, the noxious cur . . . "But the view is mu-u-u-uch nicer this way 'round."

Under the weak and watery lights of the sporadic lamps that lined the bridge they were running over, she could see his face well enough to know that he'd just let his gaze fall to her breasts and resisted the urge to reach up to cover them.  "You're an ass," she very nearly wheezed.  'Jogging, nothing!  This is more like a morning sprint . . .'

"Well, if you're cold, baby, why don't you get into the nice, warm limo?"

She bit down hard in an effort to keep from literally growling at him.  "Turn around before you run into a pole," she gritted out.

He chuckled.  "Hardened nipples are such wonderful things," he quipped with an exaggerated wink.  "Shit!  Running with a boner—not comfy!"

She heaved a sigh as she fought down a very livid blush, but he turned around at last, making a show of hunching forward and altering his gait to a half-lurch, half-stride in a very pronounced effort to get her to feel bad for him, or so she figured.  'Like that would ever happen,' she scoffed and kept moving.

"'If you want my body, and you think I'm sexy, come on, sugar, let me know . . .'" he sang.  "'If you really need me, just reach out and touch me; come on, honey, tell me so, tell me so, baby . . .'"

Valerie gnashed her teeth and recited her mantra a few more times.  'I hate him; I hate him; I hate him; I hate him . . .'

Later, she would have sworn that the route to the recording studio had taken forever, and she couldn't rightfully remember too much about the last half of the 'jog'.  By the time they'd reached the state of the art facility just over the border in New Jersey, she was dripping with sweat—odd, since she was still feeling quite chilled—and ready to drop, not that she'd ever, ever admit as much to Evan, who, for the most part, still didn't look like he was even breathing slightly hard, much less broken a sweat.

"Roka, where the hell have you been?" Mike demanded as he pushed through the retracting glass doors and stomped down the steps to glower at Evan.

Evan shot his manager a cheeky grin.  "Took my time today," he explained.

"Ever heard the phrase, 'time is money'?" he asked pointedly.

"Ever heard the phrase, 'go get fucked?" Evan challenged with a good natured chuckle.

Valerie was still trying not to wheeze as she struggled to regain her breath.

"Anyway, why don't you send someone to Klein's for some breakfast?"

Mike did a double take.  "Breakfast?" he echoed dubiously.

Evan nodded.  "Yup, and make sure that they get lots of fruit, right, V?"

Only then did the manager seem to realize that she was standing just behind Evan, and he slowly nodded, as though something made sense to him.  "Fruit, eh?  All right . . ."

"Coffee," Valerie rasped out, not trusting herself to try a complete sentence as yet.

"Coffee, eh?  There's some inside," Mike said.  "Anyway, Dieter's been in there for the last hour and a half doing his tracks and bitching up a storm.  You'd better get in there before he has a conniption."

"Eh, Deet's fine," Evan drawled with a shake of his head.  "I'm gonna take a shower first."

Mike stared at him for a long moment then finally nodded.  Valerie had the sneaking suspicion that Evan wasn't acting quite like he normally would, though she had no idea why.  Even so, Mike didn't comment on it as he slowly turned to eye Valerie once more.  "Zel," he finally began in a warning sort of tone, "I know she's your attorney and all, but you don't usually let anyone in the studio when you're laying down tracks."

"Figured I'd make an exception this time," he said, taking the wide steps two at a time.  "C'mon, V.  I'll show you where you can get cleaned up."

She couldn't help the loud sigh that slipped from her as she stubbornly reshouldered the gym bag she'd packed earlier when she was still half-asleep.  Her pride almost made her say that she was just fine.  She tamped that down quickly enough since she knew damn well that she really needed that shower, even if she did hate to admit it.


"Fucker!  Where the hell have you been?"

"Mornin', Deet," Evan said when the artist-slash-bassist stomped into the dressing room with a thorough scowl on his face and a completely nonplussed air about him.

"Don't you 'morning' me, fucker," Dieter grumbled, shaking his shaggy hair as he continued to frown at Evan.  "I been here since four!  If I'd have known that you weren't gonna show your ugly mug till now, I'd have stayed at home in bed."

"Now, Dieter . . ."

"Yeah, fuck off, Zel . . . Aren't you the one who hates being late?"

Evan grinned as he pulled a ragged pair of jeans out of the closet.  "All right; I get your point."

Dieter snorted.  "Damn slacker . . . I work for a damned slacker . . ."

Evan chuckled as Dieter stomped out of the room.  Besides, Dieter wasn't really as irritated as he sounded.  Evan knew damn well that the only reason that he was pitching a fit was because he really would rather be at home in bed with his mate, not that Evan could blame him.  Even then, Dieter had never been what one could call a morning person, either, and even if Evan had been on time, there was a good chance that the bassist would be in a bad mood, anyway.

But the percussion tracks had been done last week, and Evan would be working on the guitar and vocal tracks this week.  Dieter was the only studio musician that Evan ever brought in, and it was more because it guaranteed Dieter a paycheck than because Evan needed him.  Nowadays, it didn't matter as much.  Dieter's art was drawing critical acclaim, and he was well on his way to fame, in his own right, but it used to be that the studio work and the off and on touring lent him a steady income—enough to offer his mate and son a much better life than Dieter had growing up.

All in all, Evan figured that Dieter wouldn't be working 'for' him much longer, and that was all right, too.  Then again, as much as he bitched and moaned about the ungodly hours, Dieter did enjoy making music, so maybe he'd keep on working, just for shits and grins.

Making a face at the atrocious orange shorts he'd worn just for the jog in this morning, Evan swiped up the offending garment and chucked it into a nearby trashcan as he strode out of the room and down the hallway.

White Wave Sound Station was a small facility, but it sported state of the art equipment, and though Evan had built it for himself, when he wasn't using it, Mike rented it out to other acts that he managed.  In fact, this was only the second release that he'd have done here since it had taken so long to build the place, but if there was one thing that Evan had learned over time, it was that doing something half-assed just wasn't worth doing, at all.  It was widely known in the business and the time slots were pretty coveted, as far as that went.  Mike had even suggested building onto the studio.  Evan had refused, maintaining that something was lost every time something went too commercial.

He was surprised to see Valerie sitting in a chair off to the side in the small sound booth.  She was sipping a cup of coffee and wearing a very comfortable looking pair of jeans and fleece sweatshirt, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, he figured, and looking completely adorable in the process.  He caught her eye, and she narrowed her gaze just a touch.  He figured that it had something to do with the grin he shot her, but then, he couldn't be positive, either . . .

'I think she might be considering whether or not she'd be in trouble if she scooped out my liver and ate it with a spoon . . .'

'Mm, just add salt.'

He heaved a sigh.  'I'd eat her raw if she'd let me . . .'

His youkai laughed.  'Down, boy.'

Evan grimaced.  No one seemed to notice, and that was probably for the best.  'In more ways than one.'

"Oh, so you did decide to grace us with your presence today," Buzz Marleighvaughn remarked dryly.

Evan grabbed a Styrofoam cup of coffee and flipped the renowned producer the finger as he headed for the doorway that separated the booth from the studio.

Buzz uttered a gravely, rumbling laugh as he pulled a slightly smashed cigarette from a rumpled pack of Marlboro Reds.  "Bend over, sweet pea."

Evan drained the coffee and chucked the cup toward the trashcan nearby before grabbing the headphones off the music stand and yanking them over his ears.  "Those things'll kill you, Buzz.  What a damn shame . . ."

Buzz's voice was distorted by the speaker situated high up in the corner of the room.  "Yeah, yeah, pretty boy.  Workin' the intro to 'Wide Open' whenever you're ready, Your Highness."

Evan shot him a shit-eating grin as he pulled the electric guitar—a replica of the great Eric Clapton's classic Fender Stratocaster—over his head and waited for the sound cue.

About five bars into it, though, he let his hands drop from the instrument and turned a scowl at the mixing booth.  "Hey!" he called, effectively putting an end to the playback in the earphones.

"Something wrong, Roka?" Buzz drawled.

"The bass is off," he replied with a shrug.

Dieter's head snapped up on the other side of the glass.  "What?"

"It's off," Evan stated once more.

"The fuck it is!" Dieter grumped, lumbering to his feet and shoving through the doorway.  "You're off, fucker!"

Evan chuckled at Dieter's disgruntled tone.  "Nice comeback," he intoned.

Dieter snorted, jamming his cigarette between his lips as he reached for the bass he'd set aside.  He played the first few bars before casting Evan what could only be described as a smiting glower.  "Just like that!"

"Yeah . . . if you were playing 'V', but you're not.  It's like this," he said, playing a mock-up of the bass line on the guitar in his hands.

"The hell it is," Dieter argued, shaking his shaggy mane of hair adamantly.  "That's just how I . . ." Dieter's eyes widened.  "Oh, well, fuck . . . I guess you're right."

Evan laughed and clapped Dieter on the shoulder before pulling off the guitar and setting it aside since Dieter would have to record his part all over again.

"You don't have enough bass in that mix," Evan remarked as he pushed through the door.

"I'll tweak it later," Buzz promised without looking up from the sheet music in front of him.

Evan nodded and shot Valerie a quick grin, only to pause when she hefted an articulated eyebrow at him.  "'V'?" she questioned in a completely nonplussed sort of way.

He grinned at her.  "Well, sure!"

She looked a little alarmed.  "You didn't . . ."

His grin widened.  "Oh, but I did."

She groaned and slumped to the side, propping her elbow on the arm of the chair and letting her face fall into her hand.  "I hate you!" she whined.

Evan's grin widened even more.  "Yeah, I know, baby."

She groaned again, and to his credit, Evan really did try not to laugh.

It just didn't work.


He did it.

He really did it.

He'd actually written a song called 'V', and to her absolute horror and chagrin, it was completely, wholly, unequivocally about nothing but sex: raw, raunchy sex.

By the time he'd finished recording the guitars and vocals to that one somewhere around six in the evening, her face had been scarlet red since he'd made damn sure that everyone in the mixing booth knew that she was the 'V' in question, too.  The jerk had even gone so far as to tell Buzz, the producer, that she was his—quote—bitch.

'I'm so going to kill him,' she thought as she tried to sink a little lower in her chair when Buzz turned to stare at her yet again.  The way the man kept looking her over, one might think that she'd sprouted an extra head or two . . .

"Now stop your staring, Buzzy-boy.  You're making V nervous," Evan said, his voice echoing in the room through the speaker situated on the sound board.  "Yes, yes, she likes to ride the bony-pony.  Jesus, ain't you ever seen a straight woman before?"

Buzz laughed and shook his head, though he didn't seem at all embarrassed for having been caught blatantly staring.  Valerie only wished that she could say the same for herself.  "Ain't that, Roka," Buzz drawled lazily.  "Just can't feature how a classy woman like her would waste her time on a hoodlum like you."

"Well, see, she likes my big, fat dick."

And she'd actually thought that she couldn't be any more embarrassed than she already was . . . She'd been so very, very wrong . . .

'He is so-o-o-o dead . . .'

The miscreant intercepted her murderous scowl and laughed.

'Beyond dead . . .'

Of course, if she hadn't been so damned mortified, she'd have to admit that the entire recording process was quite interesting to watch.

Buzz punched a button and played back a portion of the song with a thoughtful frown on his face.  "Hey, Roka.  The last pass of the chorus isn't bad, but why don't you do it one more time?  It's a little too . . . clinical, maybe?  Too clean."

Evan snorted indelicately, probably at the allusion that the song in question was in any way 'clean'.  "Too clean," he repeated.  "Right."

Valerie grimaced as Mike sat down next to her.

"You know, not many people can say that Zel wrote a song for them," he remarked, looking suspiciously like he was ready to burst out laughing.

"Hmm, and somehow, that's just not nearly as flattering as it probably ought to be."

"You don't think so?"

"'V, V, she's comin' for me . . .
'She's screaming my name . . .
'She's down on her knees . . .
'She's a closet bad girl . . .
'Bitch of my dreams . . .
'An angel's smile . . .
'And a shaved pussy . . .
'You just have to love her . . .
'Baby darling bitch V . . .'"

She grimaced as Evan sang, and she could feel her already acute blush deepening even more.  "Uh, no," she muttered from between clenched teeth.  "No, I don't . . ."

Mike cleared his throat despite his twitching lips.  "I'm going to assume that he doesn't really know whether or not you . . . err . . . shave."

She didn't deign to answer that, either.

"So I guess I shouldn't tell you that this is the title track for the album," Mike remarked.

Valerie groaned.  Somehow, that just figured, didn't it?

Mike grinned at her.  "Okay, I guess you're not nearly as flattered as he was hoping you'd be—not that I don't understand.  I do.  I really, really do . . ."

Valerie just sighed and asked herself yet again, exactly what she'd ever done to deserve this kind of torment.

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Follow Me' first appeared on the 2001 release, Double Wide, by Uncle Kracker.  Song written by and copyrighted to Matthew Shafer and Michael Bradford.
'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy' written by and copyrighted to Carmine Appice, Jr, Rod Stewart, and Duane S. Hitchings.
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Proforce —— MouF —— Amerise —— BlkbltVette —— OROsan0677 —— GoodyKags
Thought from Valerie:
He wrote a song about … 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.