InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Coersion ( Chapter 53 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Fifty-Three~~
~Coercion~


-OoO oOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'I should have known better with a girl like you
'That I would love everything that you do
'And I do, hey-hey-hey, and I do ….'

-'I Should Have Known Better' by the Beatles.

-Madison-


"What do you think of this color?"

Valerie glanced up from her task of painting her toenails and squinted at the smallish bottle of nail color that Madison had just pulled out of her travel case.  "Hmm . . . a little too pink, if you ask me," she said thoughtfully.

Madison giggled and tapped the bottle against the heel of her hand.  "Oh, it's not that bad, is it?" she asked as she wandered over to the sofa and held up the bottle to inspect it.

"You'll look like you've got Pepto Bismol spilled all over your nails," Valerie predicted, wiggling her toes and leaning back far enough to examine the polish she'd just applied.

"So you don't want me to do your nails this color?" Madison teased.

Valerie wrinkled her nose and gave the cap of the bottle she'd just used a good, tight turn.  "No, thank you," she said.  Turning to face Madison once more, Valerie pointed at her with the bottle in a completely no-nonsense sort of way.  "Do you know," she began in earnest, "how nice it is to hang out with a girl for once?  Not to have to worry that Evan's out there, getting himself into trouble or something?  And do you know just how nice it is that we can just sit around in whatever we want and not have to worry that he's going to make some off-color comment about the size of my boobs, the shape of my ass, or the general rigidity of his penis?"

Pressing her lips into a thin line, Madison set the bottle of nail polish aside and grabbed her glass of seltzer water.  "And here I thought you liked Zel Roka," she quipped.

Valerie heaved a sigh and shook her head but not before a telling blush spread over the ridges of her cheeks.  "I do," she admitted with a little shrug.  "It's just . . . sometimes I feel like I've got to be on my guard around him—like he's a vulture, just waiting for me to slip up or something so he can swoop in for the kill."

Madison rolled her eyes and plopped down on the sofa.  "Oh, he's not that bad," she countered mildly.  "Besides, vultures don't do the killing; they just wait for something that's already dead."

"Neither here nor there."  Valerie scoffed then nodded slowly.  "All right, so he's not," she allowed.  "He can be sweet . . . just not very often."

"Oh, God, don't tell him that," Madison said with a mock-groan. "He'd be ten kinds of offended."

Valerie snorted and shot Madison a dark look before blowing on her fingernails to speed the drying process.  "Offended because he can be sweet?"

"He's a lot of things, V, but sweet?  That normally isn't one of them."

Considering how often she'd see that side of him, though . . . That innate sweetness that he couldn't hide, even if he were trying to . . . Valerie bit her lip and smiled to herself.  At times like those, she could fully understand how the man had been his mother's little angel for so long.  "Sometimes I don't know what to think of him," she admitted almost grudgingly as she hunched her shoulders and leaned in to inspect her toes.

"I'm a firm believer that it's easier to just accept what he is instead of trying to slap a label on him," Madison remarked.  "Save yourself a little frustration that way."

The trill of a cell phone interrupted the conversation, and Madison braced herself, shoving her feet against the floor as she arched her back and groped over her shoulder for the offending device.  "Hey, super-sex.  What's up?"

Valerie uttered a loud snort.  Madison winked at her.

Evan's breathy chuckle—sexy as hell, if you asked Madison—greeted her.  "Hey, babe.  You, uh, busy right now?"

"Hmm," she drawled, sparing a glance at Valerie.  The attorney didn't seem to notice, preoccupied as she was in dabbing at the edge of her cuticle with a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover.  "Not really, no," she allowed.

"Good, good," Evan nearly purred.  "How about you help me out with a little somethin'-somethin'?"

Arching an eyebrow, Madison couldn't help the little giggle that slipped from her.  "What'd you have in mind, sweetie?"

"Ah, well, you know . . ."

Valerie tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes on Madison.  "Is that Evan?" she demanded sharply.

"Oh, hey!  V's there?" Evan blurted before Madison could answer.

"Yes," Madison replied—one answer for the both of them.

"He's not in trouble, is he?" Valerie asked, unable to keep the hint of foreboding out of her tone.

"No, I don't think so," Madison assured her, patting her arm to placate her.  "What did you need, Evan?"

Evan sighed.  She could hear him drumming his fingers on the table.  "Oh, oh!  Play along with me, Maddy."

"Sure," she agreed.  Valerie narrowed her eyes a little more.  Madison shook her head and smiled.

"What's he trying to get you to do, Madison?" Valerie asked.

Madison waved a hand to shut her up.

"Why don't you come on over here and help me out with something?  And try to ditch her, won't you?"

"You want me to try to . . .?  Okay, sure," she allowed as a rather catty grin surfaced on her features.  "Later."

"What does he want you to try to do?" Valerie demanded, crossing her arms over her chest and leveling a no-nonsense look on Madison.

Without batting an eye, Madison stood and spared a moment to flick her wrist before glancing at her watch.  "Valerie, darling, won't you be a sweetie and lock the door when you leave?"

It wasn't entirely surprising when the attorney got to her feet, too, planting her hands on her slender hips.  "Where are you going?"

"Me?" Madison asked innocently.  "Oh, you know, I forgot that I'd already made plans; that's all.  Swear to God, V.  I'm really sorry."

Valerie didn't believe her, if the look on her face meant anything at all.  "Plans?" she echoed dubiously.  "With who?"

"No one you know," she lied glibly.  'I should totally get an Oscar for this one,' she gloated inwardly.

'Yeah, except Valerie's not buying,' her youkai voice pointed out acerbically.  'Maybe we should flash her some tit . . .'

Rolling her eyes inwardly, she pressed her lips together in a thin line and blinked a few times, as though to protest her innocence.

"He wants you to sleep with him, doesn't he?  That nasty little toad . . ." Valerie grumbled.

'Nasty?'

"Toad?"

"Yes, toad," Valerie snorted indelicately.  "I'm coming with you," she suddenly stated, leaning over as she kicked up her foot to tug the wads of cotton from between her toes.  "If he thinks that he's going to get away with using you, he's got another thing coming; just see if he doesn't!"

"You make it sound like that'd be a horrible thing, Valerie Denning . . . and it's not," Madison countered.  "I'll have you know that Evan is one of the best fucks around."

Gripping her forehead, Valerie uttered a low moan.  "You poor thing . . . He's perverted you . . ."

Madison couldn't retain the burble of laughter that slipped from her as she slipped on her shoes and grabbed her purse off the table.  "Anyway, I assure you that I don't need a chaperone.  Why don't you go on home and go to bed?  You're starting to get those nasty little circles under your eyes . . ."

"I am not!" Valerie shot back but not before she lifted her hands to gingerly touch the tender skin under her eyes.  "Maddy!"

Grasping the door knob, Madison wiggled her fingers in a jovial little wave.  "Bye, sweetie!"

'You realize that she'll be mad as hell if she figures out that you were manipulating her.'

'It's all for a good cause.  Evan and V belong together—I can feel it in my veins.'

Her youkai sighed.  'So you say, but you know better than anyone that she can be more stubborn than a mule.'

'Of course she can,' Madison allowed.  'Too bad she's also entirely predictable.'

'Is she?'

Madison peeked around the corner of the stairwell, her smile widening when she spotted Valerie stomping out of the apartment and heading purposefully toward the elevator.  'Yes,' she insisted.  'She absolutely is.'


-Evan-


"All right.  Suppose you tell me what was so important that you had to drag me over here," Madison demanded in a dry tone as she dropped her purse on the table and shot Evan a droll sort of smile.

He grinned and shrugged offhandedly.  If she didn't know him better, she might have believed his show of nonchalance.  "Is that what you think?" he challenged.

Madison rolled her eyes then giggled, waving a hand as though to dismiss his unvoiced claim.  "That's what I know, Zelig.  Now spill it.  What are you up to?"

The smile on his face turned a little enigmatic as he idly scratched the center of his bare chest.  "Not a thing, Maddikins . . . So did V follow you?"

Grabbing the thick brown folder off the coffee table, Madison sat on the sofa and frowned as she opened the cover.  Stapled packets of various women, each of them with a headshot for the cover, a stat sheet, a work history, and numerous body shots . . . "She was still following me when I pulled in, yes," she muttered almost distractedly.

Evan plopped down beside her and rubbed his chin.  "Nice, nice . . ."

"So what are we doing?  Picking your next fuck?" Madison deadpanned, arching an eyebrow when she shot him a questioning glance.

"Naw," he drawled, slinging an arm along the back of the sofa as he leaned in closer, his gaze fixed on the packet that she was eyeing.  "Pretty girl, but not her."

"Casting for a video or something?"

Evan nodded.  "Yeah.  Ramón's got a burr up his ass and wants to get the first video in the can ASAP, and the powers-that-be figure that 'V's the one they want to go with."

"And you don't have an issue with that?"

He shook his head as the light of the devil sparked behind his eyes.  "Nope."

Madison laughed softly.  "So we're, what?  Picking a girl to play V in the video?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

Madison snorted and slowly shook her head.  "I hate to tell you this, Zel, but you're not going to find a replacement V, no matter how hard you try.  The rest of them just pale in comparison, don't you think?"

"Well, that goes without saying," he agreed easily enough.  "If I could convince the original to do it, that'd be awesome. Somehow, though, I don't think she would."

Madison laughed and set the folder aside.  "I think I need a drink for this one," she decided as she got to her feet.

"Will you grab me a beer while you're in there?" he called after her.  She waved over her shoulder as he let out a sigh. True enough, wasn't it?  What Madison had said was entirely gospel.  He'd told Ramón that she had to be tall, blonde, and hazel-eyed.  What he hadn't said?

'It doesn't matter if she has the coloring, fool.  She still won't be Valerie.'

'No, she won't be,' he agreed as his grin faded.

"Okay, Roka, spill your guts.  What are you planning, and what do you think you're going to do to my Maddy?"

Evan blinked and shifted his gaze to light on the very irritated lawyer's face.  She'd slipped in the back door—she must have scaled the walls again—an entirely amusing idea.  Too bad she looked like she was ready to eat his spleen . . . Hair caught back in a braid with tendrils that had escaped, probably during her jaunt over the fence, cheeks pinked with indignant color, eyes flashing dangerously, capturing pinpoints of light . . . 'Damn, she's hot . . .'

'Oh, ye-e-e-eah . . .'

"What are you doing here, baby?" he drawled, slouching back on the sofa and kicking his feet up onto the coffee table.

She narrowed those eyes on him.  Evan's chest lurched though not unpleasantly . . . not at all . . . "Save the innocent act, Roka.  What are you planning?"

"Nothing, nothing," he lied, batting his eyelashes in an entirely innocent sort of way.  "Am I going to have to put barbed wire along the top of the fence?"

She had the grace to flush just a little at the not-so-subtle barb.  "Don't you change the subject, mister.  I want to know what you're up to."

"Ah, well, you know . . . 'bout six-six . . ."

"Very funny," she shot back, uncrossing her arms as she bent over and grabbed his nose between her index and middle fingers and yanked—hard.

"Ow!"

"Truth, Pinocchio, or the nose gets it."

"V!  My earring!  My earring!"

She snorted but loosened her grip a little.  "I don't have a hold on your ear, Roka," she pointed out dryly.

"Okay, okay—my nose-stud!  My nose-stud!" he complained then chuckled.

"If you're thinking that you're going to get Maddy into your bed, you can forget it, you twisted little monkey," Valerie went on.

"Never crossed my mind," he replied.

She didn't look like she believed him, not that he could really blame her.

"Am I interrupting something?" Madison asked wryly as she strolled back into the room.

Valerie scowled at him for another long moment and gave his nose one last little squeeze before letting go and crossing her arms over her chest once again.  "Absolutely nothing, Maddy," she insisted in a much lighter tone.

Rubbing his nose, Evan shot Madison a rather bored stare.  "I thought you were going to ditch her," he said.

Valerie snorted.  Madison handed him the beer and sat down again.  "I tried, sweetie."

"Not very hard, you didn't," he countered.

"Why did you want her to ditch me?" Valerie demanded.

"She's not going to like it," he predicted with a shake of his head.

Madison laughed and waved a hand as she tilted a bottle of beer to her lips.  "Oh, just pretend she's not here, then," she suggested.

Evan almost choked.  Considering that Valerie was already in a foul mood, to start with, he didn't dare look at her after that little gem.  "Ah, okay," he agreed, shifting over just far enough to keep him out of Valerie's immediate reach.

"Ignore me?" Valerie squeaked indignantly.  "Madison!"

"Now where were we?" Madison quipped, hopping up just long enough to retrieve the folder she'd sat on.  "Hmm . . . hmm . . ."

Evan reached over and grabbed the top of the stack.  "Now, she's not too bad," he commented, frowning thoughtfully at the first girl's pictures.  "She's blonde . . ."

Madison leaned in closer and frowned thoughtfully.  "She's not bad, no," she agreed slowly, "but she doesn't really look like, you know, her."

"I don't know," Evan challenged, slowly flipping past the bio sheet and turning the full-body shot toward Madison.  "Her boobies are about right; don't you think?"

Madison twittered at Evan's judicious use of the word 'boobies'.  "No . . ." she drawled slowly.  "Not quite perky enough."

Valerie uttered what sounded almost like a growl and stomped around the sofa, leaning over the back of it and insinuating herself between Madison and Evan.  "Oh, my God!  You're such a pig!" she grumbled, snatching the packet of papers away from his slack grip.

"What?  She's dressed!" Evan complained, reaching for the papers and missing when Valerie quickly whipped away from him.

"Barely," Valerie shot back.  "Just what the hell are the two of you doing?"

"O-O-O-Ooh . . . now she's a definite possibility," Madison remarked before Evan could respond.

"Lemme see!" Evan barked, lunging for the photos before Valerie could grab it, too.  He glanced at the picture and whistled low.  "Ni-i-i-ice," he breathed in appreciation.  "Look at those lips!"

Madison nodded slowly, tapping the image with the tip of her long, tapered claw.  She tended to file hers down enough so that they didn't actually look like claws.  He figured that she got away with it because she was a girl . . . "Looks like she had injections," she mused at the overly-voluptuous pout.

"Who the fuck cares?" Evan shot back without taking his gaze off the picture.  "They all look the same, wrapped around my co—"

"Why do you have so many pictures of women?" Valerie grumbled, yanking that packet away, too.

Evan finally shot her a saucy grin and shrugged.  "I gotta pick one out for my video," he told her patiently, in a tone that said plainly that she ought to have realized as much.

"What video?" Valerie demanded.

"Oh!  You know, she'd make a perfect 'V'!"

Evan sat up straight and grabbed the papers out of Madison's hands.  True enough, the woman—Kassie, it said her name was—was tall, blonde with a sultry tilt to the corners of her eyes . . . 'Nice breasts,' he decided as he turned the pages to the full shots.  'Not V, but close . . .'

"Wh-What do you mean, the perfect 'V'?" Valerie stammered, her cheeks reddening as her irritation spiraled higher.

Evan dragged his gaze off the pictures to turn an indulgent sort of look on the attorney.  "I told you, V: we're picking a girl for my video."

She narrowed her eyes dangerously.  "What video, Roka?"

He grinned.  "What one do you think?"

She looked completely lost for all of a moment.  Shaking her head slowly, she didn't seem to grasp exactly what he was talking about.  He could almost see exactly when it did, though.  A sharp gasp escaped her, and those eyes of hers widened in mute shock.  He even might have thought it was funny—if the idea of having someone else play the role of the mythical V didn't piss him off so much . . . She opened her mouth to say something, but must have thought better of it.  Snapping her mouth closed so hard that her teeth jarred loudly, she tossed the packets onto his lap and stomped off toward the kitchen.

"Was that a part of your plan?" Madison asked in a demur pseudo-whisper, smiling slightly as she watched Valerie disappear into the kitchen.

"Not really," he admitted.  "I'm kind of winging it right now."

"You mean you're not trying to get her to volunteer to be herself in your video?"

Evan snorted indelicately and buried his face in the stack of potential 'V's again.  "You think I'm stupid?" he growled under his breath.  "Spending a few days or more with her running around, half clothed and pawing at me?  I'd die, damn it!"

Madison laughed then clucked her tongue.  "You poor baby.  And here I thought you were made of stronger stuff than that."

"Yeah, you'd think so," he mumbled with a defeated sigh.  "I'd have thought so, too."

"So what is the point of this little adventure?"

Evan made a face and leaned forward to drop the stack of papers onto the coffee table as he reached for his beer.  "I am seriously considering telling 'em to make one of those unimaginative, cheese-tastic concert videos," he reluctantly admitted.

Made grimaced and shook her head.  "You can't do that," she admonished with a shake of her head and a very serious look on her face.  "Anyway, would it really be so bad to spend a few days, rolling around with a half-naked woman who'll probably be more than happy to give Rokie-Junior a bit of a whirl?"

Evan grinned despite his glum thoughts.  He was saved from answering, though, when Valerie stomped back into the living room once more.  This time, however, she rounded the sofa and grabbed Evan's ear, tugging until he had no choice but to move over.  Then she stepped over his outstretched legs and insinuated herself between Madison and Evan, grabbing the stack of papers that Evan had discarded and casting him an entirely fulminating sort of glower before turning her attention to the documents in hand.

"What are you doing, V?" he couldn't resist asking.

She slugged back a few large gulps of beer and grimaced since she didn't particularly care for the drink but stubbornly kept her eyes focused on the first girl in the pile.  "If she's going to pretend to be me, she's damn well going to be hot," Valerie insisted.

Evan blinked and sat back, pressing his lips together, lest he say something entirely inappropriate—or exactly what was on his mind . . .

"Too fat," Valerie said, tossing the first packet aside.  It flew over the coffee table and landed on the floor before skidding a few feet away.  "Fake blonde," she continued as the second stapled bunch followed the first.  "Her boobs are too big . . ." Toss.  "And hers aren't big enough."  Toss.  "Too skinny."  Toss.  "Ugh!  She's got a gap between her front teeth!"  Toss.  "She looks like a man . . ." Toss.  "She looks like a man pretending to be a woman . . ." Toss.

Turning suddenly, she waved the paltry remainder of her stack under his nose.  "Is this what you really think I look like, Roka?" she demanded angrily.

Evan wasn't entirely sure what he ought to say about that.  'Check that,' he thought as he bit his bottom lip and tried his damndest to look innocent.  'I do know what to say—abso-fucking-lutely nothing . . .'

"Hmm, this girl's a classically trained ballerina, but it says here that she's also taken lessons in modern dance and all that good stuff," Madison piped up in time to draw Valerie's attention away from Evan—something that Evan really could have kissed her for, all things considered.

Leaning over Valerie, he peered at the image of the model and nodded slowly.  "She does kind of look like V, doesn't she?" he pondered.

"No, she doesn't!" Valerie grumbled.

"She could be V . . ." Evan mused.

"She certainly could," Madison agreed.  "She's even got the hazel eyes . . ."

Evan grinned.  "Yeah, she does."

"They're not hazel!  They're too green!"

"I dunno, Maddy.  I think we've got a winner . . ."

"Me, too," Madison said.

"No, you don't!" Valerie insisted, waving her hands between them.

Evan caught the flailing limbs and held them down.  "A classical ballerina, you say?"

Madison's grin widened as she slowly nodded.  "Look at that!  Her name's Vanessa—she's a V, too!"

"Well, hot damn!"

"Vanessa is not V!"

"Gimme that, will you?" he said, wiggling his fingers at Madison.

Madison started to give it over.  Valerie yanked her hands free, snatching the papers and chucking them across the room, too.  "She's not V!" she insisted, thumping her fists against Evan's knee to emphasize her point.  "I'm V!  Me!  One V—only one, and it's not her, it's me!  Me!  Valerie!  You know—V!"

He wasn't entirely sure exactly how he managed not to laugh at her right then.  Maybe it was the innate knowledge that she'd probably kill him, dead, if he did . . . It did, however, take a few minutes for him to trust himself to speak without laughing . . . "Yeah, but V . . . You're an attorney," he reminded her.

Valerie shook her head and didn't look like she quite got where he was going with that statement.  "So?"

"Well, and you're a damn good attorney," he went on gently.  "It's just . . ."

Those eyes narrowed again.  "Just . . . what?" she asked in a slow sort of way.

He shrugged.  "It's just that, well, good attorneys usually aren't very good at things like dancing."

"That's true," Madison added, giving Valerie's shoulder a reassuring little squeeze.

Valerie's mouth fell open as a wash of brilliant color rose in her cheeks.  "I can, too, dance!" she growled.

"Of course you can," he allowed.  "What was her name again?  Vanessa?"

"Yeah, that sounds about right," Madison said.

"I can dance!" Valerie insisted again but louder.

"Valerie—" Evan began, only to be cut short when Valerie pushed herself to her feet and grabbed both Madison and Evan's hands and started to tug.  "What are you doing?"

"Come on," she said, shaking her head stubbornly.  "Get up and get a shirt on, Roka."

"Where are we going?" he couldn't resist asking.

Valerie leveled a baleful glower at him.  "We're going dancing.  You're going to admit that attorneys can dance—and then you're going to call Mike or Ramón or who-the-hell-ever and tell them that you don't want someone else to be V—her—me—whatever!"

Evan stared at her for a full moment, unsure whether or not he ought to go along with her.  The dancing was all right, sure, but the rest of it . . .?  Then again, maybe he'd let it slide till she wasn't quite so angry . . .

Satisfied that she'd made her point, Valerie nodded once and whipped around on her heel to take her empty beer bottle into the kitchen.

"I'm not sure if you're a criminal genius or entirely stupid," Madison mused as she watched Valerie's haughty departure.

Evan shook his head but didn't take his eyes off the woman in question.  "Me, either," he admitted softly then chuckled.  "Give me a week or so, and I'll get back to you . . ."

Madison laughed softly.  "I bet you will, Roka," she said.  "I bet you will . . ."


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A/N:
'I Should Have Known Better' by the Beatles first appeared on their 1964 release, A Hard Day's Night.  Song written by and copyrighted to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
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Final
Thought from Evan:
That was either brilliant or just brilliantly stupid
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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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