InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ The Only V ( Chapter 54 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Fifty-Four~~
~The Only V~


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'B aby, when we're grindin', I get so excited …
Ooh, how I like it; I try but I can't fight it …
You're dancin' real close; cuz it's real slow …
You're makin' it hard for me …
'

-'Too Close' by Next.

-Valerie-


"You know, that has to be the single most disturbing thing I think I've ever seen . . ."

Madison set the half-empty glass of Long Island Iced Tea aside and followed the direction of Valerie's gaze.  Staring through the throng of writhing bodies at the dancing rock star, Valerie shook her head and bit her lip.  The dancing wasn't exactly the issue, no, but Evan's dance partner was more than enough to make her wonder exactly what he had been drinking before she'd infiltrated his mansion . . .

"Oh, I don't know.  I mean, it's not like it's a slow song . . ." Madison drawled.  When Valerie glanced at her, she rolled her eyes when she noticed the slight twitching of the woman's lips.

Valerie wasn't inclined to agree, all things considered.  As though in answer to her unsettling thoughts, the crowd parted just enough to give a clear view of the man in question, and she sighed.  She didn't recognize the song, but it had a heavy groove, and Evan?  That strange man had opted to continue dancing when the girls had decided that they could use a drink.  That, alone, wasn't unusual, she supposed.  That Bone, who had decided that dancing sounded like fun and came along as the designated driver, was dancing with Evan . . . That was the thing that bordered on . . . perverse.

All in all, the two men were dancing entirely too closely without even trying to look like they weren't together.  Narrowing her eyes as she openly gaped at the duo, she uttered a sound suspiciously like a growl.  Evan's hand was on Bone's shoulder, and the way the two were grinding, she'd swear that they were lovers if she didn't know any better . . .

"Are you sure that he's not gay?" she couldn't help asking without turning her attention away from the rock star and his bodyguard.

Madison giggled and hopped off the high bar stool, taking Valerie's glass of diet soda and setting it on the bar as she grabbed her hand to haul her back onto the dance floor.  "He's not gay," Madison assured her.

Valerie still wasn't sure that she agreed.  Sure, he didn't seem gay most of the time, but sometimes—like now—she really had to wonder.

"All right, guys," Madison said as she tapped Evan's arm and raised her voice to be heard over the din.  "Enough of the bromance moment.  V's starting to think that you're gay."

"Gay?  The Bone?" Bone said though he broke into a very wide grin.  Flipping his wrists to adjust the burnt orange silk shirt he wore, the man laughed good-naturedly and winked at Valerie.

"Everybody loves a little Roka," Evan quipped.

Valerie snorted.  Bone chuckled.  "The key word there being 'little'."

"C'mon, Bone.  Dance with me," Madison said before Evan could spout something in retaliation.  She peered back to telegraph Valerie a coy wink and dragged Bone off to dance.

Evan laughed and slipped an arm around Valerie's waist.  His energy was a palpable thing.  He fed off the crowd, didn't he?  She'd noticed that before.  He did the same thing whenever he performed.  It didn't matter to him, did it?  Whether he was the center of attention or not didn't matter, just being surrounded by people was enough for him.  It was as though their emotions were enough to fuel his adrenaline—not surprising, all things considered.  "I swear to God, V, I'm not gay—Ooh . . . check that guy out, will you?"

Valerie blinked and couldn't help following the direction of his gaze, and then she could only blink again when she spotted the very tall, very handsome man who had just walked in with a pretty blonde.  He looked vaguely familiar, but in the dim and distorted lights of the club, she couldn't rightfully make out his features.  Maybe he was an actor or model or something . . . "What about him?" she couldn't help asking.

Evan grinned and shrugged.  "Would you do him?"

She snorted as he pulled her close when the next song—a slow song—started.  "I'm engaged," she reminded him.

That didn't seem to faze him at all.  "Yeah, yeah . . . If you weren't."

Glancing at the man again, Valerie stared at him for another minute then shrugged.  "He looks like he could be a jerk."

"Yeah, but did you see the size of his hands?  He's gotta be packing it . . ."

She rolled her eyes but smiled at the incorrigible man.  "And why are you looking?  Are you gay?  You know, there's nothing wrong with that . . ."

"I'm not gay, and I'm positive that I'd be more than happy to say so if I were," he assured her.  "What's wrong with pointing out that someone's good-looking, even if he is a guy?  You telling me that you don't notice a beautiful woman?"

"That's entirely different," Valerie countered.  "Women always notice that sort of thing—then we compare ourselves to her."

"That's not healthy, you know," he pointed out as he pulled her a little closer.

Valerie shook her head and stepped back once in retreat.  If he noticed, he didn't remark on it.  "Sure, it is," she argued.  "If we didn't do it, then we wouldn't strive to make ourselves better, either."

Evan sighed and shook his head.  "I dunno, V.  I mean, you're the woman that they'd compare themselves to, and there's no way in hell that anyone could come close to that."

A very distinct shiver raced up and down her spine, following the path of Evan's slow but steady gaze.  Unable to control the hint of pink that infused her cheeks, she shook her head and averted her eyes, instead.  His body seemed to move in a completely sinful sort of way, as though every solitary part of him was in perfect accord with everything else, which made perfect sense, considering she'd seen for herself, just how agile he really was.  But he was so tall that he loomed over her, rising above her like some kind of ethereal spirit that had been bound to the earth . . . Shaking her head at her own fanciful thoughts, she wrinkled her nose and snorted inwardly.  She was tall enough that she was normally on par with, if not a little taller than most men that she'd danced with before, but Evan . . .

As if he could read her thoughts, Evan chuckled softly, a little wickedly.  It wasn't nearly as bad as normal, but that didn't mean that she trusted him.  Hell, no.  She didn't trust Evan Zelig any further than she could throw him . . .

It struck her not for the first time, exactly how off-kilter it was, really.  How could it be that a man could look as angelic as Evan, yet be the devil, incarnate?  It bordered on perverse, didn't it?  With that pale hair and those dark eyes, coupled with the fine bone structure that he'd inherited from both of his parents, was it really that surprising that he'd gotten away with his brand of devilry his entire life?  Valerie sighed.  'Not at all,' she had to allow.  For some reason, that bothered her . . .

Everything had always been given to him far too easily, hadn't it?  As much as he liked to pretend to be the idiot rock star, it hadn't taken Valerie long to figure out that he really wasn't stupid; not by a long shot, and though she didn't even begin to fathom why he'd want to look the fool, somewhere deep down, she understood that he did seem to like it, didn't he?

"That guy ain't too bad, either," Evan remarked, peering over her head at another man dancing nearby as he effectively snapped Valerie right out of her reverie.

Valerie let out a deep breath and shook her head, leaning away far enough to pin him with a somewhat disbelieving glower.  "You're not being serious," she said slowly.

Evan shrugged.  "Why do you act like that's so weird?" he complained though he was still grinning like an idiot.

"Are you sure you're not gay?"

He laughed—not entirely surprising, considering who she was dealing with.  "Everyone's a little gay," he stated flatly.  "Didn't you know that?"

"Everyone is not a little gay," she countered with a shake of her head.

"Sure, they are," he argued amiably.  "You notice when women are hot, right?  That's sort of gay.  You look at fashion magazines and eye the models, right?"

"Not because I want to sleep with them," she shot back.

Evan's grin widened.  "Maybe not," he agreed lightly, "but you do look, right?"

Valerie snorted indelicately.  "Not like that, you pig," she muttered.

"Nothing wrong with it," he challenged airily.  "Men look, too, you know."

"When do you look?" she couldn't help asking.  Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Madison toss her head back, laughing helplessly at whatever Bone had said to her.

"All the time, V!" he replied.  "All guys look.  Most of 'em just don't admit it."

"That is so not true," she argued.  "You're just twisted; that's all."

"It's not just me," he assured her.  "We look all the time, like when we go to the john."

Valerie blinked and stared at him, unsure whether or not he was teasing.  He didn't look like he was, but that didn't mean much.  "You look in the bathroom?" she parried.

Evan nodded.  "'Course we do.  You peek at the guy beside you, and you spend the rest of your day being happy about yourself or finding yourself sadly lacking."

"You do not," she said.  "I know how that works.  You guys don't look; it's some kind of unwritten rule."

"Who told you that load of bullshit?  Mordred?" Evan scoffed.

Valerie rolled her eyes, casting a quick glance over her shoulder when someone inadvertently bumped into her.  Evan caught her and steadied her with a low chuckle.  "Marvin," she corrected, knowing full-well that he knew Marvin's name.

"Whatever, whatever," he blew her off, which just figured.

'Incorrigible . . .' Then again, maybe that wasn't the right word, either . . . "Shut up and dance, Roka," she muttered, knowing, too, that she wasn't going to win any of the verbal skirmishes that Evan seemed to crave.

He laughed in her ear—more of an exhalation than an actual sound as the warmth of his breath rippled over her, stirring the strands of hair, sending an unmasked shiver straight down her spine.  As though he'd felt the tremor, he pulled her just a little closer until she could feel the heat rising off his skin, permeating the thin fabric of the dark blue shirt that he wore in such an effortless sort of way.  Every inch of his body seemed to flow in time with the music, and the energy that seemed to radiate from him wrapped around her as securely as his physical touch, as tightly as his arms . . .

Even so . . .

Even if she could feel his presence so strongly, there was an underlying sense of vulnerability, too—one that she'd always despised.  That feeling that she wasn't in complete control . . . She frowned.  No, that wasn't exactly right.   That feeling was there, yes, but . . . but for some reason, it wasn't as unpleasant as it normally was.   She simply didn't know why that was, and she wasn't entirely sure she wanted to try to figure it out, either.


-Evan-


"Don't tell me she wore you out."

Evan grinned as he tipped the dripping bottle of icy-cold beer to his lips and leaned against the bar behind him.  "Hell, no," he retorted, shifting slightly as Bone dropped onto the stool to Evan's right.  "Just wanted a beer.  That's all."

Bone laughed and gestured at the bartender to bring him a soda.  "You sure she's not too much woman for you?" he goaded.

Evan's grin widened though he didn't rise to the bait, either.  "Probably," he agreed with a little shrug.  "She's a helluva lotta woman, ain't she?"

Following the direction of Evan's unwavering gaze, the head of security broke into a lazy grin as he lifted a glass of soda to his lips.  "She's out of your league, Roka," he warned.  "Never seen a woman so fuckin' far out of your league before, either . . . 'cept for your mama, of course."

"Mama's in a league all her own," Evan replied absently, almost automatically, as he sat up a little straighter in order to afford himself a better view.  All of Valerie's attention was on her dance partner—Madison—and though her hair was hanging in a tangle of wanton disarray and despite the sheen of clean sweat that shone like glitter in the sultry light of the colored strobes, she was laughing—how was it that he could hear it distinctly, even in the midst of the crowded club?

"Yeah, I always wondered what she saw in a dog like your dad, ya," Bone went on, oblivious to Evan's current train of thought.

Evan chuckled but still didn't look away from Valerie.  "You kidding?  That's a no-brainer, isn't it?  Ol' Cain brainwashed her into thinking that he's not a complete and utter bastard."

Bone laughed and shook his head, used to hearing Evan's often colorful complaints about Cain Zelig.  Setting the glass aside, he settled back, content to watch the dancing women not far away.  "Eh, what's that old saying?  Like father, like son?"

"How 'bout, 'it takes one to know one'?" Evan retorted.

Bone grinned and shook his head as he tugged on the cuffs of his shirt.  "Keep it up, little man," he warned, his tone completely at odds with the wide smile on his face, "don't make me have to wipe the floor with you."

"Shit," Evan scoffed.  Finally dragging his eyes off Valerie, he couldn't help but notice the young woman dancing nearby who was busy staring Bone up and down.  Very pretty, he had to allow, though maybe a little thinner than the women that Bone tended to pursue.  Evan couldn't tell if she was biracial or simply just very lightly skinned for an African-American woman, not that it mattered.  She was hot—really hot—and she was trying like hell to get Bone's attention . . . "Score one for the Bone," he said, tagging his friend on the arm and jerking his head once in the female's direction.

Bone shifted his gaze without turning his head as his grin widened.  "Damn," he muttered under his breath but loudly enough for Evan to hear him.  "Ain't she something?"

"Yeah, but it doesn't look like she's got 'the booty'," Evan pointed out reasonably.

Bone let out a deep breath and nodded slowly.  "She's got her a white girl's ass," he agreed a little sadly.  "What's wrong with my ladies these days?  Ain't none of them look like their mamas fed 'em proper."

"Is that right?"

Bone heaved a dejected sigh.  "Nothing wrong with a good ol' fried-chicken-and-collard-greens-ass, my man—not a damn thing."

Evan chuckled and stood up.  "You ponder that a little more," he instructed before sauntering away.  "I think I just caught my second wind."

His laughter lingered behind Evan as he crossed the floor, weaving between the dancing bodies that stood between Evan and his target.  Valerie hadn't had much to drink—a couple beers, maybe—and she wasn't even close to being inebriated.  Catching sight of him as she spun around on the floor with her hands over her head, holding up the shining disarray of her hair.  Wide eyes open, appraising, warm, she shot him a secretive little smile without breaking her rhythm.  That smile . . . God, it was enough to rattle right through him; enough to stop his heart and obliterate everything else he knew or would ever know . . .

Madison murmured something in his ear—he didn't catch it, or maybe he just didn't care.  Valerie's gaze was trained on him with a frankness, a simple curiosity that he could hardly credit.  But she didn't seem to mind the change in partners when Madison sauntered away, leaving Evan with her.  Arms reaching out, slipping around Evan's neck, she swayed in close, her body undulating against his in time with the music.  The steady, raunchy, grungy slide of the heavy beat mesmerized him, every bit as much as the woman did.

There were no words spoken, nothing that needed to be said.  Valerie teased him unmercifully.  The scent of her was far too strong, too welcome, too seductive . . . The slight tang of the clean sweat that glossed her skin, the ever-present smell of her . . . It was all magnified by the solitary beat of her heart, the absolute heat that radiated from her like the rays of the sun . . .

Hips grinding against his as her eyes widened a little more when she brushed against him, as she realized in a solitary moment, just what she was doing to him . . . A secretive smile followed by a jumble of husky giggles, the light in her stare taking on a teasing sort of air . . . "Oh, come on, Roka.  What are you?  Fifteen?" she goaded.

Evan didn't back down from her taunts.  Grasping her hips, he yanked her against him, letting her feel exactly what her movements were doing to him as he bit off a ragged groan at the contact.  Valerie's body was too alive, too vibrant, too compelling.  Every part of him ached, nerves screaming silently, demanding a satisfaction that just wasn't going to happen.

As though she were being driven by the music, Valerie was undaunted.  Her movements grew a more frenzied, the steady bump and grind rhythm spiraling a little faster, a little louder, a little more formidable.  Common sense told him to back off, that he wouldn't do anything but scare her if he wasn't careful.  Too bad common sense just didn't play into his emotions at the time . . .

The only thing that he could comprehend was the feel of her body, the violent shifting of the invisible aura that surrounded her, lent her a brighter glow than anyone else, than anyone he'd ever seen.  The call of her body to his was almost a primitive thing.  His reactions were little better than instinct; there was no real thought to it.  The need to be close to her ; closer to her—as close as he possibly could be was quickly overwhelming any semblance of rational thought, and as she lifted her chin, her hair hanging in loose, limp tendrils that flowed around her as he tossed her head, as she pivoted, only to peer over her shoulder at him, her lips puckering as her eyes widened, as she slipped her arms up and back, wrapping around his neck to tug his head down into the gentle curve of her shoulder and neck.  Hands grazing up over her hips, he grasped her waist, held onto her as he swung his hips in time with hers, closing his eyes, breathing in deep as a half-whine, half-growl slipped from him.

He heard her sharp gasp in response to the sound.  Head falling to the side, as though she simply couldn't help herself, she collapsed heavily against him, her body slumping back, molding against his in an absolutely perfect kind of symmetry.  Blinking as a crazy kind of fuzziness seemed to ring his vision in the darkened club, Evan stared at the barest hint of pulsations that he could hear, pounding in his ears.  Her throat—the creamy expanse of sweet-salty skin—beckoned him.  He ground his teeth together hard, the last lingering wisps of cognizant thought spinning through his head in a painful cadence: those last-ditch efforts to remember that she wasn't his, that he had no business holding her so close, that he . . .

"Ready to admit it, Roka?"

Blinking back the fog in his vision as the softly uttered question cut through his stupor, Evan couldn't stop the grimace that surfaced as she pulled away from him, only to spin around on the ball of her foot, hands locking together behind his neck, her smile exultant, if not a little drunk.  "A-Admit what, V?" he managed, though he couldn't muster much more than a throaty whisper.

She laughed that sultry, deep laugh that never ceased to cut him straight through.  "That I can dance, you know . . . Just because I'm an attorney doesn't mean that I can't—"

His own chuckle cut her off.  "You're not supposed to use double negatives, counselor," he pointed out.

She wrinkled her nose, swaying her hips absently with the slow song that had replaced the louder, more dangerous one.  "Stuff it up your ass, Evan," she murmured.  "I can say whatever I want when I'm busy gloating."

"I'd like to stuff something up your ass," Evan half-muttered, half-grumbled.

"Hmm?"

He cleared his throat but couldn't quite muster a smile.  "Nothing, nothing," he lied.
"You're not such a bad guy when you're not being obnoxious," Valerie went on, apparently unconcerned with what she hadn't heard—a good thing, really, considering.  "In fact, you're almost—almost—likeable."

"I am not," he retorted, pulling her a little closer.  He just couldn't help himself.  She didn't seem to notice.

"You are; you are," she insisted.  Tilting her head to the side, she shot him a coquettish little smile.  "Why do you act like that's a horrible thing?"

"Because it is," he said then heaved a sigh.  Staring at her . . . It was just too much.  That guarded expression that she wore like a second skin was gone.  Did she know that?  He hadn't really thought about it before, had he?  So used to seeing it on her face, he hadn't realized until it was gone that it had always been right there . . . He wouldn't have said that she looked at all vulnerable, but the slight lilt in her gaze was enough to make his breath catch in his throat.  If she had any idea how she looked at that moment, he didn't know.  No, the only thing he could understand was the whisper of her soul—a whisper that he didn't think she was aware of . . . A whisper that only he could hear . . .

For a second, she looked like she wanted to say something.  Her gaze locked with his, her eyes slowing gaining a dreamy clarity of something that could only be understood on a level that could never be spoken out loud.  It was a thought, a moment, a fleeting breath, and for the briefest of seconds, he could tell that she could feel it, too: the same things that kept him awake at night, those things that he understood on a purely intuitive level.  Maybe she didn't fully comprehend just what it meant yet.  How could she?  Everything she knew, everything that she believed . . . How many years had it taken her to convince herself of those things that she thought were the gospel-truth?

Her lips parted, her breath passing over him like a moist tropical heat that touched his skin, leaving him in a dampened haze that was pleasant, welcome . . . Her mouth formed half-words though no sound came, the tip of her tongue darting out just enough to moisten those lips, and with a ragged breath and without a second thought, he leaned toward her . . .

The softness of her lips under his was excruciating—gentle and sweet as time slowed then stilled.  Her body stiffened against his for a moment, eyelids fluttering closed, frozen in time as all sound faded away.  She didn't kiss him back, but she didn't push him away, either, and whether she was too stunned to care or too bemused to make sense of what was happening, Evan didn't know.

Hand coming up, cupping her cheek as his other arm pulled her against him, he quelled the sense of desperation that roiled deep inside him.  Kissing her gently once, twice, he felt as though a part of him was dying, only to be revived when her hands slipped off his shoulders, down his chest, her fingers tightening around fistfuls of his shirt.  He groaned softly, unable to contain the sound, and with a muffled little whimper, she let go of his shirt, shoved him back as she stumbled back a step.  A shaking hand rose to cover her lips, her eyes flashing open wide.

Unwelcome color blossomed in her cheeks as her mouth opened and closed a few times, as though she were struggling to find the words she wanted to say.  Curse him?  Condemn him?  Confirm the mistake that he'd just made . . .?

A flicker of emotion in the depths of her eyes—gone before he could process it, and before she could stop herself, she whirled around and broke for the door, bumping into people, muttering apologies as she pushed through the crowd.

Evan grimaced and bolted into action, ignoring the irritated words and dirty looks he garnered as he shoved people aside to give chase.  The balmy air outside the overheated club hit him full in the face as he stepped out onto the sidewalk in time to see Valerie step off the curb and into a taxi that hadn't quite come to a full stop.

Taking a few steps forward, he stopped, his breath escaping in a sharp exhalation.  She hadn't looked back, had she, not that he'd really expected her to, and maybe it was a good thing that she'd managed to get away from him so easily.  He wanted to smash something—anything would do . . . and he wanted to laugh . . . and he wanted to cry . . .

'Idiot!  Idiot!  Did you forget?  She's engaged, dumbass, and it isn't to you!'

Letting out a deep breath, he ignored the taunts inside his head.  He knew all that, damned if he didn't.  He wasn't entirely stupid, after all . . .

'Sure, you are!  You're a damn fucking idiot!  You broke the only rule you've ever lived by, you know . . . The only one that really mattered to your father and your mother!'

He grimaced and wished idly that he'd drunk just a little more beforehand.  'All right,' he conceded, albeit with all the ill-grace he could muster.  'Point taken, goddamnit . . .'

But he hadn't meant to kiss her.  He knew damn well that it was nothing but folly.  Ignoring the vindictive voice of his youkai blood, he slumped against the wall and smacked his head against the solid surface.  It didn't matter what he knew, now did it?  It didn't matter because . . .

. . . Because he really hadn't been able to help himself.  The look on her face just before he'd kissed her . . .

A sad little smile touched the corners of his lips as he stared down the street after the retreating taxi without really seeing anything at all.  That moment of unbidden emotion just afterward . . . He hadn't been able to process it quickly enough at the time, but he could now.  Only a moment, only a vague hint, but it was enough—enough for him to understand.

It was regret, wasn't it?  Just that instant of regret, of wishing for things that she was entirely too stubborn to admit that she wanted . . . The regret and the fear—fear that she might possibly feel more for him than she'd ever wanted to . . .

So why didn't that little epiphany make him feel any better?  Even if she weren't ready to admit anything of the sort to herself, she felt it, too, didn't she?  That's what he wanted, damned if it wasn't . . .

And yet, the knowledge somehow left him feeling like an even bigger bastard than he ever had before.


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'Too Close' by Next first appeared on their 1997 release, Rated Next.  Song written by and copyrighted to R. Ford, Kier Gist, Robert Huggar, Lawrence Smith, Kurtis Walker, Darren Lightly, Denzil A. Miller, Jr., J.B. Moore, Raphael Brown.
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Reviewers
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MMorg
OROsan0677 ------ My-Only-Love ------ DonthatemecuzImbeautiful ------- theblackthorn ------ ladygeri ------ Sesshomaru4Kagura4ever ------ lilswtheart9811 ------ iloveanimecartoons ------ Dark Inu Fan ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ joinlafiesta ------ inuy01 ------ mynera ------ Diem
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Final
Thought from Evan:
Well … that was colossally stupid
==========
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 53
Chapter 55
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