InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Valerie's Song ( Chapter 73 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Seventy-Three~~
~Valerie's Song~


'< i>We ended up at the grand hotel …
'It was empty, cold, and bare
'But with the rolling truck stones thing outside
'Making our music there …'

-'Smoke on the Water' by Deep Purple.


"Hey, Roka, did you do something with my—Oh, my God . . ."

Slumped over the table holding an apple in front of his face, Evan didn't look at Valerie as she stepped out of the bathroom, toweling her hair dry.  That wasn't entirely odd aside from the fact that he had a look on his face like he'd never actually seen an apple before.  No, the strange thing was . . . his hair . . .

"Is there a reason that you're channeling your inner Heidi?" she asked, resuming her towel-drying and nodding at his head and the two braids he'd pulled his hair into. If those weren't bad enough, he'd actually managed to find a couple pony tail holders with oversized orange marbles that he'd wound around the base of those braids.  She was a little afraid to find out where he'd found those . . .

He blinked a few times then looked both ways, as though he thought that she might have been talking to someone else.  "Who?  Me?" he finally asked.

She opened her mouth to reply then snapped it closed again.  He didn't seem to be completely 'there', anyway.  "Did you smoke something while I was taking a shower?" she asked instead.

"Did you hear that, Apple-chan?  She wants to know if we smoked anything."

Valerie narrowed her eyes and sucked in one cheek as she stared at him.  "Are you seriously talking to that apple?" she questioned.

"I think she wants to eat you . . . Don't worry.  I won't let her. I think you're my new best friend . . ."

Rolling her eyes, she leaned forward, neatly grabbed the apple out of his hand, and bit a healthy chunk out of it before he could stop her.  "Mmm," she teased, wiping a dribble of juice off her chin with her knuckle.  "Apple-chan tastes go-o-o-o-od."

He stared at her like she'd just walked in and announced that she'd killed his dogs.  "V-V!" he exclaimed, covering about five octaves in just one letter, jumping up from the table and backing slowly away from her.  "How could you?  Just . . . how?"

"Get a grip, Roka," she retorted, biting into the apple for a second time.  "It's a piece of fruit, not your friend."

"Well, not anymore!" he insisted.  "Not since you ate it!"

"Okay, seriously: did you smoke something while I was in the bathroom?" she demanded.

Evan snorted, crossing his arms over his chest and literally throwing himself back into the chair once more.  "I wish," he muttered.  "But no, I'm being good."

She wasn't about to feel sorry for him.  "So why are you wearing your hair like that?" she asked instead.

"Like . . .?  Oh!" Pulling one of the braids over his shoulders, he picked at the clear rubber band that secured the end and started to remove it.  "I was bored," he admitted with an impish grin.  "You didn't like it?"

"Sure," she remarked between bites of apple.  "If you were an eight year-old girl, maybe."

"I'll have you know that I'd be a beautiful girl," he shot back.  "You'd be jealous of me."

"Like hell," she scoffed, scowling when he reached across the table and plucked the apple out of her hand, biting off damn near half of it in one go.  "You just ate your friend, you know."

"I was putting him out of his misery," he told her.

"Whatever," she muttered, shaking her head.  "Did you do something with my hair dye?"

"No, why?"

She sighed.  She had been pretty sure that he had, but he'd sounded way too innocent when he'd replied, and there weren't any tell-tale signs that he was lying.  "Maybe I forgot it at the hotel," she allowed.

Leaning to the side, he grabbed the acoustic guitar and shrugged offhandedly.  "Why do you need that shit anyway?" he asked, his words slightly slurred when he stuck a pick between his teeth to free up his hands so he could tune the instrument.  "Your hair's pretty.  Why hide it?"

"Why do you hide yours?" she countered.

"Well, duh, V," he replied.  "I like being able to walk down the street sometimes."

Leaning back, she propped her heel up on the seat and hooked her hands around her knee.  "And if I had kept my hair blonde the first time you met me, what would you have thought?"

"That doesn't count, woman," he said in a tone that bespoke his belief that she ought to know as much already.

"Why doesn't it?" she asked.

He spared her a droll glance before pulling the pick out of his mouth and strumming a few chords.  "Because it wouldn't have changed the fact that I wanted to fuck you then . . . and still do, by the way."

"Why do you have to make everything so difficult?"

"I don't do it on purpose," he assured her.  "Anyway, you can't really tell me that I'm the only guy who ever told you that he wanted to bend you over a table and fuck you till you scream."

Opting to ignore that since it wouldn't really do her any good to point out how inappropriate his commentary was, she flicked a hand at the guitar in his hands.  "Play something for me," she said.

His head shot up, and he stared at her like he couldn't believe what she'd just asked him to do.  "R-really?" he asked quietly, eyes shining happily.  "You really want me to play for you?"

She couldn't do anything but stare at him for a long minute, captivated by the expression on his face, the look in his eyes.  There was a certain childlike awe in his features, like he'd just gotten the very best present for Christmas or something, and she had to wonder why.  He was a musician, right?  He was used to playing songs for people, wasn't he?  So why . . .?

And that thought was enough to snap her right out the impromptu trance that he'd managed to snare her in.  He was a musician, damn it, and musicians were the absolute worst.  Why couldn't she remember that all the time?  Clearing her throat, forcing her gaze away, hoping that he hadn't noticed her momentary lapse, Valerie cleared her throat and gave a careless shrug.  "Sure, just nothing perverted, rocker-boy," she said a little more dryly than she meant to.

He didn't seem to notice that.  "Take all the fun out of it, why don't you?" he grumbled despite the goofy grin on his face.  "Something unperverted . . . unperverted . . ."

"Is that even a word?"

His face contorted as he shifted his gaze heavenward, concentrating on exactly what he wanted to play for her.  "It is now," he stated matter-of-factly.  "Unperverted . . . unperverted . . ."

She giggled.  She couldn't help herself . . .

"Oh, I know . . ."

The first notes were familiar to her, but it seemed like they should have been played slightly differently or maybe on a different instrument . . . Even still, it was a pretty song, and when he started to sing, she smiled.

"'Lying beside you here in the dark
'Feeling your heart beat with mine
'Softly you whisper—you're so sincere
'How could our love be so blind ..?'

"'We sailed off together
'We drifted apart
'And here you are by my side …'

"'So now I turn to you with open arms
'Nothing to hide, believe what I say
'So here I am with open arms
'Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
'Open arms …'"

She listened in silence, smiling slightly at the feeling that he could put into lyrics that he didn't write.  When he finished, he looked at her in a decidedly nervous sort of way, and she clapped, which made his grin widen.  "You liked it?"

"That was really sweet," she told him.

He made a face, as though being told that he'd done something 'sweet' was an awful thing.  "Aww, couldn't you say that it was sexy or something?"

Heaving a sigh, Valerie shook her head.  "You're hopeless," she said.  "Utterly and completely hopeless."

He chuckled and launched into another song—this one with a lot more groove than the first: grungier, sexier . . .

"'You make me weep and wanna die
'Just when you said we'd try
'Lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other …'

"'When I'm alone, baby, all by myself
'You're out with someone else
'Lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other …'

"'You're tearing me apart every, every day
'You're tearing me apart, oh, what I can I say
'You're tearing me apart …'

"'It won't be long yet, till you're alone
'When your lover, oh, he hasn't come home
'Cause he's lovin', touchin',  squeezin' another …'

"'He's tearing you apart every, every day
'He's tearing you apart, oh, girl, what can you say
'He's tearing you apart
'And it's your turn, girl, to cry …'"

Valerie giggled as he finished the song with a cocky grin on his face.  "Zel Roka doing cover songs," she teased as she clapped in appreciation of his efforts.  "Who'd have thought that?"

"A good song is a good song, regardless of who wrote it," he informed her though the grin hadn't faded at all.

"I know those songs," she ventured.  "Who did them originally?"

He gasped in mock outrage, clutching at his chest as though she'd shot him or worse.  "Sacrilege, woman!" he insisted.  "They're classics!"

"Yeah, whatever, Roka," she muttered.  "Just tell me, will you?"

He heaved a sigh, slowly shook his head.  "Journey, V: Journey.  I don't know.  I might have to seriously reconsider marrying you . . ."

"Get a grip!  Those songs are really old!" she argued.  "And I don't think that I ever agreed to marry you, in the first place."

Evan chuckled and winked at her.  "Are you kidding?  Who wouldn't want to marry me?  I'm a rock god, remember, which would make you a rock goddess . . ."

"Hmm, and have to share you with your legions of fans, most of whom take off their shirts and shake their boobs at you during your gigs?  You know, I think I'll pass," she remarked acerbically.

"Yeah, the sea of boobs is pretty damn awesome, isn't it?" he asked with an enthusiastic grin.

She shook her head.  "Not really."

He shot her a knowing look as he idly strummed the guitar.  "Are you trying to say that it wouldn't get you all kinds of hot and bothered if you got to look at a sea of penises?"

"No, I really don't think I would," she countered mildly.

"Ri-i-ight," he agreed dubiously.  "I dunno, V.  You seem like a potential cock fan to me."

"Disgusting," she said, leaning on the table to push herself to her feet.  "Just so you know, women aren't anything like men when it comes to things like that.  All a man has to do to get turned on is to think about a woman's body.   Women aren't that way."

She pulled her hairbrush out of her overnight bag and wandered back to the table again.  Usually she blew her hair dry since she couldn't stand to sleep with wet hair, but Evan had ruined that yesterday when she caught him trying to use it to blow up balloons.  "You still owe me a hair dryer," she pointed out.

He waved a hand but didn't take his eyes off the guitar.  "Yeah, yeah.  Add it to my tab, will you?"

Shaking her head, she cocked an eyebrow at him.  He still hadn't paid her back for the night at the museum.  That he was paying for everything on the mini-tour was irrelevant, as far as she was concerned.  After all, she had been ordered to go with him, so it wasn't a vacation or anything like that.  "Speaking of your tab . . ."

"Oh, yeah," he said, setting the guitar on the table and getting up to go locate his wallet.  "Here you go," he said, dropping a hundred dollar bill on the table.  "That should do it, right?"

She reached for it, letting him take the brush out of her slack hand.  Folding the bill in half once, she pulled her purse off the back of the chair as Evan gently gathered her hair and started to brush it.  He was surprisingly gentle.

"I love your hair, V," he stated at length, his tone soft, breathy.

Valerie snorted.  "Why?  Because it's blonde?"

"I don't care what color your hair is," he told her.  "I just think it's shit that you try to downplay your looks because you think that people don't take you seriously otherwise."

Rolling her eyes, Valerie pulled the guitar off the table and adjusted it on her lap.  "Maybe you should try it, too," she told him.  "Then you wouldn't have to worry about whores disguised as reporters who throw themselves at you."

He chuckled at the not-so-subtle jibe.  "I feel so dirty," he told her.  "I feel so . . . violated . . ."

Craning her neck to pin him with a thoroughly unimpressed stare, she blinked once, twice.  "And if I hadn't come in when I did?  You would have slept with her, wouldn't you?"

He seemed a little taken aback by the irritation in her voice.  She snorted inwardly.  Of course she was irritated.  She was his attorney, and she'd told him that he had to behave himself, damn it.  It certainly didn't have anything at all to do with the idea of him sleeping with anyone.  Nope.  All she wanted—the only thing she wanted—was for him to keep his nose clean until the trial.

Even if it killed him.

"I had no desire whatsoever to sleep with her, no," he clarified.  It was the same thing he'd maintained at the time, and she wasn't really any closer to believing him than she had been then.

Shaking her head, she just couldn't quite leave it alone, could she?  Even now, it still pissed her off every time she stopped to think about it.  Walking into that room where he stood with that woman . . . her hand down his pants, his face contorted, so obviously enjoying her attention . . .

"You don't understand," he said quietly, gently dragging the brush through her hair again when she finally lowered her head, unable to look at him any longer.  "Why the hell would I want to sleep with someone who has no respect for me?  No respect for what happened to Deet . . .?"

That gave her a moment's pause.  Something in his voice . . . "What did she say about him?" she found herself asking.

He sighed.  "Just that everyone was happy because it was 'just Dieter' who got shot and not me—paraphrasing here."

Valerie went entirely still for a long moment. It took a few more moments to tamp down the urge to drive right back to Denver to let that woman know exactly what she thought of that.  "That bitch . . ."

"I slept with her a few years ago," he admitted at length.  "It was after a show, and she said that she'd make it worth my while if I let her ask a few questions, and I was a little drunk—I mean, the minute I stepped off stage, one of the roadies stuck a fifth of Jack Daniels in my hand—and I was so fucking hyper already and I didn't have anything else to do . . ."

She couldn't help the little snort that escaped her.  "So you have sex with someone because you're drunk and hyper and don't have anything else to do?  How flattering . . ."

"No," he clarified.  "I slept with her because she wanted me to."

For some reason, that sounded even more pathetic to her, didn't it?  Sleeping with someone because they wanted to?  It was . . . sad.

"Anyway, she wanted to this time, too.  Difference was, I didn't want to."

"You looked like you were enjoying it enough," she muttered under her breath.  She hadn't really meant for him to hear her, she supposed, but he did.

He chuckled, but there was something kind of sad behind it, too.  "I was trying to control my temper so I didn't do something stupid, like bust her in the chops," he explained.  "Damn, you jump to a lot of conclusions."

"With good reason, you slut," she grumbled.

This time, his chuckle was warmer, more genuine.  "I am a slut," he agreed.

"You're not supposed to be okay with that," she pointed out.

Setting the brush aside, he buried his hands in her hair and gently massaged her scalp.  "What's the big deal?  It's not like I was cheating on anyone or hurting anyone, right?  Besides, most of the time, the women have come on to me."

Valerie had to shake herself a little to keep from falling asleep.  "If that's the case, then why say yes all the time?" she challenged.  "Just because they offer doesn't mean you have to accept."

"Well, I didn't say that I didn't want to," he told her.  "I just said."

"Then I feel sorry for you.  You've never had a girlfriend, right?  You just sleep with women—any woman—as long as she wants to?  How can you stand that?"

Evan snorted and heaved a sigh as he stepped away from her and flopped into his chair again.  Face shifting into a thorough pout, he crossed his arms over his chest stubbornly.  "Didn't you answer your own question, V?" he asked suddenly, quietly.

She blinked and shook her head, unsure what exactly he meant.  "How did I answer my own question?"

Rubbing his face, he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and taking a moment to gather his thoughts.  "How can I stand it?" he repeated, his voice muffled by his hands.  "But I've never actually had a girlfriend, right?  So how can miss something I never had?"

Damned if that wasn't completely logical, too.  "So why haven't you had one?" she asked instead.

Lifting his face out of his hands, he shot her a blank sort of stare.  "Had one what?"

"A girlfriend, Roka.  Pay attention, will you?"

"Oh, that," he said, slumping back and scrubbing at his head for a few seconds.  "They never wanted me, I guess."

Pursing her lips, Valerie shot him a droll glance.  "You just said that they wanted to sleep with you," she reminded him.

He nodded, apparently believing that everything he was saying made perfect sense.  "They did," he explained simply.  "They just didn't want me to be their boyfriend, V."

"That makes absolutely no sense," she muttered, idly rubbing her fingertips over the old guitar's strings.

"No, it kind of does," he contradicted.  "You know what I mean, right?  Like if you see a really wicked sports car, and you want to take it for a drive, then you realize that you don't really want the car, you just liked the idea of being able to say that you drove one."

"You're comparing yourself to a sports car?"

He shrugged and grinned.  "Maddy said once that she figured that girls just never assumed that I'd be interested in being with just them or some shit.  Not that it matters, because it doesn't.  None of them were the one for me, anyway."

Valerie nodded, frowning over what he hadn't said.  It bothered him a lot more than he liked to let on, didn't it?  That sadness, that bitterness she'd seen glimpses of from time to time . . . It all worked together, didn't it?  Had he really been treated like that his whole life?  The guy who was good for a fun time, a one night stand, but not someone you'd want to take home to meet the parents?

Staring at the guitar on her lap, she frowned.  Traces of half-forgotten memories were coming back slowly—one of the few good memories she could recall . . . sitting beside her father, a burning cigarette dangling from his lip as he played his beat-up old guitar with one eye squinted closed to keep the smoke at bay . . .

A little girl's sing-song voice echoed through her head . . . "Daddy, can I try that?"

"Well, I dunno, Tigger . . . think you can handle it?"

"I can do it!  I can do it!"

He laughed softly, his voice a little ragged from the smoke, or maybe it was from other substances that she hadn't understood at the time.  "Okay, but don't drop it.  If you do, I'll bust your ass."

"I won't," she promised, bouncing up and down on the cracked old black vinyl hassock.

Pulling her into his lap, he set the guitar in front of her.  "Your arms might be too short to do it," he mused.  "Give me your hand . . ."

Coughing slightly as the cigarette smoke congealed around her, she scowled in concentration, determined to master what her father was teaching her . . .

Hand wrapping around the fret, biting her lip as she checked her fingers, she strummed the first chord, and it sounded just right.

She didn't look up as she played the part she knew.  It didn't amount to much: a few repetitions of the song's intro.  When she finished, though, she had a smile on her face, inordinately pleased that she'd remembered what she'd learned so long ago.

"I didn't know you could play the guitar," Evan mused quietly, as though he were afraid that raising his voice would ruin the moment.

"I can't," she replied with a shrug.  Handing the instrument back to him, she laughed.  "That was it—the extent of what I know."

"I'm impressed," he said.

Valerie rolled her eyes but her smile didn't diminish.  "It was Smoke on the Water," she retorted.  "It's one of the first songs that anyone ever learns, hardly a musical masterpiece.  It's not like I'm ready to go out and land a recording deal or anything."

"But you played it perfectly," he countered.  "Perfect rhythm and everything."

"It was a silly song," she insisted, unsure why Evan's praise made her feel so bashful.

"Who taught you to play it?" he asked.

She supposed that was the logical thing to ask.  It still gave her pause, though, and her smile faltered but didn't completely disappear.  "My father," she said, shrugging casually, trying to convince him that it wasn't a big deal, hoping that the truth wouldn't lead to more questions.

"Your father's a musician?  Is that right?" he asked, eyes widening.  "Was he in a band?"

Rubbing her forehead, she grimaced.  Evan didn't seem to notice.  "Uh, yeah, I think he was . . ."

"Really?  Nice . . . He did some gigs, right?"

"A . . . A few," she muttered.

Snapping his fingers, his grin widened.  "Ah-h-h, I get it . . . Your father was out on the road or something a lot when you were younger, right?  That's why you're so down on it . . . You know, I'd love to meet him.  Does he still play now?"

"No," she said, wishing he would drop it, irritated at the enthusiasm on his face.  "Evan, can we drop it?"

"How big did he get?  Just a few local gigs or what?"

"I don't want to talk about it," she said, raising her voice to cut through stupor that the word 'musician' seemed to inspire in Evan.

He blinked and glanced at her, only to do a double take when he got a good look at her face.  "I take it you don't really get along with him," he mused, shaking his head.  "Sorry . . . I didn't realize . . ."

Dragging the brush off the table, Valerie stood up and took her time in putting it back in the overnight bag.  "It's fine," she lied since it really, really wasn't.  The last thing—the very last thing—she wanted was to talk about her parents, especially to someone like Evan Zelig—someone who would never, ever understand.  "Why don't you play something else for me?" she suggested, hoping that he'd leave it alone and let her change the subject.

"Okay," he agreed easily enough.  "But this time, I get to pick the song."

"You did the last time," she informed him, smiling slightly in relief that he was going to let it slide.

"Yeah, but you chose the level of sanitation," he argued.  "Oh!  This is one of my favorites . . ."

Settling back in her chair once more, Valerie rolled her eyes when he picked the raunchy chords of a recent song that she was pretty sure described having an orgasm.  The censors hadn't quite realized it though, and it had been all over the radio back when she was in college.

The knot of trepidation brought on by the mere mention of her parents, however, took longer to disburse.  Lurking in the back of her mind like an ugly thing, just waiting to lash out, to hurt her again . . . No matter how long she tried to forget, it lingered and festered . . . She'd thought that she'd gotten past all that; she really, really had.  She'd thought . . .

Then again, maybe it never really went away . . .

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Smoke< /b> on the Water' by Deep Purple first appeared on his 1972 release, Machine Head.  Song written by and copyrighted to Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice.
'Open Arms' by Journey first appeared on their 1981 release, Escape.  Song written by and copyrighted to Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain.
'Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' by Journey first appeared on their 1979 release, Evolution.  Song written by and copyrighted to Steve Perry.
== == == == == == == == == ==
monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ mynera ------ FireDemon86 ------ oblivion-bringr ------ JKD1989 ------ Dark Inu Fan ------ slsonic ------ lilswtheart9811 ------- Diem ------ CatLover260 ------ Nozome ------ fanfic7inu ------ iloveanimecartoons ------ theblackthorn
Proforce ------ FireDemon86 ------ Shiratsuki ------ MouF ------ malitiadixie ------ cutechick18 ------ BlkbltVette ------ sueroxmysox
Thought from Evan:
V can play guitar … Nice
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.

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