InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Curiosity ( Chapter 77 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Seventy-Seven~~

- OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Call it mystery or anything
'Just as long as you'd call me, I sent the message on
'Did you get it when I left it?  See this catastrophic event
'It wasn't meant to mean no harm
'But to think there's nothing wrong is a problem …'

-'Mr. Curiosity' by Jason Mraz.


Closing his eyes as the dull torrent from the shower tap beat down on him, Evan heaved a sigh and let his head fall back.

Damn, he was tired.  Having just finished the third show in two days, he wasn't sure if his body was more exhausted than his mind or vice versa.  He loved performing, of course, but there were moments—like this one—when he just wanted a day off to re-center himself, to find himself once more: a day when he didn't have to be Zel Roka unless he wanted to, when he could go out, have coffee at a quiet restaurant, read the paper . . .

Unfortunately, the odds of that happening now were slim and none . . .

Reaching out with a flat palm, he slapped at the shower control to staunch the flow of water.  He'd love to stand under it until it ran out, but Valerie probably wouldn't appreciate that, especially since Mike had decreed that they were going to drive straight through from Boston to Las Vegas with the only stops allowed being for refueling, and those had better be necessity, or so he'd warned.  Evan had half a mind to tell Mike to shove his schedule up his ass since the only reason they were in that big a hurry was because Mike, as usual, had overbooked Evan's interview schedule before the show at the Ritz-Reginaldo in two days.

Sparing a moment to do a full-body shake, Evan pushed the frosted glass door open and reached for a towel, realizing too late that he'd forgotten to grab some jeans to put on after his shower.  Of course, it was harder to remember stuff like that when he'd ordinarily just go naked.  After all, no one else but maybe Dieter ever rode on his bus with him, and Dieter hadn't cared whether or not Evan was dressed, so it hadn't been a big deal.  Valerie, however, was likely to kill him if he tried to go that route, and while he figured that it might be good for a laugh, he rather liked it when she wasn't trying to avoid him, too.

Draping the towel around his hips, Evan stepped out of the bathroom, ignoring the rise of goose bumps when the cooler, drier air hit him.  Valerie was sitting at the table, her glasses perched on the end of her nose as she looked over some paperwork that had been delivered via courier at the hotel a couple days ago.

"Mike called while you were in the shower," Valerie commented without looking up from whatever she was reading.

"Oh, yeah?  What did he want?"

Tapping the cap of the ballpoint pen in her hand against the table, she snorted.  "I'm not in the habit of answering other people's phones," she remarked dryly and almost distractedly.  "I think he left a message though.  It keeps beeping . . ."

"E-E-Eh," he grumbled, stalking over to the table and picking up the phone.  As much as he'd like to ignore the message, he figured that it'd probably be a pretty bad idea.  It was likely another form of Roka-comeuppance for the fart-in-the-pillow-prank he'd pulled last week . . .

"Hey.  I wanted to let you know that I just heard back from Raven Rhodes.  She said that the Vinn-Reisner Auditorium just became available and that they'd love to book you.  It's short notice, but I told her to count on it.  You sell out arenas twice that size in a matter of hours, so filling the V-R shouldn't be a problem at all.  Figured we could use the break, right?  Anyway, it's not a big deal.  The date is scheduled during the four day break we were supposed to have next week.  Later."

Heaving a sigh, Evan tossed the phone down on the chair and stomped over to the refrigerator to grab a beer.

Valerie glanced up, doing a double take when he slammed the door closed and slumped against it.  "Not good news?" she asked baldly, pushing her glasses up with the knuckle of her index finger.

"Fuck," Evan snorted, giving the cap on the beer bottle a vicious twist and tossing it into the trashcan.  "That damned bastard!  I swear to fucking God that he pulls this kind shit just to piss me the hell off!"

Eyes widening in alarm, Valerie stood up and moved toward him.  "What happened?  What did he say?" she demanded, her expression darkening.

Heaving a heavy sigh, Evan shook his head and downed the beer in one long series of gulps.  "Booked another fucking show," he growled, dropping the bottle into the wooden case beside the refrigerator.  "Next week during the break . . ."

She looked surprised for a moment then slowly shook her head.  "That's not so bad, is it?  Where's the show?"

That innocent question earned Valerie a hardened glower as he grabbed another beer and slammed the door again.  "The worst place ever," he snarled.  "He did it just to fuck with me; I know it.  That cocksucker . . . just wait till I get my hands on him . . ."

"Why?" Valerie interrupted, grasping his arm and pulling the beer out of his hand.  "Where's the show?  Alaska?"

Evan narrowed his eyes on her and grunted indelicately.  "Hell, no," he muttered, reaching for the beer only to have it whisked neatly out of his reach and behind her back.  "Worse."

"Worse than Alaska?" Valerie said, shaking her head as a rather appalled expression surfaced on her pretty face.  "The only place I can think of that's worse than Alaska would be Antarctica, and Judge Lister said that you can't go anywhere out of the country, so where?"

Crossing his arms over his chest and figuring that he probably resembled a sulking child, Evan shifted his glower to the side and scrunched up his shoulders.  "Fucking Hawaii."

"Hawa—?" Valerie echoed, only to cut herself off as her eyes brightened, as her cheeks flushed, and as a positively huge smile broke over her features.  If she were an anime character, she'd be surrounded by stars with giant hearts for eyes, he figured.  "Really . . .?  Hawaii . . .?  Oh, my God!  Are you serious?"

Squeezing one eye closed and leaning far away from her, Evan grimaced and grunted tersely.  "Take it easy on my ears, woman," he grouched, "and I fail to see what's so great about it."

She stared at him as though she couldn't decide whether he was being serious or not.  "But it's Hawaii," she repeated, sounding like she thought that the island state was about as close to heaven as she could possibly get.  "How could you not want to go to Hawaii?"

"Like it matters," he scoffed, shaking his head as he stared at her, unable to grasp the idea that she really didn't understand at all.  "You, of all people, ought to know that it doesn't matter if I'm in Hawaii or Zimbabwe, it's not like I get to get out and go sightseeing or anything.  Everything looks the same from inside the fucking hotels."

Shaking her head, she smiled hopefully.  "You can't tell me that Mike wouldn't let you out to go to the beach," she remarked though she didn't sound all that optimistic.

"Yeah, that's pretty much the gist of it," he told her.  "Security risks, you know."

"You're kidding."

He sighed and rubbed his face.  "No, I'm not."  Pushing himself away from the refrigerator, he shuffled over to the bed and flopped onto his back, raising his arm, draping it over his eyes.  "Used to be that I could," he said quietly, wearily.  "Don't get me wrong, V.  I love being who I am.  Hell, how many people in the world really understand the rush you get when a crowd goes wild?  Not too many, right?  So I'm lucky, and I know it.  It's just that sometimes . . ."

"Sometimes you wish that you had it all," Valerie finished for him, her voice nearer than it should have been.

Lifting his arm, he watched in silence as she slowly wandered toward him.  "I guess so."  And he couldn't help the snort that slipped from him as he crossed his arms over his chest and pinned her with a formidable scowl.  "Besides, V, it's as much your fault as it is his that I can't leave the hotel these days."

She blinked, apparently not understanding why he would say such a thing.  "How do you figure?"

"Because you're the one who keeps reminding me that I have to stay out of trouble, remember?"

"Oh . . . that . . ." she said thoughtfully.  "That is true . . ." Still, she couldn't repress the dreamy little sparkle in her eyes.  "Hawaii . . . four days in Hawaii . . ."

Evan snorted again—louder this time—wishing that he shared Valerie's enthusiasm since he knew damn well that the only real view he was likely to see was the one from his hotel room window.  "Probably more like two," Evan corrected.  "Maybe three."  Heaving another sigh, he grunted unintelligibly.  "Remind me to send Mike something entirely craptastic for Christmas this year, will you?  A bomb or a tube of anthrax powder or something . . ."

"You know, I want to feel badly for you; I really do," Valerie mused at length, "but . . . it's Hawaii, Evan—Hawaii!"

Lifting his arm just enough to pin the woman with a longsuffering glower, he blinked a few times before he grumbled, "You realize that I can have the bus pulled over so you can ride with Bone or someone," he warned.

Valerie giggled since she knew damn well that he was just blowing, and she patted his arm in a consolatory sort of way as she turned away and started toward the bathroom.  "Let's see," she was mumbling.  Too bad he could hear her.  "I'll need to get a new swimsuit, maybe some tanning oil . . . Oh!  A cute little sarong or something like that . . ."

Heaving another sigh as she closed the door behind herself, Evan couldn't help the little growl that slipped from him.  Two or three days, trapped in a hotel room when he ought to be on the beach with V in her new bikini, body glistening with tanning oil . . .?  "No fucking way," he muttered, sitting up and swinging his legs off the bed to retrieve his cell phone.

If Mike thought that he was going to be a good boy and stay on the fiftieth floor of some luxury high-rise hotel, he could just think again . . .


Stepping out of the bathroom nearly an hour later, Valerie bit her lip, feeling somewhat guilty for having stayed in the smallish tub a lot longer than she'd planned.  She wasn't entirely sure why there was a tub in the bathroom since Evan struck her as a shower kind of guy, and there was a small shower stall in there, too, which was what Evan normally used.  Usually, she did, too, but her giddy daydreams about their impending trip to Hawaii were something that she just needed to dwell upon.

Blinking slowly, she frowned as she shifted her gaze around the bus.  The lights were dimmed—in fact, only the one beside the bed was lit, but it was on the lowest setting, nothing more than a warm glow that did little to dispel the gathering darkness.  It was odd, wasn't it?  Usually, Evan was hyper after a show, especially one as big as the one earlier had been.  The concert at the Tucson Review Centre was sold out, and she'd overheard Bone saying that it was one of the largest inside venues in the United States.  Considering Evan tended to feed off the energy of the crowd, she wasn't sure what to think when she spotted him, sleeping on the bed.

'Sleeping . . .?  Him . . .?' she wondered as she crept closer, half expecting him to sit up and grin at her or to grab her hand and scare the bejesus out of her.  He didn't.  She could see his chest rising and falling as the sound of his even breathing surrounded her, and she frowned.

He was too upset earlier when he'd first listened to Mike's message that she hadn't bothered to remark upon his state of undress.  Having just taken a shower, he was only wearing a towel slung loosely around his hips, and he hadn't bothered to put anything else on before he'd fallen asleep, either, and while she would definitely be more comfortable if he did get dressed, she simply didn't have the heart to wake him up, either.

Something about his features, cast in the warmth of the vague lamplight captured her—a certain softness that wasn't usually there when he was awake.  It might be because of the ever-present brilliance in his dark blue eyes—that devilish little spark that seemed to punctuate everything he did.  Full lips slack, parted slightly, just a little pouty . . . hair falling in disarray over his high cheekbone, and while she had to admit that she liked his hair best in his natural color, the golden bronze color that he'd chosen in the bathroom reminded her of his father, and she wondered briefly if he opened his eyes if he'd look just like Cain Zelig . . .

But the angles and contours of his body were hard to ignore.  Finding her gaze wandering to his chest, his waist, his stomach, she could feel the uncomfortable burn of a very vivid flush stealing up her cheeks time and again.  It didn't make sense, did it?  She'd seen him shirtless a hundred times if she'd seen him shirtless once.  There was something different about it, though.  Watching his body in a completely relaxed state was a little easier to do, and a lot more unsettling to her equilibrium . . . An almost overwhelming desire to reach out, to touch his skin, to see if it really was as firm as it looked, gripped her, and she had to cross her arms over her chest to keep from giving in.  She was losing her mind, wasn't she?  With her luck, she'd give in, reach out, and get caught, which just wouldn't do.  Besides, why in the world would she want to do that, anyway?  He was Evan—just Evan . . . her friend . . .

The barest hint of a smile quirked her lips, and Valerie stretched out her hand, carefully moved his hair off his face: baby soft hair that fell through her fingers like a breath . . .

It really wasn't fair, was it: the absolute grace, the beauty of his body, perfect proportions that he used to his advantage even without realizing it . . . She'd seen other people at other times who possessed that kind of poise.  Evan was the first one, however, that she'd met who wasn't obnoxiously vain or impossibly spoiled.  The rich kids she'd met in college—ones who were just going through the motions until they were deemed ready to inherit their fathers' businesses or to take over the family practice back home.  Interesting, wasn't it?  Evan had to be wealthier than the lot of them, and even if he weren't a musician, that would still be the case, wouldn't it?  After all, it wasn't a secret that the Zelig family was wealthy.  Having inherited a fortune from the late artist—Evan's father's grandfather?—they were set for generations to come.

Letting out a deep breath, Valerie reached out, snagging the sheet with her fingertips that he'd kicked down to the end of the bed at some point and tugged it up to his waist.  Then she turned and shuffled over to the table, standing on tiptoe to reach the switch at the base of the hanging lamp.

She'd been trying to read through and analyze the accident report that the specialist had sent her regarding his findings when he'd gone to inspect the vehicles.  She hadn't gotten more than three pages into the fifty page report.  Between Evan's interruptions—she would swear that he really was just like a little kid sometimes—and apparently he thought that she'd only come along to keep him company—and every other little thing that came along, she wasn't having much luck in trying to do her work.

'Stop acting like you're not having fun,' her conscience piped up.  The voice sounded remarkably like her third grade teacher, Mrs. Pritchett.  'If you weren't so stubborn, you'd admit that you're really having a good time—possibly the best time you've ever had . . .'

Pressing her lips together, she tried to ignore it, focusing instead on the report opened on the table before her.  So far, she was still browsing a detailed list of damages. Boring stuff.

The bus lurched slightly.  Behind her, she could hear Evan shifting around on the bed.

Stifling a yawn with the back of her hand, Valerie blinked, forcing her eyes open wide, resolved to keep reading the report, even if it was duller than dishwater.  She didn't actually think that she was going to find anything in the report that would help Evan's case, but she wasn't quite ready to admit defeat, either.

She'd even tried to ask Madison more questions about the night of the accident when they had gone to the spa.  Sitting in a hot tub full of chamomile leaves and lavender to help relaxation, she'd sipped a glass of white wine and asked the woman if she could remember anything at all that she might have forgotten to tell Valerie in the initial interview.

"Hmm, no, I don't think so," Madison said, closing her eyes and letting her head fall back as she slid a little lower in the water.

"Nothing at all?" Valerie tried again.

Madison shook her head and shrugged offhandedly.  "Sorry, V.  I told you everything I can remember."

"You know, I get the feeling that you're all keeping something from me," Valerie insisted, frowning thoughtfully as Madison adjusted the white air pillow that was supporting her neck.  "What aren't you telling me?"

"I realize that your lawyer brain is always trying to find the angle, but I swear to God that there isn't one," Madison countered.  "

Was that it?  Was she looking for something that wasn't there?  Why was it that she was so convinced that Evan was hiding something from her when it was entirely possible that there really wasn't anything else there?  After all, he might be a bit misguided from time to time, but he certainly wasn't stupid.  There just wasn't any way that he wanted to end up in jail, and she knew that, too.

The next part of the report was a breakdown that basically put incurred damages in chronological order.  It was about as interesting to read as an ingredient label on a box of cheese food product was.  Smothering a second yawn, she rubbed her forehead and stood up to get a bottle of water.

Leaning against the counter, she took a sip and looked around.  The quiet was peaceful, warm, welcome in a way that she couldn't recall having felt before.  Funny how the sense of loneliness she'd often experienced in the past seemed worlds away.  Maybe she just thought that because the monotony of being on the road was getting to her . . .

Then again . . .

Then again, maybe it was because Evan was there . . .?

"Don't get me wrong, V.  I love being who I am.  Hell, how many people in the world really understand the rush you get when a crowd goes wild?  Not too many, right?  So I'm lucky, and I know it.  It's just that sometimes . . ."

Eyes unconsciously seeking out the sleeping man, she frowned.  Just what was it that Evan really wanted?  A life of anonymity would drive him mad, wouldn't it?  He thrived on the life of a rock star.  He lived for those moments spent onstage in front of thousands of screaming fans.  She'd seen for herself exactly how excited he'd get, how happy it made him to go out there and thrill his audience.  It didn't matter if he was in a bad mood five minutes before show time, and it didn't matter if he was exhausted or if he'd just gotten off a bus after an eighteen hour trip.  Performing drove him, didn't it?

Smiling to herself, she set the water bottle aside and wandered over toward the bed again.  He'd rolled onto his side as he slept but hadn't stirred otherwise.  The glow of the lamplight was kind to him, lending his skin a honey golden glow, and she was struck once more by exactly how pretty he was.  As strange as it sounded, there really wasn't a better way to describe him, not at that moment.  Smoky dark eyelashes fanned down over his cheeks, the hollows of his face lending him a dramatic sort of air, he looked timeless, ageless, a creature bound by only the confines of the fairy tales that Valerie had stopped reading a long time ago, as familiar yet as foreign to her as he had ever been.

A strange emotion surged through her, a desperate need to touch him, to be closer to him, to reassure herself that he really was there, that he was real, that he was still the Evan she knew.  Biting her lip, she reached out slowly, only to stop before her fingertips could brush over his arm.  It wasn't that she felt like she couldn't touch him, no . . . Moreover, it was the innate knowledge that Evan wouldn't mind.  She'd never met anyone like him—someone who didn't think twice about reaching for her hand, who liked to walk down the street with his hand on the small of her back, who constantly wanted to experience that tactile sense.  Was he trying to reassure himself on some level?  Trying to breech some perception of distance between himself and those around him?

Because Evan understood loneliness, didn't he?  He understood it on a level that few ever did.  The same entity that had brought him all the fame and all the adoration of millions all over the world was the same entity that had created a bubble around him: one that few could step into, not because Evan turned them away, but because they just couldn't compete with the lights that shone brighter, the paths that led him away for months and months at a time.

Shaking her head at her own melodramatic thoughts, Valerie started to turn away, only to stop, to turn her head, to stare at him thoughtfully.   Murmuring something that she couldn't discern, he shifted again, kicking the sheet down around his hips as he rolled from his side onto his back once more.  Sometime in his sleep, the towel had come loose, too, and Valerie's eyes widened, her mouth falling open, her cheeks exploding in a wash of color as she got a good look at parts of him that she'd always tried to avoid before.  She couldn't see it now, exactly, but the outline under the sheet didn't leave much to the imagination.  Sure, she'd seen him naked a few times.  The man possessed absolutely nothing in the way of humility, did he?  Aside from the one time when she'd watched him with those twins, she'd always looked away before she saw too much, but even then, the view from the window hadn't been that great, not to mention her absolute disgust that he was taking advantage of those girls . . .

"I slept with her a few years ago . . . 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 . . ."

"So you have sex with someone because you're drunk and hyper and don't have anything else to do?  How flattering . . ."

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

Frowning as she stared at him, unable to drag her eyes away despite the knowledge that she really had no business staring at his body like that at all, Valerie shook her head.  It was easy to see why women would want to sleep with him, she supposed.  He was tall, broad, and apparently entirely in proportion, if the shadows of the sheet meant anything at all . . . hardened muscles of his stomach, his waist that narrowed slightly . . . converging lines that led to the parts of him that she couldn't rightfully see . . .

Leaning down slightly, she grasped the edge of the sheet between her index and middle fingers.  What harm would it do to peek?  After all, he was sleeping, wasn't he?  He'd never, ever know, right?


Holding her breath, she slowly pulled up on the sheet and leaned to the side to get a better look as another vivid wash of color blossomed under her skin.  Never in her lifetime had she ever really thought that a man's penis was anything but kind of weird looking—a rather pathetic lump of spongy flesh when it wasn't erect, and a little awkward looking when it was, kind of like God's idea of a joke or maybe even an afterthought.  It certainly wasn't attractive, even if it did have its uses.

Evan's penis, however . . .

He really was beautifully proportioned, and that part of him, even completely relaxed, was as well shaped as the rest of him.  And he quite obviously hadn't stuffed the thong the other night, either.  He didn't need to . . .

Carefully pulling the sheet back a little more, a glint of silver caught her gaze, and she narrowed her eyes, leaning in closer, blinking in surprise as she saw it.

He'd actually done it.  He really had a silver—or maybe it was white gold or platinum—barbell stud earring stuck straight through his penis.

"Oh, my God," Valerie breathed, leaning in even closer to get a better look at the blatant show of self-mutilation.  Without thinking about it, she reached out, flicked the end of the earring with the tip of her fingernail.

Evan uttered a half-groan, half-grunt as she jerked back, face flaming as she let go of the sheet, prepared to run for it, if need be.  But he didn't open his eyes, and after a moment of trying to steady her wildly hammering heart, she let out a deep breath and very slowly shifted her gaze back to the barbell stud.

It was moving.

Biting the inside of her cheek hard, Valerie felt her feet shuffling forward, absolutely fascinated with watching Evan's penis as it jerked a little, color darkening slightly, the length of it thickening, extending.

Unfathomable, really.  In the back of her head, she knew damn well that she really shouldn't be staring at—well, at that, of all things.  It was like a train wreck, maybe.  One knew that one shouldn't watch, and yet one felt the ignoble compulsion to do exactly that.  Sure, she'd seen other men's bodies react in the same fashion before, but Evan's was the most impressive, by far . . .

Swallowing hard, Valerie could only stare as it continued to fill out, little by little, and as it did, her eyes widened bit by bit, too.  'Good God!' she thought, pressing her hands to her flushed cheeks without blinking.  'Has he killed anyone with that thing?'  It was easily longer than her hand, and she wasn't exactly a small woman, by any stretch of the imagination, and she had to wonder if she'd even be able to wrap her fingers around it, for that matter.

Instinct told her to get away from him.  That kind of monstrosity had to be dangerous, didn't it?  'Don't be stupid,' her mind barked at her.  'Okay, so he is large, but then, the guys you dated weren't nearly as big as Evan, anyway.  Heck, you were taller than most of them, right?  So it stands to reason that he's got a bigger penis than any of them, to start with.'

She leaned down a little closer, staring at Evan's penis like it was some sort of foreign object, her expression a mix of comic horror and abject fascination, not unlike the kind of look one might have gotten had one just discovered a new kind of spider lurking in the corner of the kitchen.

With a heavy sigh, though, Evan suddenly flopped over onto his stomach, leaving Valerie with nothing but a very up-close look at the man's extraordinarily well-shaped ass.

Standing up straight, her entire face feeling oddly feverish, Valerie finally skittered away, across the bus, snatching up the thick fleece blanket that she'd carefully folded earlier, and, wrapping it around herself in one fluid motion, she threw herself onto the sofa and squeezed her eyes closed.  Shocked at her own uncharacteristically brazen behavior, thankful only that he hadn't actually woken up while she was inspecting him like he was nothing more than a slab of meat left out for inspection, she pressed her hand over her icy hands over her heart and willed her breathing to slow.

Just what had gotten into her, anyway?  It wasn't like her to do something like that, not at all.  She was engaged, for God's sake!  What on earth had inspired her to gawp at Evan Zelig . . .?

And exactly why did she feel such a savage sense of disappointment that he'd rolled over onto his stomach . . .?

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Mr. Curiosity' by Jason Mraz first appeared on his 2005 release, Wordplay.  Song written by and copyrighted to Lester Mendez, Dennis Morris, and Jason Mraz.
== == == == == == == == == ==
theblackthorn ------ mynera ------ FireDemon86 ------ CatLover260 ------ indigorrain ------ Nozome ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ JKD1989 ------ Dark Inu Fan ------ slsonic ------ darkangel05 ------ brownie31
Proforce ------ indigorrain ------ malitiadixie ------ angie27 ------ Shiratsuki ------ MouF ------ gin_hayashi85 ------ cutechick18 ------ archeronlover
Thought from Valerie:
At least he didn't wake up
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.

Chapter 76
Chapter 78
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