InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Acquiescence ( Chapter 91 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter Ninety-One~~
~Acquiescence~


- OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Oh, May – put your arms around me
'What you feel is what you are
'And what you are is beautiful
'Oh, May – do you wanna get married …?
'Or run away …?'

-'Slide' by the Goo Goo Dolls.

-Evan-


"Okay."

Valerie blinked and snapped her mouth closed as she gaped at Evan with a completely disbelieving sort of expression on her face.  "Okay?"

Rolling his eyes as he pulled a black tour shirt over his head, Evan shot her a wide grin as her eyes narrowed suspiciously.  "That's what I said, woman.  Why are you looking at me like that?"

Crossing her arms over her chest, she shook her head, the high ponytail she'd pulled her hair back into just before announcing that she was going to test out the exercise equipment in the penthouse suite bouncing jauntily from side to side with the motion.  In fact, her overall girlish appearance seemed completely at odds with the stern set of her features as she scowled at him as though she were trying to see into his head, and he had a very distinct feeling that she was doing exactly that, come to think of it . . . "That was entirely too easy," she muttered.

"It's not like I have that much free time, anyway," he said, pulling the length of his hair out of his collar.  "Between fucking interviews, photo shoots, and that damned documentary they're filming, I'm pretty well booked for the week, so no big deal."

His answer didn't do a thing to make her look any less suspicious.  "You're agreeing way too easily, Roka—way too easily.  Why?"

Evan sighed and shot her an entirely innocent sort of look.  "I don't know what you're talking about, baby," he protested.  "You asked me to promise that I wouldn't sneak out of the hotel, and I agreed.  No sweat, right?"

"You're up to something," she insisted with a stubborn shake of her head.  "I know you are; I just don't know what it is."

"You're worried about nothing," he assured her, pasting on his 'best little boy in the world' smile that never failed to work on his mother.  "Besides, Bone said he'd be happy to show you around and protect that hot body of yours, so it's all good, right?" Evan went on, grabbing a press release that Mike had dropped off for him to look over before he sent it out.

She didn't look like she was ready to buy into his story completely, and she looked even less likely to take his grin at face value, too, but she heaved a sigh and pulled up the end of the towel hanging around her neck to blot sweat off of her face.  In fact, she looked like she was about ready to try beating the truth out of him, but suddenly, a deep frown surfaced—the kind of expression that normally appeared just after one was subject to a great epiphany of one kind or another.  "Is this about Dieter?" she asked, her voice much softer, much gentler.

Evan blinked, glancing at her quickly before his gaze skittered away.  "Is what about Dieter?"

She peered at him over the top of the towel for a long moment before letting it drop and draping her hands on her hips.  "Is that why you suddenly don't want to go?  Because Dieter's not here anymore . . .?"

Gritting his teeth at the overly gentle tone of her voice, Evan forced a smile.  'Okay, so that is part of it,' he admitted to himself seconds before he chuckled and shrugged for her benefit.  "Maybe."

She nodded slowly, as though everything made sense in her mind.  "Well, Mike did mention that the two of you got into an awful lot of trouble . . ."

"Who?  Us?  Here?  Keh!" he scoffed then sighed.  "Sometimes."

Valerie looked like she wanted to say something, but in the end, she changed her mind, pinning him with a compassionate look that lingered for a moment—an unspoken offer to listen should he want to talk about it, he supposed.

"Don't worry about me, V.  I'm fine.  'Sides, weren't you supposed to be convincing me not to go?"

"Yes, but . . ." Letting out a deep breath as she trailed off, she nodded again, and while she didn't look like she completely bought into his assertion, she did let it drop at last.  "I thought you said that Maddy was going to be here," she pouted instead, turning away from him to examine the array of packages all over the room.

"She called and told you that she'd be here tomorrow, right?" Evan went on, turning his attention back to the press release.

"But you're going to be busy all day, aren't you?  So what am I supposed to do?  I'll be bored!"

That got Evan's attention readily enough.  Dropping the release onto the table, he crossed his arms over his chest and grinned.  "Bored?" he echoed, unable to hide the grin that surfaced on his face.  "Careful, woman.  You're starting to sound like me . . ."

"Can it, Roka," she shot back, cheeks pinking at the perceived set-down.  "I do not."

"So don't worry about it.  Besides, I already asked Bone to take you on down there, right?"  Wandering over and looking out the window, Evan chuckled, figuring that it'd be in his best interests not to point out to Valerie that she did, indeed, sound like him.  The sight of the crowd, the sounds of the discord that drifted to him through the two inch crack between the window pane and the sill . . . It was all familiar to him, even as it registered in his mind that somehow, it felt completely different, too . . . Things were already in full swing, it seemed, and even some of the vendor rigs were set up.  Hoping to do some impromptu sales or just getting the exposure was what their appearances were geared toward.  Even some of the smaller companies that tended to cater more toward certain groups and less toward the mainstream were there—a lot more of them than there had been last year . . .

Most of the companies that were slated to set up shop since most of them had sent complimentary gift bags that had been arriving all day.  The clothing peddlers were great since all of them were hoping that he'd be spotted at some point during the week-long event wearing something they'd sent him.  Ordinarily, he'd avoid most of the stuff just because Mike would give him hell for doing what amounted to a free endorsement of the products, but Evan had to admit that the sunglasses that one company—Freschen-Ray—had sent were pretty damn nice . . .

The expression on Valerie's face when she'd come out after her three hour workout had been priceless, too, considering the complimentary gift bags had started arriving after she'd disappeared, and by the time she came out, they were all over the damn place.

"Anyway, try not to get into too much trouble when you go out," Evan suggested, giving a nod at the assembly below.

"Oh, that's rich coming from the master of all things deviant in nature," she scoffed at his warning.  Evan chuckled.  Then again, she didn't quite realize just what she was getting herself into, either, and he most certainly did, which was why he'd ordered Bone to accompany her.  "Apparently the people who put these things together don't do their research very well," Valerie remarked as she rummaged through one very large black silk gift bag.  "They sent you underpants . . ."

Evan chuckled and turned around to watch as Valerie explored the mountain of packages.  "No rocker on earth's gonna wear those," he scoffed.

She shook her head and moved on to another bag, carefully pulling a sheer black muscle tee out of the bag and holding it up between pinched fingers.  "If you wore this, you'd look so . . ."

"Gay?" he offered helpfully.

Valerie sighed and made a face as she shoved the garment back into the bag again.  "No self-respecting gay man would wear that thing," she pointed out.  "Maybe Bugs . . ."

He laughed and rolled his eyes.  "He's not gay nearly as much as he's a woman trapped in a very little man's body."

She snorted and turned a clear plastic case filled with guitar picks over in her hand.  "What do you do with all this stuff, anyway?" she asked, shaking her head slowly as her eyes roamed over the assembly of packages.

"Eh, usually Mikey just leaves instructions to send clothing to a homeless shelter and the music stuff to youth centers or schools, whatever."

She looked rather surprised by his answer, and she smiled.  "So Zel Roka really does have a heart?"

"It's just free shit, V," he told her, rolling his eyes.  "If you see anything you want, feel free to take it."

His offer didn't impress her very much, or so it seemed—at least, it didn't till she got to a garment bag with a snow white faux rabbit fur coat in it.  "Why did they send you something like this?" she asked as she examined the coat.  It was most definitely cut for a woman.

"I'd say more than half of those probably have girly shit in them," he remarked with an offhanded shrug. "Guess they figure I can give it to one of my many women."

"Hmph," she grunted, still giving the coat the critical eye.  "So do you?"

Inordinately pleased at the sharp quality in her tone, Evan grinned.  "Do I what?"

"Do you give stuff to your many women?" she muttered.

"Eh, sometimes," he drawled, enjoying the way her back stiffened, the way the air around her seemed to come alive.  'Totally jealous . . .' he gloated as he struggled for a more nonchalant stance.

She grunted again.  "This isn't real, is it?" she asked, changing the subject with as much dignity as she could muster.

"Nah, but it looks like it could be, doesn't it?"

Only then did she swing the coat over her shoulders and slip her arms into the sleeves.  "I can have anything I want, right?"

"You want that coat?"

Running her fingers up and down her arms, she nodded.  "As long as it isn't real," she said.

"You one of those animal rights activists?" Evan teased.

She shook her head but didn't look at him as she continued to feel her arms up.  "Not really," she admitted.  "I just don't think that animals should be killed just to make them into a coat or a bag or a pair of shoes.  It's different if you're eating them, too, but . . ."

"Don't let Maddy hear you say that," he teased.  "She has no qualms in tossing it down for a pair of snakeskin stilettos . . . Besides, you're from Kentucky, right?"

"So?" she countered in a distracted tone.

Evan grinned.  "Well, don't all Kentuckians eat road-kill on a daily basis?"

"You didn't just say that," she gasped, whipping around to face him as her cheeks pinked indignantly.

"Yeah, V, I think I did."

"I'll have you know that not all Kentuckians are hillbillies," she shot back hotly.

"Name one who isn't," he countered.

"John Fetterman!"

Evan snorted.  "You came up with that answer a little too quickly, V," he pointed out, "which means that someone else must've already told you that joke, right?"

Valerie rolled her eyes and grunted indelicately.  "He won the Pulitzer Prize, you know, and I highly doubt that he ever ate road-kill."

"You're so fucking hot when you're all pissed off," he said, only half-teasing.

"Hmm . . ." Valerie wasn't paying attention.  Venturing over to the floor length mirror by the door, she turned from side to side to admire the coat she'd claimed.  "So warm," she murmured, pulling the hood over her head and smiling dreamily to herself.  "I think I'm in love . . ."
Rolling his eyes, Evan chuckled and headed off toward the kitchen, pleased to note that the list he'd given Mike before they'd arrived in Detroit had been executed perfectly.  Since they were going to be here awhile, he'd actually made out a full grocery list so that he could do a little cooking.  It was one of the things that he missed when he was out on the road: having an honest-to-goodness home cooked meal.

'You know, you probably should have put up a little bit of a fight,' his youkai pointed out as he inspected the contents of the industrial sized refrigerator.

Scowling as he lifted a handful of basil to his nose, Evan grunted, grabbing the basket of various herbs still enclosed in the plastic boxes they'd come from the grocery store in and kicking the door closed with his heel.  'That'd be rather counterproductive, wouldn't it?'

'Maybe, but she knows you're up to something.'

'I'm not,' he argued, setting the basket beside the sink and reaching overhead for a colander.  'Just taking care of a little unfinished business, is all.'

'That's what you call it?' his youkai scoffed with a snort.  'Just remember, will you?  If you're not careful, you're going to get in trouble.'

'Yeah, yeah, I know.  Don't worry about it.'

'Don't you blow me off, Roka.  If things get out of hand . . .'

'I know,' he interrupted, rinsing the herbs and setting them on towels to dry off.

The trill of the phone cut the conversation off abruptly, and Evan turned his head toward the blinking smart-center monitor mounted in the wall.  "Answer."

The call connected, and Evan grinned when Madison's face flashed onto the screen.  "You don't have an interview or something?" she asked in lieu of a proper greeting.

"Not at the moment," he replied with a grin.  "Looking good, Maddikins . . . Going out?"

Taking a moment to adjust the spaghetti straps of the black dress she was wearing, Madison turned from side to side to allow Evan a better view.  "Actually, no.  I just bought this, and I'm trying to decide whether or not I like it . . . Do I?"

He chuckled since he'd heard that particular question more times than he could count.  "Oh, I think you do.  Damn, the girls are looking fine, indeed . . ."

Grasping one breast in each of her hands, Madison leaned toward the screen and gave them a little shake.  "You think so?"

Heaving a sigh, mostly because, as much as he appreciated Madison's charms, he couldn't rightfully say that he was all that interested, either, he chuckled.  "So you opted to stay there an extra day so you could go shopping?" he asked, letting the current subject drop.

"Nope," she explained with a shrug.  "You're the one who asked me to drop that paper off, though, didn't you?"

Striding over to the refrigerator again, Evan grabbed a couple butcher paper covered packages of ground beef.  "You mean, you didn't do that already?"

Wrinkling her nose, Madison propped her elbow on the desk and rested her chin in her hand.  "I meant to do it earlier, but I misplaced the original copy," she said with a sorrowful frown. "Then I kept forgetting to print out another one, so I called my phone last night and left a message so that I wouldn't forget today.  Wasn't that smart?"

He chuckled.  "Brilliant, of course," he assured her.  That she'd lost the first copy really didn't surprise him.  She tended to lose things on a daily basis, which was why he always kept an extra set of her most important keys in his house at all times—normally a few copies of each, actually.  "Did you."  It wasn't a question.

Madison heaved a sigh.  "Yes."

"And?" he prompted.

"And that's why I didn't drop it off till today."

Evan grinned and shook his head.  "But you'll be here tomorrow?"

Madison giggled.  "You think I'd miss Rocktoberfest?  Maybe they should rename it Rokatoberfest . . ."

"Yeah, well, I'll have you know that V's having a fit since you said you'd be here today," he pointed out.

"Aww," Madison crooned, "tell her I'll be there first thing in the morning, and I swear I'll make it up to her."

"Can I watch?"

Madison snorted and shook her head.  "Of course not!"

"Heartless," he grumbled, drying off his hands and carefully wrapping the herbs in damp paper towels for storage.  "Is this another of those vagina-things?"

"Vagina-things?"

Evan chuckled, recalling Valerie's assertion that Madison was most definitely hers.  "Yes . . . V said that you're hers because she has one and I don't."

"Like you'd do anything but play with yours all day if you did have one," she scoffed.

His grin widened, mostly because he'd already admitted as much already.  "Well, I do like innies better than outies . . ."

"You're such a little monkey," she laughed.  "Anyway, I just called to let you know that I dropped it off," she said with an airy wave of the hand.  "Now I'm meeting a friend for an early dinner . . . late lunch . . . whichever you want to consider it, and I'll see you both tomorrow."

"An old friend, eh?  Do I know him?"

"Maybe," she drawled then gave a quick wink.  "Later."

"Bye," Evan said.  The screen blanked, and he chuckled.  Glancing at the clock, he let out a deep breath.  He had about an hour before the film crew was slated to arrive, which didn't really leave a lot of time for him to get something cooked and eaten before they did—the main reason why he figured he'd cook hamburgers.

The stove came to life with a soft hiss when he pushed the button to preheat the grill before chopping up an onion and smashing it into the hamburger and pressing out the meat into patties.  He sighed.  Sure, he'd thought that maybe it would be all right.  After all, Dieter wasn't here, of course, but they were also at a new venue for it, too.  He supposed that the memories of the crowds, the things that made Rocktoberfest the spectacle it was had more to do with the people in attendance than it had to do with the venue or anything else.  Dieter's absence might not be the only reason he'd agreed to stay in the hotel, no, but he had to admit, at least to himself, that it did have something to do with it, too . . .

"Were you talking to someone?" Valerie asked as she wandered into the kitchen with a thoughtful frown on her face.  She'd showered and changed into a pair of faded jeans and a plain pink tee-shirt with her golden hair pulled back into a French braid that hung down the middle of her back looking absolutely adorable.

Dropping a couple fat hamburgers he'd smashed out onto the grill top in the middle of the industrial sized stove, he paused long enough to grin at her before reaching for the salt and pepper.  "You just missed Maddy," he said.

"And did you ask her why she's not here when she promised she'd be?"  Valerie blinked and eyed the meat dubiously.  "Those are as big as my head," she stated.  "Ugh, my arteries are clogging, just looking at them . . ."

"Good because they're for me," he quipped, washing his hands and rummaging around in one of the air-lock drawers in a hunt for bread.  "I could throw one on if you want, though, and don't worry, she'll be here tomorrow, and she promised she'd make it up to you—and she promised that I could watch."

"She did no such thing, you ass."  Waving a hand, Valerie wrinkled her nose.  "No, thank you," she replied dryly.  "I'll pass."

"You sure?"

She heaved a sigh, but it might have been due more to the idea that she was staring at the two crusty loaves of bread he'd gotten out to use as buns.  "Oh, I'm sure," she replied with a shake of her head.  "Besides, I called Bone, and he's on his way up here to take me down to have a look around."

"Sounds like more fun than I'm going to have," he allowed.  "You sure you don't want to stick around?  Tell them that you're going to be Mrs. Zel Roka?"

Snapping her mouth closed, Valerie didn't look at all impressed with Evan's banter.  "I'll be sure to have lots of fun without you," she goaded, crossing her arms over her chest and narrowing her gaze on him.  "How about you tell me why you agreed to stay in the hotel so easily?"

Evan shot her a completely innocent sort of look—as innocent as he could manage, anyway.  It only made her eyes narrow a little more, and he chuckled.  "I got a lot of shit going on," he stated with a simple shrug.  "Unless you want me to sneak out, and if that's the case, then all you've got to do is say the word, V."  He paused for a moment, scratching his chin thoughtfully.  "Did you bring my dress with you?"

"No," she stated, shaking her head and looking like she was either going to laugh or smack him—either was fine with him.  "Just be good, won't you?"

Evan laughed and flipped the knife into the air, only to catch it by the handle again.  "Baby, I'm always good," he insisted with a wink.

She didn't look like she believed him, but she heaved a sigh and leaned on the counter.  "This kitchen is absolutely absurd," she said, tearing a small hunk of bread out of the middle of a freshly cut loaf.  "And here I thought that rock stars don't eat."

"Some of us do," Evan said with a grin.  "Of course, most of the more successful ones travel with their own personal chefs and shit."

"But you don't."

Evan's grin widened.  "Why hire someone to do something I can do myself?"

She looked like she was going to say something witty about that, but she was interrupted when Bone swaggered into the kitchen.  "Oh, damn, Roka!  You feedin' me?" he asked when he spotted the huge slabs of meat that Evan had just flopped over with what looked to be a pizza paddle.

"Hunt your own, Bone," Evan shot back.  "Better make damn sure nothing happens to her."

Bone winked at Valerie and slipped an arm around her shoulders.  "Relax, relax.  I'll take damn good care of my girl, right?"

Valerie smiled.  "That's right.  Don't make yourself sick with all that food."

Evan rolled his eyes and shook the paddle at them.  "Yeah, whatever.  Just get the hell out of here, will you?"

Bone escorted her out of the room, and Evan sighed.  Okay, so getting out of the hotel would be a lot of fun, especially since Valerie would be part and parcel with the deal.  Still, there were just too many other things he had to do, and as much as he loathed admitting it, the idea of sneaking out to the festival was a little hard to swallow with Dieter missing on top of everything else.  After all, he'd never done Rocktoberfest without him, and that just made everything a whole lot harder . . .


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A/N:
'Slide< /b>' was originally appeared on the Goo Goo Dolls' 1998 release, Dizzy Up The Girl.  Song written by and copyrighted to Johnny Rzeznik.
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Final
Thought from Valerie:
He agreed way too easily
==========
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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