InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Broken Promises ( Chapter 113 )

[ X - Adult: No readers under 18. Contains Graphic Adult Themes/Extreme violence. ]
~~Chapter One Hundred Thirteen ~~
~Broken Promises~


'You say your faith is shaken
'You may be mistaken
'You keep me wide awake and
'Waiting for the sun
'I'm desperate and confused
'So far away from you
'I'm getting near
'I don't care where I have to run…'

-'Misery' by Maroon 5.


Closing the front door of her apartment quietly, Valerie collapsed against it with a sigh.

She was still shaking.

The feel of Evan's lips still lingered on her skin, an inebriating feeling, the likes of which she couldn't recall having ever felt before.  What was it about him . . .?

'Don't answer that.'

Yeah, she probably was better off not answering that question, wasn't she?

Burying her face in her hands, she heaved a stuttering, ragged breath.

It was easy to try to tell herself that it was all a game to him, but that wasn't really it.  No, the longer she spent around him, the more she came to understand that he really did think that he was serious, and maybe he was.  Maybe he was.

It wasn't his sincerity that she doubted.  It was his idea of 'forever' that did it.

"Whatever you want it to be . . ."

Okay, so there was a certain level of attraction.  How could it possibly be otherwise when the man was drop-dead gorgeous?  If she wanted to be completely honest with herself, she'd have to admit that she'd never, ever met any man who made her feel quite the way that Evan Zelig did.  Unfortunately, she also knew that attraction alone wasn't nearly enough to base a relationship upon.  Those kinds of emotions were transient, weren't they?  And what would be left when that had faded?

Her hands dropped away as his words ran through her head.  That was the problem, wasn't it?  It shouldn't ever be what one person wanted, should it?  For her to take that kind of chance, that kind of promise was just too vague.  Evan . . . Even if he believed what he said right now, what would he think in six months?  A year?  That kind of existence, worrying day by day if she was going to wake up, only to find that she was alone again . . . She couldn't do that.  She didn't want that.

No, she wanted what Marvin offered her—the security, the knowledge that she wasn't going to lose herself in him, that she could be his partner in every sense of the word.  She'd never be left behind with Marvin; she'd never end up lost in a world where she couldn't compete.  Evan was a great guy, maybe a little misguided at times, and even though he had a tendency to act before he thought things through, his heart was in the right place.

But that wasn't enough, was it?  Good intentions always led to regrets, and the truth of it was, Valerie didn't ever want to regret her friendship with Evan, even if friendship was the best that she could offer him.  She'd rather have that than to end up with nothing at all . . .

Pushing herself away from the door, she walked over to check the locks on the suitcase she'd already packed.  As soon as Marvin's flight arrived, they'd be leaving straight from the airport for the lodge in Vermont that she'd already booked.

Maybe this was really what she needed.  Maybe Evan was right about one thing: that Marvin's extended absences were harder on her than she'd thought.  After all, it was easy to forget things when she wasn't faced with them every day.  No, this getaway would be a perfect reminder, wouldn't it?

Grabbing her attaché case off the floor where she'd let it drop from her grip when she'd walked into her apartment, she strode purposefully over to the desk and set it down.  The gift that Evan had given her was inside, and she pulled it out, turned it over in her hands.  She hadn't opened that one.  Once she had gotten into her car and looked at them, she'd realized that he'd actually bought a present for Marvin, and her curiosity had gotten the better of her.

And she sighed.  Oral Sex for Dummies . . .? That man was as bent and twisted as they came . . .

Biting her lip, Valerie tamped down the curiosity that gnawed at her.  She'd promised that she wouldn't open it until Christmas day, and she meant to keep that promise, even if it killed her, which it might.

Turning on her heel, she headed toward the suitcase near the door, grabbing it and carrying it over to the sofa.  Pressing her thumbs against the identilocks that secured it, she waited for the soft beep that signaled that the locks had been released.  Placing the gift atop a stack of sweaters that she'd packed for the trip, she smiled at the bright red and green ribbons, pulling one straight and letting it go, watching as it sprang back into place again.  Then she carefully closed the lid again and secured the locks once more.

The phone rang just as she finished, cutting through the silence of the living room, and Valerie reached over the back of the sofa to grab the handset and click it on.  "Hello?"

The sounds of general chaos in the background, and then the welcome warmth of Marvin's voice.  "Hey, Val," he greeted.  "I'm glad I caught you."

"You're still at the airport?" she asked, frowning as the sounds in the background registered.

Marvin sighed, all traces of his initial upbeat mood dissipating.  "We're getting hit with a blizzard.  It hadn't started to snow when I got here, so I was hoping that I'd beat it out of here, but it got really bad, really fast.  They've grounded all flights into and out of O'Hare," he said.  "It doesn't sound like they're going to allow any air traffic for a while.  Projections are for the storm to last at least three or four days, and then who knows how long it'll take for them to dig out the runways . . ."

"Oh," Valerie said, struggling to keep her disappointment out of her tone.  It wasn't his fault after all, and the last thing she wanted to do was to make him feel bad for something that he couldn't control.

"I've been looking into trying to rent a car.  I just wanted to call you first," he went on hurriedly.

"No, Marvin, don't do that," she hurried to say.  "The roads have got to be ten times worse, and if you got into an accident or something just to spend Christmas with me, I'd never forgive myself."

He sighed.  "I was really looking forward to seeing you," he admitted ruefully.  "I'm so sorry, Val."

"Don't be," she said sternly.  "I'll be fine.  Just go find a hotel and relax, okay?"

"Why don't you go on up to Vermont?" he suggested.  "No reason why you can't have fun without me."

"Uh, no," she said, rubbing her forehead in a weary kind of way as she sighed.  "I-It's okay.  I'll just stay here and catch up on some work or something."

Marvin sighed, too.  "N-No . . ." he drawled.  "It's Christmas.  You should be out, having fun . . . Hey!"

Blinking at his sudden exclamation, Valerie shook her head.  "What's that?"

"What about Madison?" he suggested.

Valerie made a face.  "She's out of town," she replied.  "It's okay . . ."

Marvin didn't give up, and a minute later, he made another suggestion.  "What about your friend, Evan?  You said he invited you to go to Maine with him, right?"

"Uh . . . well, yeah . . . but . . ."

"Why don't you go with him?  It'd make me feel a lot better if you weren't stuck there by yourself," he said.

Shifting uncomfortably in her seat, Valerie frowned.  "Oh . . . He might already be gone," she muttered.

"Yeah, but you could give him a call.  Maybe he isn't, and it'd be fun, right?"

Wincing as the memory of Evan's lips on her throat came back to her in an entirely too vividly, and she shivered, her fingertips rubbing the spot where she could still feel the warmth of his lips . . . "We'll see," she said.

"I'm really sorry, Val," he stated once more.

She smiled a little sadly.  "Don't apologize," she told him sternly.  "Go get a hotel room, and have a nice dinner, okay?"

"I'll give you a call after I get to the hotel," he said.  "I really wanted to go skiing with you."

"I know," she demurred, a gentle smile touching her lips.  "I did, too."

The line went dead, and Valerie sighed again as she clicked off the receiver and set it on the coffee table.

Okay, so, it was quite a letdown.  She'd known, of course, that she was looking forward to her vacation, and sure, she could go alone, but . . .

She wrinkled her nose.  Watching a bunch of twenty-something couples, spending their holiday together on the slopes?  No, she didn't think that she wanted to do that; not really.

'Oh, stop it,' she chided herself sternly as she stood up and headed down the hallway toward her bedroom to change into something more casual.  'It's not like I've never spent the holidays alone before.'

Her senior year of college, and the years afterward . . . Even after she'd met Marvin, there were a few years when she'd spend her holidays alone, especially after the Dennings had passed away.  Marvin had set out to garner support for his research, spent all his time out of school trying to get his presentations in order, trying to set up times when he could start networking for his cause . . .

In fact, it had only been since they both finished graduate school that they were able to start spending holidays together.  It hadn't bothered her before, had it?  Spending her time at school with her nose buried in one report or another project . . . It had been a means to her ends: to excel, to become a damn fine attorney . . . Those things she had sacrificed hadn't seemed like such a huge deal then.

She sighed.  She'd arranged to take time off from work—vacation time that she rarely used.  It wouldn't be a big deal for her to just cancel it and get some stuff out of the way, she supposed.  It beat the idea of sitting around alone in her apartment for the next two weeks since she wasn't supposed to return to the office until after New Year's Day.  Besides, maybe Marvin and she could find another time to take a vacation later . . .

For some reason, the idea that he'd suggested—calling Evan to see if he'd already left for Maine . . .

It didn't occur to her again.


Rapping his knuckles against the door, Evan stood back to wait as he tapped Valerie's cell phone against the palm of his hand.

He'd stopped by her apartment before heading out of the city just to drop off the device, figuring that she'd already left for the airport to pick up that little dork, but the security guard had told him that Valerie hadn't actually left yet.

A minute later, Valerie opened the door, her eyes widening as she stared at him as though he was the last person she expected to find standing there.  Jeans and a soft, bulky pink sweater . . . Damned if she didn't look good . . . "Evan?"

He grinned and held out her phone.  "You forgot this," he told her.

"I thought you'd already left."

Shrugging offhandedly, he shot her an easy grin.  "Had to drop off the dogs at the townhouse, and figured I'd bring this over before I left."

She blinked, looking sidetracked at what he'd said.  "Dropped off the dogs?  Why?"

Evan chuckled.  "He's bringing them up in his SUV," he said simply.  "Can't very well get Munchies' fat ass into the Dellavin, now can I?"

Valerie snorted and rolled her eyes as she crossed her arms over her chest, tucking the cell phone he'd handed her under her arm.  "I'm surprised you can fit your fat ass into the Dellavin," she scoffed.  "Thanks."

"I don't have a fat ass!" he countered, mock indignation thick in his tone.  "Do I?"

She stared at him with a completely blank expression for a few minutes, then suddenly, she laughed.  "You're so messed up," she muttered, letting her arms drop as she turned away from the open doorway and shuffled into her apartment.

"So when you going after Dunstin?" Evan asked, following her inside and closing the door behind himself.

He blinked when she stopped abruptly, as her back stiffened, as an air of guardedness shot up around her.  For a minute, he didn't think she was going to say anything, but she finally sighed, whipping around to face him, a very bright smile on her face—an unnatural smile—a smile that was hiding something.  "He called," she said, her tone matching the smile on her face.  "He's snowed in.  They've grounded all the flights into and out of the airports in Chicago."

Squelching the instant and intense anger that flared to life, Evan shook his head, forced a smile of his own.  "Damn . . . That sucks, V.  You sure he can't get out of there?"

Her smile faltered slightly, only to return to the same intensity.   "It's a huge blizzard, Roka.  I imagine it's all over the news."

He nodded slowly.  "Actually, it's about three of them, all hitting within twelve hours of each other—if you believe the forecasts, that is," he said.

She made a face as she tucked a long strand of hair behind her ear.  "Even if he could get a flight out, I'd be worried the whole time," she admitted.  "Anyway, what can you do, right?"

Clearing his throat, Evan shifted slightly.  "You going skiing anyway?"

As though the fake smile was just too much for her to maintain, it finally died away, and she shrugged as her bravado failed her.  "Uh, no . . . I figured I'd just work on some cases—that sort of thing."

Nodding slowly, Evan shuffled his feet, hooking his thumbs in his belt loops as he stared at the floor.  "Or . . . you could, uh . . . You could come with me to Maine."

"Oh, I don't—"

Evan grinned almost shyly at her, grabbed her hand before she could turn away, before she could bolster her waning resolve.  "Come on, V.  I swear to God you'll have the time of your life . . . eggnog . . . presents . . . silly Christmas carols . . ."

She wrinkled her nose.  "And your family," she added with a shake of her head.  "I'll feel like a fish out of water."

"You won't," Evan insisted.  "Mama's got this way of making everyone feel at home, I swear . . . Besides, you've already arranged to have the time off work, right?"

He was starting to convince her; he could see it in her eyes.  Stubborn pride was the only thing standing between her and Maine, and he knew it.  "And your mother wouldn't be irritated that you'd show up with someone in tow that she didn't expect?"

"Mama?  Hell, no," he scoffed, casting her a winning smile.  "She'll welcome you with open arms.  You've met her.  You know she will."

She still didn't look convinced.  If anything, she looked even more dubious than she did before.  Evan held up a hand when she opened her mouth to argue with him.  "It'll be fun; I swear," he promised her.  "We can make snowmen and have snowball fights . . . make snow angels . . . I'll take you for a sleigh ride . . . We can drink hot cocoa by the fire when you get cold and eat Christmas cookies till your tummy hurts . . ."

She finally cracked a wan little smile.  It was enough to encourage him.  "I'll even take you to the old lighthouse.  It's on this cliff, you see—miles above the ocean."  He laughed.  "Okay, not miles," he relented, "but the view is spectacular.  You can see so far out over the water, right?  And at night, there are all these stars, close enough for you to touch them; I swear it."  Casting her a sidelong glance, he blushed slightly, but his smile widened.  "If you want, I'll even pluck one out of the sky for you."

Rolling her eyes, she shook her head but laughed softly.  "You think you can?"

Running the back of his knuckles along her jawline, he chuckled.  "For you, V?  I could do anything."

She stared at him for a few seconds, blissful heartbeats full of wonder, full of breathless anticipation.  "I don't know, Evan . . ."

"Come on, V.  It's Christmas," he coaxed.

Biting her lip, she looked as though she were trying to make up her mind.  Finally, though, she smiled.  "If you're sure that I won't be a burden . . ."

"Never, V," he replied, a brilliant grin surfacing on his features as he grasped her hand and started to tug her toward the door.

"W-Wait!  I need to pack!  I only packed for skiing, and—"

He laughed and grabbed her suitcase with his free hand.  "It's cold in Maine," he reminded her.  "I'm sure that whatever you packed will be fine . . . and if it's not, then I'll buy you whatever you need."

She sighed.  "You throw around money much too freely," she chided but let him tug her toward the door.  "You really shouldn't do that."

He paused long enough for her to grab her purse and slip on her shoes.  "It's my money, V, and I'll spend it however I want to."

She smiled rather bashfully before hurrying back toward the door again.  Evan grabbed her coat and shook it open.  "Thanks," she said as she shoved her arms into the sleeves.

He raised an eyebrow when she turned around to look at him.  "You ready?"

She drew a deep breath and let it out in a gust of air, pinning him with a sidelong stare, a coy little smile toying with the corners of her lips.  "And you're sure that I'll have fun?"

He chuckled.  "I guarantee it."

Eyeing her a few more seconds, she finally nodded as she pulled the garment bag off the rack beside the door and slung it over her arm.  "Okay," she agreed at length.  "But I'm going to hold you to that."

Evan laughed, suddenly feeling as though he'd just won the lottery.  "Absolutely, V," he promised.  "Abso-fucking-lutely."

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~ =~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Misery ' is set to appear on Maroon 5's 2010 release, Hands All Over.  Song written by and copyrighted to Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael, and Sam Farrar.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Dark Inu Fan ------ theablackthorn ------ CatLover260 ------ monkeyseemonkeynodo ------ darkangel05 ------ Tueske ------ Kinkii ------ chaos_kyes_fallen_angel ------ Titiana ------ fanfic7inu ------ mynera
cutechick18 ------ indigorrain ------ Ice_Sick_El ------ Shiratsuki
Thought from Valerie:
Maine, huh
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 112
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