InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Broken Hearted ( Chapter 139 )

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


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away
'Now it looks as though they're here to stay
'Oh, I believe in yesterday …'

-'Yesterday' by The Beatles


-Evan-


It was a strange thing, the calm that came just before dawn.  As though the entire earth knew that it only had a moment left of the night, the quiet was a melancholy sort of thing.  The night creatures were bedding down while the day creatures had yet to stir, and the stillness seemed to permeate everything, even the water—everything but the turmoil in his soul, the ever-spinning machinations of his mind.

The dock still glowed in the meager light of the lamps that Valerie had left on for him.  That simple gesture that he'd seen when he'd docked the yacht somewhere around four in the morning had cut him to the quick.  As much as he'd hurt her with his words and his actions, she'd still think to do something like that . . .? Somehow the sight of the lamps was enough to cut him deeper, to twist the invisible knife in his gut just a little more.

Then he'd gone inside, figuring that he needed to deal with it, needed to listen to her, no matter what she had to say to him.  If she hated him, it was no more than he deserved, certainly.  But he'd found her, huddled in the hanging chair, the satellite phone in her lap, looking so small, so vulnerable, that something deep within him felt as though it had broken, and all he could do was to cover her with a blanket, to whisper he was sorry, even if she didn't hear him.

So, he'd gone back outside, and he'd been sitting alone on the dock ever since.

He wished that he was as close to having answers as was the approaching dawn.  No matter how he looked at it, he knew, didn't he?  Knew when he told her what he'd done, he'd see on her face.  Her anger, he could deal with.  Whatever she chose to say to him was fine, too.  It was the idea of seeing the pain in her eyes that was killing him.  It didn't matter what she'd said.  He knew her better than that.  Maybe she didn't even realize it herself yet, but he'd seen it, hadn't he?  During that fight, he'd seen the emotions that she'd fought to hide.  Anger, yes, of course that had been there, but under that, he'd seen it all: the hurt, the confusion, the pain.  Her tears hadn't been contrived to guilt him.  No, she'd tried so hard to hide them, too.  How was he supposed to look her in the eye when he'd seen all that?  When he'd caused all that . . .?

"I care because you're not doing it for the right reasons!  Is it really all you want?  A good fuck tonight with a woman who will forget about you tomorrow?  Those women don't care about you, Evan!  Can't you see . . .?

He sighed, rubbing his eyes, clenching his jaw as her words echoed through his head so many times in the last few hours that he'd lost count of them all.  She was right.  He'd known it at the time.  He'd just wanted to ignore it, so, he had . . . And in the end . . .

It hadn't felt right from the time he'd stormed onto the yacht from the house.  So much anger, and yet that anger was hiding something far deeper.  Somewhere deep down, he'd known it.  It was just a buffer to conceal the darker emotions.  Still Valerie's words had stung him.  He hadn't wanted to deal with the truth behind it all.

But anger, he'd discovered over the years of his lifetime, had a horrid habit of festering, too.  He'd let it do that to him, hadn't he?  Instead of trying to take the time to stop, to consider what he was doing, he'd just gone with it, letting that anger carry him forward, letting his upset dictate his actions.  The first thing he'd thought when he'd run into the blonde as she stepped out of the bar where she worked was that she looked a little like Valerie—blonde hair and hazel-ish eyes, and somehow he'd convinced himself that it was some sort of sign.  'A little like her?  Not hardly,' he thought with an inward grimace.  'Not even remotely . . .'

Stupid, right? He'd thought that a million times or more since he'd left those girls in their apartment.  The blonde had said that she had a couple girlfriends who liked to party.  Did he like to do that, too?  Yeah, they'd both known from the outset just what was going to happen behind those closed doors.  He'd honestly thought that he wanted that.  He'd convinced himself that he had wanted that.  He'd convinced himself of a lot of things . . . So it would seem that his anger had gotten the better of him again . . .

He wasn't entirely sure when he'd finally let go of it all; when the anger had finally waned.  The empty feeling that engulfed him, though, was a hurtful, bitter thing.  It was only then that he was able to think about think about the things he'd said, the things she'd said, and the truth behind it all.  Most of what he'd said to her was the voice of sheer frustration.  It was the same frustration that had shaped most of his thoughts since that day in his kitchen—the day she'd tried to explain herself.  He'd raised his expectations too high over Christmas, and when she'd settled back into the world where she was comfortable, he was the one thrown for a loop.  But he shouldn't have been.  He knew better than that.  It was his fault, not hers, and he was the one who had decided to give up instead of digging in his heels and trying that much harder.

She was dead-on, wasn't she?  When she'd accused him of never acting serious about anything, she was right.  It had become second nature to him over the years.  It was simpler than trying to deal with something up front.  Maybe she had a habit of putting up walls to shield herself, but then, he did it, too.  They just did it in different ways, and he could understand that better than just about anyone.

He'd given up without much of a battle, hadn't he, and that was the worst part of it all.  After everything was said and done, he'd ultimately done the same damn thing to her that everyone in her life had.  All the people she'd ever loved had abandoned her in one way or another.  Every single person she'd ever trusted had failed her.  The ones who should have protected her—himself included—had hurt her so callously, so thoroughly, was it really a wonder as to why she'd be scared to take any kind of chance at all?  He'd told himself before that he'd never do that to her, but he had.  Walking out on her, no matter what the reason . . . Wasn't it the same thing?

Only it was worse in his case, wasn't it?  He knew the story—she'd trusted him enough to tell him.  He knew it, but he'd disregarded it.  He was angry, right?  Hurt by the fact that she'd pushed him away, confused by the emotions that she inspired in him, and he'd lashed out . . . Was it any wonder she didn't trust him?  Was it any wonder that she was scared to believe in him?  Hell, he wasn't entirely sure that he believed in himself . . . and even then . . . Even if he said that he wanted her to trust him, how could he possibly convince her now?  Everything she feared . . . Hadn't what he'd done just driven that idea home?

Slumping forward, resting his elbows on his legs as his hands dangled limply between his knees, Evan stared off into the distance, waiting in silence for the sun to rise.

The first weak rays of light seemed to waver on the horizon, wan at first, but growing steadily brighter in the seconds that followed.  A strange gray light that was more like a moving shadow settled over everything for a breath of moment, and then the hazy sheen seemed to brighten, bringing with it a flood of pastel colors against the fiery disc of white gold.  It was somehow poetic, wasn't it?  As the daylight grew steadier, so would those same colors, and then the same thing would happen in reverse as evening faded into night . . .

'Maybe we should go back inside.  Maybe she's awake now.'

'Maybe,' he reluctantly allowed without moving.  He'd spent so long thinking about everything, yet he was no closer to figuring out just what he could possibly say to her.  Sorry seemed too trite, didn't it?  Too easy to say, too hard to believe . . . Unfortunately, nothing that he'd thought of actually seemed to be right.  Even if there were some mysterious, magical phrase, how could he even bring himself to say it, anyway?  After he'd gone out and found those girls?  If he'd ever had a chance to earn her trust, he'd ruined it, hadn't he?  She was too cautious, too careful, to buy his excuses, and that's all he really had, wasn't it?  A shitload of excuses to match the mountain of regrets . . .

She'd never understand.  How could he expect her to when he didn't really?  He'd convinced himself that if he could just be with another woman, he'd get her out of his system, but he had to have realized that it simply wasn't true.  Call it stupidity.  Call it wishful thinking.  Call it anything in the world, and it wouldn't make a difference.  It wouldn't make a difference at all . . .

It was true, of course.  When his youkai-voice had pointed out that convincing himself that he didn't deserve a woman like Valerie wouldn't really make sense.  He'd seen too many people who were set on believing that, and it hadn't changed a thing.  It had just made it harder than it had to be, and while Evan didn't even try to delude himself into thinking that he was any better than anyone else, if he opted to take that route, what good would it do for anyone?  The alternative was far worse, as far as he was concerned.  If he stepped back, if he decided that he just didn't deserve to be with her . . .

If he did that then Valerie would end up married to Marvin Pinkle—and she'd live the rest of her life having settled for safety, and while Evan could understand that, he also knew that she would miss out on so very much more.  Sure, Evan didn't deserve her, especially after his grand display of ass-itude the day before.  That much was true.  But . . . But Valerie did deserve it, didn't she?  So maybe he'd shot himself in the foot, so to speak, and made everything that much harder.  It didn't change the fact that he owed it to her.  He had to prove to her that sometimes life meant reaching out, trusting others, even if she was scared to death to do it.  Maybe in the end, she'd find someone better for her than he was.  That still had to be better than sitting back, watching her marry a man she didn't love, all because she was too damn scared to take a chance . . .

Letting out a deep breath, he frowned.  It was one thing to realize all of that.  It was another thing altogether to figure out a way to convince her, wasn't it?

A gentle shift in the air, the soft scrape of bare feet on the weathered wooden planks announced her presence before she spoke.  Evan felt his mouth go dry, could hear the rise of his pulse as his blood pounded through his veins, and still he was afraid to look at her—afraid of what he'd see in the depths of her eyes . . . The silence that fell between them felt as wide and as deep as the ocean.

"Hi," she said at last.


-Valerie-


"H-Hi," Evan murmured without turning to look at her.  His tone was subdued, almost reluctant.  Valerie winced and bit her lip, crossing her arms over her chest against the chilly morning air brought in by the storm the night before.  He sat, slumped forward, staring off across the water though she had to wonder if he was really seeing anything at all.  She had no idea what he was thinking, and that, more than anything, made her want to turn around and run.

'Stop beating around the bush with it, Valerie!' her conscience goaded.  'Just tell him what you wanted to tell him and be done with it.'

Sound advice, sure.  Too bad it was a lot more difficult than it should have been.

"Mind if I sit down?" she forced herself to ask when it became apparent that he wasn't going to say anything else.

He didn't answer, but he did scoot over, and still he refused to look at her.

She sat down on the edge of the pier, rubbing away the goosebumps that rose on her bare legs.  She didn't bring any pants, and the shorts she'd put on yesterday didn't do much to cover her up.  "I was . . . was worried when you didn't come back last night," she went on, her voice barely above a whisper as she, too, stared out over the water.  "I waited up for you, but I must've fallen asleep . . ."

She really couldn't tell if he was listening to her at all.  Gathering her courage, she glanced at him, and the darkened circles under his eyes, the listless expression on his face . . . It made her sad, so sad . . .

Drawing a deep breath, Valerie hooked one foot behind her other ankle and idly kicked her legs.  "About yesterday," she heard herself saying.  "You . . . You were right, and I'm . . . I'm sorry."

That got his attention quickly enough.  She could feel him turn his head, could feel his gaze light on her face.  Try as she might, however, she couldn't make herself look back at him.  She could feel her cheeks heating under his stare, and she sighed.  "About everything," she went on quietly.  "E-Everything . . ."

"V—" he said, his voice no louder than hers.

She shook her head stubbornly, her blush deepening, and she still couldn't look him in the eye.  "Please, let me finish . . . I . . . I guess I just never really stopped to think about . . . about anything.  I never stopped to consider your feelings.  That was . . ." She barked out a terse laugh, stubbornly telling herself that she was not—was not—going to cry.  "It was stupid, right?  I mean, I kept telling you that I wanted to be your friend . . . Of course you didn't believe me.  Why would you when I never really acted like much of one . . .?"

"Valerie—" he tried again.

"No, you were right," she blurted, hurrying to speak before he broke in, before he said something to interrupt her before she could get it all out.  All of the things she'd realized yesterday; all the things she needed to tell him before she lost her nerve . . . "I just assumed . . . But . . . But you know, I never meant to lead you on.  I really didn't.  When I kissed you at Christmas, I . . ." she swallowed hard, forced back the tears that were already standing in her eyes despite her best resolve to the contrary.  "I . . ."

"You were confused," Evan said quietly, nodding as though it made sense despite the sadness that seemed to emanate from him in waves.  "I know.  About yesterday—"

"Please don't apologize," she hurried on to say.  "You can't take back what you said, and I can't take back what I said, either . . . But I was angry, and . . . and hurt . . . and I shouldn't have been so cruel . . ."

"And what I did—what I said—that was okay?" he challenged quietly though there was no real rancor in his tone, just a sense of melancholy way too deep.

"You didn't say anything that wasn't true," she whispered, not trusting her voice to remain steady.  Clearing her throat, she dashed a hand across her eyes and hoped that he hadn't seen it.  "What I said about your girls—"

Evan stiffened beside her.  "I did it," he said a little loudly, very bluntly.  "I . . . I went to Mayaguana, and I . . ." He sighed suddenly, let out a sound that might've been a laugh if it didn't sound so sad.  "I . . . I don't even know their names . . ."

Valerie flinched involuntarily, and it took her a moment to process what he'd said.  She had no right to judge him, no.  She just wanted him to understand . . . "What you do is your choice," she said, carefully choosing her words, hoping he didn't see through them—hoping that he couldn't see the fresh wash of pain that was digging at her.  "It's just . . . These women that you're looking for . . . They don't know you, nothing about you.  They don't know that you . . . that you look at stars or . . . or how much you love your mama.  They don't know that you'd protect your friends, even if it meant that you'd spend years in jail for it.  They don't know that you love to cook or that you can play every instrument under the sun.  They don't know how . . ." she cut herself off for a moment, swallowed hard as a single tear dripped off her face, landing on her thigh in a jagged splatter.  "They don't know how you hold your niece in your arms like she's the most precious thing on earth.  They don't know how truly beautiful you are on the inside, and . . . and I just wish that they did.  I . . . just wish that you did."

He didn't say anything for a long moment.  Sniffling quietly, Valerie wished she'd thought to grab a tissue before she'd come outside, but when she'd looked out the window, only to see the yacht at the dock, she hadn't stopped to think about anything else.  She'd only wanted to say what she needed to say—and to hope that Evan didn't completely hate her . . .

"Do you know why I left them?" he finally asked, turning his face heavenward, as though he was searching the sky for answers.  "Do you?"

She shook her head, unable to speak, unable to completely swallow her tears.

He sighed.  "Do you remember what you said to me?"

Again she shook her head, wiping her cheeks and trying to breathe in a steady way.

"You said you cared because I wasn't . . . wasn't doing it for the right reasons," he reminded her gently.  "And . . . And you were right.  It wasn't for the right reasons.  It wasn't even for a good one."

For some reason, his statement bothered her even more.  Maybe it was the hopeless tone in his voice, like he wasn't even sure if he deserved anyone for those reasons, in the first place.  "Evan . . ."

"It wasn't what I wanted," he concluded.  "They weren't what I wanted."

Drawing a deep breath, she sniffled again and tried to gather what was left of her composure.   "Anyway, I wondered . . . Can I . . . Can I ask you for one last favor?"

His gaze flashed to her face, an expression of pure trepidation lingering in the depths of his eyes.

Forcing a little smile, she finally looked at him and shrugged simply.  "I know you're tired," she began apologetically, "but if it's all right . . . Could you give me a ride back to Mayaguana?"

"Why?" he asked, the dubiousness in his face coming through in his voice.

Her smile brightened despite the slight twitching she could feel at the corners of her lips.  "I'm going to go home," she said.  "I already called and booked my flights.  You did tell me that you wanted to go alone, and I didn't really listen.  I want you to enjoy the rest of your vacation—acation.  Thanks for bringing me down here."

Evan watched her wordlessly as she leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.  Then she smiled again and got up to retrieve the suitcase she'd left on the other end of the dock.  "V?" he called after her.

She stopped and turned to look at him, her suitcase in hand, her purse hanging from her shoulder.

Pushing himself to his feet, he strode over to her and held out a hand for her luggage.

It was better this way, after all.  Evan . . . He didn't need her constantly peeking over his shoulder, did he?  She never should have come along with him, to start with.

She let him take the suitcase.  While he was good at getting on and off the yacht, she still needed a hand to hang onto things, but when he started back toward the beach house with her luggage in his hand, she frowned.  "Evan?" she said, hurrying after him.  "What are you doing?"

He didn't break his stride, but he did look down at her, a sad yet almost hopeful little smile on his face.  "We still have another week, V," he told her with a simplistic shrug.  "Wanna see how much trouble we can get into?  'Sides, I hear that they're getting a hell of a blizzard in the city right about now."

She blinked, shaking her head, unsure what to make of his sudden change in mood.  Well, not entirely, she supposed.  He looked . . . anxious, didn't he?  Letting out a deep breath, she caught his wrist and tugged to stop him.  "Are you sure?" she asked, trying for her best no-bullshit tone of voice.  "I mean it, Evan.  If you want me to go back, I will.  It's no big deal."

Sapphire eyes wide, serious, Evan's gaze was steady.  "I want you to stay, V, I swear I do . . . but only if you want to."

"I-if you're sure," she agreed reluctantly.

A wide yawn interrupted him before he could speak again, and he rubbed his eyes.  "Tell you what," he said after the yawn had abated.  "Let me get some sleep, and then we can go rent some scuba gear."

She considered that then offered him a hesitant little smile.  "I've never been scuba diving before," she ventured rather neutrally.

"You'll love it," he assured her, pushing inside the house and striding across the floor where he set the suitcase down and turned to flop onto the bed.  "And you'd better be here when I wake up, okay?"

Leaning in the doorway, Valerie crossed her arms over her chest and smiled just a little.  "Okay," she replied as she stared at him.

He didn't hear her.  He was already fast asleep.


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A/N:
'Yesterday' first appeared on The Beatles' 1965 release, Help!.  Song written by and copyrighted to John Lennon, Paul McCartney.
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Final
Thought from Evan:
She's going home …?
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Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Subterfuge):  I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga.  Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al.  I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.
~Sue~

Chapter 138
Chapter 140
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