InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Midnight ( Chapter 178 )

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

-< b>OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'Babe, you know you're growing up so fast ...
'And Mama's worryin' that you won't last
'To say
'Let's play ...'

-'Sister Christian' by Night Ranger.


"So, we meet again . . ."

Blinking slowly as Valerie watched a very gangly-looking fellow slip into the chair that Evan had abandoned just a few minutes prior, she regarded the man coolly as she slowly turned to face the man who had very obviously been talking to her.  Standing off to the side near the steps that led down to a very picturesque garden, she couldn't see him very well in the diminished glow of the bluish mini-bulb lights that adored the columns spaced along the perimeter of the area.

It was the guy from earlier: the one who had stopped his idiot friend from causing more of a scene than he had by running into her, and she smiled just a little.  "I don't recall properly meeting you the first time," she pointed out evenly, just a little bemused by the man's very proper British accent.

He shrugged offhandedly but uttered a soft laugh.  "True enough," he gave in with a slow nod.  "Please forgive Haze. He's been a bit out of sorts of late."

"Haze?" she echoed with a slight shake of her head to accompany the frown of confusion marring her brow.

"Haze," he repeated in a tone that indicated that he figured she ought to know who he was talking about.  "Brent Hazlett—I've called him 'Haze' since we were young.  He's the drummer in Bane Crusher."

"Oh, you mean the guy that almost ran me over in the hallway?" she asked pointedly.

"That would be him," he replied with a slight grimace at the very blatant reminder.  "He's normally not like that," he explained quickly.  "He's had a bit of a rough go of it in his personal life of late."

She schooled her features to keep her distaste from showing as the memory of the incident flashed through her head again.  "That's too bad," she murmured, turning away, shifting her gaze out over the sprawling garden.

"I'll be clear: that doesn't excuse his boorish behavior," he reiterated.

"Thanks for distracting him," she said, figuring that she did owe him at least that much.  After all, she hadn't wanted to cause a scene, and if things had progressed, she had little doubt that it would have become one.  "And you are . . .?"

He grinned, brushing back a long lock of scraggly dirty-blonde hair that had fallen into his eyes, leaning on the patio railing casually, his lanky frame seeming to settle into a boneless sort of casualness that she'd only really seen Evan be able to attain before.  "Cade Warren," he said with a good-natured chuckle, his eyes dark, mysterious, impossible to discern in the half-light.  "I take it you've never heard of me."

"No, sorry," she admitted.  "Can't say that I have.  Valerie Denning."  She held out her hand to shake his.  He chuckled and turned it over and kissed the back of it instead.

"A lovely name for a stunning woman," he said, letting go of her hand as he shook his head.  "It's quite all right.  I'm pretty new—well, not new," he amended.  "Been playing all my life, but it's the first year I ranked high enough to be invited here."

"Are you in a band?"

Digging a mangled cigarette out of a smashed softpack, he straightened up to pat his pockets for a lighter.  "Nah," he said, his voice slightly muffled by the unlit cigarette dangling from his lip.  "Was in a band years ago, but it was just too much damn drama."

She nodded slowly.  "I see."

He found  his lighter and hunched forward, cupping his hands around the end of the cigarette as he clicked the device.  The sudden flare of light cast his face in a warm glow that somehow managed to soften his appearance.  He was better looking than Valerie had first thought.  Hair dangling in his face as the flame flickered and stuttered, the light was kind to him, illuminating the planes and hollows in a much more complimentary kind of way than the cold blue light had.  She couldn't see his eyes, cast down as they were, paying attention to what he was doing, but to her surprise, he didn't extinguish the flame right away, either, and instead, he leaned forward slightly, extending the lighter as he held it up, his expression quite candid as he examined her face.

His eyes were a strange color: ringed in a bright, almost jewel-like green around the edges, only to fade into a bright sherry gold around the pupil.  If she had to describe it, she might have called it 'hazel', but somehow, that didn't seem right, either.  Very high cheekbones—she figured that was why he'd had an almost gaunt sort of appearance at first—a slightly pouting mouth . . . He'd forever look just a little younger than he should, she figured, all because of the bone structure of his face, yet there was still something about him that set Valerie on her guard, even if she was loathe to pinpoint why that was . . .

He looked her over for several long seconds before resuming his casual stance after he lit the cigarette and stashed the lighter in his pocket once more, he narrowed his gaze, as though he were trying to make sense of something.  "So tell me what a pretty lady like you are doing out here alone?"

"I was just catching my breath," she replied, shifting her gaze to the side, scanning the milling crowd for Evan.  He'd stepped away to grab another drink, and she wasn't worried, exactly, but there was something slightly intimidating about Cade despite his overall boyish appearance.  The word predatory came to mind though Valerie wasn't sure why, and then she snorted inwardly and waved off that stupid notion.

"I assume you're here with someone?" he queried, arching a thick yet articulated sandy brown eyebrow to underline his question.

"Yeah," she replied, a little distracted as she continued to look for Evan.  "Ev—Zel . . . Zel Roka."

If he caught her blunder, he didn't comment on it, but he did nod, his expression shifting into something a little more knowing.  "Can't say that I've had the pleasure of meeting him," he remarked.

She laughed suddenly, a soft, little giggle, and when she caught the quizzical look on Cade's face, she quickly waved a limp hand.  "Sorry," she apologized though the laughter persisted.  "I guess I just thought that he knew everyone.  Seems like it sometimes."

Cade laughed, too.  "Our circles don't exactly meet," he told her.  "At least, they hadn't before tonight.  It's a pity, though . . ."

"What is?" she prompted when he trailed off.

He shrugged, a sardonic little smile tugging at his lips as he drew a deep drag on the cigarette and stuffed his free hand into his pocket.  "That you're caught up with Roka, o'course," he went on with a chuckle.  "Must admit, I didn't actually expect that you were available.  Damn lucky, if you ask me," he concluded, making no bones about letting his gaze roam up and down her frame at a very leisurely pace.

She opened her mouth to tell Cade that she wasn't actually involved with Evan, but thought better of it before she did.  Life was complicated enough with one rockstar to deal with.  Besides, she couldn't quite shake the feeling that there was something almost dangerous about the man she'd just met.

"Cade!  Cade Warren!"

Valerie blinked and shifted her gaze in time to see the tall, skinny scarecrow of a man who came, stumbling out of the crowd, a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a suspect-looking cigarette in the other.  She recognized him vaguely.  Maybe he had performed at Rocktoberfest . . .

"Evening, Nate," Cade greeted lazily.

Nate stopped in front of them and barked out an obnoxious laugh, and Valerie had to fight the urge to lean away at the absolute reek of booze on the man.  "Caught yer show, when was it?  Yesterday?  Some good shit right there," he slurred.

"Thank you," Cade replied, his smile taking on an entirely indulgent edge.  "I'm flattered."

Nate burped then made a face as he sloppily tipped the bottle to his lips.  "Eh, I didn't have nothin' better t' do . . . Oh, hello, honey," he leered, having finally noticed Valerie.  Then he leaned in toward Cade.  "She your piece?"

"Unfortunately, no," Cade drawled.

Nate's grin widened.  In Valerie's opinion, he looked rather stupid: drunk off his ass and very likely high on something or other . . . Oh, maybe he could have been considered good-looking in some warped way, but in her estimation, his face was too gaunt, his eyes bulged out just a little too much in a wholly unnatural kind of way: the kind of way that a junkie's eyes tended to look after so much excess.

"I'm going to go look for him," she murmured, more to Cade than to Nate.

"Hold on; hold on," Nate said, tossing his cigarette butt over the railing and grabbing her arm before Valerie could make her escape.  "You don't really gotta go runnin' off now, do you?" he coaxed.  "Don'cha wanna stay and party with me?"

Yanking her arm out of the man's grasp, she pasted on a tolerant smile, reminding herself that he was very obviously drunk, and shook her head.  "I really have to go," she said, careful to keep her tone light.

Nate wasn't having any of it, though, and he grabbed her wrist as his grin widened.  "Hard to get, huh?  Swe-e-e-eet."

"Nate, I wouldn't if I were you," Cade drawled in a casual tone.

"'Course you wouldn't, you limey pussy—you know what a pussy is, don'cha?"  Nate laughed suddenly, like he'd just told the best joke in the world.  "It's what you don't get, faggot."  Then he turned to grin at Valerie.  "C'mon, honey.  Dance with a real man."

"No, thanks," Valerie said, tugging on her arm, trying to get away from him.  "I'm waiting for someone . . ."

Nate laughed.  "And you found me, right?  See?  It all works out."

"Really, I wouldn't if I were you," Cade remarked once more.

"Good fuckin' thing I'm not you, then, huh?" Nate shot back.

Cade heaved a sigh and slowly shook his head.  "Have it your way then."

Gritting her teeth, Valerie glanced over her shoulder as Nate dragged her off toward the area near the pool where some other people were dancing.  She wasn't sure exactly what she expected, but she blinked when the man was nowhere to be seen.  

"I don't . . . I don't like dancing," she tried again, struggling to keep her tone calm, even.  Her level of irritation was rising fast, and she furiously reminded herself that she really didn't want to cause a scene, but if this guy thought that he could just manhandle her, well . . .


"Roka, a moment?"

Evan glanced at the youkai who had stopped beside him and nodded quickly as he tried to extricate himself from the very rapt attention of five women he couldn't name.  He was certain that he'd never met them before in his life, but that didn't stop them from grabbing his arm and dragging him over, acting as though they were long-lost pals.  It was normal enough, and in years past, he might have been more inclined to stay and hang out for a little while.  Tonight, however, he had other things on his mind, not the least of which was a certain sexy attorney who was probably starting to wonder just where the hell he'd disappeared to . . .

"Excuse me, ladies," he said, taking the convenient out to get away from the girls without seeming to be rude.  True enough, he had no idea who the guy was, but did that really matter?   "Duty calls."

"Sorry to interrupt," he said in a low tone—a tone that Evan knew damn well no one else could hear.  The only reason he did was because of what he was, and the guy knew that, too, he had no doubt.

"No problem," he said with a shake of his head.  "Did you want something?"

"Not particularly," the man replied with an offhanded shrug.

"Okay," Evan drawled slowly.  Something about the guy . . . He had something to say, Evan could tell.  He just wished that he'd get around to it sooner rather than later.  "So who are you, anyway?"

He chuckled and gave another half-hearted shrug.  "Cade Warren," he finally supplied.

Evan stopped for just a moment, his eyes flaring wide as he shot the man another glance.  "The blues-rock wonderboy," he intoned, falling into step again as the two negotiated the crowded hallway.  "I've heard good things about you."

"You flatter me," Cade replied.  "In any case, that's not really why I sought you out."

Evan grinned.  "So there really was a reason?"

"Isn't there usually?"

"You speak in more riddles than my great-uncle," Evan muttered.

Cade chuckled again, but the apparent amusement behind the sound never reached his eyes.  "I apologize," he said, sounding anything but contrite.

"Is there something I can do for you?" Evan asked, frowning as he scanned the milling guests as he tried to find Valerie in case she followed him into the house.  Ordinarily, it wouldn't be a problem, but he had to admit that it was slightly tougher tonight.  Too many people smoking too many different things, and the residual smog was far thicker than Valerie's more delicate scent . . .

"On the contrary," Cade remarked with an enigmatic little grin, "it's actually what I can do for you."

Evan barked out a terse laugh.  "What you can do for me?" he echoed almost incredulously.  "Is that right?"

"Your father is the North American tai-youkai, correct?"

Evan's laughter died out, and he glanced around to make sure no one else was listening.  He didn't figure that they were.  After all, the party had been going on for a few hours now, which meant that most of the merrymakers were well on their way to being completely and utterly fucked up in one way or another.  "You want something from Cain?" he muttered dubiously.

Cade smirked slightly.  "Not at the moment," he said casually, "but it doesn't hurt to collect favors, now does it?"

"Is that what you're doing?  And just why would I owe you a favor?" Evan asked, more curious than irritated.

The cocky smirk widened.  "The woman you brought with you . . . Your mate . . .?"

"What about her?" Evan asked, unable to keep the hint of warning out of his tone.  Deciding that it wasn't worth waiting for an answer, he pushed past Cade and headed for the opened glass doors, weaving around people, barely bothering to mutter an apology when he inadvertently bumped a girl in passing.  At the moment, he didn't care what Cade had to say.  No, the only thing that mattered was Valerie.  He'd left her alone too long, hadn't he . . .?

"So she is your mate."

Evan grunted something entirely unintelligible as he stepped outside and scanned the area.  He didn't spot her right away, but when he started to step forward again, Cade caught his shoulder to stay him.  "You're not really considering storming in there and causing a scene, are you?"

"Oh, I don't know," he muttered and tried to shrug off Cade's hand.  "I might."

Cade clucked his tongue.  "How terribly domestic—not at all what I'd have expected from the Zel Roka, don't you think?"

"Don't worry," Evan growled, sparing a moment to glower at the Englishman.  "If I get arrested, it'll absolutely be 'Zel Roka'."

Cade let out a deep breath and slowly let his hand fall away.  "Touché," he allowed.  "How ignorant of me."

Evan didn't wait to hear more.  Striding forward a few steps, he finally located Valerie, dancing with some upstart kid he recognized—Nate, he thought his name was.  He didn't rightfully know him, not that it mattered.  It was blatantly obvious from the stilted way that Valerie was moving that she wasn't dancing with the guy because she wanted to.  Narrowing his gaze at the overly familiar way that Nate was holding onto Valerie, Evan had to restrain the desire to march over and flatten the guy.  If his hands drifted any further south, there was a good chance that Evan would have no issue at all in breaking them for him . . . At the moment, however, Nate seemed to be more interested in telling her something, and with an inward snort, Evan stalked over to the dancing couple and loudly cleared his throat.  "All right," he said, striving for a calmer tone than he was feeling.  "Playtime's over."

The instantaneous look of sheer relief on Valerie's face was enough to make him grimace inwardly.  She might not have been in immediate trouble, but it was quite obvious that she didn't want anything to do with the guy who apparently thought it would be all right to drag her off with him.  Well, it wasn't all right; not by a long shot, as far as Evan was concerned.  Too bad that he really shouldn't cause a scene, but he doubted that Valerie would approve, no matter what the reason, and as far as he could tell, the kid hadn't pushed his luck too far—yet, anyway.

The expression on Nate's face, however, was a lot more laughable—if Evan were in a mind to laugh, that was.  He wasn't; not really.  Go figure.  The kid looked like he was caught somewhere between belligerence and surprise, maybe a little awe.

"Miss me, baby?" he asked, casually slipping an arm around Valerie's waist and pulling her away from Nate's grasp.

He could feel the relief flooding through her, and he wrapped his arm a little tighter around her, offering a silent sense of reassurance that she welcomed, whether she realized it or not.  She wasn't scared, he could tell, but she was plenty pissed off, and no wonder.  A woman like her wasn't keen on being dragged off to dance against her will.  All in all, he figured that she'd demonstrated remarkable restraint in not laying into Nate in front of God and sundry . . . "Sorry, kid," he couldn't resist saying with a cocky grin,.  "She's way out of your league."

"H-Hold on," Nate demanded, stumbling after them when Evan turned around to leave.  "We were dancing, damn it!  You can't—"

Letting go of Valerie, he whipped around to pin the upstart with a narrow look.  "I think I just did," he replied coldly, quietly.  "I'm guessing she told you that she wasn't interested, right?  And you, Rockstar Wannabe, you just told yourself that she was playing hard to get?  Pretty accurate?"

Nate snorted, trying to puff himself up in an idiotic show of bravado, but failed miserably, considering he was having distinct trouble standing up straight.  Evan shook his head and turned around again, figuring that the brat wasn't worth his trouble.

Valerie didn't complain when Evan slipped his arm around her again.  He could feel her irritation simmering just below the calm facade.  "You all right?" he asked as he plopped into a chair at the table where they'd been sitting most of the evening.

She sat next to him and shrugged.  "Fine," she said.  She sounded a lot more normal than she looked, though.  "Thanks."

He didn't reply, but he did reach over and pulled her chair closer so that he could slip an arm around her shoulders.  "Next time, just tell them you're with me," he suggested.  "They'll leave you alone if you do."

"He was just a stupid, drunk idiot," she maintained with a shake of her head.  "I . . . I could handle him."

"I know," Evan replied, leaning over to kiss her temple as he gave her a little squeeze.  "I just don't want you to have to.  That's all."

"That's all, huh?" she contended with a quirked eyebrow.

Evan forced a grin. "Yeah," he said.  "That's right."


"So I tell the crazy bitch to get her shit and get the hell out, and then she starts sobbing and trying to grab onto me to keep me from tossing her lying-ass out the door, so by the time all's said and done, the house is fucking trashed, she's selling her story to the cops, and they haul me off to jail, even though she ain't got a damn mark on her while I look like I've gone ten rounds with a great white shark and lost!"

"Damn," Evan said, shaking his head as he tightened his arms around Valerie's waist, securely holding her in place, lest she try to get off of his lap.  She had tried to for a little while, but she'd given up when she'd figured out that the women didn't hit on him as much if she stayed where she was.  Oh, they still hit on him, sure—Valerie was starting to wonder if they just couldn't quite help themselves—but it wasn't as bad, comparably speaking.  "Domestic violence, huh?  That's just not even something to fuck around with."

Marc Flynn, an older rocker from the apparently-legendary band, Raunchy Little Fuckers, shook his head and drained the beer in his hand before he went on.  "Fuck that," he grumbled.  "She had these bruises on her upper arms, right?  So she told the fuzz that I grabbed her and shook her—shook her, goddamn it!  Talk about a fucking joke!  All I did was hold onto her so she couldn't scratch my damn eyes out, but you know how it goes.  Ever since that one fight I got into with that guy in the bar, what?  Ten years ago?  Fifteen?  I've been labeled as violent because of my record.  She-yi-it . . ."

"Sounds like you needed a better attorney," Evan said.

Marc snorted and grabbed a beer out of someone's hand as he was passing the table.  The guy laughed and handed Marc a half-smoked joint before slapping him on the back and stumbling off again.  "Hell, I've been called a million fucking things in my lifetime, but I ain't never been called no goddamn wife beater before," he muttered, taking a deep drag off the joint.  "Fuck if I wasn't good to her.  Let her get away with every-fucking-thing, bought her every-fucking-thing she ever needed or wanted, and this is the thanks I get?  I get home from the last show in Basting's Hollow—Basting's Hollow, for fuck's sake!  And I find the bitch in bed with that personal trainer I hired for her before I left on tour, just a-goin' to town on him like he's some kind of fucked-up ride in a goddamn amusement park—Titty World or some such, I guess . . . Then she says to me that it wasn't like she was really cheating on me.  Never let him do her pussy, just her ass, she said."

Valerie bit down on the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing that the poor guy's misfortune.  Considering he'd just gotten done telling Evan about a gang-bang he'd had with, in his words, a shitload of groupies, after that same show in Basting's Hollow, North Dakota, she wasn't entirely sure that she was ready to buy into his whole cock-and-bull story.

"Anyway, the moral of the story?  Don't get married—that's what I say," Marc concluded with all the self-righteousness of a half-drunk, half-stoned, over-the-hill rockstar.  "Fuck 'em and send 'em on their merry ways . . . Fuck 'em all, goddamn it!"

Evan laughed.  "Is that right?"

Marc nodded sagely and handed the joint over to Evan, who took it and drew a deep breath before handing it back.  "Yeah, like this pretty little thing here," he went on, reaching over to touch Valerie's cheek.  "Go find a nice, quiet little corner, bend her over, and drop her off somewhere nice before you go home.  Hey, sweetheart, do you suck dick?"

Valerie blinked and struggled to paste on a polite little smile while plotting about a million interesting ways to kill the man without being caught.  Evan had told her once before that the man's band was one of his favorites growing up.  It did nothing to endear him to her at the moment, however.

"V's not exactly that kind of woman," Evan said before she could rake Marc over the coals.  "Besides, she's here with me tonight."

"Yeah, that's what they all say," Marc insisted.  "Say it over 'n over again, they do, so you marry it, and then look where you end up: paying out the ass for a woman you weren't married to for five years."  With a grunt, he planted his hands on the table top to push himself to his feet.  "I'll catch you later, Roka."

Evan chuckled as they watched Marc lumber away.  Then she tried to stand up, only to be thwarted when Evan's arms tightened a little bit more.  "Ignore him, V," he murmured into her ear, his breath sending an eruption of tiny tremors coursing through her.  "He's always been jaded, and it's not like he's ever really been faithful to any of his wives."

She wrinkled her nose but gave up trying to get away from him.  "And just how many wives has he had?" she challenged mildly.

Evan sighed.  "I lost count around Wife-Number-Four."

"Charming," she grumbled, refraining from the urge to wipe her cheek where the man had touched her.  "He's not faithful, but he expects his wife to be?"

"Yeah, I know," Evan agreed with a shrug.  "It happens."

She snorted to let him know exactly what she thought of that.


Glancing over just in time to spot a very curvaceous blonde come barreling at them, Valerie wasn't at all surprised when the woman threw her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly, completely ignoring Valerie as well as the fact that she was sitting quite comfortably on his lap.

"Hey, Ingrid.  Lookin' fantastic, like always," he said with the smoothness of a greasy used car salesman when she finally let go of him.

Pulling a chair closer so that she could impose herself as near to him as she possibly could, Ingrid giggled prettily and batted her thick, fake eyelashes at the errant rockstar.  "The girls told me you'd brought a friend with you," she said, leaning in even closer.  "Cute," she finally stated with a curt nod in Valerie's direction.  "Didn't I see you before?  Oh!" she suddenly exclaimed, snapping her fingers as a little light popped on over her head—or at least, it would have if they existed inside whatever cartoon this woman had crawled out of.  "Wait . . . you used to date Nick Whittaker from Floris, right?  Well, they were Floris back then.  Now they're, what?  Leather-n-Chains?"  She leaned in closer, but this time, her full attention was on Valerie.  "I've heard he has a huge dick.  Is that right?"

Pasting on a tepid little smile, Valerie slowly shook her head.  "I wouldn't know," she said.  "I've never met Nick Whittaker in my life."

Ingrid didn't look like she believed Valerie.  "Really?  But you look just like his ex . . ."

"Ah, is this something you've never told me about, baby?  Some kind of jaded affair from your past?" Evan teased.  "C'mon, you call tell us.  Does he have a monster-sized dick?"

Narrowing her eyes just enough to let Evan know exactly what she thought of his brand of teasing, Valerie forced her insincere smile to widen.  "Big and fat and hard as steel—just how I like 'em," she replied sweetly.

Evan very nearly choked, but the admiration in his grin was entirely real.  "Oh, yeah?  But mine's bigger, of course."

"Actually, it's not," she retorted, injecting even more syrup into her words.  "I just didn't want to hurt your feelings since you're so proud of yours, after all."

"Aww, baby, so cold, so cold . . ." he groaned.  "But you know, it ain't the size of the guitar but how well you string it."

"Comparing your penis to a musical instrument?" she challenged mildly.  "Hmm, you should consider taking some lessons . . ."

Evan laughed outright at that while Ingrid just looked a little confused.

"You did that on purpose," Valerie accused, tugging lightly on a lock of Evan's hair as Ingrid wandered away.

"Couldn't resist," he said, sounding anything but contrite.  "Hey, V?"

"Hmm?" she drawled, reaching for the very fruity drink that Garret had brought her earlier.

Evan chuckled and gave her a quick squeeze.  "I'm glad you came with me tonight."

She shot him a no-nonsense look as she sipped the cocktail.  "Sure you are," she said, slowly shaking her head as she glanced around at the crowd.  It hadn't taken long for the excesses to come out.  Couples having sex in the pool, a haze of smoke that wasn't all from cigarettes lingering in the air, though where they sat, it wasn't as bad.  From the couple strolls she'd had through the mansion, she figured that there had to be at least a five hundred people there, easily, and every last one of them seemed to be thoroughly absorbed in the rock 'n roll lifestyle that they wore so easily.

Not for the first time, it struck her that maybe those living this kind of existence were more trapped than they'd like to believe.  Drugs of all kinds were everywhere, presented neatly in the house's best crystal and sterling silver, laid out like candy in bowls, like a macabre sort of buffet.  The staff was bustling about with every manner of things, from drinks to full meals, and to Valerie's dismay, she'd even seen a few of them, delivering condoms and sex toys like they were nothing at all.  Naked girls floated around the pool on crushed velvet covered air mattresses, adored with flowers and body paint—living artwork, someone had said.  There was something altogether frightening about the entire affair.  The party had morphed into a surreal kind of nightmare, and the scariest aspect of it all was that she had to admit, at least to herself, that it would be entirely too easy to be sucked into this kind of life, but the ugliness hidden underneath all of it . . . well, it was absolutely terrifying.

The truth of it was that she wasn't sure if it bothered her more that the people didn't seem to find anything wrong with it all or that Evan himself didn't seem affected by it in the least.  Just how much had he seen and done during his years at the top of the music world?

And maybe that was a question she didn't really want an answer to . . .

For the first time, ever, she was starting to gain a better understanding as to how people could get caught up in the glitz and glamor of the so-called beautiful life.  She'd been arrogant before, hadn't she?  Yes, she'd seen the ugliness of addiction early on in life, and she'd thought that she understood, but as she sat there, watching everything unfold, she knew deep down that she was seeing it all in a wholly different light.  The same women who liked to think that they were making the decisions, that they were calling the shots—wives, girlfriends, groupies, and hangers-on—they were all the same, weren't they?  Thousand dollar hair styles, ruined . . . designer clothes strewn all over without regrets . . . Those women were reduced to little more than sex toys—living dolls, performing the ugly side of their duties.

It was sad, wasn't it?  Sad and pathetic and pitiful . . . She felt Evan heave a sigh as he unconsciously rocked her much like he might a small child.  In that moment, she knew that he understood the absolute horror that she couldn't help feeling.  Understood . . . and maybe even agreed . . .

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'Sister< /b> Christian' by Night Ranger originally appeared on the 1983 release, Midnight Madness.  Copyrighted to Kelly Keagy.
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Thought from Valerie:
So that was a rock 'n roll party ...
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 177
Chapter 179
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