InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Persuasion ( Chapter 183 )

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

- OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'And I don't want the world to see me ...
''Cause I don't think that they'd understand
'When everything's made to be broken
'I just want you to know who I am ...'

-'Iris' by the Goo Goo Dolls.


'Ahh . . . there's a good chance that I just might stay in here all night . . .'

Closing her eyes as she leaned back, Valerie heaved a contented and blissful sigh.  As much fun as hiking across Spain had been, she had to admit that there was just nothing quite as heavenly as a really hot, steaming bubble bath . . .

"But this isn't the hotel where we're supposed to be staying, is it?" Valerie had asked when they'd stopped outside the Belissa Grande Hotel—one of the best hotels in Europe.

He grinned at her.  "Nope, but we're not checking in there till tomorrow.  One more night with Evan Zelig.  Is that so bad?"

Staring at the stately edifice before them, she slowly shook her head.  "I guess he'll do," she decided, "but how did you get reservations?  This isn't exactly the kind of place that accepts walk-ins."

The expression on his face turned almost self-deprecating—an expression that she hadn't seen in quite some time.  "Some names are worth more than money, you know," he pointed out with an unrepentant grin.

"Zelig, you mean?" she asked, since she figured that was likely the reason.  Of course he'd hate to stoop to bartering about the last name given to him by a father who, at least in his mind, hadn't wanted him.

He shrugged.  "Nah . . . Mama and Cain don't travel too much, but the name 'Inutaisho' does wonders."

"Inutaisho?  As in, Inutaisho Industries?"

Evan nodded.  "Yep.  Figured my uncle wouldn't care if I borrowed his suite."

She considered that then nodded slowly.  "The same uncle who has the house in Hawaii that we used?"

"The same."

She laughed.  "You know, I think I like your uncle."

He chuckled, too, and slipped an arm around her before leading her toward the front doors.  "Yeah, I thought you would."

And it really was as simple as that.  The girl at the front desk had checked a file, only to find Evan's name on Sesshoumaru Inutaisho's list of special guests, and they were immediately taken to what had to be one of the very best suites in the hotel.  Evan had explained to her that Sesshoumaru paid a yearly stipend to keep his suite in permanent reserve so that anyone in the family who was traveling through could easily use it, no questions asked, and, while Evan had also mentioned that he tended to not take advantage of such perks often, he'd rather make sure that Valerie was comfortable than to try to find somewhere else for them to stay.

She supposed it made sense.  Evan liked to take care of things himself, and she knew that.  He'd rather pay for his own way than to accept arrangements of his family, even if his family didn't mind.  It said a lot about him, in her estimation.  Of course, if she had stopped to consider it at the time, she'd have realized that Evan wouldn't want to go straight to Zel Roka's hotel.  Though he loved the life of a rockstar, he also liked his privacy, didn't he?  Or maybe he'd just known that Valerie tended to find the whole thing a bit overwhelming, too . . . Oh, she knew that side of him, and she was growing more accustomed to the hectic and frenzied pace of Evan's alter-ego, but seeing the insanity that seemed to surround Zel Roka wherever he went . . . Yeah, it wasn't exactly something that she'd ever really get used to, either.

And maybe a small part of her was just as pleased that Evan had dumped his entire schedule for the last week, just to hike with her.  Okay, maybe a big part of her, if she were to be completely honest.  After all, how many people could really claim that the Zel Roka had dropped everything for them?  Not many, she supposed.

But he wasn't Zel Roka, not to her.  He was Evan, and Evan was the one she preferred.  Well, when he wasn't doing something obnoxious, like earlier in the day when they were hiking and he'd stolen one of her ear buds and proceeded to whine at her about her choice of music on her media player.  So she'd ended up letting him pick what he wanted.  They'd hiked into Madrid, listening to the total works of Zel Roka . . .

True enough, however, as much as she was loathe to admit, especially out loud, Zel Roka was hot—damn hot.  It never ceased to amaze her, every time she saw him onstage.  Just his presence, his bearing was enough to send a thrill straight through her, and in that, she supposed, she wasn't too different from any other girl at his shows.  It didn't really have anything to do with what he did or didn't wear.  It was definitely just the ease of his movements, the way that he so confidently controlled the audience.  With an insular smile, a wink at the girl in the third row that caught his eye, the rash and brash rockstar persona was something that he wore so loosely: the chameleon on the stage—a man with the ability to reinvent himself every single night . . .

But Evan . . .

She hadn't understood for the longest time, had she?  Just how could his real-life personality be so different from the in-your-face musician?  But he could be, and he was.  As outrageous as Zel Roka, maybe, but there was also a quiet side of him: the introspective dreamer—the artist who poured every ounce of emotion into his songs, and whether he stood up there and performed them or if he sold them to someone else, the heart and soul of him was there, laid wide open for the whole world to see, if they only looked deep enough, listened hard enough . . .

Letting a little sigh slip from her, Valerie shook her head as she sank a little deeper into the depths of the luxurious bath.  It was the first thing Valerie had done once they'd entered the hotel room: lock herself in the huge and opulent bathroom and literally dive straight into the huge in-floor garden tub.

She heard the door open though she stubbornly refused to open her eyes.  She was buried under a mountain of bubbles, anyway, so it wasn't like he could actually see anything, right?  Besides, not even Evan Zelig was going to be able to coax her out of the blissful haven she'd discovered.  She was determined, damn it . . .

"You're not really going to stay in there all night, are you?"

"Thinking about it," Valerie said without opening her eyes as she scooted down a little further in the steaming water.

She heard the scrape of his shoes on the marble floor beside her.  "But I made plans," he ventured, his voice a husky, if not entirely amused, rumble that sent a slight tremor down her spine, just the same.

"I don't think there are any plans in the universe that could convince me to get out of my bath, Roka."

He chuckled.  It had the same basic effect on her.  "Even if I told you I got you a special something?"

That did quirk her interested—a little bit—and she popped one eye open, only to find Evan crouched beside her, hand hands dangling between his knees, and a smile on his face.  "What kind of 'special something'?" she asked in what she hoped was a neutral tone of voice.

"Guess you'll have to get out and see," he teased.  "Or you could scooch over and let me in . . ."

"Forget it, buddy.  Besides, you wouldn't really want to smell like a girl, now would you?"

"But I could help you get the parts you can't reach," he offered a little too hopefully.

"You're just trying to get yourself into the tub, aren't you?" she accused.

He grinned and didn't deny it.  "Naked V, just add water," he quipped.  "All right, fine . . . but if you lean forward, I'd be happy to wash your back."

She really didn't trust him.  Maybe it had something to do with the over-the-top innocent look he was trying to give her.  Still, she wrinkled her nose but pushed herself up, careful not to disturb the bubbles covering her too much.  "Just my back, Roka," she warned.

He chuckled.  "Yeah, I know; I know."

He took his time, lathering a thick washcloth and carefully rubbing her back.  It almost felt more like a massage, and she couldn't help herself as she closed her eyes, letting her cheek fall against her raised knees.  He must've been paying attention, too, because he deliberately slowed his movements, working the cloth in small, relaxing circles.

"Keep it up, and I really won't get out of the tub at all," she murmured with a contented sigh.

Evan leaned in and kissed her cheek.  "But you'll miss dinner if you do that," he said, "and then you'll feel bad because I went to a lot of trouble to get reservations."

"It's just food," she replied with careless abandon.  "Order room service."

He let out a deep breath and slowly shook his head.  "But I got reservations at one of the best restaurants in the world.  You'd rather stay in the tub?"

"Still not biting," she insisted.

"Seriously?  You've heard of Raul Dominique, haven't you?"

The name rang a bell.  Too bad she still was determined not to take the bait.  ". . . Raul Dominique?  The man touted as one of the best chefs in the world?  That Raul Dominique?"

"Yes, that Raul Dominique, but if you'd really rather stay in the tub than take the one chance you might ever have to sample his cuisine, then that's up to you, V," he went on airily.

That got her attention, as much as she wished otherwise.   "How did you do that?  Did you use your uncle's name again?"

He laughed and dropped the wash cloth into the water before settling back on his haunches once more.  "Nope, not this time—well, not that uncle, anyway . . ."

"Oh?  What does that mean?"

His apparent amusement knew no bounds, and he winked at her.  "Raul just happens to be a friend of one of my other uncles, so I just gave him a call."

Valerie shook her head.  "So another of your uncles just happens to be friends with Raul Dominique?"

Evan chuckled.  "Yeah … apparently, they met once in this Japanese-style sushi bar when my uncle, Ryomaru was on a business trip, and they got into an argument over the preparation of the food, so Raul dragged him over to his place, and they spent the night cooking up stuff and basically trying to outdo each other."

"Your uncle challenged Raul Dominique to a cook off?" she asked, unable to suppress the disbelief in her tone.

"Well, that was back before he went and got famous.  Uncle said that Raul was still in culinary school at the time," Evan pointed out.  "He might be a world-class chef now, but he can't out-cook Ryomaru when it comes to Japanese cuisine."

Valerie frowned.  She'd never heard of him, but that didn't mean that much.  "Is Uncle Ryomaru famous?"

Evan's chuckle escalated into a bark of laughter.  "Sure, in certain circles, but he's not known for his cooking, if that's what you mean.  He studied cooking, but only because his wife refused to have pups till one of them learned how to cook, but he just does it for fun."

"You have an interesting family," she mused.

"Guess so," he allowed as he pushed himself to his feet and ambled toward the door.  "Anyway, if you stay in the bath, you'll miss dinner—and I got tickets to the opera for afterward, too."

For some reason, the idea of Evan wanting to attend the opera just didn't surprise her in the least.  "Which opera?"

"Zaira . . . It's the last showing by the Lourdes Troupe here in Madrid . . ."

Okay, so that was fairly impressive, she had to admit.  The Lourdes Troupe was highly touted as the best in the world.  Still . . . "Is that what you're wearing?" she asked, nodding at the jeans and t-shirt he'd put on this morning.

"Nope.  I'm going to go clean up right now, and your dress—" He gestured at the garment bag that hung on the hook by the changing screen.  It wasn't there before.  "—was just delivered, so if you want to go, our reservations are for six-thirty."

And then he slipped out of the room.


'Just . . . a little . . . more . . .'

'You know, this is beyond twisted, don't you think?'

'Sh-Shut up . . . The sound of your voice isn't helping me out here.'

'Pfft!  And if V knew what you're doing, she'd give you hell.'

'Or help me . . . Oh, hell!  D'you think she'd do that?'

'. . . No.  No, I really, really don't . . .'

Slumping back against the shower wall, breath coming in harsh and shallow gasps, Evan couldn't help the groan that slipped out of him as a powerful orgasm rattled through him.  He figured it was a miracle he was able to resist the urge as long as he had, considering he'd just spent the last week, snuggling with that woman at every given opportunity, but he had.  Too bad he knew damn well he'd never be able to keep his hands off her after he'd taken a peek at the dress that Jillian had so sweetly offered to have delivered, just for V.  Nope, if he managed to make it through the night without molesting V in some way, he'd be lucky—damn lucky . . .

'You realize that jacking off a few times isn't gonna do a helluva lot about it, right?' his youkai-voice pointed out.

Heaving a heavy sigh, he didn't argue with that logic.  It was true enough.  He was still hard, even after getting himself off for the third time, and didn't that just figure?  Bad enough that he spent the vast majority of his days, walking around with a semi-boner, but no, the situation was just getting worse and worse and worse, as far as he was concerned.

He supposed it was because of that damned kiss by the campfire.  If it hadn't been for that, he might not be in such a horrible predicament now.  It was his own fault for not really thinking that one through, he supposed . . .

But damned if she hadn't given in without even giving a token resistance, and damned if she hadn't kissed him right back, too.  She should have had chapped lips, given that they'd been trekking through nature for days, but she hadn't.  Nope, those lips of hers were soft and supple and absolutely perfect, and didn't that just figure?  The way her body had acquiesced to his had just been too much, and he didn't want to let go of her.  As it was, it had taken everything he had to force himself to break off that kiss.  Something had to give soon, didn't it?

Pushing himself away from the wall, Evan closed his eyes and stuck his head under the flow of the shower tap once more.  All he really could do was to keep up what he was already doing.  Little by little, he was showing her the way their life together could be, and even if she didn't quite realize it yet, with every passing day, he convinced himself more and more that she really was coming around.  Besides, she was most definitely worth it.  He knew she was, and that was enough, at least, for now.

Letting out a deep breath, he reached for the soap.  There was something to be said for a nice, hot shower.  Considering he'd spent the last week bathing in rivers and ponds, the overwhelming feeling of really being clean was something to savor, and he supposed he could understand why Valerie would be reluctant to get out of the bathtub.

At least his body was pretty well back under control again by the time he finished his shower.  Giving in to the urge to shake himself dry instead of reaching for a towel, he sighed and stepped out of the shower area and grabbed his brush off the counter as he headed around the half-wall into the changing room.

Considering he'd only been able to give his measurements to the tailor a few hours ago, they'd done a fairly good job, he had to admit as he pulled on the black pants of the tux he'd ordered while Valerie locked herself in the bathroom.  There were two shirts, ready for his perusal.  He chose the more traditional of the two, and he'd just gotten it buttoned and was tugging on the ends of the tie when Valerie stepped into the room.

Hair swept up and off her face in an elegant chignon, eyes shining brightly, darkened slightly by the evening application of makeup, she smiled almost secretively as she stopped before him and gently pushed his hands away.  "Thank you for the dress," she said as she fussed with the ends of the tie.  "Do I dare ask how you got it?"

He chuckled, knowing damn well just what was going through that gorgeous head of hers.  "I asked Jilli," he admitted.  "What did you think?"

She shot him a somewhat droll look without lifting her chin.  "You mean, you didn't ask a female friend for a favor?"

His grin widened.  "Well, I could have, but that particular dress was courtesy of Juan Liberio."

Her lips twitched, but she didn't smile.  "Is that so?"

He nodded.  "Yeah, and I gotta tell you, he's just not my type—though I don't doubt for a second that I'm probably his."

"You're so modest," she retorted dryly, tying the bowtie with very deft fingers.  "As twisted as you are, I'm surprised you've never experimented."

"I get what you're doing here, V, and I'll give you points for effort," he said with a chuckle.  "I'm just not into the penises—well, except my own.  I'm pretty damned fond of that one."

"There," she said, folding down the collar tabs and stepping back to give him a good once-over.  "I guess you'll do."

He smiled then sighed as he slipped on the jacket.  "I don't know about that . . . I mean, look at you."  Shaking his head, his grin widened.  "Da-a-a-a-amn . . ."

She rolled her eyes but couldn't hide the smile or the hint of a blush that rose in her cheeks.  "Well, I guess I can't complain too much.  It was nice to have someone do my hair and makeup."

Pulling on the tuxedo jacket, Evan chuckled.  He'd called Louis Cantio, one of the most exclusive 'fashion consultants'—at least, that's what he called himself—and arranged to have one of Louis' associates, Paulo swing by the hotel to help Valerie get ready for the evening.  Evan had met the man a number of years ago, before he'd actually hit it big.  Louis was one of Bugs' many lovers back then, and, while the rabbit didn't deign to speak to the hair stylist anymore, Evan didn't mind having him around from time to time.

"Paulo even gave me a scalp massage," Valerie went on, fiddling with the thin gold bracelet on her right wrist.  "It was heavenly."  She sighed almost dreamily.  "Heavenly."

"You know, I'll be more than happy to hire Paulo on a live-in basis to cater to your every need," Evan pointed out, straightening his cuffs, adjusting his sleeves.

"Somehow, I sense a catch in there," she quipped, turning away to give herself a critical once-over in the floor length mirrors behind herself.

"Just say, 'I do'," he replied simply.

"Uh huh," she intoned in a flat voice.  "See, I knew there was one."

He laughed as he sat down and pulled on his socks and shoes.  "It wouldn't be so bad, now would it?" he couldn't resist asking.  "I mean, you think I'm sexy, remember?"

She shifted her gaze to the side, giving him 'The Look' in the mirror without turning around.  "I was just agreeing," she pointed out, completely nonplussed by his gloating.  "It was easier than trying to figure out what the Spanish word for 'doofus' was."

He chuckled, pushing himself to his feet and pushing back the sides of the jacket to slip his hands into his pants pockets.  "I don't think they have a word for that," he said, lips twitching as he ambled up behind her.

"Wrong, Roka," she shot back mildly.  "A doofus is a doofus in any language."

Balling his hands into fists, he stifled a sigh, breathed in the scent of her: the lightly floral bath bubbles that still kissed her skin combined with the soft freesia lotion she'd used afterward and the baser smell of her underneath it all . . . It was all he could do not to reach for her, damn it . . .

"It's a beautiful gown," she said, changing the subject as she perused her reflection with a critical stare.  "Maybe not a color I'd have chosen, but beautiful, just the same."

One side of his lips turned up in a secretive little grin.  The gorgeous, rich shade of sienna silk looked good on her—perfect, actually.  In fact, at the moment, Evan couldn't possibly image her in any other color.

'Dressing her up in your color?  That's subtle,' his youkai-voice muttered.

'Yeah, but she looks damn fine, doesn't she?'

'. . . Yeah, okay, so I'll give you that one.'

It was a deceptively simple gown: form fitting without being too tight, a simple sheathe dress held onto her shoulders with spaghetti straps.  The skirt flared gently just below her waist, but not so much as to add too much fullness where it just brushed the toes of her matching shoes, and there was something altogether classic, almost timeless, about the visage she presented.

"Okay," she finally decided, her eyes lifting to meet his in the mirror.  "I guess I'm ready."

"Almost," he said, taking a step back before he gave into the urge to grab her and kiss her.

"Almost?" she echoed, turning away from the mirror.  "What does that mean?"

Evan opened his mouth to answer, but grinned when the doorbell interrupted before he could.  "That's probably for you," he told her with a mischievous grin.

She paused long enough to offer him a quizzical look before leading the way out of the changing room and through the bathroom and the bedroom beyond.

Leaning against the doorway, Evan said nothing as he watched her cross the floor.  She was doing a fair job of hiding her curiosity, he'd give her that much, and that curiosity only grew when she accepted the garment box from the bellhop.  "What is this?" she asked again as she pushed the door closed, her gaze fixed on the nondescript white box.

"Open it and see."

She shot him a calculating glance as she slipped the box onto the table behind the slate gray sofa and slowly opened the box.  "Ah . . . O-O-Oh . . ." she breathed as she stared down into the box, as she gently moved a sheet of gold colored tissue aside.  "So pretty . . ."

"I suppose," he allowed as she gingerly lifted it out of the box.  "Not as pretty as you, but it'll do."

"It looks like it's got gold thread shod through it," she mused.

"It does."  He chuckled and pushed himself away from the door frame, crossing the floor in a few strides and taking the simple opaque shawl and settling it on her shoulders.  Deceptively light, it seemed, but crafted out of burnished strands of gold thread stretched so fine that it was as soft as the satin of her dress, it would keep her warmer than a normal light wrap, should the evening air take on a chill.  "There," he said, taking a step back as she hooked the ends over her elbows.  "Now we're ready."

The smile she shot him could have stopped his heart, and he stood, stock-still, for a few moments before he remembered that he really ought to breathe.  To spend the rest of his life with this rare creature, this woman?

'Yeah,' he thought as he leaned over to open the door for her.  'Yeah, I'd be happy to do that . . .'

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Iris' by the Goo Goo Dolls originally appeared on the 1988 release, Dizzy Up the Girl.  Copyrighted to John Rzeznik.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Dark Inu Fan ------ sutlesarcasm ------ ima9e ------ Tashwampa ------ Usagiseren05 ------ puppypal27 ------ michellishelli ------ theablackthorn ------ twc_airen ------ AtamaHitoride
Cutechick18 ------ Saphirea83 ------ sydniepaige ------ tinywingedthing ------ Mangaluva ------ BlkbltVette ------ Midcat
Thought from Valerie:
So pretty
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 182
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