InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Guessing Game ( Chapter 191 )

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


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'< i>I was a creature of appetites ...
'And we played a game that you didn't like
'There was nothing that I could do
'I can be so bad; I can be so bad
'They just took it away and they broke it in two …'

-'The Blackest Lily' by Corinne Bailey Rae.


-Valerie-


"So . . . I don't suppose you know what tomorrow is . . .?"

Valerie took a moment to carefully school her features before she shifted her gaze to the side, only to find Evan staring very expectantly at her.  "Some weird holiday you found out about on the internet?" she deadpanned.

Evan grinned around the guitar pick held firmly between his teeth.  "That's a pretty good one," he said with obvious approval in his voice.  "That's not it, but I can see where you'd get that."

She was hard pressed not to laugh outright.  Considering he'd told her yesterday was National Day of Fondling?  Yeah, it wouldn't surprise her in the least if he'd found some other bizarre thing to celebrate.  Too bad she already knew where this particular conversation was going, though . . . "Hmm, no idea."

He fired off a riff on the guitar then slapped his hand down on the strings to cut the final note off short.  "No guesses?  None?"

"Do I really need to?" she asked dryly.

Evan wasn't even the least bit cowed by her response.  "Aw, c'mon!  You know that tomorrow's my birthday!"

Rolling her eyes, she couldn't help the laugh that escaped her.  He just never, ever took anything seriously, did he?  Then again, she kind of liked that about him.  Of course, she'd be damned if she told him that.  Like he needed more encouragement . . . "You're too old to be so excited over something like that," she pointed out.

Evan chuckled.  "I'm not that excited over it," he contradicted, "but you're spending the day with me, right?  So that is something to be excited about!"

"Of course I am," she said, flicking a hand as though it were nothing more than a foregone conclusion, "and I've already got the whole day planned out."

If possible, he looked even more happy about the entire affair.  Okay, so she'd give him that one.  She was pretty damn excited about it, too.  After all, she'd spent days trying to figure out the best things to do with him: preferably things he hadn't already done with someone else in his life . . . "Oh, yeah?  Don't suppose that we'll be naked at some point?"

She laughed at the hopeful tone in his voice.  "Nope, fully clothed, Roka . . . but I promise you'll have fun, anyway."

He heaved a heavy sigh, but the grin on his face didn't dissipate.  "See, V, now I really have to object.  I swear to God we'd have tons of fun if you'd just get naked with me," he said.

"Forget it, Roka.  No nudity, but I promise you'll have fun, anyway," she assured him.

Evan leaned over, jotting something on the notepad before strumming the guitar a few times.  "Yeah, but you realize, right?  I'm so horny these days, I've even considered boning Bugs."

"Have you really?"

Evan chuckled as the aforementioned Bugs hoppity-skipped into the room, making a bee-line straight at him.  "I said 'considered'," he replied before Bugs could launch himself at him.  "Sorry, Busy.  I'm not quite over the edge—yet, anyway . . ."

Bugs' features shifted into a pout though he was careful not to mess up his lipstick.  "You shouldn't get a girl's hopes up like that," he complained.  Then his gaze lit on Valerie, and he narrowed his eyes.  "What is that doing here?" he demanded.

Valerie rolled her eyes but her lips were twitching.  For some reason, the harder that Bugs tried to offend her, the more amusing she really thought it was.  Maybe she was becoming as bent as Evan . . . Could something like that rub off on someone else . . .?

"Aww, I like having her here," Evan remarked, setting his guitar aside and tossing the pick on the tablet of paper.

Bugs wrinkled his nose.  "But if you keep that around, you'll never realize that you're really secretly gay!"

"I think it might take a little more than that," Evan quipped, his grin widening.  "Anyway, long time, no see.  So what brings you out of your hole during sunlight hours?"

Bugs seemed to forget his disappointment quickly enough, and he shot Evan a plaintive look as he plopped down on the arm of the chair.  "I just wondered if you've seen that damn hussy lately," he said, sniffling slightly and rubbing his nose.

"Damn hussy . . ." Evan repeated thoughtfully.   "I assume you mean Maddy?"

"Yes, that's the one."

Scratching his chin as he considered it, he didn't answer right away.  As far as Valerie knew, he hadn't actually seen Madison since the day she'd done Kaci Lea's makeover, and that was a couple weeks ago.  "Um, no . . . You two have a falling out?"

Bugs made a face.  "No.  We were supposed to go to Bloomie's today—a huge shoe sale, you know?  But I waited and waited, and that little tramp stood me up!"

That got Valerie's attention easily enough.  Madison?  Missing a shoe sale?  That was strange, no doubt about it.

Bugs' phone rang before he could respond, and she wasn't at all surprised to hear the ringtone that Bugs reserved only for Madison.  It wasn't a song, just a voice that said, "Hussy alert!" over and over.

"There you are, you bitch!  Where have you been?  You were supposed to come by and pick me up hours ago!"

Evan stood up, shooting Valerie a knowing grin as he slipped behind the sofa.  "Bet you fifty bucks that he got the time wrong," he murmured, leaning over to speak in her ear.

Valerie looked rather amused, but she didn't smile.

"No, you didn't say noon!  You said nine!" Bugs complained.  "Why ever would you say 'noon'?  All the shoes will be picked over by then!"

"Sounds like you'd have won," Valerie murmured back.  "I mean, does Madison even get up before noon if she can help it?"

Twisting a lock of Valerie's hair around his finger, he chuckled.  "No, I don't think she does . . . Well, she did when she went shopping with you and K, but I think that might've been a special occasion."

"Fine, fine.  I'll meet you there in half an hour, but you'd better hope they haven't sold out of those yummy Rainley booties," Bugs huffed, still irritated at Madison but not nearly so much as to miss what appeared to be the sale of the century.

"I thought you already had a pair of those," Evan remarked as Bugs clicked off his phone and dropped it into his pocket.

"I have blush ones," Bugs clarified haughtily as he stood up and smoothed down his leopard print micro-miniskirt.  "I need a magenta pair!"  He hurried over and planted a loud, obnoxious kiss on Evan's cheek, then he hissed at Valerie for good measure, which did made her laugh, after all.  "Toodles!  Call me when you have your epiphany!"

Evan chuckled as Bugs ran as fast as his six inch stilettos allowed.  A moment later, the front door opened and closed, and he shook his head.  "I get the feeling that Bugsy doesn't like you, V," he deadpanned.

Valerie laughed.  "I'm pretty sure I'm not woman enough to be his friend," she remarked.

"Oh, I don't know," he drawled.  He sounded a little distracted.  "I . . . I think you're plenty woman enough."

She turned her head and opened her mouth to say something, only to snap it closed when she saw where he was looking.  "Are you really looking down my blouse?" she asked.

"Ye-e-es," Evan half-sighed, half-groaned.  "Don't suppose you'd consider giving me those for my birthday?"

She tried to look stern; she really did.  Too bad the expression on his face was too damn funny, which only made her laugh as she tried to swat at him.  "Keep your eyes to yourself, Roka," she warned.

"But . . . they're . . . boobies!" Evan squeaked out, artfully leaning away so that she missed him entirely.  "Do you know what I'd do if I had a pair of those?"

Crossing her arms over her chest, she stared at him for a long minute.  "I shudder to think about it," she replied dryly.  "You wouldn't get anything at all done . . . Haven't we already been over this, anyway?"

"Yeah, but you can never have enough of the boobies," Evan pointed out.  Rolling over the back of the sofa, he landed with a grunt and shoved his head onto Valerie's lap.  "So, what would you do if you had a penis?" he suddenly asked.

Valerie lifted a knee, trying to knock him off.  He laughed and kept his head firmly in place, lacing his fingers together atop his chest and basically looking entirely content.  "If I had a penis?" she repeated, arching an eyebrow.

He nodded.  "Yes, a penis."

She shrugged.  "A big penis or a small one?"

He considered that with an exaggerated scowl of concentration.  "Umm, big.  I get the feeling that if you were a guy, you'd be packin' it, just like Bubby."

"Good God," she groaned, renewing her effort to joggle Evan's head off her lap as she shoved at his shoulders.  "I don't want to hear about your brother's penis—and I'm positive I've told you that before, too."

"You wouldn't be saying that if you saw it," he predicted.  "Next time he's over, I'll try to pants him for you."

"Don't you dare," she replied dryly.

"Why not?"

She snorted.  "Because if it's as big as you say it is, I'll have nightmares for a year," she grumbled.

He laughed, coming precariously close to tumbling right off the sofa.  She might well let him, too, if he managed to do that . . . "Is that what you women are calling it these days?" he asked when he finally caught his breath again.  "Nightmares?"

"Shut up, Roka," she replied, giving one more attempt to shove him off her lap.  It didn't work, either.

"Okay, okay," he relented despite the stupid grin on his face.  "So answer the question: what would you do if you had a penis?"

Letting out a deep breath at Evan's singular train of thought, Valerie gave up trying to move him and stroked his hair instead.  She couldn't help it, really.  It was just as soft as it looked, damn him . . ."I'd probably start thinking about boobs," she said.  "I'm pretty sure that the penis takes the place of your brain, after all."

Evan laughed again, letting his eyes drift closed for a moment before forcing them back open once more.  "So, you're saying it's a vicious circle . . . Yeah, I can see that."

Valerie took a few moments, letting his hair fall through her fingers over and over, watching it drift down onto his forehead again.  "So, what about gay men?  They seem to be immune to boobies," she reminded him.

Evan grinned lazily.  "I know . . . Makes no sense at all to me."

She shook her head but laughed.  "You're so bent."

"How about you tell me what the plan is for tomorrow then?" he coaxed.

"I shouldn't tell you," she told him.  "It'll ruin the surprise."

"Hardly a surprise.  I already know that you've planned out the whole day—That's what you said, right?"

Smiling despite herself, she slowly shook her head.  "I figured I'd cook breakfast for you, to start with," she admitted.

He wrinkled his nose.  "Grapefruit and a cup of all-bran cereal?  How 'bout we go to Carolyn's Bistro?  Then you don't have to . . . slice . . . anything."

"You know, I can cook," she replied haughtily, "and no, I wasn't planning on trying to get you to eat anything healthy—tomorrow, anyway."  She paused for a moment, then added, "You should start watching what you eat, though.  Thirty-two—nearly thirty-three . . . you're almost over the hill.  Kind of balancing right there on the cusp, really . . ."

"Wo-o-ow . . . Did you really just go there, V?  Did you?" he asked.

Valerie laughed at the incredulity on his face.  "I think I did, Roka.  It's true, you know.  You might well be Zel Roka, rock god, but you're only going to be as good as your body."

"And what's wrong with my body?" he grumped, clearly offended by the turn in the conversation.

"Nothing . . . yet.  That's what I've been telling you."

He snorted and flopped over on his side, effectively burying his face against her belly, which might have been fine, except . . .

The giggles just couldn't be repressed, try as she might.  The warmth of his breath through her dress set off a bout of tickles that shot straight through her.  Evan leaned back to cast her a raised-eyebrow-ed look, and she tried to push him away.  Damn him for being so much bigger than her, anyway, because he caught her hands in one of his and proceeded to attack her side with the other.

"St-Stop!" she gasped between breaths as the laughter tears squeezed out of her closed eyes.

"Oh, I don't think so," he replied, renewing his assault on her ribs.

"If . . . If you . . . make me . . . pee . . . I'll . . . never forgive . . . you . . .!" she managed.

Evan laughed but finally stopped.  Valerie shoved him away and groaned as the last of the uncontrollable giggles waned.  "Oh, my stomach . . ." she moaned, wrapping her arms over her belly and slumping her shoulders forward.  "You're such a jerk!"

Leaning back against the corner of the arm and the back of the sofa, he was still grinning like a fool.  "Now who's out of shape?" he goaded.

Wiping residual moisture out of her eyes, Valerie tried to look stern but wasn't at all surprised when Evan chuckled.  "I'm not out of shape," she informed him as brusquely as she could manage—not really that effective, all things considered.  "Let's see if you don't ache if I tickled you mercilessly."

"I took mercy on you," he scoffed, though his smile didn't even waver.  "I didn't make you pee your panties."

"Such a jerk," she muttered without the rancor that might emphasize her words, pushing herself to her feet to head to the kitchen for some water.  No real harm done, after all, aside from feeling like she'd just finished about two hundred stomach crunches.

The sound of her cell phone brought her up short, and she grabbed it and paused long enough to make a face at Evan, who had already retrieved his guitar and was settling down to work on the song once more, before striding toward the kitchen so that she wouldn't disturb Evan's creative process.

Glancing at the caller ID before answering, she blinked as a stab of surprise accompanied the name on the screen.  It was followed in rather short order by an unwelcome wave of guilt.  What was that phrase?  Out of sight, out of mind?  She hadn't realized that something like that could really happen until now . . . "Marvin?  Hi," she said after connecting the call.

"Hey, Val!  You at work?"

"Oh, uh, no.  I'm over at Evan's," she said, shoving the unpleasant feelings aside.  "In between meetings?"

Marvin laughed.  It was a warm and friendly sound, but there was an underlying hint of hesitation—hesitation that had always been there in one form or another.  Evan never sounded like that, did he?  Anxious, eager, almost overly agreeable . . . "Well, actually, the big meeting I had scheduled for this weekend fell through, so I thought I'd fly in to see you."

"Uh," she breathed, more of a surprised sound than anything else, "Oh, I'm glad you're home, but I wish you would have called first."

"Well, if I had, it wouldn't have been a surprise.  Anyway, are you coming home soon?  I thought we could go to that restaurant you like?  The one in the Village."

"Sure," she said.  "I won't be too long, but about tomorrow.  I already—"

"Oh!  Val, I hate to cut you off, but I've got to take this call.  It's Roger Reilly—you know, the head researcher's assistant at Bauer-Liberty in Chicago?"  He gave a short little laugh that was somehow shriller than it should have been.  "I've been waiting for him to call me back for days!"

Valerie blinked as the call ended abruptly and stifled an inward sigh.  She'd wanted to tell him that she already had plans for tomorrow—plans that could not be broken, even if she wanted to, which she most certainly did not.  She'd gone to a lot of trouble to arrange everything, and it wasn't like Evan had a birthday every day.  He hadn't blown off her birthday, and she'd be damned if she'd do that to him.

It was fine, though, wasn't it?  She could explain to Marvin over dinner, and he'd be all right with it.  After all, she had no idea that he was flying in, and even if she had known, she'd made a promise.  Besides, the day was going to be absolutely perfect.  In the off chance that it did bother Marvin, well . . . Well, he should have called first.  Then again, Marvin wasn't the kind of person to raise a fuss over such a thing.

"Oh, hey, V," Evan said, tossing his cell phone onto the table when she wandered back into the living room again.   "Uh, I hate to do this to you," he began, shoving his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans and offering her a little shrug.  "Mikey just called, and he's got some shit I've got to do tomorrow."

Valerie blinked, and she knew her mouth had dropped open.  "What?  But it's your birthday," she blurted before she could stop herself.

"Yeah, well, apparently there was some mix up with some photos from that shoot last week—a technical malfunction or some such shit—so I have to redo the whole damn thing.  I asked him if we could do it next week or something, but they're already on a tight schedule.  Any delays are going to impact the song release, and you know what they say: time is money—and if there's one thing that labels hate, it's when they feel like they're wasting money."

Crossing her arms over her chest, she couldn't quite hide the disappointment in her voice as she mentally started to shuffle the master plan for tomorrow.  "I know.  It makes sense . . . That won't take all day, though, will it?  A few hours, at most, right?"

Evan shrugged again.  "Maybe," he ventured but he sounded anything but reassuring.  "How about we just put off the celebration till sometime next week?  Tuesday or Wednesday . . ."

"If you're sure," she said slowly, carefully.  Though he sounded perfectly normal, there was a strange rigidity in his stance, in his expression.  She supposed she couldn't blame him for that.  Even if he didn't want to, at least, tomorrow, he still had things he had to do, and of course he was right.  She'd figured out long ago that it was really all about the bottom line, so of course they didn't want to do anything that might potentially inflate that.

He gave her a little grin that didn't quite reach his eyes.  "Sorry, V."

Forcing a smile, Valerie stifled an inward sigh and tried to squelch the disappointment that rolled through her.  "It's okay," she told him, willing her smile to brighten.  "Tuesday, then."

He finally managed a grin that was much closer to 'normal'.  "All right," he allowed.  "It's a date."


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A/N:
'The Blackest Lily' by Corinne Bailey Rae originally appeared on the 2010 release, The Sea.  Copyrighted to Corinne Bailey Rae.
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Final
Thought from Valerie:
Lost the prints …?
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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 190
Chapter 192
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