InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Surprises ( Chapter 194 )

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


-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

'You better believe I'm coming ...
'You better believe what I say
'You better hold on to your promises
'Because you can bet, you'll get what you deserve …'

-'Promises' by The Cranberries.


-Evan-


"So are we staying out here all day?  Don't get me wrong, I don't mind.  It's great out here—and I have you, all to myself."

Valerie laughed and pulled her toes out of the water.  As expected, it was still cold—too cold for her liking.  "We can stay as long as you'd like," she replied.  "I still have a few more things, so . . ."

That got his attention quickly enough, and he turned to face her, a bright grin on his face.  "Oh?  Like what?"

"Oh, my God, you're just like a kid," she replied, her own smile widening.  "Be patient, can't you?  It wouldn't be any fun if we ran out of things to do, now would it?"

"Depends.  Is one of those my present?"

She wrinkled her nose.  "And what makes you think that this whole day isn't your present?"

"Well, it could be," he mused.  "I mean, it's good enough for me."

She laughed and accepted the hand he offered to help her to her feet.  "Want to go for a walk?"

Evan nodded, tightening his grip on her hand and leading her off the pier.

He couldn't really ask for more, could he?  The most beautiful day of the year so far, and he got to spend it with her—no phones, no interruptions, no demands upon him, no deadlines to meet or schedules to adhere to . . . He felt completely free, more so than he had in a long time.  Even while they were hiking from Paris to Madrid, there had been a lingering sense that he was hurrying, trying to make sure they made it before the show, he supposed, but today?

She'd chosen him over Marvin, and he'd be lying if he tried to say that it didn't feel good to him.  It was a small victory, but victory, just the same, in his opinion.

"I have to admit, I feel a little bad, keeping you away from everyone else today," Valerie ventured as the two of them wandered along the beach.

Evan chuckled.  "Eh, I kind of like it," he told her.  "It's pretty nice, don't you think?"

Valerie smiled and drew in a deep breath, eyes drifting closed for a moment as though she were savoring everything about it.  "I don't think I could've asked for a more beautiful day," she remarked as her eyes slowly opened, as the light of complete contentment illuminated her gaze.  "So . . ."

There was something entirely suspect in the way she was looking at him; no doubt about it.  She was up to something . . . "Wha-a-a-at . . .?"

The glow in her eyes took on a rather evil glimmer as she tugged her hand away from his and whipped around, yanking a can out of the pocket of her jacket and unleashing a flood of—something—directly at him.

She shrieked in laughter as he caught her, as he pinned her arms against her sides with his.  His laughter mingled with hers, and he pulled the can out of her slack grip and returned the favor.  Canned whip cream?  He laughed and deposited a fancy swirl on top of her hair.  She tugged a second can loose and sprayed him directly in the face.

"Oh, you think you're slick, do you?" Evan growled despite the grin as he turned his head away just in time to avoid being hit full-on with the whipped cream.

"Take it like a man, Roka," she shot back, bursting into another gale of laughter as he sent another spray of white foam at her.

He held her tight and rubbed some whipped cream off his cheek and onto hers, and her giggles escalated into protesting laughter when he licked it off.  "Mmm."

"Ugh, you're like a dog," she complained, wiping her cheek on her shoulder then sighing when she only managed to get more whipped cream on her cheek.  She tried to pin him with a stern look, but it failed when she laughed, instead.  "Truce?"

He didn't trust her; not at all.  Besides that, her can must have more in it than his did.  Still, it didn't hurt to play along with her, at least for the moment . . . "Okay, V," he agreed.  "Give me your can, then."

"And let you have both of them?  Forget it, Roka," she retorted.

He grinned and gave his can a warning shake.

"Don't you dare," she warned with a giggle, renewing her efforts to squirm out of his grasp.

Evan chuckled and stuck the nozzle into his mouth before dispensing a large amount.

"Oh, gross," she muttered, wrinkling her nose in disgust as she finally managed to gain her freedom.  "Really, Evan?  Really?"

He choked out a laugh and tried to swallow at the same time.  "Ugh, it almost came out of my nose," he complained, rubbing his nose with the back of his hand.

She groaned and looked fairly unimpressed, but she sighed as her smile resurfaced.  "That's nasty," she pointed out.

Evan chuckled.  "Wow, you even managed to get it in my hair, woman," he said, holding out a handful of hair as he tried to look at it at the same time.  "That's pretty damn impressive."

"Eww, no, stay away from me," she warned, extending the can at him when he tried to move in for a hug.

"Seriously?  No hugs?" he couldn't help teasing.  Considering she had managed to get him pretty good with the whipped cream, it was no small wonder that she didn't want him near her.

He laughed and tossed the can on the beach, followed in short order by his shirt as he kicked off his shoes.  "All right, you win," he said, pausing long enough to grin at her before stripping off his pants.

"Wh-What are you doing?" she demanded in a harsh, almost rasping voice.

He didn't miss the breathlessness, either, but he wisely refrained from comment on it since it was likely to get him clobbered.  "I'm going to wash this out of my hair," he replied in what he could only hope was an innocent enough tone.

She opened and closed her mouth a few times.  "You . . . You . . . We're on a public beach," she protested.

"If we get arrested, I'll make sure to tell them it's your fault for spraying me with whipped cream," he teased.  "You know, you can come in with me if you want . . . You know, wash off any that got on you . . ."

"Ah—I'll pass," she retorted.  She tried to look away before he could see her blush but she wasn't quite quick enough.

"You sure?  You're going to get sticky—well, stickier."

She snorted indelicately.

His laughter trailed off behind him as he strode toward the water and dove in.


-Valerie-


"There . . . That'll burn a while."

Valerie smiled and watched as Evan wandered over to sit beside her in the soft sand.  He'd just finished building a fire while saying that it was to keep her warm, but she had to wonder since he was the one who had just decided that a swim would be fantastic.  Then again, he never seemed to get cold, while she was a little chilled since she'd tried her best to rinse off her face and arms and wash out her hair.  The best she could do was to dampen part of her jacket to wipe off her clothing, but there was no way she was diving into that water to wash off completely.  It was difficult, but she'd managed to rinse her hair with minimal damage, but that was his fault for thinking it'd be good to spray whipped cream on the top of her head . . . Using her fingers to separate the strands of still-damp hair, she figured she looked pretty well a mess, but then, who cared?  There was no one else here, and Evan?  Well, for some reason, looking less-than-perfect around him didn't seem to bother her as much as it probably should . . .

"I'm telling you, you should have gotten in with me," he said for what had to be the fiftieth time since he'd finally finished swimming.  "The water was completely invigorating!"

"You know, cold water makes things shrink," she pointed out indelicately.

He only laughed.  "Did it?"

She could feel the heat explode under her skin as she quickly turned her face away.  Not soon enough, though, if his laughter meant anything at all.  Big jerk.  "Must have," she muttered, struggling to regain her composure.  Blast him for being so observant, anyway . . . "I didn't see anything."

"Wow, ouch!" he complained but laughed, just the same.  "So tell me, were you checking out my ass when I went into the water?"

"Absolutely not," she lied, refusing to give him any more ammunition.  "Why would I want to?  I've seen your ass-cheeks a hundred times already."

"Which doesn't mean anything when I know you were looking."

"I don't care what you think you saw," she retorted, rolling her eyes and struggling for an aloofness that she was far from feeling.  "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."

He laughed harder, which just figured.  "I'll let you touch it if you want," he offered in what he thought was a generous tone.

She snorted but could do nothing to quell the explosion of color under her skin.  "I'll pass."

"You sure?  I'll even flex 'em for you."

"Oh, that's compelling," she shot back dryly.  Wrinkling her nose, Valerie stood up and marched away, heading for the car to retrieve the cake since she figured that a change in topics was in order.

Okay, so she had watched him as he'd strode toward the water, and yes, okay, so she was impressed with the sight of his very-naked backside—when she wasn't glancing up at the highway to make sure there were no flashing lights headed their way, anyway . . .

It was entirely unfair, damn it.  Sure, she'd thought that before, but it was worth repeating.  How on earth could one man look like that, for God's sake?  He possessed about ten men's share of complete and utter sexiness, and that just wasn't right.  Was it any wonder why women threw themselves at him?

She snorted loudly as she picked up the plastic container that held the cake and slammed the trunk closed a little harder than she meant to.  No, she supposed that it wasn't.  It was becoming harder and harder for her to remember exactly where the boundaries were, wasn't it?

Heaving a sigh, she glanced over at the fire—she could just barely see it from where she stood as a small smile started to tug on her lips.  That man was completely incorrigible, damned if he wasn't, and the next order of business, even before the cake was to get him back into some clothes . . . before she embarrassed herself completely . . .

"I don't suppose you brought some butter, did you?"

Valerie blinked as she drew closer to the fire.  At least Evan had put his jeans back on while she was retrieving the cake.  She glanced from the fire to him and then back again.  He moved over just enough so that she could see what he was doing, and when she did, she snapped her mouth closed and slowly shook her head.  "I thought we set all of those free," she said.

Evan turned his head to grin at her but didn't straighten up as he poked at the fire with a long stick.  "I was going to," he told her without even a hint of remorse, "but I was really hungry."

She opened her mouth to tell him exactly how wrong it was that he'd kept three lobsters to throw onto the fire, but her protests were cut short when her stomach rumbled loudly.

His grin widened.  "So about that butter . . ."

She sighed.  "I didn't bring butter.  I wasn't planning on eating those; I was planning on setting them free."

He stood up, staring at her as he scratched his chest idly.  "So . . . You don't want one?"

"Well, I'd hate for it to go to waste," she countered.

He chuckled.  "Is that . . . my cake?"

Valerie smiled.  She couldn't help it.  There was just something about him: something that had the power to destroy even her firmest resolve . . .


-Evan-


Evan heaved a contented sigh and wrapped his arms a little tighter around Valerie.  She was situated between his legs, her back cradled against his chest, her hands curled over his forearm.  Neither of them had said anything for a while, and that was all right.  As though they were satisfied just to be near each other, the silence was companionable.  Even the sounds of the highway seemed far away and dulled.  The only real noise was just the crackle of the fire, the occasional call of the first birds to have returned for the season . . .

He could stay like this forever, couldn't he?  As much as he loved the different parts of his life that made up his entire identity, he'd forget it all if she asked him to; if she wanted him to just remain here with her like this.

"You know, we were supposed to be getting ready to go to dinner right about now," she said, keeping her voice low, as though she were afraid to interrupt the silence.  "At least, that was the plan . . ."

"Oh, yeah?  Is that a hint?"

She shook her head.  "Nope . . . I cancelled that because you said you were going to do that photo shoot."

He grimaced at the reminder.  She didn't see it.  "Yeah, sorry about that."

She sighed.  "You should be," she replied simply.  "Promise me . . ."

"Anything," he said when she trailed off.

She drew a deep breath and let it out slowly.  "Promise me you won't do that again.  Let me make up my own mind about what is or isn't important to me, okay?"

"Okay," he agreed.  "Do, uh . . . Do you need to get back?  I mean, he's still here, right?"

Snuggling a little closer against him, she seemed to be making herself more comfortable.  "Nope, Marvin's fine.  He's just going to look over some stuff and go to bed early since his plane leaves at six . . . So unless you're still hungry?  Then again, you did eat almost the whole cake and two lobsters . . ."

He grinned, more relieved that she wasn't in a hurry to go home than he was amused at her observation.  "You know, you did a really good job on that cake.  Tasted just like Mama's."

She snorted and retrieved the water bottle that Evan sat on the other side of his raised knee.  "Now I know you're lying," she said.  "Your mother said to just go ahead and use a dark chocolate cake mix instead of giving me a recipe for that."

Evan laughed.  "Then that'd be why it tastes just like hers.  She has to use boxed mixes for our birthday cakes or Cain has a fit—and even then, he isn't too pleased."

She turned her head to gaze up at him, probably to ascertain whether or not he was joking.  "Your father has issues," she finally said.

Evan nodded.  "Well, he does, but you know, it's kind of cute, really—not that I'd ever say any such thing within earshot of ol' Cain.  He said before that the first time he met Mama, she made him this really sad-looking cake, but it tasted good . . . She's made him a cake every day ever since."

Valerie thought that over for a minute, and then she laughed.  "That is cute," she agreed.

She took a drink then held the bottle up for him.  "Thanks," he said, accepting the plastic bottle and tilting it to his lips.  "So . . . What else did you have planned for us that I ruined?"

"Do you really want to know?"

He chuckled and set the container aside again.  "Sure.  Lay it on me."

"Well, we'd probably just be getting back from the big thing," she mused.  "I had booked us to go sky diving, you know—and I didn't get my deposit back when I cancelled that at the last minute."

"Aw, damn, that would have been awesome," he told her.  "I can pay you for the money you lost."

"No," she said, shaking her head quickly.  "I'd rather lord it over your head for the next year or two."

He grinned.  "That doesn't sound okay for me."

"Yeah, but it's a woman's prerogative."

"All right.  I'll let you have that one."

"Good boy," she replied.  "Anyway, we were going to go to the Met this morning to meet with Hiram Norwich—"

"Oh, that guy in charge of the ancient sword exhibit?"

She nodded.  "Yes . . . I thought maybe it'd interest you since you seem to know something about them.  Dr. Norwich was going to let you look over the collection, including the ones that aren't currently being displayed."

"That would have been cool," Evan remarked.  "I heard he had a number of Japanese katana . . ."

"Hmm, well, he did say that if you're interested, you can give him a call before the exhibit ends, and he'd be happy to reschedule."

"Nice," he approved.  "Maybe I'll see if Bubby's around.  He would probably be interested, too."

"Because your family consists of a bunch of blood-thirsty heathens."

He laughed at her droll assessment.  "Yeah, of course!  So . . . swords and skydiving?"

She nodded.  "Followed by dinner at Tonelli's."

"Also nice," he said.  Tonelli's had a tendency to be booked for weeks at a time.  She really had gone all-out—and he really had ruined it, too . . .

"Then we were going to meet all your friends at The Cube for a party . . . Dancing and all that good stuff."

He gave her a little squeeze.  On the one hand, it thrilled him that she'd gone out of her way to plan what would have been a spectacular birthday for him.  On the other?  Well . . .

"You know something?"

"Hmm?"

"Would you think I was a complete ass if I were to say that I think I prefer what we've done today to all of the stuff you had planned?"

She turned to stare at him, her eyebrows slightly arched as she searched his face for traces of a lie.  "This is a lot less planned out," she confessed almost guiltily.

"I know," he said, kissing her on the forehead.  "But I can't think of one single thing I'd change about today."

She blinked as though what he'd said surprised her.  Maybe it had; he didn't know.  But she also looked inordinately pleased, too, and when she leaned up to kiss him on the cheek, it seemed like the most natural thing in the world for him to turn his head slightly, to intercept her lips with his, to kiss her as tenderly as he could.  As though the simple kiss could tell her everything that he felt; everything that he wanted, every word he couldn't say . . . and maybe it did . . .

Lips opening like a flower, her breath like the sweetest dew as she sighed softly, as her body seemed to melt against his . . . her hands pressed against his chest as his arms tightened just a little around her, holding her close as he savored the feel of her, willing this one moment to last forever . . .

But the kiss ended way too soon, and Valerie slumped against him, nestled in the crook of his shoulder, her breathing a little heavy, a little more unsteady.  Suddenly, she laughed.  It sounded rather shaky, but she leaned away and blinked slowly, cheeks still dusted with color.  "You, uh . . . you want your present now?"

"Present," he repeated, still a bit bemused himself.  "You could just lay another one of those on me, and we'll call it good," he said, only half-joking.

She rolled her eyes and pushed against his arms until he let her go, and he heaved a sigh as he watched her walk away in the direction of the car.

'Well, damn,' he thought with an inward sigh as he shifted slightly.  He wasn't planning on taking another swim, but he just might have to after that kiss . . .

But it was good, right?  After all, she wasn't freaking out or anything, so she wasn't too upset at him for it.  If only it had lasted just a little longer . . .

The evening shadows were starting to lengthen as the first traces of ashy gray started to creep over the landscape.  If he turned around, he'd see the sun beginning to set over the horizon, and he knew that they ought to be heading back soon.

Still, he pushed himself to his feet and grabbed some more wood to stack on the fire, and when he turned around, it was just in time to see Valerie set down the brightly wrapped gift in the sand with a grunt.  She straightened her back and stretched as though it had taken some exertion to tote the box from the car, and Evan raised his eyebrows as she turned that impish smile on him once more.

"There you go," she said, taking a moment to catch her breath.

Evan stared at her and shook his head.  "If it's that heavy, you should have let me get it," he told her.

She shook her head stubbornly.  "No way," she countered, waving a hand at the box.  "Aren't you going to open it?"

He walked around the box a few times, examining it from different angles.  It wasn't very wide—maybe a foot square at the base, but the sides were a good two feet tall.  He wasn't sure what was in that box, but he had to admit, it looked intriguing . . .

Hunkering down beside it, Evan braced himself to pick it up and very nearly tossed it over his head in the doing.  Valerie laughed and dropped into the sand beside him.  "Gotcha," she said.

He laughed.  "Wow, woman, if you thought that was heavy, then you're really out of shape," he teased her.

"Come on, open it," she insisted, waving off his teasing.

Turning the box, he scratched at a bit of tape.  Valerie snorted and reached over, slipping her finger under the seam and giving it a sharp tear.  "What are you?  A girl?" she scoffed.  "Rip it open!"

Chuckling at her obvious impatience, Evan gave in and yanked at the paper, tossing the scraps at Valerie until he had the plain box revealed.

It looked like a standard packing crate, taped on both ends with printed words, 'This way up,' along with an arrow.  The tape pulled away easily enough, and he pulled the flaps open with a flourish.  "Oh . . . packing peanuts . . . Just what I always wanted," he quipped.

Valerie laughed and leaned forward to stick the bow she'd picked off the paper to the side of his head.  "I know, right?  I figured you could use it for that bean bag chair in your music room.  It could use a little more stuffing."

Plunging his hand into the box, he frowned as he felt around inside.  After a couple minutes of the fruitless motion, he pulled his hand out and raised an eyebrow at her.  "You really did just get me stuffing for that chair, didn't you?" he teased.

"You're not looking hard enough," she informed him, wrapping her hands around her raised knees as she sat back against the cliff wall to wait.

"But I did," he argued, shaking his head.  "There's nothing in there—well, except for the peanuts."

Her smile widened.  "Try again, rockerboy."

He gave her a look but plunged his hand into the box again.  After another couple minutes of searching and increasingly loud laughter from the gifter, he was about to give up when his claws scraped something on the bottom.  He carefully slipped his fingers under it and gently pulled.

"Oh, my God," he breathed as his eyes widened, as he stared at the brown paper sleeve that held what looked to be a copy of the Sex Pistols 1977, seven-inch single of 'God Save the Queen/No Feelings'.  "Oh my God!  Jesus, V . . .!  How did you . . .?"

Valerie laughed for a minute before she could answer.  "It was pure dumb luck," she told him.  "I don't know anything about that stuff, but I hoped it was something you didn't have yet."

Slumping back, he held the album gently, turning it over and shaking his head as he carefully looked inside the brown paper sleeve, he sucked in his breath when the edge of the original press release caught his attention.  "Holy shit," he whispered.  "I can't believe you found this!  There's only, like, maybe three hundred copies in existence?  If that?"  He laughed.  "I can't believe you—" Cutting himself off abruptly, Evan scowled as he sat up, as he pinned her with a very stern look.  "Damn, V, how the hell much did this cost you?  Let me pay for it.  What was it?  Forty?  Fifty thousand?"

Her laughter died away, and she stubbornly shook her head.  "First off, Roka, that's a gift, and don't you dare ask me what I paid for it because that's just tacky.  Second off, if you paid me for it, then it wouldn't be a gift anymore, now would it?  And third, that record cost a hell of a lot less than my car, but I hoped it would make you happy, so that's why I bought it.  So just say, 'thank you' if you like it, okay?"

He sighed.  "Yeah, but—"

"No 'buts'," she told him.  "I mean, you like it, don't you?"

The worried look on Valerie's face made up his mind for him, and Evan smiled.  "V, I love it," he assured her, "and no, I don't have it already.  This is just . . . well, it's fucking amazing.  You're fucking amazing.  I can't believe you found it.  Hell, I can't believe you knew I'd want it."  His smile brightened.  "Thank you."

She finally smiled and relaxed again.  "You're welcome, Evan . . . Happy birthday."


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A/N:
According to Record Collector, in 2010, there were believed to be around 300 copies of this record in existence.  A mint copy with the envelope and press release sold for roughly $13,000.  According to 2012 Wikipedia, this album is currently worth roughly $22,000.

'Promises' by The Cranberries originally appeared on the 1999 release, Bury the Hatchet.  Copyrighted to Dolores O'Riordan.
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OROsan0677 ———  xSerenityx020 ——— ji-an ——— Dark Inu Fan ——— Tashwampa ——— x siesie x ——— slsonic (Glad you're okay!!)
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Cutechick18 ——— amohip ——— Saphirea83 ——— sydniepaige
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Final
Thought from Valerie:
Happy birthday, Roka
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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 193
Chapter 195
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