InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Reflection ( Chapter 202 )

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

-OoOoOoOoO oOoOoOoOoO-

'So keep the way you're feeling out of this ...
'And hide it until the day you die
'The secret's safe at least you thought it was
'But you can only keep it for a little while
'And now you're terrified …'

-'Throw Yourself Away' by Nickelback.


Heavin g a dejected sigh as she reached out to shut off the shower tap, Valerie stepped out onto the fluffy bath mat as she slowly toweled off.

"What the . . .?  You fucked him?  That little bastard?  You fucked him?"

Biting her lip as she made quick work of getting dressed, she tried not to think about things too much.  He was angry, and rightfully so.  She couldn't blame him for being upset; not when she couldn't even forgive herself for sleeping with Marvin.

And she'd tried to do something about that, too, when she walked in the door of her apartment.  Striding over to the phone before bothering to do anything else, she'd dialed Marvin's number and had, of course, gotten his voicemail.  So she'd left him a message, asking him to call her right back as soon as he got the message.  He hadn't yet, but Valerie hadn't been able to tolerate it any longer, and she'd opted to take a shower.  Still exhausted, she dearly wished she could take a nap, but she knew without bothering that it was out of the question.  There were too many things spinning around in her head for that to even be a possibility.

'How . . .? How did he know . . .?'

It wasn't the first time she'd asked herself that question, either, even while Bone had driven down from the guardhouse and gently helped her into his car.  For once, the big man hadn't even tried to make jokes, which was fine with her, but he might as well have not been there during the brief ride to her apartment.  Too lost in thought to even summon the energy to acknowledge his presence, Valerie had retreated into the dull numbness of her brain instead.

That same little voice that had tried to insist that Marvin was the one she needed to be with had whispered in her head that it was all right.  After all, technically speaking, she was engaged to Marvin, wasn't she?  Of course it was natural—normal, but that wasn't the case, was it?  Because somewhere in her heart, it didn't really matter if she was engaged to him when her heart already belonged to Evan . . .

She supposed that the guilt of it all must have just been obvious on her face.  It was just too big to hide from him, and even then . . . Even then, she didn't want to hide anything from him, did she . . .? No, she was done making mistakes, hiding behind excuses, trying to tell herself things that would make things easier.  Easier didn't mean better, and if he loved her—really loved her—he'd forgive her, wouldn't he . . .?

Pushing out of the bathroom, Valerie ignored the tickle of water that dripped from her hair and down her neck, only to be absorbed by the sweater she'd pulled on after her shower.  Heaving yet another sigh as she glanced at the answering machine, she didn't stop as she continued on her way to the kitchen.

She'd known that Marvin hadn't called.  If he had, it would have connected in the bathroom panel.  Still . . .

Ignoring the tiny voice in the back of her mind that insisted that drinking more wine wasn't exactly a good idea, Valerie grabbed the first bottle out of the wine rack, pausing only long enough to open it before retrieving a glass out of the cabinet and stomping back into the living room again.

No, she was done, wasn't she?  Finished making the stupid mistakes, and if she could fix it all, she would . . .

She tried dialing Marvin's number again and got the voicemail again.  "Marvin, it's Valerie . . . I need you to call me as soon as you get this," she said, rubbing her forehead in an infinitely tired kind of way.  "I mean it.  Just call me . . . please."

Clicking off the phone, she let the receiver drop onto the coffee table with a clatter before reaching for the bottle of wine and carelessly sloshing it into the glass.

It was driving her crazy, damned if it wasn't.  She wanted to go right back over to Evan's house, to make him listen to her, but . . .

But as much as she wanted to do that, there were other things that she needed to do first—like break up with Marvin.

It was time.

Downing the glass of wine, Valerie leaned forward to set it down, only to prop her elbows on her knees and dropping her face into her hands.  She wanted to make things right, yes, but she owed it to Evan to take care of everything else, didn't she?  To be free and clear and to tell him everything—everything she'd come to understand . . . To tell him that she . . . That she loved him . . .

She lifted her face enough to rest her chin in the cradle of her thumbs as she pressed her palms together as though she were praying, staring off into space as the weight of her thoughts crashed down on her.  She'd make him understand.  She had to because . . . because Evan deserved so much better than to be the proverbial 'other man'.  He deserved to be the only man.

"Come on, Marvin," she muttered, drawing a deep breath, willing her rising irritation to wane.  Telling herself that it really wasn't his fault, she tamped down the emotion, grimacing again when the melancholy hit her hard, she sighed.  "Just . . . Just call me . . ."

Flopping back against the sofa, Valerie rubbed her face with a shaking hand.  Then she stopped, blinked, lowered her hand, turned it around, scowled at the modest ring on her finger.  Was there ever a time when she had been overjoyed with the prospect of marrying Marvin?  And even though she knew the answer to that question in her heart, she hated how callous it seemed.  No, she hadn't ever been thrilled, never felt the desire to run out and tell everyone she knew.  A few months ago, her secretary had gotten engaged, and Valerie had watched as the girl ran around all morning, fluttering her hand under everyone's noses while the smile on her face had rivaled the shining of the brightest stars in the night sky.

That was how it should be, wasn't it?  Somehow, Valerie knew that she'd feel the same way if Evan were to ask her to marry him.

Pulling the ring off her finger, she let it drop onto the coffee table.  It clinked as it landed, bouncing up slightly, spinning around in a drunken circle before it slowed then stopped completely.  Maybe she should have gone back in, woke Marvin up and told him before she'd left that she didn't want to marry him, but she couldn't do it.  It might have been the more expedient thing, but facing him after all of that was just a little more than she could do.  If she had her choice, she'd break up with him face-to-face, but she wasn't about to wait until he decided to fly back to New York City to do that, either.

All she'd been able to think about at the time was Evan, about how she'd betrayed him, about needing to see him . . .

If he had calmed down enough to listen to her, anyway.  She couldn't really blame him for being upset, and if she were to be completely honest with herself, she would have to admit that it was another reason why she was impatiently waiting for the phone to ring.  After all, she could always tell Marvin to call her cell phone when he got the message, but with as upset as Evan was when she'd left, he was probably still not ready to listen to her.

If only Marvin would call . . .


'She didn't deserve that.'

Ignoring the sound of his youkai-voice, Evan flinched when a guitar string snapped—the fourth one in the last hour.

He'd already spent two hours, trying to hack Bone to pieces in the back yard.  He'd thought it would help to alleviate his anger.  It hadn't; not really.  So he'd decided to try getting his aggression out through music.

It wasn't working so well, either.

"I think . . . I think I love you already . . ."

Chucking the guitar pick across the room, he got up long enough to put the guitar back on the stand before plopping on the sofa once more.  He was out of replacement strings and going out to get new ones just wasn't exactly high on his list of things he wanted to do at the moment.  If he could just get the sound of those words—her words—out of his head . . .

He was overjoyed to see her standing there, wasn't he?  When he'd stepped outside to go jogging, he was just trying to pass the time, trying not to worry, trying not to wonder where the hell she was, only to find . . .

The wind had carried her scent away from him until he'd gotten closer to her, but the smell of Marvin all over her was just a little more than he could stand.  Yes, he knew that the two of them were engaged, and if he were to really stop and think about it, he'd realize that what had happened between them in the bathroom wasn't likely to change anything.  Still, he hadn't counted on the idea that she would go running off to find him . . . that she'd sleep with him . . .

It hurt.

Damn, it hurt.

His phone rang, and Evan heaved a sigh when he dug it out of his pocket, only to see that it was Mike, and for a moment, he considered ignoring it.  Too bad the bastard would just call him right back, over and over again until he answered.  He already knew what it was about, anyway . . .


"Roka?  Where the hell are you?"


"That right?  And why are you there instead of here?" Mike asked dryly.

"Something came up," Evan remarked vaguely.

Mike sighed.  Evan figured he was probably taking a moment to rub his face in the usual exasperated fashion and probably counting to twenty before he trusted himself to speak.  "We've got a full crew here, you know, and they're all standing around with their fingers up their asses, waiting on you to show your sorry face."

"Not today, Mikey," Evan stated flatly.  "Reschedule.  Cancel.  What the hell ever."

"Do you know what a pain in the ass that'll be?  It's a video shoot, for God's sake!"

"Reschedule it, Mike," Evan replied, unable to stave back the irritation in his tone.

Mike considered that for a moment then let out a deep breath.  "All right," he agreed.  Considering Evan normally didn't pull the stubborn card—or the no-show card, for that matter—he must have figured that Evan's reason was important enough to keep him from demanding an explanation.  "I'll take care of it."

"Thanks," Evan said, ending the call and letting the phone drop onto the sofa beside him.

'I'm not saying that you don't have the right to be upset, but if you think about it logically, you really don't have any ground to stand on.  I mean, she is engaged to the little wuss-master . . .'

And Evan knew that, too.  Damned if he didn't.  The knowledge didn't help.  Nope, if anything, it just made the entire thing seem that much crappier . . .

She didn't belong with him, damn it, and if she didn't know that now, would she ever?  How could she not feel the connection between them?  How could she not realize?  She'd said she loved him, and while he knew that she was sick at the time, there was an underlying truth about her confession . . . He wasn't just telling himself that; he knew it.

'And you ought to know that isn't the problem, doofus.  The real problem is that Valerie herself is scared.  It has nothing at all do to with whether or not she loves you.  It's whether or not she can trust her own feelings.  You know that . . . you just hate it; that's all.'

'But . . . but to have fucked him?  Why . . .?'

'Does it matter?  Does it change the way you feel?  It doesn't, just so you know.  Is it really any worse than what you did down in the Bahamas?'

Grimacing at that reminder, Evan had to admit that it was true enough.  It didn't actually serve to lessen his feelings on the matter, but it did bring everything right back home, so to speak.  'Okay, so neither one of us is perfect . . .'

'It's not about being perfect.  It's about if you honestly think that what she did was that terrible.  Who are we to judge?  We're no better; not really.  In all actuality, maybe we're worse.  Sure, we haven't done anything like that lately, but do you really think that you've never, ever slept with a married woman?  A woman who might have been engaged?  Just because we didn't stop to ask doesn't exonerate us, you know.  One night stand or not, does it matter?  Because someone, somewhere probably felt as betrayed as you do, right now.'

"All right; all right.  I get your point," Evan muttered to himself.

'If she comes back, just listen to her.  Maybe there's more to it than you think.'

That statement made him grit his teeth.  As far as he could figure, it was pretty well cut and dried.  It might not change the overall knowledge that he loved her, but . . .

Gripping the arm of the sofa to haul himself to his feet, Evan strode out of the music room and through the quiet mansion.

Madison had come over after leaving Valerie's apartment yesterday, had told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to back off, to let Valerie make up her mind.  When he'd tried to leave anyway, to go back over to her apartment to see if she was okay, Madison had stubbornly insisted that he would do more harm than good.  Now he had to wonder.  If he had gone over there, as was his intention, if he had caught her before she'd left to go see that damned Marvin, would things have happened the way they did?  Would he have been able to convince her?

And though common sense told him that asking those 'what if' kinds of questions would do absolutely nothing to help him now, he couldn't help it, either.  He had to know just why she'd sleep with Marvin, and yet he dreaded the answer, as well.  Would finding out change anything?  Would it help him?

'Does it matter why she did it?  Does it really?  Think about that because . . .'

'Because why?' he challenged as he retrieved a beer from the cooler and twisted the cap.

'Because you were so busy being angry that you didn't seem to notice, did you?'

'Notice what?'

'How upset she already was, dumbass.'

Grimacing when he realized the truth of what his youkai voice was telling him, Evan took his time, slugging down half of the beer in one long swallow.

There was truth in that, and he knew it.  The way she'd stared at him when he'd first stepped outside: the pallor of her skin, the wild-eyed look she'd shot him . . . the darkened circles under those eyes . . . He'd never seen her looking so frightened before; not even when she told him about her family—not even when they'd gone to see her father . . . That look . . . and the tears as she'd thrown herself against his chest . . .

Gritting his teeth together as he set the beer down on the counter, he let out a deep breath, raked his hands through his hair.

He had no idea just what was going on . . . and he had no idea how to fix it, either . . .


Clicking off her cell phone, Valerie uttered a fierce growl and fought to remind herself that she would be sorry if she gave in to the desire to send the device flying at the wall.

Eight o'clock, and she still had yet to hear back from Marvin, and didn't that figure?  It had been hours since she'd first called him.  "Doesn't he ever listen to his voicemail?" she complained loudly and to no one in particular.

Grabbing the glass of wine she'd poured just before trying to call him for the umpteenth time, she swallowed it in one gulp, then set the glass aside to reach for the bottle instead.  It was almost empty and had to be some kind of record for her.  Tipping the bottle to her lips, she stumbled back, fell onto the sofa, squeaked out a small cry when the bottle smashed unpleasantly against her lips.  She let it fall onto the floor with a dull thud then a clink when it rolled into the other empty bottle she'd finished off a while ago.

She was past angry.  'Angry' had come and gone around four in the afternoon.  As far as she could tell, she was on the fast track to livid, which would be entirely avoidable—if Marvin would call her back, that was.

But wasn't that the way of it?  Hadn't it always been this way?  It was part of the reason why Valerie didn't call him about every little thing.  He was busy, too, and she knew that.  It was one of the things that Valerie had always appreciated about him before, though she was hard-pressed to remember why at the moment.

'Don't be a bitch,' the voice in her head told her.

'I'm not being a bitch.  I'm being irritated.  There's a huge difference!'

Which was entirely true, right?  Between Evan and Marvin, she was slowly losing her mind.  After all, all Marvin needed to do was to answer his phone so she could talk to him.  Didn't he think that her messages were important enough?

She snorted and stomped off to the kitchen to grab Bottle Number Three.  Well, the second one was already half-empty when she'd gotten it out of the refrigerator, so really, it was Bottle Two-and-a-Half . . .

For some reason, that thought made her giggle, possibly because it sounded like something Evan would say . . .

Her amusement was short-lived, however, since she had distinct trouble getting the damned thing open.  Her hands didn't seem to want to do exactly what she wanted, but after a minute of fiddling with it and muttering curses, she finally managed, and she made her way back into the living room, sipping out of the bottle along the way.

"And Evan," she blustered, proud of the way her words sounded—they weren't slurred at all, were they?  Which meant that she absolutely was not drunk in the least!  "I might have been wrong, but he . . . he could have listened to me!  It's not like I wanted to sleep with Marvin, now did I?  And he'd better listen to me when I 'pologize later!"

She almost believed the bravado in her voice.

Heaving a sigh, she dropped into the nearest chair and only sloshed a little bit of the wine onto her hand in the process.   Glowering at the phone on the table nearby, she narrowed her eyes as she willed it to ring.

It didn't work.

"Why should it?" she grumbled, slowly shaking her head, slamming the bottle onto the end table beside the chair.  With the way her luck was going these days, Marvin wouldn't be calling her back until maybe—maybe—next month.  "Maybe I'm cursed . . ."

As if in silent answer, the phone did ring.  Valerie uttered an involuntary yelp as the sound of her ringtone cut through the quiet apartment, and she nearly fell flat on her face in her haste to retrieve the device.

It wasn't Marvin.  It wasn't Evan, either.

Nope, it was Garret, and while she did love her little brother, she didn't particularly want to talk to him at the moment, either, so she sent the call to voicemail and flopped onto the sofa, face-down.

It was some weird and twisted form of Divine Retribution, wasn't it?  It had to be.  Whatever entities there were out there, they were fucking with her—and probably having a party, too.

It just didn't make sense.  Evan always understood her.  He understood her better than she understood herself.  It wasn't like him to just jump to conclusions, no matter how accurate those conclusions were.  Angry, okay, but . . .

But it wasn't his anger that had gotten the better of him, was it?  The sudden memory of the look on Evan's face—the hurt that he couldn't hide—made her grimace.  She winced.  Somehow, she knew that she'd never forget that look, not as long as she lived . . . He'd listen to her, wouldn't he?  He had to, and even if he didn't forgive her . . . Well, she'd figure that out if it came to that.

Uttering another little growl, she pushed herself up on her elbows to glare at her phone again.  She almost fell off the sofa when she rolled to the side to retrieve her phone once more.  With a grunt from the efforts she was exerting, she dialed Marvin's number again and lifted it to her ear.

It rang three times, and Valerie was about to launch into a new round of grumbling when Marvin answered.  "Hey, Val," he greeted warmly.  "Did you make it back to New York okay?"

"Yes, fine," she replied, concentrating on keeping her voice steady as a cold sweat broke out on her palms.  "We need to talk.  I—"

"Oh, sure!  Right now's not a good time, though.  I'm in the middle of a presentation for Vaughn Labs—We're just taking a quick break."

"No, I really need to talk to you right now," she insisted, trying to brush aside the irritation that rose with his inability to understand when she was being dead serious.

"I'm sorry, but this is a really important one.  They're probably going to offer to underwrite some of the research," he insisted.  "I'll call you tomorrow, and—"

"Not tomorrow!" she gritted out.  "For once, won't you—?"

"I've got to go. They're back, so I guess the break's over.  I promise, I'll call you tomorrow!"

Uttering a frustrated growl as the connection ended, Valerie stumbled to her feet, dropping her phone onto the sofa and gripping her forehead as a headache suddenly spiked behind her eyes.

It was the last straw, wasn't it?  The very last straw.  She never asked him for anything, mostly because she would rather do it all herself, but the one time she told him that she needed him?  And he put her off for his precious meeting, and maybe his research was important, but . . .

As if all of the anger, the guilt, the frustration broke over her in one fell swoop, it felt like the dam on her emotions was breaking loose, as if something somewhere deep down had suddenly ignited.  Marvin wouldn't listen to her; Evan was ticked off at her for something that she never meant to happen, and even if she could appreciate their respective reasons, that didn't make her feel a whole hell of a lot better, given the situation.

Well, there wasn't a damn thing she could do about Marvin at the moment, was there?  Even if she called him back, he'd just send her call to voicemail, anyway.

But Evan . . .

"All right," she slurred as she snatched her purse off the table near the door.  "It's on, Roka . . ."

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
'Throw Yourself Away' by Nickelback originally appeared on the 2003 release, The Long Road.  Copyrighted to Chad Kroeger.
== == == == == == == == == ==
OROsan0677 ——— Dark Inu Fan ——— sutlesarcasm ——— Cricket42 ——— Tueske ——— AtamaHitoride ——— iloveanimecartoons ——— Thayet ——— angle54 ——— xSerenityx020 ——— grandadmiralm
tinywingedthing ——— indigorrain ——— lianned88 ——— GoodyKags ——— cutechick18 ——— MouF ——— sydniepaige ——— amohip ——— lovethedogs
Thought from Evan:
Damn it
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 201
Chapter 203
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