InuYasha Fan Fiction ❯ Purity 9: Subterfuge ❯ Proposal ( Chapter 211 )

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


-OoOoOoOo OoOoOoOoOoO-

'If I give my heart to you ...
'You must be sure
'From the very start that you
'Would love me more than her …'

-'If I Fell' by the Beatles.

-Evan-


The most God-awful sound shook Evan right out of his sleep, and he cracked one eye open with a healthy groan, only to find Valerie sitting up in bed, staring thoughtfully around the room with a balloon in her hands that she kept rubbing very slowly, producing the horrendous racket that had jarred him awake.  Where she'd found the balloon was anybody's guess, but that didn't really matter.  The damn thing had to go.

He sat up, too, reaching up under her elbow with his index finger extended.  The moment that his claws touched the balloon, it popped, whizzing across the room on a dizzying path until it fell to the floor just off the end of the bed.

"You scared the crap out of me," she complained mildly, craning her neck to look back at him.

"Care to tell me why you thought that'd be a good way to wake me up?" he countered with a wide yawn.  After all, they hadn't actually gone to bed until nearly four in the morning, and they'd almost fallen asleep on the sofa.  Valerie had, in fact, done that, and Evan didn't have the heart to wake her up, either, so he'd carried her upstairs and just held her while she slept.  He wasn't sure when he'd fallen asleep, but he'd heard some birds outside the window, so it was safe to assume he hadn't actually gotten much in the way of rest.  It was enough to just be able to hold her close, even if he had to spend some of that time, telling himself that he would live if he didn't wake her up to see to his baser needs.

"Because I'm always grouchy until I get some coffee," she replied.

Evan grunted and grabbed her around the waist to drag her back down onto the mattress beside him.  "I'm always grumpy until I get some ass," he told her.

She giggled and tried to push him away, but her resistance only lasted a few moments before she kissed him back.  "Coffee would be better," she remarked between kisses.

He heaved a sigh and leaned away.  "Coffee would be—? Maybe if you're talking about fucking someone other than me.  You've got a one-track mind, woman," he complained.  Then he kissed her on the forehead and rolled out of bed.  "Coffee.  Right.  Got it."

Stifling a yawn as he shuffled out of the room and into the hallway, headed toward the stairs, he still smiled to himself.  The sky outside might be overcast and almost ominous-looking, but in Evan's mind, there wasn't a cloud to be seen.

Funny what a difference twenty-four hours could make.

'Not so fast, lover boy,' his youkai-voice said as he stepped into the kitchen.  The coffee was already made since he'd learned long ago to schedule it to brew early enough that it was nearly always ready should Valerie decide to stop in early.  'You still have to finish convincing her that you're not entirely nuts.'

There was that, too.  He had the feeling that part of her really did want to believe what he'd told her, so maybe it wouldn't be so difficult, after all.  She'd come to understand eventually that he was telling her the truth, anyway.

'Yeah, well, you'd better get a move on before she decides to pout all day because you made her wait for her coffee.'

Slapping two mugs and the carafe onto a tray along with an apple and a couple oranges, Evan hurried out of the kitchen.

She was sitting up again when he stepped back into the bedroom a minute later.  Staring around at the room with a thoughtful frown on her face, she held out a hand without comment then waved it a few times for good measure.

Evan chuckled, making quick work of filling a mug for her and handing it over.

"Okay, Roka, tell me something."

Hefting an eyebrow at her no-nonsense tone, he filled the other mug and slipped back onto the bed.  "What's that?"

"I'm your girlfriend now, right?"

That question surprised him, mostly because he'd never had occasion to actually have one of those before, but the idea of it made him grin almost stupidly.  "I want you to be."

She nodded slowly, taking her time as she drank her coffee.  "Good, then.  So since I'm your girlfriend, I get to have a say in certain things, right?"

He still wasn't sure where she was going with this, but he figured he might as well go along with it.  "Sure.  Want me to strip naked and do the weenie dance for you?"

She looked like he had managed to catch her off guard, if the blanker-than-usual expression on her face meant anything.  Then she rolled her eyes, but the effect was ruined a moment later when a little laugh escaped her.  "You're so weird.  Anyway, I hate to tell you this, but that—" She waved her free hand in a broad, sweeping gesture at the room in general, "—has to go."

"Which part?"

She wrinkled her nose and held out her coffee cup for a refill that he happily obliged her.  "All of it," she stated with all the diplomacy of a dictator.

"Even the stripper pole?" he complained.

"Especially the stripper pole.  And the mirrors on the ceiling.  And the mirrors on the floor.  And the mirrors on all the walls.  The ones on the closet can stay."

He frowned at her.  She missed it entirely since she was busy making her mental list of things she was going to get rid of.  "Will you use it for me before you make me get rid of it?" he asked, only half-joking.

"I'll think about it," she said.

"Really?  Hot damn!"

She heaved a sigh.  "I said I'll think about it."  Staring at him while she drained her second cup of coffee, Valerie sighed again and took the apple he handed her.

"Why do you look so serious?" he asked, using his claws to dig into an orange.

"Just thinking."

He fed her an orange segment.  "About what?"

Chewing slowly, she didn't lose that thoughtful expression on her face.  "My apartment."

"You want to move in here?" he asked, trying for a calm tone and failing miserably.  He didn't really want to make her feel pressured, but the idea of waking up beside her every single morning sounded pretty good to him . . .

"Well, either way, I guess I need to find a new place."

"Why's that?"

She shrugged and peeled another orange segment off the fruit in his hand.  "The apartment lease is in both Marvin and my names, and . . ." She made a face.  "I just can't tell him that he has to find a new apartment on top of everything else."

He could tell from her tone that she expected another round of Marvin-bashing from him.  He could also tell that she didn't really want him to do it, too.  So instead, Evan nodded.  "Makes sense.  I don't really want you staying in a place that you shared with him, anyway," he replied.  "Just move in.  You're here enough.  You might as well."

"Hmm, that was romantic," she said dryly.  She was visibly relieved by his answer as she smiled at him around a huge bite of the apple.  "I won't be stepping on your toes?"

"No, but if you wanted to hop up and down on my dick, that'd be okay, too."

She closed her eyes and heaved an exaggerated sigh.  "You're such a pervert.  Why are you such a pervert?"

He chuckled.  "I dunno, V.  Why were you in my bushes?"

That earned him a slap on the arm, which only served to further his amusement.  "You're really never going to drop that, are you?"

"Hell, no."

She sighed.  "All right, as much as I hate to, I've got to go.  I have to run back to the apartment and change and get to work."

"Work?  Today?  But what about our new-found love?"

She stopped as she was climbing out of bed to stare at him.  "Did you really just say that?"

He blinked innocently and popped an orange segment into his mouth.  "What?"

"That sappy crap."

He grinned.  "Yeah, I totally did!"

Shaking her head, she stood beside the bed and stretched.  When Evan reached for her, she laughed and scooted out of his reach.  "Behave yourself until I get done, can you?"

Flopping back against the pillows, Evan sighed.  "If I must."

She leaned down to give him a quick kiss, and he tried to grab her.  Unfortunately, she must have been expecting it because as fast as she kissed him, she retreated again.  "I'll be back after work."

"Oka-a-a-a-ay," he drawled in a very transparent effort to get her to feel bad enough to call in.  It didn't work as she fussed with her hair a little and smoothed out her sweater.  She spared a moment to smile at him and wiggle her fingers before heading for the door.  "Wait a minute," he called after her.

She stuck her head back into the room as Evan leaned over to dig through one of his nightstand drawers.  It only took a few seconds to locate the small black velvet jeweler's box he was after, and he didn't bother to look inside it before chucking it toward her.

She caught it easily and stared at it for a minute.  "What's this?"

"What do you think?"

She turned the box over in her hands a few times but didn't open it.  "If that was your way of proposing, you'd better try again, Roka," she said.

He laughed but caught the box she tossed back at him.  "But V!"

"Think about it while I'm at work," she said over her shoulder as she started for the stairs.

He heaved a sigh loud enough that she had to have heard him, which was kind of the point.  "But you tell me not to do that!"

The sound of her laughter filled the house and sounded in his head long after the front door closed behind her.


-Evan-


"What about these?"

Valerie glanced up from the stack of clothes she was pulling out of the closet at the stack of CDs that Evan carried into the room.

"Uh . . ." she frowned at the titles.  "All of those are mine except for those two on the bottom."

Evan pulled the two out of the stack and read the titles.  "Blackhat Orchestra presents Mozart in the Park and the Vienna Boys' Choir?"

"Marvin prefers classical music.  He's very cultured, I told you."

"Or he just wants to look cultured," Evan contended.

"Either help me or go home," she said.

He chuckled and leaned in for a quick kiss.  "I got it; I got it," he replied before striding out of the room again.  It wasn't taking nearly as long to pack things up as he would have thought, but she had suggested it when she'd come in after work, and Evan was all for it since he really didn't want her staying here any longer than she had to.  She already said that she wouldn't bother taking anything out of the kitchen since Evan already had anything she could possibly need, nor was she going to take any of the furniture, so it made things a little easier.  He'd already packed up her books—they were easy since Marvin's books tended to be one of two kinds: either medical journals or a few self-help ones, like How to be a Self-Starter or 10 Steps to Realizing Success.

He had just stuck Valerie's CDs into a box when a soft knock sounded on the door.  Dusting his hands off, he strode over to it, recognizing the aura on the other side of it before he reached for the handle.

Madison didn't look surprised to find him standing in Valerie's living room, but her normally effervescent demeanor seemed rather diminished as she slipped past him into the apartment.

"Hey, Maddikins . . . I was going to call you earlier," Evan said.  "Then Mikey stopped by with some shit to go over . . ."

"I take it the two of you smoothed things over," Madison replied with a smile.  "I'm glad . . . Are the two of you a couple . . .?"

Evan chuckled, and Madison sucked in a sharp breath.

"Oh, my God!  You're blushing!  Evan Zelig is actually blushing?"

"I do that sometimes," he grumbled.

Madison laughed.  "Not nearly often enough . . . Is V back in her room?"

"Yeah.  She's packing her clothes."

Madison nodded, but she seemed to hesitate.

Evan frowned as he stood up straight and crossed his arms over his chest.  A vague sense of suspicion crept over him.  "You're the one who bruised her, weren't you?"

Letting out a deep breath, Madison nodded once.  "I didn't mean to," she admitted quietly.  "I didn't even mean to come over here last night.  It's just . . . I just ended up here, and when she answered the door, I-I don't know.  It was like something inside me snapped . . ."

Evan sighed.  If it was anyone other than Madison, he'd rip him or her apart, no questions asked, and he would be lying if he tried to say that he wasn't seriously irritated with her for it, either.  The truth of it was that if the situation were reversed, he couldn't honestly say that he wouldn't have done the same thing for her.  "That's why she refused to tell me."

Madison rubbed her forehead.  "Do you want to hit me?"

Evan snorted and rolled his eyes. "No, don't be stupid."

She didn't look comforted in the least.  "I was scared," she said quietly—so quietly that Evan almost didn't hear her.  "I was . . . really scared . . . More scared than I've ever been in my life . . ."

And just what could he say to that?  Madison shouldn't have hit Valerie, but he could understand why she did it, too.

"I'm sorry," he told her.  After all, he guessed that it was ultimately his fault, albeit in a roundabout kind of way.  If he hadn't been so quick to jump to conclusions, she wouldn't have done what she did, either . . .

Madison sniffled and quickly wiped her eyes.  "You should be," she muttered, but she sounded more upset than chiding.  "Anyway, I just came by because I wanted to tell her that I'm sorry."

Evan nodded and watched as Madison headed off down the hallway.

He had to be slipping.  Why else would he let Madison off for hitting Valerie when he'd have clocked anyone else who had done it?  Then again . . . Letting out a deep breath, Evan shook his head.  Maybe he was just too damn happy, or maybe he simply understood Madison's feelings a little too well.

It didn't take long to finish filling the box, and he closed it up and stacked it on top of the others waiting by the door.  He'd already called and arranged to have Bone pick them up tomorrow.  The only things of hers left in the living room were the computer and her knickknacks, but he figured that she would want to pack those up herself, and since there was nothing else for him to do, he strode off toward her room to see how far she'd gotten.

He stopped short when he reached the doorway and fumbled for his cell phone to click a picture before they noticed him.  Sitting on the bed hugging each other, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.  "You know, if you two want to get naked and do that, I'd be all right with it," Evan remarked.

Both women's heads turned to look at him, but Valerie was the one to hurl a pillow at him.  "Go away, Roka," she insisted.  "And even if we were to get naked, we'd do it when you're nowhere near."

"As long as you film it, I'm all right with that," he quipped.

Madison laughed shakily.  "I love you, V.  You know that, don't you?" she said just before she choked on a sob.

Valerie hugged her again, wailing loudly as she dissolved in tears.  "Aww, of course I do!  I love you, too, my Maddy!"

"Uh, you two could love me, if you wanted," Evan pointed out, raising his voice to be heard over the sobbing women.

They ignored him.  It figured.  "I'm so so-o-o-orry I hit you," Maddy gasped out between hiccups.

"It was my f-f-f-fault," Valerie insisted.

"No-o-o," Madison wailed.  "You can hit me if you want!  You can have any of my sh-shoes you want, too!"

Heaving a sigh, Evan leaned in the doorway and crossed his arms over his chest, unable to do more than stare somewhat incredulously at the spectacle they were making.  He honestly didn't care how long he lived, he was pretty sure that he was never, ever going to figure women out; not really.

"Oh, no, you love your shoes!  We should go shoe shopping!  Evan won't c-care . . ."

"Aww, Evan doesn't mind shoe shopping," Evan pointed out.

"It'll be a girls' day o-o-out," Madison stuttered.  "Without Evan!"

"Hey . . ." Evan protested.  They still ignored him.

"He didn't even ask me to m-marry him," Valerie tearfully whined.  "He just threw the ring box at me."

"He's such a j-jerk!" Madison cried.

"And then h-h-he started telling me this ridiculous st-story about him not being hu-hu-human!" Valerie went on, her voice muffled by Madison's shoulder.

"Oh, he's n-n-not," Madison sobbed.  "N-Neither am I-I!"

At some point later on, Evan was positive that he was going to remember this moment as being one of the funniest of his life.  Right now, however, all he could do was shake his head and smile.

Valerie leaned away and wiped her eyes with a crumpled tissue.  "You don't ha-have to go along with his silly joke," she said with a tumultuous sniffle.

Madison grabbed a tissue from the box on the nightstand and blew her nose.  "I'm not," she replied when she'd gotten herself under control a little.  "It's true."  She seemed to be pondering that for a moment, and then she smiled, or at least tried to.  With the tears that still hadn't worked themselves out just yet, it was a pretty sad-looking sight.  "I'm so g-g-glad you know now!"

Valerie shot Evan a pouty look.  "You got her to go along with it, too?"

He chuckled and shrugged the shoulder that wasn't leaning on the doorframe.  "It's the truth; I told you."

She heaved a sigh and rolled her eyes as Madison's face shifted into a marked frown.  "And what does she mean, you threw an engagement ring at her?  Why didn't you ask?"

This time, it was Evan's turn to roll his eyes, and he did so with an accompanying snort.  "I have asked her a hundred times, and she always says 'no'."

Madison slowly shook her head.  "So ask a hundred-and-one times."

"She'd say no on principle," he said.  "It's her turn to do the asking."

"Women don't ask men to marry them," Madison scoffed.

"They do if they've already said no as often as she has," Evan insisted.

Madison sighed and stood up.  "You're just being stubborn.  If I were you, V, I'd just withhold the sex until he proposes properly," she said.  "I'll get going so you can finish packing, V.  We'll go shoe shopping next weekend?"

Evan snorted and rolled his eyes but grinned.  "Like she could!"

"I could," Valerie countered.  Evan didn't miss the slight flush that crept into her cheeks as she lifted her chin a notch.  "If I wanted to, that is . . ."

Evan chuckled while Madison sniffled and slowly shook her head.

Valerie stood up to give Madison one more hug before the latter strolled out of the room, pausing long enough to kiss Evan's cheek in passing.  Valerie watched her go with a smile then gave herself a little shake before turning her attention back to the clothes she was carefully packing in a box.  "You're really not going to ask me again?" she questioned.

Evan chuckled and shoved himself away from the door in favor of flopping back onto her bed.  "That's right," he replied.  "You want to do it, then you're gonna have to ask."

"Okay," she said simply, turning around to grab more things from the closet.

"Okay?"

"Yep."

Evan frowned.  "What's that mean?"

She took a deep, cleansing sort of breath.  "It means that when I want to get married, I'll let you know."

Rolling his eyes, he chuckled again.  "All right, V, but you'd better make sure you have a decent ring for me when you do."

"Women don't buy men engagement rings," she pointed out.

He laughed at that.  "They do if they're the ones doing the asking."

Her response was a chagrined sort of look, and that only made him laugh harder.


~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~= ~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~
A/N:
'If I Fell' by the Beatles originally appeared on the 1964 release, A Hard Day's Night.  Copyrighted to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
== == == == == == == == == ==
Final
Thought from Valerie:
I have to propose …?
==========
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 210
Chapter 212
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