Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Help …




 

I’m posting again. I know, I’ve posted about this ad naseam, but as near as I can figure, we still have to come up with about 1500 to save the house, and we can come up with some of that, yes, but the rumor around Eric’s work is that, starting in August, hours are to be cut, and that will kill us: like KILL us, dead. Sure, we could let the car go back, and that would help, but we only HAVE one car, and, well, no car, no job. No job? We’re done.

I’ve been sitting here, trying to think and think and think, and there’s just really nothing–literally nothing. This whole thing has invated every aspect of my life. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t write, I can’t function. I spend every waking second, wondering if there’s anything I’ve missed. We’ve applied for loans and been denied (because they base it off of Eric’s STRAIGHT wages, even though his paystubs show overtime). We still have regular household bills to pay, too … I mean, we can’t just ignore the electricity or gas or anything like that. We’ve literally cut out every bit of extra spending, to the point where I feel GUILTY for spending more than 50 a week on groceries. For a family of four adults. I’d drop the cars to PLPD if that were an option for now. It’s not since our car and Alex’s car (that he pays for himself) are still financed.

Y’all, I’m done. Absolutely done. I have nothing. I have no pride anymore, no sense of what I should or should not be doing. I need to save our house. If we can’t afford to come up with this money, how on earth would we be able to pay rent? Not to mention my fur babies–the ones who cuddle me when I cry or when I’m lonely. I’ve been told that there’s an end to this tunnel, but I can’t see it. I’ve been told that we’ll save the house, but I don’t know how.

I’m asking. I’m begging. I’m literally left to this because it’s really all I have now. Please, please … Please, if you can, please help us.

If you can, our paypal address is sueric1111@gmail.com or you can use the donation button above.

To those who have helped, I love and thank you all. You really have no idea just how thankful I am for you!

posted by Sueric at 5:58 pm  

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Update




 

Hey, guys… just checking in.  As near as we can figure, we can come up with about 1200 toward the 3500 we need to save the house.  It’s the best we’re going to be able to do unless things change.  It’d be better if the hubs were able to get overtime, but the company he works for was bought out last year, and they’ve limited overtime drastically.  In doing so, it impacted our ability to get loans (we’ve tried), so help would be so, so appreciated.  Between the crazy lady that pretty much runs the town and all of this, my stress level is through the roof, and it’s not as simple as, “Go get a job”… I have a severely autistic son who cannot be left alone as he has a secondary seizure disorder and he is, for the most part, non-verbal.  If I were to try to leave him home alone, he’d either go wandering or he’d end up hurting himself.  It’s just not a possibility.  So, I’m asking.  I’m begging.  If you can help us, please consider doing so.  To those couple who have donated?  I appreciate it more than I think you’ll ever know.  I’d love to be able to keep writing, and I’ve been trying, but it’s so difficult when so much other stuff is so heavy in my heart and in my head.  TBH, I feel as though I’m about 2 steps from a nervous breakdown, but I’m trying my best to be positive.  Thanks again, everyone.  I <3 you all!

posted by Sueric at 11:23 am  

Monday, July 2, 2018

Status Update

Hey guys. Just wanted to let you know that updates are going to be sporadic at best for a while. We’ve got major financial issues going on here, and at this point, I don’t even know if we’re going to have a home in two months. So, please bear with me. I’m doing what I can, but it’s just not okay. Sorry.

We have to come up with 3500 by Aug 30 or we lose our house, period. The town crazy lady “treasurer” has fucked us AGAIN, and we can’t do anything about it. She attached our property taxes with a back sewer bill that she says is accurate (but you know, we’ve lived here for 4 years exactly, and the first year’s bills were paid. 50 bucks a month x 12 months is 600, and so I’m not sure who does HER math, but there’s no arguing with her, either), and there’s no way to fight it. We have to come up with this by then or we’re homeless. I have tried to apply for loans, but they say we don’t make enough, “sorry” … All of this, after I went down and helped mom get her stuff straightened out after niece bled mom’s accounts dry, so in doing that, it maxed out our credit cards, so I can’t get it off there, either. I’m so done. I just really don’t know what to do now.

I’ve been asked to link my paypal address if anyone has it in their ability to help us. I just … I feel so freaking done. I can send images of the notices if anyone doesn’t believe me…

Anyway, if anyone can… paypal addy is sueric1111@gmail.com … I love y’all. I’m just not sure how I can do this at all.




posted by Sueric at 1:42 pm  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Stick a Fork in Me …

LOL ok, so not really.  Just figured I should let everyone know what’s going on around here.

So after goofing around awhile (and crocheting… I’ll admit, I’ve been busy crocheting lol), I figured I’d get back into things, so I wrote three and a half chapters of P10, thinking that I’d be awesome and shock my beta, Greta, with 10 chapters at once.  Of course, I really should have known better, all things considered.  Because I thought I’d do such a dumb thing, karma kicked me, and my computer crashed.  I do mean CRASHED.  It was sad.  There was smoke.  There were tears.  There was CUSSING.  Especially when I realized that, because I thought I’d be smart and dump on my poor beta, I never actually emailed the chapters, which meant they’re gone.  Totally gone.  Poof.  More tears.  Stupid computer L   (Yes, I’m going to blame it on my computer, absolutely).  So at the moment, I’m still trying to save up the money to replace my old, dead laptop, but life keeps emptying my pockets, which brings me to …

Shortly after that, one of our cats got really sick.  He was puking up everything (literally) that he ate, to the point that he just stopped eating.  I won’t bore you all with the details except to say that he had to be force fed from a syringe, had to go in constantly for B12 shots because his liver was failing, and in the end (and after about 500 bucks, all totaled), we had to let him go, which broke our hearts.  He’s missed every day, and the ache he left behind is horrible.  If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’re probably tired of hearing about it.  Even so, that was the hard part.

My sister is here visiting from Georgia, so that’s good, and because she is here, I’m currently using her laptop, but she’s leaving in a couple weeks to go back home, which will leave me lappy-less once more, but that’s neither here nor there.  The biggest problem is my eye.

Well, it’s almost healed now (thank GOD) but it was pretty scary.  A week ago last Thursday, I was sitting here (actually writing … I know, it’s a sign!) when I suddenly felt like I got something in my eye.  It felt like one tiny grain of sand.  That’s the best way to describe it.  So I thought that it’d come out on it’s own.  It usually does.

It was still in there on Friday, so the hubs and I tried for TWO HOURS to wash it out of my eye, and the speck moved (to a more painful place a few times) but never came out.  By then, it was late on Friday, and I thought, fine, I’ll wait till Monday and go to the doctor  …

Except that by Saturday night, around 10, I couldn’t take it anymore.  It was driving me insane, and I finally broke down and went to the emergency room (feeling entirely retarded for going in for a speck of dirt in my eye).  At least I felt slightly better when the ER doc (who was named Michael Myers, I shit you not) told me that the regular doctor would have just sent me in to the ER anyway since they don’t have the equipment to diagnose my eye there, anyway.

So they dye my eye bright freaking yellow (IKR?  Totally wanted it to stay in my eye so I could freak out my kids, but it wore out too fast, unfortunately) and took a look, and you know, it wasn’t dirt in my eye at all.  Nope.  I had a corneal ulcer/hemorrhage (google it.  The pics are scary as hell).  I needed 150 dollar eye drops (yeah, I about died, too), and I needed to go to the eye doctor.

So I go to my regular doctor on Monday (being on the anti-biotic eye drops for a little over 24 hours at that point, not to mention the antibacterial ointment I have to use before I go to bed that’s like putting Vaseline in my eye.  Yeah, it’s GROSS.  The doctor gives me a referral to a specialist but tells the nurse to arrange the appointment for—and I quote—a non-healing corneal ulcer which freaks me out entirely!

The eye doctor has been great, though, but she said that she thinks that my ridiculously dry eyes caused this, that my cornea tore when I blinked because my eyes are that dry.  So now I have trusty moisturizing eye drops and my eyes feel much better.  When I went in on Friday, she started me on steroid eye drops (O.o) and said it should be healed completely by the time I go in next Friday.

I’m only telling you all this because that’s why I’ve been sort of slow this week lol.

Another thing I found out (not about my eye or anything) is that they finally remade the forum on media miner, and the only reason THAT matters is because I was finally able to bark at them about the messed up emails for updates.  They re-enabled those today, but he said that they’re only doing what amounts to a daily digest sort of email instead of real time emails like they used to.  Figures, but better than nothing, right?

So about the updates …

I’ve been working on Desideratum as well as Metamorphosis 2: Legacies, so I hope that someone reads them lol

As of now, P10 is still on hiatus, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure that it’ll get written.  It’s not that I don’t like Mikio (I do) but it’s just not as exciting to me to write a story when I already know from start to finish what’s happening.  It’s hard for it to keep my attention, and I know that sounds terrible, but in my head, the story has already been told, so it’s hard to make myself sit down and write it out, especially when other things that have to do with it but are also kind of separate (it’s a long story) have the ability to hurt me, too.  I have explained it to some people who have asked, but…

In any case, I hope that someone will read what I’m coming up with now, and I hope that anyone who reads this post will understand and be patient with me while I try to re-discover my love of posting.

 

posted by Sueric at 5:19 am  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I’m so lost!

Lol Ok, so that’s kind of just me, being overly dramatic … Seriously, though, I just realized that my last blog post put me offline for awhile, but … I’m back (well, yanno!)

 

Anyway, if you don’t know, Purity 9: Subterfuge is now complete. IKR? Never, ever thought it’d get done; I know … But now it is. It makes me so sad. I’m really going to miss writing about Evan. A lot.

 

Also complete are the Purity edits I promised. It has a bit of a different feel, I think, so do download the new version of it, too. You can get both of those off Ao3. Just select the “Entire Work” button at the top of the chapter you’re on. Purity loads pretty quickly, but don’t be surprised if Subterfuge takes a bit to load in it’s entirety. It’s HUUUUUUGE …. But once it does load, just hit ‘Download’ and select the format you want. I know that the PDF version works for them—that’s what I downloaded. I can’t account for the others, though. But I hope you enjoy anyway.

 

So now, I’m just kind of sitting here, trying to figure out where I go from here. I could work on Purity 10: Anomaly, sure, but… I just don’t know. Let me know if there’s something in particular that you’re looking forward to? Help me out here. I’m feeling kind of lonely, after all!

posted by Sueric at 9:36 pm  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Offline

Just wanted to let you all know that I’ll be offline as of Friday, most likely. Because of the stupid delays in getting Eric’s unemployment card, we don’t have enough to pay the internet bill, so it’s going to be shut off. I will be able to check a few things on my phone, but that’ll expire next week, too, which stinks.

In other weird news, we’ll be moving soon (across town lol) because my mom is worried that this house isn’t safe, so she bought another one for us (we have to pay her back when Eric’s job starts paying and we’ve gotten caught up). I don’t know if they’ll let us hook the electricity up, though, as we’re a month behind on that, too, but the house was cheap (foreclosure; she got it for next to nothing). Then she has to pay for a new furnace, sewer hookup, and a new water heater for it, which is why I can’t ask her to help us. I suspect she might have cashed in a few things to buy the house (it was cheap enough that she has to pay cash for it O.o). If I had the money, I’d knock this house down as it seems like one problem after another. The latest is that the well on this property is going dry, and we just don’t have enough money to dig a new one, either. (It was after a crying convo with Mom about this that she decided we just need to get into a new-to-us house)

Thanks to those who have helped us as well as those who have offered moral support and prayers via email. It means the world to us, truly, and please, please, if you can, please consider purchasing my e-books or even making a donation, if possible. Right now, it makes me angry to have to ask AGAIN because I keep telling myself that I CAN see the light at the end of this particular tunnel, but honestly … We have 178 due for auto insurance, 140 due for electric so we can actually move into the other house–both due before we can even apply for a lost unemployment card–and that’s not counting internet or phones that we can live without if need be. Please, if you can help, it would be appreciated more than you know…

 

 

 




Or log into paypal and click on the Send Money tab. My email is sueric1111@gmail.com

posted by Sueric at 6:13 pm  

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Little Help?

So figured I’d post an update to let everyone know how it’s going. We’re doing all right, all things considered. Eric started a new job, and so far, so good, so when things settle out again, I hope that everything will get back to a more normal state around here.

As some of you know, I started posting stories to a new archive, too, and it’s nice because you can download the stories in full in a few different formats, which is the best and easiest way to download the edited versions of stories I PDF’ed a long time ago as well as some I never have, like Chronicles, Meta, and Torrent. You can also comment there, so that’s pretty huge.

Sueric on Archive Of Our Own

As some of you know, we’re also having a devil of a time in getting Eric’s unemployment card, too. They say we can’t ask for a new one till the other one is lost for 21 days (business days, that is), and at this point, we’re getting pretty desperate, and Eric won’t get paid for another couple weeks (2 week schedule, and he’s ended up mid-way so no check for nearly 3 weeks ugh). We applied for food stamps which is another joke, entirely. Indiana changed the rules so you have to have your prior employer fill out this paper thing that is hard to do when the place closed down, but they don’t want to hear it and just keep telling me they need this form filled out… Frustration is pretty common. We’re down to very little in the way of groceries, (we have some meat that a neighbor gave us lol and some dry goods given by a friend), but are out of basics like milk, etc, not to mention things that we just don’t have money for, like toilet paper (I know; I know …) If anyone can buy my ebooks or help us out in any other way, it’d be so greatly appreciated. We’re down to very little gas, and if I can’t get Eric to and from work, we’re going to have a whole bunch of other problems, not to mention bills coming due that we just don’t have the money for and stuff like that.

Any help at all would be a blessing. I hate to ask again, but I just sort of feel like we’re ALMOST there—almost …

 

 

 




Or log into paypal and click on the Send Money tab. My email is sueric1111@gmail.com

posted by Sueric at 3:57 pm  

Monday, June 2, 2014

P9: 225: One Summer Day

~~Chapter Two Hundred Twenty-Five~~

~One Summer Day~

-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

All my life I’ve prayed for someone like you

And I thank God that I – That I finally found you

All my life I’ve prayed for someone like you

And I hope that you feel the same way, too …

Yes, I pray that you do love me, too …’

-’All My Life‘ by K-ci and JoJo.

-Valerie-

 

 

Pushing aside the antique lace curtain, Valerie surveyed the guests as a brigade of butterflies broke loose in her belly. The men hadn’t yet emerged from the mansion, and most of those in attendance were congregating in small groups on the lawn near the raised flower gardens. They hadn’t quite made it to the area where the ceremony was going to take place, and from her vantage point, she could see the gauzy white tents that were arranged further off to the side near the path that led to the beach where the tables had already been set up to accommodate the guests for the reception. After the ceremony, the chairs would be whisked away so that a dance floor could be put down before the small stage where a pristine white baby grand piano stood. When she had mentioned hiring a pianist to play while she walked down the aisle, Evan had grinned and proceeded to call his brother-in-law, Kichiro to ask him to do the honors.

 

He was the one who had taught Evan to play, so she’d assumed that he was good. What she hadn’t expected when she’d overheard him practicing on the piano in the Zeligs’ living room was the absolute skill with which he played. He was even better than Evan, which, in Valerie’s estimation, was saying a hell of a lot. Evan had said it, too, right after he’d informed her that he’d arranged to have the best pianist in the world play at the ceremony.

 

Valerie sighed softly, shaking her head as she watched Kichiro climb the stairs and onto the platform to warm up. He would play a few different pieces leading up to the wedding, but the one she’d chosen for her journey down the aisle . . . That Evan had already come up with about a thousand off-kilter jokes about the title of it—Bach’s Air on a G String—was not surprising in the least, either . . .

 

“Do you think people would be offended if I postponed the wedding until tomorrow?” Valerie asked, only half-joking as she narrowed her eyes at the picture that Madison took with her cell phone. His hair was cut in the same way that it usually was when he was attempting to hide out in the open, and it wasn’t the hair that bothered her nearly as much as it was the memories of the rather nasty run-ins she’d had with him in the past when he’d looked just like that before that made her feel edgy and even more nervous than she might have been otherwise. He felt like a completely different person, and that particular Evan was just not the one she wanted to meet at the end of her long walk.

 

Madison smoothed her dress and smiled just a little at Valerie’s question. “They might not, but Evan probably would,” she replied.

 

Heaving another sigh, Valerie shot Madison a droll glance. “I can’t believe he did that,” she muttered.

 

“Sit,” Madison commanded as she carefully retrieved the veil. Hooked over the edge of the rice paper changing screen, the wispy antique lace was caught in the breeze filtering through the opened balcony doors. Madison gave it a gentle shake as she waited for Valerie to sit down. “If it makes you feel any better, Gin insisted that I cut Cain and Bas’ hair, too.” She wrinkled her nose while Valerie slipped into the bench before the antique dressing table. “Well, she said ‘bald’, but . . .” Uttering a light giggle as she slowly shook her head, she grabbed a couple of hairpins. “I just could not bring myself to shave the tai-youkai and future tai-youkai . . .”

 

“That just doesn’t really comfort me any,” Valerie remarked dryly.

 

Madison shrugged though her smile widened as she met her friend’s gaze in the mirror. “Maybe not, but Sydnie damn near had a heart attack when she saw Bas.”

 

Valerie made a face. Yes, she supposed that Sydnie probably had, and, knowing her, she probably had a few choice things to say about it, too. “That bad?”

 

Madison grimaced. “Oh, let’s just say that I didn’t know that many curse words existed. I’m pretty sure she invented a few new ones, too.” Settling the veil in place, she sighed. “I’d hate to be him later on. I’m pretty sure she is taking this as a personal slight.”

 

“She’s not mad at Gin, is she?”

 

Madison laughed as she arranged Valerie’s curls around the platinum headband affixed to the yards of lace that matched the subtle underskirt of the gown. “Of course she isn’t. She blames Bas and Cain—exactly how it should be.”

 

“Maybe, but I still have a few choice things to say to Evan,” she promised grimly.

 

Madison laughed. “I’m sure you do.”

 

That earned her a longsuffering glance, but she sighed instead of saying anything else on the matter.

 

“There,” Madison announced after carefully pinning the headband in place. “You look wonderful—drop dead gorgeous.”

 

“Thanks, Maddy,” Valerie said, rising to her feet.

 

Valerie didn’t really look relieved, but she heaved a deep breath and worried at her lower lip as the door opened behind them. The chime of little girls’ laughter seemed to lift the slight foreboding that had fallen over the room, and she smiled, unable to help herself, as the three little girls ran over to her to show off their pretty new dresses.

 

She hadn’t been able to choose one of the girls to do the duty of the flower girl, so Evan had suggested that she ask them all, and Valerie figured that was the best idea he’d had so far, really. Tanny, Kurt and Samantha’s daughter, was the oldest, but Olivia and Takara were only a few months apart in age and pretty darned inseparable, so there was no real way that she could have chosen one of them other the other, anyway. Even at two years old, Olivia and Takara were fast on their way to becoming the best of friends since Takara’s arrival a few months ago when Kagome and InuYasha had arrived to be with Gin while she was pregnant. Now they stood, holding hands as they waited for Valerie’s approval

 

Kneeling down before the girls, Valerie smiled at each of them. So sweet in the barely-pink satin dresses that their collective mothers had chosen, they looked like perfect little angels. “Aren’t you all just beautiful?” she said.

 

“I’m a flower girl!” Olivia exclaimed happily.

 

“Me, too!” Takara added. It was startling, just how well she was latching onto the English language. It seemed like her friendship with Olivia was beneficial to both girls since they seemed to communicate in a strange mixture of Japanese and English as they taught each other as they played together.

 

“I like your dress,” Tanny ventured, reaching out to touch the silk covering Valerie’s knee.

 

“And yours is just gorgeous, too,” Valerie insisted, tucking a flyaway strand of the blackest hair behind the child’s ear. The younger girls’ dresses matched exactly, but Tanny’s was just slightly different since she was older, though the satin and lace were perfectly matched. “Do you like your dress?”

 

Tanny nodded, then laughed when Madison handed each girl a small roll of candy. Evan had told her before that Tanny’s infatuation with all things sweet was far worse when she’d first come into the family, but she hadn’t gotten over it completely. Valerie figured that it was a good thing that Tanny’s metabolism was apparently high enough to burn through the massive amounts of sugar.

 

“Okay, girls! Let’s go on downstairs to wait,” Samantha said, clapping her hands to gain the girls’ attention.

 

Three little girls tried to hug Valerie at once, and that resulted in a very loud gale of laughter, and, with a swirl of satin and lace, the sounds of the pale pink Mary Janes clicking on the floor, and they were gone. “You look wonderful,” Samantha said over her shoulder with a bright smile. Then she closed the door behind them as silence fell over the room once more.

 

A soft knock on the door drew both of their attention, and she smiled when her mother, with Kaci Lea in tow, slipped into the room. Rhonda stopped short as she stared at Valerie, a sheen of moisture surfacing in her eyes. “Oh, I can’t believe . . .” she said, trailing off with a loud sniffle. “You’re so beautiful.”

 

Kaci Lea gave her the critical once over, and she finally shot her a reluctant little grin, too. Maybe it wasn’t the most open expression, but it was genuine, and Valerie smiled back.

 

Rhonda crossed the floor and helped Madison bring the veil up and over Valerie’s face. It fell to her waist.

 

Staring at her reflection in the mirror, Valerie swallowed hard as another wave of butterflies broke free in the depths of her belly. The fitted dress accentuated her figure well, skin tight to the hips where the skirt gently started to flare, wider and wider until it flowed around her ankles. The silk stopped just a few inches above the underskirt of chiffon and vintage lace, trailing out behind her a couple of feet in a whisper. The sleeveless gown was free of embellishment except for the silver thread line of embroidery that ran around the top and again around the bottom hem: a delicate line of gently scrolling vines. All in all, she had to admit that she loved the dress, even if she had teasingly dubbed it the Sausage Casing from Hell.

 

“Oh!” Kaci Lea exclaimed softly, snatching the garter belt off the table. “You forgot this!”

 

Madison took it from the girl and pulled it open as she gestured at Valerie’s skirt. “Oh, no, can’t forget that,” she remarked with a grin as she knelt down so that Valerie could step into it.

 

Hiking up the skirts so she could lift her foot, Valerie laughed as Madison tugged it over her shoe and carefully slipped it up over the sheer stocking. Valerie took over and tugged it into place before letting the fabric drop once more as she shot Madison a nervous little glance as the sound of the piano far below wafted through the window. He changed songs, and it was the last one before he began Air on a G String. “How do I look?”

 

Madison said nothing as she broke into a gentle smile and simply nodded.

 

Rhonda smiled and carefully gave Valerie a hug as she tried not to wrinkle her. “Sounds like it’s time,” she said as she grasped the bouquet out of the opened floral box on the dressing table. Perfect white peonies arranged with cascades of soft white tea roses, sprays of fern, blushing tendrils of wisteria . . . The scent of the flowers was absolutely intoxicating, and Valerie took it with slightly trembling hands.

 

Sparing one last glance in the mirror, Valerie then followed the women from the room.

 

The mansion was oddly silent, a strangely empty feel radiating through the very walls, leaving behind a pensive quiet that was curiously comforting, like the calm before a storm. It served to settle Valerie’s nerves. Ahead of her, the women were chattering, laughing quietly. Valerie smiled when they glanced back at her, but she didn’t really hear what they were saying. It felt so normal, didn’t it? Her rational brain whispered to her that everything in her life was about to change, yet a part of her knew deep down that the things that were important to her were going to remain the same.

 

She stopped short as she stepped off the staircase, blinking in surprise as her mouth fell open, as she got a good look at Bas. Hair cut short in much the same way as Evan’s, bangs trimmed just short of falling into his eyes, he looked neat enough, Valerie supposed, despite the obvious irritation in his expression. It just looked weird, really. She had grown way too used to seeing all of Evan’s family members with that flowing hair.

 

“Okay, come on,” Sydnie prompted, sparing a moment to straighten Olivia and Takara’s pale pink satin skirts before she handed each a little white basket heaping over with white and pink rice paper confetti that would dissolve instantly the next time it rained. Then she slipped Tanny’s basket into her hands and handed the five year-old girl an unwrapped candy. “Make sure they stay on the runner, Tanny,” Sydnie murmured, nodding at the two two-year-old girls. Tanny nodded solemnly.   Bailey shot his mother a longsuffering kind of look as he tugged on the bowtie around his neck before trudging off toward the steps that led down to the yard. She gave the girls a little shove, and they followed along just behind and flanking Bailey, who looked like he’d rather drop the ring bearer pillow and run than to walk down the aisle with his sister, cousin, and aunt. Sydnie spared a moment to pin Bas with a very dry glance before moving off after the children to take her place with the other guests.

 

Bas snorted indelicately, and Madison refused to look him in the eye while both Kurt and Gavin tried valiantly to look everywhere but directly at Bas, too, and both with varying degrees of success. Gavin finally turned, thus forcing his gaze away, but Kurt gave up the pretense of trying not to look as he stared at Bas rather blatantly, very curiously. “Remind me not to piss off Gin,” he muttered, slowly shaking his head despite the trace grin on his face.

 

Bas didn’t comment, but he did heave a sigh before shooting Kurt a very dark look as he bent his arm, offering his elbow to Madison. “Feel free to kill Evan on your honeymoon,” Bas muttered to Valerie. She bit her lip and tried not to smile as Madison drew a deep breath and hesitantly slipped her hand under his forearm. The two of them stepped out of the opened doors and down the steps toward the long white runner.

 

“Well, damn.”

 

Glancing up into her father’s face, Valerie’s smile widened. “Are you all right, Daddy?”

 

He wrinkled his nose at her show of concern. “Mind your own business, little girl. I wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

 

“Good luck,” Kaci Lea whispered quickly before stepping out the door on Kurt’s arm.

 

“You look beautiful,” Rhonda said, brushing a chaste kiss in the air near Valerie’s cheek. She paused long enough to cast Valerie one last, long look before sniffling softly and stepping away to take Gavin’s arm.   Gavin shot her a decidedly nervous little smile before the pair followed Kaci Lea and Kurt through the doorway. Maybe it wasn’t traditional to have her mother be one of her bridesmaids, but Valerie wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

“You ready?” Jack asked, his voice suddenly rasping, harsh. She glanced at him quickly, afraid that he really was overdoing it, but she gasped softly at the sheen of tears that brightened his gaze as he stubbornly stared straight ahead, cheeks taking on a decidedly ruddy hue.

 

“Daddy . . .” she breathed, eyes stinging as tears blurred her vision, as she reached up to press her hand to his cheek.

 

“Never thought . . . Never thought you’d ever want me to do this for you,” he admitted, clearing his throat, still refusing to meet her gaze.

 

Her smile trembled precariously as she blinked to dispel the moisture gathered in her eyes. “Of course I would,” she said softly. “I love you.”

 

He coughed, gaze dropping, and he quickly turned, pulled her against his chest, wrapping his arms around her in a tight hug, unmindful for the moment, whether he was wrinkling her dress or not. “I . . . I love you, too, little girl,” he rasped out, tightening his grip for a moment.

 

She hugged him back, unwilling to let go, wishing that minute could last for a lifetime, and maybe it did. Reaching back into the lonely place, into those memories of a childhood that was spent in solitude, and suddenly, it didn’t matter at all. She could feel it, couldn’t she? All those things that her father might not ever have been able to say, all those things that culminated in the somber sense of regret that was so palpable to her that it might as well have been a tactile thing . . . Closing her eyes, she willed him to know, to understand, that it was all okay. He might well be her daddy, but she didn’t expect him to be perfect, and what did it matter, in the end? And maybe . . .

 

Maybe all those things had led her to Evan, and that, in her estimation, was absolutely worth it.

 

“It’s time,” Jack whispered, giving Valerie a last little squeeze before reluctantly letting his arms fall away moments before offering her his elbow. He cleared his throat and sniffled loudly. “You, uh . . . You ready? I mean, it’s not too late to run away.”

 

She smiled, her laughter slightly ragged, as she gazed up at her father. He was teasing, and she knew it, and she shook her head. “I thought you like Evan,” she reminded him.

 

He shrugged. “It doesn’t matter if I like him or not,” he reasoned. “You’re the one marrying him—though I think you made a damn fine choice.” He shrugged as she slipped her hand under his elbow. Covering her hand with his, he started forward, leading Valerie toward the doors as the first notes of ‘Air on a G String‘ drifted to them. “Better than that damned Murwad, anyway.”

 

Stopping abruptly for just a moment, Valerie shot her father a suspect glance. “How do you know about—? Never mind. Evan told you, didn’t he?”

 

Jack neither confirmed nor denied Valerie’s question, and she heaved a sigh and then giggled softly. “He is a very nice man,” she maintained stubbornly, leaning toward Jack and dropping her voice to a whisper as they stepped off the porch stairs and onto the white runner. “I have very little doubt that whatever Evan’s told you is completely untrue.”

 

He chuckled then sighed. “Can’t believe you’re getting married,” he murmured.

 

Smiling as she met Evan’s gaze over the heads of the assembled guests, Valerie bit her lip. He seemed nervous—she could feel it. Bas leaned toward him and said something, and he shot his brother a droll glance before shifting his gaze back to meet hers once more.

 

“Aww,” Jack drawled, stopping just long enough for Valerie turn to face him. “Would you look at that? That boy actually seems kind of nervous.”

 

She laughed softly. “Daddy . . .”

 

Jack snorted quietly. “Tell me you ain’t above making him sweat it or was your mama lying about you being upset with him for hacking all his hair off?”

 

“Oh, well, when you put it that way,” Valerie mused. Then she laughed when her father resumed his slow gait once more.

 

Then Jack sighed. “He’s the one, huh?”

 

Glancing up into Jack’s face, she nodded. “He is.”

 

“All right,” he allowed at length. Less than ten steps separated Valerie from Evan, but even at that distance, she could feel the nerves that were rattling off Evan in waves of energy.

 

She’d seen him moments before taking the stage in front of hundreds—thousands—of fans, and she’d felt his energy at times like that, but it was always wrapped up in more excitement than anything. This was something else entirely. Nervous? Rather novel, wasn’t it . . .?

 

As she reached his side, Evan turned to take her hand from Jack, but he stopped the groom when he covered Valerie’s hand in one of his again, and when Jack’s gaze shifted to meet Evan’s, he was entirely serious. “I’ve made her cry enough to last a lifetime,” he said quietly, just loud enough for Evan to hear. “You make her laugh, son, got it?”

 

Evan blinked and nodded, his eyes suspiciously bright as he stared Jack in the eye. “Yes, sir,” he replied just as solemnly.

 

Jack eyed him for another long moment, then finally broke into the smallest of smiles. “I’ll hold you to that,” he promised, taking Valerie’s hand, gently placing it in Evan’s.

 

“So will I,” Evan vowed as his gaze finally shifted to meet Valerie’s. “So will I.”

 

 

<<< 224: Thwarted

~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~*~=~

A/N:

Just a reminder: Purity 11 and 12 preliminary chapters are available to read in the Spoiler Room forum on the forum (Kind of redundant, isn’t it?

Also, I am trying out a new fanfiction archive since Mediaminer seems to be dying a slow and very painful death. I’m trying to catch up in uploading the Purity continuations there (currently working on uploading Justification there). Chronicles and Metamorphosis are already available there, AND you can load the whole story to download in your choice of formats, too, which is really nice. So please do feel free to check it out!

http://archiveofourown.org/users/Sueric

All My Lifeby K-ci and JoJo originally appeared on the 1997 release, Love Always. Copyrighted to Joel Hailey and Rory Bennett.

== == == == == == == == == ==

Reviewers

==========

Forums

jrharry ——— OROsan0677 ——— cutechick18 ——— mariea ——— sutlesarcasm ——— diyuu24 ——— krislee ——— friskypixie ——— lianned88

==========

Final Thought from Evan:

Let’s get this show on the road!

==========

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~

posted by Sueric at 5:15 pm  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

P10: 003: The Favor

~~Chapter 3~~

~The Favor~

 

 

“Please, please, please, please, please, please, please—”

 

Mikio rolled his eyes and tried not to smile as his niece, Jillian Jamison clasped her hands and held them up in front of her chest. “I don’t know . . . Doesn’t his firm have a corporate attorney?”

 

Jillian wrinkled her nose and glanced at the milling crowd enjoying the wedding reception. “Sure they do, but he’s entirely lazy. Spends too much time getting paid for doing nothing, and now that they actually need him, he’s proving to be completely useless. I’m starting to wonder if he went to law school at all, really . . .” She sighed, pale blue eyes widening as her lips turned down in a pretty moue. “Gavin needs you, Mikio . . . You can’t let him get in trouble for something he didn’t do!”

 

Smiling wanly as Jillian rested her hand on his forearm, he shook his head. “Well, I’d have to ask Toga-oji-san if he minds if I took a leave of absence.”

 

Jillian finally relaxed, eyes sparkling as the million-dollar smile broke over her features. “You have no idea how much this means to me!” she gushed, throwing her arms around Mikio’s neck in her exuberance.

 

“Let me make sure it’s all right before you arrange that parade in my honor,” he warned.

 

“It’ll be fine,” she assured him, waving off his concern with a flutter of her hand. “Uncle Toga loves Gavvie! Everyone loves him; you know that!”

 

Mikio rolled his eyes, but grinned.   He doubted that Toga would have a problem with it, either, but he didn’t like to make promises before he checked into the possibilities. Maybe it was the lawyer ingrained in him. “Let me go talk to him,” he told her again.

 

Jillian pressed an extremely loud kiss on his cheek and grinned. “You can stay with us, if you want. We’ve got room to spare.”

 

“Actually,” Mikio said with a scowl, “if I stay to represent Jamison-san, then it’s probably a good idea if I don’t stay with you. Conflict of interest, you know. Anyway, I’m sure I can find a place of my own. Don’t worry about me.”

 

“You have no idea how happy you’ve made me,” Jillian went on with a giggle. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you . . . You get a thousand hero points for this!”

 

“You’re still keeping score?” he asked since she’d been keeping hero point score for years.

 

She nodded. “Of course I am, and right now, you’re absolutely my biggest hero—my Gavvie notwithstanding, naturally.”

 

He chuckled, stuffing his hands into his pockets as Jillian hurried away to find ‘her Gavvie’. Gazing over the assembled guests, Mikio shook his head. Evan hadn’t invited many of his rock star buddies since few of them knew who he really was, let alone what he really was, but he had invited a few: namely the head of his security team—a hulking buffalo-youkai with the unfortunate nickname of ‘Bone’—his manager, Michael Murphy along with his mate and daughter, and Bugs, a very flamboyant and very gay rabbit-youkai who had spent the better part of the reception literally sobbing over the idea that Zel Roka, a.k.a. Evan Zelig, was officially off the market. There were a couple others, milling in the crowd, but Mikio hadn’t been properly introduced to them, and, to be honest, he wasn’t entirely sure who they were.

 

It wouldn’t have been so conspicuous, Mikio figured, if Bone weren’t wearing a ragged t-shirt from Evan’s last tour that proclaimed, “I did V with Zel Roka” on the back along with skin-tight leather pants. Mike, at least, was dressed decently, but Bugs had opted to wear all black to ‘celebrate’ the occasion. Mikio winced. Bugs’ eyeliner and mascara were smudged all over his eyes, and the streaks on his cheeks were quite noticeable, and that the waif-like Bugs was currently standing right next to Sesshoumaru Inutaisho, the current Inu no Taisho? Mikio coughed and quickly hid his amusement as his uncle’s golden gaze lit on him. Nope, the irony in that was just not something that was lost on Mikio at all . . .

 

Looking away before he laughed outright at the decidedly irritated look on Sesshoumaru’s face, Mikio frowned when he spotted his great-nephew sitting alone under a tree nearby.

 

Mikio wandered over, tugging on his slacks as he knelt before the three year-old child. The boy tugged on the tie he had obviously been forced to wear. “Something wrong, Bailey?”

 

“Mama said weddings are fun,” he grumbled, nose wrinkling in obvious distaste.

 

“Sydnie-san said that?”

 

He nodded, his dejection growing by leaps and bounds in an instant. “And they’re not. They’re boring, and Daddy won’t let me climb my tree.”

 

Mikio grinned, still amused at the idea of Bas being a father. “No, I don’t suppose he would.”

 

“Then he took away the bokuto Jii-chan gave me,” Bailey grumbled.

 

“Your father did?”

 

Bailey’s frown darkened, and Mikio blinked in surprise. Sometimes it amazed him, just how much Bailey looked like his father. Maybe it was the scowl . . . “He said I would hit people. I don’t hit people, honest! Not even Livvy, even when I wanna!”

 

“I don’t imagine you would,” Mikio agreed. He sighed and slowly stood up. “Come on, Bailey.”

 

“Can you get my bokuto back from Daddy?” he asked hopefully, scrambling to his feet as his eyes grew wide.

 

“No . . . just thought maybe you’d like some cake—that is, if Cain-onii-san will let anyone touch it.”

 

There actually was a chance he would. Gin had enlisted the help of all the women other than the bride-to-be and Madison, since she was busy helping Valerie with last minute things, and Nezumi, who couldn’t cook a single thing unless it came in a box and was stuck straight into the microwave oven, but Ryomaru had stepped in to help in her place, and together they had baked the groom’s cake. Rumor had it that Cain had helped Gin decorate it, and Mikio had to admit that he wouldn’t have known the cake was homemade if he hadn’t been shooed out of the kitchen when he’d gone in there to get a bottle of water while the assembled cooks were working.

 

Bailey sighed, too, but slipped his hand into Mikio’s, following him through the crowd as they made their way to the refreshment table. Kagome hurried over and took the cake plates from Mikio with a bright smile. “Let me carry those for you,” she said.

 

Mikio clenched his jaw, but didn’t argue as Kagome led the way to a nearby table. “Do you want something to drink, Bailey?”

 

Bailey nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”

 

Her eyes rose to meet Mikio’s. “No, thank you,” he replied, brushing aside the rising irritation that never seemed too far away lately, especially when Kagome started mothering him in such a way.

 

Kagome nodded and tweaked Bailey’s nose before hurrying away to get the boy something to drink. “Where do babies come from?” Bailey suddenly asked, turning his questioning gaze on Mikio, who, unfortunately, had just taken a bite of cake.

 

Sucking in his breath and choking on a few crumbs, Mikio coughed harshly and swallowed. “B-B-Babies?”

 

Bailey nodded. “Daddy says Mama wants anudder baby ’cause I’m a big boy and ’cause Olivia is stinky.”

 

“Sh-Shouldn’t you . . . ask your . . . daddy?” Mikio wheezed out, clearing his throat and struggling to breathe between rounds of coughing.

 

He shook his head. “Daddy says that babies come from Mama, but that don’t make sense.”

 

“Why’s that?”

 

Bailey shot him a condescending glance. “‘Cause Mama’s a girl!

 

“That’s true,” he agreed slowly, trying to think of a way to distract the child. “But she’s your mama, and you’re a boy . . .”

 

“Daddy makes the boys, and Mama makes the girls.”

 

“Who told you that?”

 

Bailey shrugged as though it were the simplest thing in the world. “I figured it out myself!” he announced proudly. “I came from Daddy, and Olivia came from Mama—I remember.”

 

Mikio cleared his throat and gratefully accepted the bottle of water Kagome offered him. She poked a straw into the apple juice pouch she’d brought for Bailey and handed it over. “Are you all right, Mikio?” she asked when he coughed once more.

 

“Just fine,” he assured her, pushing the plate away lest Bailey should spout any more of his little pearls of wisdom.

 

“And Grandpa Cain says the world will end if Uncle Evan makes babies ’cause they’ll wear his jeans,” Bailey went on.

 

Kagome coughed, too, and hid a smile behind her hand. “Oh?”

 

Bailey nodded. “He says Uncle Evan and Aunt Valerie should . . .” he trailed off, face scrunching up as he concentrated on the word he wanted, “. . . adapt.”

 

“Adapt?” Kagome echoed with a frown.

 

Adopt,” Mikio supplied, a smile twitching the corners of his lips.

 

“I see . . .” Kagome murmured, a small smile surfacing as she stared at Mikio for a moment. “Come on, Bailey. Let’s go see what Jii-chan is doing, shall we?”

 

Bailey stuffed the last of his cake into his mouth and hopped off the chair, grabbing Kagome’s hand and literally dragging her away. Mikio watched them go, unable to repress the relieved sigh that slipped from him.

 

Maybe staying in the States for awhile would be a good thing for him. The time away from his parents’ scrutiny couldn’t be all bad, could it? True enough, InuYasha never gave him grief, but his brand of concern was just as stifling as Kagome’s, even if it was in an entirely different kind of way. Where Kagome would hover over him all the time, Mikio couldn’t help but feel that InuYasha was somehow disappointed in him; as though he thought that Mikio’s shortcomings were his fault. Morio told him regularly that he was imagining things. InuYasha had never been disappointed in Mikio, and while he couldn’t say that InuYasha had ever really acted as though he were, Mikio also knew how much stock his father put into physical strength and the ability to fight to protect those he loved. Because of his balance problems, Mikio had never, ever been taught to fight. The closest thing to actual training he’d had was learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, courtesy of his mother, because he could do that while standing still, and later, he’d learned how to shoot guns at his father’s insistence.

 

There ain’t anyone alive—man or youkai—who can outrun a bullet,” InuYasha informed him when he’d set the metal case containing a small pistol on the table in front of Mikio.

 

Mikio blinked, leaning back in his chair as he stared. InuYasha unlocked the box and carefully pushed the lid back. Mikio shook his head. “Papa . . .”

 

You’ll learn how to fire that,” InuYasha insisted.

 

Mikio sighed. “I thought you said that guns were dishonorable.”

 

Keh! Dishonorable would be if I let you grow up without having some way of defending yourself.”

 

Mikio had wanted to argue with InuYasha, but the stubborn set of his father’s jaw dissuaded him. “A-A-All right,” he agreed reluctantly. “I will.”

 

And he did. The head of Inutaisho Industries’ security team had trained him, and while Mikio might not be a gunslinger, he was quite accurate. Though his mentor, Yasuaki-sensei was youkai, Mikio had never been able to shake off the feeling that he wasn’t quite as good as his brothers or even Gin, really. They’d all been trained to fight, and despite his father’s insistence that it was just a means to an end, he found the training to be quite embarrassing. He’d heard it said more than once—never by his family once he had started his training: there was no honor in shooting someone, no matter what the provocation. Add to that the weight of being the son of the hanyou of legend, and, well, Mikio couldn’t help but feel as though he were a huge disappointment. He’d tried not to let it bother him, and strangely, he wasn’t teased by his nephews or Gunnar for it.

 

“Penny for your thoughts?”

 

Mikio sat up straight and glanced around slowly, stumbling to his feet when he finally saw Madison standing behind him. She smiled, brushing off the ankle-length skirt of the pale lilac dress. “C-Cartham-san . . . Hello.”

 

She waved off his greeting with a flick of her wrist. “Just Madison or Maddy’s fine,” she assured him. “What should I call you?”

 

For some reason, her question triggered a blush. “Oh, uh . . . M-Mikio’s fine—Just Mikio . . .”

 

She seemed pleased by his answer, and her smile brightened a few more degrees, putting it on par with the afternoon sunshine in Mikio’s estimation . . . “You looked like you were thinking about something pretty serious,” she commented. “Is something wrong?”

 

“Nope,” he replied, brushing away the memory as he offered her a shy little grin. “Just . . . having some cake. Do you want some? I could get it for you . . .”

 

“No, thank you,” she said with a small smile.

 

“You’re sure? Don’t you like cake? I . . . I like cake . . . or, uh, maybe I could get you something to drink? I’m drinking water . . .”

 

Goo-o-ood . . . I sound like a damned baka . . . stupid, stupid, stupid!’

 

She shook her head and slipped into the chair Bailey had vacated. “That’s all right,” she replied. “I thought I’d make the rounds, you know?”

 

“The rounds?”

 

She wrinkled her nose, violet eyes glowing in the light reflecting off the white satin tablecloth. “Well, since Valerie hasn’t left Evan’s side since the wedding, someone has to greet the guests, don’t you think?”

 

Mikio shook his head. “But—”

 

Her laughter was soft, gentle, and he blinked at the surge of warmth that shot through him. “I’m teasing,” she told him, her gaze flittering away as she spotted the couple in question. “They look happy, all things considered.”

 

“Oh?”

 

Madison waved a hand. “Valerie wasn’t very happy when Evan decided to lop off his hair before the wedding.”

 

Mikio nodded, scowling thoughtfully as he glanced from the couple to another pair close by. Bas and Cain stood off to the side, both looking somewhat disgruntled. Closely resembling freshly shorn sheep, Mikio didn’t have to be brilliant to know that the obvious irritation was very likely due to the fact that neither man had chosen to have his hair cut off before the wedding, either. “Evan’s always liked to be different,” Mikio mused quietly, “but why did Cain and Bas cut their hair?”

 

Madison giggled. “Apparently Gin found out about their conversation with Valerie, and she decided that if Evan was going to cut his hair for the wedding, they could, too: a show of solidarity or something . . .”

 

Mikio grimaced. He’d heard about ‘The Talk’ earlier. Cain and Bas had sat Valerie down and told her about many of Evan’s more colorful escapades to warn her about what she was getting into in agreeing to marry Evan. Evan hadn’t reacted well to the idea that his father and brother —all the men in the family, actually—were trying to meddle, but Mikio had to wonder if the entire affair hadn’t been a more calculated effort to relive some of Evan’s more interesting moments without having to admit out loud that they were amused and even a little proud of Evan’s outrageous antics. “Well, I’d heard about that,” he admitted. He hadn’t sat in on the impromptu-conference, though. No, he’d spent his time, lying in bed and blinking into the darkness, trying to put the image of Madison, bathed in moonlight, out of his mind . . .

 

Madison’s lips twitched, and Mikio could tell she was trying not to laugh outright. “Gin’s word was ‘bald’, but I just couldn’t bring myself to shave the tai-youkai’s head . . .”

 

“It just looks . . . strange,” Mikio allowed.

 

“Hmm, yes . . . and vastly disturbing.”

 

“It’ll grow back.”

 

“That’s true, but before the wedding, Valerie insisted that she didn’t want any pictures of Evan without his hair.”

 

Mikio grinned. “No wedding pictures?”

 

“He does look really, really different, doesn’t he? Almost . . . respectable.”

 

Mikio chuckled. “Almost.”

 

Madison laughed, too. “Can you dance?”

 

Mikio’s amusement died away, and he cleared his throat, fighting down the urge to blush. “Dance? Me? I, uh . . . no . . .”

 

“Oh . . .” she said then gave a quick shrug. “It’s a slow song, though, really not much more than swaying.”

 

“I don’t want to . . . crush your toes or anything.”

 

She smiled. “That’s okay.”

 

“Sorry.”

 

“Don’t be.”

 

Stifling the urge to sigh, Mikio scowled at the table and slowly shook his head.

 

Wonderful, Mikio . . . You’re losing points, you know . . . You’re about to end up in the red if you’re not careful, and then where will we be?

 

Better than tripping all over my own feet,’ he thought with a grimace, ‘or falling flat on my face . . .’

 

Kami, she’s beautiful,’ his youkai pointed out with a dreamy little sigh.

 

Yeah, she is,’ he agreed unhappily. ‘Gorgeous, actually . . . and way out of my league.’

 

She doesn’t seem to think you are, or haven’t you noticed that yet?

 

She hasn’t seen me lose my balance or anything stupid,’ he shot back, ‘and I’d rather that she doesn’t, either.’

 

“Hey, Maddy. Come dance with the Bone.”

 

Maddy giggled as she peered up into the leader of Evan’s security team’s smiling face. “What’s that? Slumming, are you?”

 

Bone snorted, rubbing his bald head and shifting his weight from one leg to the other in a lazy, yet calculated stance—one that Mikio couldn’t even hope to accomplish. “Hardly. You’re the classiest chick I’ve tried to pick up today.”

 

“Meaning you haven’t tried to pick up anyone else, right?”

 

Bone chuckled. “Something like that. How about it? Want to dance with the ol’ Bone?”

 

She started to stand up.   Mikio stood up, too. Reacting on impulse, the only cognizant thought in his head was that he didn’t want to see Madison dancing with anyone else, especially someone nicknamed for a state of constant sexual arousal . . . “I-I was going to dance with her,” he blurted.

 

Bone blinked and stepped back, holding up his hands in a good-natured show of deference. “No worries, man. I didn’t realize you’d already asked her.”

 

Madison didn’t gainsay Mikio. He avoided her gaze as he slipped his hand under her elbow and led the way to the center of the lawn that had been fitted with a portable wooden platform for the wedding reception. She stepped into his arms, one hand resting on his shoulder as he grasped her free hand, mimicking the stance he’d seen in movies before. Madison smiled up at him, and he could feel heat infusing his cheeks. “So you do dance,” she murmured quietly.

 

“Not really,” he admitted.

 

“You’re doing well enough,” she said.

 

He grimaced. “I doubt it, but thank you.”

 

She sighed contentedly and shot him a little smile.

 

He stiffened as she moved in closer. If she noticed, she didn’t react. Relaxing just the tiniest bit, he grinned self-consciously and inhaled the lightly floral scent of Madison’s shampoo. The baser scent of her was a little spicier, reminding Mikio of the little custom tea shop that he frequented back home in Tokyo. The array of exotic blends always lent a certain sense of mystery, at least in his mind. ‘Cinnamon and cloves . . . and a hint of something a little wilder . . .’

 

“Are those two as happy as they always seem to be?”

 

Snapping out of his reverie, Mikio blinked and slowly followed the direction of Madison’s gaze. Staring at his nephew, Morio and his mate Meara, Madison’s smile turned a little wistful as Morio held Meara close and leaned down to whisper something in her ear. Meara blushed prettily but smiled at her mate, and the affection in Morio’s expression was apparent to anyone who was looking.

 

“I think so,” Mikio mumbled. “As far as I know, they’ve never even had an argument.”

 

She shot him an amused glance. “The perfect couple?”

 

“Something like that.”

 

“Didn’t you guys grow up together?”

 

“For the most part. Morio and I were a little closer, I guess, but yeah . . .”

 

“Sort of like Bas and Gunnar, you mean?”

 

Mikio shrugged. “I suppose.”

 

“And Evan? Were you close to him?”

 

“Sort of.” He grinned. “Evan used to run off and hide at Kichiro-nii-san’s house instead of training whenever he came to Japan . . . Nii-san taught him how to play the piano. I mean, he learned what he needed to learn from my father, but he never was a fighter like Bas always was.”

 

Madison laughed. “And you? You’re not a fighter, are you?”

 

Mikio’s smile faded, and he sighed. “Not really, no . . .”

 

“Mikio?”

 

“Y-Yes?”

 

“I think that’s okay.”

 

He swallowed hard as Madison rested her temple against his shoulder. “Y-You . . . do?”

 

“Yes, I do.”

 

 

<<< 002: Charity Case

 

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A/N:

Bokuto: Wooden practice sword. Go figure… lol.

== == == == == == == == == ==

Final Thought from Madison:

Not a fighter, huh?

==========

Blanket disclaimer for this fanfic (will apply to this and all other chapters in Anomaly): 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~

posted by Sueric at 1:31 pm  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

P9: 224: Thwarted

~~Chapter Two Hundred Twenty-Four~~

~Thwarted~

-OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO-

Honey, you’re my lucky day

Baby, you’re my lucky day

Well, I lost all the other bets I made

Honey, you’re my lucky day…’

-’My Lucky Day’ by Bruce Springsteen.

-Evan-

 

 

Evan stalked around the room with a scowl on his face as Valerie’s words ran through his head for the thousandth time since he’d been so unceremoniously dragged away from her a little while ago.

 

Besides, I know you’re a very sensitive, very sweet man deep down, even if your family tried their hardest to convince me otherwise last night.”

 

‘What the hell?‘ he fumed, stomping over to the window and shoving it wide open. Not even the sudden soft breeze was enough to dispel the irritation that clung to him in thick waves. Just what the hell were they trying to do? Sabotage his wedding as some kind of warped repayment for his negative behavior over the years? And why the hell didn’t it really surprise him, either . . .?

 

No, maybe he ought to have realized that they’d do something like this. After he’d talked to Cain, after he had made peace with the things he hadn’t understood, he’d thought that maybe . . . but no, he was wrong. What other reason would they possibly have for doing such a thing, and to make it even worse, Bas had admitted that it wasn’t just him and Cain, oh no. All of them—all of them—had been in on it, too? His so-called family—the ones who were supposed to love him, no matter what, and in the end . . .

 

And, of course, Bas just hadn’t gotten it, had he? Nope, Bas had just laughed like it was all just one big fucking joke. Didn’t realize or just didn’t care how irritated Evan truly was over the entire thing. It was clear to Evan, what they were trying to do. They were trying to convince Valerie that she really didn’t want to marry Evan, weren’t they?

 

All right, so he’d be the first to admit that maybe he’d gotten into a hell of a lot more than his fair share of trouble over the years, and yeah, he’d allow that he was much farther from being a saint than anyone. Still . . .

 

Here he was, hours from his own wedding—a wedding he hadn’t truly believed would really happen until he’d gotten up this morning—and all he could think about was his own family was trying to sabotage it all. Bad enough that he’d been too worried to credit as he’d watched from an upstairs window as Valerie had approached that damned Murvis. He’d secretly hoped that the little prick would have enough grace not to accept the wedding invitation Evan had sent, but no, of course not, and while common sense had told Evan that there was just no way that Valerie would change her mind and run right back to the little douche bag, common sense held very little sway in his mind, today of all days.

 

And he knew that was stupid, that Valerie had obviously made her choice. Still, somewhere in the back of his mind, Evan couldn’t help but worry, and maybe that was natural, too. After all, she had almost married him, hadn’t she? It occurred to him in a rather vague kind of way that his insecurity about Valerie’s ex was entirely ridiculous, all things considered. Too bad he wasn’t sure he could help it, either.

 

The last thing he’d wanted to do was to send that peckerhead an invitation to their wedding, and yet, he knew, didn’t he, because he knew Valerie, that there was still a small part of her that had hated the way things had played out. Because she was a decent person, because she really did care for Merriwinkle, as much as Evan despised that, he hadn’t had a choice, not really. He’d done it for her, and all the while, he had prayed that the scientist would just have the decency not to come.

 

So maybe it was his already turbulent emotions that were spiraling out of control, but the more he considered the idea that his family had reveled in laying out Evan’s entire life of bad choices, the angrier he grew, and the angrier he grew, the more he considered it all—a vicious circle, maybe, but one that he was helpless to circumvent.

 

“Nervous?”

 

Evan swung around as Madison let herself into the room. Smiling gently as she wandered toward him, she was the epitome of calm, and, while Evan could usually draw off that sense of tranquility, at the moment, he simply could not. “Hardly,” he grumbled, pivoting to glare out the window once more. “Damn . . .”

 

“What’s the matter?” she asked, crossing the floor in a whisper of movement. She hadn’t changed into her maid of honor dress, but that wasn’t entirely surprising. She was probably in between tasks of arranging the women’s hair for the big event to come.

 

“Dunno what you mean,” he muttered.

 

He didn’t have to see her face to know that she’d probably just rolled her eyes. “I mean, you don’t seem like a guy who’s about to marry the woman of his wet dreams. So, what’s up?”

 

Evan snorted indelicately. “Were you in on it, too?”

 

“In on what?”

 

Flicking a hand in a blatantly dismissive gesture, Evan didn’t entirely trust himself to give voice to his grievance.

 

Madison sighed and stepped up beside him, and he could feel her questioning gaze, even if he didn’t bother to look directly at her. “I don’t think I was in on anything in particular,” Madison said, carefully measuring her words. “What happened?”

 

Evan grunted, gave a curt shrug. “Guess the powers-that-be decided to sit V down and tell her every bad thing I’ve ever done,” he replied. “Trying to talk her out of marrying me or something.”

 

Snapping her mouth closed, Madison slowly shook her head. “No . . . That can’t be. What in the world would be the point in that? Don’t you think—?”

 

“No, actually, that’s exactly what I do think,” he cut in quietly, his words no less stinging because of the soft timbre of his tone. “Damn it! How fucking low is that, anyway?” he fumed, breaking into a prowling gait as he stomped away, only to return again. “I guess I should have known, right? Always the screw-up, no matter what, right? Bullshit!

 

“Oh, Evan, I’m sure that’s not what they were trying to do,” Madison insisted gently. “Don’t let this ruin your big day, okay? You and Valerie are meant to be, and nothing anyone ever says is going to change that.”

 

Evan snorted again.

 

Madison sighed. “You’re listening to me, aren’t you? Because I make it a point never to sound like a Hallmark channel movie of the week if I can possibly help it.”

 

“Oh, Madison! There you are!” Kagome interrupted as she leaned in around the door. “Sorry to interrupt, but Kaci Lea’s ready for her hair.”

 

Madison nodded, but cast Evan a questioning look before moving. “Are you going to be all right?”

 

Forcing a smile that he was far from feeling, Evan shrugged noncommittally. “Yep. Better go. Sounds like they need you.”

 

She didn’t look convinced, but she shot him a little smile and hurriedly kissed his cheek. “I’ll be back to check on you, but don’t you think you should start getting ready, too?”

 

“Get on out of here,” he replied, jerking his head toward the door. Madison heaved a sigh, but she finally left, pausing just outside the door, she shot Evan an encouraging smile before hurrying away.

 

“How are you holding up?” Kagome asked, quietly closing the door behind her.

 

“Me? You kidding? I play sold out stadiums for a living, remember?” He snorted, hoping that Kagome couldn’t see through his bravado. “This ain’t nothing,” he scoffed.

 

Kagome laughed as she strode over to the opened garment bag hanging on the rack nearby and carefully pulled the pristine white shirt off the padded hanger. “It seems like only yesterday that you were that little, tiny baby that was just happy to be held and cuddled,” she ventured.

 

Tugging off the tee-shirt he’d dragged on this morning, Evan dropped it on the floor and held out his hand. “That was a long time ago, baa-chan,” he pointed out with a wry grin.

 

Kagome held out the shirt and adjusted it over his shoulders before stepping around him to fuss with it more, straightening it perfectly. “Not so very long ago; not to me,” she went on, her fingers deftly working the buttons, her eyes trained carefully on what she was doing. Her eyes were bright, and he could smell the hint of tears that she stubbornly held in check despite the gentle smile on her lips.

 

“You’re not really going to cry, are you?” he teased, lifting an eyebrow to emphasize the question.

 

She sniffled then laughed. “I can’t help it,” she replied. “I always cry at weddings.” Taking a step back to examine her work, her smile widened as the smell of tears spiked though they did not fall. “I just wanted a moment to tell you how beautiful Valerie is, and I think you and she make a wonderful couple, Evan.”

 

“Thanks,” he muttered, drawing her into a hug before she could discern the irritation he couldn’t quite shake.

 

“I’d better go get changed, too,” she said, giving him a reassuring squeeze. “Besides, InuYasha is probably about to start hollering, anyway. He’s been to enough weddings, so you’d think that he’d remember how to tie his own tie, wouldn’t you?”

 

The smile that Evan managed was a little closer to normal as Kagome hurried out of the room again. Given that InuYasha wasn’t a big fan of tuxedos in general, Evan figured that Kagome was quite right in her estimation.

 

Letting out a deep breath, Evan shook his head. A thousand memories ran through his head as he strode over to change his pants. Okay, sure, he would admit that the family likely did have more than enough stories to keep themselves busy for a good, long while in discussing everything bad that Evan had ever done, but . . . It still burned him that they’d done such a thing. Telling Valerie all those stories? Just what the hell had they been trying to accomplish, anyway?

 

“Everything going okay?” Cain asked as he stepped into the room. Already dressed and ready to go, he stuffed a hand deep into his pocket.

 

Evan shot him a glance as he tucked in the shirt. “Never better, Cain,” he replied tightly, unable to keep the snide edge out of his tone.

 

“Are you sure?” Cain pressed, a concerned frown surfacing on his features.

 

“Sure. Why wouldn’t it be?” Evan countered. “You finished trying to sabotage my wedding, or did you think of a few more things you could tell V to convince her not to marry me?”

 

Cain blinked in surprise and slowly shook his head. “What? What do you mean?”

 

Evan snorted, yanking the tie off the hanger and jerking it over his head. “Come off it! V told me all about it. Bubby and you just had to do it, right? Make me out to be such an ass that, sure, who in their right fucking mind would marry me? Thanks, Dad. Thanks a lot.”

 

The surprise in Cain’s expression slowly faded, only to be replaced by a distinctly uncomfortable shifting in his youki. “That really wasn’t what—” he began, only to be cut off by Evan’s loud snort.

 

“Save it,” he growled, grimacing when the tie in his hands ripped. He hadn’t realized that he was yanking on it so hard, and with a heavy sigh full of self-disgust, he threw the pieces onto the floor. “Goddamn, you know, just because you and Bubby are so fucking perfect doesn’t give you the right to try to ruin things for me.”

 

Reaching up, tugging at his own bowtie, Cain carefully pulled it loose and held it out to Evan. “That’s not what we were trying to do, Evan, and I’m sorry if you thought we were,” he said as Evan eyed the tie for a moment before snatching it away from his father.

 

“Yeah, well, don’t fucking worry about it. The last thing I’ll do is embarrass you two in front of everyone,” Evan snapped back.

 

Cain frowned. “Evan, you’ve never—”

 

“Forget it,” Evan snarled. “Just go the hell away . . . I promise I’ll be as respectable as you and Bubby today.”

 

Cain sighed. “You’re always respectable,” he said. Then he turned to go. “You and Valerie . . . I hope that you’re as happy together as your mother and I are.”

 

Evan watched in the mirror hanging over the dresser as his father left the room. Gaze shifting to his own reflection, he ground his teeth together, fought for a semblance of control over the emotions that threatened to overwhelm him, to no avail. The anger, the bitterness, frothed and roiled even hotter. “Respectable,” he growled, opening and closing his fists around nothing. “Respectable . . .?”

 

Without a second thought, he grabbed a pair of scissors that were lying on the dresser, and, grasping his hair in the other hand, he lopped the length of it off in one deft snip.

 

 

-Gin-

 

 

“Here you go.”

 

Giving Gin a quick smile, Valerie gratefully accepted the delicate mug of tea, careful not to pull too far as Madison meticulously arranged the pile of curls atop her head.

 

“You look so beautiful,” Gin said, blinking rapidly as a haze of tears washed into her vision. She wasn’t sure why it was that weddings always made her cry. Maybe it was just the memories of her own special day years ago. Cain, she was sure, would tease her about her sentimentality. She simply couldn’t help it, though. There were so many thoughts, running through her mind, and maybe that was natural, too. Visions of Evan through the years: bringing her flowers that he’d picked just for her . . . coming to her with tears in his eyes after Bas had taken off with his friend, leaving Evan behind . . . telling her about his exploits—sneaking out to see local bands in the clubs that he was too young to frequent—telling her stories that he probably shouldn’t have told her, and she hadn’t had the heart to curb her wild-child . . . Those bittersweet moments that were frozen forever in her mind, those years that seemed like mere moments when Gin was the one who Evan loved best . . . Growing up, building a life for himself, becoming a man who could stand on his own . . . All those things were things that Gin cherished, even if the smallest part of her still missed that baby she’d carried over the threshold so many years ago. It was right that he would find someone who would take Gin’s place as the center of Evan’s world, but, staring at the bride as she nervously bit her lip, Gin figured that it was all right, too. Not just any woman would do: not for her boy. She’d felt the same way, back when Bas had gotten married, too. Neither Sydnie nor Valerie was ‘just any woman’, after all . . . Her sons’ mates . . . They’d chosen well.

 

Gazing at Valerie, Gin couldn’t help but smile. She really was just gorgeous—not that she expected any less for her boys, of course. Bas’ wife, Sydnie, and now Valerie? Both of them had that inner sparkle—the kind of light that shone from the inside out—beautiful spirits that created that incandescence . . .

 

“As long as Evan agrees,” Valerie ventured with a wry little smile as she turned her head from side to side, examining Madison’s handiwork with a critical eye.

 

“Agrees?” Rhonda echoed with a quiet laugh and a shake of her head. “That man is absolutely crazy about you. I don’t think it much matters, what you wear today as long as you meet him at two o’clock.”

 

“Thanks, Mom.” Valerie shot her mother a decidedly nervous little smile, then shifted to face Madison once more. “Maddy, do you think you could go check in with Evan?” she asked. “He’s probably driving whoever’s with him crazy, don’t you think?”

 

Madison laughed and gathered her bag. “Sure,” she said. “I might as well check in on the guys, anyway. Make sure they’re all up to snuff.”

 

Kaci Lea stepped quickly into the room, her eyes bright, glowing, as she smiled a little shyly. “Did you have a nice look around, Kaci?” Rhonda asked, raising an eyebrow as she fussed with Valerie’s bouquet.

 

The girl laughed, her eyes brightening even more as a slight blush rose to her cheeks. “Y-Yeah,” she admitted, ducking her head before giving a tiny shrug. “I was talking to Evan’s cousin, Mikio.”

 

“Oh? What about?”

 

“Just stuff . . . He told me about Japanese schools. It’s a lot different from here,” Kaci Lea remarked almost absently as she straightened her dress.

 

“Mikio . . . Mikio . . .” Rhonda repeated, obviously trying to place the name with the face. It wasn’t surprising, given that so many guests had arrived within the last few days.

 

“He’s my brother,” Gin supplied, idly rubbing her distended belly.

 

“Oh!” Rhonda exclaimed, the confusion on her face disintegrating fast. “Oh, he’s just a cutie!”

 

Kagome laughed as she stepped out of the bathroom, casually messing with one diamond earring. “He’s always been a lot sweeter than his older brothers,” she allowed.

 

“That’s putting it mildly, Mama,” Gin remarked, wrinkling her nose since she knew quite well, just how rotten her twin brothers really could be.

 

“You know Kaci Lea-chan, you could always come stay with us for a year, like a student exchange,” Kagome offered.

 

Kaci Lea looked completely taken aback by Kagome’s offer. “Oh, I . . . I mean, thank you, but . . .”

 

Kagome laughed and reached over to give Kaci Lea’s arm a reassuring squeeze. “Just think about it. The offer stands. If you change your mind, just let Evan know, and we’ll work something out.”

 

Kaci Lea didn’t look like she knew just what to think of it, but she nodded slowly.

 

“Wench! Where the hell did you put my shoes?” InuYasha hollered from the closed side of the door.

 

Rolling her eyes, Kagome giggled and hurried across the room.

 

Wench!

 

“I’m coming, InuYasha!” she called back as she reached for the doorknob. “Excuse me, ladies.”

 

Gin caught Valerie’s sidelong gaze, and they both broke out in laughter. “Some things never change,” Gin mused.

 

Valerie stood up slowly, staring at her reflection in the antique mirror nearby.

 

“My son made an excellent choice,” Gin mused, stepping over to straighten the veil. It wasn’t quite time to put it on, but it would be soon enough. “I can’t imagine anyone who would be more perfect for him than you are, Valerie, and I’m so happy that you’re about to be a part of our family!”

 

Blinking at Gin’s softly uttered statement, Valerie blushed as her smile widened. “Thank you,” she replied, her eyes brightening even more.

 

Gin opened her mouth to reply, but snapped it closed when Madison burst into the room with the oddest expression on her face. She looked like she had something to say, and maybe she didn’t really want to say it, at all, but her gaze flickered to Valerie, and she grimaced. “Uh, V,” she began in a halting tone, like she were attempting to soften whatever she was trying to get out, “umm . . .”

 

Valerie’s eyes flared wide as her smile faded. Turning to face Madison, she shook her head. “What? What’s going on?” she demanded. “Is everything all right?”

 

“Well, that’s kind of subjective, really . . .” Madison winced again, twisting her hands together in a decidedly nervous kind of way. “I-It’s Evan,” she hedged, still trying to decide the best way to break whatever it was to the bride. “He got a little . . . Well, he lost his temper, and . . .”

 

“Maddy . . .” Valerie began in a warning tone.

 

Heaving a sigh, Madison shook her head. “He kind of . . . cut off his . . . hair . . .”

 

Valerie stood stock still, unblinking as she stared at Madison, trying to make up her mind whether or not she believed her. “. . . What . . .?”

 

Biting her lip, Madison gave a helpless little shrug. “He thought that Cain and Bas were trying to sabotage the wedding,” she explained quickly. “That whole thing last night, right? Anyway, I guess he got into it with Cain, and so Evan thought he’d be more respectable if he . . . cut . . . his . . . ha-a-air . . .”

 

What?” Valerie hissed, grabbing her skirts as she stomped toward the door.

 

Rhonda caught her arm and held her back. “Val, now you have to finish getting ready,” she reminded her calmly. “He’s okay . . .” Her gaze shifted to Madison. “. . . Isn’t he?”

 

Madison shot Valerie a tentative smile. “I fixed it,” she assured her. “He looks very nice; I promise.”

 

Valerie stared at Madison for several moments before letting her dress drop as she helplessly sank down on the stool once more. “Oh, my God,” she half-groaned. “But I love his hair the way it normally is!”

 

Gin shook her head, unsure as to what, exactly, Cain and Bas had apparently done. “What did those two do?” she asked, slowly, almost hesitantly.   Then again, she, along with most of the women, had been kept quite busy in the kitchen, starting on things for the huge buffet they’d had this morning, so whatever they were discussing must’ve happened then . . .

 

Valerie sighed, rubbing her forehead in a completely exasperated kind of way. Gin could sense her very real upset, and she couldn’t stop the flattening of her ears, either. After all, a woman’s wedding day should be as perfect as it could possibly be, and getting news like this less than two hours before walking down the aisle? She winced.

 

“Last night, Cain and Bas—well, not just them, but they started it—sat me down and told me all these stories about Evan,” Valerie admitted. “But I don’t understand. I mean, they seemed to be more amused by it all than anything. I got the impression that they were just looking for a reason to relive those things . . .” She frowned and slowly shook her head. “In fact, they seemed almost . . . proud . . .”

 

Gin snapped her mouth closed and made a face. That might have been exactly what they were doing, she figured. After all, how often in the past had Cain broken into the vaguest smile over one of Evan’s antics or another, though always behind the closed door of their private room? To be honest, Gin didn’t doubt Valerie’s impression in the least, no, but still, did it matter if that’s not how Evan saw it? And the damage was already done, as far as Evan’s hair was concerned. There was nothing short of time that could rectify that, and nothing outside of a miracle that would fix it before two o’clock, either.

 

With a determined look on her face, Gin hurried over to the door as quickly as she could move—not exactly fast, really, given the extra weight she was carrying. Grasping Madison’s arm, she didn’t explain as she dragged her along behind.

 

“Gin? What—?”

 

Gin scowled, but didn’t falter as she headed out the door and down the hallway toward the stairs. “If my Evan cut all his hair off because of his father and brother, then it’s only fair, isn’t it?”

 

Madison blinked. “Fair?” she echoed, not quite grasping exactly what Gin was alluding do in her muttered statement.

 

With a very pronounced snort—an entirely odd sound coming from her—she gripped the banister in one hand and, keeping her hold on Madison’s arm with the other, she kept moving forward with a purpose.

 

Cain and Bas were both in the office, she could tell, and she didn’t stop until she stood in the doorway, pinning each man with a formidable glower that stopped them both, dead in their tracks, their voices dying away as they stared back at her. She didn’t miss the worried little glances they flicked at one another, and she wasn’t entirely surprised when her mate’s gaze lit up with the old traces of worry that always accompanied her pregnancies.

 

“Bald,” she stated flatly, pointing from Cain to Bas then back again.

 

Madison choked, her sharp inhalation fairly whistling in the unnatural silence. “B-B-Bald?”

 

Gin nodded just once, determination igniting behind her gaze. “That’s right,” she reiterated as she crossed her arms over her chest stubbornly, still refusing to back down from her current stance. Then she jerked her head at the men once more before she stated once more, her voice even, controlled—angry, “You heard me, Madison. Bald.”

 

 

 <<< 223: The Waiting Game

 225: One Summer Day >>>

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A/N:

My Lucky Dayby Bruce Springsteen originally appeared on the 2009 release, Working on a Dream. Copyrighted to Bruce Springsteen.

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Final Thought from Madison:

Bald …?

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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~

posted by Sueric at 4:08 pm  
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