Some Write It Hot

October 22, 2010

Deleted Scene from Stray by Ash Penn

Filed under: Free read — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , ,

Continuing the theme from my previous post, I thought I might post one of my many deleted scenes. With each new book I write, around a third of the word count tends to get taken out before I’ll submit it for publication. This little scene was taken out of my first published novel, Stray, and is edited for spoilers. It takes place somewhere around chapter 15.

When Dan finally emerged from the cafe, he wasn’t alone. I’d planned on us chatting over a burger somewhere, but that didn’t seem likely now since he’d stepped onto the street with some girl, her long, yellow hair flapping in the wind. She slipped her arm through his as they walked away in the opposite direction. He’d only been working there a week and they trotted along like they’d known each other for years. Bitch.

She got on the bus and Dan gave her a wave when it drew away from the kerb. He headed into a newsagents’ and I paused outside, wondering if I should go in and act surprised when we bumped into each other. Wanting our meeting to appear accidental, I passed on by, continuing to the end of the street before starting a slow wander back. He emerged from the shop just as I got there, clutching a carrier bag. Our eyes met and he froze, like a victim in a horror movie faced with the disfigured, machete wielding, psycho.

“Hey,” I said, keeping my voice casual.

He hunched his shoulders and tried to duck around me.

I stepped into his path. “You can say hi.”

“I’d rather not.” He kept his head down and moved around to my left.

I stepped in front of him again. “Why not?”

“Because I don’t know you anymore,” he said. “Please let me pass.”

Okay, so he had a point. We had agreed to become strangers to each other, after all. But this was taking things a little far. What did he see when he reluctantly raised his chin to look me in the face? An unwashed, unshaven wreck, still in the clothes I’d worn when I left him exactly a week before.

“What’s in the bag?” I reached down to take a peek.

“Nothing.” He tried to slip it behind his knees, but I grabbed it off him and looked inside. “You having a party?” I pulled out a pack of party poppers and a set of plastic glasses. There was more party paraphernalia in there too. “It’s not one of Heather’s underwear gigs? She’ll have you modelling her nippleless bras and crotchless panties in no time.”

“No.” He frowned. “It’s for my party, if you must know.”

“Yeah? And what’s the occasion?”

“I’m twenty tomorrow.”

I swallowed, battling that empty pit where my stomach had once been. I forced a smile. “My invitation must have got lost in the post,” I said bitterly cheerful as I dropped his purchases back into the bag and handed it back. “What time do you want me?”

He lowered his gaze. “Well, I don’t. You’re not invited.”

“What are you going to do for guests, then? You don’t know anyone else apart from Heather and that blonde bint you just walked out of work with.”

He looked up sharply. “Have you been watching me?”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Make out like I’m some kind of stalker.” I took another step towards him and he took another back until one foot dropped into the gutter. “But no,” I said, looming over him. “I was just passing by.”

He wrinkled his nose and looked away. “You smell terrible.”

“Yeah?” Hardly news to me. “Ask me why.”

“I don’t need to,” he muttered, and a long time passed before he spoke again. “Heather me about Marc.” He raised his face to look me in the eye. “I’m very sorry.”

“Thanks.” I shoved my hands in my pocket and stared at the kerb. “You could… come round sometime. Show me how sorry you are, If you like.”

“Why on earth would I like?”

“Because maybe you miss me? Like I miss you.”

“Oh, no.” He shook his head. “There’s only one thing you miss from me, Terry. And you can get that anywhere.”

“Yeah? Well, maybe I only want it from you. It was pretty bloody hot between us, you have to admit.”

“I don’t have to admit anything,” Already he started to edge away again. “I need to go.”

He obviously didn’t give a shit about me now he was sorted in this new life I’d helped him get. First Marc, now Dan. A pattern was beginning to emerge and I was the dropped stitch. Well, sod the pair of them. I’d do fine by myself. “You have a nice birthday,” I said, as he walked way. “And a nice life. I’ll try not to bother it again.”

That wasn’t quite true. I couldn’t let his birthday go without getting him something. After everything he’d gone through, after everything I’d put him through, he did deserve something nice. Something special. Currys was still open on the high street. I nipped in and bought an iPod on the credit card, took it home, wrapped it in yellow paper and stuck a shocking pink bow on the top.

I had no intention of gate-crashing his party. I’d leave my gift outside the door, knock, and hit the stairwell running. He might even think he had a secret admirer — rather than a stalker.

I arrived about eight and pulled up outside where a group of people were gathered at the intercom waiting to be buzzed in. I vaguely recognised the blonde girl he’d left work with among them.

“Excuse me,” I said, dusting off my politest voice. “You going up to number ten?”

She turned towards me as the rest of the crowd headed through the door and looked me up and down. There I was, bearded, grubby, and skulking. No wonder she took a step back into the safety of the foyer. “Why?”

“Could you give this to the birthday boy?” I held the gift over the threshold.
“Don’t you want to give it to him yourself?”

“I’m not dressed for a party,” I said. Maybe I should have made the effort and changed my clothes but I never intended anyone to see me. I’d only intended to drop it at Heather’s door, knock, and run like the wind.

“Who shall I say it’s from?” She lowered her gaze to the gift, eye shadow glittering under the security lights. “There’s no label.”

“Say it’s from you.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Sure you can.”

I pushed the box at her and she gazed down at it, then up at me. Once again I became the psycho, only this time I’d swapped a machete for the unexploded bomb in her arms.

Read more from Ash here

%d bloggers like this: