Deleted Scene: Out of Bounds

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This is a section that didn't make the final cut for the book. It's not polished or edited so don't expect much. I think it's fun to see what changes get made to a book during the writing process. Why didn't this scene make it? Because the entire book concept changed. I really struggled with the plot for this book--I knew the characters, but I couldn't find a conflict strong enough for them. This was only the first of three separate story ideas I threw out before finally landing the one that became the finished book. Why am I sad this scene didn't make it? I love everything about this scene. I want to write this book, exactly this book someday. It just didn't work out this time.

The clerk cleared her throat and looked pointedly at the sign that read, “Justice Office Closed to the public every day from 12-1.” Again.

Wes knew where she was coming from. He hadn’t had a bite since sometime yesterday. He’d gotten off the plane from Italy that morning and sprinted for a cab from the Newark airport to make it here on time. Still, he thought she could give a little consideration to his friend. Oliver was in pain and anyone with half an eye, even a hungry, middle-aged Halycon justice of the peace office clerk in cute reading glasses and a shirt with one too many buttons buttoned could see that.

Oliver’s pain showed in the slump of his shoulders, in the droop of his boutonniere, in the wilt around the edges of his bouquet of pink peonies. Hell, Oliver’s kilt looked sad and that was quite a feat because the kilt was a hard line festive garment in Wes’s opinion. If a guy’s kilt was drooping, that guy was, by definition, in bad shape.

When the clerk cleared her throat again, Oliver flinched. This was getting ridiculous. They’d been the only members of the public in the office all morning, but the clerk was obviously a woman of habit. She was going to kick them out any second and he didn’t think Oliver could take that. He pushed himself up from the uncomfortable wooden bench and dragged Oliver up with him.

“Huddle up,” he said. “Over here.”

He pulled Oliver to the corner of the office because he didn’t want the clerk to hear this conversation. His friend had been humiliated enough already and Wes was crystal clear that this situation wasn’t going to end well. When had any situation that included Oliver plus a girl ever ended well?

“She’s two hours late,” Wes said. “Any chance you got the date wrong?”

His friend shook his head. “MMW III releases today. I picked this day on purpose.”

“You planned your wedding around the release date of a video game?”

“We met playing that game. It seemed fitting to sanctify our union on the day the new release comes out.”

“Sanctify your…right.” Wes gave him a pat on the shoulder. The clerk cleared her throat again. He was going to offer to get her a drink of water if she did it one more time.

“Want to call her again?”

Oliver handed him his phone. “You can try.”

“We close for lunch at noon,” the clerk said. “It’s ten minutes past.”

Wes gripped the phone tighter. Even if Oliver’s fiancée showed up that second, his buddy was in no condition to get married to anybody. They might as well let the clerk go for lunch while they regrouped. It wasn’t looking like he was going to be getting his own sandwich any time soon. No sense in everyone starving.

“Okay,” Wes said. “We’re going to step out and clear up this misunderstanding. If…” Oliver made a sound like a balloon losing the last of its air. “Sorry. When we locate my friend’s fiancée, we can come back, right?”

“I’ll have to check the schedule.”

Wes looked around the office. It had been him, Oliver, and the clerk sitting there together, alone, for the last two hours. Not one single other piece of official business had come across her desk since ten o’clock that morning. He suspected “the schedule” consisted of nothing but big blocks of white space crossed by one black line labeled “lunch.” But whatever. He was here for Oliver, he didn’t need to antagonize anyone.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you can squeeze us in,” he said. Okay, he didn’t need to antagonize anyone much.

“You’re going to want to get those flowers in some water. Peonies don’t keep,” she said as she reached under her desk and pulled out a blue vinyl lunch bag.

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