Deleted Scene : The Boyfriend's Back

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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? It was originally planted as a lead-in to JT asking Hailey on a date. The date scene got cut so I didn't need this one. Some of the information from this scene and the dynamic between JT and Hailey about his dad's therapy is in the final version, but it's been teased apart and threaded in separately. Why am I sad this scene didn't make it? I like Cynthia. I wish I'd had more room for her in the book. I won't be surprised if a similar character shows up in a future piece! Enjoy.

The physical therapy was going great. He was pretty sure of that. But, and this was the point he and his dad had been going around on for the last three days, he wasn’t entirely sure of that.

Today was the day, though. He was going back before Jack’s session ended and he was getting details. His dad might not care that he had projects he was supposed to be running, but he’d booked a flight to Pittsburgh the next day and he needed to have a timeline for Terrance. If Terrance even wanted to still be his partner once he explained he wasn’t going to agree to the expansion plans.

Hailey wasn’t working with his dad when he got to the center. She was standing at the front desk talking to Cynthia. He’d grown up with Cynthia too. In fact, she’d beaten him up on the playground during recess in first grade. Turned out she thought he was cute and that was how girls like her showed affection back in the single digit years. He'd have been good with a Valentine, but Cynthia hadn't been a glitter glue kind of girl.

He’d always kind of liked Cynthia, too, even if she still looked more than capable of beating the crap out of him. Hailey with her long legs and thick, dark hair made quite a contrast with the shorter, stockier Cynthia whose prematurely gray hair was cropped to a crew cut.

“Hi, JT,” Cynthia said.

He walked forward, a smile on his face, trying to pretend he felt fully confident that he’d shortly be in possession of the information he required.

Hailey grimaced at him but spoke to Cynthia. “I told you he’d be in to interrogate me.”

Hailey looked tremendous in a silky yellow v-neck and wide-legged black pants. He let his eyes linger for half a beat longer than he should have on the skin visible at her throat. She turned pink and cleared her throat. He realized Cynthia was looking shrewdly from him to Hailey, so he got down to business.

“About my dad,” he started.

“Let’s keep this short,” Hailey said. “As I said every other time you asked, your father has indicated he would like to keep his sessions private. I can't tell you about his progress.” She spoke in that infuriatingly patient way people who worked with difficult people spoke to the difficult people. JT wasn’t used to being a difficult person; he suspected his dad had corrupted him.

He opened his mouth.

“No,” she said.

He gave her a disgusted look before turning to Cynthia. “Are you her boss? Can you make her tell me?”

“Absolutely not.” Despite her short stature, Cynthia was not a small woman. When she put that little edge in her voice, he could easily see her working as a bouncer or a wrestler on a cable TV show. He took a half step backward—she hadn’t been the only person to give him a black eye in elementary school but hers had lingered the longest.

“Hailey, come on, how am supposed to make plans if I don’t know how long I’m going to be stuck here?” He hadn’t meant to say it like that but had no time to cover before they both spoke.

“Are you making plans?” Hailey asked. Cynthia added, “You feel stuck?”

He looked from one to the other. There might be a man out there somewhere he could extricate himself from this conversation gracefully, but he wasn’t that man. Good thing he didn’t have a big ego.

“Forget it,” he said. “Private means private. You win.”

“Again,” Cynthia said and gave Hailey a high five. JT got the feeling that his first grade beat down was a fond memory for her.

Hailey pulled out a pen and made a note on a chart. “You know, Cynthia, don’t we sometimes offer the families a general update without providing specifics that would break our confidentiality bargain?”

Cynthia smiled. “We do.”

“Right. So In general, he’s making progress,” Hailey said. “He’s getting there. And if you tell him I told you that, I’m telling him about the time you tried to get out of detention by asking Mrs. Jackson to the prom.”

Cynthia laughed. “He did not.”

“He did.”

“That’s a lie," JT said. Mrs. Jackson, their Latin teacher senior year, had been old enough to have been a contemporary of Virgil and was less humorous than any of the dusty poetry she forced them to scan.

Hailey raised an eyebrow at him and he shrugged.

“Okay, I did it. But you have to admit Jackson was tempted.”

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