Deleted Scene #2: 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. In this scene, JT has just come back to town and he and Hailey (his high school girlfriend) meet each other when they are both out strolling around. He wants to talk to her, but they have some awkward moments and then this scene happens.

Why did it get cut? I changed the whole beginning of the book several times. There wasn't enough tension. JT is a good guy--he lets Hailey get away with a lot of stuff because that's how he's wired. However, for a romance to work, there has to be some tension. So this draft, where JT is all jolly and friendly, got scrapped and I wrote it again with him feeling angry (or as angry as he ever gets) and betrayed when he first gets back to town.

Why do I still like it? I think it's funny. I also had this idea that I never fully implemented and ended up taking out entirely, that JT would have a fake girlfriend named Belinda. He was going to use her to cover up his hurt that Hailey didn't want him, but he was going to make her so obviously fake that she became a running joke between them. I wanted Belinda to give them some cover so they could spend time together without admitting they might be getting serious with each other. I love this fake relationship idea and won't be surprised if it turns up in another book.

This is a good example of a scene with funny dialogue (in my opinion, anyway...) that doesn't do much to advance the story or reveal character. In other words, this scene would be fairly useless if I had left it in as it's written here. It was cut early on so it never even saw a second pass. It's almost all dialogue and the few gestures I included are cliches. No setting whatsoever. Draft!

Enough jabbering, here's the scene (it's in Hailey's point of view):

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[JT is trying to get Hailey to talk to him.]

“What if I weren't me?" JT said. "Let’s pretend I’m someone else.”

“Like Sarah?"

“No. And not your mom either. Someone from high school who left town. Who’s got an X and a Y chromosome, please.”

“Dan Rogers.”

“Hello, Hailey, I’m Dan Rogers. I left town after high school and just came back.”

She pressed her lips together to stop herself laughing. “Hello, Dan. How surprising to run into you after all these years.”

“Yes, surprising it is,” JT said. He gave her a sideways glance. “Was Dan Rogers related to Yoda? He kind of sounds like him.”

“Stop. Back in character.” She found herself enjoying this game. “What have you been doing?”

He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Well, I don’t like to talk about it, but I’m a porn star.”

“Um. I think my mother mentioned that. I think she likes your films.”

“I’d appreciate it if we could leave your mother out of this and all future conversations.”

“Right. Okay. Are you seeing anyone?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve got a great girl. Belinda. I met her on set.”

Hailey shook her head. Men. Of course if he made up an alter ego it was a porn star with a porn star girlfriend.

“Don’t jump to conclusions. She’s a…sound editor. Very technical. Has these thick glasses and knows how to program in Fortran. But you know, when you get the glasses off, she’s wicked cute. Loves it when I throw my socks around. Begs me for sex twice a day. Loves to cook, has season tickets to the Pirates and the Penguins and likes to play darts in bars. Couldn’t ask for a better girl.”

The way he reeled off the list of Belinda’s assets was so cheerful, she overlooked all the ways his description was wrong. “She sounds…charming.”

“Very charming. What about you. You seeing anyone?”

“No,” she blurted and then was embarrassed because she hadn’t made up some fantastic man to keep the game going. “I mean, not right now.”

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