New Year, but Looking Back

I’ve been trying to think of something to post that would relate to the new year.  Resolutions really aren’t my thing.  I tried posting some writing resolutions last year, but failed miserably when it came to following through.  Especially on the blogging part.  😉  Besides, last year went really well for me in the writing realm.  I had four releases — BLADE OF MOONLIGHT and LEXIE with Samhain, and a short story in MY SECRET LIFE and PRIVATE DANCER with Mischief.  If I could make a resolution on anything, it would be to continue down the same trail.

So since I have nothing new, I thought I’d post something old.  The following is a deleted scene from LEXIE.  It’s a scene I loved, told from Roxie’s point of view, but it just didn’t fit.  It’s referred to later on in the book, but this is the first time I’ve showed the actual scene to anyone.  It’s Roxie’s reaction when she and Lexie are told why the Underhills only adopted one of them.

Deleted scene from LEXIE

Roxie was living a nightmare – a vivid, Technicolor nightmare.  For all the beauty and money surrounding her, the white paint of the house blinded her and the smell of the food on the table made her gag.  She’d known this wouldn’t be easy, seeing the life that Lexie had led and all the opportunities she’d been given.  She’d known it would hurt seeing her with the Underhills, but she hadn’t expected this.  She hadn’t expected to have her insides put through the grater.

At the table, Lexie’s mother sniffled.  She wadded her napkin in her fist and lifted her teary eyes.  “What was your name again, dear?”

Roxie struggled not to flinch.  They’d forgotten her again already?  She was standing right in front of them.  “Roxanne.”

“I don’t understand why you weren’t taken in.”  The shaken socialite looked to her husband.  “Which couple was that?  Who wanted her?”

Underhill shook his head and looked to the door where Lexie had just walked out.  He stood suddenly as if to follow, but Roxie stepped in front of him like a mother bear.  No way, no how was he getting close to her sister.  He stopped, his shoulders visibly sagging, but then his son stepped between them – the one who’d leapt from his chair when she’d made her grand entrance.

“Stay away from them,” the young buck warned.  “You’ve caused enough trouble already.”

She’d caused trouble?  Roxie’s eyes narrowed as she looked him over.  Handsome, but with a haughty, misplaced sense of authority…  She summed him up with a single look.

“Know what, Blondie?” she crooned softly.

“It’s Landers.  Landers Underhill.  I think it’s time you left.”

She let one eyebrow lift as she stepped closer to him.  She’d show him trouble.  He jerked when she reached out and laid a hand on his chest, and his brow furrowed as he watched her red fingernail trace his lapel.

“We came this close to being related, Landers,” she said.

He shifted uncomfortably, but stayed in front of his parents.  She smiled slowly.  He seemed uncertain as to how he should respond.  With his preppy haircut, shiny loafers, and weak belly, she could eat this one alive.

Her eyes sparked as she leaned in closer.  “But know what I am now?”

A muscle in the middle of his cheek twitched.  “What?”

Before he could react, she planted one on him.  Catching him by the nape of the neck, she kissed him full on the mouth.  Her lips covered his, and she nipped at his belligerent lower lip.

For a moment, he froze.  Then he pushed her away in revulsion.  Wiping his lips with the back of his hand, he gagged.

Wickedly pleased, Roxie leaned close and whispered in his ear.  “Your worst nightmare.”

Spinning on her heel, she marched down the steps into the back yard.  There was no way she was going back into that house of horrors.  Behind her, she heard chairs scraping against wood as they were pushed away from the table.  A sideways glance found the other brother gaping at her in astonishment while kissy-boy was still trying to get her lipstick off his face.

She turned the corner, walking as quickly as she could with her heels sinking into the dirt.  She didn’t mind.  The grass and earth felt good under her feet.  Untainted, real, solid.  She inhaled the fresh air deeply, trying to clear her head and expand her ribcage.  She’d been taking rapid, short breaths to avoid the pain, but there was no getting by it.  Her eyes were on fire as she walked down the pathway through a manicured garden, but they were wet, too.

She wiped them jerkily.

Difficult to place…  How many times had she been told that as she’d been growing up?  She was too prickly, too aggressive, too outspoken.  Apparently, she’d been that way from as young as the age of two.  What would her life had been like if that couple had adopted her?

What would her life have been like if she and Lexie had never been given up in the first place?

Footsteps sounded on the cobblestones behind her, and she turned defensively.  It was the little blonde, Blaire.

“They deserved it,” Roxie snarled.  They… the rest of the Underhills.  They’d been the ones she’d been striking back at.  She spun towards the front of the house and kept on walking, but her steps were unsteady on her high heels.  It was the cobblestones; they made walking difficult.

“I know,” Blaire said simply.  “I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.”

Roxie glanced up at the first floor windows and saw faces pressed against the glass.  The gossip mongers were already lurking.  That little encounter should keep the staff going for weeks.  As long as they concentrated on the kiss, that was okay with her.

There just better be nothing spread about Lexie.  So help her…

She looked down sharply when she felt Blaire grab her hand.  The teenager squeezed tightly, and Roxie felt something inside her crumble.  She started to shake off the touch, but instead felt her fingers clutching back.  She was so tired of being tough.  Hardcore, spine-of-steel…  She knew what people thought of her, but this was just too much.  “Think I’ll get invited to Thanksgiving dinner?” she quipped.

“No, but the staff might make you a pecan pie.”

Roxie looked at her quickly.

“They don’t like Landers very much.”  Blaire smiled conspiratorially.

Oh, hell.  Roxie wiped a shaky hand over her face.  “I shouldn’t have…  They’re going to take it out on her.”

Blaire’s smile faded.  “No, they won’t.  It will never be spoken of, especially not in front of Mother.”

That sounded about right.  It was clear that communication wasn’t one of this family’s strengths.  Roxie shook her head, happy to see the cars parked out front.  One of them would take her away from here, even if she had to hotwire it.

Her speed increased, but Blaire stayed with her until they walked under the trellis at the front of the garden.  Finally, she let go of her hand and wrapped her arms around her waist.  With a nod, Roxie headed towards escape, towards normalcy, towards the life she was suddenly happier she’d led.

“Roxie?”  The call was soft and tentative.

Roxie’s teeth gritted.  She just wanted to be alone, but the kid had been the one bright spot of the day.  She glanced over her shoulder.  “Yeah?”

“I would have like having you as a big sister, too.”

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