I thought it would be interesting to share a deleted scene from Early Daze, as I did for After Wimbledon. This has SPOILERS, so don’t read if you haven’t read it yet.
Early Daze went through a lot of changes while I was writing it. When I first started, I thought it might be a ‘life-changing experience makes girl leave terrible boyfriend’ book. But when Ryan showed up, he was too good a guy. Then I was going to do a love-triangle – but I’m a bit crap at those. I’m just not comfortable portraying an MC being involved with two people at the same time without major restrictions (a dysfunctional current relationship that should clearly end, and no sex). I have a bias towards fidelity, marriage and families being together. Not to say I won’t ever deviate from that in my writing, but I felt it wasn’t right for this book.
However, before I came to that realisation, I actually wrote Jess and Ben getting “together.” Here are the relevant scenes from the first draft for you to read. Do you think I made the right decision to change the plot? Leave a comment and let me know.
‘Hey,’ he says, pulling me into a hug. ‘Look, we’ll both get through it, all right? Life sucks now and we’re going through hell, but we just have to keep going and we’ll get out the other side.’
‘Thanks,’ I say, slightly muffled by his shoulder. I lift my head, intending to kiss his cheek, but he turns his head at the last moment and I find his lips instead.
And then we’re kissing. It starts off gentle, but his touch is electric and soon it’s hungry. He lifts me up onto the table and I wrap my legs around him to pull him closer and we’re still kissing and…
I’m not absolutely sure what happened next. Or rather, I’m not absolutely sure how what happened next happened. All I know is that when my phone bleeped to tell me I needed to pump, I woke up and I was naked in Ben’s bed. And, judging by the used condom in the bin, we didn’t just cuddle.
I extracted myself and scuttled off, first to my own room to get my pumping bag and then to the pumping room to hide.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
That wasn’t meant to happen. That was… what? Grief? Hormones gone mad? Anger at Ryan? Passion I haven’t felt in years?
What do I say to Ryan? What do I say to Ben?
I plug in my headphones and listen to crying babies and try to block out reality once again.
I next see Ben outside the hospital when I go out for my walk. He falls into step beside me without asking.
‘So… oops,’ he says.
I stop. ‘Oops? That’s the best thing you can think of to say?’
He shrugs. ‘Pretty much.’
I don’t know why I’m criticising. I can’t think of anything to say either. We start walking again.
‘It’s kind of nice, actually.’
‘Well, we’re a bit more equal in the fuck-ups department now.’
I let out a slow breath. I can see it in the air. ‘I suppose so.’
‘Are you going to tell Ryan?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘Are we going to do it again?’
‘It was good, though.’
Better than with Ryan. At least for a long time. If not ever.
But passion fades, doesn’t it? You can’t maintain the excitement over the years. It’s just that Ben is new and Ryan is old. Familiar. That’s all. It doesn’t mean anything.