In this last deleted scene from Early Daze, Jess and Gwen discuss Ben. This one takes place after the other two. The remaining part of this scene actually appears in the book.
I call Gwen later. Partly to check she’s got home safe. Partly to talk about Ben.
‘So… you turned Ben down?’ I ask tentatively.
‘Yup. I take it you didn’t.’
I half smile. ‘It’s funny… out of all of us, you’d think you would be the most likely to… well…’
‘Cheat?’ Gwen asks shortly.
I wince. ‘I was going to say “make a mistake”.’
Gwen sighs. ‘You know, I do get very tired of people assuming that being bisexual means you’ll shag anything with a pulse. I doubt I’m any less selective than you. I’m only attracted to a tiny proportion of the people I meet. It just so happens that some of them are male and some are female.’
‘It’s not that…’ I start. ‘Well… I guess maybe that’s part of it. For some people. And I’m not saying that’s right, just that… that’s how some people think.’
Including me, not long ago.
‘It’s… you’re always telling stories about crazy things you’ve done. Impulsive things. Stuff most people wouldn’t do. And I think… that gives people the impression that you’ll just do anything.’
Gwen purses her lips. ‘You may be right,’ she says reluctantly. ‘And I hate that. Just because I’m capable of being spontaneous doesn’t mean I have no impulse control. I choose to say yes or no. I don’t cheat.’
I kick the sofa. ‘And, apparently, I do. Does that mean it’s your turn to judge me?’
‘I could, but well… it’s this place, isn’t it? It’s a marathon. And none of us trained for it, so we just fall down and struggle to pick ourselves back up. We’ve all got our coping mechanisms. Some people eat. Pretty sure some drink – though hopefully not the pumpers. Some people get obsessed with how much milk they’re making or how much weight they’ve lost. And I run around trying to convince all the other mums that life isn’t so terrible, in a futile effort to convince myself. Let’s face it, you’re just one of a bunch.’
That makes me feel a little better.
‘Should I tell Ryan?’
‘Dunno. What do you think?’
‘I don’t know!’ I say, throwing up my hands. ‘That’s why I’m asking you.’
‘Well, I don’t know him. I only know you to a limited extent. Morally, you should. But it depends on what impact you think telling him will have.’
‘Like what?’ I ask, feeling uneasy.
‘Well, if you tell him, will he leave you?’
I consider this briefly. ‘No, I don’t think so. We’ve been together so long and now we have Samantha. And I don’t think he’s all that keen on change. And…well…’
I shift awkwardly. ‘When he proposed… Well, he said he’d always known I was the one for him. And we started going out at fifteen. And Ryan… he doesn’t say stuff like that. He must have meant it.’