Deleted Scene 5

Christmas Eve

And yet another “the book is too long, and this isn’t important” casualty. This bit of conversation goes in the scene between Owen and Katie in the parlor on Christmas Eve night, after the crazy fight at the church. This part sort of goes before the part that ended up in the book, though there was some shuffling.

“I like them,” I said.

“You do?” Owen sounded almost surprised.

“Yeah, I do. They’re not exactly cuddly, but they’re good people, and I get the feeling they’re the kind who’d stick with you through thick and thin.”

He frowned and stared into the fire for a moment, as though he was pondering the idea. “I suppose you’re right,” he said after a while. “They have always been there for me.” Then he looked over at me and gave me one of his heart-melting smiles. “I’m glad you came. You’re giving me an entirely new perspective on all this.”

“And I’m glad I came. I’m getting to see a whole other side to you.”

He looked almost alarmed. “Like what?”

I didn’t think he’d appreciate the fact that I’d seen his vulnerability, so I said instead, “Well, I’ve never seen you crawling under a table before.” More seriously, I added, “I’m seeing you as a son, which is giving me an idea of the little boy you must have been. I’m just disappointed that Gloria hasn’t brought out the photo albums with the naked baby pictures. Or does she save that for the second visit?”

He turned a shade of red that rivaled the coals in the fire, which had been my intent. For one thing, he was cute when he blushed, and for another, it served to distract him. “No, the naked baby pictures can wait. I’m not sure there even are any. I don’t remember them taking many pictures of me, and they got me when I was past the naked baby stage.”

“I should warn you that my mom will hit you with the photo albums full of naked baby pictures within about thirty seconds of you coming through the front door,” I joked, then realized a moment too late that I might have only reminded him of the contrast between his family and a “real” family.

But he didn’t seem to notice that angle and instead gave me a wicked smile that made my stomach do a little flip and had me wondering just how squeaky that spot in the hallway between our rooms was. “Really? Whole albums full of naked baby pictures? So we’ll do Easter in Texas, then?” It was my turn to glow bashfully at the thought of him seeing me naked in any form or fashion. I really needed to get over that.