This is the continuation of my series about removing a character named Heather from my novel, Such a Dreamer, during rewrites. You can read the previous post here.
I really like this next deleted scene, because it’s the first big indication that there’s trouble in paradise. Dane wants to keep his past a secret, especially from the one person he should be able to confide in:
Dane felt content about how things were shaping up for him in South Florida. If he could save moments in life, to restore and relive an experience or sensation all over again, this would be one of them. He lay in bed next to Heather, neither wearing more than the folds of their bedsheets¸ after a torrid post-work lovemaking session.
Her legs were arched over his waist so their union formed an imperfect letter “X.” Dane had to look over his shoulder to see her face. Yeah, he thought, this is nice. Comfortable and serene. Simply enjoying the moment, the closeness. Dane caressed her legs, her thighs, sometimes slipping his hand a little higher above her hips to her abs and navel. He looked at her face—her eyes were shut. Her closed-mouth smile revealed of state pure bliss.
Heather sighed, breathed in slowly and said, “Dane…why don’t you ever talk about your past or your parents?”
“It’s ancient history. Not worth discussing.”
Dane turned his head in the other direction and began to massage her calves, her feet.
“Will you ever talk about these things with me? You know all about my past.”
“How?” she asked, beginning to raise her voice.
“It just is. Look—you had a normal childhood with caring, well-adjusted parents, who put their children first. And it’s wonderful that you did—I would talk about it too if it was me. But my childhood wasn’t the same. Every memory is painful. I want you to see me for who I am now, not where I came from.”
“But who you are is part of where you came from, honey. How could it not be? This mysterious part of you that you keep bottled up needs to be uncorked if we’re ever going to advance our relationship.”
Dane let go of Heather and lay back in bed, looking at the ceiling. “I…I just can’t talk about it right now. It’s hard for you to understand, I guess. But I need you to try.”
“No, what I don’t understand is how you refuse to open up to me about your past, but you have no problems discussing it with Sarah!”
Dane whirled his head toward Heather. “Huh?”
“That’s right, Dane. I took a break today when you two were having your lunch at the picnic table. I came outside, but your backs were to me, so you didn’t see me coming. I was going to join you for a few minutes, but as I got closer it seemed you two were in the middle of a serious conversation. So I stopped and began to turn around, when I heard you talk about your mom. I know I shouldn’t have, but I listened for a minute. You talked about her death; her unfortunate—”
“Shut up!” Dane said now pointing a finger in Heather’s face. “Just keep quiet about that—that wasn’t meant for you to hear.”
Heather stared at him with contempt, and then sprung off the bed, throwing some clothes on. “Oh, but it’s fine for that slut Sarah to hear, huh, Dane? What else do you share with her, huh? Your cock too?!”
“No, of course not! You don’t understand. We come from similar places—”
“And that’s the reason why you can talk to her and not with your girlfriend? That’s a bunch of bullshit, Dane!”
“Where are you going?”
“Over to my loving parents home. Is that okay with you?”
“And that’s why I can’t talk to you about it. Look at you already rubbing it in my face—”
“That’s not what I’m doing—”
“Oh, yes you are. Sarah wouldn’t do that, because she knows what it’s like. You don’t! You couldn’t begin to understand! You and your precious upbringing. That’s why I don’t want you to know all the gritty details. Mom’s death was only a small part of the truth. If you know everything, I’ll feel like I lost what I gained when you came into my life. A chance to start over.”
“But you can’t have secrets from your girlfriend and live in some fantasy life, Dane!”
The argument went on and on, and Dane realized that this would not be a memory he would want to pull up frequently and relive after all. No, this would definitely be one he would want to forget. When the fight ended, Heather grabbed a few things and left the apartment.