DRIFT Deleted Scenes -
The following excerpts are uncorrected for grammar and/or punctuation. They were pulled directly from rough drafts.
This first deleted scene is from the original Chapter 23. It was cut during one of my very early revisions PRIOR to even sending this manuscript out seeking an agent. So no one has read this version--not even my sister.
After it was all said and done, I really hated how utterly depressing this was, and more importantly, I felt that it took away from Colin's death and his impact on Abby.
“How’re you doing?” Gracie asked from the kitchen.
Since coming home from the hospital, she hadn’t been more than a few feet from my side. When she’d picked me up, I’d heard the doctor go over signs of suicide. I saw him give her pamphlet after pamphlet for counseling, grief support groups, and God only knows what else. But no amount of therapy could get me through this. How could I share what had happened that night when so much of it existed outside of everyone else’s normal?
“Fine,” I said, but I didn’t look at her. For the last twenty-four hours, I’d sat in this spot, staring out the window overlooking the courtyard. I couldn’t sleep for fear of closing my eyes, I couldn’t eat for the sadness that turned my stomach. I couldn’t cry for fear I’d never stop.
Gracie placed a steaming mug of coffee on the table and sat next to me. “Are you cold? I could get you a blanket.” She was already pulling a quilt from the stack next to the sofa. She unfolded it and draped it across my lap.
“Thanks,” I said. We’d spoken briefly, but mostly I stared out the window. Gracie did her best not to look worried. She fixed me food I couldn’t eat and kept the conversation light, but I knew she had questions.
“Do you know what you’re going to wear?” she asked. “Can I get it ready for you?”
The sky was grey and threatened rain, fitting as today was the funeral. I couldn’t think about it because when I did, my chest opened, like someone cracked it apart and left me bare. The pain was beyond real. It was beyond vivid…it was visceral…it was mind bending and the opposite of numbing. The process hurt to think about. Living hurt to think about.
I leaned back and closed my eyes wanting to avoid doing anything that would speed today along. I didn’t want this afternoon to happen. I didn’t want to be forced to confront it. The moment my eyes shut, I saw blood. My father’s blood. James’ blood…Colin...Roselli. I saw hollow eyes and wounds that would never heal. I heard screams, mostly my own, and saw tears.
I gasped and pushed myself forward tucking my head to my knees. The pain was overwhelming. The kind that begged to be purged. How was I supposed to endure it? How was I supposed to move on?
Gracie’s hand came to rest on my back. I took several breaths, each time wishing it was my last only.
“I’m going to be there with you,” she said. “You’re going to get through this, I promise.”
I turned and put my head in her lap, my tears becoming somewhat explosive. Gracie’s hand stayed on my back. She didn’t move, she didn’t press…she didn’t complain. When I finally had myself under control, I pushed to a seated position and rubbed my eyes with the heels of my hands.
“How much time do I have?”
Gracie looked at the screen on her cell phone. “About an hour.”
I nodded and stood. “I’ll start getting ready.”
I tried not to think about what I was doing too much. I looked at each piece of the process individually rather than as a culmination of things that led to the one place I didn’t want to go.
Undress. Shower. Dry off. Slide dress on. Put feet in shoes. Brush hair. Brush teeth. Apply lip gloss. Pack tissues.
Gracie’s soft knock echoed in my too silent room. “Are you ready? We should probably get going.”
I swallowed and nodded knowing she couldn’t see my response, but unable to voice anything loud enough for her to hear. For several seconds, I tried to move forward and toward the door. I would take a step, only to take it back. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t compartmentalize this task. I knew where these steps would take me, and I didn’t want to go. I didn’t ever want to go back there.
The door opened without a sound, and Gracie stood in the doorway. She stepped inside and stood in front of me, but instead of saying a word, she placed my hand in hers. “Okay?” she asked.
“Okay,” I said, and with our hands linked, we left for my father’s funeral.
The guests had left, the sun was hanging low in the sky, and still I sat, staring at my father’s casket. It was hard to imagine him inside. It was hard to imagine that box lowered into the ground and covered with dirt. When my mother had died, it seemed like a logical step. She had been heading in that direction for years. I knew it was coming at some point. But somehow, not my father. He shouldn't be there. Not now.
“Are you ready to go?” Gracie asked as she grabbed my hand in hers.
I cleared my throat, “When we first got here, I wanted to leave. And now that it’s time to go, I can’t get up.”
“We can stay,” she said as she rummaged through her purse. I hadn’t told Gracie everything that happened three days ago. Not like I’d promised, but I’d told her enough. For now at least. She pulled out a small bottle and twisted off the cap. She handed it to me and I took it without thinking.
“I don’t think my father would approve,” I said staring at the bottle of Jack Daniels. “He was a scotch man.” I took a long sip and gave it back to Gracie. My face pinched as I swallowed.
“I think he’d understand.” She tipped the bottle back.
“I know I said I didn't want to go, and I probably shouldn't, not today, but do you think you could drop me off at the hospital on the way back?”
“I’ll go in with you.”
“No, I need to do this alone. There's some things I need to say that--” I took another pull from the bottle and brushed at the tears that filled my eyes. “I hate funerals. They make you think about all the things you should’ve done. All the things you should’ve said.” I sniffed and drank again. The fire from the whiskey was warming my veins and courage to speak was building. “At my mother’s, I could only think about how much she annoyed me. How the little things that she couldn’t even help, crawled under my skin. I was so angry with her for most of my life, and I hate that, because now that she’s gone, I realize I wasn’t angry with her, but really with her disease. I wish I would’ve told her I loved her. I wish I could've let those little things go and just be with her.”
“She knew, Abby.”
“I don’t know,” I said honestly. Gracie handed me the bottle. “And now with my dad…I’ve been thinking about my last conversation with him. He was angry with me, and he left without saying goodbye.” I looked down at my lap, “I don’t want to be here again next week with more regrets about not saying goodbye.”
This next deleted scene was also cut from Chapter 23. In the end, I decided this was just extraneous information, and after some reflection, felt like Colin needed to die at the scene. Colin was one of my favorite characters to write, and killing him was the hardest part about writing DRIFT.
It was dark and there was a steady beep coming from his bedside, the only light coming from the glow of monitors. I moved to his side and my heart pinched at the sight of him. Blankets were tucked around his waist and his chest was wrapped in bandages. His face was pale, his features without life.
I sat in the chair next to the bed not sure what to do. So much had happened, and so little of it I understood. I was being torn in two. My heart, the one that belonged to Colin in my past life still beat in my chest today. I couldn’t turn that off. I couldn’t make that go away. And after seeing the final minutes of our past life together, I wouldn’t want to.
I reached for his hand and tears pricked the backs of my eyes when he didn’t respond. His skin was cold and his hand was limp. I squeezed, hoping to infuse some strength, some warmth into him.
“Colin?” I said hoping for some kind of response. I waited for several seconds, but nothing changed. “I wish you could hear me, but if you could, I’m not sure I could say what I need to say anyway.”
The fact that he gave no indication that he heard any of what I was saying made it a bit easier to continue. “I know why you hid your drift from me. I know you were trying to protect me. That seems to be a common thing with you—covering up bits and pieces of who you are to keep me safe. I’m not saying I agree with it, but I wanted you to know that I understand it. I’m sorry it took me so long to figure that out.”
I couldn't contain the tears any longer. I clamped my lips shut and my breath caught as my body shook. I leaned forward and rested my head rested on his hand. I pressed it to my cheek and then my lips to his skin. I needed a sign that he heard me. It couldn't end like this again, unfinished and unresolved.
His hand twitched. “Colin?” I asked. “Can you hear me?”
I was staring at his hand, willing it to move, when I felt his fingers tighten around mine. The pressure was hardly there, but I could see it…I could feel it. Joy burst inside me. He was going to be okay. He was going to live.
That’s why I didn’t understand it when the beeping monitor stopped and was replaced by a high pitched single sound. Everything happened at once. The doors flew open and words were shouted. Someone grabbed me and pushed me from the room. I was a bystander, a ghost, watching them work.
“He’s coding!” someone yelled.
I couldn’t see anything anymore, there were too many people in the room, but I didn’t have to see to understand. Colin was dying. Blood raged in my ears. I knew I was going to faint. I pushed myself through the ICU doors and all but collapsed on the other side. I leaned against the wall and dropped my head between my knees. I didn’t move until the floor stopped spinning, until the high pitched squeal in my ears died away, until I could breathe without gasping.