This scene was part of a very early version of the book. RECAST has seen a lot of different iterations and, in the end, this scene was scrapped for a number of reasons, not the least of which that it took Drake and Leah’s relationship to a place it wasn’t ready to go. They’re pretty real with each other, but not quite this real, yet. 😉 This picks up at the end of Nina’s conversation with Cecelia and Leah at Cecelia’s dining room table–Drake has just entered the scene, having been eavesdropping from the kitchen. In this version, instead of going for a run, D sticks around.
Drake fought with himself, his hands twitching with the want to touch me, the heat twisting with his desire to put Nina in her place, denied. But he played his part and stuffed his hands into the pocket on the front of his thin hooded sweatshirt, and applied his best, cool nonchalance. “No. We didn’t. But Leah has it under control. Like I said, I doubt it will be an issue because I doubt we’re going anywhere. Cool?”
Around us, the room had fallen into silence, every set of eyes on the silently charged exchange taking place around the dining table.
Nina looked up at him. “I hope you’re right,” she said sweetly, then looked at me. “No offense intended, I swear.”
It took effort, but I brushed her comments off with a show of good nature, a shrug and a smile. “No worries.”
I went walking in the desert not long after that, glad to be alone for a little while. Glad to get out of the house. I didn’t want to be jealous or angry about Nina and her apparent affection for Drake–I didn’t want to be that girl–but it was too late.
Drake followed me across the rocks, walking a safe distance behind. I was sure he could feel and see how aggravated I was–it was probably hard to miss.
“What the hell is her problem?” I demanded, throwing my hands in the air as soon as we were far enough away from the house that no one was liable to hear our conversation. “And what the hell is the deal with the way she feels?!”
Drake kept a few steps distance between us which was the opposite of what I wanted. “She’s not very skilled,” he said, sounding exhausted.
“What is that supposed to mean?” I said.
“The heat,” he explained simply. “It’s a reflection of a person’s skill level, their ability to shift. Her skill is so minute compared to yours, that her warmth feels incomplete, scratchy.”
“Yeah,” he replied. “So don’t worry about Nina. No one takes her seriously.”
“Well scratchy or not, Cecelia takes her seriously enough!” I shot back.
“Shh,” D glanced back toward the house. “And no, she doesn’t.”
“Yes,” I replied, mimicking his phrasing, “she does. Did you know she was on the phone with someone, talking about the vampire’s negotiation and what it means for us?!”
He sighed, looking to the sky. “She was talking to my parents,” he said. “I was listening the whole time. They knew that already, they just didn’t know that others knew. That’s all.”
“Why are you standing so far away from me?” He hadn’t taken one step closer to me while we had this whole conversation, but simply paced a perimeter like there was a wall between us.
“Because somebody might be watching us, from the house.”
I just stared at him for a minute. “So let’s walk further away from the house.”
“Are you involved with Nina?”
His eyes shot wide. “No!” he replied, shocked that I’d suggest it. “God no! I just…” He groaned wordlessly then turned away from the house even though it was already so unlikely that his voice would carry as far as we’d walked. “She wishes that I were,” he said. “She has this crazy idea that we should be.”
“Because you’re so close to ‘the source?’”
A wordless groan again.
“What’s that even mean?”
“It doesn’t matter. She’s an idiot.”
I stared at him once again, silently demanding that he explain it to me.
“Le-le,” he dropped his voice, made it low and calm and loving. “I’m with you. Only you. You’re mine–I don’t want anybody else. You know that.”
His voice and the soft, tender warmth dulled the edge of my agitation. I unsuccessfully fought a smirk, a little embarrassed that I‘d had the gall to ask him if he was involved with Nina. What sort of crazy girl was I turning into? “I know.”
“And you know I’d touch you if I didn’t think anyone was watching,” he went on. “But with Nina here…she’s so much drama, it’s even more important that we play this right. We can’t give her any reason to doubt your ability to lead.”
That made sense. I could see what he was saying.
“Besides,” he added, “I won’t play leader with anyone but you.”