**scroll past this lame intro if you want to dive straight into the short story**
The “Deleted Scene” series will be a collection of scenes that do not appear in The Edinön Trilogy. They will contain zero spoilers. What they will provide is a deeper insight into the characters. You don’t have to read the books before reading these to understand what is happening, although they may raise unanswered questions. Deleted scenes narrated by Juan and Kandi will be in first person, like in the books, whereas deleted scenes narrated by secondary characters will be in third person.
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The next “Deleted Scene” will be posted on December 17th in Juan’s POV.
Deleted Scene #3:
JEREMY: THE FIRST NOEL
Dec. 3rd, 1997 | Salt Lake City, Utah
Jeremy straightens his black bow-tie in front of the full-length mirror. He hears his new wife, Talia, using the sink in the master bathroom and his seven-month-old daughter playing with a rattle on their king-sized bed.
He knew marrying Talia right before the holiday season was a bad idea beforehand, but he didn’t know exactly how bad of an idea it was until she told him they were invited to her family’s annual Christmas party. His disguise is going to need extra work tonight if he is going to evade the scrutiny of her relatives. Certainly he will be able to charm them the way he has charmed her, and Kandi will serve as an easy distraction, hence why he insisted on bringing her rather than hiring a babysitter.
Talia leaves the bathroom while donning a second earring in her right ear. She is wearing a low-cut red dress. Her blond hair is long and curled at the ends, giving it a soft bounce as she moves. Jeremy’s eyes are drawn to her red lipstick. He smiles. She is no Hope, but she was the most beautiful human woman he could find on short notice.
“You look beautiful, Tal,” he says, striding from the mirror to catch her by the waist. She blushes at his compliment and places her hands on his chest. Her eyes are the color of a stormy sea, highlighted by sparkling silver liner and heavy black shadow.
“They’ll be expecting us in ten minutes,” she says, almost under her breath. He knows her thoughts, her simmering desire to rip off his jacket and forgo the party altogether, and he is pleased with how easily he can seduce her. Seizing her will hadn’t been necessary when she practically threw herself at him when they met. It only took three weeks for her to say yes to a proposal. She still hardly knows him, while he knows everything about her.
“I will warm up the car, then,” he says softly, pressing his lips to her forehead and departing the bedroom.
Snow is dusting the driveway outside. He tastes the chilled winter air and scans the suburban street, brightened by Christmas lights hanging from almost every roof. He warms the car with a touch and wills the keys into the ignition before he opens the door.
Talia rushes outside twenty minutes later, clutching Kandi’s car seat in one arm and her black purse in her opposite hand. Jeremy steps out of the car to open the back door for her and secure Kandi in the back seat while Talia slides into the passenger seat, exhaling and warming her hands in front of the vents.
When he returns to the driver’s side, Talia smiles lovingly at him. “You sure you’re ready for this?”
He begins backing the car out of the driveway. “I have been dying to meet your extended family since our engagement.”
She grins. She is a twenty-year-old sophomore in college. Her parents had not expected her to marry so quickly, and while in the early stages of dating, they expressed many fears which were all washed away when they met him and Kandi. Jeremy realized then that his child is more powerful than he expected. Her powers are already beginning to manifest, and she’s not even a year old.
They arrive at Talia’s large childhood home and park on the other side of the street. Jeremy exits first to open his wife’s door and retrieve Kandi. They walk across the street, the lawn, and to the door arm-in-arm. He can hear the Christmas jazz playing inside before Talia’s mother, Ruby, answers the door.
“Hello! Welcome! Come in, come in!”
They step inside. Talia shakes snow off her coat as she removes it. Ruby closes the door behind them and walks ahead. The vestibule is festively illuminated and leads directly into a gathering area, where fifty-three adults are already milling about, drinking and piecing on chocolate candies. The room is warm, smells of gingerbread, and is filled with laughter. Jeremy also hears the guests’ thoughts and is repelled by their frivolousness.
Talia’s father, Marvin, joins Ruby in welcoming them. He is under six feet in height but strong for a human. He greets Kandi in her car seat, allowing her to grab his finger. Jeremy will forever detest the cooing noises adults make in the presence of infants.
Marvin invites him to leave the car seat by the coat rack. Jeremy sets Kandi there and unbuckles her restraints. Kandi reaches up, green eyes glowing. He lifts her and commences his plan of walking throughout the crowd and showing off his daughter. Conversation is kept to a maximum of three to seven words, much to his appreciation. Talia does 90 percent of the talking, introducing him to all in attendance and catching her relatives up on her schooling and new family.
“You have a beautiful baby, Jeremy,” Talia’s aunt Mamrie says. She is a wealthy middle-aged woman who has been divorced three times.
“Thank you, Aunt Mamrie,” he says, switching Kandi to his other arm. The baby’s hair is a light, polished gold hue and curls over her tiny ears.
Kandi looks around with a sorrowful expression and doesn’t utter a peep. He hears her thoughts and realizes she is absorbing past pains of everyone around her.
“Talia,” he says, lightly touching his wife’s arm to pull her attention from her grandfather. “Is there somewhere I can take Kandi to change her?”
“Yeah, let me show you.” She excuses herself from the room and leads him to the ornate bathroom down the hall. “Does she really need to be changed now? I just changed her before we left.”
Jeremy feigns checking her diaper under her velvet green dress. “I suppose not. But I don’t think she likes being around all those people.”
Talia studies Kandi, tapping her nose and tickling her. When she garners no response, her eyes convey concern. “She looks sad. I have never seen such a sad baby before that doesn’t cry.”
“She may simply need a nap.”
“I can show you where my room is. You think she’ll be okay there?”
Once he has laid Kandi upon Talia’s old bed, the child falls right to sleep. Jeremy stands beside Talia in the doorway to watch her for a moment.
“She really is a beautiful baby. She skipped the cute stage and went straight to gorgeous. Is that weird to say?”
Talia looks up at him, back pressed partly into his torso. He wraps his arm around her stomach. “Your relatives seems to approve of me so far.”
“Oh, they adore you,” Talia says with a wide smile.
“Rightfully so,” he teases before planting a kiss to the lips that have been distracting him all evening. With the kiss floods visions of Talia’s future, lying on a tile floor, drowning in her own blood as it bubbles from a deep, crimson gash in her throat.
Kandi utters her first cry.
Thanks for reading! 🦌🎄