Author’s Note: The following excerpt is a deleted scene from Echo. It was written in third person point of view during a time when I was still unsure of whose viewpoint the novel would be told from. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.
Deleted Scene from “A Day at the Lake”
“D.J., slow down!” Cheyenne yelled over the roar of the jet ski. She clung tightly to his waist, afraid of being thrown into the lake.
For good measure, Derek did a donut, flinging a rooster tail spray of water at Eli on the other jet ski before easing off the accelerator and edging to the Hartman’s dock to let Cheyenne off.
“God, Chey, I was just having fun,” Derek said, holding the jet ski steady while she climbed onto the dock.
“But your idea of fun could get us killed,” she whined.
“Get a grip. It’s not that serious,” Eli called as he edged up to the other side of the dock.
“Whatever,” Cheyenne said. She snatched on her cover-up, shoved her feet into her flip-flops, and stomped up the dock to the lake house above.
Eli and Derek exchanged glances, neither being able to hold in the eruption of laughter at Cheyenne’s performance.
“Dude, you gotta get you a girl who can handle your crazy ass,” Eli said.
“Chey handles my ass pretty good,” Derek returned, “she’s just pissed that I won’t make it permanent again with her.”
“Well, you know,” Derek tried to explain. He cut the engine and sprang to the dock sure-footed, securing the Seadoo to the tie-off. He glanced at Eli, noting that Eli didn’t know what he was talking about. And in some ways, even he still didn’t know what he was talking about, or feeling.
“I’ve outgrown her, man,” Derek told him. Eli had tied off his jet ski and sat next to Derek on the dock.
“Whadda ya mean?”
“I mean, she still plays these stupid games and I’m so over that.”
“You mean, like sex games?” Eli stared at him, totally sincere in his question.
“God, no! Nothing like that!” Derek flicked a sliver of wood from the dock into the lake. “I mean, she acts all girly, saying things to get me to say them back to her. And I don’t feel that way about her anymore. You get what I’m sayin’?”
“Yeah, I think so. Like when you tell your sister what she wants to hear just to get her off your back?”
“Yeah, something like that.” Derek could tell that Eli was trying to understand, but he just wasn’t getting it. Ever since the concert last weekend, Derek had felt different, more mature, and definitely more in control of his gift. He nudged his buddy with his elbow, sending a small shock of empathy into him. “Besides, you know what Chey really wants. And I’m not givin’ it to her and ending up stuck here like…” He didn’t want to say his parents, or Eli’s parents for that matter, but Eli got the picture.
“No way!” Eli agreed. “I’m not getting caught in a baby trap.”
“Exactly!” Derek agreed.
“But still,” Eli glanced over his shoulder to see Cheyenne drop into a deck chair, “to get some of that…” but Derek wasn’t paying attention. He was staring across the inlet to the two women on the beach.
“Dude, check them out,” he said. He knew who they were from the hum that was vibrating inside himself. It was his soul match, Tara, and her friend, Brynn. He hadn’t picked up on her frequency with Cheyenne’s vibe demanding all of his psychic attention. It was all he could do just to keep her from sucking the spirit from him, her neediness was so exhausting.
“You know them?” Eli asked.
“Sort of. My brother goes to school with them and I saw them at the concert.”
“Oh, man, you mean…” Eli trailed off.
“Yeah, they’re the ones those idiot frat boys tried to pick up.” Derek had told Eli about him preventing Tara’s abduction, but without the details of the Quickening.
“Dude, let’s go talk to them,” Eli said, jumping up to mount the jet ski. “See if they want to ride with us.”
“No, wait,” Derek called.
“I just…” He just what? Was scared to go talk to the woman he had supernaturally coupled with because she wouldn’t remember it? Or that she’d laugh in his face because he was younger than her?
“What?” Eli repeated.
“I just think they’d probably blow us off, is all. I mean, they’re college girls. And look at them,” he nodded in their direction while grabbing Eli’s arm to keep him from starting the jet ski. “They look too prissy to get their hair wet and all.” It was a weak lie, but it seemed to work. And it helped that Derek sent a wave of doubt through Eli.
“Yeah, they do look like snobs,” Eli agreed. “Not that I can see their faces, but just the way they’re layin’ there with their shades on. Not moving.” Eli’s doubt shifted to annoyance.
Okay, Derek thought, that’s enough. He released Eli’s arm as he stepped back onto the dock. He glanced once again at the two women, noticing a shimmer of rosy gold encircling Tara. He made a mental note to talk to his sister about it.
“So, are y’all done for today?” Cheyenne stood at the end of the dock in her bikini, hands on her hips, making her ogling invitation obvious. She swayed toward the two guys, drawing a low sigh from each of them–Eli’s from wont, Derek’s from irritation.
Derek sprang onto the jet ski, starting the engine as he called over his shoulder, “You two ride together for a while. I’m going solo.” He took off to the middle of the lake, toward the floating dock and to get a closer look at Tara.