ITL: Deleted Scene – Chapter 24, Gray

As promised, here’s the first of the deleted scenes from In This Life. I thought I’d share a little of Jude with you today.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Gray

Five days had passed since I was with her at the park. It took every ounce of me to avoid stopping by the hospital to see her. What Peter had said the other night resonated with me; if I were to decide to go back, there was no point in seeing her. She told me to stay away. These were requests that I had to honor.  But I didn’t plan to return to the seminary just yet. I wanted to take advantage of my time away to fully absorb what the outside world had to offer. I knew I would go back. This situation, what did Peter call it? Temporary insanity?

If only I could remember what had gone down in the past five days. I woke up each day with the thought of her, spent sleepless nights with her in my head. I was so close to where she was and in moments of weakness, I’d convinced myself that she needed to see me too.

I drank myself into a stupor, discovering a bar down the street called the Wharf Rat, and I stayed until they kicked me out each morning. The days without seeing her were meaningless.

Friday night was no different. Except I made up my mind that I would finally act like a real man.

A man with needs, with wants, a man who didn’t hide behind his beliefs or his commitments. They were false, at this point. Everything was a lie. In truth, I was really just a single man.

Everything felt different after I made that decision. The bar felt friendlier, the drinks tasted better, and the women looked prettier. I was going to forget her once and for all, and the only way to do that was to replace her. Or the need for her.

Eight glasses of Glenlivet later, and I could hardly see what was in front of me. I felt great – brave, bold and invincible, and visibly transfixed by the look and feel of the establishment. Old world wooden bar, a brick wall, heavy wooden shutters.

“I take it you’re not from here?” A red headed girl slinked over and propped herself up on the barstool next to me. She looked like she was from out of town, out of place in a sleepy waterfront resort in the middle of winter, dressed in what was obviously business attire. She wore a tight skirt and a thin, white blouse under a cropped navy blue blazer. Generic black pumps were merely finishing touches on her long, sexy legs. Her thick and lustrous red hair fell softly on her shoulders, her bright blue eyes, or were they green eyes? I was angry at myself for not being able to remember. Oh but those lips, I would know them anywhere. They were full, yet proportioned to suit her perfect face. Where was that pink birthmark on the side of her left thigh? Let me see it, I wanted to see it.

“Blue?” I mumbled, trying to focus on her face.

“Who? No, my name is Joan.” She laughed out loud and motioned for the bartender to take her order. “A glass of Malbec, please.”

It was Anna. She was toying with me, tricking me into thinking that this was not her.

She repeated her question once again. “So, are you from here?”

“No,” I slurred. “Staying for a few days with a friend.”

“Oh. Where are you from?”

“Pennsylvania,” I answered, swirling my glass around, focusing intently on the sound of melting ice cubes rattling against each other. I watched as she deliberately tipped her body forward to allow me a better view of her cleavage. It was a good view, and I allowed myself to enjoy it. She opened her mouth and lost me immediately. All I heard were sounds coming out of her lips; I didn’t really care about what she had to say.

“Pennsylvania, huh? Well I’m from South Carolina. Here on business. There’s not much to do here, is there?” God, that twang of hers was irritating as hell.

“Excuse me, I have to go to the washroom,” I said as I pushed past her, concerned solely with maintaining my balance. There were hardly any lights in the bar—it was dark, and the smell of fermented beer bothered me for some reason that night. I wanted to get out of there, but I had nowhere to go. Peter was out, the apartment was empty. My life was depleted. I had invested my time in a career that required solitude and silence. Why had it worked for me before, and why wasn’t it working tonight? Bring on the loud music, the noise, the chatter. I wanted to hear it all, hide my thoughts behind the discord of the world around me.

I did my business, washing my hands, and opened the door to the hallway. She appeared right in front of me, like Satan in a blue suit. Clouded by need, I pulled her back into the bathroom with me. She didn’t hesitate as she knelt down on the filthy floor and unbuttoned my jeans. I reached down and grabbed her breast while fumbling to undo the buttons of her blouse. “I want to see these. Let me look at them. That’s it. Show me.”

She complied obediently and opened up her blouse before taking me in her mouth. I stared down at the view until my head started to spin, and I had to lean my head against the wall with my eyes lightly closed.

“Ah. Blue.” I held her head as she expertly moved in and out.

“Joan.”

My eyes snapped open. My head took over. It wasn’t totally aligned with my body. I could feel the surge taking over me. “No! No!” I pushed her away roughly, knocking her off her knees and on to the floor. I knelt down immediately and gently lifted her up by her shoulders. “I’m so sorry. Please, let me help you.” She didn’t say a word, but her sad eyes shamed me into self-reproach. “I’m so sorry. Please, please forgive me,” I mumbled incoherently until she shook her head and walked out the door.

I sat on the floor for a few minutes to give her time to collect herself without further embarrassment. And then I stumbled back to the bar, threw a hundred dollar bill on the table, and walked out in the rain.

 It was time to return to the quiet.

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