YA Scavenger Hunt Exclusive: INDELIBLE deleted scene by Lani Woodland by elanajohnson

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       “Where should we start?” I asked, letting my gaze flicker out among

the throng.

       “Over there,” Brent said, gesturing to a middle-aged man standing

by the fireplace. “He’s a friend of my fathers so I know him a little.

       “Mr. Seager!” he called out. The man looked up and smiled, waving

for us to come over.

       Brent immediately began turning on the charm. I sipped cider from

my fancy glass and smiled as I watched him. Brent fit seamlessly into the

polished Pendrell world. I didn’t feel a part of that world, despite my great-

grandfather being an alumni himself. Once again I realized how lucky I was

to have Brent be there with me through my entire senior year. Just having

him stand beside me soothed my anxiety.

The conversation turned towards people I didn’t know and business I didn’t

understand. I let my eyes wander around the room and instantly noticed a

large picture hanging over the ancient brick fireplace. The man inside the

frame looked as if he had sucked long and hard on a lemon. It was the

only way to explain the puckered scowl on his face. Still, despite the facial

grimace, the oil painting was exquisite. The thick strokes, and deep

grooves were very distinctive. Too bad it had such an unattractive subject.

       It was framed in an expensive gilded frame inlaid with an elaborate

design. I could tell it was old. I wondered idly if the man in the painting had

been the original owner of the house.

       “Oh, there’s Yara Silva,” a gratingly familiar voice said. I would know

that nasally whine anywhere. I grimaced as I turned around.

        “Lucia,” I acknowledged as politely as I could.

        Lucia smiled back as if she were my best friend rather than my main

competition for Valedictorian—and president of the ‘I hate Yara club’. She

strolled up to our group who stopped their conversation and smiled politely

at her as she approached.

        “So, you spent your summer in Brazil learning to talk to ghosts.”

        Mr. Seager frowned in confusion and his wife laughed, thinking that

Lucia was making a joke.

       “Nice to see you again too, Lucia. It’s always such a pleasure.”

       My undercurrent of contempt wasn’t as subtle as I had thought, and

Lucia scowled at me. Mentally I began formulating plan after plan on how

to get her away from me. Leave it to Lucia to use the alumni party as an

opportunity to tell the whole room I was crazy. It would be like grade school

all over again. I tried not to let it faze me but that old familiar desire to deny

crept its way up my throat. I couldn’t though; it would now be like denying

part of myself, and I wasn’t going to give Lucia the satisfaction of breaking


        Knowing I was probably committing internship suicide I smiled.

“That’s right. It’s the family business.”

       Everyone gaped at me and I sipped my sparkling cider again a little

smugly. Even Brent cleared his throat.

       Lucia recovered first. “She’s always talking to things she can’t see,”

she said airily.

        “Is she?” Mr. Seager asked politely.

        Lucia nodded. “I personally think she needs medicine. Maybe after I

get my psychology degree I can be of help to her.”

       Tears burned behind my eyes. Why were her words affecting me

when I knew she was wrong? I took a drink buying myself time.

       “And her friend Cherie, well,” she opened her mouth to say something

else but she didn’t have time. People could say what they wanted about

me but they better not bring my loved ones into it. I did the most Oscar

worthy fake trip in the history of womankind, pretending to snag my shoe

on the expensive throw rug and somehow ‘lost control’, meaning I took

direct aim at her white linen suit. My apple cider soaked her, wetting her

perfectly coiffed hair. Her mouth puckered, making her look like a trout.

       “I’m sorry I’m so clumsy.”

        The man and woman both gasped and I knew my stupid act of

rebellion had cost me more than the promise of retaliation by Lucia. I

grabbed a napkin from a roving waiter and made to help dry her off. She

took a step back.

        “Don’t you dare touch me!”

        I spun around and pushed myself out toward the back doors. Brent

called for me to wait, I glanced over my shoulder and saw him waylaid by

someone so I kept going until I was outside, where I crashed into a patio

chair and tried to calm myself down. I took deep breaths and felt the fury in

me start to fade, only to be replaced by dread at the thought of what my

act of anger could have cost me. Why did I have to do that when I could

have just turned and walked away? Because she had started to attack

Cherie. I pressed the palm of my hands into my eyes.

       I turned my head to the side in an attempt to stretch my stiff muscles

out only to be accosted by the sight of a pool, its water shining in the late

summer heat. People were milling around it carrying plates of food,

laughing and mingling as floating candles bobbed in the water. A strange

sensation washed over me, almost like a nibbling at the edges of my mind.

It enticed me, calling in my ear, and my body stiffened. It sang for me,

begging me to dive into the water.

       Sweat trickled down my spine. I wheeled around and forced my way

back inside. I was shaking, terrified by how close I had come to walking

towards the water. It was like I was possessed for a moment, and it scared


       “Excuse me, I need another one of those,” I said, grabbing another

juice from a waiter and smiling briefly before returning inside.

Could the night get worse? First Lucia, and now this. Apparently the

answer was yes, because right then the hairs on the back of my neck

stood on alert and a swish of cold sprinted down my spine. I stifled a moan

as I realized that someone was staring at me.

I could feel it.

       My fingers clenched the stem of my glass, my suddenly sweaty

palms mixing with the condensation on the crystal. I took a deep breath,

reminding myself that of course I was being watched. I was here to parade

around, flaunt my stuff and land an internship. Pretending to stretch I

twisted at the waist and found a pair of green eyes studying me. I paused,

checking to see if he’d look away, but he didn’t.

Instead he raised one eyebrow and lifted his glass to me.

       He was cute in the boy-next-door kind of way, tan, with wheat

colored hair that looked like it needed a trim, and freckles on his nose. He

looked harmless and unassuming, but something about him made my

stomach roll slightly. I didn’t know why, but I didn’t like him.

       He started moving toward me through the crowd, his eyes never

leaving me. Where were Brent and Cherie? My eyes swept the room and

saw Brent talking with Head Master Farnsworth. Cherie and Steve were

talking with a middle-aged man I didn’t know.

        “Hi,” the boy said when he was about a foot away. I startled having

forgot about him in the seconds I had been gazing at Brent. He seemed

familiar. An image flashed through my mind, but it disappeared before I

could really study it.

         “Hi,” I said, grabbing a shrimp appetizer from a waiter as he walked

by. “Some party, huh?” I took a bite.

         “Yep, too bad it’s not a good one.” He took a swig of his drink. “In

fact, the only interesting thing that happened all night was you spilling your

drink all over Lucia.”

       Heat colored my face. “You saw that, did you?”

       “I did. It was hard not to applaud. Lucia is a world-class snob.”

       “I could think of a few more choice descriptions, but snob works too.”	

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