Young Adult & Middle Grade Author
A Special Scene
As a special thanks for all the reviews that readers have posted, I agreed to unearth a scene that had been deleted from the final book. Just in case you've arrived here by accident, note that this scene happens in the second half of the book. After the scene where Abby and Zeke watch the x-rated French movie. So after... Right. If you don't know what those dots mean, you may not want to read it yet.
I've always loved this scene, as did my editor. But, she felt that one ceramics scene was enough, and plus... we already have a good amount of warm fuzzies in this book. Though you can always have more.
So here, without further ado... MORE.
Remember, don't read this if you haven't read the book at all. Unless you don't mind knowing some things...
This comes right before the trip to Montreal.
At dinner, he's fun, affectionate Zeke. We sit with Alice and Colin and Zeke smiles and jokes and his fingers hold mine under the table. At one point, he stands on his chair to do a dramatic reading of "Colonel Fazackerly Butterworth Toast," an English poem about a man who banishes a ghost from his castle. And while my stomach hurts from laughing so hard and my heart feels full, there's also an odd emptiness around us. Almost like there's too much laughter, too much affection.
But in class the next day, I question that feeling. Maybe I was in a bad mood last night. Maybe it felt odd to share Zeke after so much time cocooned in our own little world. Maybe maybe maybe, because today Zeke is normal happy and normal sweet, and I let myself bask in it.
Especially when I see where he's taken me for our French outing.
"The Pot Shop?"
We're standing on the porch of a small lilac house on a quiet side street off Main. The only reason I even know it's called “The Pot Shop” is thanks to a slip of paper pinned to the dark green door. Otherwise I wouldn't have known there was even a store behind the door. Especially since Zeke's thumb had been twirling delightful swirls on the inside of my wrist and I really wasn't paying attention to anything else.
As in, he could have easily walked me into the lake and I wouldn't have noticed.
Not good. I keep trying to remember that I need to prove my fluency to Marianne by the end of the summer, that there's less than two weeks left of school, that Zeke lives in San Diego, and I live in Chicago. That that's really really far, even though I was wrong about Alaska being closer.
"Uh, I don't know about this place--"
"Alice recommended it," Zeke says, pressing the doorbell. He seems oblivious to my panic, as he opens the door following the loud buzzing sound.
"Alice?" I squeak.
"It's a pottery studio," he says, eyes rolling as I exhale in relief. "Did you miss all the clay pots on the porch?"
As I noted, I really wasn't paying attention to anything. And apparently I'm not going to be able to fudge that.
"You're cute." His kiss grazes my temple, the sweet spot between my hairline and my forehead and I don't care that there's a woman in clay-covered overalls approaching us, I want to head back outside and continue this conversation somewhere else.
"Zeke Martin?" she says, and Zeke holds out his hand and I'm quite sure we want be leaving anytime soon. "I have your wheels ready for you. You did say you didn't require an instructor?"
"That's right. I've been taking pottery for the past few years."
Her look is directed at me but it's hard to concentrate because I'm learning something new about Zeke that I need time to process it. He's a potter?
"Uh, no," I finally mutter when the silence goes on a little too long.
"I'll be happy to show her," Zeke says, his arm around my shoulder.
And now I have a whole new vocabulary of French words.
I'm going to sit behind you. Je vais m'asseoir derrière toi.
Can I put my arms around yours? Est-ce que je peux metre mes bras autours de toi?
Place your fingers on mine. Mets tes doigts sur les miens.
Knead the clay. Pétris l'argile.
Can you feel the clay? Est-ce que tu peux sentir l'argile?
I think I need a cold shower. Je pense que j'ai besoin d'une douche froid. Très froid.
Thankfully that last one is just in my head.
We spend two hours in the studio. Luckily he only sits behind me at the wheel for the first hour, just until I get my bearings. Because as much as I think we both loved it, this wasn't the movie Ghost, and we weren't alone.
When we finally leave, my arms feel like they’re made of jello and I'm exhausted but exhilarated. And not just because of the crazy energy zapping between us.
"I made a clay bowl!" I say, an extra bounce in my step. I feel a little like Tigger.
"You did a great job," Zeke smiles, and I don't want this feeling to end. I don't want to go back to Chicago and for Zeke to go back to San Diego and to see what happens next. I want this. This.
"Do you think it would be bad if we never went back home?" I whisper, drunk on love and the sensation of his arm around mine. This isn't how I usually talk. I usually guard everything close, I attempt to hold everything in but there's nothing usual about this moment, about this feeling.
It makes me reckless.
And it doesn't matter that Zeke doesn't answer because he tightens his arm around me and I know that it's impossible and I know that we're both going home in less than two weeks and I know that this will end. That we're hitting that lovely sweet spot mid-August where you almost feel like you can touch the possibility of a team that won't end on a losing streak.
That might get the wild card.
That might make it into the playoffs.
That might... that might...