Exclusive Deleted Scene from Leaning Into the Fall
by Lane Hayes
No matter how much an author likes a scene, some unfortunately get cut. The extra bits that don’t drive the story may make for fun reading, but sometimes they don’t really belong. I tend to overwrite so there’s always a silly deleted scene or two to share once the “real” book is released. This one belongs to Nick, who readers may remember from my short story, Leaning Into Love, as Eric’s best friend. He’s a quirky intellect who has a hard time communicating. Wes, however, seems to get him. And thus begins Nick’s lean into the ultimate fall. ☺
Lane Hayes xo
When Wes pulled into a mini-mall parking lot and steered his SUV toward the giant Target at the end, I was a little less sure.
“What are we doing here?”
“Game shopping. We’ll get a few board games and maybe a couple video games. Do you have a console?”
“No. I only stay at my condo here to shower and sleep,”
Wes gave me a dubious once-over as he led me through the sliding glass doors into the giant retail store. “So you haven’t been there in a while.”
“No. I haven’t. Look, breakfast was fun but I have to get back to work. My secretary will wonder where I am and—”
“No, she won’t. I told her you’d be gone ’til Monday.”
“Barb? No way. Did she believe you?”
“Of course. You were standing right there. Call and ask her.” He pointed toward a sign on his right. “Thataway. Oh wait. We need a cart.”
I dialed my office when Wes backtracked to find a red cart to stuff his goodies in. I moved a few paces behind him, admiring the view while I waited for Barb to answer. When her cell and office phone went directly to voice mail, I stopped called Miles.
“Oh my God, he’s hot!” Miles gushed. “If he wants to play Tarzan and kidnap me too, I won’t complain. No sirree. You don’t have any meetings scheduled and Barb told your engineers you’d be working remotely so you’re good to go, Nicky.”
“Did you really just call me Nicky?”
“That’s what your boyfriend calls you,” he singsonged.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” I hissed.
“Whatever you say. Barb and I can handle things here ’til Eric gets back from Dallas.”
“When does he get in?”
“This afternoon. He has a meeting with the gruesome twosome tomorrow. Don’t worry. Everything is under control. Enjoy yourself. We’ll see you Monday!”
I scowled at my cell when Miles hung up. The mere thought of Finn and Norm darkening the doorway at EN Tech made me anxious to get back to my lab. What the hell was I doing wasting time at a Target? I shoved my phone in my suit pocket and took in my surroundings. I was standing in the middle of a wide aisle in the next to a shelf overburdened with cleaning supplies. Across the way, an employee in a red smock was restacking boxes of shoes. The incongruous sections were delineated throughout the area by the width of the aisle and overhead signage. Baby clothes were next to women’s workout clothes. Dog food was next to kitchen gadgets. If there was a rhyme or reason to the layout, I didn’t get it. I just had to find Wes and get the hell out. I had too much to do to be wandering in a super store emporium like a lost kid.
A pair of sturdy-looking winter boots with a rubber toe and fur lining caught my eye. I picked one up to inspect. It was a size too small. I scanned the boxes and found my size on the lowest shelf. Then I sat on the red metal bench nearby and toed off my loafers before yanking the boots on. The hiked up pant legs on my suit had a clownish look but I liked them. I struck a pose in the full-length mirror against the back wall and gave myself a thumbs up. Cool.
There had to be coats around here too. I put my loafers in the box and trudged into the next section. Women’s bras and pajamas bled into men’s socks and underwear and beyond that, a whole area dedicated to guy stuff. Shirts, shorts, pants, swim trunks…you name it, it was all there. I perused the jackets and tried a few on over my suit coat. The olive green one with puffy sleeves went well the boots. Done. I turned toward the main aisle and gasped in wonder at the Star Wars onesies for grownups. Holy fuck. I had to have it. Wes needed one too. I grabbed two along with matching beanies and resumed my search for the toy aisle.
I found Wes standing in front of a Legos display with his phone glued to his ear. He frowned when he saw me and waved his cell accusingly.
“Where the hell have you been? I’ve been calling you!”
“Looking for you. And shopping. Check out what I got!” I tossed a onesie at him and chuckled at his astounded expression. “One for me, one for you. We don’t have to match. I think there’s a storm trooper one back there but I’m definitely Darth Vader.”
“O-kay…what’s with the winter ensemble, Darth? Do you have any idea how goofy you look?” he snickered, stepping backward to get a good look at me.
“Who cares? I can’t remember the last time I was in one of these stores. They have everything! The pajamas are on me. What else do you want? Name it, I’m buying!”
“Relax, big spender. We aren’t buying the store. We’re looking for a couple games, remember?” Wes pulled my elbow and led me to a row filled with familiar logos of games I played when I was a kid. “Clue, Sorry…what do you think?”
“I think games are a bad idea.”
“Why? I thought we agreed on this.”
“No. I change my mind. I’m a poor sport. If I lose, it won’t be pretty. We need to rethink this. Board games are a disaster waiting to happen. What other kind of games are there?”
“It’s hard to concentrate with you looking like,” he commented with a grin, grabbing one of the beanie caps and pulling it over my ears. “Better. Let’s see…there’s outdoor games like badminton, volleyball and Frisbee.”
“My coordination is suspect. I dunno.”
“Anyone can catch a Frisbee. I’m getting one. What else?”
“You said you liked those video games from the 80s, but I don’t where we’d find—”
“An arcade! There’s one in the city by Pier 39. Want to go?”
My ear-to-ear grin was my answer. “Yeah. But take me home first. It looks like I’m really going to play hooky for the first time in my life.” Continue reading