Deleted Passages for "Catching Rainbows" with Writer's Commentary.

You'll notice as you read these that some lines and description did make it into the finished story, so forgive me for the redundancy. Four passages in all.

1. This was an early attempt to introduce Jessica as Jimmy's sister and also to answer the question, 'Where does a man go when his whole world has fallen apart?' Obviously, home. Reason deleted--couldn't make it fit.

~

"Hello?"

"Jess?"

Jimmy held the phone a few inches from his ear, waiting for the inevitable screech. He wasn't disappointed and smiled involuntarily at the familiar tone of reproof.

"Jimmy! My God, where have you been? I've been worried sick! Mom and Dad told me you'd gone on a trip, but you never called. You can't do that to your little sister! Where were you?"

He brought the phone closer to his ear, satisfied that the worst was over.

"All over Europe."

"Why?" she asked, not comprehending.

"Don't ask me that right now."

There was a pause on the line, then her voice came through, softer, more concerned.

"What's wrong, Jimmy?"

"I need a place to stay. Can you come get me?"

"You're not telling me something. I don't like it." She sighed. "All right, where are you?"

He told her.

She said, "It will be a few hours. Will you be all right?"

Jimmy looked around the gas station, glad there was a place to sit.

"Yeah."

2. This was basically filler after the Arlington scene. Reason deleted--too songficcy. But hey, as songfic, it's not all that bad, in my not too humble opinion.

~

"Sweetheart, the night is growing old," sang Billie Holliday, bittersweet and torn. It filled the luxurious room, her voice a fit for the rich subtleness of the decor, done in shades of soft beiges and spiced with touches of rust.

"Sweetheart, my love is still untold."

Yves moved past the suede couch, the gold silk robe she wore rustling against the soft leather. She placed a coffee mug down on the glass and wrought black metal end table, leaving it there.

"A kiss that is never tasted,
forever and ever is wasted."

She sat down on the couch, drawing her legs up underneath her and closing her eyes, listening to the music.

"For all we know we may never meet again."

Yves had seen them, standing there, long before the boy noticed her. She knew better than to jump to conclusions. The kid was too old to be Jimmy's son, but the resemblance.... Even from that distance she could see the similarities, the chin, the forehead, the sandy hair. He had to be family.

She was happy for him, honestly. There was no reason she should feel so left out, so rejected. No reason at all.

"Before you go, make this moment sweet again."

Seeing him again, in this coincidence of coincidences, turned all her memories of him pale. She watched the boy kneel and wondered why Jimmy had even brought him here. She shouldn't have been there herself, but the urge to visit the only men who had let her in their lives had been growing for the past few months. It picked at her mind, opening the scab that had barely healed over.

Jimmy had been right. They were the only ones left.

"We won't say good night until the last minute.
I'll hold out my hand and my heart will be in it."

She fell asleep, the cd playing itself out.

3. This is really an alternate scene to Part Three. I like the understated quality of the dialogue in this, but I liked the dialogue in the version I used much better.

~

They were covered in mud, the picture of careless happiness. Yves swallowed hard past the lump in her throat and watched them play. She knew they couldn't see her, wouldn't notice her, at this distance. She was just another person in the park, sitting far enough away to be a blur.

She didn't want to be here, didn't want to invade his privacy this way, but since she'd seen him at the cemetary, the urge to see him again tortured her, invading her dreams, more so than usual. Watching him like this was the most she could allow herself, and the last time she would ever see him, she promised herself silently.

The past year had been good to him, she concluded, watching them play.

They had started with kicking and passing a football, but somewhere along the way the throwing had disintegrated into an impromptu game of tackle tag. Jimmy had the greater advantage, longer legs outstripping the boy's. He passed close to Jimmy, taunting him and Yves smiled as it proved a miscalculation. Jimmy grabbed him and they went down, tumbling together in a tangle.

They tussled, the boy shouting and laughing. He twisted out of Jimmy's grasp, stumbling on the wet ground, kicking up mud and water. He finally gained purchase on the ground and took off, running as fast he could.

By the time she realized he was headed toward her it was too late to avoid the inevitable outcome. He darted behind her bench. He grabbed ahold of the bench, yelling, "Safe! Safe!"

Jimmy shouted back, "You can't call safe in the middle of--" He stopped and she knew he'd seen her.

She locked eyes with him and for a second there was nothing but silence, both of them at a loss for any words. With effort, she tore her gaze from his and walked away.

She heard him say, "Stay here, Michael." She kept walking.

He fell in step beside her, quietly, and they walked a few paces before she stopped.

She looked at Michael, who was watching them, a puzzled look on his face.

"He looks a lot like you."

"He looks like my sister. Yves, what are you doing here?"

"He's your nephew?"

"Yves," he said, and touched her arm.

She turned to face him and whatever she was about to say died at the look on his face. Concern, mingled with longing. His voice was low when he asked, "Do you need something, Yves, is that why you're here?"

She stared at him, speechless.

He said, "If you needed something, why didn't you come to me at Arlington?"

"You knew I was there?"

"I saw you."

"You saw me?" she asked, incredulous. She looked at the ground, shaking her head. She looked back up at him. "I didn't want you to see me."

"It's a little late for that, now."

She could feel the start of the slow burn in her throat, and the heat in her eyes. "Jimmy, I thought we said our goodbyes. Now, a year after-- I can't go through this again. I can't have you just... I shouldn't be here. Get back to your nephew, forget I was here."

"I can't."

"You should."

She turned to go and he said, "There you go again."

"What?"

His lips tightened briefly. He sighed and said, "Running. What is it this time?"

4. Imagine if Jessica had been gone a week and Jimmy had found Yves again during that time and invited her to meet Michael, having told him everything about Yves, except for what happened after the Lone Gunmen's funeral. Imagine Yves had taken him up on that offer. Reason deleted--if I'd followed this line, the story have been twice as long. Okay, you say, that wouldn't have been such a bad thing, but I have my limitations. I wanted to finish the story, and I can only stand a limited number of cliches, which, if I had written what I'd originally intended, the story would have had more than I wanted. Enough said.

What I did like about this segment was that it touched on something I completely neglected in the finished story--how Michael was dealing with the divorce of his father and mother. I also liked that it more clearly stated what Jimmy's occupation had been in the intervening time.

~

"Who are you?" he asked.

She said, "Yves Harlow. Is Jimmy home?"

The boy's face lit up and he smiled, revealing a chipped front tooth. He said, "Oh, hey. Wait, I'll go get him." He went back inside the house, leaving the door partially open. Yves peered inside, seeing a hallway, open on the end and the right side, a short flight of stairs. The boy, Michael, she remembered, went past the stairs, turning right into another room.

She waited and thought she could hear Michael saying, "Yeah, she's out there." A few moments later, Michael reappeared, trailing Jimmy behind him.

Once they were closer, Jimmy said, "You came."

"Yes."

"I'm glad you did. Come in. Michael and I just finished breakfast."

"You cook now?"

"It's not as easy as football, but Michael doesn't complain."

Michael piped up, "He hardly ever burns stuff anymore."

"Why does that not surprise me."

Jimmy said, "I still have to clean some things up. Why don't you just wait in the living room. Michael and I were going to go practice some throws just as soon as I was done."

Michael said, "Wanna come?"

*

Surreal. The word rang in her head, all the way back from the park. Michael had talked incessantly on the way to the park, and all the way back, which had suited Yves fine, and she suspected, Jimmy as well.

The park had been deserted, except for a few runners. Yves had sat on the wooden bench, watching Jimmy and Michael throw a football back and forth, until the throwing had disintegrated into an impromptu game of tackle tag. Jimmy had the greater advantage, longer legs outstripping his nephew's, but Michael was adept at avoiding his uncle's grasp. He passed close to Jimmy, taunting him and Yves smiled as it proved a miscalculation. Jimmy grabbed him and they went down, tumbling together in a tangle.

They tussled, Michael shouting and laughing. He twisted out of Jimmy's grasp, stumbling on the wet ground, kicking up mud and water. He finally gained purchase on the ground and took off, running as fast he could.

He ran straight toward Yves and darted behind the bench. He panted, and grabbed ahold of her shoulder, yelling, "Safe! Safe!"

Yves looked across the field to Jimmy, who waved at them. He said, once he was within a few feet of them, "Michael, you're leaving mud on Yves' coat."

He snatched his hand away, and muttered an apology. Yves said, in an effort to lighten the forbidding mood, "You're covered in mud, too, Jimmy."

He looked down at himself and then back up at her, giving her a chagrined smile. Michael giggled behind her, and Yves couldn't resist smiling, and for a moment she was happy.

So when she saw the man she'd been hunting for the past few days, watching her from a parked car, what she was came crashing down on her again. The balance had been tipped. As the car roared away, exhaust streaming in the cold air behind it, she realized the time-worn roles of prey and hunter had been switched. She heard Jimmy ask, "Are you all right?" and her faint answer of, "Fine."

When she dragged her eyes back to his face, she could tell he hadn't accepted it. He wouldn't say anything, though, not in front of the boy.

The same boy who wouldn't stop talking now, she thought. She only listened to the chatter with half an ear, until Michael started talking about football and the games he'd played.

That was when it clicked and she locked eyes with Jimmy.

"You coach?"

Jimmy didn't get a chance to answer, because Michael said, "He's the best!"

Yves said, "I don't doubt it," but she was looking at Jimmy. He had his eyes back on the road.

Why had she accepted Michael's invitation? Jimmy, she was sure, hadn't told Michael everything about her. If he knew, he would never have even let her in.

Michael, amazingly, had stopped talking. She looked back at him, and she saw him staring out of the side window, a curiously forlorn look on his face.

She'd seen the happiness when Jimmy had played with Michael, and wondered how long it had taken to get there. When she looked in his eyes, she could still see the memory of a year's worth of pain and worry. It still fought with trying to forget.

The silence was stifling. She wanted to ask Jimmy exactly what he'd told Michael about her, but not with the boy there, not when he'd let her in, to his life, and his uncle's life. Not while she was afraid to hear what the answer would be. So she said nothing, and stared out the window, and didn't see Jimmy's lingering glance.

Long minutes later, they'd reached the house. Michael was the first one out, beating them to the porch. He waited until Yves and Jimmy joined him before he unlocked the door. He held the door open for the adults, but Jimmy said, "Go on, I want to talk to Yves alone for a minute."

Michael looked from one to the other and raised his eyebrows. He shook his head and said, "Whatever. Can I call Mom?"

Jimmy nodded and Michael went inside.

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