Here’s a scene that only made it through the first 2 drafts. What do you think—should I have left it in? Or are you glad I took it out?
Two Lethal Lies: Deleted Scene
While on the run from the police, desperately trying to find his missing daughter, Mitch and Neesy get caught in a blizzard. They take refuge in an abandoned farmhouse, where, in this draft, they made love for the first time. In the morning, Mitch is awakened by a kick..
“Come on,” the gunman growled to Mitch with another kick. “Get up. Her, too.”
Mitch snapped a look over the muzzle. Not a cop on the other end. Not a friendly either. He was young, scrawny, maybe nineteen, twenty. Long, stringy hair that kept getting in his face. Twitchy, too, his eyes red-rimmed, his head spasming every few minutes. His jeans sagged and his T-shirt hung loose on a meatless frame. He looked like he hadn’t had a decent meal or a good night’s sleep in months.
Neesy was already stirring. “What’s going—” She opened her eyes, saw what Mitch was seeing and instantly shut up. She scrunched under the haphazard pile of clothes that only partially hid the fact that they were butt naked.
Across the room was a pile of supplies. Stacks of batteries, matches, bags of stuff Mitch couldn’t identify. He held up his hands. “We don’t want any trouble.”
“Then get the fuck up,” the gunman said.
The two of them rose. Neesy managed to snatch her jacket to shield her body.
“We’re getting dressed.” Mitch nodded to Neesy to gather her clothes.
The kid waved the gun around. “Not unless I say so.”
“Then say so.” Mitch stepped in front of Neesy to shield her, but kept his eyes square on the kid. And the gun.
“Okay,” the kid said, as though it had been his idea all along. “Get dressed.”
Behind him, Neesy pulled on her clothes. When she was done, she tapped his shoulder and handed him his jeans. He watched the kid even as he slipped them on. Neesy helped him with the shirt.
The kid eyed his chest. “What happened to you?”
“Bar fight,” Mitch said.
“You should see the other guy,” Neesy said. “Oh, wait, you can’t. He’s no longer with us.”
The kid backed up. “Shut up! You shut up until I tell you to talk.”
Mitch stared. Didn’t think he’d be much of an opponent in a fight.
Except for the gun.
His own—or rather the one he’d taken from the deputy—was back in the car. That might have evened things out, or maybe it just would’ve made things worse. The kid was jumpy and nervous. Which meant unpredictable.
But still, if he could distract him...
Like an answer to prayer, another voice intruded. “Dude, what the fuck?”
The gunman turned, and Mitch leaped, knocking the gun out of his hand. Mitch lunged for it, but the kid got in his way. He socked him in the jaw, and the kid went down. But the gun had skidded across the room toward the doorway, right where the other kid stood. Neesy made a run for it but he snatched the weapon right out of her fingers.
“Hey! What’d you do?” The second kid started yelling at them, waving the gun around like it was a flashlight in the dark. “Jackson, get up. Get up!” He toed him. When Jackson didn’t move, the other kid looked at them wildly. “You killed him you stupid fuck!”
“He’s not dead, you idiot,” Neesy said.
Who you calling an idiot? I got the gun, didn’t I?” This one wasn’t any more substantial than the first. He wore glasses, that made him look like a high school science geek. “Get over there.” He gestured toward Mitch, and he and Neesy backed in that direction.
“What are you going to do?” she asked.
“How the hell should I know?”
“Why don’t you let us go,” Mitch said.
“I ain’t that dumb.” He herded them out the room and down the hall, taking them toward the kitchen. He stopped at the basement door. “Go on,” he said, “open it up and get down there. Him first.”
Mitch held on to the ancient wood railing as he limped down the steps. Waited at the bottom for Neesy. The place smelled awful. There was a whole mess of paraphernalia down there—glass bowls, jars, coffee makers, filters, tubing. It looked like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab.
“What’s wrong with your leg?” the kid asked.
“Screwed it up hiking,” Mitch told him.
He grunted, accepting the explanation. “You,” he said to Neesy. “There’s rope over there. Get it and tie him up to that post.”
She did what he said, and Mitch hoped she wasn’t taking too much care with the knots. By the time she was done, Jackson had come to.
“Hey! Mase! Where the fuck are you?”
Jackson tumbled down the stairs. “Are you crazy? Why’d you take them down here?”
“Where the fuck else am I going to take them?” Mase said.
That seemed to shut up Jackson. The two looked at each other. “What the fuck, dude,” Mase said.
“Shit,” Jackson replied.
While they were arguing, no one was paying attention to Neesy. Slowly she inched her way closer to the two. She was almost within pouncing distance when the one holding the gun noticed her. “Whoa,” he jerked the gun toward Neesy, and it went off. The sound exploded and echoed in the space.
Everyone froze. Frantically, Mitch strained against the ropes. “Neesy! Are you all right? Are you hit?”
Her eyes wild with fear, she gulped and shook her head.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Jackson said to Mase. “Give me that.” He grabbed the gun, and Neesy ducked.
Mitch forced himself to breathe. “Look, it really would be easier to let us go.
“Shut up,” Jackson said. “I should shoot you just for hitting me.”
“No one is going to shoot anyone,” Neesy said.
“Why aren’t you tied up?” Jackson said. “Why isn’t she tied up, bird brain?”
“I didn’t get around to it,” Mase said.
“Well, get around to it. Now.”
“Okay, okay.” He yanked Neesy to the post and tied her back to back with Mitch. They were so close he could feel her trembling at his back.
When he was done, Mase turned to Jackson. “Now what?”
“Maybe you should take this upstairs,” Mitch said quickly. “Wouldn’t think you’d want us to hear your plan.”
“Who cares what you think?” Jackson said.
Mitch shrugged. “Just trying to help out.”
Mase poked Jackson. “Maybe we should go up. I need a hit anyway. Gotta think.”
Jackson thought about it. “Yeah, I’m all fucked up, too.”
When they were gone, Neesy said, “I left the knots pretty loose. I can probably untie them if you sit still.” It took fifteen minutes or so, but she finally got his hands undone. From there it was the work of a moment to untie the rest.
When they were free, Mitch looked around for a way out. “What is this anyway?”
“Never seen a meth lab before?”
“Can’t say I’ve had the privilege.”
“My first husband’s brother was a crankhead,” she said.
She shrugged. “Crank, ice, glass. It’s all meth.” She shuddered. “Bad stuff.”
“What happened to him?”
Mitch glanced up the stairs. “I don’t think we have time to wait around for that.”
She shivered, rubbed her arms.
“If I give you a boost, think you can get out there?” He pointed to the small half window near the basement ceiling.
“Maybe. Worth a try.”
They cobbled together a couple of crates and he braced himself for her weight, gave her a boost, and held his breath while she tugged the window open and wriggled out. Then he grit his teeth, held his breath, and pulled himself up by the open ledge, ignoring the scream of pain to his chest and side.
Once outside, he lay on the ground breathing in freezing air with short, shallow pants.
“Why didn’t you tell me you’d done something to your ribs?” Neesy asked.
“And spoil the party last night?”
He grinned. “It was worth it. And I’m fine.”
“My ass.” She touched his side, and he flinched.
“Jesus, what the—?
“Just proving a point.”
He started to get up, and she pushed him back down.
“Rest a minute.”
“We should go before they notice we’re gone.”
“They’re getting high. They won’t notice anything for a few hours.”
Still they crept around the house carefully, ducking under windows until they were far enough away. The snow had stopped and the wind had died down, so the going was easier than the night before. But they’d left their jackets inside so it was even colder. Mitch couldn’t wait to get to the car and get out of there.
But when they got to the makeshift garage, the car wouldn’t start.
“Dammit,” Mitch said after their fourth attempted start. “Where the hell did you get this old boat?”
“It’s not a boat. It’s a 1958 Oldsmobile that was granddaddy’s pride and joy, and he left it to me. She’s a grand old girl, southern born and raised. What do you expect? She’s not used to the cold.”
“Well, she’s going to get us killed.” Mitch’s fingers were stiff with cold. They couldn’t sit there and just wait around for the car to warm up.
Neesy sighed. “Come on.” She nodded toward the open end of the barn. “Let’s get out of here.”
“You got a sled I’m not aware of?”
“No, but Mase and Jackson might.”
Mitch realized what she was saying. “You’re going to leave this here? Granddaddy’s pride and joy?”
She frowned. “Don’t want to. Don’t want to die either.” She brightened. “Besides, it’s only temporary, right? We’ll be back.”
“And what’s going to stop Mr. Mase and pals from running off with it in the meantime?”
“Well, I’ve got the keys.” She opened the hood. Tugged at something, and came away with a rubber hose. “And the lead to the distributor.” She took his hand and pulled him away. “Come on, before I change my mind.”
They scavenged everything they could from her car—her purse, which she’d left behind the night before, maps, ice scrapers, a package of crackers and peanut butter. Mitch fished around under the passenger seat and up with the gun he had taken off Nate Burgess.
“Just in case.”
Neesy frowned; she didn’t seem too happy about that, and who couldn’t blame her? But he’d already had one bad night of defenselessness. He wasn’t going to have another. He slung the weapon in his waistband at the back, covering the bulge with his shirt.
They crept around the perimeter of the house, careful to make as little noise as possible. They found a red pickup stashed in the woods behind the farmhouse and covered with brush so it couldn’t be seen from the road. If Mitch had a gas clipper it would have been the work of a moment to clear the branches around it. A chest full of healthy ribs would have been a big help, too. As it was, it took them longer than it should have to clear a path, but at least they managed to do it quietly. Neither of the two meth heads came out to challenge them.
When the truck was finally clear, they searched the vehicle for keys and came up empty. By that point Mitch was taut enough to crack. “How the hell are we going to start the thing without the keys?”
A slow smile crossed Neesy’s face. “I’ll show you.”
Neesy was under the dashboard looking for the ignition wires when Mase ran out of the house.
Their escape from the basement had been discovered.
“They’re not here!” Mase yelled, looking frantically around.
Mitch ducked below the truck’s window line, and Neesy froze. A second later Jackson’s voice floated over. “Where the fuck did they go?”
“I’ve got it,” Neesy whispered, pointing to the wires.
Mitch peeked out the window. The two druggies were running frenzied circles around each other. Jackson had the gun tucked into the front of his pants.
Mitch held up a hand, signaling Neesy to wait.
Jackson punched Mase. “What are you doing?”
“I don’t know. What the fuck are you doing?”
“You’re a fuckweed, you know that? Go see if they’re on the road. I’ll check the barn.”
The minute they were out of sight Mitch gave Neesy the go ahead. She got the truck started, yanked it into reverse, and careened backward out of the hiding place.
Snow, dirt, and gravel shot up in a cloud. She curved around, tires screaming, then barreled forward.
Jackson ran out of the barn. “Hey! Stop! Stop!” He pulled out the gun and started shooting. Mitch fired back, not aiming, but making as much noise as possible. Jackson froze in astonishment.
The commotion brought Mase on the run, and Neesy almost ran him down. He jumped aside, and as they hit the road they heard, “What the fuck, dude!”
And then they were home free.