Out-takes Part Five
Author’s Note: This series of blog posts includes out-takes from Absentminded Angel by Heather Rainier. I hope you enjoy them. If you haven’t read Absentminded Angel in its released form, these scenes may be confusing as they were cut from varying places in the story. I’m posting them for the enjoyment of readers who are familiar with Divine, Texas, or would like to become familiar. 🙂 My recommendation would be to read Absentminded Angel prior to reading these.
This scene was cut from the midst of the scene where she purchases the sewing machine in San Antonio. You may remember that at Kendry and Jared’s urging, she took Jared’s phone with her for the trip, since hers wasn’t functioning. In the original version, she’d lost the phone while working in Marvin’s cluttered office. This is also her first conversation with their cousin Felicia, who was a trip. Writing her dialogue was like a day in my life when I had toddlers at home. Herding cats would’ve been easier. 🙂
Presley Ann and Whit returned to the front of the shop and she was sitting in the waiting area looking at a magazine when the melody from “Crazy” starting playing in her purse. She wouldn’t have taken Jared for a Patsy Cline fan but to each his own. Concerned that the call might be from Kendry, she answered it.
“Who is this?” a female voice asked with a sharp tone.
“You’ve reached Jared McCulloch’s phone.”
“You didn’t answer my question. Tell me who this is.” Maybe the ringtone had been an indicator of something else.
Debating the wisdom of answering Jared’s phone after all, and peeved at the woman’s snippy tone, she replied, “This is Presley Ann Woodworth. To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking?”
“Are you that pregnant chippie? You’d better not be taking my boys for a ride,” the woman said challengingly.
“Excuse me? I—”
The woman started fussing in the background and Presley Ann grew more confused as she listened. “Stop hitting your brother! If you don’t quit that crying I’m going to give you something to cry about. No, do not put Spaghetti-Os in your sister’s hair. I’m about to go Crazy Mama on the bunch of you if you don’t stop your whining and finish your lunch. Ashley, go wash your hands, please. Now, where was I?” she said, speaking directly into the phone with what sounded like a multitude of little voices in the background. “Jared and Kendry are my honeys and you’d better not be taking them for a ride.”
Presley Ann shook her head, trying to not get riled up by the challenging tone. “Last time I checked, Jared and Kendry were grown men. I already know their mom is deceased so you can save the protective mommy routine. Not that it’s any of your business, but I am friends with them, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to take anyone for a ride. Now who in the hell is this?” Her ears throbbed a little as she waited through the long pause on the phone.
A female chuckle finally came on the line over the hubbub in the background. “They told me I’d like you but they forgot to mention how prissy you sound when you get riled. My name is Felicia and I’m married to their cousin, Marty.”
Felicia! Oh crap! “I’m so sorry—” She remembered Kendry referring to Felicia as Dommy Mommy.
Felicia cut her off as she laughed out loud. “Ah, no backtracking now, missy. Are either of them around?”
“I—uh—I—” The mother to twelve children. Presley Ann had hoped if she ever met this iconic woman that she’d make a better impression and all she could do was stutter.
“Now you sound like one of my kids when they are in trouble. I must’ve laid the bitchy on a little too thick. Let me guess, you thought I was an ex-girlfriend and you were regretting answering the phone.”
Presley Ann giggled and took a deep breath. “Yeah, pretty much. They’ve told me a little bit about you.”
“Unfortunately, it’s probably all true. Hang on. Garth, you either eat what I put in front of you or you go hungry until suppertime. Your choice, mister. Sorry. So, is Jared around?”
“No, but they are both on duty right now so if you call Kendry’s phone you should be able to reach him. I lost my phone right before a road trip and Jared insisted I take his phone with me.”
“Okay. He showed me a picture of you with your little cutie pie.”
“Yeah, you’re very pretty and your boy is gorgeous. If you look in his pictures on his phone, you’ll find pics of me and Marty with the brats. Listen, Presley Ann…”
Presley Ann waited, sensing that Felicia was choosing her words even though she didn’t strike her as the type to pull any punches, ever.
“He likes you. Actually, I think they both do. I don’t know what’s up with that. They told me Divine is a different kind of place to live and I guess I’m just hoping it’s not different, like, making the Nightly World News kind of different. Please don’t hurt him or Kendry. If you’re not really interested in them don’t string them along. I don’t know if you’re the reason they moved or not but I just want you to know they are good guys and they don’t deserve to get their hearts broken. Kendry just got back on his feet after being so sick, and Jared…Let’s just say he’s had enough bad luck with women.”
“Felicia, I don’t know what to say.”
Felicia hushed a crying baby and then said, “It’s not me you need to say anything to, Presley Ann. It’s them. I’m just a protective family member who wants to see them happy, whether it’s there in Divine, or back here in Abilene. It was great talking to you but I’ve got to get three little ones down for a nap so I can start prepping for supper.”
Presley Ann looked at the phone after the call ended, her head filled with all kinds of thoughts. She had a hard time getting one little baby down for a nap and this woman handled them three at a time? Supper prep started after lunch when feeding fourteen people? Parents still said “if you don’t stop crying I’ll give you something to cry about”? And Felicia was concerned enough about her husband’s cousins to call and check on them and quiz her. Her mind was like a pea in a whistle and she got curious when she remembered Felicia saying there were pictures of her and her family on his phone. Curiosity consumed her and she tapped the screen on his phone and pulled up his pictures.
“Aw,” she murmured softly while stroking Whit’s sleeping head. The picture on screen was one she remembered him taking just a couple of days before, of her and Whit at the firehouse, when she’d joined them for lunch at the picnic table located in the shady lawn area behind the firehouse. There were several other pictures of the two of them and then she came across a picture of a couple with children chaotically massed all around them, one baby crying, a couple of younger kids in mid-argument, and the rest in various stages of ready-to-stop-smiling-for-the-camera. The mom and dad looked harried but happy, and it was cool to be able to put a face with the name.
“Ms. Woodworth, here we go,” the owner of the embroidery shop said as a male employee followed her out into the waiting area with the machine packed away in its box and loaded on a dolly.
This section is from the same chapter, just a little later on, picking up at the moment where Presley Ann is accidentally run off of the increasingly icy road by a ranch truck hauling a trailer. It’s raining, she is off in the muddy ditch, the temperature is dropping, and she has a squalling infant on her hands. Oh, and it’s dark. What else could possibly go wrong?
The driver never stopped and Presley Ann’s pulse was like a drum in her ears as she watched the taillights fade into the growing dark. The next thing she was aware of was Whit crying. She unbuckled and turned to kneel over the driver’s seat so she could see him. He quieted when her face came into view and she patted and soothed him until the tears and wailing stopped. “Poor baby. Did that big ranch truck scare you? He scared me, too.” He pooched out his lip and let loose a final wail and then started sucking his fist, a sure sign he’d want to nurse soon.
Turning to sit back in her seat, she looked out the window at the rain, wondering how badly her car was damaged. Bundling up, she pulled out her umbrella and climbed out to inspect the damage and her flats slid a little under her as she walked in the slushy mud. The bumper had a dent in it but that was all she could see. The temperature definitely felt like it’d dropped since she’d left San Antonio and she shivered as the cold mist blew in her face.
A vehicle was approaching and realized she hadn’t turned on her hazard lights. As she opened the door, the older minivan hit a puddle on the road, spraying her with icy water and mud as it flew past her without slowing.
Now she was not only cold, she was also wet, and filthy. Barely holding back a juicy curse, she looked down at her clothes and the interior of her car, which were both a mud-spattered mess.
“Son of a biscuit-eater! It’s even in my mouth!”
She spit a few times and her stomach churned at the grit and taste of mud in her mouth. Whit whimpered as she reached in the car and stroked his cheek and then grabbed a handful of tissues from the front seat and wiped her face and the front of her ruined coat and then quickly wiped the mud spatters from the cloth upholstery.
The rain fell a little harder as she surveyed the vehicle and the mud her tires had sunk into made her stomach fall. Her car was still running but the door was open, letting out all the heat.
Chilling wetness soaked between her toes as the mud seeped inside her flats. On her budget she hadn’t been able to afford boots and she hadn’t dressed to be outdoors in weather like this.
Climbing back inside, she adjusted the heat, buckled up and put the car in gear. Offering up a prayer she slowly accelerated, heard the wheels turning, but the car didn’t move.
Shifting into reverse, she tried backing out of the mess and had similar results. Not wanting to dig herself in any deeper, she groaned as she took out Jared’s phone.
That’s it for out-takes from Presley Ann’s story, Absentminded Angel. I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes process. A book can go through multiple changes prior to being released, and almost none of the out-takes ever see the light of day. I knew I’d never recycle these into another story, because they were written for very specific characters, but I hated to just leave them to languish in a folder.
For information about the series, and to find out what I’m currently working on, please visit the Works in Progress page on my website. I also make frequent updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Absentminded Angel Copyright©2014 All rights reserved, Heather Rainier
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