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This is a scene I ended up cutting that takes place after Alex and Riley visit Riley’s grandpa. As much as I liked it, I just didn’t feel it was necessary for moving the story forward and made the decision to scrap it.
With the heat turned up in her apartment and a steaming cup of coffee, Alex didn’t mind the dreary weather. She stayed in her pajamas while she sat in the living room with her Bible for an hour before she finally dressed in a comfortable pair of jeans and a fleece-lined hoodie. It was one of the first mornings in a long time that she felt good about her day.
In fact, after seeing Joe’s sketches, she had an urge to get out her own sketchbook. She ignored it at first. After all, she was supposed to be taking a break, and not even a week had passed since she’d put her art supplies away. However, after contemplating it for a while, she decided to give it a try. She wouldn’t put too much thought into it and wouldn’t be critical. She would only do it for fun. Beyond that, she would see what happened.
Gathering her sketchpad and container of charcoal pencils, she sat down at the kitchen table with a full mug of coffee to begin. She forced herself not to think but to just draw. Before long, she became engrossed in the lines, the shading, and the smudging. The motions and the creative outlet were like therapy.
Around noon, a knock at the door startled her from her drawing. She glanced at her hands, which were smeared with charcoal, but got up to answer the door anyway. She was an artist, after all. Getting covered in charcoal or paint was part of the job. Outside, she found not a stranger but Riley standing on her balcony. Had she somehow mixed up her days and was supposed to be heading to work? She did a quick mental calculation. But no, it was Tuesday, one of her days off.
She gave him a questioning look. His smile said he was up to something, and then he pulled his hand out from behind his back to reveal a bouquet of yellow and orange roses. Her mouth dropped open.
“What are these for?” She took them from him and backed up so he could step inside, out of the rain.
He shrugged. “Our first date was a month ago.”
Alex gaped at him again. “You remembered our one-month anniversary?”
“Well,” he looked a little bashful, “no, but I was looking at the calendar this morning and realized it, so . . .”
Tears pooled in Alex’s eyes at how sweet he was. Though she had always believed there were guys like him out there, she had seriously begun to question whether or not she would ever meet one of them.
“You spoil me too much.” But she gave him a wide smile. “Thank you. I love them.” They were the perfect colors for fall, and she had a lovely aqua vase to put them in.
Riley nodded and then must have noticed her art supplies on the table.
“I know was going to take a break,” Alex said, glancing over at it as well, “but your grandpa inspired me to do a little sketching this morning.” She set the roses down carefully on the counter and retrieved her close-to-finished sketch. “I just have to work on a few more details.”
She handed it to Riley, holding her breath. Even after all this time, showing people her artwork still sent fear of criticism cascading like cold rain into her stomach. However, his smile calmed her. She’d sketched a picture of his grandpa based on a photo a CNA had taken of the three of them yesterday. She had feared she wouldn’t be able to accurately capture Joe’s twinkling eyes but, in the end, she found herself more or less satisfied. At least she hadn’t failed miserably.
“This is great. My granddad would love to see it. Maybe you can bring it next time we visit him.”
Riley handed the sketch back, and Alex laid it on the table where she could add the finishing touches.
“I guess I better head back to the bar,” Riley said.
Alex opened the door for him. Before he walked out, he paused and gave her a soft kiss. It left Alex warm, and happy, and wishing he didn’t have to leave.
Still leaning close to her, he said, “I’m glad you agreed to that first date.”
“So am I,” she murmured. More than she could ever put into words.
He walked out then, and she hated to close the door on him, but she would have to content herself with waiting to see him again for work tomorrow.
About the Author
Jaye Elliot is an award-winning author, country girl, and hopeless romantic at heart. She loves a good hero and will always sigh happily during the lights scene in Tangled. She writes from her home in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, which she shares with three cats she considers her kids. When not writing romance novels, she pens fantasy and adventure stories as Jaye L. Knight.
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