Felicity Stripped Bare - Deleted Scene

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm still on my blog holiday. After the last two hellish weeks at work, I'm turning my brain off for a while

**Excerpt unedited. This scene is between the hero's parents. It got snipped because it doesn't really develope plot further and it's one of the few scenes in a pov that's not the H/h. I particularly love Daniel's mother and was very reluctant to cut any scene with her in it. But it was the right thing to do.

“Dear, why don’t you help me with dessert?” Elle gave her husband the warden’s eye as she stood up.

“Oh, let me help.”

“No, you and Daniel stay right here. You’re our guests.” She gave Deirdra a perfunctory smile and took in her son’s tense face, before returning her attention to her dolt of a mate.

“Honey?” She didn’t wait for Michael to rise from his seat at the head of the table before making her way to the kitchen.

Under her breath, she counted out the steps to the refrigerator, where she removed the cheesecake baked earlier.

“Is it too much to ask that you be pleasant to our son for one evening?” She kept her voice low as she walked over to the marble-topped island.

Michael opened a glass-fronted cupboard and brought down four dessert plates. “Maybe if our son came to his senses—” He broke off and turned to her. “There has always been a Mackenzie at Mackenzie, Phillips, and Basset.”

“Michael let it go!” she said with hoarse frustration. Elle went to him and pressed a palm against his jaw. He hadn’t bothered shaving again this evening and the scratchy stubble prickled her skin as she looked up in to dark eyes that still made her heart flutter with just a glance.

“Some men don’t want it handed to them, sweetheart. They need to make or take it for themselves. I know it’s hard, but you have to accept, and respect, that Daniel is a man like that. Dan has always and will always make us proud. Why can’t you let him know that?” she pleaded, watching as her wonderfully mule-headed husband wrestled with himself.

When he pressed a kiss into her palm and moved away, Elle sighed, willing to cede the battle tonight; but he wasn’t getting off totally. She had another bone to pick with him.

“Why did you—” she glanced over her shoulder at the door, then moved closer, lowering her voice, “—for God’s sake what possessed you to invite Deirdra? This was supposed to be a family dinner.”

Michael removed the required cutlery from the drawer, passing her the cake server. “Why not?” he asked with all innocence. Huh uh. She wasn’t fooled for a second.

“Dee and Daniel have known each other for years; Godfrey and I went to school together—she’s like the daughter we never had.”

Elle’s mouth unhinged. Oh no, he wasn’t….

“And I’ll tell you what else, she’s got a pretty damn good head on her shoulders. Deirdra will be making partner in the firm soon, never mind making some man a fine partner in life.”

She was flabbergasted. Only momentarily, mind you. “Michael Mackenzie, don’t you dare tell me you’re playing matchmaker!”

“It’s not as if they weren’t romantically involved before.” Michael wore a cautious look on his face, as he stepped around her.

“Before!” Elle followed, waving the utensil at his back, sotto vocĂ©-ing at a furious pace. “That was before. Besides, Daniel is more than capable of handling his own love life and would not take kindly to your meddling.” She brandished the server at him one last time, and then sliced into the cheesecake, placing the portions onto the plates Michael slid to her from across the safe distance of the countertop.

He harrumphed. “He hasn’t had a serious relationship since that fiasco of an engagement. What’s he waiting for? Maybe if he settled down and had some kids of his own he’d understand about loyalty to family.”

Elle froze. She stared at her husband with tortured eyes. “Michael that was a low blow.” Did he not remember the heartache, and, yes, embarrassment the family had gone through? Never mind the irreparable damage it had caused to long-standing relationships.

“Calling the wedding off was one of the hardest things Daniel’s ever done. If he’d gone through with it, think of the mess that would have followed eventually. And how can you forget you lost a good friend and business partner. Craig still holds a grudge to this day. I can’t believe you’d want to risk that again.”

Color stained his cheeks, but his mouth firmed. “He loved Sandy. You don’t know it wouldn’t have worked out,” he said stubbornly as he reached for the serving tray.

“Yes, I do. Because he wasn’t in love with her. Not in the way a man should love the woman he plans to spend the rest of his life with. Not the way you love me,” she
added quietly.

She saw the fight go out of Michael at her words, his gaze turning intense, but she ignored the resulting warmth that spread in her belly and continued in the same gentle tone.

“You and Craig just kept pushing those two kids at each other every opportunity you got. They didn’t stand a chance.” She took a deep breath then added, “Personally, I think Daniel was trying to please you all along.”

Michael paled and Elle was sorry that the truth hurt, but he needed to hear it. Then she felt the bite of her own guilt. Maybe she’d wanted the romance to succeed a little too eagerly herself, but never at the cost of her son’s happiness. She wanted Daniel to have what she had, a deeply committed love for someone who felt the same for him. Albeit, someone far less pigheaded.

“Michael, promise you won’t try and push this thing any further with Deirdra. If Daniel wants to get involve with her again, let them work it out on their own, okay?”
Her sweetie had always had a problem with admitting his own wrongs, and now he didn’t bother to hide his disgruntlement as he attempted to steal a forkful of cake.

Ah-ah!” She slapped his wrist. “Put that down.
“Michael? Promise me.”

“All right, All right.”

Satisfied, Elle she began arranging the plates on a tray. “Parents should never meddle in their children’s love life. Imagine if my mother had had her way. We’d never gone out on that first date.”

“Your mother loved me.”

She gave Michael a sideways glance. “Mother thought you were impossibly arrogant and a terrible kiss-ass, sweetheart.”

Michael shocked into silence was a rare experience; Elle lapped it up, chuckling as she added, “And she never did like those roses you gave her every birthday and Mother’s Day. Peonies were her favorites.”

“Peonies?” Chagrinned, he looked through the French doors out to the yard where several prized bushes, cuttings from her mother’s own celebrated garden, were planted.

“Peonies. Now, here.” Elle lifted the tray and held it out to him. When he took it, she waved him ahead and as she followed, couldn’t resist giving his bum a pat. Mom had also thought Michael had a very nice butt.


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