Take Two

Author Notes and Deleted Scenes

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So I wrote out about a full page of author's notes and deleted scenes, and then I accidentally deleted the document before I saved it, and here I am again, rewriting everything. I'm very annoyed with myself. AUGH.

Anyway,

THANK YOU TO: Eosphorus, LOTxii, Catcher in the Rye, ErisedVeela, lira, 15, thatcrazychickcindy, butifulobliviounx, OoohLookACat, Ivory Willow, A DreamWriter, BeingMyself, S. E. K. Arouet, Crimson-Angel21, FamousOneLiners, Maxegirl1313, cannec616, WritingxIsxLife, paintthewords, dreamercrys, slowlydancingtothestars, shhsilence, Somedaymydreamswillcome, Saraestla, Cindy, CleverWriter2416, Glass Palace, silentelysium, kurocuirasi, miss zonette, Allie92, BdayGirlyQ, SunriseKisses, lunacy and literacy, ArghImaPirate, madkatter, glassmask, KholyirMolya, Larque, preia, poohbear512862, dawn's unforgiving darkness, Drips of blue-green turpentine, flamesflyer, derlynnn, xmarix, Shrimpo/Jewels, koerle, angel1357, Sheen, AzaleaTears, punkr0ckchck, brokencrystal7, lok, ch3rry, alquastear, renroy, darkgurl92, 'twrite., ramshaia, .care, PatriciaR26, Rock My Socks, Anon, nzgurl, Saniaaa, gtf04, 3DarkGoddess3, JoCer, Monkebella, Sel, mezzles, prettyHermione, and last, but not least, -Danariana-!!!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH FOR READING AND REVIEWING! The reviews always give me inspiration and I also tend to take a reviewer's suggestion when writing. So for those of you who lent your voice to the story, some of you are definitely in here ;D THANK YOU for those who read and didn't review. I know you're out there :D

Down to the knitty gritty…

I wrote Take Two because one day I went back to look at Seeing Double and was completely…unhappy with it. There were a few parts that I thought were alright, but it definitely needed a rewrite. Eden's character needed to be rewritten, their shared past needed to be sorted out and hinted at earlier, Devan needed to be mostly over her father, Devan needed a new friend, Devan needed therapy etc…

When I first started writing Take Two, I had a whole story outline complete with chapter outline, telling me exactly what to write where and when. Although…as my stories go, I ended up using the outlines as guidelines more than anything. Originally this story was only meant to be twenty-two to twenty five chapters. I have a tendency to run at the mouth (or in this case, keyboard). I also had a list of goals I was going to complete by the end of the story. I met most of the goals, but some have been untouched. I may end up coming back and tweaking a few things (but nothing drastic).

From SD to TT, there were a lot of things that changed, but the essentials remain the same. The thing that got the most reaction was the sex, which is what I thought was interesting. ;) It's the first time I've ever really addressed sex so much in a story (though K for Catcher had a few hints, it wasn't a theme in the story). I was a little bit more conservative before, but thought that sex does make up for a good portion of older teen life. I was a little scared about you guys' reaction when the first reviews from the chapter with Devan and Eden together. The issue of them sleeping together had been present in my mind when I first writing TT, and I battled with myself and discussed things with my editors about it. In the end, I wrote it because I thought that it would show Devan's state of mind and her construction of reality, versus what we all hoped it was.

ANYWAY, on to the deleted scenes! (Please note that they are unedited)

The Beginning

This first one was me trying to figure out how to start the story. I started writing this beginning, but lost interest.

"Flight 84, Flight 84 leaving for Virginia is now seating seats 50 through 79, 50 though 79," the lady at the entrance of the terminal said mechanically into the microphone. Twenty-five teenagers and four chaperones stood and started to gather their bags. They didn't carry what the typical all-American passenger would take in their carry-on. No, instead of snacks, games, and books, the majority of them had wooden spoons, carefully crafted recipes, and a multiplicity of different non-lethal cooking utensils.

"Good luck, Eden" a girl said, standing up and giving a tall sandy blond boy a hug. "I know you're going to win."

"You aren't going to be happy about it though," he commented, giving her a light squeeze.

"Well, of course not," she answered, "If you win you're going to get that scholarship and leave me."

"Don't be so melodramatic, Devan," another boy, with the exact same handsome face as Eden, said. "You don't need to throw him across the ocean when the competition hasn't even started yet."

The girl, Devan, made a face and scowled at him.

Memories

This is a memory that I wrote out for Devan and Eden. I really wanted to include it, but it never made it D:

She collapsed onto the grass and grabbed a cookie from the plastic platter next to her. The grass tickled her pale legs, which shone brightly in the summer sunlight. Devan wiggled her toes and then looked up and watched as Eden rinsed his car.

"You should buy a new car," she said. "That one's really old."

Devan could tell he was rolling his eyes. "You've been saying that for the past two years. If you don't like riding in it, why don't you learn how to drive?"

"Why should I learn how to drive when you're my own personal chauffer?" she teased, munching on the cookie.

Devan really should have known better not to antagonize him while he had a hose in his hands. He turned around, the hose still spewing cold water, and aimed it at her.

Devan screamed and stood up, dropping her cookie just as he turned the hose off by letting go of the lever. He was laughing hysterically, and she stared at him, soaking wet. It was a good thing she was wearing a dark colored shirt and denim shorts.

"Eden!" she said in outrage. Without hesitance, she grabbed the platter that held the cookies and chucked it at him. It hit him squarely in the forehead and clattered to his feet.

Eden gawked at her. "You just threw a plate at my head. Who does that?"

A small pink mark had formed on his forehead, and Devan couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous he looked with the bewildered expression spattered across his face. "I guess I've got a pretty good arm," she replied, feeling tickled.

"You killed the cookies."

She stopped laughing, suddenly sobered. "That's too bad. I guess you'll have to make more."

"What am I, your slave?" He rolled his eyes and dropped the hose. "It's a good thing I have extras. Honestly, the things you make me do for you…"

She grinned. "I'll finish rinsing the car while you get them."

Car Keys

This is from when they're shoveling snow. I originally had this scene in there, but took it out for reasons I can't remember at the moment. Haha.

"Since you practically date anything with a vagina, your business is all over the school," she stated flatly. "You know," she began again, stopping fully and resting a hand on her hip in a matter-of-fact fashion, "These girls date you because they like you, and you just drop them like they meant nothing. Why don't you ever take their feelings into account, huh?" she questioned, feeling the frustration bubble in her chest. "You just use them for whatever and leave them to deal with things on their own. I hate it when men like you play on a girl's desire for romance just to get them into bed and then hang them out to dry. It's so annoying and selfish. And then the girl gets heart broken to see you move on so quickly with some other random girl that has stars in her eyes for you. Are you completely incapable of feeling for anyone other than yourself?"

By the time Devan had finished scolding him, she was almost yelling. Her cheeks were a bright pink from the anger that coursed through her. She was just so annoyed that Eric held the idea that girls were meant for his playthings, as if they didn't have any feelings at all that should be taken into account. It surprised her because Eden had always been so considerate of her; it shocked her that Eric didn't have the same morals.

"Are you kidding me?" he asked her, voice thick with anger and disbelief. "This has nothing to do with you!"

"I don't understand how you and Eden can be so different," she spat. "You're so selfish!"

Eric stopped short for a moment and the said, "You're such a bitch. Why don't you mind your own fucking business? I just spent the goddamn night with you, and now I'm helping your family shovel snow out of the front yard, why don't you show some fucking gratitude?!"

"Gratitude?" she echoed incredulously, "What gratitude could I possibly offer you? Gee, thanks Eric for being an hour late coming to meet me, aww, gee Eric, thanks for showing up at my door with a hickey on your neck, gee, thanks Eric for being a complete jackass and disrespecting women!"

"What the FUCK is your problem?!" he yelled.

"That you're such a goddamn prick! That you're one of the guys that leave girls out to dry and completely ignore them Grow a freakin' spine!"

He opened his mouth to retort, but closed it, his intense apple green eyes staring her down until she almost felt small. "Fine," he muttered softly. "FINE."

Eric threw his shovel into the snow with a dull thud and stomped away in the direction of his frozen car.

o—O—o

It took Eric a moment to realize that he'd left his keys inside of her house.

Rotational Inertia

This happens right after Devan accidentally grabs Eric's…jeans during a tutoring session. I left it out because I thought that it was a little too random.

"So you understand rotational inertia now?"

He paused, but nodded his head, "Yeah, I think so."

"Good," she answered, "then you can get out."

Devan walked over to the door and opened it, signaling that it was time to go. Eric frowned. "Aw, come on Devan," he said. "You're going to get mad over something that was an accident?"

"No, you understand the material, so you don't need me until next week."

Eric stood up, still a frown marring his perfectly handsome face. He walked up to her without picking up his bag and said, "There's something I don't understand, though."

She sighed. "What?"

"You," he replied. "I just don't get you."

"You don't have to understand me. I completely and totally don't get you, either, so we're even."

"Yeah, see, normally I wouldn't really care," he stated, "the strange thing is that I do care, and I don't know why. What makes you tick, Devan?"

There was something eerily familiar about him standing in front of her with a serious face, with her feeling surmounting discomfort. She swallowed. "You can get out now."

Thin Ice

This is from when Eric and Devan went ice skating. I was going to have Devan fall through the ice a little, but changed it because I thought it was a little too cliché for a story that was already pretty cliché ;)

Eric was flirting with a couple of girls not too far off. She'd drifted out a little bit more towards the farther end of the lake, and she was trying to figure out how to drift back when she heard a groan. Devan blinked and looked around, not seeing anyone who would have made such a strange noise. She looked down and noticed a jagged white stripe that ran through the ice where she stood.

Devan's eyes widened and she tried to push herself in Eric's direction. There was another groan, succeeded by crackling noises.

Shit—

She tried to kick off, only to feel the ice cave where she stood. "Eric!"

Her leg fell into the water, and she grabbed a slab of ice tahat looked strong. Her leg was only in the water, the hole wasn't that big, but she still struggled to pull her leg out. The skate felt heavy, and she felt a spray of ice on her face as Eric knelt down and grabbed her from under her armpits. He pulled her with a grunt or three, and dragged her to the edge of the lake.

He heaved a heavy breath as he leaned back on the slush at the shore with her in his lap.

"Well, that was close," he said.

Thoughts

This was originally in a chapter that happened after Eric found out about Devan's father. I left it out because it was out of place.

He had a sudden thought and sort of frowned at himself for thinking it. Will she ever enjoy sex? He wondered to himself. From her reactions to Eden, Eric knew that she most likely hadn't had another sexual encounter since her father. He shuddered at the thought, felt anger rise in his throat. Eric knew that girls didn't always reach the peak of their pleasure, unlike men during the act, though he thought that the girl still thought that it felt nice. Denise had waited a full three weeks after they'd started having sex before she mentioned anything to him, though afterwards things had gotten a lot better for her (and him, actually).

Devan had been denied the pleasure of a basic human drive because her father had been a lunatic. Once Devan ever got a full-functioning relationship, she didn't seem like the type to pipe up about her history or if she didn't like having sex in the first place. Her past had scarred her, and her personality subsequent to that would probably hinder her even more in the bedroom.

The Last Straw

So…This was an alternate fight Devan would have had with Eden after they had sex when they were standing in her kitchen after having dropped off Eric.

She had really thought for awhile that she would be able to continue one with her life without him in it. However, the more she became engrossed with Maci and her small circle of friends, the more Devan missed having a companion who she could tell everything to. She missed having a best friend with her.

She was a little relieved when he was interrupted by the vibrating of his cell phone against the hardwood of his bedside table. Devan was the first to reach it, and checked the name.

"Jenna," she read, and felt a chill run through her. She looked at Eden hesitantly as he gingerly took the phone away from her hands.

"Hello?" he said into the receiver. Devan must have looked concerned because he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and kissed her softly on the forehead. "Yeah…" he continued after a short pause. "No, I didn't pick up Eric yet…no…Jenna, look, can I talk to you a little later? ...Yeah, I'll call you. Okay, bye."

She looked up at him, confused. "She wanted to know where Eric was?"

"No, she thought that he was the reason why I didn't show up to school," he answered distractedly.

Devan tilted her head. "What are you going to tell her?"

Eden cupped her jaw, tilted her head, and pecked her lips. "I'm going to tell her that I don't need her as a best friend," he answered, and then kissed her a little more fully.

Eden called his mother in the car and was giving her details on Eric's condition. He was fine for the most part. The doctor had recommended no school for the first couple of days unless he felt up to going. Eric kept tapping on the door, and Devan had the urge to tell him to stop, but didn't. She felt like she owed him something, though couldn't really understand why she felt that way. She felt horribly guilty and like there was a weight resting on her heart that kept her from breathing normally.

"Eric, I'm going to drop you off and then take Devan home," Eden announced, the suddenness of his voice making Devan jump slightly.

"Uh…okay," he answered.

Devan wondered what he was thinking, and from her passenger seat, glanced in the side mirror, seeing his reflection. He looked puzzled and slightly annoyed. Then he tilted his head and caught her eye. Eric stared at her for a minute and then stuck his tongue out like a little kid. She would have laughed, but felt like that weight would crush her if it did. Instead, she managed a weak smile.

They made it to the Walker house, and they helped Eric back into the wheelchair and into the house without many words. Eric made a smooth transition from the chair to the living room couch, and gave her a suspicious look. She looked away and quickly ran out the door and back to the car. Eden followed soon after, an unreadable expression on his face.

He parked in her driveway, walked her to her door, and invited himself in. They traveled to the kitchen, and she was about to offer him a drink when his phone rang.

"Hello?" he greeted into the receiver. There was a pause and a frown. "No…I just got him a few minutes ago, actually." There was another beat of silence. "I need to talk to you later," he told the other person, and his jade green gaze fell on her for a brief second. "I'll call you. Okay…bye."

"Who was that?" Devan questioned.

"Jenna," he answered shortly, pocketing his cell.

Devan bit her lip. "What are you going to tell her?"

For the first time since that morning, Eden's smile broke across his smooth face. He reached forward and gently stroked her jaw, the joint of his fingers lifting her chin to meet his gaze. "The truth," he answered, and leaned forward to kiss her softly on the cheek. "That you're my girlfriend." His lips soon covered hers, but his words made her pull back.

"What?" she asked, staring at him with confusion in her eyes. "I'm not your girlfriend."

Eden looked at her, standing up straight, with equal confusion in his eyes. "What…?" he trailed off, looking as though he was trying to form the right question in his mind, but settled for, "What are you talking about?"

"I'm…I'm not your girlfriend," she repeated. The heavy feeling was starting to turn into a sinking feeling. "We're…best friends."

He stared at her, looking completely bewildered. "I just kissed you," he stated.

"Yes…"

"We slept together/I made love to you," he stated.

Devan looked to her feet. "Yes," she answered.

Eden was silent for a long time. Then he took a deep breath. "Explain to me…why we're not together," he requested.

She looked up at him and was taken aback by the pain and bafflement in his eyes. "I…I don't understand what you…don't you feel like my best friend?" she questioned, swallowing. There was something wrong. There was something terribly, horribly wrong and Devan couldn't put her finger on what exactly it was.

"How could I feel like your best friend?" he asked her back, his voice soft and trembling. "I told you, I've never felt that way." There was a beat of silence, and Devan could see the edges of her world starting to crack and crumble again. "Devan, why did you sleep with me?" he asked her, his voice a mix of too many emotions to decipher just one.

Devan swallowed what felt like a ball of salt in the back of her throat. "You…you're supposed to feel like my best friend," she said, and as she said it, she realized how absurd it sounded. "Last night was supposed to—it was supposed to make you feel like my best friend."

Eden gaped at her. "How the hell would last night—how the hell am I ever supposed to feel like your friend after last night?" he asked her, his tone suddenly harsh. "I don't understand you!" he said exasperatedly. Eden turned around and took a few steps away from her, running a hand through his honeyed hair. "What is wrong with you?" he asked. "I don't understand," he repeated. "Explain it to me."

Devan hadn't realized her hands were shaking until she brought one up to brush a stray hair out of her face. She felt like a child again. "Dad always said… he always said that it would make it better," she told him in a small voice. "He always felt like a father afterward, and I love you and you love me, so it's okay, isn't it? I know it's not the same; I know you're not him, but you should be my best friend now—at least for a little while."

Eden turned around then, his face conflicted between their current issue and the fact that it was the first time she'd ever mentioned her biological father, or even hinted at her childhood to him. He looked calmer than he did a second ago, but the tumultuous emotions were still playing across his handsome face. "You don't love me," he said, "not the way I love you."

She took a step towards him and wrapped her fingers in his shirt. The difference between their feelings was only that he lusted after her body, wasn't it? "It may not be the same way, but I'll have sex with you whenever you want—it's what you want, isn't it?"

He grabbed her hands and ripped them free from his shirt. "No, Devan, that's not what I want," he hissed.


DELETED CHAPTERS

After chapter 22, I was really conflicted about how to continue. I wrote a full alternate chapter to 23 and part of 24 before I decided that I didn't like where it was going. Here they are. I also took a scene from 23, adjusted it, and put it in the epilogue.

Chapter 23: A Fortnight

Eric was released from the hospital a few days after the game; the doctors had wanted to ensure his blood wouldn't clot. As a result of his fractured ribs, breathing and moving around became somewhat of a hassle, though manageable. At least, it was almost manageable until his mother demanded he use a wheelchair. From experience, though, Eric knew he was a fast healer, and hoped that he would really heal fast, because maneuvering around school in a wheelchair was embarrassing. When he had gone back to school the following Monday, he was greeted with a hero's welcome, and finally got the full story from fragments of gossip that had been trailing around school.

One of the rumors was that the Tigers were super ticked that they lost and wanted to get revenge by killing Eric in the parking lot.

Another rumor was that Devan had somehow rejected him and he had thrown himself in front of the car. Apparently some people of the school knew that there was something going on between him and Devan, which somehow unnerved and elated him.

Another was a combination of both.

Jason eventually told him that some of the team members from the Tontown Tigers had gone into a car to blow off some steam. The car had belonged to one of the students that went to Tontown and hadn't been paying attention when they hit him. Eric would have been blazing mad had he not received a giant apology letter from the entire team and a few tickets to see an NBA game the following basketball season. After that, he decided he didn't really want to press charges. Eric just couldn't be mad at a pair of NBA tickets.

He saw Devan throughout the following two weeks in their class together, and was happy to see that she and Maci were becoming good friends. From what Devan told him in their short conversations, she was starting to make friends with Maci's small group. Eric thought it was good for Devan to finally have relationships with people other than his brother (not that that relationship really existed anymore), but couldn't help but feel a little annoyed that he wasn't spending as much time with her as he did before. The tutoring sessions, since Winter Tournament was over, had ended. Not only that, but his wheelchair seemed to be a beacon for his friends to crowd around him, especially Stephanie and Brittany. They helped wheel him to classes and reach his locker; he'd never thought that he would get tired of being around them, but by the end of the week, he was dying to get away from the crowd of acquaintances that were always eager to help.

His mother had all but chained him to the house. Although he was currently free at the moment; his father had been gone on a business trip since Wednesday to Sweden, and his mother was accompanying him. She really hadn't wanted to leave Eric, but he had Eden almost literally kick her out of the house. They weren't due back for another week, but it wasn't as if he could really do anything, anyway. Watching his friends play basketball only frustrated him because he wanted to join in, wheeling himself around in the wheelchair was difficult because it put strain on his arm, and subsequently, his ribs. Eric was left to watch TV and eat leftover food, play old video games like MarioKart, not exercise, not have fun, and do his homework. Most frustratingly of all, he thought of Devan most of the time he was left to his own devices.

Eric would mull over what happened to them when they were younger, wondered what had made her forget everything that had happened. He'd gotten a concussion, what was her excuse?

He wasn't sure whether or not to tell her of the past neither of them had seemed to remember. Would it sound creepy to her? Of course, he always had the other half to the picture that was in her diary to prove it, but he just wasn't sure what to say to her or how much to say to her, or if it even really mattered at all. It had all happened when they were so young, what was the purpose other than to let her know that Eden was an asshole? That was something she knew already, though for her, the depth of Eden's pompousness was still shallow. Eric had seen her reaction to when she saw Eden with Jenna, and he had no intention of having to pick up the pieces for an umpteenth time just to show her how much of a jerk Eden really was. Though keeping Eden's old skeletons as his own was only making Eric look bad, which didn't bode well for the fact that he still liked her and wanted to ask Devan out.

He and Eden were back to their need-to-know basis conversations, and virtually nothing had changed in their sibling dynamic. What Eric did notice, and apparently Devan as well, was that Eden was spending a lot more time with the Culinary Club president, Jenna.

o—O—o

Eden sighed as he listened to the sound of Jenna's voice as she talked about her little brother and his obsession with art. It was interesting to hear, but slightly taxing to listen to. He just nodded his head as they ate at strategic intervals.

He'd been bored, so he'd taken Jenna out to dinner on that Thursday night, which was slightly peculiar as far as dates went. Though if someone asked what Eden was doing with Jenna, he supposed he would have had to reply that he was dating her, but Eden had some reservation of using the term dating.

Though he did think that they were on a loose definition of what a date was—he was taking her out with the intent to get to know her romantically and this wasn't the first time—he just couldn't bring himself to think of it in such terms. Dating implied some kind of emotional investment. Jenna was nice, pretty, and for the most part, interesting. While Eden did like Jenna, it still paled in comparison to what he knew he was capable of.

He watched her take a sip of her water, pausing from talking for the moment.

He had to admit, he did have fun with her sometimes—she made him laugh, which was something that had seemed near impossible a week prior. Despite that, it was hard for him to think of her as more than a friend—with benefits, of course. Perhaps it was because he was constantly comparing her to Devan. There had always been something about Devan that just drew him to her, made him want to make her smile and laugh. Jenna didn't have the same kind of power over him, he lacked the compulsion to make her happy, and he couldn't figure out whether or not to feel liberated or lost.

Eric used to call Devan his 'attachment,' while others throughout the years had just called them each other's halves. Once upon a time, when something mildly interesting would happen, he would bank it in the back of his mind to tell her about later. When he was cooking, he wondered what she would say about it, when he was eating, he would stare at the vegetables for a few seconds and wonder if she remembered how to hold a knife. After spending years nearly inseparable, being parted felt like something akin to hell. The weeks had stretched on for what felt like years.

They would pass each other in the halls, and he would keep his gaze trained studiously away from her. He had even switched seats in English so that he wouldn't have to see or talk to her, and he lingered in the Home Ec classroom for awhile during lunch so that he wouldn't accidentally run into her. He was nearly terrified of looking her in the eyes because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to look away. The more time he spent away from her, the harder it seemed. He thought it would have gotten easier, especially having Jenna picking up his every phone call, but it just got more and more difficult. The more he was away from Devan, the more he wanted to talk to her, to hear her voice and see her smile. He kept telling himself it would eventually get better.

He had started to try and act like a boyfriend with Jenna, and supposed, yet again that it seemed they were officially together. However, between the two of them, it was untrue. Eden would hug her, peck her on the lips, and hold her hand, but hadn't necessarily touched her since the incident in the pantry. He'd thought that maybe going through the motions would spark some affection for the fluffy redhead, and he did have feelings for Jenna, just not quite the right ones.

"Eden?"

He looked up from his food in response. Jenna had her head tilted sideways as she looked at him. Eden thought that maybe she was wearing makeup, because her blue eyes seemed to stand out more.

"What are you doing tomorrow?" she questioned.

He thought about it and shrugged. "Did you want to do something?"

She smiled and he saw her cheeks flush. "I guess you could say that," she said, then giggled self consciously. Before he had time to say anything, Jenna continued, "I don't know, another dinner's nice. I was thinking we could cook."

"Like what?"

Jenna shrugged, "Anything is fine."

"Where would we do it?"

"I was thinking my house," she answered automatically. We could see a movie after we eat. There's one I've been wanting to see."

Eden raised an eyebrow. "Sounds good."

o—O—o

"I hate educational videos," Maci mumbled at lunch as she squished a French fry between two napkins. "I especially hate educational videos that were made in the seventies. Honestly, can't our school afford anything a little more current?"

"Seriously, it's like they don't want us to learn or something," Angie added.

Devan sat and listened to the four girls in front of her chat about the videos, which gradually went on to talk about movies. Two of the girls, one of them Maci, were wrapped in the arms of their bored looking boyfriends. Devan had been staying for lunches the past week and a half, getting to know Maci and her small group of friends.

Angie Liu was a brown-eyed, black haired Chinese girl. She was thin and had her junior boyfriend was sitting next to her, sipping a cup of hot chocolate that was not yet cool enough to gulp. His name was Ramone Sanchez. As far as Devan could tell, Angie was Maci's best friend. They'd known each other since junior high.

Sitting next to Angie was Ramone's older sister, Cierra. She was short and curvy, with long cascading dark brown hair and wide set brown eyes. Cierra was the most rambunctious and the most up to date with what was going on around school. Sitting directly across from Cierra was her best friend in the group, Caitlyn Johnson, though everyone called her Kate for short. Kate was moderately tall with caramel colored hair and hazel eyes. Kate was the quietest, but when she did say anything, she was taken rather seriously.

They were all relatively friendly. Angie was the brightest of them all in the most literal sense of the word, smiling at almost everything while Ramone had his arm around her at all times. Angie's younger sister was a member of the Culinary Club, and sometimes Devan wondered what Angie knew.

"My cousin, Danny, saw that one. He said it was alright," Ramone was saying. They were talking about a movie that had come out recently.

"We should see it," Angie chimed in.

"What, like tonight?" Cierra questioned, raising her eyebrows.

Maci shrugged. "Today's Friday! It's like the teens' official movie night. Do you guys have a lot of homework to do?"

"I have to work till five, but I finished most of my homework," Cierra said. "This guy—" she pointed at her brother "—has an essay due Monday."

"I finished it," he muttered, "so I'm free tonight."

"I'm free, too," Angie said with a bright smile.

"Me, too," Kate added.

Six pairs of eyes collectively landed on Devan. "I'm free," she said. Her voice had cracked a little from not contributing much to the conversations, so she cleared her throat.

"So then I'll text everyone a time for the movie and we'll all just meet there, yeah?" Maci said, and the group nodded. There was a beat of silence.

"Hey, Devan, why don't you invite one of the twins—OWW, Maci!" Cierra was interrupted by Maci's not so subtle kick in the leg.

Devan glanced between the glaring Maci and the peeved Cierra. She had thought that Maci had probably mentioned to her friends not to say anything about the Walker twins while in Devan's hearing range. When she'd first joined Maci for lunch, the news and rumors about Eric, his injuries, and how he got them had been circulating around the school like a wildfire. Devan had had to dodge questions and endure glares from Eric's many admirers. When she'd sat with Maci, they'd all carefully avoided any subject that included boys with the last name Walker, though it seemed it had been the hardest for Cierra to avoid.

"I was just thinking we'd be an odd number!" Cierra was saying. "It would be nice to be even again!"

Devan gulped, not missing the double meaning in her words.

"Eric's in a wheelchair still," Angie volunteered. "I think it might be a hassle for him, and Eden has Jen….uh…I mean…" Angie glanced nervously at Devan, and then glanced at Maci for guidance. The four friends exchanged looks, seeming to have a nonverbal conversation between their multi-colored eyes as the two boys at the table obliviously ate and drank the food.

"Anyway," Kate said, speaking for the first time and breaking the uncomfortable silence and glanced at Devan. "Bring anyone if you feel like it." The way she said it made it sound like Devan had better invite someone else, or there would be consequences.

"Sure," she said reflexively.

The bell soon rang after that, and the girls ran off to their classes, leaving Devan to walk home alone. She realized she'd forgotten her camera in her locker and walked back to get it. While she was walking back towards the gate of the school, she passed the Home Ec classroom. Devan glanced at it, the image of Eden with Jenna still searing in her mind. She wondered if he was still there, counting money, planning another fundraiser…

Before she knew it, she was walking over. Devan hesitated a moment before peering into the tinted glass window next to the door to see. At first, she saw nothing but vacant desks. Mentally hitting herself, Devan moved to leave but heard the muffled, yet distinct noise of someone laughing. A curly redhead stepped backwards into view, smiling and giggling. Jenna took another step back, falling out of view. Then, a long leg stepped into the frame and Eden was there, laughing with her. His smile was stretched wide across his face, and it was a smile Devan hadn't seen in weeks.

She didn't understand why it hurt so much to see him so happy. His lips were pulled in a genuine grin, and every small laugh that was emitted from his lips dug a knife deeper and deeper into Devan's body. Why did he get to be so happy and her so miserable? Did Jenna really mean that much to him? Was Devan really so replaceable? Had Devan really not meant anything to him at all after so many years?

She stepped away from the window as if it had burned her, feeling like a beggar peering into a rich, cozy man's house.

The past two weeks she had run into the two of them on her way to class almost every single day. Since it seemed he was making a conscious effort not to see her, he hadn't noticed, but every time she saw them together it was hard for her. The first week had been slightly more bearable than the current one. Now they were holding hands, pecking on the lips, hugging and holding; it made her sick to her stomach because it was as if Devan had never existed at all.

o—O—o

"Yeah, thanks," Eric muttered as Jason wheeled him into the house. Most of Eric's entourage had left him alone once school was over, though Jason, along with a few girls in the back of Jason's Ford, were still hovering. He thought that Jason rather liked the girls hanging around. Eric unlocked the door and let Jason wheel him in.

"Do you need any water or anything?" his friend asked.

"I think I can get it myself, thanks," Eric answered. Honestly, I can do something that simple myself. "It's not like I'm paralyzed or anything, ya know. I'm almost completely fine."

Jason looked at him dubiously, then shook his head. "Whatever, dude. See ya."

He left, closing the door behind him while Eric rolled himself over to the TV. Going up the stairs was sort of out of the question unless Eden and his father carried him up. Eric's pride wouldn't allow that, so he'd slept on the couch.

What Eric had said to Jason about being almost completely fine felt like the truth. His ribs felt better, though that could have been the pain medication, maneuvering around the house by himself was getting easier. He'd started using the crutches at home and suspected he'd be all right for the next week, maybe even the weekend to go without the wheelchair. By the time his mother got back home, it would be too late for her to insist on using the damned wheelchair.

He watched a lousy soap opera for about five minutes before finding some reruns of sports games on ESPN. Eric was content with that for about an hour before he started getting too anxious and antsy, wanting to go and run outside. Annoyed, he turned off the TV and stared at his backpack, battling with himself on whether or not he should do his homework.

Instead, he picked up his phone and decided to call the one person he wished had been doting on him the past half month. She answered after the fifth ring.

"Hello?"

"Hey," he greeted. "What are you up to?"

"I'm walking home," she answered. "You?"

"Bored. Let's do something."

There was a slight pause. "Like what? Aren't you still kind of in your chair?"

"Well…it's not like I'm incarcerated or anything," he answered. There was another pause on the other end of the line, and he thought he could hear her laughing. "What?" he questioned.

"That's an interesting word choice for you," she teased. Eric narrowed his eyes and tilted his head so that his nose stuck out in the air, even though she couldn't see it.

"I've been doing homework," he answered snottily, recalling some words he'd had to look up earlier. "Anyway, I'm jaded at present, and was wondering if I could implore you for some of your time."

It was nice to hear her laugh—it was a rare sound these days. "I guess… Would you like me to promenade to your humble abode?" she asked, smile in her voice. Her smile made him smile, though he didn't really know what she'd just said.

"If that means you'll be coming over, then yes."

"I'll be there in much less than a fortnight."

o—O—o

For people like he and Jenna, taking someone to a supermarket was like leading a child to a candy-toy mega mart. Usually, when they had specific things in mind to buy, they were able to leave pretty quickly, but since they were just wandering aimlessly with nothing more than a dinner in mind, it took them a little longer. It didn't help that the market was kosher and had a special section in the back reserved for professional chefs. Even though neither of them could buy anything from that section, they still looked at the latest technology in cheese slicers and knife sharpeners. A few hours that felt like minutes passed there, and they eventually finally made it over to the actual food.

"Squash?" Jenna questioned, looking up at him from the vegetable crates. Eden shrugged.

"Sure."

She bagged a few acorn squashes and threw them in their cart. Jenna had taken over their little expedition since she seemed to be the most inspired to create a dish. Because Jenna was mostly concerned with pastry, he wondered what she would concoct for them to eat as an entrée. "What are you planning?" he asked curiously as he trailed behind her with the cart.

"Not sure, but baked apples sound pretty good to me," she answered dismissively.

After browsing some fresh herbs and picking up a few more vegetables, they strolled down the pasta aisle before Jenna paused, tapped her chin and turned to face him. "What?" he asked.

"Risotto?"

"Sure."

"Okay then, that's what we're having. I think I have a recipe in mind."

Jenna bobbed around the market with him in tow for about another fifteen minutes before they rolled over to the cashier's line. She joined him behind the cart and started checking off the things that she'd grabbed, simultaneously wrapping an arm around his hip. Without thinking, his own arm swung around her shoulders. She was slightly taller than Devan was.

"Is there anything I forgot?" she asked him, looking up at him.

"You're the one who knows the recipe," he replied with a little bit of a smile.

"Heh. Oh, yeah."

Eden thought for a quarter of a second before he leaned over and pecked her lips. When he pulled away, Jenna reached up and kissed him quickly once more. The kisses they'd shared over the past two weeks had all been chaste for the most part, though he could tell she wanted more from him. The thought of it didn't particularly excite him, though it didn't sound like a bore, either.

He kept telling himself that life was easier with Jenna. He would never have to be careful with her; never question her feelings for him. They were able to collaborate in the kitchen, talk easily, laugh easily, but she just wasn't Devan. He was starting to realize that the only person who would ever be able to fill the void that was left was only Devan, but she was someone he had to try hard to forget. Thinking of her and being with her only caused him pain; knowing it was impossible all together was agony. He would learn to fall out of love with her. He had to.

o—O—o

"I hate you," Eric muttered as he dropped the video game controller to the carpet.

Three times. Three times she'd beaten him at MarioKart. Three! Eric, the supreme master of all things MarioKart could never lose to her.

Devan just smiled pleasantly. "You don't like silver?" she questioned teasingly.

He narrowed his eyes. "I just haven't played in awhile," he lied. In actuality, while avoiding his homework, he'd been wrapped up in the ancient Nintendo 64 game for hours. However, there was no way his testosterone was going to let him admit that. There was also no way he was going to lose another game. "I'm warmed up now. There's no way you're going to win now."

"Hmph," she answered, and hit the start button.

The next ten to fifteen minutes they battled each other out on the screen. Eric was relentless, bombarding her with red shells, purposely getting eighth in the beginning to use lightning bolts and claw his way to the first. He concentrated, mashed the booster button more than he thought was capable, and in the end, he won first place and the giant fish in the game floated above Mario's head. He let out a cry of victory.

"That was just luck," she muttered, slightly deflated.

He grinned. "Don't think so, honey. I've been playing this since it came out in 1990…something."

She cast him a sidelong glance, setting her controller down in front of her. "I thought you hadn't played in awhile?"

"I haven't," he lied again, grumbling and crossing his arms. Eric managed to puff his chest in a manly fashion that didn't hurt. "Regardless, I would never lose to someone like you."

"Like me?" she echoed incredulously, eyebrows flying on her forehead. "What the hell does that mean?"

"Well…you know. I'd never lose to a girl."

Devan stared at him. "You lost to me three times in a row," she stated dryly.

"Pffft, such a feminist."

She glanced at the clock above the television for a moment, and then said with a wicked smile. "Alright, next grand prix, winner takes all."

"What do you mean by 'take all'?" he questioned in a mildly suggestive manner while wagging his eyebrows. She rolled her eyes, but smiled, which made him feel oddly satisfied.

"It's just a figure of speech," she answered. Her response disappointed him.

"If you lose to me, you're gonna owe me big time."

She smiled again. It was good to see her smile. He should have thought of asking her to play MarioKart with him ages ago. "If I win you have to go the movies with me tonight."

Eric stared at her for a full second, completely caught off guard. Is she asking me on a date?

"Oh, not the movies," he moaned sarcastically. "Why the movies?"

"You seem well enough to be able to use the crutches," she answered with a slight shrug, picking up her controller again. "Cierra and Kate sort of threatened me to bring someone," Devan added. "It's not like I know anyone else well enough to ask them."

Eric had to hand it to her. Unwittingly, she had found out a way to undermine his pride and win first place in the next couple of races. "What time is the movie?"

"Eightish," she answered, glancing at the clock. It was six.

"Deal," he muttered with full intent to lose.

o—O—o

Eden handed a wet dish to Jenna to dry before moving on to a pan and washing that. Since they were at her house, he didn't entirely know where all of her dishes went. They'd been at her house together before, though with other members of the Culinary Club discussing various club activities. This time it was just the two of them in her small kitchen.

He handed her the last pan and watched as she put it away. He leaned casually against the pale tile counter.

They'd made risotto with a wine reduction. Luckily, her parents had had a bottle of red wine sitting around. They had been silent for the majority of the time they'd been together that afternoon and evening. They hadn't particularly needed to verbally communicate while cooking, and both were lost in thought about roughly the same thing.

Without a word, Jenna set down her towel and walked over to him. She touched the hem of his shirt and played with the fabric before looking up at him with her baby blue eyes. He smiled slightly, reflexively, and stood up straight, removing his weight from the counter to softly peck her on the lips because he thought it was the right thing to do.

"What time was the movie you wanted to see?" he questioned.

"Eight," she answered. "We can leave around seven-thirty."

"What do you want to do till then?" he asked.

"There was something I wanted to show you," Jenna answered quietly, her hand finding his. Their faces were still mere breaths away from each other, their noses touching.

"What is it?"

"It's in my room," she replied, taking a small step back. "Come with me?"

Chapter 24: Untitled

"Eric Walker?"

Eric smiled and lifted and waved. Cierra looked absolutely abashed that Devan had managed to find someone to bring to the theater, let alone the popular-playboy half of the Walker duo. Devan couldn't help but feel the tiniest bit smug. They were sitting on one of the benches inside the theater, having already bought their tickets. Eric's crutches leaned against the bench, and he'd managed to find a baggy enough pair of pants to conceal most of his cast.

Cierra, Kate, Ramone and Angie walked up, holding freshly torn tickets. Devan stood up to greet them and Eric did the same, balancing his weight on his left leg.

"So, now we're just waiting for Maci and Daniel," Angie stated while Ramone and Eric shook hands. She checked her small silver watch. "They've got ten minutes and then we should go in and get seats."

"They're probably hiding in a broom closet somewhere," Ramone volunteered with a roll of his eyes and fingers thrumming against Angie's hips. She gave him a light smack on the arm and he smiled at her, pulling her in for a small peck on the lips.

"So, you're out of the chair?" Cierra questioned Eric while Kate quietly sat down. Eric nodded, but sat down as well. Cierra sat next to him and Devan sat back down as well, feeling a little odd to be one of the only ones left standing. Ramone and Angie had drifted off into their own little world, leaving Devan with the forever silent Kate.

"Yeah," Eric answered, his tone conversational. "I really didn't like being in it for the past couple of weeks."

"It must have been nice, though, having people help you all the time."

Devan watched as Eric shrugged and smiled smoothly. "I can usually get people to help me whenever I need them," he informed Cierra, who laughed softly.

"I bet you could," she answered with a grin. "It's good that you're healing fast," she commented.

Maci walked through the doors, dragging Daniel with her, looking slightly out of breath. Ramone teased her about it, but she brushed him off easily and greeted Eric, as well as the rest of the group.

It was decided that Devan and Angie would get the popcorn and drinks, while the others would find seats and help Eric hobble up the stadium-styled seating. They stood in line, mostly silent. Though Devan liked Angie, she wasn't entirely sure what Angie thought of her. She wondered what was circulating around the Culinary Club.

Probably nothing, she thought, now that Eden and I aren't talking…

There was a dull throb in her chest as she thought of him, but it was nothing compared to what had been weeks ago. She was glad that the pain was fading, but wondered if it would last. Instead of healing, it just felt like she was getting number and number as each day went on. It was nice, though, to be pulled under a blanket of silent emotions. Feeling nothing was better than feeling the agony.

She glanced around the theater, taking in the lights and the bright red color of the carpet. The place smelled of popcorn, and there was a giant display of the newest 3D movie coming out in the center of the theater lobby. Movie posters and cardboard displays were strategically placed along the walls. Devan's slate gaze landed on the entrance area, where a bored looking girl about her age waited for people to come in with their tickets.

Devan looked back to the concession stand and took a step forward when the line advanced.

"Did you invite anyone else?" Angie asked suddenly, sounding slightly alarmed.

"No, why?" Devan responded, confused. She turned to look at her, and saw that Angie's focus was on the entrance area. Devan followed her gaze and felt her whole body freeze when she saw Eden and Jenna handing the girl their tickets. It took Devan a moment to thaw and look away, but her blissful numbness had suddenly been blown away like a feather in the wind.

Now that she was aware they were there, she could hear their voices as they got closer, and she studiously kept her gaze to the head of the person in front of her. She was wearing a new sweater and different shoes. Devan pulled her hood over her head; hopefully Eden wouldn't recognize her back.

"…I hear Pierce Korwin is really good in the movie," Jenna said as they stopped behind them in line. "He's one of the new actors."

"Sounds interesting," Eden commented. The sound of his voice sent ice cubes down Devan's spine. "I guess we'll just have to see how he'll do as the lead."

There was a small pause, and Devan noticed graciously that Angie was also not looking or drawing attention to herself from the two.

"If you were an actor," Jenna said, "what kind of an actor would you be?"

Foreign film, Devan thought automatically.

Eden snorted. "A bad one." Pause. "Though if we assumed that I was good at it, I guess I'd like to be in a foreign film. I'd like to travel."

"Sounds exotic," she responded. "I could see you in a drama or like a romantic comedy, too."

He hates romantic comedies.

"Oh, but you don't like romantic comedies, do you?" Jenna added, as if reading Devan's thoughts.

"I don't really care for them," he answered vaguely, a smile in his voice. There was a beat of silence, a light sucking noise, and then a giggle. Devan was starting to feel sick again.

"You know what I could see you in?" Jenna questioned, the tone of her voice a little softer.

"Hm?"

"Something rated XXX. I bet you'd get a kick out of that."

To her surprise, Eden laughed. "I don't think so," he replied.

"Yeah? Why not?"

There was silence and Devan guessed that Eden had shrugged. They lapsed into silence, and Devan was awkward as they moved closer to the cashier.

Eden seemed to be happy. He seemed to enjoy Jenna's company as much, if not more than he'd enjoyed Devan's company. She wondered, if she turned around and said hello, would he even remember who she was? Maybe he'd just nonchalantly return the greeting as if nothing in the past month had ever hurt him.

She was annoyed and angry when they got to the cashier, and Angie ordered before Devan could utter a word.

"Mei?" Jenna's voice asked. Angie turned around, her expression a slight smile.

"Hey Jen," she greeted quickly as Devan paid for their concessions. "Mei's at home."

"Oh…what movie are you seeing? Who are you here with?" Jenna questioned curiously. Devan felt more annoyed hearing Jenna's friendly voice.

"We're seeing Uncontrollable. I'm here with the usual group." Angie grabbed the two popcorns the cashier served them and Devan grabbed the box full of sodas.

"Oh, we're seeing that one, too," Jenna responded brightly. "See you in the theater."

"Right," Angie answered as she walked away. Devan sidestepped specifically for the purpose of them not seeing her face and walked away with Angie. They made their way to their theater number.

"Thanks for not…mentioning me," Devan said, opening the door. Angie shrugged, looking not quite as bright as she had before.

"No problem."

Maci was waving them over from the seats directly in the middle of the stadium seating. It was busy, and Devan hoped it was busy enough that Jenna wouldn't have the compulsion to sit with Angie. She also hoped that in the dim lighting, her face wouldn't be discernable from all the others.

Devan took her seat next to Eric and began passing the sodas along the line of seats.

"You okay?" Eric asked her as he passed on a sprite to Cierra.

She thought about lying for a moment, but then answered, "Eden's here with Jenna."

"Oh…you okay?" he repeated. "Do you want to leave?"

The idea was appealing, but she shook her head. She wasn't going to run away from them.


Well, that rounds off the deleted scenes/chapters and additional notes :D

I want to say thanks again for all those who have read and read and reviewed. You guys really do make my day. I love seeing my mailbox with reviews.

Also, for those who haven't seen/heard, there are character look-alikes and a soundtrack in my profile.

AND, a little shameless self plugging, please check out my newest story, Prelude to Ruin. My writing tends to take after what I like, which would be—hot boys, love triangles, twists, and drama. This story will definitely be full of all of it.

Any questions/comments/concerns regarding Take Two, please email me or drop a review!

THANKS AGAIN!

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