Deleted Scene #2
If you haven't gone back and read the last deleted scene, you should becuase this chapter follows directly after. It was the last written before the major plot change. Up to this point, James was the bad guy. I had planned for us to have sword fighting, swashbuckling times and hate the man. But in true Bailey fashion, once I started writing about him I enjoyed the mystery of who he could be, what his past was, and how he ended up in Neverland (Spoiler I'm thinking a short story may be coming with more of him)
And so I had to change who my villain was. Sigh. Anywho... Enjoy!
Cass and I have gone for a hike. Be back soon.
I stare at the note, written with an early nineteen-hundreds quill pen and ink. I feel like I should add more. If it were me on the receiving end, I’d want to know where in the woods he was going and when he’d be back. Of course, that's assuming the letter would be written in the real world, or better yet it would be sent in a text and I could track him on my phone.
If we were a couple.
Which we’re not.
I don’t even like Peter. Keep telling yourself this, Wens.
Cass raps his knuckles against the doorframe and pokes his head inside. “You ready?”
“As I’m gonna be.” I glance at my note one last time. I’m torn. Leaving the treehouse gives me anxiety, but Cass is right. I need to get out and find some sort of normalcy. Three weeks can either drag for an eternity or pass before I know it. It’s my choice how I want to spend my time, and I want it to fly by, which means staying busy.
I shut Peter's door and stand at the base of the tree house. The same spiderweb of rope bridges wait for me. My heart thrums faster, beating in my ears.
“Want me to carry you again?” Cass crouches low.
“No.” I’ve spent enough time on this island being the helpless damsel, not even playing the part but actually being helpless. It's time I drop that title and find a new one. I don’t know what that is yet, but I’ll be damned if it entails needing a guy to save me… again. I take a deep breath and force my feet to move forward. “I got this.”
Peter’s tree house is at the center of the web. I need to make it to one of the other tree houses to reach a ladder. Step by terrifying step we cross the first bridge. Cass stays close, barely a step behind, spotting my every move. I glance behind me, his hands are out, ready to catch me if I fall.
“Look at you.” He beams when we’re on the ground. “Conquering your fears.”
“Whatever. Where to now?”
“Wow!” I pant as we climb over a set of boulders somewhere in the heart of the island. “This is beautiful.”
My muscles protest every movement, strained from being contorted into positions they’ve never seen before. My hands are sweaty, fingers are swollen and tingly. My chest burns, lactic acid seeping into each breath, but every step, every ache in my bones was worth the view. Rows and rows of fruits and vegetables span for acres in front of us. They cascade down the side of a small hill.
“Couldn’t agree more.” Cass threads his fingers with mine. He’s looking at me, not the view. A small moment of silence passes between us. “What are you in the mood for?”
He guides me to a large oak that has a hole hollowed out. He grabs two baskets and hands me one.
“What do you have?”
“A little of everything.” He’s not lying. They have everything on this island. Orange trees, mango, strawberries, kiwi, avocado, grapes, the list goes on and on, every fruit ripe and ready to eat.
“How is this possible?” I bite into a strawberry, the sweet juice heaven in my mouth.
Cass takes a bite from his apple. “Tell me about Neverland.”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you know about us?”
“Neverland is a place where you don’t grow up,” I tell him the story I learned as a child, about pirates who wage a war with Peter for no reason and the children he stole in the middle of the night. I talk about Tinkerbell and how her pixie dust mixed with happy thoughts makes everyone fly. My smile grows with each word. I love the tale, probably more than Tyle claims to. For her, it was something else to take but for me, it was a tale of infinite possibilities.
Cass is quiet as I finish my tale. His apple gone, the core tossed into a bush behind him. “She survived.” He whispers.
Cass shakes his head, thinking to himself. “Do you believe the story?”
“I don’t know what to believe anymore.”
“What if I told you Tinkerbelle really was a fairy? What would you say?”
I laugh. “I’d say there’s no such–—”
Cass covers my mouth with his hand. “Don’t finish that. Every time you say it, someone I know drops dead. Got it?”
I nod. “You know a fairy?”
“Honey. I am a fairy. “ He takes a strawberry from my basket and holds it in his palm. I watch the bright red deepen into a rich maroon before withering into a brown. In seconds it’s gone from a plump, juicy fruit to rotted pulp that rejuvenates itself until the berry is ready to eat again. “I’m a [insert name for this fairy here].”
“This is crazy.” I take the berry and examine it. It feels the same. I take a bite. It's delicious. “Is everyone here like you?”
“No. Just Belle, Emmit, and me.”
“Tinkerbelle is on the island?”
“She’s down with the pirates.”
“No! She traded sides?”
“More times than I care to count.” Cass pauses. “Listen, Wednesday, there’s something you need to know.”
“Hot damn! Sleeping Beauty wakes.” Emmit steps through the brush with Xyris.
“I don’t think anyone’s died in Neverland since—” Xyis grunts. Emmit shoved his elbow into his side. “Nevermind.”
“Are you lovebirds coming to the grotto?” Emmit asks.
Cass looks at me, waiting for my answer. “I don’t swim.”
“Pitty.” Xyris nibbles on Emmit’s ear. Emmat swats at him but grins. “See you around.”
“We should get going.” Cass stands.
“I had fun today. Thank you.”
“Hey, Wednesday. Can you not tell Peter about our conversation?”
“You gonna tell me why we need to keep secrets?
“Soon. I promise. I just can’t yet.
“I’m holding you to that Casper.”