So, amongst the many edits Trick Play went through, it was decided that Stacy and Jared did not belong in Matt and Noah’s book. They got reduced to ‘mandatory appearances only’, and I hope to write them their own short story at some point so you get to see what happened there. But here is a deleted scene that will give you more insight as to what really happened with them three years ago. We also get a little more Damon and Maddox, while Matt and Noah are still getting to know each other.
MATT ~ DAY TWO OF THE CRUISE
Dressed in suits again, we head for the bar as soon as we enter the cigar lounge.
“They’re sickening, aren’t they?” Noah says and nods toward Maddox and Damon.
They’re holding hands and laughing at Damon’s sister Stacy as she sits on the lap of that Jared guy.
“All of them or Maddox and Damon?” I ask. Maddox looks unbelievably … in love. Ugh.
“I’ve never seen Damon that happy.”
I can’t be sure, but I swear I hear a slight tone of jealousy in Noah’s voice. Over Damon or over Maddox I’m not sure.
“Maddox has a way of lighting up lives without even trying,” I say.
“Wait, are you still into Maddox?”
I laugh. “Fuck no. I just remember him being the best thing about freshman year. He’d walk into our room and say something stupid. Made all the bullshit tolerable. Then when everything turned to shit a few weeks back, he turned up on my doorstep and did it again. He’s a good guy and deserves”—I nod in their direction—“that.” My eye catches on that Jared guy again. “Hey, what’s the deal with Stacy and Jared?”
Noah leans in. “All I know is Damon invited Jared as payback because he and Stacy hooked up in college, and it ended awkwardly. Don’t think he expected them to get along.”
“She’s been hanging off him all day.”
“Sibling rivalry, man. I don’t get it.”
“Neither do I,” I say.
“You have five brothers and sisters.”
“Yeah, but I’m the oldest. I spent most of my childhood breaking up their fights. I felt like that parent who’s always yelling Why can’t you all get along?”
Noah’s lips form into a thin line. “We should get over there.”
Drinks in hand, we make our way to the table and take the two available armchairs next to each other.
Damon lifts his chin toward us. “Well, you haven’t killed each other, so you’ve done something on the list I told you to.”
“That’s not all,” Noah says. “Check this out. Matt has three sisters and two brothers. He’s from Tennessee and hides his accent because he thinks he sounds like trash otherwise.”
I tense, and suddenly I’m worried he’s going to divulge more than I’m willing to share—like about my crappy parents. That was for his ears only, but I didn’t say that aloud. Noah senses my tension and gives me a reassuring smile.
“He also loves football more than anything else.”
“That last one is a given,” Damon says.
Noah shrugs. “But I’m learning things. Look at me, paying attention and shit.”
“Why do I feel like he’s fishing for a doggy treat?” Stacy asks.
“Don’t be mean,” Noah says to her.
“What’s his favorite food?” Maddox asks.
“Umm …” Noah hesitates. “Thai food.”
I try not to wince. “Yup. Love that, uh, curry stuff.”
Damon turns to me. “You hate Thai, don’t you?”
“Uh, yeah.” I turn to Noah. “Sorry.”
“You guys have some work to do before your interview tomorrow,” Damon says. “What did you two study in college?”
“Ha,” I say. “He was a political science major.” Boom. Suck on that, Damon.
“And what did Matt study?” Damon asks.
“Umm … football?” Noah says.
We all laugh.
“Generic business major,” I say, “but I never graduated. My dream has always been football.”
“He was drafted sophomore year,” Noah adds.
“Ooh, I have a great idea,” Stacy says and stands. “I’ll be right back.”
“I think we should be scared,” Damon says.
“I know we should be scared,” Maddox says. “Her ideas are always scary.”
Stacy comes back with a bunch of napkins, a pen, and an empty cocktail glass. “We each write an embarrassing fact about us, and then we’ll put them in the glass and then guess who wrote what.”
Five male groans fill the space.
“We have to do it,” Maddox says. “She won’t let it go otherwise.”
Stacy writes hers down first, and then hands the pen and a napkin to Jared. Meanwhile, I try to come up with an embarrassing fact that’s not I got photographed mid-blowjob and outed by a tabloid, because that one’s too obvious. It is hard to top though.
“I don’t think this is going to work,” Maddox says. “Stacy, Damon, and Jared know all of my embarrassing stories.”
“Pick one from when we were kids,” Jared says. “I won’t out you.” His eyes flick to me. “Sorry. Bad choice of words. Didn’t mean—”
I hold up my hand to stop him from talking. “All good.”
When it comes to my turn with the pen, I write the only thing I can think of and throw my napkin in the glass.
Noah goes next, and then Damon is the last to put his in. Stacy reaches into the glass and shuffles the napkins in her hands.
“Okay, first one,” she says. “I was once caught jerking off by my younger sister.”
Fuck. Of course, mine comes out first. I try to look stoic.
“By power of deduction,” Stacy says. “It can’t be Maddox, Damon, or Noah. Well, or me, because I don’t have a penis. Maddox’s sister is older, Noah is an only child, and I, thank God, have never walked in on Damon doing that.” She shudders.
I think I like Damon’s sister. We apparently went to college together, but I don’t remember her. We might’ve spoken if she was in our dorm room, but I tried not to be there when Maddox had girls over.
“So, it’s either Matt or Jared,” she says.
Jared and I glance at each other.
“It sounds like something that’d happen to poor Cassidy,” Maddox says.
Jared finally gives in and throws his hands up. “Wasn’t me.”
“Guilty,” I say.
They don’t have time to rib me about it, because Stacy’s pulling out the next one. “My friends tricked me into skinny dipping and then stole my clothes.”
“Has to be Maddox,” I say.
Maddox takes the napkin and throws it at Jared. “You said you wouldn’t give it away.”
“I couldn’t help it. It was frickin’ hilarious making you walk home naked.”
“I was arrested for stealing my own boat,” Stacy says. “Noah, you have to at least try. You’re the only one in this room who can afford to have their own boat.”
“Really?” I ask him. “You stole your own boat?”
“I borrowed my parents’ boat. They reported it stolen, not realizing I’d taken it, and then the Coastguard didn’t believe me when I said the boat was mine. Dad had to come to the Hampton’s police station, and then I got yelled at for being irresponsible, even though he was the one who had me arrested. But it worked out okay, because Dad had a reason to jump on the crooked cop bandwagon after that. Cleaning up cities of corruption.” Noah’s tone is upbeat, but that’s completely messed up.
“I once got hit in the nuts with a baseball bat,” Stacy says. “Again, can’t be me, because of the lack of balls.”
“I dunno,” Noah says. “I think you have balls of steel.”
“Aww, that’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me, Noah.”
“I’m going to go with the obvious here and say Damon,” Maddox says. “It could be Jared, but I think I would’ve heard of it if it was him.”
“Yeah, it was me,” Damon says. “Freshman year at Newport. Wasn’t watching where I was going when I hit the stadium for the first time—too busy looking at the lights and the stands. Walked right into a guy swinging a bat.”
Stacy reads the next one with a blush on her cheeks. “I’ve yelled out the wrong name during sex.”
My guess is it’s her, but then again, it could be Jared. He’s trying to hide a smile again.
“It’s one of these two,” I say and point between Jared and Stacy. “And I ain’t just saying that because they’re the only two left. They both look guilty.”
“Pull out the last one,” Jared says.
Stacy reads it and chuckles. “I’ve been called Harry in the middle of sex.”
A pained noise comes from Damon. “That’s something I didn’t need to know about my sister.”
“Hey, I see it,” Noah says to Jared. “You look like that prince dude.”
“That’s taking your royal obsession too far, Stace,” Maddox says. “But now I know why both of you get weirded out whenever the other is mentioned.”
They all start bickering between them, and I become completely lost with their dynamic and who knows who and how, but I don’t care. Watching them is making me forget my issues, and being around people—friends—who are talking about something other than me? I’m in heaven.
Noah reaches over and grabs a hold of my hand and speaks through the side of his mouth quietly. “Assholes with cell phones taking photos. Nine o’clock.”
Knew it was too good to last.