I have a ton of deleted material from Take Me Down. Both Kennedy and Silas have a pretty heavy backstories and even though I wrote it, a lot of it wound up getting cut from the book.
But, I still want to share these parts of the story with my readers, so I plan to release them over the next several weeks/months. Since this was the original beginning, go for it and read now if you like, it shouldn’t spoil anything. There may be spoilers in future ones, and I’ll pre-warn you on that. I loved how it showed Kennedy’s spunk, but overall this turned out to be far too heavy for my liking. The published opening sets more of the tone for the book than this wold have (and I also feared it wouldn’t endear readers to Kennedy). So, it was axed.
“We will now start boarding for flight 1083 from Heathrow to JFK…” the attendant spoke over the loudspeaker.
That was my cue.
With a sigh I shouldered my bag, and went to the queue.
“Kennedy Murphy?” A male voice chimed behind me.
Glancing over my shoulder, my eyes met George Davies, one of my brother’s mates from secondary school. Actually, mates was incorrect. George Davies was nothing but a bully. He tortured Theo relentlessly his entire life. Many nights I’d consoled my brother after George had pretended to befriend him, only to turn around and play another cruel joke on poor Theo.
I closed my eyes and swallowed hard. Should’ve known I wouldn’t make it out of London unscathed.
“Oi! It is you!” He clutched my shoulder, shaking me a bit. Bloody hell, he smelled like booze. “Guys! Look! It’s Kennedy Fucking Murphy!” he shouted to his mates.
I shrugged out of his grasp, then inched forward in line, staring straight ahead, hoping he got the hint.
But no, he sidled up next to me. “So shocking to see you after all this time. Everyone assumed you were…”Dead? Drunk? Lying in a gutter? “Off the grid,” he said instead.
“Yes, you could say I have been.” Please don’t be sitting next to me on this flight. If I had to sit next to George Davies for six hours and fifty-five minutes, I would keel over.
Please, just leave me the bloody hell alone.
I got to the front of the line, scanned my boarding pass and headed toward the plane. Of course, George was hot on my heels. “You look so…” he blinked “…fit.”
“Sobriety works wonders.” I adjusted the strap on my shoulder and kept moving forward.
“My boys and I are heading to New York. Going to hit up all the clubs. Visiting the states, are you?”
“Moving to the states,” I corrected.
He whistled, rubbing the back of his neck. “Can’t fault you for that. Everyone still talks about that display of yours at the Christmas party.”
My jaw clenched. “I’m sure they do.”
Yes, it was quite the drunken display.
My stepmother had just scared off the one decent bloke I’d met in quite some time. Then, she proceeded to berate me, blathering on about how proud she was of Theo for always making the right choices. How he’d finally settled down with a nice girl, and how she couldn’t wait to meet Emerson, totally clueless to the fact Emerson was a he, and Theo was gay.
“Emerson. Is. A. Bloke,” I’d hissed to my stepmother through vodka-laden lips. “Look at him!” I pointed to my brother as he stood from the piano wearing his prissy little, red and black, paisley, sport coat, that no straight man could ever pull off. “Theo! Is! Gay!”
Theo’s green eyes widened as he paled. “Kennedy…no…” Tears rolled down his cheeks. “Please stop…” he begged.
The only reason I agreed to come to the party was because Theo pleaded that I be there since he’d be bringing his partner. I’d come to support him, and he hung me out to dry.
“You’ve always been blind to it.” My last thread, frayed. I was delirious with rage, laughing like a madwoman so much, I could barely catch air. “You sent him to an all boys Catholic school! Do you have any idea what really happened there? Tell her, Theo! Tell mummy dearest what her precious little altar boy did.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as gasps came from the crowd. “Your perfect little angel told me every sordid detail! Every fondle under the desk. Every fellatio in the loo!!” I screamed from the bottom of my lungs. “You didn’t protect him from girls! You let him loose in the candy store!”
Elizabeth snapped her fingers. “Get her out of here!” She hissed at her staff, her minions.
“Now, he just wants to be himself, happy with another bloke, and he’s too twisted in his head due to his mommy issues to even accept himself for the beautiful man he is!” Two arms grabbed me, dragging me out of the room kicking and screaming like a toddler having a tantrum. “So frightened he’ll disappoint you! Terrified he’ll be like me, cast out, discarded, with nowhere to turn, no safety net, not a soul in the world who cares!”
George’s tongue clicked behind me, pulling me from my dismal memories “I feel just awful for how poorly I treated your brother, especially considering what happened afterward…” He grimaced, but didn’t look a bit remorseful.
Please. Just. Stop.
“Of course, I’m sure you feel even worse.” He slumped into his seat. First class, of course.
He had no idea how I felt. My whole life I’d tried to protect Theo. But I grew weary. This pawn could only hold the defensive line for so long.
“Do you, George?” Do you feel awful?” I peered down at him, blinking. “Do you feel awful for giving him wedgies on the playground? Pulling his trousers down in the middle of the hall? Throwing him in the rubbish bin? Dumping milk on him? Locking him in the custodian cupboard? Do you, George?”
He paled. “I…I…” he stammered.
“Well, do you?” I shouted and stomped down the aisle toward second class. Fuming, I shoved my carry-on in the overhead compartment, then flopped into my seat.
Before I knew it, the fight attendant was making her way toward me. Bloody fantastic. “Excuse me, miss?” she asked. “Was that man harassing you?” She pointed to the front of the plane.
This one is for you, Theo.
“Why yes, he was.” I leaned in closer to her, and added in a whisper, “Got a bit handsy with me in the queue.” I blinked innocently. “I think he may be intoxicated.” Neither of these were lies, just stretching the truth a bit.
The flight attendant frowned, patting my shoulder. “I’m so sorry. We’ll take care of him.” She elbowed her way back to George. “Excuse me, sir!” she shouted to George. “I’m going to need you to come with me.”
And with that, George was escorted off the plane.