Photo of bonfire n the woods with text 'Silas and Erin deleted backstory"

Silas and Erin

As I said in my previous post, I’ve got a TON of deleted backstory from Take Me Down. I’m sure many readers may question WHY Silas was with Erin for so long. (I did try and give her some redemption by the end of the book, showing her regrets, and that she’s just as wounded from the fame as he is). In the novel, I explained BRIEFLY at dinner with Silas and his brother WHY he was so smitten with Erin.

Erin and Silas went to high school together, and she rejected him. So, when they reconnected as adults, he let his ego get the best of him. It all boiled down to his rejection. (Rejection does not sit well with Silas.) Also, there was something about Erin that reminded him of home, and part of him was holding onto that nostalgia. And as you know, Silas loves hard, fears change, and doesn’t back down from something until the universe forces his hand.

But this was not Silas and Erin’s story, this was Silas and Kennedy’s story. A couple readers have suggested an Erin book, and I’ve toyed with it in my mind. I love the idea of telling her story and seeing things from her perspective. From Erin’s side, Silas would be the bad-guy. Someone that was just with her because she was famous and pretty. He stuck it out because he was lonely, and scared to be alone. He didn’t truly love her, he tolerated her for the sex. He hid secrets from her as well.

But, I could be asking for trouble there….but then again, trouble is my middle name.

But I digress. Anyhow. Onto the deleted scene. Here is Silas, as a teen, when he totally blew it with Erin the first time.

I stood at the keg talking to Erin Barclay. 

Me. Having a conversation with a cheerleader. 

It was a fucking dream come true. 

As she bent over and refilled her red Solo cup, I couldn’t take my eyes off the epic set of tits popping out of her tiny, white tank top. My gaze traveled down to her long legs extending from her barely-there cutoffs. Capping it off at the bottom were a pair of sexy as sin cowboy boots. I swallowed the lump in my throat, imaging her–heels to the heavens–and those boots wrapped around my virgin neck. 

Thank God for country girls. 

She cleared her throat, and my eyes snapped back to her face.

“You performed really well tonight,” she said. We’d just finished our fourth, and final, performance of the school musical, Little Shop of Horrors, where I played Seymour. “You were really funny.” 

“Thanks.” I lifted my cup to my lips and took a swig of beer. 

Her eyes raked over me and she gnawed on her pouty bottom lip. Best guess, she was contemplating if it would be social suicide to speak to me. “Are you new here?”

“No,” I replied. We moved a lot due to my dad’s military career, but we’d been in Oklahoma for three years now that he’d retired as a chaplain of the National Guard and taken up pastoring a small, country church.

“Oh.” She frowned. “What’s your name again?” 

“Silas.” I flashed her a lopsided grin. 

No response.

“Silas Graves?” Seriously, she didn’t even know who I was? I sat behind her all of Freshman year in history. The girl never carried a pencil. The first time she asked me for one, I just gave her my only one, because, well, duh. Hot girl. I started carrying extras in my bag solely for her. “Mr. McKinley’s history class?” 

Her brows went up, like a lightbulb went off in her head. “Oh my god.” She laughed. “That’s right! You used to wear those thick glasses.” She laughed. “No wonder you looked familiar playing Seymour! It was the geeky glasses. I kept trying to figure out how I knew you.” 

Heat flushed in my cheeks. “I’ve got contacts now,” I mumbled. 

“Good call.” She smiled. God, she had perfect teeth. Mine, not so much. They weren’t eat-an-apple-through-a-chain-link-fence bad, but crooked enough that I was self-conscious of them. “You have really amazing eyes,” she added. “They’re so big and blue.”  

“Thanks.” An awkward silence hung in the night air. Say something, you idiot. “Your eyes are pretty, too,” And legs. And tits, and her long, dark hair, and, well, everything. Erin Barclay was a solid ten. She’d already been in a country music video, and she was only going to get hotter, and probably more famous. 

“You’re really cute, for a drama geek.” 

Um, thanks? A backhanded compliment, but I’d take what I could get. “Would you, um, like a beer?” I nodded to the keg. 

“I’ve already got one.” She wiggled her cup and laughed. 

“Oh yeah, silly me.” I rubbed the back of my neck. I had no game. None. 

“It’s okay.” She flashed a supermodel smile that I was certain would grace the pages of fashion magazines in years to come. “Let’s just hang.” She closed the gap between us. 

One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was lying on a blanket locking lips with Erin Fucking Barclay, the most popular girl in school. As our tongues tangled, my hands roamed over her smooth thigh, up and around the curve of her hip, the dip of her belly and finally, I was under her shirt, cupping her breast. 

We made out for so long, my dick was about to bust through my jeans. It was painful how much I wanted to be inside of her. 

“Do you want to go somewhere more private?” she finally asked. 

Fuck yes. But instead I cooly replied with a, “Sure.” I had a condom burning a hole in my wallet that I’d finally be able to put to use. 

Outside I was calm, cool and collected, but inside I was a bundle of nerves. I was about to lose my virginity to Erin Barclay. I was an actor, after all. Fake it till you make it. Standing, I bent down to grab the blanket we’d been lying on, praying I didn’t choke under the pressure. 

Squinting in the dark, I looked for the cup I’d sat down. I could barely see my own two feet now that the bonfire had died down. Finally, I found it and retrieved it from the ground. Right as I turned back around, I somehow lost my footing on a rock, or a branch, or God knows what, and went barreling straight into Erin. The plastic cup crumpled between us, as beer went everywhere. 

“What the hell?” she shouted, pulling back, shaking off her dripping wet arms. 

“I…I’m sorry…” I stammered. “I…I…I’m just a little drunk,” I lied, scratching my brow.

Beer dripped down her nose, face, chin and was soaking into her white tank top. A crowd of her cheerleader friends began to form around us. 

“What’s wrong?” one of them asked, holding a flashlight. Thank fuck. I could see again.

“This geek spilled beer all over me!” Erin shouted.

Twenty minutes ago I was cute and talented. Now in front of her friends, I was a geek. I rolled my eyes. “It will dry off,” I mumbled. Jesus, it wasn’t that big of a deal. “Take mine if you want.” I grabbed my shirt at the back of my neck and pulled it off, offering it to her. Mine seemed much drier than hers, considering I could  see her nipples through the fabric. 

All her friends looked at me, then exchanged a wary glance. 

“But the smell. What am I gonna do?” Whining, she glanced to one of her friends.

“I’ve got a change in my car,” another friend offered, giving me the stink-eye. “Come on, I’ll go grab it for you.” 

Crossing her arms, she frowned, glancing at me, standing there, shirtless. “I’ll be there in a minute. Go on.” She snagged the flashlight from her friend. 

Her friends reluctantly walked away. 

“I’m really sorry.” I looked down to my feet. 

“Accidents happen,” something in her expression softened. Probably because I looked so sad and dejected, standing there, shirtless. “I gotta clean up or my parents will kill me.” Her head cocked to the side and she ogled me up and down. Thank fuck I’d been doing some lifting in the garage with my dad. I’d also shot up several inches that year, thinning out all that baby fat. “Another time, maybe?” 

“Yeah. Sure. Another time.” I pulled my shirt back on. But I knew it would never happen for me. Not in a million years. 

She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek, then, with a quick wave, she was gone. 

I walked a few feet over and sat down on a log. Leaning my elbows on my knees, I dropped my gaze and cursed myself for blowing that one so epically. 

Stupid. Clumsy. Me. I’d always had two left feet, unless I was under the bright stage lights. That was my wheelhouse. 

Time for another drink to drown my sorrows. I really didn’t want to go to college a virgin, that is, if I was going to college. Maybe Erin would talk to me on Monday. All I knew is if I ever got another chance with her, I would not blow it.   

Standing, I turned my gaze toward the parked vehicles in the distance, where I knew the keg was sitting on my friends tailgate, but behind me it was nothing but a sea of black. Turning, I grabbed a few logs and tossed them onto the fire, hoping to illuminate the area a little bit more. Then, I wandered into the distance. My foot caught something on my trek and I heard a squeal from a girl, and a male grunt as I tumbled toward the ground.

“Fuck, Graves, what’s your deal?” My buddy, Ryan Wilson, growled at me. “We’re trying to get a little privacy here. Jesus.” 

“Sorry man.” I stood and dusted myself off. “Didn’t see you there.” Maybe I was a little more buzzed than I thought, and it was time to call it a night. Driving drunk was a big hell-no for me. Best not press my luck. “I’ll catch you Monday, dude.” 

I pulled my keys out of my pocket and used the flashlight on my key ring. My dad had gifted it to me along with a spare key to his truck the day I got my license. I’d rolled my eyes at the gadget that had everything. Flashlight, bottle opener, corkscrew, pocketknife, you name it, the thing had it. My dad was such a survival nerd, always prepared and always trying to teach me his ways of doing things. But the stupid thing actually came in handy. The last thing I wanted to do was trip on more bodies. 

Finally, I reached my dad’s truck and climbed in, firing up the engine. I flipped on my lights and started rolling, bumping and jostling over the rough terrain of the field, but even with the brights on it was difficult to see anything other than what was directly in front of my hood. 

I opened my eyes wider and leaned closer to the wheel as I turned around the bend. 

Damn. Maybe I shouldn’t be driving. 

Right as that thought flew through my head, there was a loud thud, and something rolled across the hood. I slammed on my brakes. With a sickening thump, whatever it was I hit rolled to the ground. 

Please be a deer. Please be a deer. 

Not like I wanted to kill Bambi, but it was better than a human. 

Panic seized my veins and I gripped the wheel, shaking. After a couple calming breaths, I got out and checked around me.

“Dude, what the fuck?” My other cast member and friend, Patrick McDowell hopped off the ground, dusting the red dirt off his jeans. 

My heart rapped against my ribcage, threatening to break through my chest. “Dude, are you okay?” I finally croaked out, trying not to throw up. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you.”

“Yeah, I’m fine, but fuck, man. How drunk are you?” 

Honestly, I felt stone sober. Not sure if it was the adrenaline pumping through my veins, or what. A few of my other theater buds came over, and my cheeks heated with humiliation for the third time that night. 

After a few calming breaths—and now that I knew Patrick was alright—I inspected the damage to the truck. There was a slight dent in the hood. “Fuck, my dad is gonna kill me.” I rubbed my brow. “If he catches whiff that I was drinking…” I shuddered to thinking about the heat I’d take for this. 

“Your dad is the least of our worries. If Mr. G finds out, we’re toast. We’ll get cut from drama club,” another one of my friends, Brad Finch put his two cents in.  

“Pop the hood,” Ryan said, jutting his chin to the truck. 

I did as bid, then walked back to the front of the vehicle. Ryan took his fisted hand and bumped up on the inside of the hood a couple times, the dropped it. “No biggie,” he said, pointing to it. “Popped right out.” He dug into his pocket and looked to Brad. “Take my keys, follow us back to Graves’. I’m gonna drive him home.” He pointed to the rest of the cast and crew. “Everyone keeps their mouth shut about this, you got it?” 

The rest of our friends nodded. 

Ryan looked to me. “Get in.” He jutted his chin to my truck. 

We drove in awkward silence for ten minutes down the dark, two-lane highway. 

“So, what’s up with you, dude?” Ryan finally broke the silence. 

“I guess I drank too much,” I lied, staring out the window into the blackness.  

“Bullshit. I know you. You’re stone sober right now.” His tongue clicked and he hesitated, like he didn’t want to say what he was thinking. 

“What?” I growled at him. 

“You nearly killed Patrick tonight. That’s what.” 

“It was an accident. It was dark. He came out of nowhere.”  

“You also stumbled all over Lisa and I on the blanket.”

“You were on the ground in the middle of the woods,” I protested. 

He just shook his head as he turned into my neighborhood. 

“It’s just…” He groaned. 

“Just what?” He was starting to piss me off. “Spit it out.” 

“You always seem to have trouble at night.” He snorted. “And backstage before curtain call…” He groaned. “You nearly knocked down the flats.” 

“Yeah, it’s so fucking funny that Silas can’t see shit in the dark,” I spewed out. The guys always poked at me about it. Hell, even my dad would gripe at me and tell me to grow up when I’d cling to him and cry about not being able to see in the dark. Case in point, my stupid keychain. His way of telling me to man up. 

“Dude, that’s not normal.” His tone was flat. Ominous. “My uncle Larry was like that, and, well, you know…” 

His uncle Larry was the only church member allowed to bring a pet into the sanctuary, if you get the gist. 

My gut clenched. I’d always had this small voice at the back of my head telling me something wasn’t quite right, like how come everyone else could see the stars at night, but I couldn’t? But I constantly pushed it out of my mind. I shook my head and laughed it off, not wanting to even entertain that thought. “I get my eyes checked every year, dude. I’m fine.” There was no way. 

“Yeah. Of course you do. You’re right,” he quickly backpedaled. “It’s probably nothing.” He shrugged. “Forget that I said anything.” Ryan killed the engine and handed me my keys. 

Headlights shined into the cab as Brad pulled up behind us. “Thanks for the ride,” I mumbled as I climbed out of the vehicle. 

“Hey, Graves,” he hollered for me as I headed to my porch. “Don’t be all weird about it, okay?” 

I shoved my hands in my pockets and rocked back on my heels. “Yeah, no problem.” I jutted my chin to him. “I’ll see you Monday.” 

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