Today, because it’s the middle of the month and I, of course, am behind on EVERYTHING…. I have decided to give you a cut chapter from what would have been the fourth book in the Bluebird Chronicles series. Back when the series was five books. Back when Noah had proposed to Penelope at the end of the second book and she’d accepted. Back when they’d gotten married in the third book, had a really bad miscarriage at the end of the third book. Back when Noah was cheating on her, and everything was different. Back before I had switched everything to first person POV.
This scene has a lot of things that no longer apply. So there will be mentions of things that are no longer part of the story. So let me do a quick recap of the original story-line that doesn’t exist anymore because I did something COMPLETELY different with this story.
So, originally, the story went like this. In the first book, Penelope meets Noah before she meets Reid and they start dating. Her and Reid screw up, and sleep together, making her and Noah to break up. Reid and Penelope start dating after that and then break up. When they break up, Penelope and Noah end up getting back together and trying again. At the end of the second book, Noah proposes and Penelope says yes. The get married in the third book. Just before the wedding, however, there was a moment where Reid and Penelope almost sleep together, but they don’t. Noah, however, believes that they did. Which causes some internal strife between Noah and Penelope. Reid is actually dating someone, though no one knows about it. He’s kind of kept it to himself. Penelope finds out she’s pregnant just after the honeymoon, and the timing is right about the same time that Noah thinks that Reid and Penelope slept together, so he doesn’t believe that the baby is even his.
When Penelope goes into labor early, Noah is no where to be found. He’s on location shooting a movie, and is sleeping with a co-star. No one can reach him. By the time they get ahold of him, Penelope has already delivered a severely pre-mature baby, who lives about two hours before she dies. Penelope has had an medical issue and also almost died. Everything is fine by the time Noah arrives, but he really doesn’t think that the baby was even his so he’s angry. Noah and Penelope end up arguing later on in the fourth book. They’re miserable, both of them, and angry. When they argue, it gets a bit physical, and Penelope ends up with a bruise on her arm where he grabbed her when she almost hit him. It’s turns toxic quickly after the miscarriage and Penelope decides she can’t live like that anymore and she leaves, going to see Callie. Reid shows up quickly after that and is with her when she goes to collect some of her things from the apartment in New York.
He’s the one that tells Noah that the baby was in fact his, and this creates a whole host of issues for Noah, especially since some tabloids caught wind of him cheating on Penelope (which he’s been doing practically the whole time they were married) and have run the story. Penelope goes back to Illinois to stay in the house that Noah bought them there. She and Reid start arguing pretty consistently, she finds out he has a girlfriend and has been lying to everyone about her, he’s mad at her for staying with Noah long after she should have, etc. They aren’t really on speaking terms. Neither are her and Noah.
The scene I have for you, happens just before the final paperwork is signed for their divorce. Bailey has finally been turned into a vampire, and in the original, Asher and Noah had hit it off really well and become friends, and then stayed friends when Penelope and Noah split. (Like I said, this story has changed A LOT). So naturally, he was invited to the party to celebrate since he was going to be in town anyway. Keep in mind that A LOT changed between this version and the version I am actually publishing, and while this version was fun and had an interesting plot, I eventually decided to tell a different story. You still have the background of Noah and Penelope, you still have a lot of the points, but now most of it happened before the first book starts.
Okay, if you’re still here, enjoy this cut chapter. Love you! As always, drink your water, be safe, make good choices, and don’t eat yellow snow.
Cut Chapter from Lacuna
(now titled Forever Bluebird)
Penelope sighed before closing her eyes and taking a fortifying breath. She should have known he would be here. Of course he would be. What had made her believe he wouldn’t be. This was a party for Asher and Bailey. She’d finally completed her transition and they were all celebrating her new lease on life. Penelope had come straight from work, only to walk into the crowded bar to find not just Reid, who was awkward enough to still be around, but Noah as well. Of course they were nowhere near one another, but they had clearly divided the room up between the two of them, and she wasn’t safe anywhere. The last time she’d seen either one of them she’d argued with them both. Forcing a relaxed smile on her face, she cut her way through the crowd to where her best friend was standing with her husband.
“PJ! You made it!” Bailey exclaimed, wrapping her arms around her as she got near. Penelope smiled warmly and returned the hug, pulling away after a moment to hug Asher as well.
“Of course. Sorry, a meeting with a client ran long.” She told them as Asher pulled away.
“It’s fine Pen, I’m just glad you’re here.” Asher told her with a small smile.
“Yeah. I’m gonna get a drink. You guys need refills?” She asked, taking a step toward the bar, and a brief respite from the voices in her head.
“No, we’re good.” Asher told her as Bailey fell into conversation with the woman standing next to her. She nodded and made her escape.
She set her purse on the bar as she waited for the bartender to notice her and get to her. She scanned the crowd using the mirror above the bar so she caught the moment that Noah noticed she was there. She saw him stiffen across the room and take a long drink of the bottle in his hand before he tuned back into the conversation he was having with a leggy blonde in a short red dress. She rolled her eyes and looked back at the bar. The bartender caught her eye and nodded, letting her know he’d be with her in a moment. She tried to school her features as best she could, and took a cleansing breath. She could do this, for Bailey’s sake. As long as she avoided Noah and Reid she’d be okay, she’d be able to have a good time for at least an hour or two before she begged off and was able to leave. She’d worked a lot that week so claiming exhaustion wasn’t too far a stretch. Besides, she wanted a good night’s sleep before she had to meet Noah at the house to sign the paperwork that would officially make it hers. Their divorce was almost final, they just had a few more things to settle, which is why he was in town in the first place. Probably why Asher and Bailey had decided to celebrate now, even though technically Bailey had been a vampire for almost a month and a half now.
Grandmere had been by recently and had even blessed the event. Placing Bailey firmly under her protection. Reid had been irritated that she’d come to town to see Penelope instead of him and they’d fought about it, even though it was stupid. It seemed like all they did anymore was fight. She broke herself out of that thought as the bartender finally approached her. She ordered two shots of whiskey and a beer. She took the shots back to back before picking up her beer and her purse and walked away from the bar and made a circle of the room, saying hello to people as she went.
Half an hour later she was standing in the corner catching up with Sama when Reid walked over with Shiloh, intent on starting a game of pool near where they were standing. Penelope smiled at Sama and excused herself to the bar for another drink. She sighed again when she reached the bar and squeezed in between groups of people she didn’t know who were also waiting. She’d attempted not to look at Reid, but she couldn’t help but notice the look on his face when she’d turned away. It had been hard to miss, especially when she could feel the bond pulling at her. She had it shut down, but she could always feel when he was trying to get a read on her. He was probably one of the only people left on Earth who could read her without the bond, but it worked better when he could hear her thoughts. She wouldn’t open it though, and she probably never would again. Last time she had, he’d used the information to hurt her and she still wasn’t sure she completely forgave him for that.
This time when the bartender set her shots on the bar, she reached for one and a hand from behind her reached for the other. She turned to look at who it was as she downed the first one. Fin just smiled and downed the other.
“If I have to watch you be so obvious about your avoidance of certain people, then I get to drink your shots.” He told her as he set the glass on the bar next to hers. Penelope chuckled.
“I’m fine, it’s other people being weird, not me.” She told him as she picked up her beer and turned away. They moved away and toward a table where they could sit and talk.
“Right.” He rolled his eyes. “You’re avoiding Reid so the two of you don’t argue about something stupid and no one blames you for avoiding your ex husband who has his tongue down someone else’s throat.”
Penelope sighed again. “Look, what Noah does, and who he does it with, is no longer my business. It didn’t matter when we were together, why should it matter now?” She asked, taking a drink of her beer.
“Reid seemed pretty put off about it.”
“That’s his problem. Not mine. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not in charge of either of them. They’re grown. Old enough to take the consequences of their own actions and none of them are my fault.”
Fin laughed before taking a drink of his own beer. “Girl please, this is me you’re talking to. I thought we were better friends than that. I wasn’t blaming you PJ, just informing you that if you’re wanting to make an early escape, you should before the two of them fight just to get your attention.”
“They don’t want my attention. They’re preoccupied.” She scoffed, rolling her eyes again.
“You sure about that?” Fin asked as he stood up, one eyebrow raised in question. Penelope shook her head but watched him walk away. She sighed again but didn’t get up, content to sit at the quiet table and finish her beer. She hadn’t talked to Bailey since she’d arrived but she wasn’t too worried, her and Asher were busy with their other friends. She saw them all the time, they wouldn’t be too upset.
“Are you really going to sit here and pout all night?” A voice behind her asked. Penelope closed her eyes and took a drink of her beer. Maybe if she ignored him he’d go away. She heard the chair Fin had vacated slide back, so he must have sat down.
“What do you want, Reid?” She asked, not looking at him, instead focusing on the group around them.
“Are you going to pout or are you going to party with your best friend?” He asked again, leaning on the table and into her space. She leaned back in her chair away from him, still refusing to look at him.
“I am not pouting. I’m enjoying myself. Bailey and Asher are busy, I’ve talked to them, and Sama, and Fin actually.” She said finally before finishing what was left in her bottle. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need another drink.”
“If you’d look at me Bluebird, you’d know I already got you another beer.” He said, a bottle appearing in her peripheral vision on the table.
“How presumptuous of you.” She scoffed. “But I have to drive myself home soon, so I’ll be switching to something non-alcoholic, thank you.” She said standing.
“I can drive you.” He said softly, causing her to pause. She almost broke and looked at him. “If you want, I mean.”
“No thank you. I have no desire to fight with you tonight Reid.” She said finally, still standing by the table.
“We don’t have to fight.” He assured her quickly. She closed her eyes and tipped her head toward the ceiling.
“No Reid. We will. You’ll get mad at me about something stupid, again, and fight with me.” She turned to look him in the eye finally. “So why don’t you go back to your girlfriend? You guys don’t have to hide now, I thought you’d be happy to flaunt it.” Ried looked down at the table and picked at the label of his own beer.
“She broke up with me, Pen.” He said sadly. “That’s why she’s not here.” Penelope swallowed hard.
“Well I’m sorry. But I’ll be fine without the ride, thank you.” She said moving away. “Besides, I have to finalize my divorce tomorrow.” She threw back over her shoulder before she’d gone too far.
From her place at the bar she watched him in the mirror. He sat there alone for a moment looking put out and her resolve almost broke. Then he downed the rest of the beer in his hand and the one he’d brought for her. He stood and moved away from the table, leaving the bottles and she lost him in the crowd shortly after that. She collected her soda from the bartender and made her way back over toward Bailey, intending to spend a little more time with her before she left. She didn’t want to think anymore about Reid, but her brain wouldn’t let go of the look on his face when he’d told her about the break up. If she hadn’t known him so well, she’d have thought he was pretending to be hurt for sympathy. But she did know him, and knew that wasn’t the case.
She did her best to put it out of her mind while she visited with her friends before she made her excuses and left, just like she’d planned. She made it outside and stopped to heave a sigh of relief. Besides her brief conversation with Reid, she’d managed to avoid both him and Noah the entire two and a half hours she’d been there. She dug into her purse for her keys and was preparing to walk away when a voice behind her made her pause.
“Where’s lover boy?” She tipped her head back and groaned aloud. She’d been so close. So close. Practically to her car already.
“What?” She asked turning to face her ex-husband for the first time since their meeting with their attorneys.
“Where’s Reid?” He asked, pushing himself off of the wall, a cigarette in his hand, and a distinctive slur in his voice.
“Inside I assume. He’s not my responsibility. Though I caution you against fighting with him. B and Ash won’t take too kindly to it. Neither will the bartender. You really don’t need that press right now.” She found herself saying, before she cursed herself mentally. What did she care about his image anymore? He’d tainted it all on his own after being caught publicly cheating on her while she’d been pregnant.
“How long did you wait before you took him to our bed?” He asked, coming closer to her and blowing out a lungful of smoke. She sighed again.
“I didn’t. He’s been dating someone since before you and I split.”
“That’s never stopped either of you before.” He sneered. Penelope closed her eyes.
“Yup. Once a million years ago just after we met and then we kissed once after you and I got back together. Of course it’s me that has the problem with-“ Penelope cut herself off and took a deep breath in through her nose before letting it out slowly through her mouth. “Nope. You know what, no. I’m not doing this with you. Not here on the sidewalk. Not ever. We’ve said enough. I’ll see you tomorrow to sign the papers.” She said before she turned and walked purposefully away.
“I know you tried to fuck him in the house I bought us, before we’d even moved into it. Why do you think I’m letting you have it?” He called after her. She clenched her fists and made herself keep walking. When she was finally inside her Jeep, she locked the doors and leaned her head on the steering wheel.
It could have gone worse, she thought to herself, but it also could have been better. With a deep breath she started the car and drove off toward her house. Once there, she locked the doors and made her way upstairs to the bathroom. After a hot shower and a small cup of tea, she tried to block out the fight she’d almost gotten into with Noah. She almost wanted to call and see if Bailey would come to the house the next day, just to keep them from fighting. Noah tended to be on his best behavior when he was sober and someone else was around.
The next morning dawned bright and early. Penelope drug herself out of bed, did her morning workout, and then pulled out her IPad to get started on some work for a client while she drank her morning cup of coffee. Noah knocked on the door at precisely ten o’clock and Penelope steeled herself before she pulled the door open and let him in. He followed her silently to the kitchen where they laid the papers on the island counter.
“It’s all here, just like I said it would be. You get the house here in Illinois, and the apartment in New York. I get the LA apartment and my house in London, obviously. That’s one house and one apartment each. You get to retain your income from your business, I retain everything I earned from my career, and you don’t owe me anything for the investment in your company.” He said, his voice attempting a calm facade that he couldn’t quite reach.
“All wrapped up with a neat little bow.” She snarked. He shot her a look and she shook her head, she didn’t want to fight with him. She wanted to sign the paperwork and get it over with.
“Are we going to fight or are we going to do this?” He asked, setting the pen down on the counter.
“Let’s just get this over with Noah.” She said with a sigh.
“According to the prenup you signed, I don’t have to give you anything and you would owe me for that two million dollar investment, plus interest. Is that the route you want to go because we can.” He said, his voice tinged with acid.
“You’re the one who cheated on me. It makes the prenup invalid anyway. So I could take you for half of everything.” She sneered back at him, narrowing her eyes. He swallowed hard. “But I don’t want it. I wanted a marriage. I wanted someone who loved me. Since I’ve been denied that, I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give me as a consolation prize.”
“I’m not the only one who cheated, remember?” He said.
“Hey Bluebird,” Reid’s voice rang out from above them before Penelope could respond. They turned to look up at the loft. Reid was standing there, nothing on but a pair of low slung sweatpants that made it clear he wasn’t wearing anything underneath them. Penelope closed her eyes and groaned audibly.
“Murder Christian Reid Walker. I am going to murder you.” She muttered. Noah turned and looked at Ried, who was just smirking in their general direction, braced against the railing like he didn’t have a care in the world, and back to Penelope, shaking his head.
“Why is it that every time you and I have something important to do, he’s up in our business? Every fucking time Penelope. Hell, he was smack dab in the middle of our entire relationship, right from the beginning.” He stacked the papers back up and tapped them against the counter. “What was that lie you told me about not bringing him into our bed again?” He sneered at her, throwing the pen onto the counter, where it bounced and landed on the floor.
“I didn’t. I don’t actually know what he’s doing here besides being an asshole.” She told Noah, not sure why she was defending herself to someone that didn’t deserve it.
“Just sign the papers so I can be done with this freak show.” Noah spat as Reid slowly made his way down the stairs.
“Yeah, sign the papers and come back to bed Pen.” He said, hiding a smirk as he bypassed Noah to grab a bottle of blood out of the fridge. He leaned against the opposite counter and raised an eyebrow at Penelope.
“I can’t believe you.” Noah muttered before looking at Reid. Penelope snatched the pen off of the floor and hurried to sign the papers before they started fighting. “I thought you had a girlfriend.” He spat at him.
“We broke up.” Reid said with a grin. “Couple weeks after you and Pen called it quits finally.” Penelope rolled her eyes as she scanned the next page and signed it quickly.
“Of course you did. I’m surprised you two waited that long to start sleeping together again. Your little avoidance show last night must have been a fun game of foreplay.” Noah spat.
“Oh no, she was actively avoiding me. Has been for some time. Something about not trusting men ever again.” Reid told him calmly before taking another drink of blood. Penelope sighed as she scanned the last page.
“Is that what you call it?” Noah sneered, turning to face Reid directly. Reid straightened.
“It isn’t like we’re going to be estranged forever, Pretty Boy. She’s my Flame, remember? I will always have a stronger connection to her.” Reid told him as he set the bottle to the side. “Someone had to make sure you didn’t hurt her. Lord knows she wouldn’t let me hurt you when you left bruises on her skin, maybe she’s changed her mind. Should we ask her?”
“And I’m done. Here Noah. Take these.” Penelope said suddenly, shoving half of the papers at him, along with the pen. “Now leave. I’m done with that. I’ll have Asher and Bailey collect anything that I may have left in London or LA. I’ll have them deliver anything I find here or in New York.” She demanded, staring Noah down, daring him to say anything else.
“Fine. I’m done with this. Have a nice life.” Noah spat in her direction before he picked the papers up off of the counter. “You two deserve each other.” He added over his shoulder.
“Damn right she deserves someone who won’t do to her what you did.” Reid called after him. Penelope waited until the door slammed before she turned to Reid.
“Get out of my house.” She bit out between clenched teeth.
“Come on Penelope, we need to talk.”
“No we don’t. I have nothing to say to you just like I have nothing to say to him. My marriage blew up in my face and your response was to ridicule me and use it as a weapon against me. That wasn’t fair.” She told him before shaking her head. “It doesn’t matter anymore. Get out.”