Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #3
I’ll be posting a new deleted scene or excerpt from The Lunar Chronicles every Friday through January 27, spanning the releases of The Lunar Chronicles Coloring Book on December 6 and Wires and Nerve, vol. 1 on January 31.
SPOILERS WARNING: Even though this scene was ultimately deleted (or heavily altered), it still contains information and references to things that did make it into the book. I strongly encourage readers to enjoy the published books before proceeding!
Lunar Chronicles Deleted Scene #3
From: Scarlet, 1st draft
Featuring: Scarlet and Wolf
Helpful set-up: In the early version of this book, Wolf had amnesia and couldn’t remember anything about his life prior to a few weeks before. In this scene, Scarlet is taking him to the police station in an attempt to find some information about who he is and where he comes from.
* * *
They took a hovercab to the police station in the frosty late-morning. Wolf seemed to remember enough of society’s rules of politeness to hold the hover door open for Scarlet, and yet she couldn’t shake the feeeling that he was supremely grumpy for some reason. Though he always turned quickly away, she swore she’d caught him half-glaring, half-pouting at her since they’d left the apartment. It was unnerving, and a little irritating.
When he did it again on their way into the station, she finally paused on the sidewalk. “What?”
He blinked. “What?”
“Why do you keep giving me that look?”
“Like I—did something. You know what look I mean.” She fisted a hand on her hip. “What’s wrong?”
Wolf shook his head. “It’s nothing,” he said.
“Then why are you pouting?”
Looking uncomfortable, Wolf dropped his gaze to Scarlet’s wool scarf and coat. “You’re all bundled up.”
“Yeah. It’s thirty degrees out here,” she said, analyzing his own thin, plain T-shirt. “It wouldn’t hurt you to put on a jacket, you know.”
Still looking cranky, he fixed his eyes on her hands. “I don’t like the gloves.”
“What? What’s wrong with my—”
Turning away from her, Wolf pushed his way through the station’s door before she could finish her argument.
Scarlet stamped a foot in frustration and looked down at her black pashmere gloves. “My gloves are fine,” she muttered to herself and followed him in.
Inside, they were hit with a wall of heat, almost uncomfortably warm after the brisk autumn chill outside. Scarlet was tempted by her own pride to keep her gloves on anyway, but as she brushed past Wolf toward the main desk, she instead ripped the gloves off and smacked him on the arm with them.
“I’ll be right with you,” said a man in uniform, busy with paperwork.
Scarlet nodded at him and surveyed the police station. She’d never been there before. The walls were painted basic taupe, a wallscreen was muted in small waiting area, and there was a mixture of uniformed police and civilians wandering around.
“That’s better,” Wolf murmured at her side.
Scarlet glared up at him, bunching her gloves in a fist. “Don’t talk to me.”
Ignoring him, she folded her arms on top of the counter and waited for the police officer to turn his attention to her.
Suddenly, Wolf wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her harshly against his chest.
Scarlet gasped and glanced up at him, instinctively pushing at his hold, but she may as well have been fighting against iron chains. And he seemed unaware of her irritation, his piercing eyes caught on something on the other side of the open room.
Turning, Scarlet followed his gaze, and then gasped as she found herself captured in the leering, bone-chilling smile of a man in a community jail cell.
Her heart stopped.
The man seemed pleased with her reaction and grinned at her, swiping a tongue along his upper teeth. His hands, hanging out past the bars that confined him, flexed as if imagining what it would be like to feel her.
But it was not the sick grin that had stunned her. It was his eyes. They were Wolf’s eyes. The same penetrating brightness. The same tint of emerald green.
Otherwise, they looked nothing alike. The man in the cell was shorter, stockier in his proportions, and had pitch-black hair pulled into a low ponytail.
But the eyes were unmistakable.
As she gaped at him, the man slightly tilted his head back and made a great show of sniffing delightedly at the air. Wolf’s arms tensed, his fingers pressing into the soft skin of Scarlet’s arm.
“Thank you for waiting.”
Sucking in a breath, Scarlet was relieved to turn to the policeman. He seemed to notice her surprise and Wolf’s fervent glare and turned toward the holding cell.
Seeing that the object of their attention was a prisoner already locked away, he shrugged it off and returned a polite smile to Scarlet. “How can I help you?”
She gulped. “Yes, hello,” she said, trying to wiggle her away out of Wolf’s hold without making it too obvious. His arms didn’t budge. “Uh… we were wondering if you have a… uh… file for missing persons?”
“Have you filed a report about the missing person?”
“Well… no, you see, actually…” She tried to jerk her thumb at Wolf, but it was too confined to be much more tham a limp gesture. “…he’s the missing person. But he has amnesia and doesn’t know who he is or anything, so we thought if we could search through other reports of missing people, then…”
The man nodded. “Odd. You’re the second case of amnesia I’ve heard of this week,” he said. “But yes, of course we’d be happy to let you go through the files. Has he been to a hospital?”
“No,” Scarlet said. “But he seems fine.”
“Amnesia is most often caused by head injuries or severe traumas. It wouldn’t hurt to get him looked at, to head-off any future complications.”
“Of course. We’ll do that, thanks.”
The man nodded, dropped his gaze to Wolf’s hand, making white indentations on Scarlet’s arm, then back up at her. “You can follow me.”
“Okay,” she said with a smile, then turned to glare at Wolf. “Snap out of it,” she hissed.
When he still failed to respond, she stomped on his foot.
Wolf gasped and pulled back, dropping his gaze to hers. She’d been hoping for something more along the lines of a yelp of pain, but mute attention worked too. “Snap out of it,” she repeated.
“I don’t like the way he’s looking at you,” he growled, low, as if afraid the man on the other side of the room could hear them.
“Well I don’t like the way you’re holding me like some neurotic, overprotective boyfriend,” she said, struggling out of his hold. This time, he let her go, his expression showing signs of hurt, but she refused to acknowledge them.
“He’s in a jail cell, Wolf. He can’t do anything to me. Now come on.” Grabbing his elbow, she pulled him off toward where the policeman was waiting for them. She flashed the man another grateful grin, hoping he caught the apology contained within, as they passed.
“Take a seat here and I’ll bring you the files,” the policeman said when he’d led them to a small meeting room with a round table. Scarlet gladly took a seat and pulled Wolf down beside her.
“Who was he?” Scarlet muttered when the officer had left.
“I don’t know.” Wolf glared at the desk’s surface, leg bouncing up and down.
“He looked like you, Wolf.”
He glanced sideways at her, frowning. “No he didn’t.”
“He had your eyes.”
He looked away.
“And it seemed like maybe he could smell me. Like you do.”
Wolf’s jaw flexed. “I don’t know him. But I would have ripped his throat out if he hadn’t been behind those bars.”
“Oh yes, that would have been productive,” Scarlet said, rolling her eyes.
The policeman returned and set a palmscreen and a handful of data chips on the table. “Here you go,” he said. “Let me know if you need any help.”
Scarlet thanked him and took the palmscreen, switching it on while Wolf continued to glare at the table and twitch his leg.
Finally, Scarlet reached beneath the table and put a hand on his knee. It jerked to a halt. “Don’t you ever just hold still?” she muttered, setting the screen on the desk and inserting the first chip. She could feel Wolf’s gaze turned on her, but refused to return it.
She slid her gaze along the table toward him, but when he didn’t continue, she opened up the search screen on the palm to look for specific characteristics: male, age 20 to 29, brunette, missing within the last thirty days.
“I feel, sometimes…” he started again.
Pursing her lips, Scarlet forced herself to meet his gaze.
He shifted uncomfortably in the seat. “Like I’m filled with… energy,” he said. When Scarlet didn’t respond, he continued, with hand gestures, “Like… like I’m filled with some sort of… burning… power. And it makes me… that’s why I fight, like I do. Because when I… release… this energy, I… I can’t stop it. And I just…” He flexed his fists on the table.
Reaching forward, Scarlet placed a hand firmly on top of his knuckles and held it there until she felt him relax.
“And that’s why you’re always moving?”
She slowly pulled her hand away from him. “But what, Wolf?”
“But being near you. You calm me, somehow. Your voice. Your… your scent. Even your eyes.” Voice dropping to a whisper, he looked up at her, his eyes sharp, but he quickly turned away.
Scarlet gulped and slowly turned back to the screen, but it was hard to focus.
“Your heart is beating so fast,” he said.
A blush spread across her face. “You can tell that?”
“How?” When he didn’t immediately answer, Scarlet shook her head. “Never mind. I don’t want to know.”
“I’ve made you nervous again.”
“You have a special knack for that, Wolf.”
“I didn’t mean—”
“It’s okay,” she said, turning to him. “You didn’t say anything wrong. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but if I calm you, then I calm you. Good. I’m glad.”
Hunching over the table, Wolf dragged a hand roughly through his hair.
“All right, try to pay attention,” she said, scooting toward him and holding the screen so they could both see. She began flipping through the entries, glancing at each picture of each missing picture, before moving on to the next. A dozen pictures later, she paused and set the screen down on the table. “So if you’re so calmed around me, then why did you flip out just now with the guy in the cell?”
“I didn’t flip out.”
“No. If I’d done what my instincts told me to do, I would have killed him.”
She blinked at him, dragging in a shaky breath. “You probably shouldn’t stay stuff like that in a police station,” she said a moment later, then returned her attention to the screen.
After a hundred entries, she took out the chip and switched to the next one. Wolf said nothing, just watched her silently, his gaze occasionally focusing on the images of missing men on the screen.
“Maybe,” he said after a long silence between them, “I am not missing.”
“No? What do you think you are, then?”
She set the screen down and looked at Wolf again. “You didn’t just fall from the sky, Wolf. You had to come from somewhere. Don’t you want to know where that is?”
He shrugged. “I’m fond of where I am now.”
“Well,” she said, lifting the screen again, “maybe that’s because you don’t have anything else to compare it to.”
She finished the chip and put in the third, and final, chip that the policeman had brought them. Wolf said nothing as she sifted through each of the entries, until, finally, she had to resign and put the screen down.
She heaved a sigh. “Okay. You evidently have not been reported as a missing person in the great Parisian area.”
“Now what?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She sighed and rubbed her fingers along her forehead. “I need to go home and get ready for work.”
“Can I come with you?”
“What, you don’t need to prepare for your fight?” she asked, teasing.
But Wolf didn’t return the gentle smile. “No,” he said. “I’m always prepared.”
She laughed ironically and started pulling on her gloves. “Of course you are. I would expect no less from you.”
“Do you need to put those on?”
With one glove on, she cast a glare at Wolf. “Wolf. It’s freezing out there. I don’t care if you’re unimpressed with my fashion sense, I don’t want to—”
“It isn’t your fashion sense,” he muttered, standing from the desk as well with slightly slumped shoulders.
“Then what?” she said, pulling on the other glove.
Wolf sighed and gathered up the palmscreen and chips. “It hides your scent,” he said after a pause. “Being all bundled up like that.”
Scarlet’s jaw fell and she had that eerie chill on her spine again. “And my scent calms you.”
He nodded, unable to meet her gaze, and started heading back toward the front of the police station to return the materials.
Scarlet rolled her eyes skyward and, with a grunt, ripped the gloves from her hands and stuffed them into her pockets.
At the front desk, Wolf continued to avoid her gaze, but she couldn’t help but notice the satisfied glint in his eyes.