As someone who loves deleted scenes on DVDs, I’m pleased to offer you a collection of deleted scenes from my novels. Here you will find unedited, unpublished scenes that were deleted for a reason. (Largely because I needed to do better.)
Note: deleted scenes can and will contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
This is the scene that originally followed the first Code Black. In it, the girls have just gone down to the P&E; barn to talk about what happened and they run into Mr. Mosckowitz.
I hope you like it. (But I bet you’ll agree with my editor who wisely told me that having a scene with Zach working out was probably a lot more fun than a scene with a sweaty Mr. Mosckowitz.)
…And Mr. Mosckowitz was working out.
If you’ve never seen the world’s foremost authority on data encryption trying to use an elliptical trainer…well…then you know what I’m talking about.
“Hello…” Mr. Moscowitz said, trying to catch his breath. “Girls… Having… A nice…. Day?” He was on one of the elliptical machines for the first time, too, judging from his lack of coordination.
“Sure,” I said which was a lie, of course, because on the scale of awkward, scary, annoying, terrifying days it was really high.
“Mr. Mosckowitz,” Bex said, laying on the perfect amounts of perkiness and charm, “Have you spent a lot of time in deep cover? You were really convincing as Undersecretary.”
“What… um…no,” Mr. Mosckowitz said. “Well, there was this one time when the CIA had this code in this Russian nuke silo, but it had to be cracked on-site, so I had to go and pretend to be ___(fill in later)__________ and there was this bar, and…” Then he shut up really quickly and said, “But I’m not supposed to talk about that.”
“Oh,” Bex said. “Right.” Wesparred a little because one of the basic rules of interrogation is that nothing adds pressurelike time.
Sweat was really pouring off him, “Did I seem like a seasoned undercover operative?”
“Well, everyone is talking about it,” Bex said, which was a lie. Everyone was talking about me and how my raging boy crazy hormones had threatened the security of the school, but I was willing to bet Mr. Mosckowitz hadn’t picked up on that. It was entirely the wrong kind of encryption.
“I did…okay?” he panted. “You don’t think I was a little over the top?”
“Are you mad?” Bex said, sounding especially British as if to remind everyone that she meant crazy—not angry. “I’ve met loads of those official types of fellows and you were just like them.”
“Really?” he said, which was both really sweet and kinda sad. I mean, he’s one of the top three codebreakers in the world, but telling him he’d make a great fake Undersecretary of theInterior was what totally made his day. Then I thought back on my trip to D.C., my mother’s words, I wondered if the whole “be yourself” problem wasn’t a little more widespread at the Gallagher Academy than everyone thought.
“It’s just a shame the night had to be cut short by that bloody false alarm,” Bex said. Liz and I stared up at his face wearing looks of innocent disappointment from a spoiled ball.
“False alarm?” he asked, then seemed to remember. “Oh. Yes. Right. False alarm!”
“I’m just really glad it was false,” Liz said, opening her brown eyes wide.
“Not to worry, Ms. Sutton,” our teacher soothed. “Not to worry. Those alumni lists are as safe as…” Then he stopped and
looked at the digital reader on his trainer as if that was a trip that would never end, and I could have sworn I heard him whisper, “But I’m not supposed to talk about that.”
As we’d turned down an alley, dogs barked through chain link fences. Rusty trash cans sat abandoned by the side of the narrow lane. Last semester I had found my way out of spy school and onto ordinary streets full of ordinary houses and ordinary people. This semester it seemed I was seeing the back side of those same houses—the sides they don’t really want you to see.
“Hey,” Zach called behind me, but I didn’t slow down. “Hey,” he called again. “Am I going to have to jog to keep up with—“
But before he could finish I whirled on him, pushed him up against a garage, his arms immobilized, and even though he was a good four inches taller than me I knew I had the upper hand.
Still, he was grinning that slow, mocking grin—the grin of someone who either knows too little or too much but in either case doesn’t care.
“Stop smiling,” I ordered, amazed at how level my voice sounded when, inside, I wanted to break and scream and cry, and I just knew he’d hear it and that would make it worse. I’d have to use all the skills in my extensive arsenal just to disappear and never see him again—face him again.
But he must not have heard my breaking heart, because the smile just grew wider and he said, “Gee, Cammie, if you want to put your arms around me all you have to do is ask, but I think Dillon back there might–”
“Don’t you ever paint me into a corner like that again!” I shook him, banging him against the garage but he didn’t even flinch. He never fought back.
He just stared deeper into me and slowly said, “Why?” he asked, eyebrows raised, daring me. “Because it might be hard on your love life? It’s no big deal. So Jimmy—”
“Josh!” I yelled. “His name is Josh, and I shouldn’t even be telling you that because you don’t deserve to know it—to say it—you don’t deserve to know anything about him because he’s—“
“Friends with that guy?” Zach asked. His voice was softer, not mocking now, consoling.
You know the phrase saved by the bell? Well, Josh was saved by the horn—literally—because I was seriously getting ready to find out if he would fit inside one of those trashcans when I heard a horn sound behind us and sensed movement at the end of the alley. Still, I didn’t loosen my hold on Zach. I didn’t stop to breathe until I heard Joe Solomon call, “Get in!”
Initially, this scene replaced the scene where Cammie searches Rachel’s office and finds the picture. But then my editor wisely suggested that the picture of Mr. Solomon and Cammie’s dad come to Cammie as a result of their investigation–that they EARN it, and of course she was right.
As we made yet another turn I realized we weren’t walking anywhere in particular. We were just…walking.
It’s a basic rule of CoveOps to be a moving target, so that night I walked with Joe Solomon through dim corridors and down deserted halls until we found ourselves at the far end of the second story of the mansion. Stone steps spiraled from the first floor, past a massive stained glass window that had once been heart of the Gallagher Academy Chapel, and as Mr. Solomon sat on the fourth step from the bottom I wondered if he’d come there for confession.
“So,” he started, sounding uneasy, as if the words were foreign to him. “I was home over the break,” he said and I thought Joe Solomon has a home? I never really thought about our teachers outside of work and the fact that a man like Mr. Solomon might live somewhere seemed amazing to me. Mr. Solomon is someone’s neighbor. Mr. Solomon has a mortgage.
“And I was cleaning out my basement.”
Mr. Solomon has a basement?
“And I found these,” he said, as he reached into his pocket for a manila envelope. “I could have brought them to class…” he placed the envelope in my hand “…but I didn’t think…” he trailed off, and for the second time in seven minutes Joe Solomon didn’t have the strength or courage to say what came next.
The weight was uneven, like a puzzle that’s been broken apart and a part of me wanted to shake it. If Liz had been there she probably would have rushed it immediately to the lab for analysis, but all I could do was stare at it, wondering what was so important Joe Solomon had pulled it from the basement and given it to me.
“They’re pictures,” he said.
“Oh,” I muttered. “Thanks.”
“Of your dad.”
I felt the cold stone seep through my jeans as I sank to the bottom step without realizing I was no longer on my feet. The envelope lay in my hands like an offering in that holy place, and even though Mr. Solomon’s knee pressed against my shoulder, even though his breathing was the only sound in that vast, deserted hallway I forgot I wasn’t alone.
“I thought you should have them,” Mr. Solomon said. “He’d want you to have them.”
Of course I already had pictures of my father, hundreds of them–the kind you keep pasted in books and the kind you keep frozen in your mind. Even without spy training I would still remember his face, his smell, the way his hands fit around my waist as I stood on his toes and danced on the kitchen floor. But sitting there that night with Joe Solomon I knew there was a side of my father I had never seen, I remembered that the man inside that envelope was in most ways a stranger.
I felt Mr. Solomon stand slowly and take a step away from me, up the stairs.
As I sat on the cold stone steps, watching the moonlight fallthrough the big stained-glass windows my internal clock must have switched off, because when I finally made it back upstairsand opened the door to our suite, Liz met me at the door, shouting, “Do you know what time it is?” and for the first time in years I didn’t know the answer.
“So?” Bex said, rushing forward. “What did Solomon want?”
Even Macey dropped her books to look at me as I walked toward my bed. Down the hall, the common room was quiet.
“Cammie,” Liz said, her voice dripping with fear and excitement and smellinglike Aquafresh. “What happened?”
I placed the envelope on my bed. “He had some old pictures of my dad he wanted me to have,” I said as I started changing into my pajamas walking toward the bathroom.
“Ooh, let me see—” Liz said, grabbing the envelope before I could stop her.
But it was too late, the envelope was already open and pictures were falling to my bed.
“Ooh,” Macey said. “Hottie.”
“Yeah,” I said, “Mr. Solomon is very—”
“Not Mr. Solomon, silly,” Macey said. “Your dad.” She eyed the picture in her hands. “He’s got that whole strong, silent type thing going on.”
“How can you tell?” Liz wanted to know because…well…Liz never passes up an opportunity to learn something.
Here’s the setup: originally, Dillon was going to be in CMH and he was going to play the same basic role he played in LYKY: cocky, prejudiced bad guy.
And if you thought Dillon hated having prep school girls in his town, well, you can pretty much guess what he thought about prep school BOYS.
“What do you want, Dillon?” I said.
“I want you and your snotty little friends out of my town and out of my sight.”
I threw my hands out to my side. “That it?” I took a step, needing my walls–not to keep me safe but to keep me hidden in a way I hadn’t been since Josh had first seen me.
I felt my hands to into fists, heard my slow voice as I said, “Leave me alone, Dillon.” But I thought give me a reason.
But Dillon wasn’t backing down; he didn’t take the hint. I was just a girl he hated; someone he had four inches and sixty pounds on; he could be tough with me—be strong—or whatever the definition of strong that people like Dillon have to use in order to make themselves feel worthwhile.
“You’re not so hot now, are you, Gallagher Girl?” he leered, pacing around me, stepping closer and closer until I had to turn to follow him and I felt like I was riding the merry-go-round that was only twenty feet away.
“You’re gonna leave my friend alone,” Dillon said, and I knew he didn’t think it was a question.
“Josh can make up his own mind.”
“You got a real smart mouth, you know that? Maybe someday someone’s gonna wash that smart mouth out. Maybe—“
“Is there a problem here?” a voice came from the shadows. Dillon spun to see the boy who stepped into the park, but I didn’t have to turn around. “Hey, were you guys gonna use the slide or do you mind if I go?” Zach said.
Zach reached for me. I felt his hand slide down my wrist and into my hand that had become a fist without my knowledge.
“Yeah, I was just telling your girlfriend to stay away from my buddies,” Dillon said.
I expected Zach to make some kind of smart comment about the girlfriend remark, but instead he just smirked at me and said, “Leave the nice boy’s friends alone, sweetheart.”
Then Zach turned around; he started away.
And I felt the punch before it landed.
Call it women’s tuition or P&E; training or just really, really good instincts, but I knew to duck. And spin. And take two steps back before Dillon could pull his beefy arm back again.
And then I noticed something weird. Something scary. Something that I didn’t know if I could understand flooded into my brain as I realize that the fist wasn’t pointed at me.
I turned to the boy beside me. My hand was suddenly cold as I realized that Zach was no longer holding it. Instead, he was lying on the ground, Dillon standing over him.
“Cammie,” Zach said, holding a hand out, freezing me in that place and time and it was the look in his eye even more than his words that told me, “Don’t.”
And then something strange occurred to me: Zach must have felt the punch coming, too. Zach must have known to duck.
But he didn’t.
And then I knew that being a spy isn’t really about knowing how to throw punches; sometimes it’s about knowing when to take them.
Dillon was looking down, taunting as he kicked Zach once in the side.
Zach who was highly trained.
Zach who was highly skilled.
Zach who could have flattened a punk like Dillon with both hands tied behind his back…
Was lying there. Bleeding. And acting like the rich, spoiled, privileged boy that any boy temporarily enrolled at the Gallagher Academy was supposed to be.
“Yeah!” Dillon snapped as if he was so tough. As if Anna Fetterman couldn’t have put him in a full body cast with her new mastery of the ____ maneuver. “I thought you were all talk,” Dillon spat back as he turned and slowly walked away.
“Zach, you idiot,” I told the boy on the ground as soon Dillon was out of earshot. “I’m gonna—“ I started then turned to where Dillon was disappearing, but Zach grabbed my hand.
He looked up at me and said, “You know that I know you can handle yourself, right?” He looked at me as if he genuinely cared about the answer, so I nodded my head dumbly and said, “Yeah.”
I sank to the curb beside him, tu
rned his face so I could see the coming bruise, but he pulled away and turned to face me.
“You know I just couldn’t have him showing up at the county hospital telling the cops about some hundred pound girl kicked his butt?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Stop fidgeting.” I held his shoulder, gingerly touched a growing bruise.
“You know I’ve been hit harder?”
And then I couldn’t help myself, I laughed a little. “Of course.”
“You know there are worse ways to hurt a person?” He was right and we both knew the answer had nothing to do with banned interrogation tactics and the Geneva Convention. There are worse ways, and Zach and I had already lived through enough of them to last a lifetime.
“You’re bleeding,” I said, rubbing his temple with my sleeve.
“It’s not so bad. He…”
“What? Hits like a girl?” I guessed, thinking it was funny, needing to laugh, to do anything to make one of us look away, but instead Zach didn’t laugh, didn’t blink, he just stared harder and said, “Not the girls I know.”
Aside from the creaking swings that swayed in the soft breeze the world was quiet and still. Josh and I had come to that park; he’d told me stories and I’d told him lies, and like it or not those lies had brought me to that park again, another boy’s blood on my sleeve.
For the whole walk back to school we didn’t say a word.
And for the first time, I didn’t mind.
Again, I should stipulate that this scene was cut for a reason. Parts of it will look familiar since they were included in the final book (just in a different place).
But I always liked the idea of this scene (it seems like a pop quiz Joe Solomon would love to give), and I’m glad it’s finally going to see the light of day.
The setup: this scene took place after Cammie learned that Zach has lost his parents.
Following Joe Solomon into the CoveOps elevator brought a strange set of emotions to the surface. On one hand, he is Joe Solomon (and close proximity to six junior spy boys hadn’t diminished his hotness.) On the other, there were about a million other things I wanted to be doing. But I also knew I couldn’t do anything about any of them—not really. So I was glad to be locked inside that elevator. It felt good to follow him through the maze of Sublevel One.
I wanted a mission—a task, a purpose. And when he said, “I suppose you know what this is,” I was relieved to look at the big steel door in front of me.
“It’s the Safetronic 4700,” I said in awe.
He smiled. “That’s right. We just got it in.” He kicked the steel door like a used car salesman kicks tires. “It’s the best commercially-available safe in the world—just the type of thing an operative might encounter in the field.”
I ran my hands across the smooth shiny surface. “It’s uncrackable.”
He laughed. “I hope not.”
And then he pushed me inside.
As much as I dearly love being a Gallagher Girl sometimes, it kind of cramps my style—especially when pushed and locked inside the world’s best safe. On a great TV night. When I have a headache.
And when I’m not alone.
I heard the laughter behind me and turned to see the hollow, empty room that might have been a suburban garage. If all garages are made from titanium and are located 30 yards under ground.
“Well, he said he was bringing me company,” Zach said slowly. Then he shook his head. “I should have known.” He smiled. “So, shall we get cozy?”
“NO!” I snapped and he laughed. That’s right. Actual laughter. I could have killed him then, and there would have been no witnesses (but I also would have been the only person with means and opportunity, so I didn’t.) I sauntered over to the locks. “We get to work.”
My focus narrowed; my fingers flew. There’s something so liberating about finding a zone, being free of thought and doubts and relying on instinct, on action. Everything faded away. I focused on the mechanisms, tried to shake them from my mind, remembered that life was like that assignment—unlocking one door at a time, and the longer I stood there the more I felt myself fade away, my consciousness go on cruise control until…
“Wow, you’re super cute when you focus.”
He made a show of looking around the empty room. “Yeah, must have been.”
“Just… Just be quiet and let me—”
“No, I mean it. You get this little wrinkly thing.” He held his thumb and forefinger to the center of his forehead. “Right here. It’s just cute as—”
“Do you want to stay in here all night?” I snapped.
He leaned against the wall beside me, crossed his arms. “Might as well.” Then he looked around the room. “I’ve stayed in worse.”
But then my stomach growled. (Please tell me he didn’t hear that. Please tell me he didn’t hear that.) “Well, I—” It growled again. Louder. (Please tell me he’ll at least ACT like he didn’t hear that.)
“I’ve got homework.”
“Yeah.” He chuckled then interlaced his fingers and stretched his arms out, popping his knuckles. “Gotta study hard, get ready for that next mission.”
I so didn’t want to have that fight. Not then. Not ever. Sadly because I’ve been trained not to start fights I can’t win. The boys had beaten us. We knew the rules. We did our best. They just did…better.
I stared at the mechanisms my fingers seemed frozen to. “Look, I—”
“Why don’t you ever ask me about it?” he asked, and I couldn’t help myself, I looked at him, but he just glanced away. Something lingered in the air between us, and I knew he wasn’t talking about missions or homework or anything else that only seems important when you’re sixteen. It was a different Zach entirely who said, “I’ll tell you mine if you’ll tell me yours.”
Maybe it was the impenetrable door, the six fe
et of solid steel that surrounded us on all sides. We had to come to a vault for Zach to let his defenses fall, and at that moment he reminded me of a bird that had fallen from its nest. I started to reach for him, to comfort him, but then I remembered Grandpa Morgan’s warnings that there are some wild things you’re not supposed to touch.
“It was a mission.”
I don’t know why I said it. The words were foreign to me—not English—not something I had ever said, and yet they slid so effortlessly from my throat they must have been back there, fully formed, for years waiting for that chance to seep free.
“My dad went on a mission. He didn’t come home. Nobody knows what…happened.”
Then Zach looked at me. “Somebody knows.”
And then the lock miraculously turned. The tumblers fell into place. The door swung open, a metallic grating sound echoing through the still, quiet room, Zach’s haunting words following me as I started up the stairs.