It was requested that I pull out some deleted scenes from Time’s Forbidden Flower. This takes place just before Lily realizes that she and Donovan are accidentally dating. It was removed because I felt it should be too obvious to Lily that she was, in a way, cheating on Christopher, and thus it would make her unlikeable. She is not the cheating kind, but her brain is all kinds of upside down since Donovan came back into her life on a daily basis, and it certainly affects her marriage. In the end, I felt best to let it go, but I hated cutting this scene because I thought it said a lot about how unfair it was that Lily and Donovan were not together.
The chime of the doorbell feels like an adrenaline shot to my heart. “Graham, can you get the door for me, sweetie? I’ll be down in a minute.”
Ducking back into the bathroom for a last-minute running of my fingers through my hair, I quickly check my outfit. I’m happy with how trim these jeans make my figure look; yet I hate how big my bottom has become. I should not be so down on myself. I’m only one size bigger than the day I graduated high school. How I have managed to have two children and be a pastry chef while not turning into an elephant is beyond me.
Actually, I know exactly how I’ve managed. It’s the fear of no longer being attractive. Between having a musician husband and still wanting Donovan to—well, having a musician for a husband is reason enough.
After checking my teeth for lipstick, I head for the stairs. The sound of Christopher talking to Donovan halts me just shy of the first step.
Oh, dear God. Christopher—my husband! What am I doing?
In a panic, I pop back into the bathroom and blot my lipstick. Soap gets scrubbed onto my wrists where I sprayed perfume. Taking off the infinity necklace that Donovan gave me as a symbol of his undying love makes me take pause. Wearing it around Christopher always feels so disrespectful; yet putting it away now feels as if I’m being unfaithful to the memory of who I was.
No, not who I was—who I am.
It still is who I am, right? I don’t need to be with Donovan to retain that part of me, do I?
The sound of feet coming up the stairs causes my head to snap toward the hall. “Lilyanna, Donovan is here,” Christopher calls.
“Be right there.” My head whips back to the necklace. To wear, or not to wear? To be, or not to be?
“Lilyanna?” Christopher continues, still en route.
I whip on the necklace before buttoning the top button of my blouse and heading down the stairs. My already racing pulse escalates when Donovan and Christopher come into view. Donovan looks to me with a repressed smile, and then turns his sights to Christopher who meets me at the bottom step and grants my cheek a lingering kiss. “Where are you two headed?” he asks Donovan.
“A quick dinner and then The Egyptian.” Donovan checks his phone for the time. “They’re showing “The Incredible Mr. Limpet.” We haven’t seen it in ages, and I refuse to see the remake.”
“Very well. You two kids have a good time. Remember no necking! No going more than five miles away from this house!”
“Huh?” My voice hitches and rises as I utter it. My eyes shoot to Donovan. I can almost feel his heart racing.
“Don’t you remember? That’s what your father said to me just before our first date, as well as our second, and third, and, well, I don’t rightly recall any time he didn’t say it other than the prom.”
Christopher’s adorable voice snaps me back to reality. “Cute, honey. We shouldn’t be too late.”
“No worries. As soon as the children are tucked in I’ll head downstairs. Dennis is coming over to work on—”
He continues speaking, but my brain no longer processes his words. I’m well aware that tonight he is working on yet more songs—hence my outing with Donovan.
“She’ll be late. I’m dragging her to House of Pies after. If I get a night away from Anna’s lack of cooking, I’m taking full advantage.”
“Really?” I ask. “You want to go to Canter’s then House of Pies? Are we hitting the chubby person’s historical route of LA tonight?”
“When in Rome.”
“Ugh! Okay, let’s get out of here. Canter’s is always packed.”
“See ya, Christopher,” Donovan yells behind us as the door closes. He heads for the passenger seat of his car to let me in.
“Hey.” I stop and motion him toward my mini-van.
“Really? That pain in the ass gas guzzler that sucks to park?”
With a finger over my lips my head bops toward the car. “Shh.”
Donovan’s hands flip up in moderate surrender. He opens my door, and then gestures a sweeping motion requesting my entrance. While he gets in the other side, I undo the top two buttons of my blouse to expose the necklace, grab my phone from my purse, and toss it to him.
“Press the call button. Tell Canter’s what you want and order whatever you want to steal off of my plate. Be sure to get your pie, too.”
He presses one side of his lips together and shakes his head. “And the doctor thought I was the crazy one.”
Less than an hour later we’ve retrieved our dinner and are parked high atop one of the hills surrounding the LA basin. “Okay, Lil. I give. Why are we here? It can’t be for the view because it kind of sucks with that layer of haze glooming over everything. No wonder why so many end of the world movies take place here.” Suddenly his orbs brighten. “Hey, I get it. The mini-van, dinner to go, this is all a ploy to seduce me. Is my door suddenly childproofed so I can’t open it?”
Great idea! My hand bolts to the button, thus trapping him. His resulting smirk is dirty. “Get your mind out of the gutter. Come on.” I duck into the back and move the row of seats as forward as they can go. Donovan joins me. For once he refrains from making smart ass comments. From a moving box, I toss him a plaid fleece blanket. “Remember this?”
He looks at the blanket as if wishing he could crawl under it and emerge in another dimension. “Of course I do. We spent many snowy nights huddling under it. Those were the warmest nights I’ll ever have.”
“What about these?” From the same box, I remove a coordinated set of mugs and hand him the one he always used—the one with my name on it. He cradles it in his hands as if it is a priceless treasure. To us it is.
“I thought these were gone forever.”
“Nope. I stashed a few things. Mugs bearing our names are no more incriminating than if your hair was found on my brush.”
I hand him a Thermos along with the other mug. “Fill please.”
“What’s in here?”
“Lily’s special cocoa.”
“Are you having another mint episode?”
“It is sort of our flavor,” I say in reference to years before when I finally had a break through with both training his palate and getting him to face his emotions. “Allow me to rephrase: Lily’s special adult cocoa.” As he pours the ridiculously rich chocolate into our mugs I realize that tomorrow I may no longer be able to fit into these jeans.
“Ah! Peppermint Schnapps!” He peers up sheepishly from his pouring. “Yes, that round of palate training is the reason why I drink mint mochas all the time. It makes me feel closer to you.”
His confession flushes my cheeks and sways me to inch closer to him. I again reach into the box. “And last but not least …” Out come two pillows and my laptop, which I set open on the floor. I then lie down, covering myself with the blanket. Donovan follows suit, propping himself on one arm and entwining his legs through mine. “Ready?”
“For anything.” He smiles while looking completely at ease despite the cramped conditions. With the press of a button, the Looney Tunes theme greets us. Donovan chuckles while sipping his cocoa. “This is perfect. Absolutely perfect.”
He settles deeper, snuggling his head into my neck and drawing himself as close to me as he can. Pretense does not exist. “What made you think of this?” he asks, softly.
My mind flashes back to our old apartment and the wonky sofa I once owned and now miss so much. “Our little seventeenth birthday celebration got me thinking about all the things we missed out on. Just before you went into Harley I was so tied up with work and you with finals that we put off a lot of things we wanted to do. We finally both caught a break and we were supposed to do this as soon as we got back from the grocery store.”
Remorse coats his face. “But instead you ran into Bob in the dairy section, and I screwed it up.”
I turn to capture his eyes. “Hey, that’s not what I meant.”
“I know. Lily, this is perfect. You are perfect.”
“We are perfect.”
“We were,” Donovan utters, his voice void of all power.
My hand slides down his arm and around his waist. “In many ways we still are. We just can’t express it the way we’d like, but we’re going to find our way.”
He snuggles me tighter. “What else did you save?”
My voice trembles at the memory. “I still have one of the notes you left me.”
“What does it say?”
The words choke out because that final note led to the incident that sealed our fate–thus turning our magical life into a memory. “I’ll love you forever. We’re out of milk.”