This deleted scene from Time’s Forbidden Flower takes place just before the DNA results come in. It was deleted because I feared it made Lily look too insensitive to Christopher. I wanted to include it so that people could see that the decision she and Donovan made may not have been entirely right, but they did reach the goals they set.
“Shh…” I say to Donovan as Christopher slips into the darkened family room. In the soft light of the TV, it must be hard to make out the bewildering sight that sits before him. Donovan and I have removed the cushions from the sofa. They, along with several upside-down dining room chairs, sit in the middle of the room and are covered with a bed sheet. From inside the makeshift tent, Donovan and I hush our sounds like children with something to hide. Christopher lifts the cover and marvels at the site—Donovan lying on his stomach, me sitting cross-legged, both of us munching out of the bowl of popcorn that rests in my lap. “Dear God, Lilyanna, whatever are you two doing in there?” he asks.
“We’ve been discovered by one of the enemy Lobsterbacks! Fire!” I scream as Donovan and I pelt Christopher with popcorn.
“Blimey! I always knew you Yanks were a strange lot, but pitching a tent in the living room very well takes the cake.” Christopher laughs while being pelted. “All right, truce!”
“Are you surrendering to the Yanks and agreeing that we get to keep our land?” I ask.
“Heavens no! You relinquished your freedom when you said ‘I do.’ ”
Donovan screams, “He’s going for his bayonet. Fire fast before it’s too late.” Again we pelt Christopher.
“Crikey! You barmy yobs are turning everything pear-shaped. I’ll leave willingly before I’m taken prisoner.”
I put down the popcorn and scamper out of the tent. “Hey, wait a second. This gives me an idea!”
“To take me prisoner? I rather like that.”
I smile then kiss Christopher’s nose. “No, you cheeky bugger! Go wake your fellow Lobsterback and get him in here. I have a plan.”
Thirty minutes later Donovan, Christopher, Eric and I have rearranged the furniture and constructed three forts in a semi-circle around the fireplace. Eric and Donovan build a roaring fire as I place a sign on each tent: Ft. Yank, adorned with a 13 star flag, Ft. Lobsterback sports a Union Jack, and Ft. Freedom has what I think is a fifty-dot flag. “What’s with the artwork?” Christopher asks as I attach the signs to the chairs that block off the forts.
“They’re sleeping assignments.”
“You mean I don’t get to stay with me own wife?”
“No way! Tonight you’re the enemy.” I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss his lips. “You can lie in your tent and dream of stealing away the Yank girl you long for and then almost dying for treason.”
“Then why did we block off three areas?”
“Last I checked we had a few kids upstairs. Unless we’re suddenly bankrupt and you sold them to pay for groceries, they are going to need their own fort.”
“You mean we are going to ruin this fun by waking the sleeping angels and willingly turn them into demons?”
“We certainly are. You three go upstairs and get them while I make cocoa and find some marshmallows to roast.”
Christopher remains persistent. “Are you sure you want to give them sugar? I see what’s happened to you and Donovan tonight with all the sweets you’ve been noshing. This sounds like a recipe for a real—” Donovan cups his hand over Christopher’s mouth, turning his words to garbles. I think he’s wanted to do that for a long time.
Finally Eric is the voice of reason. “Seriously, Christopher, were you ever a boy? I remember seeing you much shorter and younger, but I’m beginning to think we lads didn’t do a very good job of raising you properly. Don’t you remember how much fun we had when you were six and Keith and I took you and his sons camping?”
“Yes, it was fantastic, and I’ve no idea how the two of you ever survived. The whole disaster rivaled the Brixton riots.”
“Come on. Let’s get the kids and bring them down to battlefield Lambreth.” Eric puts one arm around Christopher and the other Donovan. He looks as if he is about to burst with joy. The beautiful site tugs at my heart.
Several hours later, after numerous battles have been staged, the sugar has finally worn off, and the sun is rising, the three groups settle into their forts. “Feeling better?” I ask Donovan.
“Worlds. You still surprise me sometimes. I thought we could never be like this again. I really wish Anna could have been here.”
“We can do stuff like this any time you like. This is what we gave up so much for. The decision we made was not a bad one.” We both smile in acknowledgement of my words.
“I just need to remember that. I also really needed to be with my daughter tonight more than I realized. And Eric, man, it’s actually like having a father around—a sane, role model father. Maybe I need what we already have more than I realize.”
“Psst. Lilyanna.” Christopher’s voice comes from the fort across from us. “It’s the barmiest thing. I was drifting off to sleep and started doing what you said about dreaming of the enemy damsel. I’m getting the strangest sense of deja vu. Do you think it means anything?”
“Yes,” Eric pops his head up with a groan. “It means you need to go to sleep before you get us killed for conspiring with the enemy.”
“Good night, luv.” Christopher beams at me.
“Good night, darling. Good night, Eric.”
“Go to sleep,” Donovan moans.
“Hey, Lilyanna,” Eric whispers as I’m about to rest my head. “Thank you. I think this might be the best night of my life.”
I curl onto my side to stretch my arm out and find that Christopher is doing the same. After interlacing our fingers, we drift off to sleep.