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Deleted Scene from The Girl with the Red Balloon:
Kai heads back toward his room and I’m still sitting on the sofa. I don’t want to humor him. I want to be left alone. But part of me is tired of being alone. Part of me wants to follow, to listen to him. I drag myself off the sofa, leaving the quilt behind on the floor. I wrap my arms around myself and follow him down the dark hallway. He stops at his open doorframe to his room. My hands fall to my sides.
Books. Hundreds of books. They’re stacked as high as the radiator on one wall, and they serve as a bedside stand next to his bed. They’re spilled on the floor, and spilling out of shelves. They are paperback and hardback, dusty, open, new, old, all colors and all sizes, and there are so many of them. I step past him into the room, squatting by the floor to touch the top of one of the books. It’s an Isaac Asimov short story collection. My step-dad had it at home. I recognize the aliens on the cover. There’s a musical theory book, all sorts of books.
I look up at him and whisper, “Some are in English.”
“Most, actually,” he leans on the doorway, arms crossed.
“If you were ever caught—“
“The books are the least of my concerns.” He turns his hands slightly as if to show me the sun and moon inked on the backs of his hand. “Pick out a book. It’ll give you something to do other than sleep and cry.”
I want to be offended but I’m in a room full of books and I kind of want to kiss Kai right now. Not because he’s being particularly sweet or hot or cute or kind because he seems to be doing this with a laissez-faire attitude. But these are books, he’s giving me books, and given the state of his room, the piles of books around them, I suspect that he doesn’t often lend out books. It would be dangerous, I reason, my fingers running over the worn backs of the books. He couldn’t let people know that he had amassed a small library of science fiction and classics, mostly by American authors or written in English. I finally sit down on the floor and cross my legs.
I tug out a book with a black cover, and the title coming up like smoke from the base of the page. I read it aloud. “SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury. Oh man. I didn’t know he wrote anything other than FAHRENHEIT 451.”
“Ah, that’s here too, if only for the irony of keeping a book about banned books amongst banned books.” He smiles a little bit, sliding to the floor next to me and crossing his legs, his arms draped easily over his knees. “Read it. You’ll like it, I think.”
I open up the book and run my fingers over the title page. “I didn’t read much, at home. I used to, but then…I stopped reading except for school. Friends, and boyfriend, they just took up a lot of time.”
“I don’t get to read often that much.” He picks up a few books. “Between the job and friends and trying to sleep. It’s nice to just have the books, though. Here, it’s a bit of subversion too. My own rebellion.”
Thank you, Katherine, for sharing!
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Katherine Locke, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 333. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!