I was hunting down some files this week and found a deleted scene from Here Comes The Rainne Again. I thought you might like to read it. :) This was the way I initially planned on starting that book, but I thought it was too slow. I also changed the Valentine's Day date to leap day, and brought Alastair back from Fort William. Sometimes, you have to get firm with your characters of the story ends before it begins. I mean, in this version, Rainne would have spent all her time chasing Alastair in Fort William and would have missed the great hen night battle at the castle! Let me know what you think - and remember it's unedited and pretty rough, so ignore the mistakes.
Rainne Benson stood in front of the fishing tackle shop as though it was the dentist and she was scheduled for half a dozen root canals. This was a bad idea. Colossal. It was the king of all bad ideas and yet, here she was…
“Pull up your big girl panties and get this over with,” she muttered to herself.
It’d been three long years since she’d ran out on Alastair Stewart. Three years of aching for him. Three years of reinventing herself. Three years of wondering if he would want the new her.
“It’s closed,” a female voice said from beside Rainne. “The owner’s working construction in Fort William over winter.”
Rainne turned to find Magenta Fraser staring at her. She watched as recognition registered on the goth's face. With pursed lips, Magenta folded her arms over her black quilted coat and narrowed eyes heavily rimmed with black liner at Rainne. “Have you come back to cause more trouble?”
Rainne didn’t flinch. “Hi, Magenta, nice to see you too.” Surprise flickered in Magenta’s eyes. The Rainne she knew would have ducked her head, mumbled sorry, and ran. But that Rainne didn’t exist anymore. “I came back for my brother’s wedding. I need to talk to Alastair while I’m here. Any idea where he is?”
“I just told you. He’s in Fort William.”
“You said the owner was in Fort William…” She trailed off, burying her hands in the deep pockets of her woollen wrap-around coat. “Alastair owns the shop now? What happened to his dad?”
Magenta frowned. “He died two years ago.”
Rainne heard the judgment in her tone and accepted it. If she hadn’t run away, if she’d kept in touch with the man who’d said he loved her, she would have known these things. But then, she would also have remained a deluded puppy of a woman, who didn’t have a clue how to take care of herself and let everyone she knew walk all over her.
Ignoring Magenta’s censure, Rainne studied the shop. It looked shabby. There was dust in the window display, the posters were faded, and the shelves were barren. The place wasn’t doing well at all. “Did the shop make money in the off season when his dad owned it?”
“Alastair’s dad ran classes in winter. It kept the place ticking over.”
“Why doesn’t Alastair do the same?” Rainne asked.
“Really not sure why you care what he does.” Magenta tapped the toe of her black laced boot on the pavement. “You broke that boy when you ran like a coward. He hid himself away, wouldn’t talk to anyone. It’s just gotten worse since his dad died. If you care anything about him at all, you’ll keep away from him while you’re here. You’ve caused enough damage.”
Rainne let out a sigh. Magenta’s reaction was nothing more than she’d expected. And nothing less than she deserved. But that didn’t mean she’d take being bullied over it. “I don’t think what happens between me and Alastair is any of your business.”
Magenta appeared stunned. “Damn it, Rainne, you grew a back bone.”
“I grew up generally.”
For the first time, Magenta’s expression softened—a little. “It doesn’t mean you should interfere with
Alastair’s life again.”
No, but she owed him an explanation and an apology. It was a debt that had been weighing her down for years and it was time to pay up.
The shout made her grin and she turned to see the Donaldson twins hurrying down the high street towards her. Both blondes were dressed in colourful padded jackets, jeans and snow boots. Snow? Rainne scanned the sky, the clouds were grey and thick, hanging heavy above them. Yup, the twins had called it. Snow was definitely on its way.
“It is you!” Claire wrapped her in a tight hug. “You look so different. What happened to the multi-coloured hair?”
“And where are the purple boots?” It was Megan’s turn for a hug. “And the skirts with the bells? I liked the bells.”
Rainne hugged the younger women tightly as she laughed. When they released her, she tucked her strawberry blonde hair behind her ear as she spoke, feeling a little self-conscious. “Can’t get a corporate job when you live in tie-dye.”
The twins gaped at her.
“Corporate job?” Megan asked as though Rainne had spoken Chinese.
“I have a diploma in business studies and I'm on the fast track with McLellan insurance.” She chuckled at their astonished stares. “I thought, after the mess I made with Lake’s lingerie shop, I’d best learn how to run a business. Turns out, I like it,” she paused and straightened her shoulders, “and I’m good at it.”
The person standing in front of them now was very different from the one they’d known years ago. It wasn’t just the fact she was wearing a camel-coloured coat over black jeans teamed with a cream sweater, instead of purple velvet and rainbow hued clothes. Sure, she looked different, but she felt different too. So different that she began to wonder if Magenta was right and she shouldn’t even be in Invertary, let alone trying to make amends to the man she loved.
“What about protesting everything with your parents?” Claire said. “Last I heard you were going to London to help your other brother fight the budget or something.”
“I changed my mind after I figured out that my family weren’t the best influence.” Rainne toed the pavement with her chic black leather boot. “I haven’t seen my parents since I left Invertary. The only family member I’ve spoken with is Lake.”
“We were really worried about you,” Claire said softly.
“I know. I’m sorry.” There was nothing else she could say.
She’d ran out of town in the middle of the night and they hadn't heard from her since. And she'd picked a helluva night to run--Kirsty’s lingerie shop had burned down, and her brother Lake had gotten into a fight with Kirsty’s ex-boyfriend. None of which she’d known at the time. All she could think of then was getting as far as possible away from the people who insisted on running her life. Her parents had wanted her to go to London, Lake wanted to sell the lingerie shop out from under her, and Alastair just wanted to wrap her in cotton wool and take care of her. She hadn’t known who she was or what she wanted out of life. At least now she did.
“I heard you’re married.” Rainne grinned at Claire who held up her left hand to flash her ring.
“Last summer. We were sensible and did it during the good weather. I don’t know what Kirsty was thinking planning a wedding in February.”
“She was thinking Valentine’s day,” Megan said.
“She was thinking that she was fed up waiting for Lake to set a date so she just picked one.” Magenta’s input reminded Rainne that she was still standing there oozing disapproval.
“Well,” Claire said, “Valentine’s day is a very romantic day for a wedding. And Lake can’t pretend he’s forgotten their anniversary.”
“There is that.” Megan said.
“And you’re engaged,” Rainne said to Magenta. “Congratulations. Guess that just leaves you and me, Megan.”
“I don’t plan on getting married.” Megan lifted her chin defiantly. “I’m only twenty-three. These two are nuts. Of course, you’re way older, aren’t you? So, you probably want to get married before your ovaries shrivel.”
“Megan!” Claire elbowed her twin hard as Rainne laughed.
“What?” Megan said. “She knows she’s nearly thirty. It isn’t a secret.” She turned to Rainne. “Are we keeping it a secret now?”
“No.” Rainne shook her head. At least the twins hadn’t changed. “No secret. But no shrivelled ovaries either.”
“See?” Megan said to Claire. “She isn’t bothered. You are so easily offended since you married the ape man. He’s a bad influence on you.”
“Is not.” Claire scowled. “He just appreciates manners and respect.”
Megan rolled her eyes. “He treats you like a porcelain doll.”
“Does not,” Claire snapped, making Rainne take a step back just in case fists started flying.
“Ladies,” a deep voice growled and the twins stopped fighting instantly.
Rainne turned to find the biggest man she’d ever seen standing right behind her. His head was shaved, his upper arms were as wide as her waist and there was a twinkle in his eye.
“Baby.” Claire beamed at him before throwing herself at the man.
This was the husband? Holy hell, it was the Hulk personified.
“You’re thinking about the Hulk aren’t you?” Megan whispered.
Rainned grinned at her. “How did you know?”
She waved a dismissive hand. “Paint him green and he’s a dead ringer.”
Claire kissed her husband hard before introducing him to Rainne as Grunt. Rainne didn’t blink at the name. After all, her given name was Rainbow and her siblings were Lake, River and Brooke. Someone called Grunt was run-of-the-mill in her life.
“I’d better go check in with Lake and Kirsty,” Rainne said after they’d exchanged polite greetings.
Magenta frowned at her. “Don’t forget what I said. Stay away from Alastair. He doesn’t need you messing with his life again.”
“Magenta,” Grunt rumbled in censure.
“Knock it off,” Magenta told the mountain. “You might get away with going all macho on Claire, but she’s blinded by lust. I can think for myself.”
“Hey!” Claire was offended. “I think for myself.”
“Right,” Magenta said drolly.
Claire looked up at her husband and pouted. “She’s being mean to me, do something.”
Rainne and Megan exchanged a look that made it clear both were trying not to laugh.
“He can’t do anything to me,” Magenta said. “If he touches me, I’ll set Harry on him.”
Rainne blinked. “Harry Boyle can fight?” Nerdy Harry Boyle?
Megan did start laughing at that, earning a glare from Magenta.
“No.” Magenta looked smug. “But he can ruin your life with his laptop in ten seconds flat.”
“True.” Grunt grinned.
Megan was obviously bored by the chest beating competition over whose man was toughest. She turned to Rainne. “Have you come back for Alastair or just for the wedding?”
Four sets of eyes instantly focused in on Rainne and she swallowed hard. “That’s between me and Alastair.” She took a step back from the group. “It was lovely meeting you, Grunt. I need to get going. I guess I’ll see the rest of you at the wedding.”
“No, we’ll see you tonight,” Claire said. “It's the hen night, or girls’ night, whatever you want to call it. We’re hanging out at the castle. The guys are taking over the pub. It will be a blast.”
“Can’t wait.” Rainne smiled.
With one last glance at the neglected shop, she crossed the road towards Lake’s security business. All the while wondering if Alastair was coming home for the wedding or if he planned to stay in Fort William. If so, she’d have to hunt him down up there.
Her hands trembled as she entered Eye Spy, letting the door click shut behind her. It turned out that confronting your past was a whole lot harder than she’d thought it would be.