Hey warriors! I’m so sorry it’s been so long since I wrote a regular post, but here we are, back to writing! In this post, I took a What Matter Most deleted scene, edited out any spoilers, and analyzed why I didn’t include it after the first round of edits. Hopefully this post will be fun and perhaps helpful! Let’s dive in.
“Move out of my way, darlin’! Would you get the casserole out of the oven?” My mom orders, speed-walking past me with a pot of mashed potatoes. It’s Thanksgiving, and, surprisingly, my house is a hectic place. It rarely has any action, but today my mom is waitressing her own family and my dad is praying he won’t be fixing his own things. Having seven cousins, two uncles, and three aunts in your house when you’re used to two adults who aren’t often home and one quiet teenager is a wild adventure.
I think about this as I pass Uncle Jack and try to ignore Nora and Patrick’s loud arguing on my way to the commercial oven that my mom thankfully talked my dad into buying for her last year. If we didn’t have that, this would be an even more hectic place. Mom’s fabric oven mitts sit on the counter, waiting for me, so I slide them on, smiling at the floral pattern. She really needs new ones, since I bought these for her when I was six, but they’ve protected my mom’s hands as she’s baked many desserts and meals. I pull on the metal handle of the oven, releasing the delicious aroma of the Irish potato casserole. I reach for the casserole, and I’m about to pick it up when Sean grabs my shoulders. I jump, almost launching the casserole, but thankfully it remains in the oven. I glare at Sean as I actually take it out. “You do realize that would have burned both of us, right?” I scold him.
Sean’s green eyes are wide as he stares at me, but as I scold him, he has the decency to blush. He’s taller than me, but he’s only twelve. He, Uncle Joseph, Aunt Maeve, and Nora came all the way from Ireland to visit us on the most family-oriented American holiday of the year. “Sorry, Clovsie,” he says, his voice cracking awkwardly and his Irish accent in full swing.
I roll my eyes at the nickname. “Just think before you act next time, ok?” I use my foot to knock the oven door closed again and I set the casserole on the counter.
“Thanks, darlin’,” Mom says, giving me a tired smile as she grabs a thermometer to check the casserole.
I nod. “Anything else I can do?”
She shakes her head, even though I know there’s plenty I could help with. “Just go enjoy your cousins.”
“Ok. Let me know if you need help though,” I tell her.
She leans over and hugs me, her apron smelling sweet and savory like all the food she’s been cooking. “Don’t worry about me. I’ve got it under control.”
I don’t really believe her, but I walk into the living room where Nora and Patrick are still arguing, and Makenna, Liam, and Jaime are sitting on the couch on their phones, glancing up at the drama once in a while. Keira, the youngest cousin at age six, is playing with a toy in the corner of the room, but she keeps looking at the older ones, wanting someone to play with. I decide to see what’s happening between Nora and Patrick and then play with Keira, so I walk closer to the war zone.
“YOU BROKE IT! STOP DENYING IT!” Nora screams. Her Irish accent makes it almost feel comical, but in her hand is an iPhone 12 with a cracked screen. She’s sixteen and has a boyfriend who she said she was supposed to call about now, so I can see why she’s mad.
Patrick’s face is red with rage, and his muscles are bulging as he squeezes his hands into fists. He boxes, and I wouldn’t get in his way if I were Nora. Plus he’s almost nineteen.“STOP ACCUSING ME! THE ONLY FREAKIN’ THING I DID WAS TAKE IT FROM THE CAT!” I’m grateful Keira’s in the room, because otherwise Patrick might curse.
“YOU JERK! A CAT DOESN’T BREAK A PHONE.”
As if to prove her wrong, Cheshire, who’s been sitting on the coffee table, jumps down, swishing his tail, and nearly knocks Patrick’s phone to the floor.
Patrick’s eyes go wide as I dive for the phone, catching it.
“Sorry, Nora,” I tell her, getting up and handing Patrick his phone. “Cheshire is a rather obstreperous cat.”
“What the heck does that mean?” she asks. She still looks mad, even though she knows by now that Cheshire’s at fault. “Do I look like I’m in the mood for your big brains stuff?” The way her dark brown hair frames her face and her green eyes shoot daggers, she reminds me of a scarier Ryleigh.
I blush. “Sorry. It just means that he’s hard to control.” I avoid adding that she’s rather obstreperous as well.
Nora rolls her eyes and sits down to call her boyfriend. Apparently the phone still works.
I turn to walk toward Keira, but Patrick grabs my arm. “Thanks, Clovsie,” he says. “She’s…” He bites his lip, glancing over at Keira. “Crazy.”
I shrug. “I mean, everyone has their good and bad moments.” I refuse to throw anyone under the bus, especially not my family.
Patrick grins, his dark eyes lightening up a bit. “I don’t see you having a bad moment though.”
I roll my eyes, smiling. “Thanks, but I’ve had plenty.” It’s all I can do not to think about my stupidity these past few months.
He shrugs. “I haven’t seen any.”
I almost say “do you want to?” but then I realize that Patrick wouldn’t be scared in the slightest and that it would be a curious thing to say, so I shrug back before walking over toward Keira.
Keira beams at me when I sit down across from her and holds up her stuffed cat. “This is Princess Emily Matthew. You wanna play?”
I nod, keeping a straight face even though I’m laughing inside. Keira and I play with Princess Emily Matthew until Mom calls us for lunch.
As the cousins and I stampede into the dining room, I smile. I have a lot to be thankful for. Especially the fact that my name isn’t Princess Emily Matthew.
Why I Cut the Scene
Since What Matters Most was a NaNoWriMo novel, I was in the depths of fall and surrounded by preparations for Thanksgiving. The idea of a thanksgiving scene had bubbled below the surface from nearly the beginning, so I finally decided to write it. When I was editing, however, I realized that this scene just confirmed again parts of Clover’s character that were already clear. We met her family, but they weren’t important here. No part of this scene has anything to do with the plot, which is why I’m able to post it. I was sad to cut it because I felt it was written well, but it does much better as an extra scene than as a part of the story.
Thanks for reading this! I’m sorry I missed Middle-of-the-month check-ins this month, but I’m open for September submissions! I’ll be sharing the official guidelines in the next post (along with a Limited Teen’s Guide to Limited Time!), but the guidelines are also on the middle-of-the-month check-ins, which I linked above. Would you have cut this scene? What’s the hardest scene you ever had to cut? What makes you cut a scene? Let me know in the comments! See you next time!