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Breaking and Entering

It’s time for a deleted scene from If I Could Stay!

While the final plot line had Leila leaving her go-bag in the trunk of her car, my original plan was for her to lose her money belt/wallet/purse in Jack’s truck. And since she can’t ask him for help due to the illegal nature of her fraudulent IDs, she ends up taking matters into her own hands. This ultimately didn’t work out for a lot of reasons, but I do like this scene and wanted to give y’all a chance to read it.



I hadn’t stolen anything since the first year I’d been on my own, but I was out of options. Jack was a cop, and if he decided to do some kind of investigative voodoo on me, then something was bound to end up in the system. If that happened, there was a good chance it would tip off my father. And I could not let my father know where I was, especially if I had no resources to run. Plus, there was always the chance that Jack would put the pieces together and figure out who I was. Then I’d really be screwed. 

I’d spend the evening wandering around and asking random people if they knew Jack’s address. I told them I was an old friend and I wanted to surprise him. It was a terrible cover story, but he wasn’t in any online directory.

The house looked like it was from the sixties. Brick, unlikely to have any sort of security, with a screened-in porch. It was like he was inviting me to break in.

 I froze my butt off for two hours waiting of his lights to turn out and then for enough time to pass that I could be relatively sure he was asleep. I decided to check the truck again, but it was locked this time and I couldn’t think of anywhere it would be that I hadn’t already checked, so it wasn’t worth breaking a window. I turned my attention to the house.

The lock on the screen door was easy to break, and once I was on the porch, I was able to work in privacy. I checked the door first. It was locked, so I moved on to the windows. I didn’t want to waste time on the door lock if the windows would cooperate.

Luck was on my side. He had forgotten to lock one of the windows and it didn’t take much to unstick it from the frost and raise it up. I slipped inside and closed it quietly. If my luck continued, I would find my money belt and be able to walk back to the bus station in time to catch the early morning ride—which seemed to be the only ride.

I crouched below the window and listened for any signs of movement from upstairs. Everything was quiet, so I looked around. I was in a living room. The moonlight seeped in through the windows allowing me to see just enough. There were stairs leading up to my left and an opening that I assumed led to the kitchen straight ahead. I went that way.


The kitchen, though not fancy, was tidier than I would expect for a bachelor pad. I checked the first door off the kitchen, but it was a pantry. The next door yielded better results—a mud room just like I was hoping. I found keys hanging by the door that no doubt led to the garage, and shoes lines up under a little bench. There were several cabinets that I rifled through, using the glow from my phone, but there was still not a wallet or purse in sight. Not even a stupid bowl of change.

I returned to the kitchen and started opening drawers, checking the little organizational baskets out on the counter. I found their mail (apparently I was robbing the Wilson household), but even the junk drawer only yielded a handful of change. I seriously considered taking it, but my only pocket was the giant one on my hoodie and I couldn’t risk the jangling that a pocket full of change would make.

I went back toward the front of the house. There had to be something down here because I really did not want to go upstairs. Along the staircase was a narrow table. Hopefully it was where they kept their keys and wallets. 

I padded quietly toward the stairs, hating myself for what I was doing, but too afraid to wait and find a more legal avenue. I rifled through the junk strewn across the table top, but there was no money. I eased open the shallow drawer and used my phone to help in my search. When I felt leather, my heart jolted. Bingo. I pulled the wallet out and opened it up, but it was empty. I silently cursed whatever sentimental idiot in this house felt the need to keep old worn-out wallets around. I dropped it and kept feeling around. I lifted out several objects so that I could look under them when a creaking floorboard made me freeze.

“Hands where I can see them,” a hard voice said from the doorway leading to the living room.

I didn’t look up, didn’t even hesitate. I threw the fist-full of junk from my hand in his direction and took off.


Not a chance. I ran, dodging behind the couch and into the kitchen. My hand was on the handle of the back door when a body slammed into my back, pinning me against the closed door. I struggled, but it was fruitless. 

“I don’t take kindly to thieves in my town,” he growled in my ear as he cuffed my wrists. Then he pulled on my shoulder, spinning me around to face him.

I blinked into the flashlight that was pointed at my face, unable to see past the bright light to the person beyond, even though I knew who it would be.


I huffed a breath of frustration. “Hi, Jack.”

“What did you do to your hair?” He dropped the light and I was able to make out his face. His lips were pressed together as he shook his head. “Come on,” he said and yanked on my arm.

A hiss escaped through my teeth when the cuffs bit into my wrists. He escorted me back across the kitchen and into the living room. I thought he was going to take me straight out to his cruiser, or truck, or whatever he rode around in when he was copping it up, but instead he stopped right beside the door, pointing my face to the wall. He kept one hand on my neck and patted me down, searching my hoodie pocket and running his hands over my sides and down my sweats. He didn’t find anything. “So were you breaking and entering just for fun? Or had you not found anything to steal yet?”

I didn’t respond and he turned me to face him. “Talk,” was his demand.

I stayed silent.

“Really? You don’t even want to make some lame excuse or beg for mercy?”

It wouldn’t make a difference. Either way I was in way over my head. He took my arm again and opened the door. “Fine.”

I didn’t answer and he huffed and grumbled as he put me in the back of his SUV. I glared out the window toward the street, disgusted that not only had I been reduced to thievery, but I’d been caught as well. As soon as he booked me, it would be the beginning of the end. My picture or my finger prints would trigger something that would take the info back to my father.

Jack opened his door and climbed behind the wheel.

It was a short drive to the police station, filled with stony silence. He put the car into park but didn’t climb out. He rested his wrists on top of the steering wheel, staring straight ahead. I sat perfectly still, unwilling to be the first to break the silence.

The dashboard clock told me that five minutes had passed before he finally spoke. “I don’t get you.”

I rolled my eyes. Of course he didn’t. No one got me.

“You claim to want no involvement with any sort of law enforcement, yet you go and pull a rookie stunt like that.”

I bristled at being called a rookie, but held my peace.

“Did you really think you wouldn’t be caught? You broke into a police officers house, Angel. I could have shot you! Was this some insane suicide by cop thing?”

A snort of derision escaped me. “It certainly wasn’t that.”

He finally turned toward me, his elbow resting on the bench seat back. “Then what were you doing?” What did you think was in my house that could be worth this?”

I clammed up.

He swore and pushed his door open with a violent shove. He opened my door and waited.

I didn’t move, unsure of what to do. He finally made an annoyed gesture for me to get out. “I can pull you out, but it will hurt your wrists more.”

How chivalrous.

I swung my feet out the door and shimmied my butt until I was able to slide down. As soon as I stepped out of the way, he closed the door and stepped right into my personal space.

“You’re at a decision point, Angel. I’ve given you your space. I’ve let you have your secrets. I haven’t pried. All I’ve tried to do is help. But this—” he made a wild gesture that I suppose was meant to encompass the entire situation. “I can’t let this slide without an explanation. So either explain, or we’ll walk into the station right now.”


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