Deleted Scene 2: Good Guy Goes Bad

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It seemed Ned had just closed his eyes when the voice of Manitou roused him. He sat up in the dark cellar and listened to the urgent instructions. Minutes later, he strode through the woods and found the trail. A marker pointed him in the direction of the headwaters.

Pausing on the bridge to catch his breath, he searched upstream to see if anyone was in the water as Manitou had claimed. There. A teenage girl held the hand of a small child as they waded in the river. Crossing the bridge, Ned edged down the path, sticking to the shadows. His eyes followed the blonde teenager as she carried the little boy to a bench.

Manitou must’ve meant the boy—he gotten hurt.

Except the girl dried his little feet with a paper towel and put his shoes and socks back on. As soon as she was finished, the boy ran off. Ned frowned as he watched the girl dry her own feet. When she paused with the towel pressed to her ankle, he spied the bandage in her other hand.

Aha. She must be the one.

The girl then bent to apply the bandage as the breeze fluttered in her hair, catching the sun’s highlights. Ned guessed she was about the same age Honey had been when he’d met her. But where this girl was pretty in a sexy, girl-next-door kind of way, Honey had been beauty-pageant gorgeous.

He remembered the day Honey had been assigned as his lab partner. Man, he thought he’d won the lotto. Everyone knew her; everyone wanted to be with her. He was doubly flabbergasted when she’d climbed on the stool next to him and said, “Hi, Ned”. Honey knew his name? He didn’t think she even knew he existed.

Looking back now, that should’ve been the first warning that things weren’t right.

Although Ned was smart, almost assured a college scholarship, and on the way to a bright future as a chemical engineer, these were qualities Honey wouldn’t have known nor cared about. What she would’ve known is that he was poor—and a geek—a far cry from the mayor’s football captain son she’d just broken up with.

But she’d set her sights on Ned, and he’d been so enamored by her, he didn’t figure out that she was intentionally slumming. In the beginning, she was probably out to piss off her ex-boyfriend, but what ultimately got her off was how much her father disliked Ned.

He’d been a pawn to get her daddy’s attention.

“I don’t care what daddy says, I love you,” Honey said before she pulled her shirt over her head, carelessly dropping it to the floor of his car.

It was their fourth date, and he’d been taking it slow. He really liked her. But she slid across the seat and pressed herself against his chest, kissing him while she unbuckled his belt. At seventeen, he was pretty much defenseless.

Besides, she said she loved him, so it was okay, wasn’t it?

Fast forward to a month before graduation. He reached across the bench seat of his banged up sedan, but she pushed him away, whipping up some tears. “I’m pregnant,” Honey announced.

Ned drew back, eyes wide. “But I always use a condom. Are you sure?”

“Yes. I took a test. And condoms don’t work all the time.” She managed a few convincing sobs.

“What do you want to do?” Ned asked softly.

“I don’t know—

Ned snapped back to the present as a teenage boy passed by on the path. He bent and pretended to tie his shoe. The blonde girl had joined a group of people standing in front of a sign for a picture. Brushing any residual dirt from his clothes, Ned emerged from the shadows. He followed the group up the path to the Headwaters Center, doing his best to eavesdrop on their conversations.

That they were a group of family members was apparent immediately. The girl’s mother was unmistakable—they looked so much alike they could’ve been sisters. He noticed the woman glance occasionally in her daughter’s direction, but otherwise respected her independence.

How nice that freedom must be.

Ned’s single-parent mother was scared to death of her only son going off to college and leaving her alone, so when she learned of Honey’s pregnancy, she used it to keep him nearby.

On the other side, Honey’s father wanted her to abort the baby, which only made her determined to keep it. In love, Ned proposed, thinking they could live in married housing at the university.

Honey looked up at him with her big blue eyes. “I do want to marry you, Neddie, but we can’t go away—I’ll need help with the baby and we won’t know anyone.”

Oh, how his mother had pounced on that idea. “It’s bad enough you went and got her pregnant, now you’re going to take her away from all she knows too?”

Like an idiot, he’d acquiesced and turned down his scholarship offers. A month after the wedding, Honey claimed she miscarried.

Lost in his reminiscence, Ned realized he was trailing behind and picked up his pace a little so he could hear the conversation of the two women in front of him.

“….gift shop we saw on the way in.”

“Me too. I’m not usually big on souvenir shopping, but this trip is different.”

“I know what you mean, I bought a “Rainbow Resort” t-shirt yesterday but I’d like something related to the headwaters.”

Bingo.

Ned strode past the women as they slowed at the Headwaters Center, turning away to hide his devilish grin.