WRITING EXTRAS

Epilogue for LOVE and CANDY

Click here to read a deleted scene with Samantha and her family having dinner with Anton de' Medici in Manhattan.

  

How do things end up between Delaney and Samantha?  Below is the unpublished epilogue for LOVE and CANDY called 'SOCCER GIRL.'  Please be aware that it contains **spoilers** and shouldn't be read until you've finished the novel.

 

Soccer Girl, an epilogue to Love and Candy

She'd been through so much.  Endless discussions with her dad about Delaney's carousing in Manhattan.  Feeling scared that she'd accepted too many of his assurances about what might happen someday.  Worried that she was putting off the inevitable heartache.  Their quasi-open relationship was a constant trial.

Only the regular visits to the city sustained her.  They were together every couple of weeks as a real couple, an exclusive couple.  Exploring neighborhoods, sampling pastry shops, checking out free exhibits and half-priced theater, eating street food, browsing hipster shops and used bookstores.  Whatever happened when Delaney went out drinking -- to whatever seedy places he accompanied his friends and coworkers when she wasn't around -- Samantha was the only person who had a toothbrush at his apartment.  She was the only woman to spend the night.

Delaney's parents soon learned that the best way to get Delaney to visit was to include Samantha.  She bit the bullet and put up with their coolness, becoming closest to her former most-hated, Mr. Troy, who was undeniably intelligent and impressed by her academic transcript.  Delaney was a staple at Montclair family gatherings, crossing Samantha's grandparents' doorstep for many holidays and special occasions.  He got death glares from Robert for his off-color remarks, but never pushed it so far that he got kicked out.  Both Robert and Catherine were won over by the fact he didn't push Samantha into risky situations, such as taking trains late at night or going to places in the city with drugs in the bathrooms. Delaney didn't want to change her into a seedier version of herself.  He adapted himself to fit in with the Montclair family dynamic, admiring her relationship with her parents.  He opened himself up to a new sort of family life where people never got falling-down drunk, drove recklessly, snapped at each other without apologizing, or manipulated their family members passive aggressively.

Once she got to Yale, Samantha spent hours tucked away in a library cubicle.  She kept away from distractions, so she could get her work done and take off to go see Delaney almost every week.  Late at night she debated philosophy with her housemates, sitting on the floor of the hallway outside her dorm room, she but never felt much interest in inviting any guy other than Delaney into her room. 

Delaney didn't have any other girlfriends to keep up with while living as a bachelor in New York, but he cherished his freedom to "do whatever he wanted," including casual hook-ups backstage at concerts or in dark corners at parties.  Samantha had free access to his phone, which he used to keep in touch with his boss and call her; no women texted him about dates.  But it was always a sore spot that he wasn't 100% monogamous when they weren't together.

Delaney and Anton had an open antagonism, which never boiled over into hot war.  A general disapproving affect on Anton's side collided with snide remarks about hot secretaries from Delaney.  Yet, Sam managed to have chatty dinners with the two of them when Anton was in the city.  The outings had to be kept to two-hours max.  After each, she hugged Anton goodnight and exhaled in relief as she and Del walked back to N.Y.U.

***** 

Her eyes followed the squares of glass up to the ceiling as they curved over an inner atrium.  On the table beneath the dampening sunlight were garlic pickles and canapés from her favorite local deli.  Everyone was mingling behind her -- in the great room of Anton's dark-floored condo -- as she looked through terrace doors to Central Park.

Delaney picked her up and swung her around, not really taking her by surprise although he'd snuck up on her.  

"Congratulations," he beamed, dressed in jeans and buckled shoes that screamed Greenwich Village hipster.   

 

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She kissed him, the only natural thing to do when she was near him. 

"You never have to set foot in New Haven again," he grinned.

"You’re late," she said.  Anton was hosting a party to celebrate her recent graduation from Yale.

"Sorry, it was work."  He handed her a gift bag with a vintage I Love NY logo on the side.  He looked tan, even a little reddish below his shirt collar.  Last weekend they'd gotten back from a jaunt to the Jersey shore.  Their longest trip together, just the two of them, so far.  Two weeks at a friend of his dad's small house on a romantic bay near the crowded beaches.  She hadn't wanted to leave.  He agreed their digs were beginning to feel domestic – "Should I got out and chop wood for winter?"

She pulled him over to greet her parents who were mingling with Anton and her sisters amongst the settees, all drinking champagne although only she had reached the age of 21.  Annabelle jumped on Delaney, and he pretended to be injured.  Stephanie was giving Anton instructions on what music to play as he merely nodded in Delaney's direction.  Gretchen stood frozen like a doll in a yellow sundress.

Samantha noticed Delaney was sweating a little, around his brow.  He glanced at the gift she held in her hand.  She lifted it and peered inside but saw only white tissue paper.  She looked up at him as he began speaking to her mom about his new job.  Oh my God, why does he look anxious?

Looking down at her favorite linen pants, she tapped the feather-light bag against her thigh, swinging her leg.  In an instant everyone was staring at the present in her hand. 

"Open it!" yelled Stephanie, who'd said the exact same thing earlier about other gifts.

Samantha reached inside and felt soft fabric. 

"A shirt?  A tiny shirt.  I think it's the wrong size," she said, looking at Delaney's stone-faced look of discomfort.  His hands were jammed in his pocket and his mouth was seal closed like the last time he'd visited Yale and they'd run into the graduate student she liked to sit with during physics lectures -- the first ever sighting of Delaney's jealous side.

The infant-sized shirt in her hands had lettering on it.  Inside her head, she read, reread, and finally, spelled out each letter of the two words embroidered on the shirt: soccer baby.

"What is it?" Gretchen asked, sounding excited and nervous.

Robert and Catherine looked confused but were smiling and interested.

"OMG!  You're pregnant?" screamed Annabelle.

"No," laughed Delaney in reply.  Glancing at Robert, Catherine and Anton, he added, "Seriously.  I swear."

The room was spinning a little as Samantha tried to speak.  "Ummm, ... I think you're jumping the gun a bit."  She puckered at Delaney.  "Where's my ring … my marriage proposal?"

"I already know your answer," he said, smugness returning to his eyes.

"Del!"

His grin turned into a huge smile.  "I can't afford a ring suitable for the Montclare/de' Medici dynasty."

Everyone laughed.  Samantha focused on her mom's happy calmness as little flashes of silver stars obstructed her vision.  Annabelle started dancing.  Stephanie joked with Anton about a wedding in Italy,

"In Capri!  You pay for it … but put mom and dad's names as hosts on the invitation." 

Anton replied, "He will have to agree to an unbreakable prenup."  

Samantha reached her arm out, grabbing Delaney, who moved to her side, holding her up as she asked for a glass of water.

Her parents did not conceal their eavesdropping as she sat on Delaney's lap in the dining room, looking down on Columbus Circle where pedestrians challenged yellow cabs. 

"Now's the right time? … Because I graduated?"

"Sort of," he said with a squint.  "For so long I was scared to death of trying something I couldn't do … and making you give up on me."

"I don't want you to do this out of fear…"

He held her hand supplicatingly.  "It's a true compromise.  I got to indulge that part of myself for a while, but I want to be with you and we can't make this work if I never stop playing around like it's meaningless."

"But if you're denying part of yourself, that might be a mistake."

"I get something in return."  He squeezed her and his voice lowered.  "And I want it all.  The kids stuff I never got to do because my dad was missing in action.  Awful soccer playing … like the way you used to play.  Camping.  Skateboards.  Surfing." 

A giant grin again took over his face.  He smiled so much since landing a full-time job in concert promoting.  He was no longer dependent on his dad.  After years of moving from one apartment share to the next, he'd recently got his own studio downtown. 

"I can't believe you're the one bringing up having kids.  Where's my Delaney?"

"I want to see you with stretch marks."  He laughed and then his grin faded.  "But I don't want our kid to feel like he has to be bagging a bunch of girls to be cool.  I just want him to be a kid.  Or, I just want her to be a normal kid."

"Right, I agree."  Her voice was trembling.

"And when we have kids I won't need an assist like your dad."

"Stop!  This is serious."  She smiled as he glanced at her parents, who were good-naturedly grinning – they were used to him. 

"You're sure now?" she asked.  "You're sure you're never going to be … you're never going to have regrets, right?"

"If we do this, we're never getting divorced.  I will not get divorced.  I won't sign the papers.  You're stuck with me.  You're the one who loves marriage counseling, right?"  She was interested in child psychology for at-risk kids and had applied to grad school uptown.

Her eyes overflowed at the thought of the crazy stuff he did, like flirting with models behind the scenes at photo shoots and partying with the band.  "I shouldn't say it, but no matter what happens, we'll get past it.  But do not make me put up with too much."

"No.  No.  It's not kinda, sort of, we're trying to be exclusive.  It's completely, totally exclusive.  Never apart.  Like your parents."

"Oh my god, Del.  We ought to live together for a while before we start planning anything permanent."

"It's not such a big deal actually," he continued, "I wasn't going to tell you, but it's been on for a while now."  He shook his head like he was laughing at himself.  "I've been testing the waters to make sure I'm ready.  I get home earlier.  I'm not so hungover.  I want to come home to you.  And whatever shit goes down, you can handle me, Samantha.  I know you can."

 Copyright 2013

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Click here to read a deleted scene with Anton de' Medici. 

Check out Character Spotting and Ask Delaney