A lot got cut from the final draft of Jackals Wild. A whole lot. From bits of dialogue to full scenes and even character names (Fern's name was originally 'Charlie').
The deleted scene below was supposed to be a flashback of Adam thinking about his first time meeting Carter. I couldn't find a way to make it fit organically with the rest of the story, so off to the cutting room floor it went.
But it's here for anyone who wants to read it.
"When Adam Met Carter"
Adam had arrived at Bramburgh early in the afternoon. It was the start of his sophomore year, and he was excited to meet up with Mateo later. His excitement immediately faded when he opened the door to his dorm room.
Books, clothes, and boxes of granola bars were strewn everywhere. Two suitcases were left open in the middle of the room, revealing more clothes folded haphazardly. An empty food carton lay on one of the beds, bits of rice having trickled onto the bare mattress.
His new roommate was nowhere to be seen.
How was it possible for someone to make such a huge mess already? Adam cursed the housing lottery system.
After neatly tucking his clothes into the dresser and organizing his desk drawers, he decided to wash his comforter and bed sheets. The laundry room was in the basement, which was so cool. To a Floridian, basements were basically mythical places.
He'd just started the wash cycle when a guy walked in. The stranger glanced at Adam before hauling himself up to sit on one of the machines. “Neat freak, huh? Or germaphobe?”
“You’re doing laundry on the first day. Gotta be some sort of neat freak.” The guy tilted his head and gave him a smirk. His eyes were the kind of blue that echoed storm clouds and deep lakes.
“I wanted to get a head start. Before people start coming in.”
Adam shuffled past and headed for the door. Before he reached the elevator, a loud, high-pitched scream filled the basement.
Someone whispered close to his ear, “That was Screeching Sally.”
Adam jumped and dropped his basket.
The guy grabbed his arm, steadying him. “Sorry about that.”
Adam stared at him for a second before retrieving his basket and hurrying towards the elevator. Maybe this guy was an escaped convict. Normal attractive people did not go out of their way to engage in conversation with Adam Hatchard.
“So do you know about Screeching Sally?” the guy asked, falling into step beside him.
“Um...wasn’t that just the boiler? They make weird noises sometimes.”
The guy leaned against the wall, blocking the elevator button. He grinned. “Nope, it’s her ghost.”
Adam hugged his laundry basket awkwardly against his chest.
“She keeps mainly to the eighth floor,” the guy continued. “But there have been reported sightings in the basement. People say she was murdered on the eighth floor, but her body was found in the basement. It’s why the toilets up there are always getting clogged. ”
“Oh...that’s not what really happened.”
“What do you mean?” The guy looked genuinely curious.
“Well, I’ve read about Taggart Hall, and they only found a hand in the basement. The rest of the body remains missing to this day.”
The guy tilted his head again, and Adam clutched the basket tighter to his chest. He was not prepared to meet such a cute guy his first day back on campus. And this cute guy was having a full-on conversation with him!
“I think we should leave Sally alone for now," the guy said. "She might get mad if we talk about her too much." He grinned again. "Wanna see something interesting?” He looked so earnest that Adam felt as if he didn’t have a choice.
They walked down the hall. Somewhere along the way, the cute stranger took Adam’s basket without a word and tucked it under his arm.
When they reached a small window near the end of the hall, the guy set the basket down and grabbed a couple of step ladders from the janitorial closet.
“Are we allowed to be in this part of the basement?”
“Relax, dude. We are paying residents of Taggart Hall.”
The guy stepped onto one of the ladders and motioned for Adam to do the same. Adam looked out the window and saw a black cat crouched right in front of them. It was protected by the shrubs that ran along the outside wall.
“See how she keeps licking that part under her belly? She’s about to give birth.”
“Will she be okay?”
The guy nodded. “I’ve already called the local rescue and they’re going to come get her. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping tabs.”
Adam looked at the guy next to him. He forgot all about the mess in his room and having to meet his gross roommate. He was talking to a super cute guy right now and nothing could ruin this moment.
As if sensing eyes on him, the guy turned and smiled. “I’m Carter, by the way.”