Five for Forever is out for a few days now. Here is a little goodie, an exclusive deleted scene from the book (I had the luxury problem of too many words and ideas for the book and a lot of scenes and characters had to go over the course of the editing process). But there is no real delete in the digital universe, just a shift of bytes from one storage to another.
The scene you are about to read was about one third into the book, when Rick and Louise hit it off together and their relationship became official. Rick's parents are living in Florida, so about as far away as possible from San Diego, his mother already a little hard of hearing and not at full capacity anymore to grasp whom her son is dating. But see for yourself.
One little additional tidbit: Five for Forever is a homage to Notting Hill, the great romantic comedy with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Incidentally, there is a deleted scene in the script where Hugh's characters eats dinner with his parents and breaks the dating news to them. The priceless reaction: none. Total anti-climax.
So, here it is. Enjoy the chapter/scene:
Rick called up his mother. His parents were living in a Florida retirement home close to Fort Myers. Both were getting in worse shape every year, his father on the bad end with setting in of dementia and various diseases that kept him to bed most of the time. His mother had become frail and hard of hearing which made long-distance communication sometimes a challenge.
“Hi Mom, it’s Rick.”
“Hi Rickie, is that really you?” His mother was the only person in the world still calling him Rickie.
“Yes mom, the secret word is ‘soap’.” They had agreed on a code word so that his mom was able to separate true relatives from the con artists.
“Not that I don’t trust you, but I need to check. Give me a minute. ‘Soap’ you said? Correct. You are my flesh and blood. I hope in better shape than I am. My arthritis is killing me, despite the new drugs Doc Goldstein prescribed me.”
“How is Dad?” Rick asked.
“Getting worse. They are paying good attention to him but I am not sure whether I should be happy or sad. Happy to be in good hands and sad to see him slip away not knowing where he is and who is around him. But enough of that, it drags me down! What’s new on the West Coast, Rickie?”
“I wanted to tell you that I am in a new relationship.”
“With a girl?”
“Mom, I did not turn gay overnight.”
“You never know these days, I read a lot. Even Elton John was married once to a girl. Is she nice? From a good family?” His mother always had been impressed that Isabella had come from a good family, which meant pedigree and old money. In Bella’s family case it had been pedigree, one of the first families from Denmark to settle in the West US, no money left from former gold rush days.
“Not really, but you know her, too. It’s actress Louise Waters.”
“Lorrie Anders? Wasn’t she in your class?”
“No, Louise Waters, the actress.”
“Oh, she looks like Louise Waters, I know her, the actress. Nice. Good hair. White teeth. Thin, but nice.”
“No, mom, I tell you, she is the real deal. She is Louise Waters.”
“Silly me, Rickie, I don’t seem to get it. She looks like Louise Waters or not? Why don’t you send me a photo of her?”
“You can Google... Never mind, mom, I’ll send you a photo.”
“And the kids like her, too?”
“Yes, they adore her. They repeatedly had asked me to kiss her much earlier than I would have dared.”
“My grandkids are wise, they got that from me. I am happy for you. And for her as well...”
Rick dutifully sent his mom a family snapshot of Louise and him, kids left and right and everywhere. “Did you receive the snapshot?” Rick asked her at their next phone call.
“Yes Rickie, so sweet. And you were right, she really looks like Louise Waters. And what’s her name again?”
“Oh, she is also called Louise? Isn’t that a coincidence! What was her last name again?”
“Waters. Louise Waters. Mom, she *is* Louise Waters!”
“Really? No! The actress?”
“You’re not making this up to impress your old mother?”
“Never would!” Rick promised.
“Hm. Let me check. No, it’s not April 1st. These days go by so fast, you never notice. And the code word was correct, too. So you are my son and your new girl is Louise Waters, the actress. Honey, that boggles my mind. But… Hang on!” She rustled and bustled in the background. “How come I haven’t read anything about you and her in the gazettes?” Rick could hear her turning the pages. “In this weeks edition of *People’s* there was something about her. Yes, here! Rickie, don’t trust this woman! Here, on page eight, a picture. She is on a beach, arm in arm with this other actor. Josh Hancock, both in tight beachwear. Man, they must have Photoshopped that package of Josh and Louise’s boobs, too…”
“Mom, too much information!
“Since when has youth become so conservative? Never mind! Listen to this caption: *Dream team! Break from work? Or more than that?* So how can she be with you at the same time?”
“Mom, that had been a publicity shot for pre-marketing of their newest movie that is still in production. I know Josh, too, he is my client. I restore a boat for him. This is how I had met Louise in the first place. He is definitely not with Louise.”
“Josh Hancock a client? This is over my head.”
“Should she drop by so that you can talk to her in person?”
“Your Dad would get a heart attack. On the other hand, he wouldn’t remember her movies anyway. I won’t tell him about Louise! Is she rich?”
“What does that have to do with anything, Mom?”
“That’s relationship trouble brewing right there, Rickie. A man should be the income provider, that fits his thinking and her biology.”
“In our specific case our income gap could only be equalized if the Communist Party took over Congress, Senate, and the White House. Louise’s wealth is over hundred million dollars whereas my riches are a house with mortgage, a sailboat, four kids before college, and a dead mouse in the pool,.”
“You need money, Rickie?”
“No Mom, I have a rich girlfriend now.”
“Help me! My son has become a Gigolo!”
“Isn’t an old lady allow to crack a joke about her son?”