Back when I started writing The Nature of Cruelty I had originally planned for it to have a dual POV, with alternating chapters from Lana and Robert. This was before I decided to use flashbacks from Robert's POV instead. So today I want to share one of those original deleted scenes with you all. This would have been the very first one, when Lana and Robert encounter one another in Sasha's house. Enjoy!
P.S. If you haven't yet read the book, you might want to avoid reading this, as it includes a small spoiler.
One thing I have always found to be plainly obvious about my sister is that she has the hots for her best friend. Perhaps it's because we’re twins, and that's why nobody else has ever noticed, but for me it's as in your face as a naked man running down the street with his meat and two veg out for the world to see.
Ever since we were teenagers, I’ve known that my sister was into girls. I mean, it's not just the fact that she packs a harder punch than I do, it's also how she looks at women. She looks at women the way I look at women, and never in my life have I seen her look at a man that way.
The problem is she's so far hidden inside the closet it’s not funny. I don't get why she can't just come out and tell people, stop going on fake dates with men she has no interest in and start embracing who she actually is.
Well, when I say I don't get it, that's not entirely true. I do get it. I get that our father would look at her like she was a freak. I always tell people that he’s a great man, like if I keep saying it, it might actually be true. The thing is, he really isn't. He fucked our heads up good and proper. It's no wonder I can't help being such a fucking prick and Sasha's so afraid to show people who she really is.
We all hear about physical abuse in families, right? Well, for me and Sasha it was all emotional, all in the head. Sometimes I don’t know whether my ambitions and ideals are my own or his.
Alan Phillips would not consider himself to be a homophobe, so long as homosexuality doesn't find its way to his doorstep. He's always been overly critical of Sasha's appearance, coming out with comments like, you should try wearing a skirt every once in a while, Sash or I had hair longer than yours in the seventies.
It's comments like these, when accumulated over the years, that make Sasha fear coming out. And she's made things ten times worse for herself by inviting Lana to live with her for the summer. I mean, why go through the torture? Unlike my sister, Lana is definitely into men. She wouldn't have had such a huge crush on me when she was younger if she wasn't.
Speaking of the shy little red head, I'm kind of obsessed with her. Okay, not in a creepy way…actually no, scrap that, my interest in her has always been a touch perverse. It used to give me great pleasure to rub her up the wrong way. I don't really know how to describe it.
Well, here's an example. When I was at school there was this nerdy kid in my class who everyone would hassle. He wasn't the kind who would take the bullying silently. Often he would fight back, which only made the bullies that much more ravenous. Then on days when this guy wasn't in school it just seemed kind of boring, because essentially everyone was dull and needed a scapegoat to antagonise in order to pass the time. So basically, even though everyone called him a geek, he was the interesting one. It's the same thing with Lana.
My favourite pastime was being critical of her and seeing how sometimes it would break her down and other times she'd fight back. Yeah, I was a sick bastard, but at least I can admit where I got my jollies. I look at her now and I can tell that she's still the same girl underneath it all. Not only that, there's a new confidence to her that I can't help but to find appealing.
Sasha’s jabbering on at me about how I’m not supposed to be here. I know well that I’m not supposed to be here, and that’s exactly why I am here. I might not have planned my breakup with Kara, but when Sasha informed me that Lana would be coming to stay with her for the summer, I knew I had to find a way to be around her. I have all these noble thoughts about redeeming myself, but I’m still not sure if I’m worthy of redemption. However, I am going to give it my best try.
The cruelty I’ve shown her dates right back to when we first moved to Ireland with our mother after our parents divorced. Sasha had laid eyes on Lana and right away she had a new best friend, while I was pushed out of the picture. Up until Lana came along, Sasha and I had been inseparable. I was a stupid, angry young man at the time and I hated her for the simple fact that she stole my sister away.
A couple years later, I hated her for a whole new reason; she represented something I could never have, but would always want. Looking at her now in the flesh, all those feelings I’d had for her in in the past come hurtling back to the surface. All the feelings I’d had for her and all the things I’d wanted to do to her. Granted, she was skinny and awkward when she was younger, but she's really come into her own now. She's got that kind of clean, sexy, pure beauty, like the red head out of the movie Perfume.
Yeah, so it might be quite obvious that I think about Lana a lot. Sasha's always talking about her, so it's kind of difficult not to. Often I find myself flicking through Sasha's photo albums on Facebook, subconsciously searching for pictures that Lana might be in. One time I considered adding her as a friend so that I could look through her own pictures and see what her life is like now, but I didn’t have the balls to go through with it.
I set my sandwich down onto the plate as Lana stands there, staring at me like I’m some sort of monster made flesh. What am I saying, I am a monster made flesh, especially when it comes to her.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Sasha fumes. I imagine she already suspects I’m here because of her friend, but she’s not going to accuse me outright. I ignore my sister and turn to Lana, all these words and feelings bubbling up inside me. I feel like smiling at her and saying: Hey, beautiful, you don’t know how badly I’ve missed you, but that statement gets stuck in my throat.
Her entire body screams that she’s on the defensive and for a moment I don’t know what to say or do. It feels awkward because Sasha’s here watching me with suspicion. In the end, fear wins out and I act like my old self. My eyes travel over her perfect body hidden under a hideous cardigan, before declaring, “Well, look who it is, Tampon all grown up.”
She practically winces and I can sense that Sasha’s ready to thump me upside the head.
Satan might as well drag me down to hell right now, because as they say, there’s a special
place in that particular locale for pricks like me.