PUREST HOOK by Scarlett Cole

I hope you enjoy this never-before-seen deleted scene from The Purest Hook by Scarlett Cole.

“Because I am a plotter, I don’t discard scenes very often. In this case, The Purest Hook was meant to be a Christmas story, but then ended up with a May release date, so I had to shift the story from starting at Christmas to starting in Spring. Some of the scenes I hacked ended up re-purposed in Jordan Reclaimed (out 2/28), but this one didn’t. It’s Christmas Day, and Trent and Cujo go to see Pixie at the condo. Enjoy!” 
-Scarlett

Thu 25 Dec

Pixie hummed along to the Wicked soundtrack and snipped the final thread on the dragonfly-inspired dress she’d spent all day sewing.

What she wouldn’t give to have a voice like Idina Menzel. To be the one who’d originated some of the greatest musical roles. Maureen in Rent, Elphaba in Wicked, and Elsa in Frozen.

She carefully packed the dress into a shipping box. The bright Miami sunlight streaming in through large windows hit the crystals she’d lovingly hand-stitched onto the aqua tulle skirt sending rainbow-coloured sparkles along the walls and ceiling. She added the sheer detachable wings wrapped in tissue paper to the box and covered it with packing paper.

Spending Christmas Day alone, sewing, with only Idina for company, wouldn’t suit everyone, but it made Pixie incredibly happy.

Sewing had been her sponsor’s idea six years before. He’d met her in the park and told her she needed something to do with her hands that required concentration. Lia, her roommate, and fellow employee at Second Circle Tattoos, lovingly referred to it as ‘if Disney created nature’. Drawing on animals as inspiration, she recreated them as fantastical party dresses for little girls.

Pixie pulled her purple shoulder length hair from it’s elastic and shook it loose. Satisfied with the day’s creation, she wandered to the kitchen. It was a constant source of wonder that she lived in a multi-million dollar condo yet paid minimum rent. Lia, a tattoo artist, owned the condo thanks to her grandmother’s dislike of the way her son treated her granddaughter. An alleged affair with Jackson Pollock yielded four paintings, three of which Granny sold to create an inheritance for Lia. A large one. Pixie smiled as she walked by the fourth painting hanging in the hallway.

The pale green kitchen counters and black and white checkerboard tiled floor contrasted with the pink and chrome table and chairs. Pixie preferred the kitchen right now. It was the only part of the condo that didn’t look like a nineteen fifties Christmas had puked on it. She grabbed a water from the double-doored refrigerator and walked out onto the large wraparound balcony that faced out over Biscayne Bay.

People were milling around on the street below. Families dressed in their finery attempting to juggle brightly wrapped gifts and young children. It was the one day of the year people attempted to put differences aside and collide with each other to celebrate Christmas.

She closed her eyes and pretended she was walking along with her mom. It had been over six years since she’d seen her. Had she managed to crawl out of the jaws of addiction like Pixie had, or was she dead because her husband, Pixie’s step-father, had seen to it? A small piece of Pixie hoped that wasn’t true. Buried deep inside her heart, she remembered a mother who sang show-tunes and gospel music to her before Arnie came along, sucking the life out of both of them.

The entry buzzer sounded and she ran inside to get it.

“It’s us, Pix. Let us up.” She didn’t know who the ‘us’ was, but she knew the voice. Cujo, co-owner of Second Circle. He was her boss, and her surrogate big brother. As was Trent, the other partner in the business. They were both nearly ten years older than her twenty-three. She’d been sixteen years and one day old when they’d found her her huddled in the doorway of their new tattoo studio, shaking so hard she was close to vomiting. Without them, she wouldn’t have gotten through the darkest days of withdrawal.

She pulled the door open just as Cujo and Trent exited the elevator. Cujo carried a large box wrapped in metallic purple wrap, and Trent held several plastic bags.

“Merry Christmas, Pix.” Cujo’s short blond hair was hidden by a bright red Santa hat. He wore a ridiculous Christmas sweater with what looked like two mating reindeer on it. She could only imagine what his girlfriend, Drea had to say about it. “What the fuck are you listening to?”

He bent down and kissed her cheek as he walked by. Idina had been replaced by the Chess soundtrack. Not for everyone.

“Merry Christmas, sweetheart” Trent said, kissing the top of her head. “Harper sends her love, but she was too busy in the kitchen to join me.”

“Merry Christmas. What are you doing here? You have your families over, right?”

Cujo placed the box on the living room floor.

“Mom and Drea are yacking on about the course she got into at Miami U. Can’t get a word in edgeways.” Cujo shrugged like it was no big deal but the grin he wore said something completely different.

“Drea got into Miami. You guys are staying?” Drea had looked after Rosa, her sick mom, for ten years. When her mom passed away in the fall, it looked like Drea might leave Miami, and Cujo had promised to leave with her if she did. The tight knot in her stomach released.

Pixie squealed and threw herself at Cujo. He picked her up and hugged her.

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t imagine not seeing your ugly face everyday,” he said, lowering her back to the floor. “Anyway, every year you spend Christmas Day alone. So we thought we’d sneak out, come see you for a little while.”

“This is for you.” Trent nodded his head in the direction of the box.

“What did you guys do? We already did gifts,” she said, feeling guilty about the presents she bought for them. A coffee table book of Ansell Adams photographs for Trent, and some new paintbrushes Cujo had been going on about forever.

Pixie ripped into the paper, and her jaw dropped open. A brand new state-of-the-art sewing machine with a touchscreen panel. She’s been eyeing up this machine for ever, but it cost so much money.

“I can’t accept this,” she said. Her fingers stroked the image on the box. She wanted it so badly.

“Yeah, you can,” Trent said, crouching down next to her. He ran his car keys through the tape, and wiggled the machine out of the packaging.

This model featured hundreds of stitches. There would be so many great combinations for her to try.

Cujo collapsed the empty box. “The studio had a great year. And Lia told us about you wanting to make the dressmaking more of a business.”

Why had Lia done that? She’d been saving money for years with a view to starting a more professional custom dressmaking company, and was about six months away from her fifteen thousand dollar goal.

“Relax, Pix,” Trent said. “We asked Lia what we could get you. She suggested this. You know we’d support you in whatever you do right?”

“Thank you,” Pixie whispered.

“Okay, we gotta go,” Cujo said helping her up and giving her another hug. “You sure you won’t come with one of us?”

“No, I’m good. I’m gonna stay here and play with this.” She moved to hug Trent.

“The bag over there contains leftovers, Harper style. There’s enough in there to see you through ’til New Year’s.”

They said their farewells and Pixie shut the door. New Year’s. A VIP all-access pass to the biggest concert of the year. Pixie found herself thinking about the dark-haired rocker whose very presence made her feel like a butterfly was trapped in her rib cage. One word spoken in that husky voice of his and its wings beat faster, but a relationship with him wasn’t possible.

Fuck, did she hate her step-father for that.

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