DELETED SCENES from Sophie & Carter

Tuesday, August 14, 2012
These deleted scenes are from the night of Sophie & Carter's high school graduation.


It’s Friday afternoon and the Littles’ school carnival starts soon.  I’m officially done with high school, which puts me in a good mood.  Carter Jax loves me, which puts me in a great mood.
Chloe and Abram thump down the stairs dressed and excited for the carnival.  Michael trails behind them with his earphones in.  He’s not thrilled about the carnival, but he’ll go anyway.  I’m grateful for this because it makes us feel like a family.

I file everyone out the front door and lock it behind us.  We make our way over to Carter’s house and I let myself in.

Carter’s dressed and moving around quietly.  His mom must be asleep.  Carter doesn’t like to leave his mom at nighttime for more than an hour or two, so her sleeping buys him a little time.

He looks at me and smiles. “Ready?”  His smile is deep and genuine, as if there’s no painful past or crazy mom.

“Yep.”  I smile back with the same sincerity, pretending my painful past and crazy mom don‘t exist either.  We’re good for each other, me and Carter. 

We all pile into his truck and head to the carnival.  The Littles stay close to us for the first few minutes, checking out the booths and asking for candy and popcorn.  Eventually, though, Michael disappears with some girl, and Abram and Chloe meet up with their friends and get in line for the Ferris wheel.

Carter and I drag behind and stand in line for the big wheel too.  His warm hand finds mine and I feel safe.  We’re not at school, so we don’t pretend.   

“So we’re graduates now,” he says.  There’s a lift in his voice that’s full of hope and it makes me want to sing.

“I know,” I say with a smile.  “I thought this day would never get here.”

“Me neither.”  Carter shakes his head and heaviness comes over us.  The paths that we’ve been on for the last few years have been ragged and wearing.  We’re free now—or nearly free—but that freedom means we have to carve new paths. It’s a big deal and we’re trying not to think about it.

Our turn comes and we step into onto the Ferris wheel.  The carnival attendant pulls some levers and off we go.  Slowly…slowly…slowly…until we’re halfway to the sky.

The sun has set and stars are out.  The carnival and the kids look small beneath us, inching away as we ascend.  I’ve never been on a Ferris wheel before. I wiggle my feet and suck in a nervous breath as my stomach flutters.

Carter laughs at me.  “Are you scared, Sophie?”

I love it when he says my name.

I look at him, biting my lip. “No. I’ve just never been on one of these before.”  I look out over the town.  “But it’s beautiful.”

He smiles and looks out into the night.  “Yes. It is.”

We’re silent for a moment as we take it in.  I scoot forward, trying to see downward.  We’re almost at the top now and the ground is far away. My body weight shifts to the front of the seat and our cart tilts with my movement.  I scream in true terror and clamber back to Carter. I plaster myself against him and he starts to laugh. I haven’t heard him laugh like this for years. 

I realize I’m perfectly safe and just had a total freak out for no reason, so I pry my hands off of Carter's chest--where I was clawing him like a scared cat--and swat his shoulder with a smile.“Stop laughing at me.”

But he keeps laughing so I can't help but laugh too. And for the first time, in a long time, I feel like a teenager.


Sophie’s laughter is musical.  I want to forever make her laugh so I can always hear this sound.

We’re at the top of the Ferris wheel now, the whole town below us, shining.  She’s pressed up against my side and my arm is around her. 

Our laughter tapers off and I kiss the side of her forehead.  It’s not awkward or tense.  It’s not heavy and emotional.  It’s just true.

She sighs and we breathe in the scene around us in silence. 

It’s perfect.  She’s perfect. 

An hour later, we all load into my truck and head home.  I worry about my mom when I’m out and I’m hoping she’s still asleep when I get back. 

Sophie’s hand is in mine while Michael, Abram, and Chloe chatter in the backseat about the carnival.  It feels nice, the drive.  It feels normal.

But as I turn onto our street, I notice that every light in my house is on.  Sophie’s hand tightens around mine.  She notices too.

My heart is racing, making it hard to steer and park the truck.  I manage to bring the vehicle to a stop and jump out. I run inside my house and my heart stops.

The house is flooded.  Two inches of water cover the downstairs floor, sopping the carpet, pooling on the tile.  My mom must have left a faucet on, or a hose or something.  But the flooding isn't why I can’t breathe.

My mom is standing in the kitchen with a lighter in her hand and burn marks up and down her body.  She’s moaning and continuing to burn splotches of her perfect skin.  Half of her hair is completely singed and she’s drooling.

“They don’t like the fire!" she yells, her eyes bloodshot and terrified.  "They don’t like the fire!  The bugs don’t like the fire!”  She’s shouting this over and over as the smell of burnt hair and flesh fills my nostrils and stings my eyes.

I hurry over, snatch the lighter from my mother's hands, and try to pull her into my arms without touching her burned skin. But she struggles against me, spitting and biting, trying to claw herself away from me.

“You can’t take me back!  Not the monster! Not the monster! You can’t take me!  The bugs won’t let you!” She thrashes wildly as I try to hold her. My feet slosh along the floor as I try to keep us both balanced. 

“The bugs won’t let you! I need to burn them!  Let go of me, monster! I need to burn the bugs!”

My mom thinks I’m the monster.  I can’t breathe.

She bites my forearm, then brings her head up and gnashes her teeth at my face.  Everything I see is blurry.

I firmly wrap my arms around her as I lower us to the drenched floor.  I tuck her hands against my chest so she can’t hurt herself and draped a leg over feet so her kicking will subside.

She’s shaking and drooling and looking at me with hollow eyes.  I keep blinking, trying to correct my vision, but nothing looks right.

“Shh….”  Sophie appears.  Maybe she’s been here the whole time, I don’t know.  “Shh, Mrs. Jax…." Sophie's voice is sweet and soothing. "It’s okay, Mrs. Jax. Just realx.... We’ll make sure you’re safe....”  Sophie is brushing her hand against the unsigned half of my mother’s head and caressing her drooling face.

My mom slowly relaxes in my arms and goes silent.  But the shaking doesn’t stop. 

I realize it’s me shaking.  And crying. 

I’m cradling my mother like a baby, my head bent over hers, tears falling onto her burned skin.  My legs and hips are soaked from the puddled floor and there are bite marks and scratches all along my forearm.

I am defeated.

But sitting in front of me, with her knees tucked underneath her, is Sophie.   

Wet from the flooded floor.   

My mother’s drool seeping over her hand.   

Quiet tears falling down her face.  

Beautiful Sophie.

She’s still shushing and petting my mom’s hair and face.  She has a phone in her other hand.  “Don’t worry, Carter,” she whispers.  “An ambulance will be here soon.  Everything will be okay.”

No.  Everything will not be okay.  But I can’t form words to tell her so.  And I wouldn’t even if I could.  Because Sophie is hope, and I refuse to crush her.

So instead I shake and cry on the wet kitchen floor.


Carter stayed by his mom’s side in the hospital for a few days.  It seemed like years.  I saw him everyday.  I brought him food and coffee and other insignificant things.  Mostly I just sat next to him.  He barely spoke to me.  Things felt different.

I felt different.  I felt useless. 

I’m standing in my kitchen trying to divide a box of macaroni and cheese into four equal parts when Michael comes in with the mail and tosses it on the counter.

He’s not an extra helpful kid, but lately he’s been doing little things, like getting the mail, to make life easier for me.  For us.

I glance at the envelopes and my heart sinks in my chest.  Bills.  More bills than I want to pay.  I need a job.  This stresses me out.

I hear an engine outside and look out the window to see Carter pulling into his drive.  I watch him get out, walk up to the porch, pause by the front door, and slowly walk inside.  His mom’s not with him.

My heart dips down to my belly. 

“Michael, I’ll be back in a bit,” I call to the living room.  Michael nods but keeps his eyes on the TV.

I want to run over to Carter and wrap my arms around him.  But I don’t.  In fact, I walk slowly.  Like I’ve got all afternoon to get over there.  Like my heart isn’t breaking with every step I take because I know I’m getting closer to a broken man.

Where is his mom?  Is she okay?  I quicken my steps.

When I finally reach his door, I hesitate.  I’m not sure if he wants me inside.  I’m not sure if he wants me at all.  I’m nervous all of the sudden, so I wait on his porch.  Breathing and doubting.

Maybe he’s angry and hurt, and the last thing he wants is the girl next door’s sympathy.  Maybe he doesn’t like that I saw him fall apart on his kitchen floor with his mom in his arms.  Maybe he thinks I’m suffocating him with food and coffee.  Maybe—.

“Sophie.”  Carter opens the door.  He knew I was standing there.  He saw me waiting.

I look at him and bite my lip.  I don’t know what happened, so I don’t know what to say.

He’s looking around.  At the porch, at the grass, at the door frame…anything but me.  My palms are sweaty.

Finally he speaks.  “They took my mom away.  To one of those rehab places.” He clears his throat and shifts his weight. “She’s not coming home…again.  I guess.”

I swallow and try to speak, but I have no words. 

I want to hold him. I want to pull the heaviness out of him and shoulder it myself. I want to be strong for him. I want to be hopeful and steady. I want to be everything he needs.

I open my mouth and my voice is broken and raspy. "I am so sorry, Carter."

He nods but his eyes are far away. He hasn’t asked me to come in.  He hasn’t looked at me. 

"I…I don’t know where to go." He clears his throat again. " I don't know where to go...from here.”  Finally, he looks at me. A grown man. A little boy.

He looks weary and lost, so I say the only honest thing I can.  “Neither do I.”   

I reach out and take his big hand in mine, squeezing it with all my strength. I have no intention of releasing it--ever.

Because if Carter’s going anywhere, I’m going too.


If you'd like to read more, you can find Sophie & Carter on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Why these scenes were deleted
I decided to omit the above scenes from Sophie & Carter because I didn't want the story to get too heavy.  This story is about two kids who grow up in abusive homes, but find love, strength, and hope in one another and, through that love, learn how to be amazing people. But I wanted to tell Sophie and Carter's story (abuse and all) without adding any unnecessary grittiness or sadness. Their home lives are unfair. Their hearts are broken. But their story isn't about hurt. It's about HOPE. I really wanted to focus on the positive elements of my characters' lives. So in an effort to eliminate any unnecessary heartbreak, I deleted the above scenes--primarily the scene with Carter's mother. 

The message I hope readers take away from Sophie & Carter is:  HOPE ALWAYS.  :)

Thanks for reading! I love your guts!


  1. Chelsea, Heartbreakingly beautiful. The ending of the book is all the more hopeful after reading these scenes!

  1. Chelsea, Heartbreakingly beautiful. The ending of the book is all the more hopeful after reading these scenes!

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