Another outtake, this one more of an original draft of a scene that got changed for the better. Still, I had to cut some of my favorite lines to make it work.
18 OCTOBER 2007
THE BACHELOR PAD
Though he expected that both Sarah and Casey would be using his absence to get some quiet office-time in, Chuck found Sarah sitting on the front steps of the Bachelor Pad, as she had coined his new apartment with Casey. Though she was staring out into the courtyard, completely relaxed, he knew better. She could probably rattle off a detailed and terse description of every person that had walked by, as well as any exit point to the courtyard, the temperature, a few facts about the weather, and fourteen ways to kill somebody with the potted plant next to her.
He approached warily, remembering her warning from the night before. “Hey, Sarah.”
“Hey yourself.” She took her time rising to her feet. Flip-flops today, he noted. She was really taking the Southern California thing seriously. “What on earth is that?”
“My new computer.” Chuck set the huge box on the front step and leaned against the post, grateful for a reprieve before he had to carry it upstairs. His body had spent the last two hours reminding him why people generally didn’t get into car accidents for the fun of it.
“Chuck, you already have a computer.”
“With thirteen different ways for the government to track my activities already pre-installed. Pass.”
“You found them already? You were supposed to be resting.”
Chuck moved a shoulder. “I was resting. Computer work is relaxing to me.”
“Nerd.” She smiled.
“Undeniably.” Chuck nudged his new computer box with the toe of one beloved chuck. “I purchased this one with my own money, for my own personal use. I’ll view any attempt to hack it, put a tracking program in it, or alter it in any way an invasion of my privacy.”
“You do know they’ll just order me to do it anyway.”
“Yes. Which is why I’m compromising. You and Casey will have access where you’ll be able to view my activity and make reports, but all files will be read-only.”
Sarah lifted an eyebrow. “Wow. You’ve given this some thought.”
It hurt his maligned body to sit, but he did so anyway. Sarah sat next to him, but she watched the courtyard rather than him. “You, me, Casey, we’re all three of us in a bad situation. I’m doing my best not to make it work. I’m not used to having to deal with other people anymore, so you’ll have to let me know when I overstep. But we’re all here for the same reason, so we might as well get along.”
“Is it so bad here?”
“For me, no.” Chuck shrugged. “I’ve got Ellie back, and Morgan, too. And his Wall of Chuck—”
“Wall of Chuck?”
“I’d describe it for you, but I don’t think you’d believe me. You’ll just have to see it sometime.” Chuck smiled. “We’ll make a day of it. You can visit all of my embarrassments from the third grade on.”
“And who says they’re not already in your file?” Sarah asked. She twisted just enough to pick up a takeout bag, which she set on his lap. “I brought you lunch because all you guys have here is microwaveable, and you really shouldn’t be putting that junk in your body.”
“Hey, they’ve started making Spaghetti-Os with real vegetables now, you know. It says so right on the label.”
“I bet you believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, too.”
“Don’t forget about the Easter Bunny. Everybody always forgets him. Give the bunny a break.”
Chuck pulled a white-wrapped bundle out of the bag, but didn’t unwrap it. “C’mon, we can eat at the table inside.”
“I say we should just eat this out here.”
Out here? Chuck’s eyes roved over the courtyard—everything seemed so open and far away, and who knew what sort of danger could come from that distance? He’d much rather be in the safety of the great indoors...