There was one deleted scene in "The Secret Slipper" that I kind of liked. A lot. But it was in the first draft (read: when Raoul knew all along that Ellia was alive and had given up the search until a fresh lead came in; yep, there was a very good reason the story changed). I tried finding a place for it in the new edition, but it just wouldn't fit. You will notice some of the thoughts made it into the final draft, but the scene in its entirety didn't. I really liked the exchange of the unnamed woman and Raoul. Who knows? I may use it in another story. But it didn't make it to Slipper.
For the readers who've read "The Secret Slipper," please note character changes from first draft:
Nele is Nes
Gale is Galien
Reynold is Jolin
Yeah. Characters changed a lot. ;) I was still trying to figure out who was who in my mind.
So...read along for my rough-draft deleted scene. Enjoy! :)
It was like repeating a nightmare. He hadn't come out to town to search, but he couldn't keep his eyes off the ground…or, to be more specific, observing the step pattern of every girl and young lady that passed by him.
What is the likelihood of childhood deformities healing themselves? The thought plagued him, just like it had years ago. His mind brought up all of the information that he had put away as soon as Belle had entered his life. But instead of urging him forward in his search, it haunted his every step. Solid, steady steps that his daughter may never have.
Gale walked up to Raoul. "M'lord, Reynold said you sent for me?"
Raoul scowled at him. "As if I would talk in public."
"I beg your pardon, m'lord. Shall I call the carriage?"
Raoul waited until they were settled in the plush cushions, with the curtains pulled shut before he leaned forward to begin the discussion. "We are going to Nele's."
Gale tilted his head. "Are you certain, m'lord?"
"Will you reopen cases with all former servants?"
Raoul leaned back and let out a sigh. "I think not."
"He left before I could question him. I feel he could be hiding something."
"As if he would speak now." Gale crossed his legs and rested his hands on them. "May I ask why you requested me?"
"You know him. Reynold does not."
"And you believe this shall help?"
"Aye. While I discuss, I would like for you to analyze him. You have a discerning eye. Is he telling the truth or not?"
Gale reached out his hand and pulled back the curtain, staring at the moving scenery. "And if he refuses to give any information?"
"Then we shall take the following step needed."
The carriage fell silent and miles crept past. When it slowed to a stop, Raoul didn't wait for the footman to dismount before he jumped to the ground. A row of ramshackle cottages cluttered the countryside.
"You are certain he's here?"
"Silence, Gale. I asked you to accompany me, not question my methods."
Raoul straightened and walked to the first house, displaying the authority he possessed. He stopped himself before pounding on the door. It would likely fall down under the force of his knocks. He tapped the doorframe.
"I didna' ask for no company," a harsh feminine voice called out.
"I have just one question," Raoul said, putting a tight clip to his voice.
"The walls aren't too thin to be asking out there. What is it?"
"Can you tell me which cottage belongs to Nele?"
"That was my one question," Raoul prompted.
"Five houses yonder. If he's home."
"And if he's not home?"
"Your one question is spent up."
Raoul spun away from the door, barely hearing Gale give the lady a thank you for him. At the cottage a few steps away, Raoul gave the same gentle tap. No answer.
"Nele. Are you in there?"
"Nay. I'm out here like a good working man ought to be."
Raoul turned to the voice.
"If it isn't the good ol' Lord Kiralyn."
"My services are no longer due to you."
"I would agree to a certain extent."
Nele's eyebrows lowered, their bushiness almost hiding his eyes. "What d'ye want?
"I have a few questions, Nele."
Nele lifted the bucket he had apparently set down before. "I haven't a few answers, Kiralyn." He stared boldly at Raoul.
"Well then answer what you can." Raoul didn't move his glare from Nele. "You left the palace suddenly--"
"That is an accusation, not a question."
Raoul ground his teeth and clenched his fists. "You interrupted."
Nele opened his mouth in a toothless grin. "Continue, m'lord."
"Just one day after you left, Ellia disappeared. Did you know this?"
Nele shut his mouth, his eyes darkening with a scowl. "If you came to accuse me of taking your precious wee one, nay, I didn't. Nor did I see anything."
"But what do you know?"
Nele pushed past Raoul and opened his door. "I know that you are a desperate man because of the time you think you have lost."
Raoul reached out and blocked the entryway with his arm. Nele was a good head shorter than him, yet he stood tall. Never intimidated, that man.
"I will say nothing more. Your time here is wasted, Kiralyn."
"You understand I have power if I discover you to be lying."
"Aye." Nele reached out and removed Raoul's hand from the door frame. He brought his bucket inside and turned to shut the door. "If you discover it."