You’re Adopted?

Warning – spoilers if you haven’t read The Heir yet!

This scene I cut fairly early on because some concerns had been raised that Dan was a little too much like another literary character who was adopted by a family for less than normal reasons.
However, I really liked this scene, because it tells us a lot about Keridan that is unexpected. He is an agent, and he isn’t supposed to care about anything. He’s certainly not supposed to care about who his parents were, but he is not lying to Sarah. He and a friend of his (who will be introduced in book two, The Crown) tried to hack into the Agency’s computer system to find out who their parents were. Keridan’s friend was caught, but Keridan was not, so no one knew he was involved.
Anyway, here is the outtake. Sarah is alone in her room trying to cope with the loss of her father:

“Why?” I asked. “Why did it happen? Why did it have to happen?”
I repeated the same thing, over and over again.
I hadn’t realized my voice had gotten louder and louder until I heard the knock on my door. It was so soft I was surprised that I heard it. The instant I did, I was both bitterly ashamed and annoyed. I was ashamed that I had disturbed the family who had taken me in so graciously, but I also was annoyed that I couldn’t be completely alone, to try and solve this puzzle or, at least, to lose my mind and escape this wracking pain.
Dan’s calm face peered down at me as I opened the door. “Do you want to talk?”
I didn’t reply, but he took my hand anyway, pulled me out the door, and led me down to the kitchen. He made us both hot chocolates.
“Did you know that Allen and Bess are not my real parents?” he said casually, as he put my cup in front of me.
I looked up in shock. “You’re adopted?”
He took a sip from his drink. “I have no idea who my parents were. I’ve never been able to find out.”
He looked past me – a far away look. “Sometimes I wonder who they were, what they were like …” His voice trailed off as he looked at me.
I was pretty sure I knew where this was going.
“Sometimes there are questions – sometimes very important questions – in life that are never answered.”
Although I was worn out, I blushed in embarrassment. Had my mutterings been that loud?
I was also surprised to find that I was annoyed with him. I knew what he was trying to do. But this was no trivial thing. My father was dead. Was telling me his sad story going to make it any better?
“That doesn’t make it any easier,” I told him pointedly.
“No,” he replied. “Nothing will, at the moment, anyway.”
I looked at him quietly for a moment. “How long have you known that the Bradfields aren’t your parents?”
He shrugged, but something told me he was reluctant to reply. “I’ve always known.”
“Do you know what happened to your parents?”
I immediately felt it was a question I shouldn’t have asked, and one I was sure wasn’t going to be answered.
I was right. “I’d really rather not talk about it,” he said, looking uncomfortable.
I sighed, wishing I’d kept my mouth shut. I had to admit I was disappointed that he wouldn’t share his story with me, especially since my own emotions had already been laid bare before him.
He looked back into my eyes for a moment, measuring my expression.
“I will tell you, someday,” he promised suddenly.
I was taken aback by the intensity in his voice. His eyes bored into mine, as though he was trying to tell me the story through his eyes alone.
I looked back for a moment, but then dropped my eyes. I didn’t want another mystery right now.
After that, he began to talk a little about his parents and their characters, as well as some of the funny things they did. His father’s obsession with a fine cup of coffee amused him greatly. I got the impression that it was a recent thing. He lauded his mother’s ability to find anything she put her mind to. She had been responsible for decorating the house, he told me, and had hunted all the furniture and fittings, striving to make sure they all reflected the 1800s.
I didn’t realize what he was doing until I had begun to interrupt with stories about my father, his life, and his own idiosyncrasies. Before I knew it, we were drinking from cold cups.
And it was very, very late.
I didn’t realize how late it was until I heard a noise. Bess, looking resplendent and perfectly made up even in her pajamas, appeared at the head of the stairs.
Her expression was more disapproving than I had expected. “It’s after two o’clock,” she scolded. “I think Sarah could probably do with some sleep.”
Dan ignored her glare. “Sure,” he replied, taking my cup back from me without looking at her.
I was more than a little confused at Bess’s disapproval, even though it didn’t seem to be directed at me, so I thought I’d better get to bed. “Well, goodnight, then.”
Bess gave me a beautiful smile. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Sarah,” said Dan.
Neither Bess or Dan looked eager to quit the kitchen, and I wondered what they would say to each other. I was tempted to thump my way up the stairs and then creep back down to listen to their conversation, but what would I say if they caught me? It was none of my business, anyway. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
Whatever the reason, my time spent in the kitchen with Dan had worked. He had filled my mind with good things to remember. I used them to keep the bad at bay, and soon drifted to sleep.

Facebook Comments