Deleted Scene from SEND

This scene from the end of SEND was the original confrontation between Dan and Jeff. It was cut during revisions for a few reasons — chiefly, because my editor suggested it was too violent and also because the Big Reveal here needed to come from a main character, not a secondary one, to advance the plot. 


“Dan! Wait up.”

Paul’s face was tight, pale. By the time he jogged over, he was panting. “It’s Dean, man. He’s coming for you. Now. I already called the cops.”

I frowned at Paul’s news. It shouldn’t surprise me and it didn’t, not really. I think I was more deflated than surprised. I’d really hoped Jeff Dean would understand, would stop before he got himself so deep into trouble, he couldn’t escape it. Like me.

Kenny was instantly by my side. “Dude, heads up.”

I turned, saw Dean and his pals coming for me. He nudged one of his pals and jerked his head toward me. It was a look I’d seen many times while I served my time. Alpha dog just gave the pack the command to flank and prepare for attack.

“Paul? Head inside, find the principal. Fast.”

Paul whirled, followed my gaze and shook his head. “Not leaving you.”

“I know how to handle this, Paul, you don’t. Get inside.”

Paul ignored me. “Lisa, you go.”

“On it.”

She hurried into the school’s main entrance.

The four boys tried to look intimidating as they approached me. You almost have to admire their nerve.

“Move away from Paul.” Kenny reminded me. “They’ll use him against you.”

I took a few steps and angled my body to protect Paul, if necessary, watching as three of the boys hung back, making way for their leader. The kids I’d dubbed Buzz and Zoolander weren’t with him today. I didn’t recognize these goons; probably team mates.

“Dude,” Kenny jerked his head toward Jeff’s right arm, “blade up the sleeve.”

I noted the stiff posture, the unnatural swing, and my lips twitched. Did he really think he might get the jump on me, a seasoned veteran? I quickly shrugged out of my hoodie, leaving my left arm in the sleeve.

You learned to use whatever you could to protect yourself in juvey.

“Hey, guys. How’s it going?” I forced my lips to curve up.

“You know, it was a shitty day,” Jeff said conversationally,” and now it’s gonna get a whole lot better, once I tell you what we just heard.”

My ears prickled. I knew Jeff Dean was trying to play me, but the way his eyes drilled into me – through me – made me stand up and take notice. I feigned disinterest. “There isn’t much you can say that I’d care to hear – except maybe an apology to Brandon for terrorizing him.”

Jeff waved his hand like even the mention of Brandon’s name was a little mosquito buzzing around his head. “Oh, you definitely won’t want to hear this. It’s not good news. Danny. Which is why my day just got a whole lot better.”

I didn’t miss the way he emphasized my name. He knows. Holy God, he knows. The blood clotted in my veins. I hardly noticed the step he took toward me.

Head in the game, moron!” Kenny’s mental slap woke me.

“Like I said. I don’t care.” I shrugged and then he lunged, the blade tucked up his sleeve suddenly gripped in his hand. With my right hand, I clutched the empty sleeve of my jacket in front of me, and stretched the fabric taut, like a shield. When he thrust the knife at me, I wound the cloth around his arm, and whipped his arm behind his back. I ignored his grunt of pain and twisted his thumb to bend his wrist until he dropped the knife and just to make my point, I cranked his shoulder a bit. When one of his pals took a menacing step, I cranked it again until he yelped loudly.

“Stop there, or I’ll break his arm.” I said, my voice steady. Astonished, I realized I was calm, unfrightened. Concerned, yes, but no longer frightened. His pals froze, exchanging what-the-hell-do-we-do-now glances.

While Jeff’s arm was twisted uncomfortably behind his back, I figured I had a captive – haha- audience. Kenny whistled. “Not bad, man. Couldn’t have done better myself. Okay, now do it. Break his arm, come on!”

Shut up, Kenny. I thought.

“Okay, Jeff. Here’s what’s gonna happen. Before you make another dangerous mistake, I’m gonna do you a favor. I want you to take a good look at me. See the muscle, Jeff? It’s not for show. It’s real. I’ve broken arms before on others who’ve tried to do what you just tried to do and they came at me with a lot more than a few light weights who think playing XBox games can actually prepare them for a real fight. So, think carefully, Jeff.” I tightened my grip on him to make my point. He sucked in a breath but didn’t cry out. “You can keep coming after me and I can break your arm here-“ I put pressure on his elbow. “And here.” And more pressure on his shoulder. He grunted in pain. “And then I’ll do the same thing to them. And after they put your arm back together, they’ll send you to juvey, Jeff, just like me. Or, you can let it go right now and I’ll make sure the police know you cooperated when they arrest you. Should be here in about a minute or so. Pretty sure someone already called them.” 

“You’re the one who’s gonna get arrested. You touched me. You’re on the list. You’re a convicted sex offender and you’re not allowed to lay hands on a kid – I’m still seventeen. I looked it up. They’re gonna send you back now.” He panted, still fighting my hold, still pumped full of self-righteous gas.

Paul was within hearing distance of the sex offender part and didn’t budge from my side. I was grateful.

“Not exactly. I can’t touch you without an invitation. You invited me, when you came at me with a knife. It’s called self defense. Maybe you should have looked that up.” I grinned and twisted his arm a bit harder. “Oh, they’re gonna love you inside.”

His eyes widened a bit, but he gave no other indication he was scared.

I heard footsteps running toward us. I didn’t have to look; the guys’ faces told me it was the cavalry.

“Break it up. Let him go. Mr. Dean. Put your hands up. Now.”

Mr. Morris was there with two security guards, one holding a metal detector. A siren wailed in the distance, and the panic mounted on the kids’ faces.

“I didn’t do anything! He attacked me!”

“Then you won’t mind putting your hands up, will you?”

The security guards approached and flanked the boys. I released my hold on Jeff and he rubbed his arm, staring at me. The siren drew closer. Jeff’s eyes burned with such hatred, I almost shuddered. His pals weren’t so tough. They already had their hands on their heads.

Later, as I watched the police cruiser took off with Jeff handcuffed in the back seat, I knew all eyes were on me; I could feel them burning into my back.

Wah.” Kenny said.

Shut up. I am SO not in the mood.

“So stop whining then. This is your life. Get used to it.”

Yeah. Whatever.

Paul first, I decided. He’d stood by my side, knowing what Jeff Dean was capable of, knowing what I am. He could have walked. Hell, he could have switched sides. I squared my shoulders, pulled in a deep breath, and prepared to lose a friend.


He twitched at the sound of my voice, turned to look at me.

“Can I talk to you for a minute?”

He nodded, his face slack, and followed me off to the edge of the crowd that had formed.

“You heard what Jeff Dean said.” It wasn’t a question. I already knew he had.

He nodded and I sucked in another breath but it wasn’t doing much to stop me from sliding deep into that well of shame inside me.

“It’s the truth, man. I am on the list.” I shoved my hands into my pockets and stared at the ground. “So. If it makes you uncomfortable and you don’t want to – or you can’t – I um, I get it, okay? I wouldn’t hold it against you.”

He didn’t move, so I nodded and took a step away.


I turned around.

“What did you do?” He shut his eyes and I saw his hands curl into fists. He was disgusted, I could tell. “Did you… rape somebody?”

“No!” I answered, appalled. “I got nailed for distributing porn.”

His eyes shot open and his lip curled. “Come on.”

“No, really. I posted a half-naked picture of a kid in my gym class on the internet.”

He angled his head and snickered. “That’s it. That’s all you did and they put you on the list for it?”

I nodded.

He shook his head. “I had no idea that was illegal. Jesus, I’ve done that, dude. I sent this girl a picture of me once and I could have-“

“Yeah. You could have.”

“Well, shit.”

Now that he knew I wasn’t a deranged rapist, Paul seemed to be cool with me having a sex offense on my record, but I had to be sure. “Paul, there’s more. I have to ask you for something. If you can’t do this, I need you to tell me right now because I’d have to make plans.”

His eyebrows knitted together but he nodded.

“I need to ask that you not tell anybody. When people find out about the list, they freak. And they take it out on my parents. Rocks through the window, slashed tires. People even spit on my mother at the supermarket. We’d have to move again, if you… you know, can’t deal with this.”

Paul stared at me, his jaw clenched. “Dan’s not your real name, is it.”

I hesitated a moment and shook my head, waiting for him to run away, screaming.

Instead, he held out his hand. “Dan. I’ll keep your secret.”

I shook his hand, grinning like a fool. “Great. That’s um… “

“Great. You said that.”

“I know, it’s just– you don’t know what it’s like. Being friends with me, I mean. People will turn on you when this gets out.” And it will get out. It was just a matter of time.