Bonus Chapter Alert!

I thought I'd share this deleted chapter from Playing At Love because it references Felicity's discomfort over Sophie and Conor's relationship. That issues is explored further in Hitting That Sweet Spot. In Playing At Love, this would have happened while everyone is in New York and after Sophie's dinner party.

***

It was a busy week for the band, running from morning radio interviews to appearances on MTV and VH1, to promo tapings and rehearsals at Saturday Night Live for that weekend's show. They lost two whole days to the filming of the video for their next single, “You’ve Been Found Out.” On Friday night, they had a roving interview with Rolling Stone's John Riley joining the boys to talk and drink their way through several hot spots in New York City.

While the guys were out that night, Sophie took Felicity to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants. They descended the staircase of the converted brownstone to the ground floor and were seated in a leather booth at a white cloth table.

They took the waiter’s recommendation for a red wine and started with a bowl of soup each. Before they could begin eating, the chef came out from the kitchen to introduce himself to Sophie. Felicity didn’t mind that he barely looked at her and rather enjoyed watching Sophie deftly flirt with the man without giving him any real hope. She took mental notes, thinking she could sorely use such skills.

“How late do you think the lads will be out tonight?” Felicity asked when they finally had the table to themselves.

Sophie smiled and shook her head. “I’d expect an all-nighter.”

“That doesn’t bother you?”

“No. As weird as it may sound after everything that’s happened, I do trust Gavin.”

“You two seem happy.”

“Things are good. It’s been a long road, but we made it.”

“I’m glad you did. Somehow it would be like all wasn’t right with the world if you two hadn’t made it.”

Sophie’s eyes watered at this sentiment and she blinked. “Yes, that’s how we felt, too.”

“And where’s Colette tonight?” Felicity asked as she plucked an oversized garlic crouton out of her bowl of tomato basil bisque. She bit into it with a satisfying crunch.

“I don’t know. We aren’t exactly close anymore.”

“Do you suppose that will ever change? Could make for a long tour.”

“Oh, didn’t you hear? She’s not going to be on tour much. She has her own thing going on. She’s going to do a guest stint with a burlesque group.”

Felicity pictured the buxom Colette in bra and panties, shaking her assets on stage and felt inadequate in contrast.

“Wow. Okay, then,” she said. “That doesn’t bother Conor?”

“I don’t think so. He’s not the jealous type. At least not with her, anyway.” She took one more spoonful of the soup and set the bowl aside.

Two-thirds of the soup remained untouched and Felicity knew this was typical for Sophie. She ate a little of a lot of things, preferring to taste a variety of things with restraint so as to keep from overindulging. Felicity couldn’t imagine having that kind of discipline. The soup was cream-based and went down with a richness that made her want to lick the bowl.

The waiter approached their table and apologized for interrupting the “beautiful ladies” and proceeded to take their entrée order while doing his best to flirt with them both. This time, Felicity actually thought she might be the one getting more attention and she did her best impression of Sophie’s coquettish banter as practice.

“He is jealous with you, though,” Sophie said, picking up their conversation as soon as the waiter left them.

“How do you mean?” Felicity asked. But recent images flashed through her head from when they were in London and he seemed uncomfortable with her kissing Gavin ever so briefly and then later when she flirted with Jackson.

“You should have seen the look on his face when I said that about setting you up with Stefan.”

She scoffed. “How could he be jealous about me bringing someone to his wedding of all things?”

“Because he’s confused about Colette,” Sophie said simply.

“Meaning?”

“He thinks he has to marry her. But he’s wrong and I’m going to talk to him about it.”

“Is that . . . your place?”

Sophie met her eyes. “He’s my friend, Felicity. And I think he’s making a mistake. I have to at least say something. Does it bother you that he and I are friends?”

Felicity shook her head but wasn’t sure what she felt about the entanglements they all had made over the years. It definitely complicated individual dynamics.

“Well, there’s no reason for you to be worried by our friendship.”

Felicity almost laughed at the innocence Sophie was trying to project. “He told me how in love with you he was . . . for years he was in love with you, Sophie.”

Sophie took a deep breath and sat back in her chair. “I know. And I know that must be weird for you to know about that. But we have absolutely put it all to rest. We’re keeping our friendship, though. As his friend, all I want is his happiness.”

Felicity wanted to ask what the depth of Sophie’s feelings had been for Conor. At the same time, she did not want to know. Sophie had quickly become her good friend once again, and she knew instinctively that it could only continue that way if she willfully stayed uneducated on the level of Sophie’s emotional intimacy with Conor.  

“I hope it’s okay with you that he and I are friends,” she continued.

“Why wouldn’t it be?”

“Oh my goodness!” Sophie said and smiled. “It’s so obvious that you and Conor have a connection. Felicity, the way he looks at you . . . there’s definitely something there.”

Felicity looked away and thought about her friend’s assertion. It confirmed what she thought she had seen and felt herself but it didn’t resolve anything. Conor was still about to be married. He was still an immature rock star and not the vision of stability she always said she wanted. And he definitely wanted children, something she couldn’t give him.

“We have a good time together, is all.”

“You’re telling me that if he was free you wouldn’t be open to being with him?”

She took a slow sip of her wine, trying to craft an answer.

“I knew it! You like him!”

Felicity had to laugh at Sophie’s contagious giddiness. “Even if I did, there’s no future there, Sophie.”

“Why? Tell me why.”

They spent the rest of the evening talking non-stop as Felicity admitted to her attraction to Conor but also explained her reasoning for why the two could never work even if he were free.   

© Lara Ward Cosio