Another one of those scenes that just got cut. I liked it because it gave Jules and Sophie a moment to play and be more kids than young adults. It also included Ezra being a bit more friendly and almost flirtatious, showing his mixed feelings about Sophie. Jules also seems to be aware of the ‘something’ between Sophie and Ezra and doesn’t like it. It got cut because it didn’t really add much to the plot or momentum of the story. It also had the girls going outside, returning to the house, then going outside again. I don’t know why, but that felt weak to me. This (had it not been cut) would have occurred right before the girls discovered Fangorn.
“Come on.” She grabbed my hand and led the way. The trees were just beginning to turn. October was when it would be really perfect out here. Most of my energy was focused on not tripping on the roots and rocks we walked over. I’d never noticed how graceful Jules was. Something else I could hate her for.
Nope. Couldn’t really summon the hate.
We made it through the trees to see the creek. It was probably the length of like four people across. It wasn’t very high, and not flowing very fast either. The other bank shot nearly straight up, it was so steep.
Jules let go of my hand to take off her shoes and socks. She stuffed her socks in her shoes and stepped out into the water. She shivered.
“It’s a little cold.” She looked back at me. “Roll up your pants, Sophie!” She laughed.
I undid my shoes and socks quickly, setting them next to hers. I rolled up my jeans until they were right above my knees.
I stepped tentatively on the wet rocks near the rushing water. I touched my big toe into the water. It wasn’t too bad.
“Sophie!” Jules was a third of the way across, the water at her shins. I’d never seen her smile so much. She was definitely more of an outdoorsy type of person than me. She waved me to come on.
I put my whole foot in, testing the slippery-ness of the rocks. I moved at about half the speed that Jules did.
“It’s so nice today,” Jules said when I got to where she stood.
“It’ll be like this for awhile. Fall is so great here. What’s your favorite season?” I reached down and let the water run through my fingers.
“I like fall. When the leaves turn.” She was still smiling. She was even prettier when she smiled. “I like winter too. I like the empty trees.”
“All the grey and white. And it doesn’t get too cold here.” I laughed. “We have the same favorite seasons.”
She reached into the water as well and splashed me. I squeaked at the cold.
“Gotcha.” She giggled and then stopped, looking past me. Her smile dropped. “What are you doing here?”
I spun around to see Ezra on the bank. I blushed. Not for any good reason, but just that he was there.
“Mom was going to the grocery store. Did you want anything?” he asked, his eyes straying from her to me.
I watched as Jules went from happy and carefree to completely closed off. I knew Ezra wasn’t like super bubbly, but still. Did she not like him even in the remotest sense? (
“Yeah…actually…” Jules looked at me. “I need her to get me some girl stuff. And I’m not telling him that. So, I’ll be back?”
“Yeah, I’ll wait here.” I smiled at her. She walked through the water back to the bank and ran off, not even talking to Ezra.
I turned back and walked carefully to the large rock in the center. I climbed up on it and smiled into the sun.
I heard some splashing and looked over. Ezra hadn’t headed back to the house. He noticed me as he rolled up his cargo shorts. “Hey Sophie.”
I think it took me a full two seconds to respond. That was the friendliest he’d ever been. Hadn’t he just snapped at me a little earlier?
He started walking into the water and stopped a few feet away from me. “You found a good spot.”
He smiled. He actually smiled at me.
“Uh, yeah.” I think I smiled back. Not too sure. “Do you come out here a lot?” Wow did that sound like a pick-up line or what?
He shrugged, leaning over and letting the water run through his fingers. “Usually when I’m sick of studying.”
“So, a lot then?”
Another smile. Two smiles from Ezra Varden. Even my brain thought ‘I’ll treasure them always.’ Could I be anymore pathetic?
“Yeah, something like that.” He cocked his head to the side. “Are you here all day?”
“Uh, yeah maybe.” Do you not want me here? “It’s refreshing to be here.” God, that sounds like a drink commercial.
“We like the outdoors,” he said absently, looking past me towards the mountains and trees.
“I sense that.”
He met my eyes and chuckled. Was I being funny? I wasn’t really meaning to. But I felt myself warm to his laugh.
“You really should do that more.” I clapped my hand over my mouth.
“What?” He stopped laughing, but his eyes were still bright.
“Come on, Sophie…” he teased lightly.
I grinned and then noticed Jules was back on the bank. I opened my mouth to wave her over, but her expression made me stop.
She looked upset.
She turned and started walking back towards the house.
“What the?” I slid off the rock. “What’s wrong with her?”
Ezra grabbed my elbow as I nearly slipped on a wet rock. I looked at him, my breath hitching at the fact that he was touching me.
“Careful,” his voice was lower than normal. Our eyes met for a second, but I looked away, blushing for no good reason.
“I’d better go find her.”
“Yeah.” He let go and I hurried as safely as I could away from him. Once I was on the bank, I slipped on my shoes, my heels pushing down the backs. I climbed as quickly as I could towards the house. I could sort of see it through the trees, which was good, because I was sure I could get lost pretty easily.
I saw her long hair swinging as she walked up to the back deck.
“Jules!” I hollered, staring to run, and in so doing, my foot found a tree root and caught. I fell hard. “Ow.” I muttered.
There were footsteps and I looked up. Jules stared down at me.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, pushing myself up, wincing as I did. I’d hit my knee on a rock. It stung something awful.
“You fell.” She hunched down next to me. “You alright?”
Her eyes were concerned. She wasn’t angry.
I nodded. She looked at my knee, pushing up my rolled up jeans. I gasped at the pain, my eyes welling up a bit. She met my eyes.
“We’d better clean that up.” She stood and offered her hands to me. I took them and stood, tentatively. She put her arm around my waist, helping me towards the house.
By the time we’d bandaged my knees, I didn’t want to bring it up. I was just happy that she was no longer mad.
“Can you still wade?” Jules asked after. I stood and winced. I walked around a bit.
“It’s not bad. Maybe not water.” I saw the disappointment on her face. “Can we explore the woods instead?”
She brightened right up. “Yeah.” She went out the back door. I followed gingerly. The movement helped my knees. I caught up with Jules, and we walked slowly through the trees, moving away from the river.
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