OK, because I feel guilty about not giving a hint for the big surprise, I present to you part of the earlier version of Chapter 41. A deleted scene, if you will. If this were a clip, I would preface it by saying, "After I wrote this, I felt I could better convey all of this without actually having to show it or having Amy there at all." Actually, my first attempt at Chapter 41 went on for an amazing ten, single-spaced pages (because characters wouldn't shut up and then because Harper just took over). So, without further ado, I present to you a snippet of "Miss Fowler Regrets". (Note: There was always going to be chapter named "The Mendacity Revelation." I just ended up having to move it forward in the line a little earlier to get the real action with the mother.
Hope you all enjoy!
TMR: Miss Fowler Regrets (The Forgotten Chapter)
Amy had heard the phrase “Everything went to Hell after that” before, of course, but seeing this happen in person was an altogether different experience. The yelling made her hurry in the shower. Trying to redress herself in the complicated outfit it had taken her mother and herself to get on and Sheldon and herself to get off—all while still wet from her shower—didn’t help speed things along.
Finally, when she made it from the bathroom, her hair a mass of damp tangles down her back, she found that the source of the shouting was coming from downstairs. More to the point, it was getting louder. Leaving behind the heels that had been seriously inverting her metatarsals, she hastened down the stairs to find the bulk of her family the living room. The only ones not there were Lily and Michael, who she hoped were still asleep, and Sheldon, which she was secretly thankful for.
I’ll deal with him later.
The majority of the shouting was occurring between Mother and Emily. From the beaming smiles on the aunts’ faces and the fact that Harper and Jason were separated and wearing twin expressions akin to scolded toddlers, Amy took this to mean the ill-conceived plan had reached its successful conclusion.
Mother was facing her youngest child, her tone cajoling, but firm. “This doesn’t need to mean anything, Harper. Everyone has cold feet right before the wedding. It’s perfectly normal.”
“Cold feet?” Emily interrupted. “This isn’t cold feet. This is common sense finally rearing its head—although not in the way I would have done it.”
Her father decided to add his two cents. “Will someone fill me in on what has happened that has raised the entire house?”
Emily said, “Harper doesn’t want to marry Bruce, Dad. That is what is happening.”
“Will you shut up?” Evelyn hissed. “Stay out of this. This is private.”
“It stopped being private the second they started making out in the communal living area.”
“And you had to tell everyone, didn’t you? You couldn’t just come get me so we could deal with this privately, could you?” Evelyn accused.
“Will everyone please keep their voices to an acceptable level? Things are bad enough without this barbaric shrieking at the top of one’s lungs.” Grandmother Fowler’s decree was promptly ignored by Amy’s mother and sister, who launched into tearing each other to bits again. Honestly, Amy had never seen Emily act so forcefully against their mother before. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that. Usually, that was her job. It was weird to be standing where she was watching it all play out. Was this how Emily usually felt? This trapped, frustrated feeling of helplessness in the wake of a battle she didn’t know how to stop?
It was her father who turned away from everything and went to fix himself a drink. It was the aunts who stood off by themselves whispering to each other as they watched the goings-on with worried expressions. It was Jason who looked like he was trying to blend into the wallpaper. It was Willard who wouldn’t stop sniggering and it was Grandmother Fowler who, without preamble, slapped him upside the back of his head and launched headfirst into the fray between mother and daughter.
But it was Amy who noticed Harper was crying.
She moved over to her sister. “Are you OK?”
“Like you care,” Harper said. “What do you know about my life anyway? When this is all over, you’ll go back to your great career and your great apartment and your great life with your great friends and your great boyfriend. What will I have? Nothing.” She shook her head. “No one cares about that.”
“I do care, Harper. I’ve always cared.”
“No one cares. Not really,” she said. And, with that, she pushed her way through the throng of people and ran outside.