Keeper of the Lost Cities - Deleted Scene #9

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First Deleted Scene from Lodestar I had a really hard time deciding what to have Fitz give Sophie for a midterm present in the opening of

Lodestar, and for a while, this scene is what I settled on. But I realized I was missing an opportunity to have the gift be both sweet and useful, so I cut this and went back to brainstorming until I finally came up with the Cognate rings. —Shannon



popping a bubble filled with a box of Prattles. The floating treats were a midterms

tradition at Foxfire—as were the dorky thinking caps they wore during the tests, and the presents the other prodigies went around and filled them with. The whole campus had been decorated—more streamers and tinsel than Sophie remembered from the year before, like everyone was trying too hard to pretend things were normal. “Anyway,” Fitz said, taking a step closer, “I wanted to give you this.” He handed Sophie a small silver package, and her hands turned clammy as she peeled back the fragile paper. She found a sleek white box, and inside were two black teardrop-shaped stones dangling from small silver beads.

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“Earrings?” she asked. Fitz nodded. “Biana said the gift I gave you last year was horrible. So she helped me pick out these.” The riddler Fitz had given her had been a disappointment. But . . . “I don’t have pierced ears,” Sophie mumbled. “Couldn’t get past the whole needle thing.” “Ugh—humans do that?” Fitz asked, taking the box back from her. “Yeah, no, don’t worry. We have a better way.” He removed one of the earrings and brushed Sophie’s blond hair behind her ear before he touched the silver bead to her earlobe. The metal stuck to her skin like it’d been dipped in superglue. “See?” He twisted it counterclockwise, and the earring popped back off. Sophie held the stones up to the light, and they twinkled with a million silver flecks. “Biana tried to talk me into a pair with long teal beads,” Fitz admitted. “But these reminded me of you for some reason. . . .” Their eyes met, and maybe it was how close they were standing— or the fact that Fitz had just given her jewelry. But Sophie was sure her cheeks were as red as Fitz’s cape.

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