Here’s a deleted scene from Almost Human: Evolution. In this scene, Jay, Edel, Danny and Gemma are meeting for a meal in a restaurant. If you are familiar with the characters, you will understand why this is a big deal for Edel – she doesn’t do well in public places, and the unique way she and Danny communicate can be challenging.
Jay had been encouraging Edel do things with Danny and Gemma at least once a week. He didn’t always tag along, but tonight he had no other plans, and it was much easier to be in their company than it used to be. It wasn’t work anymore. It was enjoyable, so the four of them were going out to dinner.
Danny and Gemma were already at the restaurant when Jay and Edel arrived. It was always awkward when Edel and Danny were first together in a public setting, but the strained atmosphere usually only lasted for a few minutes these days. Once she relaxed, he did too, and things were easy again.
After a few awkward glances and a few tense breaths, the conversation took off and everyone seemed calm. The evening was progressing perfectly, and Jay felt a stab of pride in how well Edel could handle herself around people these days.
They were halfway through their meal when Jay realised he had forgotten his wallet. “Shit!” he muttered under his breath as he patted down his jacket pockets.
“What’s wrong?” Edel asked.
Jay looked up at Danny sheepishly. They were in a legitimate only place, which meant no cash payments. Danny was going to have to foot the whole bill for this evening. “I left my wallet at home.”
Danny and Edel both laughed in unison. Silence instantly followed as everyone grew tense, watching Edel for her reaction. The last time she laughed, she had almost lost control of herself. This time she was in a public place.
Jay watched her face turn stern, and her eyes stared hard at the plain tablecloth in front. A long moment passed before Danny blew out a slow and controlled breath, then he smiled. Jay could only assume the danger was over now.
Danny turned to Jay “How can you forget your wallet?”
Edel looked up from the table. “He forgets everything.”
Jay stared at her, and amusement filled his face. She’s making fun of me? He looked at her in wonder. This was new, and he really wanted to see how brave she was feeling. “Not everything!” he said in a falsely indignant voice.
She faltered, staring at his face. He could see her trying to work out if she was in trouble. After a minute, she spoke again. “You forget your keys, your wallet, your phone, your ID. You forget what days you are at work, and last week you forgot where you were meant to be meeting Katie.”
Danny laughed hard. “Well, I guess it’s hard when you don’t have a photographic memory!”
“Photographic memory? Yeah right. She forgets things!” he said, jabbing his thumb in Edel’s direction.
“No, I don’t forget anything, Jay.”
“Ha! Then what’s the code?” he asked triumphantly. He knew she had forgotten at least one thing. He heard her in her sleep, always mumbling that she couldn’t remember the code.
The colour drained from her face, and she stared at him, a fresh wave of fear displayed in her features. “How do you know about the code?”
Jay was still laughing. “It’s fine to forget things Edel. It’s no big deal. Everyone forgets some things.”
“Not me!” Danny spoke up with a smirk. He laughed at her. “I can say with certainty, that I have never forgotten anything.”
“Neither did I,” she said, all friendliness gone. “How do you know about the code, Jay?” There was a tense note to her voice and her face was serious.
“I heard you, in your sleep. Saying it over and over, that you don’t know what it is, and that you can’t remember… I don’t know what ‘the code’ is but—”
“—Neither does she,” Danny cut in, and both he and Jay fell about laughing at her again.
“Aww, come on Edel! It’s just a little joke!” Danny said, after it became clear that she was not finding this amusing.
“Relax, we’re just messing with you,” Jay said, rolling his eyes in amusement. She was going to have to learn not to take everything so seriously.
“Well, your joke isn’t funny,” she spat.
Silence followed. Tense and uneasy. Gemma made a brave effort to steer the conversation to lighter subjects, but Jay was having none of it. Once Edel relaxed back down, he’d start again. It was high time she learned to take a joke and stop being so sensitive about everything.
He grinned at her. “It must bother you, if you’re dreaming about it. It must be annoying the hell out of you, if that is the only thing you have ever forgotten.”
“I didn’t forget anything,” she said quietly.
“Then what’s the code?” He knew he was pissing her off, but it was harmless. She needed to chill out and take herself a little less seriously.
“No! That’s not fair! You’re only allowed to use the safety phrase for things that are too painful to answer. So, either you know this code, or you did forget something!” he smirked at her, knowing he had her now. She would have to admit that she wasn’t perfect, and she made mistakes just like everybody else.
“OFF LIMITS.” she said again.
“Leave it Jay,” Danny said, holding his hand up in warning.
Jay knew he should listen to Danny, but this was just harmless fun. He left it for a few minutes and returned his attention back to his meal, then once she had relaxed back down and thought she was safe, he whispered across the table, “psst. Hey! What’s the code?”
Edel’s head jerked up, and her face was livid. She slammed her hand down so hard on the table that the cutlery jumped, and Jay’s drink sloshed out of its glass. She looked him dead in the eye and said, “You think this is funny. There is nothing funny about this.”
He laughed again. “It’s a bit of memory loss, Edel. What are you getting all pissy for?”
She shook her head angrily. “Okay. The code,” she said, her voice was both calm and angry at the same time. It made the hairs on Jay’s arms stand up.
“The code was a loyalty experiment. There were twenty subjects in this particular experiment. We were given a code and told to memorise it. We were told never to reveal the code to anyone. No matter what.” She took a breath and let it out slowly, as though she was psyching herself up for something. “I was then systematically tortured for sixteen weeks. They beat me, starved me, burned me, and electrocuted me. They deprived me of sleep. They activated the compliance chip repeatedly, so much that I thought I would die. After sixteen weeks, the experiment ended. Nobody failed. Nobody revealed their codes.”
Stunned silence followed. Jay had never felt so disgusted with himself in his life. What the hell was wrong with him? Why had he just made her relive those memories?
She glared at him. An icy stare in her eyes. She wasn’t done. “In case you were wondering how severe the torture was, the only reason the experiment ended so abruptly, was because, out of the twenty subjects taking part, fifteen were tortured TO DEATH.”
Jay was horrified. He looked at her, knowing it was too late to take it back. Too late to make this right.
“You heard me saying I can’t remember the code in my sleep. Now just take a minute to really think what I might have been dreaming about.”
Jay’s face crumpled. Why didn’t he ever know when to stop? He hated himself in that moment.
Edel wasn’t done. Jay had never seen her so angry before, or at least he’d never seen her be able to express her anger. If he didn’t currently feel so terrible, he might have been proud of her.
“Don’t you think if I had the ability to forget, I would take it?” Then she turned to look at Danny. “You don’t know anything about what it was like there. And I don’t want you to know.” She stood abruptly and gathered her jacket. Then turned to face Jay, leaning over the table and glaring at him. He swallowed hard. For the first time in a long time, he felt genuinely afraid of her. She looked like she was ready to rip his face off. She spoke low and quiet, almost hissing the words at him. “Next time I tell you something is off limits; it is exactly that: OFF LIMITS.”
She set off, marching towards the door. She stopped and turned back after only two paces and glared at Danny. “Don’t even think about following me,” she said. Then she stalked out of the restaurant, leaving Jay stunned.
Jay leant back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath. All around them, conversations that had halted as Edel shouted at them and stormed out, resumed and the quiet hum of chatter filled the air again.
“Do you think I should go after her?” he asked Danny.
Danny shook his head. “Not if you want your heart to keep beating,” he said dryly. “She’ll calm down eventually. But I would give her some time.”
“Do you think she will forgive me?”
Gemma frowned. “Is there any particular reason she should?” she said acidly. “You too,” she said, pointing at Danny. “You were both out of order. You could see you were upsetting her, and you carried on anyway. Why do you think it’s funny to upset people?”
“I know. I’m sorry. I should have known better,” he said, feeling the guilt wash over him again.
They finished their meal in almost silence, and Danny paid. They were ready to leave, and Danny turned to look at Jay. “Do you want us to come with you? She was pretty angry when she left.”
“No. I think it would be best if I talk to her alone.”
Jay was nervous as he walked in through his door. He didn’t know what to expect. Her bedroom door was closed, and he wasn’t sure if she was even home.
“Edel?” he hesitantly called her name. He walked across the apartment and knocked on her door. “Edel, are you in there?” he eased it open and looked inside, and found her in her usual spot, at the end of the bed, staring at the blank wall ahead.
“Edel, can I come in?” he asked gently. The sight before him made his heart ache. It was as though the progress she had been making had been pushed back. And he knew it was his fault. “Edel, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry! There’s no excuse, I thought I was being funny. I didn’t know, I didn’t think. I’m an idiot!”
Her eyes stayed fixed on the wall in front, she hadn’t even acknowledged his presence.
“Edel, please look at me.”
She followed his command as always, but there was fear in her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he said again. “I would never upset you on purpose.” He looked at her, her wide and frightened eyes stared back at him, and he suddenly understood the problem. She had acted out in anger, and now she was afraid of the consequences.
“Edel, just to be clear here, it was me who was wrong. Not you. You didn’t do anything wrong.” He sighed and shuffled closer to her. “Can I sit here?” He pointed to space on the bed, next to her.
She didn’t answer, so he slowly eased his body down, giving her plenty of time to say no if she didn’t want him here. They sat together in silence for a few minutes, and he eventually said, “I didn’t mean to make you angry.”
There it was, the terror on her face. “It’s okay to be angry with me Edel. I wasn’t acting like your friend. I didn’t mean to upset you, but I know I did, and I’m sorry.” He sighed. This must be a real mind mash for her. Only two years ago, she would have been punished for such behaviour. Now instead of being punished, she is being apologised to. “Are you still mad at me?”
She shook her head.
“Really? Or do you just think that is the right answer to the question?”
She remained silent, and he nodded his head. “I think I’d still be mad at me, too.” He gave her a weak smile. They sat in silence for a few minutes and he eventually let out a long and worn-out sigh. “I really messed up today, Edel. You’ve been doing so well. Please don’t let me ruin it for you. I feel so bad. I only ever want what’s best for you, sometimes I just get carried away and I don’t think how my bad sense of humour can hurt people.” He knew he would not get a response out of her tonight. And Gemma was right. There was no reason she should forgive him. He was an idiot.
If you would like to read more about Edel, Jay, Danny and Gemma, the series Almost Human is available here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B098TMZ8MH