This deleted scene follows Crab Killers, so if you haven’t read that one yet, you might want to check it out first. Go ahead. I’ll wait!
This is the aftermath, where Seth gets to play doctor (no, not that way!), and Nate’s dog, Tarkus, has a close encounter something that isn’t a Frisbee.
Half a Crab
Nate let Seth lead him indoors, where the broth simmering on the stove perfumed the air with the aromas of garlic and fennel and tomato. “Pills are in the cabinet next to the refrigerator. I’ll get—”
“No you won’t. First we’re washing crab guts off our hands and then you’ll sit.” He towed Nate to the sink, flicking his arm with a finger when Nate tried to take over and wash his own hands. “Let me do it. You really suck at letting someone take care of you.”
“Sorry. Haven’t had a lot of practice.” But it’s nice. The way Seth knew how to be gentle with his throbbing thumb, but still manhandled him around the kitchen to park him on a barstool.
Seth retrieved the Advil from the cabinet and shook out a couple of gel caps. “Why is that? I mean, everyone has some experience being babied. You were in two relationships, after all.”
“Jorge was more into being cared for, not doing the caregiving himself. And Nara was all about self-sufficiency, for both of us. She told me she didn’t think either of us really needed anybody else, which was why we were good together.”
“Bullshit.” Seth thumped a glass of water on the counter and handed over the pills. “Everybody needs somebody sometime.”
Nate managed a smile before he downed the meds. “Isn’t that some corny song lyric from the fifties?”
“Of course it is. Sometimes corny songs have a line on reality. But c’mon, how insane is that? People are social. We need others so we don’t all turn into the Unabomber.” He filled a plastic bag with some of the crushed ice from their cooler and wrapped it in a towel. “Ice your thumb while I clean the rest of the crab.”
“That doesn’t seem fair—you did most of the work on the boat too.”
“I’m not keeping score. Besides, if that cioppino tastes as good as the broth smells right now, I think I’m coming out ahead. But you’re required to hang out with me while I work. Nara may be all independent and I-am-an-island, but I like a little more company.”
“Sure, I can do that.” The ice had numbed his thumb enough that he wasn’t seeing spots anymore. Tonight might be a little rough and uncomfortable, but he’d definitely had worse. He followed Seth outside. The sun had dropped behind the trees, and Nate shivered a little in the chill.
Seth stopped next to the picnic table and planted his fists on his hips. “Nate, what’s wrong with this picture?”
“Is this a test? I have to remind you that I’m injured. I may not be firing on all cylinders.”
“I think you can handle this one. Take a look.” Nate moved closer to Seth and looked over his shoulder. Only half a crab remained on the table. “I kinda doubt Bluewater Bay is infested with zombie crabs as well as werewolves.”
“Tarkus!” No response, and the dog was nowhere in the yard. Nate peered under the deck. Sure enough, Tarkus was settled down between the posts, the half-crab in his paws. He nosed it tentatively, as if he didn’t know what to do with it.
Seth bent over next to Nate, chuckling. “The shell’s gonna be a problem. He should have waited until I finished cleaning it before he snitched it.”
“What can I say? He’s an opportunist, but he’s got a brain the size of a tennis ball. I don’t think planning is one of his strengths.” Nate stood up. “I don’t think we can get him to give it back though.”
“Good, ‘cause I don’t want it after it’s been under there. We’ll have enough for dinner without it.” Seth picked up the machete with a flourish. “Now. Watch me work.”
My pleasure. So he did.