Deleted Scene – Improved-Libby has Issues

(This scene originally appeared right after Jesse’s father turns up at school and confronts Gordon the Gorgon. It’s all Mallory, of course, but it makes Libby look pretty irredeemable as a person, because at this point we have no idea it’s not her anymore. Also cut for pacing reasons.)

“Don’t worry. Some cat meme will soon take your place. And then–” Zep stopped and grabbed her arm. “Look!”


“She’s here,” he almost whispered. He wasn’t looking at her. His gaze was fixed on the far side of the quadrangle.


“Who do you think?”

He nodded through the dispersing crowd. There, in full sunlight, was Libby. She was staring right at them, and her expression was difficult to read. She wasn’t surprised–like Zep, she must have followed the feed from the chancellor’s office–but there was something in her pale face that might have been anger. She certainly didn’t look pleased to see them.

Had she seen them embrace?

Zep went to go to her, but Clair hauled him back.

“No, let me handle this.”

She broke away and headed across the quadrangle.

Instantly, Libby turned and walked away from her. Clair picked up her pace slightly, wanting neither to scare her off nor to lose her before she vanished behind a building or into a d-mat booth. If she went missing again, Clair despaired of ever finding her. It was time to bring this to a head.


Libby was disappearing into an enclosed walkway. Clair stepped up her pace. The call icon winked out, to her immense relief, at first. Then it occurred to her that maybe the stalker was leaving her in order to concentrate on whatever he had planned for Libby.

Clair sprinted to the walkway, turned into it, and ran headlong into her best friend. She skidded. Libby pushed her backwards with both hands. Clair went down on her backside with a gasp of surprise.

Libby was smaller than Clair by two centimeters. She weighed fifty-one kilograms and had never taken more than the most basic self-defense classes. Her arms and wrists were slender, like her feet. A swimmer’s physique, all stamina, not built for sudden bursts of strength. Like punching or kicking, say.

At that moment, sprawled painfully on the ground with Libby standing over her, Clair was totally sure that Libby could take her. She didn’t stand a chance against the look in those cold, blue eyes.

“Leave me alone, Clair.”

“Why? What’s going on?” Clair heard the tremor in her own voice and hated it. She sounded like she was about to cry. “Is this about Zep?”

“Zep? He’s nothing to me,” Libby said, a smile breaking out across her face. “You have no idea how pathetic you look right now.”

Damn it, she was about to cry. “Just talk to me, Libby. Tell me what’s wrong.”

Libby leaned in close.

“I’m beautiful–and there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps you’ll be beautiful too, one day–. Would you like that? Would you like to know whether you’re my type?”

Clair could only stare at her. Every thought in her mind was stopped dead in its tracks, not by what she heard, but by what she saw.

Libby wasn’t wearing any makeup.

Her skin was flawless.

“Your birthmark–”

Libby smirked. “I told you–beautiful.”

She punched Clair in the throat and turned and stalked away, leaving Clair to choke.

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