This scene was included for a long time, partly because it expanded Chittenden's character. It also dug deeper into the theme of consent, which got explored a lot throughout the book. In the end thought, it got cut for two reasons:
One was pacing. By this point, the big battle had been won, the book's main villain defeated, and Travis had won what he'd worked so hard for. I needed to pick up the pace and get to the rewards and celebrations quick.
The second was the fact that it focused too much on Eva. While Travis does worry about his own moral compass, looking for insight into Eva's thoughts wasn't the way to do it. While the exploration of Eva's character may be interesting in it's own right, it's not something Travis would have pursued. As far as Travis was concerned, Eva was his captor and rapist. The second he had the chance to, he killed her so she could never do so again. At that point, he didn't give a damn what Eva thought.
* * *
Chittenden took an expensive-looking nib pen from his jacket pocket. Curling his lip, he sliced open a wound in the back of his left hand with a single fang. Using his left hand as an inkwell, Chittenden wrote out what he'd told me, ending in his flourishing signature. Oswald handed me the marker as Chittenden put his pen away, the wound already healed. I held the parchment in my hand, my mind working away.
“You look like you've got a question on your mind, son.”
I looked up. “Just something going through my head that don't make sense. Eva knew me. She knew me intimately. She knew my mind. She knew my heart. But she relied on me wanting to violate the helpless. She not only thought I could, she was counting on it. I mean, I get why she was trying to usurp you, vampire politics and all that. But she could see into my mind and still thought that's who was there? I don't get it.”
There was an awkward pause. Nobody expected me to open up to a vampire and a renfield, least of all me. Finally Chittenden nodded sagely.
“I think I might have a notion, son, if you'll forgive my pedagogy.”
“By all means, sir.”
“As far as her aims to usurp my throne, a part of it is politics as usual, as you say. But in another sense, it's sense of regional power. Ever heard the phrase, 'America thinks a hundred years is a long time, Europe thinks a hundred miles is a long way?'”
“It's true. We are a young country, proud though I am of it. Eva was four times my age, son. Four times my age and spent every one of those years in the Italian courts. And she got it into her head what a lot of second-tier European vampires do: That they'll come over here and show us uppity young whippersnappers what's what.”
“So it's not just age?”
“Oh no. It's age and regional stereotypes. Huh, not that I'm the one to talk about upholding those. They were the first sons who stayed close to home and never advanced because ma and pa never did finally die. The second sons, they crossed the ocean in the cold holds of cargo vessels and built what civilization they could. Many did not survive. My own father did not survive the war of 1812. Instead of usurping their own superiors, they hear of how we've thrived across the ocean and consider us easy pickings. We do our best to correct those assumptions.”
“I'd imagine so.”
“I think a similar lack of perspective is the cause of Eva's failing insofar as your principles lie. One of your people told me, some time ago, that magic ain't a substitute. Not for hard work, not for common sense, not for compassion, and not for love. We have a similar phrase when mentioning the blood. It's a common mistake among younger folk that we know to watch out for it.”
“I've heard it.”
“I do not know if the late Eva ever knew it. Or ever realized the impact of it. She ever told you about her breathing days?”
“Nothing detailed. Said she was a courtesan in one of the city-states.”
“Ha! Courtesan, my hairy backside. She was a camp follower from the cradle, boy. Followed mercenary companies around all her life. Worked on her back since she started growing tits. She was turned when someone noticed she was as skilled a madam as she was a whore. Figured anyone who applied herself liked that deserved to keep her looks for as long as she lasted.”
“What does that have to do with her perspective?”
“You've been a student of Lady Sina, I'm given to understand. An impressive woman, she is. I've had the privilege of her company on some occasion, and welcomed her insight. Told me about them magic straps of yours once. I've seen the games she and her clients play. Believe you me, had you told me when I breathed that there were folks in the world who not only wanted a whupping but would pay for the privilege, I'd have said you were crazy. And yet there it was. Not a tool of discipline, that I understood. Nor an act of sadism, which I would frown upon but likewise understand. It was an act of service. A shadow of commercial intimacy much as a working girl's embrace is the shadow of a lover's. See, that's where I think your head is at. You like your leather toys and your little games, but those are just means to the end of a lover's touch. When push comes to shove, you want those sensations to thrill someone you care for, not just satisfy your own darker appetites.”
I hadn't gotten up that morning thinking a vampire would end up psychoanalyzing my sexual preferences, but that's apparently where my life was going.
“You understand me there, sir.”
“But Eva didn't, son. That's what I'm saying. Part of me didn't think she ever got the chance. Think about it. A camp follower all her life. Her nappies changed between her ma's clients. When would a girl like that have a chance to experience love? Was she sung to between marches? Was she held when she needed? Ah may be a ruthless sumbitch if I do say so myself, but believe you me, I have known love. I've spent a cool winter night in loving arms. I've tasted cornbread made with heart and care as much as cornmeal and butter. But I don't think your late mistress ever did. Did she have any notion when she became a woman that time in her arms meant anything more than another few coins? With that in mind, is it really any wonder she looked at your toys and saw them as tools of a fellow monster instead of a lover?”
“That... makes a lot of sense, actually.”
Chittenden opened his arms like an emcee welcoming applause. “There ya go, son.”
* * *