The Road From Sadness Leads to Vienna

Wednesday night is Panera “Eat and Write” night, and while I didn’t write as much as I thought I might–if you call almost eleven hundred words “not as much” a bad thing, that is–I finished a scene and made up my mind about something else I wanted to do with the story.

First off, the scene:

It really is time for Annie and Kerry to split up and say goodbye.  It’s 16 December, and they aren’t expected to return to the school until 2 January, 2012, and those are a lot of days to be apart in Young Lover’s Time.  While there’s time Annie sits Kerry down on “their bench” so she can give him some parting advice . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie and Kerry sat in silence for nearly a minute. Annie suspected that he was waiting for her to make an opening, possibly out of fear that he would stumble through what he wanted to say. She knew how to get the conversation started. “Kerry, I want you to promise something.”

He started laughing. “The last time I promised you something, I ended up in the hospital.”

Annie rolled her eyes. “This time it’ll be different.”

“I know.” He looked down for a moment before he again looked Annie in the eyes. “What would you like?”

“I want you to promise you won’t show your sadness the entire time we’re apart.” She laid her right hand upon his left and began making slow circles. It’s one thing to be sad; neither of us will enjoy this separation. But please don’t mope, and please don’t pout. Most of all, please don’t break down and crying, particularly in front of your family. I wouldn’t want them to see you that way.”

She took both of Kerry’s hands and held them. “I’m going to miss you; I’ll think of you every day, and wish you a good night when I go to bed—”

“So will I.”

“I know. But this is our holiday as well, and we should enjoy the time with our families. Let’s not spoil it for them.” She slightly lowered her head as the eyebrows rose slightly. “Okay?”

Kerry was about to agree when he picked up on something; a slight waver in Annie’s voice, a tiny different in her body language, the way her fingers seemed to tremble a little against his hand. “You’re sad already, aren’t you?”

Annie slowly closed her eyes an softly grunted. “You know my moods.”

“I should; I’ve been around you almost constantly for the last four months.”

 

“Yeah, honey:  if possible, can you keep the crying to a minimum?”  It also says something for Kerry that he can pick up on Annie’s feelings after a few short months–or has it been longer?  I’m not saying, not yet.  Mysteries, remember?

 

She nodded a couple of times. “Yes, I’m sad to be leaving you. I know you aren’t leaving until tonight, and I would love to stay with you—”

“I promise.” He turned his hands over and pressed his palms into Annie’s. “I’ll keep my sadness private. And I’ll think of you every day, too.”

“I know you will.” She leaned in and kissed Kerry, hold the kiss for many long seconds. “I love you, Kerry.”

“I love you, Annie.” He allowed his eyes to focus on Annie’s locket. “You really are wearing that for your parents to see.”

“I said I would.” She held the locket between the fingers of her right hand. “My father won’t know that I didn’t leave for school with it, but my mother . . .” She looked at Kerry and smiled. “She’ll know different.”

“You’ll tell her where it came from?”

“I will.”

He was about to ask another question when school PA system seemed to be, as always, speaking directly to them. “Attention: all students departing for Vienna please report to the public jaunt center. I repeat: all students departing for Vienna please report to the public jaunt center. That is all.”

Kerry stood. “That’s you.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie shouldered her bag and stood as well. She held out her right hand. “One last time this year?”

“One last time this year.” They strolled hand-in-hand to the Great Hall, passed through the West Entrance, and turned towards the first door on the right.

 

“One last time this year.”  If I’d ever had any kind of eleven year old romance, I probably would have lost it at that moment.  Right now I’d settle for any kind of fifty-seven year old romance, but that’s another story.  I also love using the word “jaunt”.  It comes from The Stars My Destination, one of my favorite novels, and was later used by Stephen King for his story, The Jaunt.  It is what it is:  teleporting.  Sure, it’s done with magic, and some people do it on their own without a problem, but if you need to move a few people from place-to-place, sometimes it’s best to confine the magic to a particular spot, and have someone oversee the jaunting . . .

 

Holly approached Annie and Kerry as soon as they were a few steps inside the room. Even through Holly didn’t need to ask which student was traveling, there was protocol to follow. “Departing for Vienna?”

Annie took a step forward. “I am.”

“Name please?”

“Annie Kirilova.”

Holly spun around the tablet she held and presented the screen to Annie. “Place your dominate hand on the display, please.” Annie set her right hand upon the screen: a second later the tablet beeped. Holly checked the readout. “Thank you, Annie. You’ll be on your way in a minute or two.”

“Thank you.” She gently pulled Kerry to one side and held his hands while faced him.

Kerry had nothing but emotions running through him at the moment; it was as if he’d lost the capacity for intelligent discussion. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Say nothing, then.” She pulled herself into her soul mate and rested against him. “We’ll linger in the silence.”

They stayed that way for a little over a minute before Holly made the final announcement. “All students leaving for Vienna please take your luggage and step upon the platform. Everyone else please stay on this side of the yellow line.”

She gave Kerry one final hug. “Until next year, my love.”

Kerry wrapped his arms around Annie and returned the embrace. “Until next year. Have a great Yule.”

“You too. Happy Yule.” She retrieved her roll-on luggage and stepped onto the platform, which was nothing more than a large section of the floor marked out in red and yellow at the east end of the room. She stood in the front so she could see Kerry before jaunting.

He smiled at her, the kissed the index and middle fingers of his left hand before extending them towards her. “Moyata polovinka.”

Annie did the same using her right hand. She broke into a huge smile. “Moyata polovinka.” Her arm was still extended and the smile was upon her face when she and the other students vanished with a soft pop.

 

And there she goes, off to Vienna, and remember her final stance, because that will come up the next time we see Annie–which should be at the start of the next chapter.  Chapter Twenty-Six is Kerry’s chapter, and while he’ll be by himself for the most part, he’s not really alone.  And he’s going to learn some interesting things during that time . . .

Like in the next scene. which I debated writing.  I’d come up with it on Tuesday, and yesterday it was flowing through my head, the conversation I envisioned.  The only problem was, the more I thought about it last night, the more I wondered if it would kill the flow of the story at that point.  But this tale is about characters and what they learn, and how they use that learning experience.  Also, the conversation includes a character who will actually play an important part in Kerry’s life in a few years, and this moment in time would be a good point to set that foundation.

So now Chapter Twenty-Six looks like this:

Sometimes you have to look hard to see the changes.

Sometimes you have to look hard to see the changes.

Where there was a deleted scene, it’s now been moved and has become part of the narrative.  Even after a year, when I thought I had the story laid out the way I wanted it, new things come to mind.

It’s nice how that work.

Where In the World Is Yule Going?

In my novel the year 2011 is winding down, and people are leaving the school.  Yes, it’s true that there are people of all faiths attending my fictional location, but given that was it originally founded by a bunch of European witches in the late 1600, and that the school still celebrates the old holidays as were once celebrated centuries before, there’s little reason why they wouldn’t clear out the school for a couple of weeks to allow people some time with their families, and to pretty much keep the Åsgårdsreia kids from scaring the crap out of everyone by reenacting the Wild Hunt.

Annie’s leaving:  so is Kerry, though not at the same time.  Annie’s heading back to Bulgaria, and Kerry’s heading to California.  Just like in the days when they “met”, right?  Because of the time zones, Annie’s leaving out about nine AM, and Kerry–well, he’s going to be around most of the day, actually.  You’ll find out more about that in the next scene.

Right now, however, it’s all about getting Annie to the station on time–the teleport station, that is.  The one the school has stashed away for things like the beginning and end of the school year, and the mid-year holiday.

And how is our couple handing this departure?

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry waited in the corridor outside Annie’s room. He’d been there for about twenty minutes, and while he could have waited in the mezzanine commons, he thought it best to stay close to her door.

He didn’t want to miss a moment of walking her to the jaunt platform.

Annie finally emerged. She’d changed her top so she was wearing a dark sweater with a full collar, with her locket positioned outside in full view. She was still wearing her dark tan skirt and black leggings, but had changed out her flats for warmer, thicker, tan boots. She had a brown weekender bag slung over her shoulder, which she set to the floor as she turned to shut her door.

Kerry was on the bag in a moment. “I can carry that.”

“It’s okay: I have it.” Annie lifted it to her shoulder with ease. “There’s not a lot in it; most everything else is already being sent to the jaunt room.” She held out her right hand and Kerry immediately took it before they started walking towards the stairs.

 

Annie laid the same move on Kerry that she laid on her father before leaving for school, and almost a year ago, back when I started writing this novel.  She doesn’t want anyone carrying her bags for her.

And where is everyone at this very moment?

 

Students had been leaving the school for the start of the nearly two-and-a-half-week Yule holiday since late last night and early this morning. Unlike the start and finish of the school year, and A and B Levels were being jaunted to various staging locations around the world with their fellow upper levelmates. While Annie wouldn’t need documentation to explain how she arrived at her destination, Kerry knew once he arrived somewhere in San Francisco, he’d be given tickets and boarding passes to prove he’d taken a non-stop United flight from Logan to San Francisco International, and that he’d return to Boston on the second of January.

Cernunnos Tower was mostly cleared out, even now before nine AM. The East and Central Asian and Oceanic students had already departed, and the Western Asian, European, and African students were in the process of departing now, with some of the South American students departing after them. Except for those students living in Alaska or Hawaii, most North American students wouldn’t leave until late in the afternoon–or as in Kerry’s case, not until late tonight.

 

Because The Foundation has to snow the parents of those A and B Level kids, because they don’t know what sort of witchcraft their little love goblins are up to yet.  Hence the gaslighting being referenced, to make Kerry’s parent think he just spent several hours going to Logan International, and then sat on a flight sailing across country to his final destination.

But that’s for later:  Annie’s talking now.

 

“Both your parents are coming?” Kerry had asked the same question last night, but he was trying to keep his mind off her departure by making small talk.

“Yes.” Annie looked straight ahead as Kerry held first the inner tower door and then the other tower door. She continued staring straight down the covered walk as they strolled through the bright light and brisk morning air. “I wasn’t sure if Papa was coming, but Mama said there wasn’t any way he was staying home.” She finally turned and gave Kerry a smile. “Sometimes it seems like I have a difficult time with my parents, but I do miss them—it’ll be good to see them again.”

“Yeah, I can imagine.”

Annie didn’t want to dwell on her family holiday versus his. In the last five weeks Kerry had received two emails from him family: one confirming that he was coming to his grandparents home outside San Fransisco for Christmas, and the last one this past Tuesday requesting flight information. “You’ll have a nice time visiting with your grandparents; concentrate on that.”

He nodded and squeeze her hand. “I will. You going straight home after that?”

“Yes. We’ll jaunt home, then I’ll take my adjustment medication, sleep for three or four hours, and when I wake up we’ll go into town for dinner. By the time we get back it should be around midnight, and I’ll be ready for bed for real.”

 

Yep, teleportation, jaunting, whatever you want to call it:  it’s the only way to travel.

"You guys are flying back to Europe?  You're adorable."

“You guys are flying back to Europe? You’re adorable.”

But there’s a bit more to this story than just getting Annie in a room and sending her home.

You’ll just have to wait for it.

Dancers in the Dark: Away Into the Shadows

Chapter Twenty-Five is over and done, and the shadows had their say.  More or less.  You’ll have to continue reading to see what I mean.

Not only is the chapter done, but I’ve made some modifications to the rest of Part Eight, getting it set up for how I want to write the remaining part of Act Two.  As you can see . . .

It's always better with pictures.

It’s always better with pictures.

I’ve decided to move one scene up to the next chapter, and to actually delete a scene.  Why that one?  Because, in thinking about what happens there, it breaks the flow of the story, and I can actually show what happens there through conversation in two other following scenes.  It also sets up a nice transition, because Frisco Bound has Kerry arrived in San Francisco, and his last thoughts in the scene is right about now Annie should be waking up . . . and then break to the next chapter and Morning in Pamporovo, and guess who’s waking up?

Yeah, that’s how you do it.

But how did that chapter end?  Well, I had my kids dancing before a dying fire, and there was more on Kerry’s mind, it would seem, that a dance from a month before . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

They grew close, one hand inside another, Kerry’s free hand around Annie’s waist with her other hand wrapped up and over Kerry’s right shoulder. They swayed back in forth in the shadows in front of the sofa, the dying fire to one side, and the nearly dark commons on the other. Neither spoke for almost a minute as they enjoyed the closeness and intimacy. Annie didn’t want to lose the moment—and she suspected that Kerry was still deep in thought.

She finally decided she had to know if Kerry was thinking about the same thing that had been on her mind for a few days. “What are you thinking about?”

This time he gave here a direct answer. “Yule holiday.”

He doesn’t say Christmas anymore. Annie pressed her head into his shoulder and smiled. “You’re thinking about being apart, aren’t you?”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah.”

Annie ran her hand up and down his shoulder. “I’ve been thinking about it as well.”

“Day after Boxing Day is our four month anniversary.”

“You’re keeping track?” She didn’t want to tell him that she knew this as well.

He laid his head against hers and let his voice drop to a whisper. “Every since the first month we were here—” His chuckle was so low as to be almost inaudible. “That was your birthday, after all.”

He realized; he knew all along. She wanted to put his mind at ease, even if her own wasn’t there. “It’s only going to be a couple of weeks.” Annie raised her head so she could gazed upon Kerry’s face and look into his eyes. “You’ll get to see your grandparent again, and I’ll be back home.” She rested her head against his shoulder once more. “I’m actually looking forward to seeing my parents. I told my father I’d have grown by the time I come home for Yule—”

“And you have. Maybe an inch.”

She thumped him lightly on the back of his shoulder. “Silly. That’s not what they meant.”

 

Yeah, you know what they mean, slick.  But she noticed that her birthday was the first month they were physically together–and I noticed it, too, last night while I was looking something up.  That’s one of the reasons I put dates on everything, and as I was getting the date they met in the bookstore in London, I realized, “Hey, that was a month before Annie’s birthday.”

27 August to 27 September.  I wasn't lying.

27 August to 27 September. I wasn’t lying.

But now that the missing and stuff is out in the open, what next?  Well . . .

 

“I know.” He glanced up the stairs past the mezzanine commons to the unseen entrance to the First Floor where there rooms were. “But we’ve gotta go to sleep soon.”

Annie slowly stepped away from Kerry. At first she followed his gaze up the stairs, then her eyes settled on the sofa. “What if we sat here for a while before heading up?”

Kerry stood next to Annie and let his eyes wander over the sofa. “We might get sleepy here.”

“It’s possible.”

“And . . .” He pointed to both ends of the sofa. “There are pillows and comforters here.”

Annie said nothing for a few moments, allowing the implications of the ideas they were considering settle. “It’s not like anyone ever slept here.”

Kerry picked up two pillows and laid them at one end of the sofa. “Otherwise why would they have this here?”

Annie picked up a comforter and spread it out. “Only makes sense.”

“It certainly does.” Kerry waited for Annie to pull the comforter back before laying down and pressing himself against the sofa back.

 

Hey, you kids:  what are you doing?  I’d say they’re getting ready to go to sleep . . .

 

Annie lay next to her soul mate on here right side, her back against him. She reached down and pulled the comforter over them, snuggling it over their shoulders and around their necks. “You know we could get detention—”

“I know.” He slid his left arm over her waist. “We’ll just have to get up about five or so and head up to our rooms.”

“That isn’t a problem.” She sighed as she watched the fire go out. “You’re not worried?”

Kerry rubbed his nose through Annie’s hair. “If we get detention . . .” He pulled back her hair and kissed her behind the ear. “It’s worth it.”

She took his left hand and held it tight. “A month ago you wouldn’t have said that.”

“A month ago I was only starting to know how I felt about you.” As the fire finally died and the embers began to smolder, Kerry brushed Annie’s cheek. “Good night, Annie. I love you.”

She touched the back of his hand. “Leka nosht, Kerry. I az te obicham.”

They relaxed and closed their eyes, Kerry’s arm once more around Annie’s waist, her hand still in his.

They drifted towards their dreams as the shadows embraced and held them tight . . .

 

And there they go, zero shits given if someone stumbles across them on a Sunday morning–which, traditionally, is a time to sleep in, so if they sneak up to their rooms on a floor they share with no one else, all should be right in the world.

I’m sure the shadows will tell them if someone comes.

Dancers in the Dark: the Dance Begins

Here we come, already, to the almost end of Chapter Twenty-Five.  There was a lot going on over the weekend, and I actually did get a lot done, and spent a lot of time on the road as well.  You wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but for most of Saturday I wasn’t even online, save for those periods early in the morning when I was doing my Saturday blog post.  And not sleeping.  Hated that part.

That part is over, however:  the last two nights I’ve gotten pretty good sleep, and even this morning I don’t feel as if I’m drugged.  Though I think the walk to work is gonna be chilly, since it’s only 37 F outside–

Hey, that’s pretty much the same temperature as the outside when I wrote this scene.  I know ’cause I looked it up.  Which is why the scene starts this way . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The door leading to the lower level open and two students stepped into the Cernunnos Tower ground floor commons. Anyone still awake in the tower would have recognized them right away for they were almost always the last ones to leave the Midnight Madness these days, but no one else was on the commons floor at thirty minutes after midnight.

Annie and Kerry slowly made their way towards the stairs at the other end of the commons floor, but before they could turn and ascend to their rooms, Kerry stopped and lightly tugged on Annie’s hand. “Do we have to go up right now?”

Annie didn’t need much coaxing. “We could sit in front of the fire.”

“What’s left of it.” The fireplace was enchanted so that it would begin burning out not long after midnight every night. Kerry led Annie over to the sofa; he sat first, then waited for Annie to sit next to him before he pulled her close for cuddling.

“It’s still warm, though.” Annie liked how Kerry was now taking initiative when it came to romantic gesture. Not that he hadn’t before, but since his declaration of love after the Day of the Dead, he’d begun doing things—like this suggestion they not go up to bed right way—without needing hints first. “And you’re keeping me warm.”

 

Kerry:  Keeping Annie Warm Since a Couple of Weeks Before.

I would have tried to find a picture with a boy in here as well, but most were of the "Too Sexy" varaity.  So, just imagine Annie in a few years after she's sent Kerry off to some magic story in another country, and she's killing time waiting for his butt to return . . .

I would have tried to find a picture with a boy in here as well, but most were of the “Too Sexy” variety. So, just imagine Annie in a few years after she’s sent Kerry off to some magic story in another country, and she’s killing time waiting for his butt to return . . .

Though the truth is he’s done that before–sometimes without even being asked.  But things are different with him now, particularly since he laid the “I love you” bit on Annie.  He must be feeling the vibe a little more.

Of course Annie thinks he has something on his mind, because he’s been quite tonight.  She then has to ask about what’s on his mind.  And . . .

 

She received an answer, but it wasn’t the one she expected. “The dance.”

“The Samhain dance?”

“Yeah.” Kerry touched his cheek against her hair. “It’s been almost a month now.” He chucked softly as he stared into the fire. “I miss dancing.”

Annie turned so she could see his far and figure out if he was joking: he wasn’t. “You do.”

“Yeah, I do.” He closed his eyes for a moment. “I’d never danced with a girl before; it was . . . special.”

“It was special for me as well.” She turned back and was staring into the fire along with Kerry. “I’d never danced with a boy before, nor did I have anyone dedicate a song to me and then dance with him—alone—in front of everyone there.” She felt a tingling in her head. “I still get a little light headed thinking about that moment.”

Kerry slipped around Annie and stood. He faced Annie, and with the fire to his back his entire front was cloaked in shadows. “Dance with me?” He held out his hand for Annie to take.

She looked up, and the tingling in her head intensified. “There’s no music.”

“We don’t need any.” His hand remained outstretched. “Dance with me, Miss Kirilova?”

Annie took his hand and allow him to assist her to her feet. “I would love to, Mr. Malibey.”

 

I’d keep an eye on those titles they just threw out, because . . . you might hear them now and again?  Isn’t that called foreshadowing?

They must be about to get into trouble.  Yeah, that’s it . . .

The Shadow Teaching

It’s way early right now, like five AM early, because I didn’t sleep at all.  Well, a little here and there, but not as well as I would have liked.  And I can’t make coffee this morning, so somewhere along all my driving today–yep, I’m out on the road once more–I gotta find some java.  And then a couple of rest stops along the way.

A question came up last night:  what’s you’re current word count.  Well, now that I have two of three scenes finished for Chapter Twenty-Five, it’s pretty easy to say, “I’m right here now.”  That’s means a couple of screen graphics are in order.  First, where am I with the Act?

Yep, right there.

Yep, right there.

And there where am I with the novel?

I'm at a point between foolishness and total insanity.

I’m at a point between foolishness and total insanity.

I’d mentioned, just off hand, that I’d hit somewhere around 280.000 words, and I was right there in the ballpark.  This makes me believe that Act Two will likely end up somewhere between 150,000 and 160,000 words, or just slightly longer than Act One.  And if Act Three is about the same . . .

Yeah.  Madness.

With that in mind, what’s the madness going on in my kid’s private lab?  Annie’s impressing Kerry with the thing she made for him–sort of . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry wasn’t quite sure what to make of the . . . ribbon floating before him. “It’s pretty—” He gave Annie a puzzled look. “What do you call this?

“It’s called a shadow ribbon—at least that’s what the spell is called.” She waved her hand to her left and the ribbon moved to Kerry’s right, then up and over his head, to finally float back down on his left and settle back where it had started. “You can make them as big or small as you’d like, and once I know how to work this spell better, I can control more than one at the same time.” She nodded at the animated shadow. “Go ahead, touch it.”

He ran his fingers over the wavering ribbon. I shouldn’t be able to touch this, but I can. “It feels like silk.”

“Light and flexible, yet strong—just like it.” She came closer and placed her hand next to Kerry’s. “I’ve actually see people use these to suspend heavy objects from walls and ceilings.” She removed her hand and performed a quick circular motions with her outstretched index fingers. A moment later the ribbon partially wrapped itself around Kerry’s right wrist. Annie slowly waved her right hand off to one side, and the ribbon lifted Kerry’s arm away from his body. “I can use it to take you were I want you to go.” She chuckled, her eyes shinning brightly, happy that she could show off her abilities to her soul mate.

Kerry chucked as well. “It’s not like you need magic to have me go somewhere with you.”

“That’s true for now . . .” Annie waved both hand and the shadow disappeared into nothingness.

 

For a young lady who’s just starting out at a school for advanced students who can bend reality, she’s able to crank out the crafting.  And someone is noticing . . .

 

“Most sorcery is fairly blunt force in its application: shadow magic requires a deft touch to craft correctly. Lovecraft said it was like the different between punching holes in walls to working with rice paper.”

“I saw how you were working with it.”

“Yes.” Annie nodded. “Light touches everywhere.”

“That was pretty obvious.” Kerry smiled broadly. “I don’t know why Lovecraft was so surprised, though: she should know by now you’re really good when it comes to this stuff.”

“Well . . .” She blushed thinking about how Professor Lovecraft had asked her a couple of times if she had actually done Shadow Ribbons before, since she was able to craft a ribbon on her third time, and it had taken her weeks to manipulate her first one.

“After all—” Kerry stepped next to her, taking Annie’s hand. “You are my Dark Witch.”

“Stop.” She brushed her fingers down his chest in mock anger.

“And now you’re the Dark Shadow Witch.” He laughed, and Annie joined him a moment later. “I don’t understand why this is sorcery, though. I would imagine Wednesday would teach this to us.”

“It’s because it can be used against people.” Annie took Kerry’s left wrist in both hands. “As light and silky as that shadow felt, I could have tightened it until . . .” She pretended to pop his hand off his arm.  “It would have been easy to amputate your hand.”

“Glad you didn’t.”

“I’d never do that to you . . .”

She didn’t say about doing it to anyone else. “I know.”

 

Yeah, she never said anything about lopping off someone else’s hand.  You know, like nosy wingmates who are asking personal questions of your soul mate . . .

But that’s for the future.  Annie has something else in mind at this very moment–

 

Annie studied Kerry closely for almost twenty seconds. He said nothing, but she expected that: he’d grown used to watching her observe him. She though about how he’d looked when she’s created the ribbon, and how acted when she maneuvered it around his body and wrapped it around his wrist. It won’t hurt to ask . . . “Would you like to learn how to do this spell?”

Kerry’s eyes beamed. “You’d ask Lovecraft if she’d teach me?”

“No.” Annie’s eyes beamed back. “I’d teach you.”

“Wait . . .” He brows furrowed. “I thought you have a sorceress’ bargain with her so you could access the library in the Witch House?”

“I do.” Creating a bargain had been a requirement before allowing Annie into The Black Vault. “The bargain says that anything I learn in The Vault I can’t pass on to others—” She tapped Kerry on the chest. “I think that was designed to keep me from showing you everything I learned.”

He’d figure that as well after she explained the deal she’d worked out with Professor Lovecraft after she’d shocked Kerry into the hospital for the night. “What’s different now?”

“I didn’t learn this spell in The Vault.” Annie turned her eyes up towards the ceiling for a few seconds. “This isn’t the first spell I’ve learned, either—And none of them I’ve learned in The Value.” A slight, playful grin played across her face. “Lovecraft won’t let me practice any spells in The Value. She says it’s too dangerous.”

 

Now we reach the part of the program where Annie, after almost three months in the joint, decides it’s time to step up the game and start passing along what she knows to her significant other.  Though it would seem as if the wonderful Mistress of All Things Dark left a big opening for Little Miss Dark Witch to do just that.  And she’s realizing it, but . . .

 

It could be she wants to see if I’m going to take what I’ve learned and pass it along to him. She gazed deeply into his eyes. But this is something he should know—something I want him to know . . .

She made up her mind in an instant. “I want to teach this to you.”

Kerry chuckled and turned his gaze towards Annie’s feet. “I don’t know; I think—”

“Kerry.” He snapped his heard up and met Annie’s burning gaze. “You’re a good sorceress. Lovecraft said so, and I say so.” She ran her right hand down his arm. “It’s time you became my Dark Witch.”

 

No shits are given–she wants her own Dark Witch.

And we all know by now:  what Annie wants, Annie gets.

Above in the Transept: the Conversation

It’s now getting down to the End of the Act.  The last scene of the last chapter of Part Seven is more than half done, and what remains are Part Eight, four chapters, and maybe fourteen scenes.  These will get knocked off during NaNo, and in the very last moments of the very last scene of Act Two, you’ll be introduced to a character who is going to change the lives of a couple of kids a lot more than any of the instructors have. over the last few months.

Just a hop, skip, and a jump over from November to the End of December, and right into the end of January.

Just a hop, skip, and a jump over from November to the End of December, and right into the end of January.

There’s a conversation in the East Transept, one between Annie and Professor Arrakis, who seems to be popping up in these last few scenes.  And what is this transept you speak of, Cassie?  If you look at any old cathedral, they’re the “wings” that stick out of a building to make it look like a cross.  The West Transept of the Great Hall is where the Security Center is located:  the East Transept, as indicated in the scene, is the location of some of the offices used by the instructors, and it’s also where you’ll find the Headmistress’ Office.  The first floor on this side is unusual in that there’s a cutout in the middle of the floor, and one can look down upon the students coming and going out of the East Entrance–perfect for an instructor laying in wait for someone coming from classes there, or where they can spy on them walking through the Rotunda.

One East Transept, coming up.  Annie's in there somewhere . . .

One East Transept, coming up. Annie’s in there somewhere . . .

What happens in this conversation?  Just as mentioned the professor sees them walking in from the East–they wandered though the Pentagram Garden, around the south end of the Great Hall, and back up north towards Mórrígan Tower, and while Kerry is resting, Annie is talking . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Professor Arrakis had moved away from the Rotunda railing and was standing along the north side of the transept that led to the offices for some of the instructors that needed an office that was more accessible to students. Deanna stood close to the wall facing Annie as she approached. “Thank you for coming.”

“You’re welcome, Professor.” Annie wasn’t sure why she was being summoned, but she figured it was best to let the professor start the conversation.

Deanna did just that. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m fine.”

“And Kerry?”

“He’s . . .” Annie didn’t want to lie. “Not completely healed. He started limping after our walk around the garden.”

“But is he feeling well?”

“I think so.” Annie looked over her shoulder towards The Rotunda, but from where she stood it was impossible to see him. “He seems in a good mood.”

“I think we’re all glad he wasn’t too affected by what happened yesterday.” Deanna didn’t dwell on those matters. “So . . . has anything out of the ordinary happened with you both today?”

She knows something happened, but she doesn’t know what. Annie almost chuckled, but held back the urge at the last moment. “Yes, something did.”

Deanna raised one of her dark, expressive eyebrows. “Are you going to tell me, or will you keep me in suspense?”

“Kerry told me he loved me.”

 

So seers don’t see everything, though we do know that Deanna felt something would happen between them the night before, and that it would extend into today.  But there’s something else that Deanna missed which is still fresh in Annie’s mind.

 

Since Professor Arrakis was asking questions, Annie had to believe that she wasn’t aware of what happened in the bay last night. “Professor, Kerry remembered one of our dreams last night. The memories are still there.”

“That’s good then, yes?” She turned her head slightly to one side as if listening closely to Annie’s words. “That’s something of a breakthrough as well.”

“Yes, but . . .” Annie looked away as she clenched her fists. “He doesn’t remember any of it now. I thought he might, but it didn’t happen.” Annie moved a little closer to Deanna, shaking her closed hands before her. “The memories are there—why doesn’t he remember them?”

 

As one might say, “Again with the questions about the dreams.”  Annie won’t let it go, and now that she knows he remembers something, she damn sure wants to get to the reasons of why.

Unfortunately for Deanna, she asks Annie to wait and be calm and see what happens.  Annie doesn’t want that, and for the first time in the story we see an Annie that has only been hinted at, mostly be her:  we get the Annie Who Gets What She Wants.

 

Annie’s head snapped up as he gaze bored into the Seer. She wasn’t about to let someone else tell her what was and wasn’t important. “I want my Kerry back. I want my Ginger Hair Boy, the one who I shared dreams with for years, the boy I grew to love, the boy who loves me. I want him, Deanna. I want him to—”

Veruca Salt’s got nothing on this girl.  Boyfriend’s got memory’s locked up inside his head and they won’t come out?  Screw it:  “I want it now!”  This is the Annie here parents have seen, but who has never appeared at the school before now–

Unfortunately for Annie, my Iraqi Seers isn’t her parents . . .

 

You selfish girl.”

Annie immediately stopped speaking and stared dumbfounded at the Divination instructor. She saw a Deanna that was contrary to the woman she’s known these last two months. She towered over Annie; her face was a mask of disapproval, her dark eyes hard and unwavering—

And Annie had driven her to this moment.

Deanna walked around the now stupefied student, then turned and cocked a finger at her. “Come with me.” Annie followed her to the railing overlooking the Rotunda. Deanna turned and motioned her to a point in front of her. “You stand there. I’m going to talk, and you’re going to listen.” Deanna’s voice unfroze and went back to what Annie has always seen before: a calm, pleasant, cheerful woman. But the tone of her voice remained the same, indicating her appearance was for show. “You can smile and nod your head, make it look as if we’re having a nice conversation—but at the same time I want you to keep an eye on that boy sitting in the Rotunda: the one waiting for you . . .”

 

And that’s all you get for today.  I wrote almost twelve hundred and sixty words last night, and I’ll finish it up tonight and maybe even start on the next scene of the next chapter–something to do with shadows.

Can’t wait to get to that.

Admissions in the Garden

This scene in the novel . . . this is one I’ve had in my mind for a long time.  Though, originally, it appeared way differently:  locations, reasons, appearances, things said–they’ve all be altered, because that’s what you do with a story as you go along.  Particularly if you’re had months to think about a scene before you get around to writing said part.

I also approached this scene with a little trepidation because–you’ll see.  You’ll see in a bit.

Annie and Kerry are outside now; Annie for the first time in over twenty-four hours, as she tells Kerry.  It’s a cool and crisp morning–

Because I always check my historical weather data.  I'm funny that way.

Because I always check my historical weather data. I’m funny that way.

With this in mind, with Kerry in his hoodie and Annie in her thick sweater from home, designed for that mountain climate she lives in, they decide to stay outside . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“No. I want to enjoy being outside.” She pointed down the path they were walking. “We could sit and get out of the wind.”

“Sit at our bench?”

Now it was Annie’s turn to chuckle. “You think of it as our bench, too?”

“Why not?” Kerry picked up the pace just a little, but not so much that Annie would think he was over-exerting himself. “It is sort of out bench now.”

“Not sort of—” Annie pulled Kerry along. “It is.”

Kerry nodded. It was sort of funny to think of it that way, but when he gave the matter any consideration, he couldn’t remember anyone else ever sitting there. It’s just like our sofa in the Midnight Madness; no one else ever seems to sit there . . .

 

Of course, Kerry sits there in silence, because a lot of times when they’ve come to this particular bench he’s thinking about something.  When Annie asks him, he remembers something she told him last night about Protectors being on the grounds.  He takes in the info and then goes back to being quiet, because it’s Kerry:  he’s like that.  We know how Annie is, however–

 

“Um, hum.” He stared straight ahead while keeping a firm grip on Annie’s hand.

“Kerry . . .” Annie wanted to move forward carefully, least she say something that might being on déjà vu. “You seemed surprised to see me this morning.”

He nodded. “I was a little.” He half turned his head in her direction. “I wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating.”

Does he remember our dream? “What do you remember?”

“I remember waking up and I was crying.” Kerry closed his eyes for a few seconds; Annie though he might start crying again, but he didn’t. “I remember talking to you, and then . . .” He screwed up his face as if he was remembering something unpleasant. “Then drifting off to sleep.” He squeezed Annie’s hand. “With you next to me.”

“What about the things in . . . the middle?” Please let him remember. Please.

Kerry shook his head. “I don’t remember anything. It’s all so fuzzy, just flashes I can’t . . .” He shrugged. “It’s all disjointed; I can’t remember it clearly.”

 

Annie and her, “If I could only get him to remember our dreams,” thoughts and wishes.  There’s more on her mind, however, because she remembers a number of things that were said the night before.

 

Annie was a little crestfallen that Kerry couldn’t now remember the events of their shared dream. It wasn’t everything, however. “Do you remember what you wanted to talk about?”

Kerry returned to looking straight ahead and away from Annie. “Yeah.”

She didn’t like the quiet, down tone he was using. “Kerry—”

He slowly turned back around to face her. “You deserve better.”

Annie almost felt her heart skip a beat. “What are you saying?”

He cleared his throat. “You’re a kind, loving girl, and I’m not like that.”

“Yes, you are.” She moved slightly closer, holding his hand tight, the same as she’d done last night. “You heard what Coraline said about the little things we do—”

“I know; I do those.” He shrugged again as if it didn’t matter. “But you’re always telling me you love me, and I just . . .” He lowered his head and started at his feet. “I never say anything.”

What is he trying to say? “Kerry, that’s not—”

“It is true, Annie.” He pulled his hand out of hers and laid it in his lap alongside his right. “You’ve expressed yourself perfectly—and I act like like I’m still trying to figure this out.”

Don’t say this—don’t. Annie felt as if the bottom was dropping out of her world. Only last night Kerry whispered he loved her before falling off to sleep, and now it seemed like he was berating himself up for not being affectionate and telling her she deserved better. “Everything takes time, my love.” She could almost see Professor Arrakis saying the same thing. “You shouldn’t—”

“No.” Kerry slowly rose to his feet. “You need more than just me taking my time to get to where you are.” He took three slow, measured steps towards the other side of the covered walkway leading to their tower. He didn’t see Annie’s face, now a mask of confusion and fear that Kerry was going to tell her something upsetting—

 

There’s that saying about, “If you don’t like the answers, maybe you shouldn’t have asked the questions,” and right now Annie is wishing she hadn’t asked that question.  And that seems to be the road Kerry is headed down–and it’s making Annie worried.

 

He turned towards her. His face radiated fear, which was doing little to put Annie’s emotions at ease. He took a step towards her. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say.” He closed the distance between them and stood silently, looking down at her. He took his time reaching down so he could take her hands in his—

Annie was shivering, but not from the cold, not this time. Her heart and mind were racing, one hoping against the worst, the other expecting the worst. He’s going to tell me he doesn’t want me. She looked up into his eyes, fighting to keep her face impassive. He’s going to say he hasn’t any real feelings for me, that he doesn’t know why we are together

 

Well, you did ask for it, Annie.  You may as well hear what he has to say.  Which is . . .

 

“Anelie Victoreva Kirilova, I love you.”

She blinked three time fast. Her face unfroze, and for the second time in less than twelve hours she expressed shock over something Kerry said. Only this time it wasn’t the shock that came with him saying something that she knew was untrue: it was the shock that came from hearing something completely unexpected. “Kerry—”

“You’re the most important thing in my life, Annie. I don’t want you there: I need you there. I need you to be with me.” A tear slipped from his left eye. “I want to feel you with me. I want to—” He choked up for a few seconds. “I want to feel your love.”

 

And there it is:  he finally expressed the words she’s wanted to hear for a couple of month now.

 

Annie wanted to stand up and throw her arms around her Ginger Hair Boy, but she knew if she did she might pass out before she could raise her arms. “When did you realize?”

“The night I was in the hospital after my accident. I knew you were mad at me, but then you came back and told me about your family, and you said—” A few more tears escaped. “When you told me that I needed someone to tell me that every day, that you’d tell me that every day of my life—but most of all, that I was worthy of love . . .” He sniffed back her onrushing emotions. “After you left I knew I hadn’t shown you the same thing, and I knew I was wrong to not show you my affections. I woke up in the middle of the night, and after about five minutes of thinking about it, I knew I was in love.” He squeezed her hands. “With you.”

“Why didn’t you say something?” Annie shook her head slowly, trying to erase the disbelief from her face. “Why?”

“Because I was scared.” Kerry looked down and a way for a moment, trying to keep from crying while gathering his thoughts. “I used to tell my parents I loved them all the time—until I was like six or so. They almost never responded; they never showed any open affection. After a few years of that I just gave up: I didn’t say or do anything.

“And my grandparents . . . As much as I love them, as soon as we moved to Cardiff, they stopped writing to me. I didn’t hear from them at all. Not even email.” He closed his eyes but never let Annie’s hands go.

“I was going to tell you at the dance. That’s why I did the song dedication. I was going to dance, and then we were going to go somewhere—”

“Our bench?” Annie finally found the strength to chuckle.

Kerry joined her. “Yeah, something like that . . . And I was going to get you here and tell you.”

“Oh, Kerry . . .” Annie felt a little of what she was feeling just a few night ago course through her. “I would have melted. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because . . .” This time he did look away as the tears began to flow.

Annie slowly made her way to her feet. She stood face-to-face with Kerry, her hands still within his. “Because you were frightened. Because you were afraid.”

He nodded. “I started over-analyzing everything. I started wondering if it was just the event that would have made you happy, or if I wanted to say I loved you because of how the dance made me feel. And then I got scared, and starting thinking—”

“You thought once you gave your love to me I would abandon you.” She pulled her right hand from his and brought it to his cheek. “Like your parents did. Like your grandparents did. Like . . .” She stopped, because she couldn’t repeat what she’d heard last night, least she ruin the moment. “Like you thought I might.”

He wiped his face on his newly freed sleeve. “Yeah.”

 

Fear is a powerful motivator.  I know, because I was there all the time as a child.  My life seemed driven by fear, so it’s not unusual that Kerry has fallen into that same trap, becoming an alienated young lad who just wants affection.  And what is more scary than a first love?  And wondering if she’ll remain with you after you express your love to her?  It’s different when you’re an adult, because you come to accept that not all relationship last.  But when it’s your first time, and you experience that breakup–it’s a killer.

And Kerry would rather hide the rest of his life than feel that pain of abandonment.

Fortunately, he has Annie . . .

 

Annie re-took Kerry’s free hand and held them both close to her. “Kerrigan Rodney Malibey, I love you. You are the most important thing in my life. I don’t want you in my life: I need you in my life.” She pulled herself up against his torso. “I want to feel you with me, and I want to feel your love.” She glided her lips across his right cheek. “And I want to hear you tell me, every day of my life, that you love me.”

Kerry half-closed his eyes and relaxed his breathing. “I will.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

“Then—” Annie kissed him lightly on the lips. “You’ll never be afraid again. I will always be here. I will never abandon you.”

 

Kerry goes through four difficult night, and the night after the attack, the one where he shared a dream he can’t remember with Annie, was his third.  And the aftermath of that night led to him opening himself up to Annie in a way that was absolutely necessary.

It only took about 275,000 words, but Kerry finally spoke the Big Three Words.  Congratulations, kid.

It only took about 275,000 words, but Kerry finally spoke the Big Three Words. Congratulations, kid.

Now maybe I can stop torturing these kids for a while–

Yeah, right.