Home is Where the Dreamspace Lay

Sometimes last night Chapter Thirty-Five was finished, tidied up and put to bed.  The last of the four scenes was completed, and I’m happy with them–

I wasn’t happy with how I felt, but that’s another story.  Maybe a change of pace going out tonight will liven things up just a bit.  I don’t know:  of late I’ve been in a massive funk and it’s affecting my work and my writing, and I’m not sure how to stop it.  Maybe some plotting and time lining tonight will fix things up a bit and get my mind off in a different direction.

I did catch a minor flaw in my writing, last night–at goof, if you will.  After a conversation I had yesterday about Annie and her statements concerning her attending Salem, I went back and checked out the parts of the story where she mentioned this fact.  It happened with Deanna way back at the start of the school year, and I happened with Kerry twice:  once on 1 April in Salem, and then three weeks later in Kansas City.  There was one point where Annie remembers something about the time different without realizing it has something to do with something she did her in “Last Dream”, so I left it in because, yes, these kids both have slip-ups in memory, and that’s something relating to her dream.  (And I can also have her remember that when she’s in KC, I love how to work that . . .)

But the mistake I made came about three hundred thousand words apart.  When Annie is speaking to Deanna she mentions when she discovered Kerry’s real name and wrote it down.  She also mentions that later to Erywin.  We know she told Erywin it was after Kerry moved to Cardiff, which happened after he turned eight and the summer before she turned nine.  But she tells Deanna it happens before she turns eight.  Oops.  This is where I have to make sure I get some keywords in place in Scrivener so I can keep facts like this straight, because I know stuff I wrote in November, 2013, is probably just a little off from things I wrote a year later.

But you don’t want to hear about that.  You want to know what happens next, right?

Well, Annie’s standing in the middle of a road . . .

 

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

Annie squinted as diffused light stuck her eyes. The scenery began coming into view, and she glanced right and left, taking in her surroundings. She was standing in a tree-lined street with houses on either side, though there wasn’t any traffic, nor were there any cars. Sound was absent: wind, animals, music, people being outside—there was nothing was dead silence.

She gazed down her body towards her feet. She was still dressed in her blue silk pajamas and her feet were bare. She touched the pavement with here toes: it felt like she was walking on the bed’s comforter and not something hard and unyielding.

She was aware shouldn’t be here, because she was in bed asleep.

Annie remembered getting under the covers and turning out the lights. She remembered Kerry telling her good night and that he loved her, and she doing the same. She remembered rolling onto her right side and feeling Kerry cuddle her and kiss the back of her neck before spooning up against her back and sliding his left arm over her tummy.

She remembered feeling content and happy and loved before closing here eyes—

 

Oh, Annie, you lovely girl.  Talking about falling asleep in bed with your soul mate.  But now she’s standing in the middle of a street in her pajamas.  And . . .

 

“Annie?”

She turned to her right and there he stood, slightly behind her and maybe five meters away. He was also dressed in his pajamas, but he wasn’t wearing his glasses. He always wears his glasses. She took two steps in his direction as he began walking towards her. The only time I’ve ever see him without them is when . . .

The moment he was within arm’s length Kerry took Annie’s hands. “Is this what I think it is?”

Annie looked up. “Does everything feel a bit strange to you?”

“Just a little.” He reached up and touched his face. “I’m not wearing my glasses.”

“No, you’re not.” She looked down the street past Kerry, then back to him. “This is—” A huge grin broke out on her face. “We’re dreaming.”

“This is our dreamspace.” He laughed aloud. “We’re dreaming again.”

 

Finally they are back.  This is what it’s like for them:  everything looks real, but there’s just enough off to make it seem not real.  And there’s a little test, just to see if it is real–

 

She wasn’t certain how they were doing this, but Annie was ecstatic to see them back in a space they’d shared so many times in the past. “Wait—see if you can change your clothes.”

Kerry closed his eyes and appeared to concentrate. A few seconds later his pajamas vanished and he was wearing the same outfit he’d worn from Salem. He looked down at himself. “Wow. I can do this.”

“Of course you can—” Annie’s own clothing changed, though instead of wearing the outfit she’d worn from school, she was wearing a tank top, jeans, and sandals. “You’re a witch, just like me. And if I can change, so can you.” She laughed and leapt against him. “I can’t believe we’re here.”

Kerry had never seen Annie so happy before—but then, this was their private world; this was a place they’d shared so many times in the past, and now, it seemed, it was open once more . . . “When we were talking about this tonight, something must have unlocked that allowed us to get back here.”

“It must have.” Annie continued hugging Kerry tight. “We were together last night—”

“But we didn’t figure out our last dream.” Kerry spun Annie around, laughing. “Oh, man. This is fantastic.”

“It is.” Annie kept her arms draped around his shoulders as she checked their surroundings. “Do you know this place? I don’t recognize it.”

 

We’ve seen Annie singing and showing off here nail polish, and now she’s leaping for joy.  Pretty soon she’ll want to go shopping, and she’ll end up dragging Kerry into every store she can find.  But that’s for a later date and a latter time.  Right now questions are asked, and Kerry does have an answer . . .

 

He nodded. “I know it.” Kerry pointed to the house behind her. “That’s my old house on Van Winkle Drive. This is Sleepy Hollow.”

Annie stared at the house. “I’ve never seen it from out here.”

“No. The only time you ever saw it in our dreams was out on the back patio and in my bedroom.”

She remembered something that he’d mentioned after returning from Yule holiday. “You didn’t go by here when you were visiting your grandparents, did you?”

He shook his head. “No.” He looked to his left, staring down the road. “My parents did, but I didn’t want to.”

Annie slowly untangled herself. “Why not?”

“I just—” He cleared his throat and looked away from the structure. “I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.”

 

Abandonment and separation play a big part in Kerry’s psychology, and both seem to go together.  It seems as if his life in California wasn’t much better than his current one in Cardiff, but he seems to have an answer of why he misses this place so much . . .

 

There were many things that Annie remembered from their last eight months together, but the thing that stuck out this very moment was one of the first things he said to her after she’d told him she loved him. “’This is a new chapter for me’.”

He shook himself. “What?”

“You said that our first night in the garden after you told me that no girl had ever said they loved you or called you their soul made.” She gently placed his left hand between hers. “You were talking about your E&A; it was the only thing you could remember.”

He allowed his mind to wander back to that moment. “I remember I was told not to dwell on the past.” He looked at the dream house and slipped his hands into his pant pockets. “And I haven’t been dwelling—”

“So why didn’t you go by and say goodbye?”

Kerry looked down and shook his head. “I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.”

Annie touched his chin and slowly raised his head. “My love . . .”

He blinked twice. “Yes?”

“Why can’t you say goodbye?”

“Because . . .” He swallowed and motioned towards the building. “I didn’t want to say goodbye without you.” He lowered his arms to his side. “I didn’t know why at the time I didn’t want to see this place; I kept thinking it had to do with what I remembered from the E&A, that I have to write new chapters and move forward.  But I know now:  this is where we met, were we played, where we learned about each other.  That’s why I couldn’t go . . .” Kerry stared deeply into Annie’s eyes. “You should be there when I say goodbye to my home.”

 

It’s not so much the memories he shared there with family and friends, but he now knows this is the place where he first met Annie, and he wants to be with her when he finally waves this place off.

However, Annie has some words of wisdom for him–

 

She turned and pointed towards the house. “That’s not your home, darling.”

“I know: it’s just a dream.”

“No, I mean . . . it’s not your home; it never was. It was a place that you lived until you were eight, and then you moved to Cardiff.” She took his hands. “Until you find a place where you can live with someone you love, and who loves you, and you both fill that place with your love, you won’t really have a home.”

She stood to his left and hugged him as they faced the front yard. “We shared many memories there, and many more in Cardiff, but those don’t mean nearly as much to me as bike riding in our dream countryside, or the place in the mountains where we picnicked—or your tree where you read to me.” She wrapped her arms around him and closed her eyes. “That place means more to me than either of these places you’ve lived.”

Kerry sniffed once and lightly pressed his head against hers. “I never thought of it that way.”

She nodded. “I know. You think of this place as where we first met, but really—” She pulled slightly away and looked around. “This place, our dreamspace, is where we first met, where we played, where we learned about each other. This is why I’ve missed out dreams: because this was our first home.”

He chuckled. “It is, isn’t it?” Kerry turned to Annie and kissed her lightly. “It’s our home.”

“And our home is filled with our love.” Annie nodded towards the house. “One day we’ll say goodbye to this place in person, but—” She stepped back and tugged lightly on his arm. “Show it to me so we can say goodbye now.”

 

When I wrote the above passage last night I was only concerned with getting it right, with writing it in Annie’s voice–which I do hear when I’m writing her dialog–and it didn’t affect me then, but just rereading it now . . . I teared up big time.  Yeah, I know:  I’m like Kerry.  Big surprise there.

But in those words you find the one reason out of many why Annie wanted Kerry to remember his dream, and why she wanted to return to sharing them with him:  because this is their home.  And you realize–and it’s something that gets brought up in another scene–that even Annie wants and needs a home.

Probably with here husband-to-be, but we know how goes, right?

And there’s on last thing:

 

“There were.” He laughed softly. “You really want to go inside?”

“Yes.” She kissed his cheek. “And then I want to see our tree again, and rest in its shade.”

He faced the house, holding Annie’s right hand in his left. “You ready?”

She stood alongside and faced the house as well. “I am.”

“Okay, then.” Kerry nodded sharply once. “Let’s do this.”

Annie nodded once. “Let’s.”

 

Those last four lines will get used at least once a novel, assuming I ever get around to writing them.  I also know something special about those words, too–I just can’t tell you, not just yet.

So, out with the old and in with the new . . .

Just like all my other plans so far, it's coming together--more or less.

Just like all my other plans so far, it’s coming together–more or less.

And as you can see I’ve already started some house cleaning.  I’ll finalize this layout tonight, and probably do a little writing an a little time lining, and in no time we’ll be through the Kansas operation–

Safe and sound, I hope.

The Deconstruction of the Wall of Dreams

There comes a moment when you have to pull out the last of the secrets and show them.  At least in this book, that is, because while I’ve presented a lot of secrets about my kids over the course of nearly fourteen months, there are a few that will carry over into other stories.

Right now, however, we’re dealing with secrets in the here and now.

Kerry is saying he’s figured out their final dream together, the one that both have had difficulty seeing, even with his memory block of their dreams removed.  It’s a big moment because it really defines why he lost touch with Annie, why he couldn’t remember all their dream moments together.

And how does he start?

 

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

Annie almost slipped away from Kerry’s embrace so she could turn and face him. “Really?”

He nodded. “I think so.”

“When did this happen?”

He looked down at his lap, avoiding Annie’s sideway glance. “After we fell asleep last night at the Observatory, I had a dream, and . . .” Now he met her gaze. “I saw something.”

His last three words had Annie wondering: did he have a dream, or was it a vision? She knew her rune dream was actually a vision, and while Kerry’s seemed to be more of a dream, one could also debate that something was telling him of a possible future, and reminding him of the steps he needed to take to get there.

Annie waved her hand at two of the lights and extinguished them; she felt there was too much light in the room, and she wanted things a bit more intimate. “What did you see?” No matter if it were a dream or vision, Annie had to know something about that last moment they shared in dreamspace.

His voice remained low as spoke. “It was short. I saw us in a fog, talking—well, not really talking, but—” His face twisted into a grimace. “I was upset, standing there with my hands over my ears, and I could hear you saying you had to go away . . .” He gulped softly. “That was really all I saw, but it was enough to get me thinking when we were flying back to the tower.

 

Something triggered him up at the tower.  Maybe it was falling asleep together and being in close proximity to Annie, and having things just chipping away inside his head.  He goes on:

 

“I didn’t go back to sleep right away when we got back to our rooms. I stayed up and thought about what happened, starting at the beginning, and then read through the books, trying to find answers to what I was thinking.” He pressed his face into Annie’s hair. “I remember, I had a bad day that day; my mom was yelling at me about something—I don’t remember what, but I remember I went to bed upset and wanting to see you—”

“I remember I had a bad day as well.” Annie’s voice grew soft and tender. “My father and she were going on about my attending Salem and how it was going to be great for the family to have another Kililovi there—” She slowly shook here head. “By the time my mother was finished I didn’t want to hear about Salem anymore, I just . . .” She held onto Kerry’s comforting hand. “I wanted to see you.”

“We were both like that.” Kerry slid down on the bed a little so he was cheek-to-cheek with his soul mate. “In bad mood and wanting to see each other. Only . . .”

“Yes?”

“When I saw you I knew something was wrong, and I felt it hit me. You asked me how I was doing, and I asked you. Then . . .” He swallowed before speaking softly and slowly. “You said, ‘I have something to tell you; I’m going away’.”

Now Annie did sit up and turn her head. “Wait, I don’t remember saying it that way. I told you that I had news, that I . . .” The realization hit Annie that the moment she’d had so much trouble remembering returned to her as if it had happened just yesterday. “That I have something to tell you; I’m going away.” The shock she felt flowed into her face. “I did say that.”

Kerry nodded while keeping his eyes downcast. “I know you said that you were going away to school in America, but that came after. By that time—” He closed his eyes. “I was already starting to lose it.”

The scene rushed back into Annie’s memory: Kerry looking sad when he greeted her; her telling him she was going away; the look of anguish that took hold as he couldn’t believe what he’d heard; she telling him in a dejected tone that she was going to America in a few months, that their sleep schedule would get changed, that she didn’t know how it was going to affect their dreams—

And the crying, the moaning, the hacking sobs as Kerry . . .

Annie’s breath quickened. She tightened her grip around his hand. “You thought I was abandoning you.”

He opened his eyes and a few tears dribbled from his eyes. “Yeah.”

 

Finally, just by getting that first little part out of the way, Kerry is able to remember what he saw, and so is Annie.  It’s one of those, “Oh, really?” moments when it happens–and because strange things happen here all the time, it’s not that unusual for it to come together suddenly.

But Annie remembering she came on a little brash?  Well, we are talking about Annie here.  And that leads here to what she remembers prior to this night . . .

 

Don’t leave, please. They all leave. Everyone leaves me. That was what he told her in the middle of his delirium during their night on the ward. Annie also remembered what he told her at the end of the first Saturday Madness: My best friend . . . and the only one who loves me. She understood the meanings of these statements: He feels I’m the only one who loves him—and that he was afraid I was going to leave him. She closed her eyes an saw Kerry in that last dream, almost screaming out his sorrow. Just as his Chestnut Girl left him . . .

Annie returned to the hollow between his arm and his warm body and wrapped his arm around her. “I’m sorry I hurt you, Kerry. I didn’t realize I was saying those things. Only—”

He continued to speak in a low, calming tone resting on the edge of sadness. “Only why did I forget?”

“Yes.”

 

Which is the reason that Annie’s been looking at for almost a year.  And because she’s so close to the subject, right on top of the matter, so to speak, she misses the most important part . . .

 

He pulled Annie tight against him, as if he were trying to merge with her body. “It finally came to me because of our meeting with Erywin in the glen. The whole things about being able to affect a person’s subconscious while in a dreamspace—

“We determined one person can’t affect another that way.” Annie rested her head against his chest. “So I couldn’t have done anything to you.”

“You didn’t have to.” He sighed. “I did it. I affected my own subconscious. Because . . .”

Annie didn’t wait for him to answer, because she knew the answer. “Because we didn’t know you were a witch.”

“Right. Neither of us knew. The only people who did were The Foundation, and they weren’t telling you, so . . .” He slowly ran his fingers across Annie’s silk-covered tummy. “I changed the dreamspace without anyone knowing. And in doing so, I changed my own mind.

“Remember in my rune dream the girl who was talking to me . . .” He reached over and lay his hand over Annie’s heart. “She said before I could give you my heart, I had to break down the walls around it. That’s what I was reading about this morning—”

Dream walls.” Annie didn’t mean to sound excited but the answer was so obvious. “You walled off all your memories of me and our dreams.” She turned her head just enough that she could see his pouting face out of the side of her eye. “That’s why you suffered déjà vu—”

“But why I’d remember things every so often—usually when I was really upset.”

“You were getting upset—”

“—Because I was remembering. Not just the dream, but why I walled them off.” He turned his head as Annie did, and they were almost chin-to-chin as his spoke. “That’s why I didn’t remember anything: because I didn’t want to remember. I thought you were abandoning me, but before you could talk me down, before you could reassure me that things would be okay, I used magic before you knew what I was doing. I put everything behind a dream wall and sealed it off.” Kerry bowed his head. “I did that because I didn’t want to live without you in my life—so I removed you from my life.”

 

What happens when you have a secret witch getting all out of their mind over something?  They run the risk of doing magic and screwing things up.  Just as on this operation they’re doing they’re worried Tanith will do something in public that will hurt others, Kerry did something that hurt him–well, it messed up his ability to remember something that was important to him.  All because he’s quick to lose it emotionally, and he didn’t know he know magic.

And now Annie knows this:

 

She heard the pain in his voice: he’s still blaming himself for what happened. “Kerry, it’s not your fault for what happened. We were both in bad moods, I approached you wrong, and . . .” She shook her head. “I would have made it better if I’d been able.”

He nodded. “I know.”

“I never wanted to hurt you; I never want you hurt.” She kissed his nose before lightly caressing his lips. “I think I know why I forgot what happened, too.”

“Because you realized, at some level, that you’d set me off.” He turned his head and sighed so he wouldn’t exhale into Annie’s face. “And in doing so, you’d somehow pushed me away.”

“That sounds right. I could remember you—”

“And you remembered that you wanted me back.” For the first time he smiled. “I got that part.”

“I did: more than anything.”

He pulled her close and kissed her. “Why did you want me to remember everything? Even after I feel in love with you again?”

“Because I wanted all of you.” Annie settled back into his arms. “I wanted you to return to every moment we ever shared, because all of those moment were the best of my life.” She grinned. “And you should know by now, when I want something—”

“You get it.” He hugged her tight. “I know.”

 

All better now–right?  It would seem that things are right in the world again.  And it’s a simple reason why Annie wanted him to remember:  because she wanted him back.  All of him.  Because she’s a selfish girl, and no way in hell was she going to leave him not knowing everything they did.

There is, however, a final revelation . . .

 

Annie closed her eyes and found herself drifting. “It’s funny, but now I can remember it all.”

“So can I.” He used simple levitation to adjust the pillow behind his back. “I think I broke down the last bit of the wall around my heart, and that probably affect whatever block you had.”

The implication of such a thing washed over Annie. “Does that mean we’ll share dreamspace again?”

“It might. One of the books indicated that lucid dreaming is easier when there are no barriers in your subconscious to hinder your progress.” He shrugged. “We’ll have to see.”

Oh, I hope it’s so . . . Annie drew in a deep breath and released it slowly, feeling cleansed after. “I’m so glad I had you read all those books.”

Kerry said nothing for almost five seconds, then quietly cleared his throat. “I wonder if it was you who had me read those books?”

“You know—” She barely turned her head as she gazed to here left. “What are you thinking?”

“It was our first day at school, I knew nothing about magic, we go visit the school seer—who we won’t have class with for three years—and a while later you’ve got me reading all sorts of books on divination and visions and dreams . . . With all the magic I could have studied, why that?” He almost whispered the question. “Didn’t you say Deanna had us in a trance?”

Deanna’s words in the hospital a few weeks came tripping back into Annie’s memory—You were in a trance for almost eight minutes: it was necessary—and it made her wonder what else the Seer saw in her vision on the flight over the day before. Did she see herself giving me an hypnotic suggestion to put Kerry on that path because she knew it would bring us to this point? “If you don’t mind, I’d rather not think about that because—” She half turned in his arms. “—I don’t want to imagine what else Deanna may know about us.”

Talk about secrets.  Is Deanna responsible for getting them to this point?  Breaking down Kerry’s walls and returning him to Annie?  Did she know this all along, even that first time when Annie came to see her?  Hummmm . . . I could tell you, but I won’t.

I will, however, leave you with my kids getting into something else here.

 

Annie threw her right arm over Kerry’s body and hugged him. “But we’re here, love. We’re together, we’re alone—and we’re back to where we were a year ago.” She glanced upwards at his face. “At least I hope we are.”

“We’ll find out.” He touched the towel. “How’s the hair?”

“Dry by now.” She untangled herself from Kerry’s arms. “I just need to brush it out and we can go to bed.”

She was about to slide off the bed when Kerry lightly touched her arm. “Can I ask something?”

Annie turned back toward him. “Sure.”

“Could I . . .” A red glow filled his face. “Brush it?”

She whipped the towel off here head and let her hair cascade over her shoulders. “You want to brush my hair?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“Because—” He looked down at his feet. “I never have, and now I can.”

“Well . . .” Annie’s hand slid over and took Kerry’s. “If you do this, I might get used to it.”

“But can’t do it unless we’re alone, so I wouldn’t be able to do it at school.”

“Then maybe—” Her eyes sparkled. “That will come after we graduate.” She slid off the bed and pulled him towards her. “Come along, my love: I’ll show you how it’s done.”

 

Uh, oh, Kerry.  You better not do that!  First it’s brushing her hair, then it’s fixing the cabinets in the kitchen.  Just you wait . . .

Last night was two thousand and eight words of fun.  Really, it was.  I thought I would be upset writing, because I was suffering some major depression, but writing about it pulled me out.  And now–

There's only one last thing for them to do before they gotta get to work.

There’s only one last thing for them to do before they gotta get to work.

By the time they get back to school they’re going to be completely different kids . . .

The Moment of Clarity: Small Talk

This what comes from not being able to sleep and having something on your mind from the scene you wrote the night before:  you’re up early and you’re adding a hundred words before you forgot something.  And the killer is, I think I forgot something else, so maybe it’ll come to me later.  Or not.  If not, I’m happy with how it is now, because it addressed an important point that needed to get covered.

Five-thirty in the morning and it's not like I have anything better to do.

Five-thirty in the morning and it’s not like I have anything better to do.

Here we are with Annie and Kerry alone at last–really alone, not just sleeping on a sofa or deck chair somewhere, but totally alone–and doing–what?  Snogging away?  Well . . . you’d be surprised.

 

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

Annie emerged from the bathroom with her folded clothes in her hands, her favorite towel wrapped around her head drying her hair, and her favorite long blue robe wrapped around matching silk pajamas. She quickly surveyed the room: television on but sound turned down low; Kerry in his lounging pajamas sitting on the bed right side of the bed, head turned to the left as he stared out the window; his hands folded in his lap and his legs crossed at the ankles.

She stopped and open the drawer where she’d placed her unpacked clothes. He’s thinking. He has something on his mind and he’s wondering how he should tell me. She noticed the tee shirt and jeans he wore from Salem laying across his luggage. Annie half turned and looked over her shoulder. “Dear, are you going to put your clothes away?”

He snapped out of wherever he was and returned to reality. “Oh, yeah: sure.” He hopped off the bed, quickly folded his jeans and shirt, and placed them in the drawers where he was keeping his clothing. “Sorry about that.  I can be a bit of a slob sometimes.”

“It’s okay. It’s just . . .” Annie turned and walked slowly towards him. “I’m used to doing things a certain way, and this is the first time in my life I’ve had to share a living space with someone who’s not my family.” She turned her head slightly to the right and grinned. “Not that I’m complaining.”

“I’m not either.” Kerry crawled back onto the bed and rested against the headboard. “You just need to . . . teach me. Is that it?”

“I don’t know that I would have to do a lot of teaching.” Annie almost jokingly said, “train you,” but realized that would probably come across as sounding too mean. “But we would have to get use to living with each other at some point . . .” She glanced at the television. “Are you watching this?”

 

It’s already been mentioned that it looks like Annie will “wear the pants in the family,” and she certainly isn’t gonna deal with Kerry leaving his clothes laying around.  Like she says she’s not used to being around someone who’s not here family, and it’s even more difficult considering she has no siblings.  But she has Kerry, and . . . she’s certainly not gonna let him mess up her living space!  Sure, she called him “Dear,” but you can almost hear the tone in her voice when she said it . . .

And since she’s asking if he’s watching TV, that means she has other ideas . . .

 

He shook his head. “Not really. I just wanted something on for background noise.”

“Would you mind if I put on some music?”

“Not at all.” Kerry held his left hand over the remote on the nightstand next to him and levitated it to Annie. “Put on whatever you like.”

Annie plucked the remote out of the air and brought up the cable guide. She found a music channel and brought it up before levitating the remote to a spot next to the television. She stepped back as she listened to the song that was finishing. “Can I turn it up a little?”

Kerry nodded. “Go ahead.”

 

Given Kerry’s musical tastes, one has to wonder if he’s inwardly grimacing at the thought of what Annie’s gonna put on.  Probably not, because by now he’d know what she likes, and he’d also know their tastes are wildly different.

Annie does find something she likes, and we get to see her doing something that hasn’t happened all that much in the story:  we get to see her acting like a twelve year old girl . . .

 

Annie waved at the television: the sound bar illuminated and went up five point. A new song began, and Annie bounced with joy. “Oh, I love this.” She moved into the open space between the bed and the bathroom and began dancing as she removed her bathrobe and set it on a nearby chair, humming and singing along with the tune the whole time.

As the song segued into the chorus Annie faced Kerry and sang along. “Hey I just met you/And this is crazy/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She performed a quick spin and pointed at him. “It’s hard to look/Right at you baby/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She laughed as she sprinted and leapt at the bad, turning in mid-air so that when she landed, she fell backwards against Kerry’s right side. She pushed herself straight back into the space between his right arm and torso and got comfortable. “Are you gonna call me?”

He laughed along. “Do I have a choice? I’ve never seen you dance around like that before.”

“You’ve never seem me at the lake house when I’m alone and the music is on.” She twisted her feet back and forth. “I would bet anything you’ve never heard that song before, either.”

“I’ve heard of it, but . . .” He nodded. “That’s the first time I’ve heard it played.”

 

So there you have it:  Annie likes popular pop music, and she’ll even dance and sing to it when she’s alone.  And, I have it on good authority from someone who knows Annie probably even better than me that were she to have a theme song, it would be Call Me Maybe.  After all, it is about love at first sight, and Annie’s all about that.

But I loved having her sing and dance and getting her hand motions down, and in the end launching herself onto the bed, laughing the whole while.  She’s relaxed and happy, and she’s finally cutting loose a little.  And both kids are noticing things . . .

 

Annie reached up and ran her fingers through his hair. “I like that you changed the color back.”

He chuckled. “I was getting tired of seeing blond all the time.”

“So was I. I love my Ginger Hair Boy.”

“I figured as longer as I change it to blond before going out I’m okay.” Kerry focused on Annie’s feet. “Is that a new polish?”

“Yes, it is.” Annie always liked that Kerry took notice of her nail polish. She’d started doing her fingernails last year, and this summer before coming to Salem—mostly because she wanted something to take her mind off not seeing Kerry in her dreams and the upcoming school year—she started giving herself pedicures. Since then she’d been doing her nails a couple of times a month, and always made sure to show Kerry because he seemed to like them polished. “My mother gave it to me for Yule.”

“That’s a—what? Metallic gray?”

“Yes. It’s from Butter London. It’s called Chimney Sweep.” She flashed her fingers. “See? I match.”

“I saw you did them this morning.” Kerry noticed that Annie always found time in the morning or at night to do her nails—more than likely using some kind of localized time spell to dry them quickly. Since he’d been with her last night and hadn’t noticed the polish, he figured she did them early in the morning. “I like it.”

“I like it, too.” She crossed her arms across here waist and settled back into Kerry’s arms. “What’s on your mind?”

 

She notices his hair, and he notices her polish.  We learn for the first time that Annie does her nails, going the mani-pedi route, and Kerry likes seeing them painted.  Oh, and the polish Annie’s wearing?  It’s real.  Maybe not then, but it is now.  I’m sure there was something similar to it if it wasn’t around, but allowed a little authoritative licence, okay?

This gets to the last order of business:  what’s on Kerry’s mind.  And he tells her–

 

Kerry loved feeling Annie in his arms, and given that there was no possibility of anyone walking in on them, or overhearing what they were discussing, he felt more relaxed that normal. “I was thinking—”

“Yes?”

“I’m the only eleven year old boy in the world sitting in a hotel room alone with the twelve year old girl who could end up being his wife.”

“Could be?” The grin on Annie’s face was huge as she looked upward so she could see Kerry. “And this doesn’t bother you?”

“Nope.”

“Not at all?”

He kissed her on the cheek. “I wouldn’t have thought about it if it was.”

 

Pretty strange thing to think about:  Hey, I’m sitting on a bed with the girl who could be my wife.  Yeah, his mind is getting wrapped around that idea, and he’s getting comfortable with the notion, and Annie’s happy that he’s comfortable.  Nothing to hide there any longer, so just go with it.

But that’s not the real thing–

 

Though she was happy to hear this news, it wasn’t what Kerry had been considering earlier. “But that’s not all that’s on your mind—what were you thinking when entered the room?”

“Oh—that.” He pulled Annie tighter. “I figured out our last dream.”

 

And that’s where I ended everything off, last night and this morning, with Kerry saying he figured out their last shared dream.  Did he?

Well . . . you’ll find out.

At the Intersection of Tenderness and Concern

Here’s it is, early morning outside The Burg, and I just finished a scene and I’m hard at work getting this out.  I didn’t get a lot of writing done yesterday, because I spent five hours at the salon having my nails and brows done, and let me tell you, doing the whole manicure/pedicure/brow wax thing is a thing of beauty.  It leaves you feeling a lot better about yourself, though you’re usually ready for a nap once you get home.  Which I did.  Then I got up and turned on My Fair Lady and got about nine hundred words into the scene before I needed to crawl off to bed.

New brows; new nails; Sexy Rexy being a douche.  It's time to write witchy maheym.

New brows; new nails; Sexy Rexy being a douche to Eliza. It’s time to write witchy mayhem.

The focus of this scene turns not to Annie and Kerry, but to Helena and Erywin, who are off in their own room while the kids are camped out in theirs.  They have things to discuss, and not all of them are mission related.  In fact, there is going to be a “what the hell is that?” moment here early on in the scene, so be ready.

How does this start?  Like this:

 

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

Erywin watched as Helena emerged from the bathroom and made her way across the bedroom wearing the nightgown she’d given as a present this last Yule holiday. A lovely cream color, the gown dropped to her knees so she could move without hindrance, while the top was low cut front and back and held upon her shoulders with spaghetti straps. Erywin had picked out the gown because of the way it showed off the ta moko on Helena’s shoulders, upper arms, and back.

She’d always found Helena’s ta moko fascinating. She still remembered the first time she’d seen it: the night the bonfires were lit for Beltain. Though there had been plenty of opportunity through their first year together to run off and hide and “show themselves” to each other, they’d stayed up until 23:30 to watch the lighting of the bonfires, and on their walk back to The Pentagram Helena pulled Erywin into a small clearing just off the main path from the Flight School and said that she wanted to let her see something before everyone else saw them tomorrow night . . .

 

Naughty girls:  showing off native markings at twelve.  And the line there about letting Erywin see something before everyone else saw them tomorrow night–yes, that gets explained, but not for another two novels.  Yes, I suck.  But you love it.

This, however, leads up to something a little unexpected, so I’ll just let the scene speak for itself:

 

As Helena turned around the foot of the bed and Erywin, who knew her partner’s moods, saw the wince cross her face just before she set on the edge of the bed. She reached over and touched the sorceress’ back. “Are you all right?”

Helena sighed. “I’m fine.” Though she tried hard to mask her tone, the weariness in her voice came through.

Erywin slid across the bed and sat to her love’s left. “You don’t sound fine.” She bent forward a little and saw the pained looked on Helena’s face. “You’re hurting.”

“Not more than I have before.” Helena rolled up the heme of night gown, exposing her thighs. She ran her fingers across her thighs as she released the enchantments and winced once again as the nerve endings tried to compensate for of the sudden lack of sensation.

Before Helena could act Erywin was off the bed and half-knelling before her partner. “Sit back and let me—” She gently removed the right leg from Helena’s thigh and set it against the wall, then did the same with the left. Erywin laid her hands against the remains of Helena’s legs and crafted a soothing spell she’d learn long ago. “Better?”

Helena nodded. “Much.”

Erywin pulled down the nightgown, draping it over the truncated thighs. “Cuddle?”

Helena flashed her warmest smile. “Yes.” She pushed herself back against her pillow while Erywin retook her place on the bed, softly settled Helena against her body, and wrapped her right arm around her partner’s waist.

Neither spoke for almost five minutes while Erywin’s left hand lightly touched Helena, bringing her comfort and protection. When she found it necessary to speak, Erywin only wanted to confirm what she already knew. “Phantom pain?”

“Yes.” Helena folded her hands across her lap and continued to enjoy the attention. “A little worse than usual, but nothing I haven’t felt before.”

“You should go to have your legs regenerated.” Erywin pressed her face against Helena’s newly cleaned hair and breathed in her scent. “You’ve promised me for the last four years you’d get it done.”

Helena knew she wasn’t going to get out of this conversation easily. “I know.”

 

When I started designing Helena a long time ago–really, way back inn 2011–I’d decided then that she’d find herself involved in a horrible situation that would result in a life-changing event.  I’ve hinted at the event at the end of Act One, though I’m not sure I posted that moment as an excerpt.  I’ve also left a few clues that there was something different with Helena’s legs:  she always wore pants, she was never seen running, and the one time she wore a skirt, some observant geek kid remarked that it seemed a little longer than it should be.

Now everyone knows The Mistress of All Things Dark;  she’s a double amputee, and it’s only through a combination of magic and technology that she can walk.  The event that caused her to become this way will get explained in this novel, even in this part.  I wouldn’t leave people hanging.

There’s a slight discussion about a medical procedure that Helena has promised herself for years but never gotten around to doing, and then Erywin gets into the reasons for the pain:

 

Erywin stroked Helena’s hair. “So tell me, my pretty girl, why the pain? What has you bothered?”

“What makes you think I’m bothered?” She looked out the window and took in the city. “Do I look bovvered?”

“I’d have to see your face.” Erywin chuckled as she hugged Helena. “But something is bothering you; that’s the only time you get phantom pains, when something is bothering you. And it’s been bothering you for the last month.”

Helena saw no point of hiding her concerns now. “The operation. I always worry when I’m on one.”

 

We also pick up in the last part here that both Erywin and Helena are fans of Lauren Cooper.  I’ll leave that to you to look up.  But what is wrong with the operation?  What has Helena bovvered?

 

“I thought there wasn’t anything unusual about this one.” A slight worry began playing inside Erywin.

“There isn’t. But even after I’ve read every report, covered every contingency, thought of every possible problem, I continue to wonder if I’ve missed something.” She slowly shook her head. “Everything is a knowable unknown: the people we’re observing, the location, even us.” Helena turned her face upwards toward Erywin’s. “We’re the biggest knowable unknowns.”

“Because three of us are new at this?” This continued to be Erywin’s biggest fear, that her complete lack of experience was going to hinder the operation.

“I’m new at this as well; I’ve never had to handle two A Levels in the field before. It’s not just everyone else.”

“Then?”

“It’s wondering how we’re going to do as a team if things go tits up and we find ourselves deep in the shite.” Helena clutched Erywin’s hand. “That’s the greatest knowable unknown of them all.” She cut off Erywin before she denigrate herself and her abilities further. “You were at the heart of The Scouring at the school, and you were Vicky’s second on patrol and air assault during the Day of the Dead: don’t tell me you can’t do this.”

 

If there’s one thing that Erywin keeps ignoring, it’s just how bad ass she can get when duty calls.  During the Scouring she zapped her fair share of bad guys, and you can bet she was zipping around the school during the Day of the Dead killing Deconstructors and Abominations alike with that big gun she turned on Wednesday.  She might not be the sorceress her life partner is, but don’t cross her; she’d probably do you in without a second thought.

That leaves just one last thing–well, two actually:

 

“Yeah.” Erywin lightly ran her fingers over the ridges of Helena’s ta moko. “That leaves those two in the other room. Any concerns there?”

“Only one.”

“And that is?”

“Hoping they can handle what comes after if we have to turn them loose.” Helena lay back as far as she could and stared at the ceiling. “Everything else is secondary.”

 

What does Helena mean by “turn them loose”?  Are they going to be in a Loverboy video?  Far from it . . .  I think you know what she means, so no need to elaborate.

Up next:  We switch over to the other room, and see if Annie is still wearing the pants in this relationship . . .

Welcome to the Hotel Kansas Witchy

I am finally into the part of the story were we are all out of the school, at least for the weekend, and it’s not a holiday.  It’s Spying Time, and my kids are all ready–well, as ready as they’re going to be.  On the way over to Panera this morning I kept thinking of a good title for this post, and I finally fell on a variation of “Welcome to the Hotel California,” which, if you sing this title out, matching the syllables and time signature perfectly.  And now, when you re-read the title–which I know you’re doing right now–you’re singing it out in your head.

My ladies, and one guy, are doing what everyone does:  they’re getting into their rooms.  Of course, when the leader of your group is a slightly paranoid sorceress, things are done a little differently.

 

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

They entered the hotel room silently, as Helena had instructed them while they were in the elevator on the way up to the floor. Helena looked about the suite—a closet; a doorway to the left and another to the right; a sofa, love seat, table, and television at the far end—then pointed at Erywin before pointing at the door on the right. She raised her hands and initiated the spell as Erywin opened the other door, entered the adjoining room, and initiated her own spell.

A grayness swept along the walls and ceiling, hugging it, touching it, slowly caressing it. It moved over the wall to the left, the wall at the far end of the room, then over to the wall on the right before slipping up to the ceiling. It hovered against the ceiling for almost five seconds before fading into nothingness.

Erywin stepped out of the adjoining room and gave Helena a quizzical look. Helena nodded towards the door to her left. “This room’s clean: let’s check the other.” They entered the room, leaving Annie and Kerry behind.

A minute later they returned. “Both are clean; we can talk.”

Anne pushed here roller bag against the wall. “You were checking for listening devices, weren’t you?”

“Yes.” Helena set her luggage and briefcase next to the door leading to the other room.

Kerry found the situation a bit curious. “Who’s bugging the room?”

“The Foundation.”

“Really?”

Helena peeked into the other room. “Sure. We’re a new team out on a field operation, and there are nosy people in the Guardians who want to make certain we’re doing all the right things.”

 

Nice to know The Foundation–really, the Guardians–might be listening in on you.  But there’s a reason Helena suspects this:

 

Annie, on the other hand, understand this world better. She addressed Helena. “You’ve put in listening devices, having you?”

“And enchantments that do the same thing. How do you think I knew what to look for?” She turned to Erywin, who was looking out the window. “Nice view?”

“I can see the Center—” She pointed at something outside to her right. ”Just across the street.”

“Which is where we want to be.” Helena moved to the center of the room and looked about. “Not bad for an executive suite. Then again, The Foundation is paying the bill, so why not give us something nice?”

 

Yep, let’s do a little spying on people, because someone’s gotta watch the watchmen.  Also, now would be a good time to show everyone where the action is taking place.  First, there’s the Crown Center in downtown Kansas City:

The scene of the crime, so to speak.

The scene of the crime, so to speak.

The center is also the location of the mall where the girl they are watching, Tanith, goes and hangs; on the picture above, it’s right where it says, “Crown Center Ice Terrace”.  The hotel where everyone is staying, the Sheraton Crown Center Kansas City, is the building in the upper right hand corner with the circle on top, which is actually the restaurant and lounge.  Here’s a better picture:

Hey, I can see Erywin in the window!

Hey, I can see Erywin in the window!

We can figure out from Erywin’s view that they are on the south side of the building, and probably high up, because they have nice rooms . . .

 

“It is pretty good.” Kerry stepped over to the door leading to the room next door and looked in. “The other room is just like this?”

“Yes: I asked for adjoining suites.” Helena snapped her fingers to gain the children’s attention. “This is the living area, as you can see. Main closet is right there—” She pointed to the area next to where Annie stood. “Through this other door is the sleeping area, with a king-sized bed and another television, and the bathroom.

“Here’s the plan for this evening. We’re going to leave for dinner in about an hour. I know you’re both hungry, but we’re in a different time zone here and we don’t want to make it look like we’ve just gained an hour. The restaurant is close by and is affiliated with The Foundation, so we’ll have a nice table off to the side where no one can listen in on us, so we’ll be able to discuss our plans for tomorrow without fear.”

Helena on the arm of the sofa where Erywin was already resting. “In the morning we’ll dine in the restaurant downstairs before heading out. I want to give the impression we’re a family, and dining in the open with others is the best way to do so.” She crossed here arms. “We’ll stick to the same morning schedule here as we have Salem: up early, down for breakfast by seven. And keep in mid we’re not adjusting for time, so plan on being up before the alarm and heading off to bed a little early. Ker—” She caught herself and smiled. “I mean, ‘Gavin’, I know you have your phone, so set the alarm for five-thirty.”

 

I’ve actually stayed in a suite like this in the Sheraton Kowloon during one of my visits to Hong Kong, and they are nice.  And they have joining rooms, which is a nice deal–in fact, in some hotels you can get three of them side by side and actually use the room in middle for your entrance.

And about that “Gavin”; that’s the first code name you find out they’re using.  But if I’m gonna tell one, I have to tell them all . . .

 

Kerry grimaced after hearing his phony name. “I really hate that name—Auntie Brenda.”

Erywin snorted. “I’m Phoebe: would you like to get stuck with that?”

Annie decided to join the name game. “I’m Nadya. I knew a girl at my private school named Nadya: she was a snooty little Normal bitch.”

This argument was one they’d already had, and Helena wasn’t about to go over it again. “Take it up with San Francisco: they picked the names.” She stood, dropping her hands to her sides. “Let’s unpack, change if you feel the need, and get ready for dinner.”

 

There you have it:

 

Annie = Nadya

Kerry = Gavin

Helena = Brenda

Erywin = Phoebe

 

And there you have it.  Do you think Kerry will tease Annie about having the name of a snooty little Normal bitch?  Not if he knows what’s good for him.

This brings up something that was likely on Kerry’s mind since walking in the door of the joint:  sleeping arrangements.  Being the only dude in the group it does bring up the question, “Where do I camp out for the evening?”

 

Kerry lay a hand on the handle of his travel bag. “So where are we sleeping—” He couldn’t help but grin. “Mom?”

Erywin pointed to the open door to his left. “Your room is in there.”

“Cool.” He glanced into the room. “You want me sleeping on the bed, or the sofa?”

Erywin stood next to her luggage. “Doesn’t matter to me; you can sleep where you want.”

Kerry was about to ask where Erywin was going to sleep when Annie was next to him, touching his arm. “Dear, she means that’s our room.”

“There are times when your significant other is far smarter than you, Clever Boy.” Helena indicated the bedroom behind her. “Adults are in here, and children—” She pointed to the open doorway behind Annie and Kerry. “—are in there.” She tilted her head slightly to the left. “Unless there’s a reason you two can’t be trusted alone for the evening.”

Annie glommed onto Kerry’s arm. “No, ‘Mama’. You can trust us.”

“Good. Here are the rules: that door stays closed when we are separated. If you want to come in and speak to us, knock and we’ll answer. Same goes for you: we’ll knock and wait for you to let us in—”

“However, if you don’t open the door—” Erywin smirked. “—we might have to come in and see if you need . . . assistance.”

Helena nodded. “Don’t leave by way of your hallway door; all comings and goings are through our door. Oh, and if you feel the need to raid the mini bar go ahead: someone else is paying the bill.” She held up an admonishing finger. “No room service. If you want something, let us know.” She waved them away. “Okay, go unpack and get ready. We’ll let you know when we’re ready to go.”

 

Helena–I mean, Auntie Brenda–is being pretty trusting letting the kids share the same room, what with those visions of wedding nights they’ve seen and the raging hormones they both have.  But, I mean, come on:  Erywin and Kerry sharing a room?  Not gonna happen.  And they would probably be a battle if Helena and Annie were sleeping together . . .  At this place and time Helena is quite aware that these two sack out during the Midnight Madness all the time, and chances are she’s aware they’ve spent a night or two–or more–down on the commons sofa.

Beside, if you don’t think Helena doesn’t have a spell up her sleeve that would keep them apart, you don’t know her like I do.  And seeing as how I created here, you don’t know her like I do.

The kids will be fine.  I mean, there are separate sleeping arrangements in these suites–

 

Kerry followed Annie into the other room and closed the door behind him. He scanned the living area of the identical suite, but said nothing for a few seconds as he considered his next words. “Well, um, I could—”

Annie turned her head and gave Kerry her best cold stare. “If you are even considering the idea the sleeping on the sofa, I won’t speak to you for the rest of the weekend.” She walked smartly towards the bedroom entrance and stopped just before heading inside. “Come along, my love: let’s unpack and get ready dinner.”

Kerry closed his eyes as he shook his head as little as possible as a huge grin spread across his face. “Coming, Sweetie.”

 

And . . . you can forget about that sofa, Captain Clueless.  What Annie wants, Annie gets, and what she wants is for you to be sleeping right next to her.

Why, it’s almost like being married . . .

The Stars Shine Down

Amazing thing, writing.  I go into another scene, a completely different scene than the one before but still talking on the same thing more or less, and come out with nearly identical word counts.  The one before was eleven hundred and seven, and this one was eleven hundred and twenty-seven.  It’s one of those amazing coincidences–

Or I just wanted the counts to be the same.

Or I just wanted the counts to be the same.

But the feel is so different.  Whereas Helena and Erywin confine their discussion behind the closed doors of an office, Annie and Kerry end up the very next night in the location that Erywin mentioned at the end of their scene.  Yeah, I do that sometimes–must be another coincidence . . .

 

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

Annie and Kerry brought their brooms to a hover eight meters from the viewing gallery around the top of the Observatory Tower and examined the interior of the open dome. As they expected there wasn’t anyone inside, for the interior was completely dark; not a single red night light was on. Annie turned to Kerry and nodded, and he began moving slowly towards the viewing gallery railing with her. A few seconds later they cleared the railing and gently settled to the surface without sound.

She entered the dome silently, the floor absorbing the sound of her footsteps. “It’s so different being here with no one else.”

“And no lights.” Kerry left his broom on the propped against the dome while he retrieved a wide viewing chair, pillows, and blankets. “Not that we really need them.”

“Seeing we were just here last night, I hope we can find our way around.” Annie stood under the telescope and scanned the area to the south that it was viewing. “What do you think they’re viewing?” She pointed up into the sky. “I see Mars . . .”

“I see it, too.” Kerry continued setting up the chair. “That would be my guess, unless the C Levels are getting special scans of Regulus.” He spread it arms wide over the chair. “Your seat awaits.”

 

What’s this?  Annie’s got her own broom now?  That gets mentioned, but after eight months of astronomy, it looks like the kids know their stars, and they can look up and spot celestial bodies without a problem.  Of course I checked the sky for the Salem area two and a half years ago, and . . . yep.  Mars is close to Regulus, just like Kerry said.

Now that their under that blankets . . .

 

“Thank you.” Annie set her broom next to his and slipped onto the chair and under the cover. Kerry joined her as soon as she was settled. “This is comfortable.”

“I’ve always found it so.” He snuggled up next to her. “I remember when we first started class, we used to do this a lot.”

“Now it’s all making observations and working on our own charts.” She chuckled. “I do this at home during the summer.”

“Just sit out?”

“Yes. I’ll go out on the deck of the lake house and lay back in one of the lounge chairs and gaze into the night sky. Sometimes I’ll fall sleep and have the most peaceful sleep . . .”

Kerry loved looking at the stars, but it was something he never actually enjoyed until coming to Salem. There’d been too much light pollution from San Francisco to see anything, and living within Cardiff city limits meant his chances of seeing the night sky were non-existent. “We don’t do this enough.”

“We never have the time. We’re in class on Tuesday nights, walking back to the tower on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and we never think about it all the other nights of the week.” She slid her right arm over Kerry’s chest and turned towards him. “Are you nervous about tomorrow?”

“A little.” He turned until he was facing her. “Are you?”

“Yes. That’s why I wanted to come up here.” She glanced out at the sky. “This relaxes me.”

“It was a good think Professor Salomon gave you a broom to use.” He nuzzled his cheek against Annie’s hair. “I wouldn’t have wanted to try flying you up here in the dark on mine.”

“I wouldn’t have minded.” She sighed. “It’s like like it’s any different than during the day.”

 

There’s where she got the broom:  Professor Salomon loaned her one.  And we know Annie loves to star gaze when she wants to relax.  I’m guessing, however, that since it’s after the Advanced Spells class, and it’s late, and tomorrow they head off on their mission, Annie and Kerry had something else in mind.

At least Kerry does–

 

“True.” Though the trip to Kansas City loomed large—particularly with the trip being moved up a week—he didn’t actually want to discuss what they were going to do. He’d had something else on his mind for a few days. “I was thinking . . .”

Annie smiled, for it was no secret that Kerry was always thinking. “Yes?”

“The visions we had of our wedding night—”

She didn’t let any expression show on her face, but hearing him say what he did made her smile inside. He’s calling it our wedding night; he’s not said that before like that . . . “I’m listening.”

“We shouldn’t discuss them that much.”

“Oh?”

“I mean, you know how visions work—”

“I certainly do.” Annie had been thinking the same thing, and had planed on bringing up the subject herself tomorrow night. “Talking about it all the time—”

“Makes it seem like we’re trying to make it happen.” Kerry gave a nearly imperceptible nod. “And the more you try to make them happen—”

“The more likely they won’t.” Annie nestled comfortable in the crook of Kerry’s right arm. “And you know how I feel about that vision.”

“You want it to happen.”

There was no uncertainly when he said that. “Yes, I do. I don’t fear telling you now, because you know my feelings.”

“And you know mine.” He looked up into the sky. “I would rather just let things happen.”

She chuckled. “That’s what Deanna always said: ‘Just let it happen’.”

“She’s right. And it won’t be that hard to let things happen—I mean, I know I’m not going anywhere—”

“Nor am I.”

 

Now Kerry’s calling it their “wedding night,” and Annie’s a bit surprised, but not shocked.  After reading all those books he’s a bit of a pedantic expert, but he’s right:  if one keeps talking about these visions, they end up working against you because you’re busy trying to make them happen.  And visions are a screwy thing here, because unless you’re an expert with them–like Deanna–you can make them go horribly wrong if you’re not careful.

It’s interesting to see that he knows Annie wants it, and he’s letting her know they’re on the same page.  One might say he’s resigned to the fate that awaits him, but he wouldn’t say that.  And Annie might bleed you out if you say that to her . . .

Annie then brings up the bad stuff:

 

“I know.” Annie grew quiet for a few seconds. “Kerry?”

“Yes?”

“Do you really think one of us might die?”

He turned his attention back to the girl laying next to him. “I’ve almost died once, and that was only a couple of months after we meet for real. How old do we have to be before we could marry?”

“Age of Maturity: eighteen.”

“That’s a ways away . . .” Kerry softened his tone. “And who knows what’s gonna happen to us in the next six years?”

Annie saw that Kerry had reached another important milestone in his life. “You understand that it’s a dangerous world for us.”

He nodded. “It’s not just Deconstructors, is it?”

“There are them and Berserkers—”

“I hear about them, but—”

“But we’ll talk about them later.” She ran her fingers through his hair. “There’s creatures that we hear about hiding in the shadows; there’s ghosts and spirits; there’s entities that we encounter—”

“Like the Phoenix?”

“Yes. It’s likely she’s one, thought no one has said much about it.” She touched his cheek. “There’s also Normals who would harm us if they were to find us.” Annie sighed. “Fanatics who fear witches and the supernatural—anything that’s different from them.” She moved onto here back and snuggled up next to Kerry. “But we can’t worry about them—”

Kerry rolled onto his back and lay shoulder-to-shoulder with his sweetie. “Why not?”

 

The world is hard, but it sounds like The Foundation world is even harder.  Probably not as hard as it would seen–everyone is staying low key, and these things they discuss don’t seem to be popping out from around behind every corner, but they are there, it seems.  The point about the Normals is true, too:  there probably are fanatic witch hunters out there who would kill them if they ever got wind.  And if the Deconstructors didn’t get their first.

So they end off with this little piece–

 

Kerry rolled onto his back and lay shoulder-to-shoulder with his sweetie. “Why not?”

“Because there is tomorrow.” Annie lightly pressed her head against Kerry’s while watching the sky. “Because we have something to do, and no matter how easy it might seem—”

Kerry rested his head against Annie’s shoulder. “It might not be that easy.”

“No, it might not.” She found his left hand and took it in her right. “But we’ll be together.”

He squeezed her hand back. “We will.” He said nothing more and relaxed in the darkness with Annie, watching—

Letting the stars shine for them.

 

–and all seems right in the world for them.  They’re a little nervous, they suspect it night not be as easy as the adults are letting on, but it doesn’t matter because they are at each other’s side, watching the other’s back.

Isn’t that what you do in a real relationship?

The Persistence of Visions and Love

It only took me about three hours–and staying up past my normal bedtime–to churn out just a word over fifteen hundred to finish the scene, put finish it I did.  It’s gonna need a good polish, because it’s not my best first draft, but it’s right where I want it, and that’s the idea behind a first draft.

Also, it does sort of have a rambling quality to the discussion.  I mean, we are talking about a twelve year old girl–twelve-and-a-half now, if you consider Annie’s birthday was in September–and Kerry just a few weeks short of his twelfth birthday, so it’s not unusual for them to be a bit inarticulate when it comes to pour out their hearts to an adult.  Although I should say Annie’s doing all the pouring right now, while Kerry has been sitting quietly.

So lets see what Annie has to say.  Do you remember she wrote something in that center part of her book?  She does:

 

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

Before Erywin could question further Annie continued, her voice growing dream-like. “I’ve updated the portraits over the years. In the middle of August I did the first one of us together, and wrote next to it, ‘I’m off to Salem to see my love, my future husband’.” She turned a faint smile towards the professor. “Rather presumptuous of me, don’t you think?”

“We all do things like that when we’re in love, Annie.” She patted the young girl’s hand. “You feel in love with someone, and you wanted to share your life with him. I know that feeling, believe me: I’ve done the same.”

“Did you plan your life with Helena without telling her first?” Annie sighed and seemed to wilt. “I did. I went and decided I was going to marry, decided how it was going to be, how I was going to look—and when I found someone I loved, I went ahead and made them my fiance. Because that’s how I am: selfish.” She looked at the ground and snorted. “What Annie wants, Annie gets. Just ask my mother.”

 

And this has been a running theme with her:  Annie is a selfish girl.  She’s brought it up, Deanna brought it up, and her mother believes it all too well.  Annie’s beating herself up over it and getting right down to the core of the matter:

 

For the first time she turned to Kerry, who had sat quietly through her conversation with a face that showed almost no emotion. “I never gave you a choice, my love. I decided everything for us, and in the years we were together in our dreams—even before you know I was real, before I knew you loved me, even before you knew I was witch—I never asked what you wanted. I never thought that you might want the same thing I wanted. What if you wanted something else?”

She turned back to Erywin. “What if he decided to stay with me because he felt obligated? What if he did and then hated me for what happened? What if he was miserable because I never asked him what he wanted because I knew what I wanted.”

“And there’s the problem—” She sighed. “All these things I wanted, I desired, they were there every time we visited in our dreams. What if they influenced my visions? I had my lake house vision after I knew Kerry was real—what if I only saw him in that vision because I wanted him there? What if what I wanted directed Kerry’s visions? What if—”

“That’s impossible.”

 

Annie has a lot of “What If?” going on, and she finally comes out and asks Kerry, “What if you’re not happy?  What if this isn’t want you want?  What if you stay with me and you’re miserable?  What if you’re pretty, what if you’re rich, here’s what they said–”  Sorry:  Annie almost broke into song there.  It’s all interesting questions, until someone–probably the boy who’s been listening to this for a while–lays just a bit of a smackdown on her.

But Annie’s so convinced she’s right, she’s gonna give him an argument–

 

Annie’s turned towards Kerry, who was now staring back with a look plastered across his face that didn’t hide his feelings. “But when we were in our dreamspace I could manipulate parts of the dream—”

“Because your magic allowed it; it was a form of lucid dreaming.” Kerry bowed his head for a moment. “You couldn’t have affected my subconscious with your own subconscious desire; it doesn’t work that way in dreamspace.”

“But what I wanted could have ended up in your mind—”

“I doesn’t matter what you wanted: you would have had to actively implanted a notion, and then erased my memory of the event.”

Annie wasn’t going to accept Kerry’s retorts. “What I saw in my visions—”

“Has nothing to do with what I saw in my visions.” He stood, shaking his head. “Annie, I know you want to think that you made me have those visions, but you couldn’t. Deanna said something the other night: you can’t make someone have visions. I know that, too, because I read it in those books you had me study. That’s how I also knew that . . . thing that happened to me was really a vision.”

 

This is the problem when you give your boyfriend a lot of books to read:  he reads them, then has the answers you don’t want to hear.  And he’s right:  Deanna already told Annie that she couldn’t make them have visions.  Annie’s position is that she influenced him with her subconscious, but Kerry’s got that one down:  no, you couldn’t.  Doesn’t work that way.  I know ’cause I read about it.

And now that he’s on his feet, it’s time for him to get something off his chest.

 

He approached Erywin as he addressed her. “I know Coraline said I was bothered when she saw me that night, and I was—but not because of what I saw, but more because . . .” He grimaced a little as he looked for the right words.

Erywin stepped in to help. “Unexpected and messy?”

“Yeah.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “But by the time we made it to lunch, I knew I’d had a vision—I knew it because of all the stuff I’d been reading about divination and visions and dreams for months. I also knew from reading that the best odds you could get have for a vision being true or not were fifty-fifty.” He turned towards Annie, who was now listening silently. “This was before I knew you had your vision, and that it was the same thing I’d had—”

“But you had yours months later.” Annie appeared to want to jump out of her seat. “Yours could have occurred—”

“You couldn’t make me have a vision. It’s impossible. If Professor Arrakis couldn’t do it, you couldn’t.” He turned back to Erywin. “Coraline and Deanna probably mentioned that I was upset, that I was agitated, but it’s not for what you think—”

 

And that is probably the only time Kerry has ever talked back to Annie like that, because he has to cool her down, and the only way to do it is by telling here in no uncertain terms that she can’t be right.  Sort of like a good sorceress keeping their head about them . . .

Which is what he does as he continues on why he was “agitated”–

 

He stood in front of Annie. “I wasn’t upset that I saw us together on our wedding night; I was upset that there was a chance that what I saw wouldn’t happen.” He slumped as all the energy seemed to leave him. “If it didn’t happen, it’s because we split and weren’t together any more. Or . . .” He looked down, whimpering once. “Something bad happened to one of us. Something—”

Annie jump out of her seat and took Kerry’s hands. “My love, nothing is going to happen to us, not like that.”

 

There it is:  he made the connection that if it doesn’t happen, it means they are no longer together.  Either they broke up, or–in a point he’s made before–one or both of them are dead.  And there’s more coming–which means, if you know Kerry, you know what else is coming . . .

 

When he looked up Annie saw that Kerry was fighting to keep his emotions in check, but it was clear he was under tremendous stress. “The morning after we told each other our names I came downstairs in the morning, and my mother was like, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you so happy?’ I didn’t know it, but I was smiling: my mom said it was the first time in four months I’d smiled. You know what I told her? I said, ‘I’ve been bike riding with my Chestnut Girl’. She thought I was nuts; she even said so. But I didn’t care, because I knew it was true. It was the best time I’d had in a long time—and it was even better because I shared it with you.

“You’ve been in my life as long as I can remember, and I can’t think of what I’d do without you, Annie.” His shoulders started to heave as he started to lose the fight with his emotions. “I’m not good with expressing myself—I know that. My family isn’t like you’re: there’s no romance and little in the way of affection. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how I feel about you.” The tears started stream down his cheeks. “I don’t want anything to happen to you—to happen to us. I don’t want us apart; I don’t want you . . .”

Annie wrapped her arms around Kerry and comforted him as he released the pent up fear mingled with his love. “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”

Kerry buried his head into her shoulder. “You said you never gave me a choice, that you decided everything for us.” He wrapped his arms around Annie’s waist and held her tight. “You been giving me a choice for the last ten minutes—” He pressed his cheek against hers. “I’m still here. I didn’t go. I couldn’t go. I don’t want to go.” Kerry kissed her cheek. “I don’t ever want to go.”

 

Annie told her mother about her Ginger Hair Boy, and we finally discover that, at one time, Kerry told his mother about his Chestnut Girl, and he was happy about it.  Mister Mope was actually happy after month of being sad and depressed, all because a girl in his dreams took him bike riding.  And yes, he cries, because Kerry hasn’t learned how to keep a rein on his emotions.  He’ll learn one of these days.

First scene out of the way, and it was a long one:  longer than all of Part Nine.

Funny how that works out.

Funny how that works out.

But the other three scenes should go quickly, because I don’t anticipate them being very long.  And I should point out that I’m about twenty-five hundred words away from fifty thousand for this act, which means Act Three is shaping up to be rather short compared to the first two.

Then again, I haven’t gotten to Part Twelve yet.