A Year in Pamporovo

Last night was like any other Wednesday night for me.  Got home from work, changed, went to Panera, ate, and wrote.  I had two projects last night:  one was writing up a little over six hundred words for a letter I’m sending to someone–I always type it out before I hand write because my spelling is fairly horrible and I need to correct–and then I went to work on the novel and put in another eight hundred words there.  Nothing unusual, right?

It might not be were it not for the date.  Because last night represented three hundred and sixty-five days since I started this novel.  When I did that the novel sort of looked like this:

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

And now it’s here, twenty-seven chapters later.

With a lot more words added.

With a lot more words added.

Tonight is the night when I started on this little adventure, and it’s been a milestone for me as well, for I’ve never stuck with a novel this long.  In the past I’ve usually burned out and given up on something like this, but I haven’t, not this time.

Doesn’t mean there hasn’t been stress.  I’ve probably had two or three nervous breakdowns in the process of putting out this story.  I spent a month rewriting chapters because I did Annie wrong.  Oh, and I grew breasts:  I should get points for that as well.

How did it all begin?  With Annie and her mother.  Let’s go back and see that moment, captured in the just over the first five hundred words I wrote (and have since edited) on 30 October, 2013:

 

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

The mountains were bright under the morning sun, though the light had yet reached many of the surrounding valley floors. Within the hour every valley in and around Pamporovo, Bulgaria, would bathe in sunshine, but for now most were enveloped in quiet shadows.

In one valley lay a small lake, the surface smooth and unmoving, still in possession of a layer of light mist from the prior evening. The eastern shoreline brushed up against the heavily wooded valley side, but everywhere else the lake was surrounded by low, rolling hills marked by a few bare spots of erosion, and meadows covered in short grass. Here no trees had taken root—

Save for one spot opposite the eastern valley walls. A lone tree stood upon a slight bend in the shoreline, making it even more distinctive. It was impossible to tell the tree type: even a close scrutiny didn’t reveal its secrets. It looked out of place—and yet, based upon it’s height and the spread of the branches, it was obvious it had been there for decades.

Stranger was the color of the leaves. They were a bright yellow, as if they were dusted with saffron—an unusual color, for the other trees on the opposite bank were a uniform green with a sprinkle of brown, and nary a spot of yellow anywhere. The coloration wasn’t due to the coming of fall—it was late August and the trees wouldn’t begin changing for another two months. It was possible that the tree itself sprouted yellow leaves, but if one had visited the tree the day before, they may have seen the leaves a bright red—and the day before that a light green.

The leaves changed color, but they didn’t change with the seasons . . .

Beneath the branches a young girl with wavy chestnut hair that rested lightly upon her shoulders stood. She was dressed in a light summer blouse and jeans and sneakers, making her indistinguishable from any other eleven year old girl currently living in and around Pamporovo. She stood facing the lake, her eyes fixed upon a point somewhere across the water, her arms locked across her chest. It seemed as if she were deep in thought, staring off into space so that her mind was free from distractions. She didn’t move, nor give any indication she was aware of her surroundings.

Her expression betrayed her emotions, though. She slowly blinked as she stared across the lake with lips slightly pursed while in the cool morning shadows of her unusual tree. Mist drifted off the lake and over her, making the skin on her arms dimple. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to finally enjoy this almost-perfect morning.

The girl was about to check the time on the small wristwatch she wore when a voice called to her. “Annie!” She turned slowly; she knew the voice, and why they were looking for her—

She spotted the woman standing on the porch of a small house forty meters away. The woman waved her right arm in the air as she called once again. “Annie!”

Awareness dawned upon young girl. “Yes, Mama?”

“It’s almost ten o’clock.” This time she waved for the girl to come to the porch. “It’s getting close to the time to leave.”

Anelie Kirilova—or, as her mother, father, and the rest of her extended family called her, Annie—knew her mother was right. She knew it was nearly time to leave; she’d known this for over an hour. In another twenty, thirty minutes she’d leave this all behind and not see it again until it was all covered with Christmas snow . . .

She brushed a strand of hair from her face as she walked toward the house. “Coming, Mama.”

 

There was my beginning.  And how did I continue a year later?  Another five hundred or so words with Annie and her mother:

 

The moment Annie’s eyes opened she checked the clock at her bedside. 5:21. She did a quick calculation and determined the time in San Francisco. It’s 19:21 yesterday there; Kerry’s likely meeting his family right now. Secure with the belief that Kerry was probably starting his holiday, she threw the covers back and sat up.

It was pitch dark in the room, but that wasn’t surprising: local sunrise wouldn’t be for more than an hour. She waved her hand at the lamp on the bedside table and it came on, illuminating her bedroom in low, white light. She slid off the bed and into her slippers before giving her blue pajama tops a final tug down. She walked the short distance to her dressing table and retrieved her locket from a necklace tree and fastened it around her neck, pressing the heart-shaped locket into her chest to assure herself it was there. Lastly she put on her robe and pulled it tight around her body before letting it swing open. With a smile she made her way to the bedroom door.

The night before, during dinner, her mother had said that now that she was on Salem time she would probably rise early, adjustment or not. Annie had said she expected to sleep in for the first time since leaving home, but she should have realized that Mama was speaking from experience. It makes sense— She reached for the door knob. I never sleep in at school, so why would I expect to sleep in once I was home. She slowly opened the door. Must be an enchantment they put on us during the E and A

Her mother was in her sitting room, seated at the table with a plate of food and a kettle before her. “Good morning, Anelie.”

Annie was surprised to find her mother up this early—and with breakfast ready. “Good morning, Mama.”

Pavlina Kirilova nodded toward the closed door to her left. “Go on and use the bathroom. I’ll prepare your tea.”

Annie was in and out of her bathroom in a short time. When she returned her tea was seeping and plate with a printsessi sat before the empty chair across from here mother. Annie sat and inhaled the aroma of the breakfast. “This is what I missed.”

“My printsessi?”

“Yes.” She took a small bite and savored the disk. “It’s still hot.”

“I cooked them last night and put a time spell around them.” Pavlina raised here tea and took a small sip. “From your perspective, they’ve only been out of the oven for two minutes.”

Annie savored another mouthful before speaking. “When did you get up?”

“I’ve been up about twenty minutes.”

“And Papa?”

Pavlina set her tea aside, chuckling. “I let him sleep. Though I expect him up within the hour.” She folded her hands in her lap. “I wanted a little mother-daughter time—like what we had before you went off to school?”

Annie didn’t remember there being a lot of mother-daughter time, but she wasn’t going to start contradicting, not now. She’s searching—and I think I know what she’s looking for . . . “I did miss chatting. I only had your letters.” She smiled. “At least we wrote. A few of the students didn’t hear much from their parents.”

 

A year later and Annie can tell her mother is fishing for something, but she’s playing along.  Any idea about what she’s looking for?  And as I’d said, as Kerry’s last thoughts upon reaching San Francisco and seeing his family were of Annie, Annie’s first thoughts upon waking–at the same time, mind you–were of Kerry.  There’s some kind of symmetry with those kids, I tell ya.

How much have I put behind me with this story?  As of last night Act Two finished up with 140,960 words; the full manuscript is 291,665 words.  I stared Act Two in May and I’ve been trudging along for a little over five months now, and I’ll finish it in November for sure.  And then it’s on to Act Three and the end of the novel.

Soon.  I hope.  I want to have some kind of NaNo, even though I haven’t bothered registering yet, and may not.  I’m still on the fence about doing so, because I’m really not sure I can keep up the pace this year.  Far too many things happening, far too many things to get in the way.

Or . . . I just have to suck it up and put my two hours of writing aside and not be distracted.

That would probably work better, yeah?

The Boy Who Set His Wingmate Straight

Last night was a good time to turn off most of the Internet, turn on the music, and get to writing.  Because there was so much to say, and I needed to get it all said last night, because there isn’t a fourth novel in The Millenium Trilogy, and I could only wring out one more The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo reference before I would run out of snappy titles.  There you go:  I write based upon how witty my blog post titles are.

Really, though, I needed to pull this one together, and trust me, these last seventeen hundred words weren’t easy ones to write, because I changed how this scene was going to play out maybe five times before writing what I did last night.  I needed to, because every time I’d go down one road I’d think, “Okay, now would Kerry say or do that at this point in his life?”  And the answer to most of those paths were “no”, because the kid still has a bit of growing up ahead of him.

Needless to say, Emma’s “Don’t you mean soul mate?” shot was just the opening–

 

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

There was something about Emma’s tone that Kerry wasn’t enjoying at all. “What do you mean by that?”

“Oh, please. You told me you knew Annie for a week before you walked through Founder’s Gate, and she’s your soul mate?” She rolled her eyes. “What’s wrong with you, Kerry?”

Kerry’s voice began rising as it always did when he became upset. “What do you mean what’s wrong? Nothing’s wrong.” He jabbed a finger at Emma. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m trying to make you see that you’re not in love with her, you’re just infatuated.” Emma started waving her arms about. “You know what it is? It’s those big brown eyes and that long brown hair—”

“Her eyes are hazel and her hair is chestnut.”

“Whatever. She starts playing with her hair and looks at you with those big eyes, and then she turns on that accent . . .” Emma began curling her hair around a finger and stared at the ceiling while speaking in a poor, exaggerated imitation of Annie’s voice. “Karri, my loov, wold yoo liik tu hoold my hund?” She batted her eyelids several times. “Puulsse?”

Kerry wasn’t amused in the least. “She doesn’t talk like that.”

Emma didn’t appear to hear the comment. “And she’s not all that nice, either. She’s cold to everyone—”

“She’s not like that to me.”

“Oh, no? What about in the hospital after we wrecked? She seemed pretty pissed off at you to me.”

His breathing became ragged. “What do you care?”

“I care because you’re my friend.”

You’re not acting like my friend.” Kerry’s voice was growing louder as a feeling he’d not had much experience with began rising as well.

Emma took a single step forward, and she spoke in a softer tone. “Kerry, she’s not right for you. She not really your soul mate; she’s just some girl whose got you wrapped around her finger, and you aren’t smart enough to see—”

Kerry didn’t need to hear anymore; he’d had enough. Any hope Emma had for a private conversation vanished as his bellowing voice echoed down the narrow corridor and into the East Transept. “You know nothing about Annie. Everything you’re saying is wrong, and you need to shut up now. Shut up. Just SHUT UP.” He spun around and ran out of the corridor.

Good thing this conversation wasn't happening three years later.

Good thing this conversation wasn’t happening three years later.

And there, in that fifth sentence, is proof that Kerry actually doesn’t remember his dreams–at least not the important ones that Annie talks about.  Otherwise, as astute readers might have noticed, he’d remember someone he claimed he lost . . .

Kerry runs out of there and runs not into the main part of the Great Hall, but up to his left and the other corridor leading to the teachers offices.  He runs in there, hunkers downs, and starts crying.  Why?  He feels betrayed, so much so that he did something he’s never done before:  he lost his temper and yelled.  Emma’s the first person he ever completely loses it on, and since he’s not the sort of person who starts punching walls–he’s more the sit in his room and brood and, if it gets to that point, cry–he does the later.

Of course, this doesn’t mean he does it alone . . .

 

“Kerry.”

His head snapped up: Emma was standing three meters away, half hidden in shadow. “Go away.”

“Kerry, I’m—”

GO AWAY.” He looked down as he fought to keep from hyperventilating. “What is wrong with you? Why did you say those things about Annie? Why? I thought you were my friend.”

Emma slid closer to him. “I am your friend.”

“Friends don’t make up lies about people they love.” He wasn’t shouting like before, but Kerry wasn’t making an effort to keep his voice down. “I’m hurting, Emma. I love her and I miss her so much right now . . . and then you come and start talking crap about her; you make fun of her; you make up lies about her.” His voice rose to a shout. “I love Annie. She’s my soul mate. You’re not going to change that, ever.”

 

Kerry has never discussed his relationship with Annie to anyone.  Every time something has changed between them, it’s happened in private.  The closest to a public declaration he’s made about his feelings was the dedication he made to her at the Samhain dance–and one other time to Emma, which I’ll get to.  He pours out his feelings and kindly told Emma to piss off as well.  How does she take it?

 

Emma stood silently looking as if she was in shock. She wiped something away from her right cheek before kneeling on the floor about two meters from Kerry. “I didn’t know.”

He sniffed back snot and tears. “Know what?”

“A lot of people talk about you two.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard that.”

She hung her head. “Most of the people think you guys are just, I don’t know, pretending that you’re all lovey dovey and romantic—”

“Why do they think that?”

“Because you’re eleven years old.” She looked up, and in the dim light Kerry saw the tears streaming down her cheeks. “Because you’re just kids, and what do kids know about real love, right?”

 

And that’s another thing that’s been mentioned, as Kerry pointed out.  Other kids do talk about them, and most think they’re nuts or full of it.  Sure, Annie’s really twelve and all grown up, but still:  to the other eleven and twelve year olds, the way they act looks like an act.  And that’s one of the reasons that a few of the adults feel what’s going on between them, because they’ve had time to mature and develop their feelings–and this sense that this is the real deal with these two.

And now Emma’s sensing it, too . . .

 

He slowly shook his head as he choked out his word. “It’s not like that with Annie and me. I told you up at the Observatory, there’s times it feels like I’ve known her a long time—”

“I know; I remember.” She chuckled. “I was asking all those questions about you guys because I was trying to figure out what was going on—”

“And ‘cause you like me.”

“Yeah . . .” She snorted and cleared her throat. “’Cause I like you. And ‘cause I was like everyone else believing that you guys are just infatuated with each other.” She slid a little closer. “Now I know.”

“What do you know, Emma?”

She closed with him until she was only an arm’s length away. “Remember when I asked if Annie was really your girlfriend?”

“Yeah, I remember.”

“You told me something in Bulgarian—”

“Moyata polovinka.” Kerry swallowed hard, clearing his throat. “It means soul mate.”

“I know; I remember that, too.” Emma wiped her eyes again. “You remember I walked away after you told me that?”

“Yeah. You had a strange look on your face—”

“That’s because I saw something in your eyes I’d never seen before.” She exhaled hard twice. “I saw it again.” She lightly touched Kerry’s cheek, getting him to look at her. “Tell me you love her.”

Kerry stared directly into Emma’s eyes. “I love Annie.”

“And?”

“She’s my soul mate.”

Emma nodded slowly. “Yeah, there is it.”

“What?”

“I see it in your eyes, Kerry.” She gently touched his face just outside his right eye. “The truth.” She pushed back off her knees and sat on the floor, stretching out her legs. “I screwed up.”

 

Thank you for admitting that, Ginger Girl from Colorado.

 

Kerry couldn’t look at her. He was angry at what she’d said, but at the same time hearing her say those last three words felt like something twisting in his gut. “If you thought you were going to get me to like you by talking crap about Annie, yeah, you did.”

She winced. “I don’t know what I’m doing. I know nothing about how to get someone to like me.”

Kerry chuckled. “Hey, join the club. If Annie hadn’t spoken to me first, I wouldn’t have said a word to her. I just . . .” He looked up at Emma with sad eyes. “Until Annie I never talked to girls.”

“Same with me with boys.” She turned to Kerry. “I’m sorry I kissed you like that. I kinda threw myself at you.”

“Yeah, you did.”

Emma looked down at her left hand as she made circles on the floor. “You going to tell Annie?”

“No, not anytime soon.”

“You afraid of what she’ll say?”

“I’m afraid of what she’ll do.” He wiped his face dry. “Remember she was gonna Air Hammer Lisa for hitting me in the back of the head with a bottle?”

The memory flew back into Emma’s mind. “Oh jeez, yeah. You both were gonna do that.”

“Yeah. And in front of Lovecraft and Sladen.” He drew in a long, deep breath. “We got reamed for that move.”

 

Kerry doesn’t know what Annie almost laid on Emma, or what she did to Lisa:  he’s going off of what he’s picking up from her in the last few weeks from her little forays to The Black Vault.  That, and he knows she knows a death spell.  Deep down he knows Annie could be a dangerous girl, and as controlled as she acts most of the time, she’s also a twelve year old girl, and that in of itself can be a little scary.  He’s also lying about getting reamed, but I’ll forgive him for that.

But that leaves one question unanswered:

 

Emma stared at a spot on the wall across from her, keeping her face turned away from Kerry. “Can we still be friends?”

He was wondering the same thing. “You said some pretty nasty things—”

“I know.”

“Even if you didn’t think we were serious about each other, you were wrong to throw those at me.”

“I know.” She sniffed once, fighting to keep from crying.

“Thing is, if I stop talking to you, Annie will ask why, and I’ll have to tell her what happened, and I’d rather avoid all that . . .” He scooted to his right, getting closer to the weeping girl, and extended his arm. “Take my hand.”

Emma finally looked towards Kerry. “What?”

“Take my hand.” She tentative reached out and loosely held his hand. “You’re my wingmate and my friend. You screwed up, and you admitted you screwed up. So . . . I forgive you, Emma.”

She looked down and nodded. “Thank you, Kerry.”

The tone of his voice changed slightly, growing more serious and stern. “But I want you to know that if you ever talk about Annie again like you did—to me, or to anyone else—I won’t just be pissed: I won’t be your friend anymore, I won’t forgive you, and I won’t speak to you ever again.” He gave her hand a squeeze. “That’s a promise, Emma—understand?”

“Yes, I do.” She slowly pulled her hand away. “You sounded like when you were questioning Lisa when we were doing Drought of Submission in Sorcery class.”

“Well . . .” He shrugged. “A sorceress has gotta do what a sorceress has gotta do.” He raised an eyebrow. “Right?”

 

And when I wrote that last night, I asked myself, “Does Kerry know what he did with that last move?”, holding hands and swearing all that is right and wrong by Emma.  The answer is, “Yep,” and he did a sort of half-assed version of a Sorceress’ Bargain, letting her know without letting her know–because they haven’t gotten that far in Sorcery class–that if she screwed up again, that’s it:  game over.  She probably sensed something, because of the comment she made about him sounding as he did when he more or less put the boots to Lisa and had her writhing on the floor in pain during the Drought of Submission test.  That would be a class that Emma would remember, mostly because she had to square off against Annie, and she wasn’t digging that at all.

Did he actually do that with her?  Hum . . . probably not.  Probably.

Three out of four scenes complete.  Only one remaining, and I know exactly what’s going to happen there . . .

Not to mention it allows me a touch of symitry with the next chapter.

Not to mention it allows me a touch of symmetry with the next chapter.

And those three scenes put me closer to finishing Act Two.  Not to mention there’s something coming up here real soon.

Watch this space.

And don’t say bad things about Annie.

The Boy Who Found His Wingmate Troubling

Where were we?  Oh, yeah:  let’s go off somewhere private and talk.  This is one of moments that I knew I had to write, but . . . really, I’ve sort of dreaded it.  Even more so that having Kerry fight a monster and then end up in a slight coma for his trouble.  But, you know, you do what you have to do.

Right?

Yeah.  Moving on now . . .

 

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

She didn’t take them far. Not far inside the first floor of the East Transept were two corridors leading to the Instructor’s Offices, located on the north side of the transept. Emma entered the first corridor and walked in about four meters.

Kerry followed her in and looked around. “There’s no one here?”

“The only instructors still around are Douglas, Kishna, and Palmescoff.” Emma’s eyes flicked towards the transept. “I checked the notices display. Douglas and Palmescoff are at the residence; Kishna’s over in Ceridwen Tower.” She turned back to Kerry. “We’re alone here.”

"Here" being that little corridor just to the right of center.  Good thing the headmistress went back to France . . .

“Here” being that little corridor just to the right of that staircase in the center. Good thing the headmistress went back to France . . .

 

I know where everything is in my hall–more or less–but you have to admire how cheeky it is to go talk in private right where some of the instructors have offices.  This is the are that Erywin spoke of when she said Helena was taking care of some business before they jaunted back to England.  The reason for this is simple:  some instructors–like Helena and Vicky and a few others–have main offices that are so far away from the students that they have locations closer to the action.  Now, with Helena, she could just jaunt out to The Witch House–which she does–do a few things, and then jaunt back.  Vicky’s the same way, as are most other instructors.  Some instructors don’t need to use these spaces because they already have a couple of offices.  Erywin, Jessica, and Deanna are like that:  they’re coven leaders, so they not only have an office in their towers, but in the buildings where they teach.

Deanna is interesting, however:  it seems like most of her interesting business, like speaking to distraught young girls about their boyfriends, takes place not in her coven offices, which is right there in The Pentagram, but out at Memory’s End, which is a nice little walk if you don’t know how to teleport.  Maybe she likes the seclusion . . .

Let’s get back to the action, so to speak.  What’s on Emma’s mind.  It sort of looks like life and death:

 

He still didn’t know why she needed them to be completely alone, but now that they were here— “Okay. What’s up?”

She looked at the floor and sighed. “I never thanked you for saving my life.”

Now Kerry stared at the floor, embarrassed. “Oh. It’s okay.”

“No, it’s not. I mean . . .” Emma’s eyes continued to shift back and forth away from Kerry as she spoke. “I couldn’t visit you in the hospital, and then after . . .” She finally managed to make eye contact. “I just couldn’t find the time to come and say something.”

“Well, it wasn’t like you didn’t know where I was.”

“I know, it’s just—” She chuckled. “I just couldn’t.”

She probably felt bad about not saying anything to me right away. “Like I said, it’s okay.”

“No, Kerry—” She seemed about to smack him in the arm, then stopped. “You saved me twice. You kept me from falling to my death, and then from being eaten by a monster.”

“I know.”

“And then Wednesday, when we had the awards ceremony . . .” She shook her head with her eyes half-closed. “You and I being up there with the other people on patrol was great, but then when they starked talking about what you did—”

Kerry had been embarrassed enough by last Wednesday’s awards ceremony, with The Foundation people coming in to honor those who participated in the defense of the school during the Day of the Dead: he didn’t want to go over it again. “What I did I would have done for anyone with me that day, Emma.” A big grin broke out on his face as he almost laughed. “I saved myself that first time—”

“You saved me the second time, and you could have died.”

There was no arguing about what he did, what he would have done no matter what or who, and he decided to accept the accolades. “Yeah, I can see that.” He stared at the floor for a few seconds as he tried to keep from blushing. “You’re welcome.”

Emma’s face lit up. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

 

And this is all true:  Emma didn’t come by to see Kerry in the hospital, but then she was a bit of a gibbering mess at the time, too.  And he was in a coma and was being watched over by a girlfriend who wasn’t all too happy with a certain wingmate at that point in time.  So coming by the hospital to say hi, thanks for saving my life–not a good idea.

That’s why you wait until they’re five thousand miles away to say your piece.  Oh, and to do this . . .

 

She stretched out her arms. “Can I get a hug?”

“Um, sure.” Kerry closed the narrow distance between them and wrapped his arms around Emma’s shoulders as she did the same around his waist. She lay her head upon his shoulders and stayed their for a few seconds before she slowly broke the embrace. Kerry didn’t look directly at her; he was fully aware that he’d just hug someone since coming here that wasn’t Annie, and it wasn’t setting right with him. “Okay, so that’s out of—”

Emma wrapped her arms around Kerry’s neck, pushed him back into the wall, and kissed him hard.

Kerry was frozen by shock at first. It was as if he brain couldn’t register what was going on, what was happening to him—why was Emma doing this? He put his hands on her shoulders and started pushing her off: it seemed like it was taking forever, but Kerry knew he was stuck in some strange time dilation, and that her hard, stumbling kiss had lasted only a few second.

He’d only managed a few seconds of pushing when Emma backed away from him. Her eyes were bright and shinning, and a smile slowly formed. She exhaled as color returned to her face. “I never kissed a boy before.”

Kerry was afraid to move from the wall. “Emma—”

“I’m glad you were my first—”

Emma.” He wasn’t processing completely the event that just happened. “Why’d you do that?”

“Because I didn’t do it two it two months ago.” She turned away for a second; when she turned towards Kerry again her face was bright and shinny. “I so wanted to kiss you when we were hiding out in the wood. I was going to if you hadn’t passed out—”

“No.” His head was shaking back and forth like he’d lost control “Why did you kiss me?”

She stared at him for a few seconds as if she hadn’t understood the question, then began to chuckle. “You really don’t know, do you?”

 

As my daughter would say, “Okay, then . . .”  And for anyone asking, yes, when I began writing this novel almost a year ago–I began this novel the evening of 30 October, 2013–I knew this event was going to happen.  I even knew it when I was plotting it out.  And, just as Emma said, it originally was going to happen when they crashed landed, but I changed it up to this moment because, well, it made more sense.

But I knew Sneaky Emma would get in her kiss.  And I also knew Kerry’s reaction . . .

 

The moment the question left Emma’s lips his stomach sank as he flashed back to his first night at the school, and the moment when Nurse Coraline asked a question that eventually changed his life: You really don’t have a clue, do you, Red? His hands slowly rose towards his face. No, no: this can’t be. He touched his warm checks as a strange fear started oozing up from somewhere deep inside. This can’t happen; this isn’t happening . . . “Emma, please—”

“I like you, Kerry.”

He put his hands against his head and turned in place. “Don’t say that—”

“I’ve liked you from before we went out on patrol.”

He stooped turning and faced her. “Emma, you can’t.”

She looked confused. “Why can’t I like you?”

“Because you can’t. Not that way.” It wasn’t a matter of telling her the truth; it was more that he didn’t want to hurt her feelings—but he didn’t see how he could tell her the truth without hurting her feelings. “I like you as my friend. I like flying with you; I like you as my wingmate. But . . .” Just say it. “I can’t like you any more than that. Annie’s my girlfriend—”

“Don’t you mean ‘soul mate’?”

 

First off, we have the return of Captain Clueless, who wouldn’t know he was being liked until, well, there are lips upon his, or a ginger doctor telling him that a girl loves him.  And I ended last night’s writing with the “soul mate” remark, and I can hear how she says it in my head, and what comes of tonight’s writing–

Let’s just say it’ll be . . . interesting.

The Boy With the Wingmate Searching

My poor, poor boy.  Bored out of his mind and looking for things to do.  That’s the way things are at Salem right now:  people have cleared out and there isn’t much to do but sit around or sleep.  At least my kid isn’t all sad and emo about his girlfriend heading back home for the holidays.  Or if he is, he’s not showing it.  Much.  He’s only drowning his sorrows in a different way . . .

 

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

Kerry had the library to himself, save for one of Mr. Parkman’s staff occupying his office and keeping an official eye on whatever happened in the cavernous space. He’d been half-reading a book on personal transformation magic, and was surprised by how simple it all seemed. But I’ve been doing transformation magic for four months now, and it’s no long something I thought never existed outside of books and movies. I can do this stuff now.

He had a lot of time to kill. It was only a little after fourteen, and the last notice he’d see said he wouldn’t leave until almost twenty-two. Sure, he’d take his adjustment mixture and sleep for two or three hours, but that left four or five hours where he was gonna need to find something to do—

“Hi, Kerry.”

He looked up and discovered Emma standing about a meter away on the other side of the reading table. He hadn’t heard her enter, but that wasn’t surprising since the size of the room made it difficult to hear things in other areas, and there were silence enchantment throughout the library. Kerry always wanted to ask Mr. Parkman if the Vashta Nerada helped keep things quiet, too. “Hey. How you doing?”

 

You have to ask yourself:  is Kerry the one making a Silence in the Library joke, or me?  Doesn’t get much more meta than that.  I’m gonna say it’s me, ’cause Kerry is just someone I made up, so even if you wanted to say he existed, it’s still me.  Anyway . . .

This is where we see a little of the fakery that goes on with The Foundation and some of the kids.  This is because A and B Levels aren’t “out” to their parents yet, and

 

“Yeah, no kidding.” Most of the C Levels and above who had remained up until lunch soon vanished after they ate. The only people currently on the school grounds were a few instructors, Nurse Coraline and Director Mossman, and the A and B Level students from North and South America. “You don’t know how huge this place is until there’s no one here.” She turned to Kerry. “What time are you leaving?”

“About twenty-two. I’m supposed to be on a United flight getting into San Fransisco about seven PM local. What about you?”

“I’m out of here about eight PM: the flight I’m supposed to take is due to land in Denver right around six.”

Kerry noticed Emma had easily switched back to using standard time instead of universal time. “I see you’re not gonna freak your parents out by saying, ‘When are we having dinner? Seventeen?’”

Emma laughed. “Yeah, it wasn’t that hard. What about you, though? You’re still using universal.”

“I live in Wales, remember?” He shrugged. “We use both times there, but all our clocks are on universal—same with my phone and computer.” He finally closed the book in front of him and set it aside. “No one will get confused if I start using universal. Even after he’d been in the country a while Dad still used it before we moved.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Emma chuckled. “I forget that even though you were born here, you live in England.”

Wales. My dad would be screaming at you right now if he’d heard you say we lived in England.”

“The UK, then?”

“That always works.” He leaned back and stretched his arms and shoulders.

 

Emma’s a bit geographically challenged, it would seem, so she better work on that before someone screams at her.  You might also ask, “Hey, Cassie, how do you know they would get into their respective cities at that time?”  Well, that’s ’cause I looked up real flights to check on times–

Just like The Foundation, I'm fakin' it.

Just like The Foundation, I’m fakin’ it.

Oh, and you might notice I’ve got seat locations down.  That’s because I went into the Seat Guru website and plugged in the flight numbers . . .

Second row, window seat on the right.  That's where Kerry would sit if he weren't teleporting to San Fran instead of actually flying out of Boston on The Foundation's buck.

Second row, window seat on the right. That’s where Kerry would sit if he weren’t teleporting to San Fran instead of actually flying out of Boston on The Foundation’s buck.

And it’s just a coincidence that he and Emma have the same seat assignments.  Sure.  Coincidence.  By the way, Emma’s on a better fake plane.  Just sayin’.

Now, is there a reason for Emma hunting down Kerry.  I know some of you are screaming, “Yes!”, and you’d be right.

 

Neither said a word for nearly twenty seconds. Finally Emma began looking a bit uncomfortable as she shifted in the chair. “Um, can I talk to you?”

He nodded. “Yeah, sure.”

“I mean in private.”

Kerry looked around the empty library. “It doesn’t get much more private than this.”

“I mean . . .” She looked up one floor towards Mr. Parkman’s office. “Where there’s no one around.”

Kerry had no idea what was on Emma’s mind, but now that she was making a big deal about getting away from everyone, he was curious to know what she wanted to say. “Sure. Whatcha got in mind?”

Emma motioned with a nod towards the doors. “Come with me.”

 

“Come with me.”  Hummm . . . and a talk in private.  It probably isn’t anything–and just a coincidence that she waited until Annie was 7399.153 kilometers–or 4597.62 miles, I looked it up–away from Salem before she wanted to speak with Kerry in private.

Sure.  Coincidence.

Emma on the left, Annie on the right . . . yeah, Emma's safe--FOR NOW.

Emma on the left, Annie on the right . . . yeah, Emma’s safe–for now.

Dining Hall of the Lovelorn

Here I am again, kiddies, and believe me the last night and morning have been sort of NaNoish, only in the sense that I’ve been writing a lot, but I haven’t exactly been stringing all those words together at the same time.  I wrote nearly eight hundred words last night, and just a shade over a thousand this morning, and while that puts me in the, “I made my word count!” category, it means I gotta step up my game in the next couple of days if I’m gonna “win” my third consecutive NaNo.  I know what I need to do to get it done, it’s just getting it done that’s been a pain in the butt of late.

And today has been sort of an all over the place kind of writing.  The last time I spoke of my current scene I had Erywin Sladen sitting down with a somewhat feeling out of it Kerry whom, it would seem, was suffering  from Annie Seperationits.  That’s to be expected:  it’s only been a few weeks since he came to grips with his feels for her, and now she’s off on the other side of the world from him, and he’s missing her oh, so much.

In comes Erywin to the rescue, because . . . well, it’s not like Coraline is the only romantic in the house . . .

 

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

A huge smile was spread across here face as she sat. “Thank you.” She slowly crossed her legs; Kerry thought this was the first time he’d ever seen her in jeans. “How are you feeling?”

He shrugged. “I’m okay.”

“Mmm, hum.” Her eyes bored hole through Kerry’s head. “She left at nine, am I right?”

“Yeah.” Kerry looked down at his untouched plate of food.

“Do you know what she’s doing now?”

Kerry answered without even thinking. “It’s almost nineteen in Pamporovo; she’s either waking up, or she’s been up for a bit. If it’s the later, she’s probably getting ready to go out to dinner with her parent.” He looked up from the plate and sat back. “It’s what she told me she was going to do.”

“Is that what you’re going to do when you get to San Fransisco?”

“Probably not. By the time we get out of the airport and back to my grandparent’s house, it’ll probably be close to twenty-one.” Kerry shrugged. “Maybe we’ll pick up something on the way and eat at home, or stop at a restaurant.”

Erywin studied Kerry for a few moments, watching his face, watching how he sat and touched his silverware and ignored his lunch. She leaned forward onto the table top. “May I offer a bit of advice?”

“Sure.” Kerry was only half paying attention to the professor up to the point where she asked her last questions. Before then his mind was on Annie, thinking of her home, sleeping, wondering what her room looked like—

Kerry.”

His looked up. “Sorry, Professor.”

“Erywin.”

“Erywin. What did you want to say?”

 

“You’re being a noob, kid.”  No, really.  She wouldn’t say that.  Helena, maybe, but Erywin, no.  She has other advice:

 

“You’re missing Annie, missing her dearly. Your mind is a aflutter with thoughts of her, and you can’t seem to concentrate on any one of them for long. Correct?”

He wasn’t going to lie. “Yeah.”

“You have to look at your separation from the standpoint of . . . time.” Erywin chuckled as she laid one hand upon the other on the table. “You know a little about that concept, yeah?”

Her question elicited a chuckle. “Yeah, I know a bit about that.”

“Then here is what you do. First, imagine the time you cherished during her departure. Remember the important things: hand holding, a hug, a touch, a conversation, a kiss. Keep that close to you, Kerry: hold it within you and don’t let it go.

“Then, when you start to miss her, think about those same moments, but frame it in the time since they happened. Start thinking, ‘It was only yesterday that happened’. Then, ‘It was only two days ago—’ then four days ago—then five and six . . . and before you know it, you’ve reached the mid-point of your holiday, and you’ll begin counting the days towards your return.”

She sat back, her eyes remaining on Kerry’s brightening face. “Then you begin imagining what it’ll be like when Annie and you are together again, and your hold that idea in your mind and think, ‘I’ll see her in a week’, then ‘I’ll see her in five days’; then it becomes three days, then two . . .

“After that it’s ‘I’ll see Annie tomorrow; maybe at night when I arrive, or maybe the next morning, but we’ll be together again’. Then you go to bed, wake up . . .” Erywin held up one hand and spread her fingers as if she were catching rain. “And it happens. You’re together again. This sadness that plagues you is over.”

 

It may not be the best advice in the world, but it’s something she employed when she was a young student who was away from her “pretty girl” during the holidays.  She also knows something else . . .

 

“Good. And, Kerry—” Erywin touched her heart and lightly patted her fingers against her chest. “This pain you’re feeling? It’s a good pain. It’s the the pain you feel when you know you’ll be reunited with someone you love, and who loves you as much.“

He slowly took in a breath and released it quickly. “It doesn’t feel that way.”

“Trust me: it is.” Erywin leaned across the table. “It’s when there isn’t anyone waiting for you that it becomes a horrible pain that you wish would go away forever.”

That’s a horrible thought. “You ever have that happen?”

“No.” She sat up and looked about to see if anyone were watching them. “I’ve been lucky; I’ve only had to deal with being separated from Helena, and no matter how long that lasted, she always came back to me.” She curled the fingers of both hands and slid her nails back and forth against each other for a few seconds. “I hope to never feel that second pain—and I hope you never do, either.”

 

When it comes right down to it, if there’s anyone at Salem who understands pain, it’s Erywin.  Her experiences as a young, open lesbian in love in the early 1980’s wasn’t the easiest, particularly when you know that she’s always worn her heart on her sleeve and has never been one to hide her emotions–hey, she sounds like someone else in this story, particularly when you consider her girlfriend/companion/partner who is really good at being a sorceress and keeping her feelings hidden from others . . .

You might say if there’s anyone at the school who sorta understands Kerry, it’s Erywin.  And it’s a relationship that will only build in time.  You heard it here first.

She’s so comfortable speaking with him about these things that she makes an offer that she doesn’t normally make to anyone else . . .

 

Erywin fell into contemplation for a few seconds, then spoke a bit more quiet than before. “Every solstice I offer up an invocation to our coven goddess—I don’t think I need to name name’s.” She took a couple of slow, measured breaths. “With your permission, I’ll ask her to watch over Annie and you so nothing bad happens to your relationship.”

Kerry didn’t say anything for a few seconds. He wasn’t traditionally religious—his mother was Catholic, his father was Protestant, and while he’d gone to church when he was younger, no one in his family had set foot in one since just before he turned seven—but he got that the school still followed the older beliefs that were started by the witches who’d founded Salem back in the Seventieth Century. It was the reason for the coven names, and why they referred to the various holidays by their traditional names.

He also got that there were a few people here who did more than pay lip service to “the old ways”, as he’d heard some people say. He knew Erywin was one, as were a few of the other instructors. None of them had ever offered to do anything like this before, and he was unsure if he should thank her and say no, or if he should qualify his statement first . . .

He lay his elbows on the table and slowly rubbed his palms together. “You know I don’t believe in any of that.”

“I know.” Erywin didn’t appear upset at all by his statement. “Which is why I asked if I could do so with your permission, because I know you and I don’t share the same beliefs.” She gave him a soft smile. “If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s proselytize and arm twist.”

 

Little is said about the “old beliefs” at the school.  I know the school follows a few traditions that, to outsiders, would seem strange.  And none of it is forced upon the students–if you want to call Samhain “Halloween” or not participate in any of the little traditions that happen that weekend, you don’t have to join.  If anything, the traditions that were started in the 1600’s have changed over the centuries, and the witches who founded Salem would likely not recognize most of what happens at Beltane when the Blodeuwedd Coven starts the party going.

Erywin is being friendly in offering to say something to her deity on behalf of Annie and Kerry, but she also knows he may be offended by the offer, and tells him, “Hey, you don’t want me to do this, it’s cool.”  No one’s asking Annie, though, but then she knew about this stuff long before she entered school, and for all we know she’s down with the idea.  Maybe one day we’ll see.  Given how she’s taken to the idea that he’s become comfortable using the original holiday names, one must wonder.

And that’s when this happens:

 

“Well, that’s different.” Erywin smile brightened. “You participated in our Samhain traditions, and you didn’t experience any adverse affects, did you?”

She’s got me there. “Nah, none at all—and Annie loved walking between the bonfires.” He brushed a few strands of hair back from his face. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a Celtic war goddess watching over our relationship.”

“I agree.” Erywin reached over and touched Kerry’s hand. “And, for the records, I can’t say I’m entirely certain The Mórrígan exists—but our Phoenix is real, and so is Baba Yaga and a—”

“Wait—” Kerry wasn’t quite sure if he’d heard the instructor’s last statement correctly. “Baba Yaga is real?”

“Yes. She’s like our Phoenix: an old and powerful spirit living in Russia. She’s not pleasant to be around, either—ask Adric about her . . .” She tapped Kerry’s hand twice before pulling back. “My point is I don’t know if The Mórrígan is real: maybe yes, maybe no. But I find comfort in her protection, and who knows? Maybe she is out there watching—in which case I want to be on her good side.”

Based upon what he’d seen so far at the school—and vaguely remembering his E and A with the Phoenix when he arrived—he thought it entirely possible there could be something out there in the world calling itself The Mórrígan, and that it might actually like the fact that people believed in her protection . . . “It’s amazing the things I’m learning here. Six months ago I wouldn’t have believed there really were these powerful spirits—

“Six months ago you wouldn’t have believed you were a witch and sorceress, either.” She cocked her head to one side. “Look how that turned out.”

This time he laughed out loud. “Yeah. Can’t be skeptical about that any more, can I?”

 

Not only do we discover that Erywin is skeptical that a deity she’s offers invocations to may be real, but we discover that a creature of Russian folklore is real.  Does she have a hut with chicken legs, or does she just wander around the countryside and kill people because that’s how she rolls?  Now we’re beginning to see there are creatures out there that people have believed for centuries were just myths and stories, but surprise!  Not really.  Like Erywin tells Kerry, six months ago you wouldn’t have believed you were a witch–what do you say now, kid?

You say it’s a good idea you keep your options open.

Where I am right now is half-way through Chapter Twenty-Six.  It’s coming along nicely–

And look what's coming next!

And look what’s coming next!

Yeah.  Next scene is gonna be fun . . .

The View Beyond The Foundation Window

Where was I last night?  Actually I had to run out and pick up a couple of things, and by the time that was over I was back at the apartment somewhere around seven-thirty.  After I got back onto the computer and started working . . . nothing was really coming.  It’s interesting how that happens, you know.  Eleven hundred words the night before, less than four hundred last night.

But since I was asked, “Who is Kerry gonna speak with at lunch?” it’s only fair I show you.  And Kerry is a mess right now.  He is Mr. Mopie Sadsack right now, because his sweetie is off in Bulgaria–probably walking up after whatever magic The Foundation slipped into her Readjustment Mixture works its magic and got her on the proper local time–and he doesn’t even feel like eating, which is a first for him.  However, someone comes a callin':

 

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

It hasn’t even been three hours— Kerry poked the Italian sausage on the right side of his plate. And I’ve gotta stay here for like another nine hours—or ten—maybe longer . . .

“Now here’s a young man with something on his mind.” Kerry looked up from his plate to find Professor Sladen standing across the table from him. She regarded him with a studied eye. “Ah, he is conscious, and not in some self-imposed trance.”

He chuckled as he set his fork to the side. “Hi, Professor Sladen.”

Erywin waved dismissively at him. “Oh, please: school’s out for the year. You can called me Erywin.”

“I don’t know if I can get used to calling you all by your first names.”

“’You all’?”

“You know: instructors.”

“Well–” She placed her hands upon her hips. “You have no problem addressing Wednesday by her first name—what does she have that I haven’t got?” She chuckled as his face turned a bright red. “May I join you?”

Kerry calmed himself and nodded. “Please do . . . Erywin.”

 

All this calling instructors by their given name and stuff–really, it’s going to drive a kid crazy.  And what has she comes to talk about?  I’ll have to write that tonight.

It’s interesting that now that the novel is moving towards the end of Act Two and a few truths are going to emerge, not just with Kerry but with Annie as well.  And in Act Three we finally get out of the school and wander about the land beyond the walls.  I was asked recently about the world beyond the walls of Salem and what it was like, and my answer was simple:  it’s the world of 2011 as we knew it–because we are in 2014, and we’re looking back–and there isn’t much of a change other than one discovers during this story that there’s a shadow organization that spans the entire globe and not only gathers children from all over the world, but brings them to a school that no one can see save for those known as The Aware.

I mean, take a look.  There’s the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning (SIGEL) right in the middle of the picture, just to the north of Gloucester and to the east of Rockport.

It's right there.  Don't you see it?

It’s right there. Don’t you see it?

I see it, because I know the layout in my head, but that huge green area in the middle of Cape Ann, where one would find a large forest and quarries and even the remains of Dogtown, there is instead a huge, walled school that normal people live next to and have no idea exist.  That’s where your smoke and mirrors and magic all come into play, convincing everyone that all is right in the world and there’s nothing to worry about, because should you wander into that area, everything you think you’re gonna find you will.

Annie and Kerry get to venture into the old world–well, old to Kerry; Annie’s always been used to living in her Foundation World while dealing with the Other World–and they’ll travel into Salem, maybe even by train.  I can’t tell you what they’re doing there, because spoilers and River would come after me, but it’s not something anyone would probably believe at this point.  Needless to day, being outside in the world is going to have an affect on both my kids.

And Annie will be haunted by one of her deepest fears right in front of this statue in Salem.  Probably because Samantha Stevens has that effect on young witches.

And Annie will be haunted by one of her deepest fears right in front of this statue in Salem. Probably because Samantha Stevens has that effect on young witches.

The later stories (yes, there are more stories) get out into the real world even more, and if I ever get the second novel written you’ll see Kerry out and about, though the third, forth, and fifth novels would actually see them outside the walls of Salem a lot more.  Right now they’re innocent A Levels and I can’t let them leave the safety of the school.

Which is why Kerry’s already been in a coma.  Because safety.

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.