Where In the World Is Yule Going?

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

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

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

And how is our couple handing this departure?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

And where is everyone at this very moment?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

“Yeah, I can imagine.”

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

You’ll just have to wait for it.

Dancers in the Dark: Away Into the Shadows

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

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

It's always better with pictures.

It’s always better with pictures.

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

Yeah, that’s how you do it.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Kerry nodded. “Yeah.”

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

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

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

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

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

“And you have. Maybe an inch.”

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

“It’s possible.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Dancers in the Dark: the Dance Begins

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

“The Samhain dance?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Count the Ways to Count the Story

With NaNo right around the corner–less than two weeks to go now–one of the key points that comes up again and again is, “How do I track my word count?”  It’s an important thing with NaNo, because you gotta run that 1,667 words a day count every day, or you’ll fall behind quickly.  The reality it, however, that when you write you usually have a need to know about how much you’re writing every day, and how big your story is becoming–or how many more words you need to write to turn a novelette into a novella.

Keeping track of your word count in easy in Scrivener, and there is a great deal of flexibility when it come to knowing the counts of scenes, chapters, parts, and even the whole novel. I do that to track my current novel, and I’ve used it with all my other works.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

The easiest way to keep track of your progress come from using your Project Targets.  This is done from the menu, using Project>Project Target, or by selecting Ctrl-,.  I show these all the time on my screen shots, and here is my current view.

I know, it feels like I'm bragging.

I know, it feels like I’m bragging.

Project Targets allow you to set the size of your story–the Manuscript Target–and how much you want to write while Scrivener is running–the Session Target.  Something to keep in mind here:  a session is the time that Scrivener is up and running.  If you bring the program up, type in 800 words, then close it and bring it up again later, the session bar resets:  it doesn’t track what you type in a day.

You can see that the pop-up window allows you to define your targets for both the full manuscript and how much you want to write.  Now, there is a bit of a cheat with the Manuscript Target:  notice the check box, “Documents Included in Compile Only”?  Yeah, that’s an important item.

Let’s first look at this screen, which is of one of my chapters in the recently concluded Part Seven:

I don't miss you, you monster.

I don’t miss you, you monster.

Over on the right you’ll see the column, “Include in Compile.”  Compile is the function that Scrivener uses to take all the stuff I have on the screen in front of me and turns it into a document of your choosing.  Such as–

I take all of Part Seven--

I take all of Part Seven–

Press the “Compile” button . . .

To 149 pages of awesome.

And turn it into 149 pages of awesome.

Whatever you have ticked off as “Include in Compile” will be converted into whatever you like by Scrivener.  It’s a great way to not only control what you print and create, but track your wordage.

But if you’ll notice, that’s a check box under your Manuscript Target.  With my story I have everything in Act Two–the part of my novel I’m currently developing–checked for Include in Compile, but everything in Act One is turned off.  Why?  Because I want to check my progress for Act Two only.  However, if I uncheck that box–

Now it really feels like bragging--

Now it really feels like bragging–

Everything in the manuscript–see the very top left of the Binder–is included.  And you can see how my progress bar jumped from the orange of Act Two–which is only about half way to the three hundred thousand total of the manuscript–to the bright green of “I’m almost to the end.”  Numbers and colors help you visualize where you are in the writing process.

You can see that even better when you are tracking the progress of your document.  Let’s look at the last scene I completed and check out the lower right hand corner of the screen.

Right down here.  See?

Right down here. See?

Click on that little dot and you’ll get another pop-up that allows you to set the total wordage for the document you’re working upon at the moment.

Three thousand seems like a good number.

Three thousand seems like a good number.

Hit Ok and you’ll see the following pop up at the bottom of your screen:

Look--new stuff!

Look–new stuff!

That first number–the 2,152–that number id always there–just look at the picture above.  Now you have your target number to the right of what you’ve written, and there is a progress bar next to the button, which is now red to indicate you haven’t reached your goal.  Once you do, that dot turns green:  trust me, it does.

This is also a great thing for keeping track of your progress if you’re bring up Scrivener and closing it several times during a day.  You can either keep everything in one document that you’re working on for the day, or adjust the target number as you go from document to document.  Easy Peasy.

Last of all, we can look at our Project Statistics, which you can find on the menu under Project>Project Statistics, or by selecting Ctrl-..  Scrivener will give you a snapshot of your identified manuscript–using your Compile and how you set up things under your Option tab–and what you may have selected in your Binder.  Here I’m identifying Act Two as the manuscript, and I’ve selected Part Eight.  So I bring up my stats, and . . .

Act Two seems quite the page turner.

Act Two seems quite the page turner.

Just so you know, I have my pages set up on my Option tab as three hundred and fifty words per page, so that’s how Scrivener figures that my Act Two is 370 pages long once you figure in the page breaks for Act, Part, and Chapter headings.  Not quite A Dance With Dragons, but I’m getting there–with fewer deaths, too.

There you have it:  so many ways to watch your counts.  Now all you gotta do is write.

Shadow Lab

The action in the story returns to the somewhat infamous lab my kids have in the sub-levels of their home away from home, Cernunnos Tower.  And, for the first time in two chapters and a dozen scenes–I know because I counted them–the scene is told from Kerry’s point of view.  That’s unusual, but given that he spent nearly the time in one chapter in a coma, expected.

This time, however, he’s only sleeping on the sofa in the lab when Annie shows up with great news.  Well, she’s happen he at least wakes up, but there’s better news:  she learned a spell!  And she wants to show it to him.  What’s it all about?

Shadows.

Different shadows, guys.  Sorry.

Different shadows, guys. Sorry.

And it makes up a good part of what I wrote last night:

 

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

Annie stepped near the mid-point of the table and looked about the room as she adjusted the ambiance. “Lights, low.” The lighting dropped to something akin to the illumination they would have with a low fire. Annie moved towards a collection of shadows in the corner farthest from the sofa. “This is what you can do with shadow magic.”

She stood before the collection of shadows and spread her hands out before her, as if she were smoothing out an invisible sheet. She did it twice more, then began making a pattern on the invisible sheet with her fingers. Annie continued laying out her pattern, then slowly lifted her hands the slightest bit—

A section of the shadow darkened and coalesced before it parted from the rest of the mass and floated towards Annie’s outstretched hands. The section was maybe a half a meter long and ten centimeters wide, but from where Kerry stood, it seemed as if whatever his sweetie had created had no visible thickness.

The segment of shadow hovered a few centimeters from Annie’s fingers. She didn’t look away from her creation as she brought up the light to medium illumination; while the other shadows grew dim in the brighter light, the one hovering before Annie remained dark and solid.

She skimmed the shadow through the air towards Kerry and brought it to a hover about twenty centimeter in front of the amazed boy. Annie lowered her hands and approached. “How do you like that?”

 

Short and sweet, with a bit of a lead-in about what Kerry was working on for Ostara.  Actually, I’m trying to keep them all short and sweet at this point, but there are still a lot of scenes to write–and one or two that might just get the ax before I get to them.  I’ve got one in my sights right now . . .

You can guess which one of these, 'cause there's no guessing with me.

You can guess which one of these, ’cause there’s no guessing with me.

That’s my evening and I’m sticking to it.  I have something in mind for tomorrow, and since I’ll be on the road most of the day I’ll likely need to write that tonight.  And since I have to run out and fill up my silver beast . . . I know just the place to do that.

Above in the Transept: the Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

“I’m fine.”

“And Kerry?”

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

“But is he feeling well?”

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

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

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

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

“Kerry told me he loved me.”

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

You selfish girl.”

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

And Annie had driven her to this moment.

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

 

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

Can’t wait to get to that.

Admissions in the Garden

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

“Sit at our bench?”

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

“Anelie Victoreva Kirilova, I love you.”

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Fortunately, he has Annie . . .

 

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

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

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

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

 

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

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

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

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

Yeah, right.