Today is going to be something different for me. A bit of travel is in store today as I drive off for a face-to-face with my therapist for the first time in almost two years. Therapist, you say? Damn straight, I reply. Therapy has been great for me, and if you can afford to sit and speak with someone who trained to help you, then go for it.
Yesterday, on the other day . . . strange day, really. I’m going to blame it all on The Imp, for it was Peter Dinklage’s birthday yesterday, and I’m certain it may have played some part in my urges to go drinking and whoring yesterday–okay, maybe not so much whoring, but hey–a girl can dream, can’t she? And there are few actors who can say “Your vicious bastard!” and “I should have let him kill you all!” with such gravitas that you know just about anything he says on-screen is award worthy.
Well, wrote last night. Not about masturbation, though just give me time . . .
No, I was writing about my kids, and I was writing about something that was sort of hard. It’s 1 October in my story–I know this because all my scene cards have dates and times on them–and finally, after one month hiding behind the walls of the Salem Institute, Kerry hears from his parents. Of course they email him, because that’s the way people do things in 2011, and since he has a computer and a Gmail account, it’s the easiest way to keep in touch.
However, it’s not really the sort of thing he wanted to hear . . .
(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
This morning he wasn’t like that. Today Kerry was silent, withdrawn, introverted—and this concerned Annie. I haven’t seen him like this since we’ve arrived. She touched her fingertips to his left wrist. “Honey?”
Kerry looked up from his breakfast. “Yeah?”
“What are you thinking about?”
He looked down to adjust his glasses and sniffed loudly. “I got an email from my parents this morning.”
“Really?” Annie had wanted to say something else, but she knew it would have come off sounding sarcastic. “They finally decided to ask you how you were?”
Kerry drummed his fingers on the table. “Not exactly.”
“What did they say, then?” She slowly caressed the back of his hand. “Tell me, please?”
He spent a few moments in silence before deciding to tell Annie the contents of his parents email. “They first asked how the school was, then they wanted to know how I was doing in my classes, and what my grades were.”
She remained stoic, not giving away anything. “And?”
“Then they wanted to know what my room was like, and if I had a roommate.”
There was only one thing Annie wanted to know, and she wasn’t hearing it. “Did they bother asking how you were feeling?”
“Kinda at the end. They asked if I was having any trouble fitting in.” He shrugged. “Whatever that means.” He leaned a little towards Annie, who continued to stroke the back of his hand. “The only good thing that came from the email is that they are going to my grandparents house for Christmas, and wanted to know if I was going to be able to join them. I told them I’d find out.”
Hate to say it, but I drew on some personal feelings here, because this was exactly the sort of stuff I used to get from my parents. Not that I ever went away to a school for special kids, but they always wanted to know more about my schooling and grades than whether I was doing well personally. So writing this down last night sort of hurt, but you know that’s what we do: writers sometimes reach inside and pull out some evil, hurting things that we want everyone to see. Pretty much like I’m doing now!
Ah, but it gets better:
“Yeah, I’ll ask him about getting there for Yule.” Kerry chuckled. “That’s the first time I’ve said that.”
Annie lightly brushed his cheek. “You’re becoming acclimated to our ways.” A great many students continued to call their mid-school year break “Christmas” even though it was called by all the upper levels students and instructors as the “Yule Holiday”. She was impressed, however, that Kerry always refereed to the holidays and special events by their traditional names—like yesterday, he didn’t say the Halloween Dance, he said the Samhain Dance.
His chuckle lightened the dark mood that had possessed him throughout the morning. “Yes, well: I’m a good witch.”
“Yes, you are.” She poked the remains of her breakfast with her fork. “I just wish you could tell them what you really do here. Maybe they’d take an interest in you.”
Kerry said nothing for nearly ten seconds, staring off into space all the while. He slowly turned back towards Annie, his eyes hooded and shadowed. “They wouldn’t care. That’s how they are when it comes to me. They aren’t like your parents—” He looked down at his empty breakfast plate. “They’ll never write a letter wishing me a happy birthday and hoping it’s one of my best days ever.” He sniffed again as he shook his head.
Kerry’s parents are sort of . . . well, as he’s said, they’ve always thought him a little strange, and they find it difficult to understand his ways. As someone told me, “His parents don’t seem to believe in him.” No, they don’t. And if you knew what I know about his history after this story–and I do know that–you’d see that they not only don’t believe, they pretty much don’t care.
This isn’t a case of “We’re putting our hopes and aspirations into our progeny,” it’s more like, “How did we end up with this little love goblin?”
Fortunately for him, he has someone who does care . . .
Annie knew he was referring to the letter her mother had written and had delivered on her birthday. She’d read it to Kerry the next night in the Mezzanine Commons while resting nestled in his arms and with his locket resting against her chest. She’d been hesitant to read it to Kerry, because she’d known he hadn’t heard from his parents, and she didn’t want him upset. But he’d insisted and he held her tight while she read, translating the letter into English.
She could almost sense his feelings this moment, and they weren’t good. Annie moved her chair closer so she could hook her right arm through his left. “Kerry?”
He turned his misty eyes towards her. “Yes?”
“My birthday wasn’t one of my best days ever—” Annie touched her heart locket with her left fingers. “It was my best day ever—made that way by you.” She leaned in and kissed his cheek. “And I wrote to my mother that I’ll tell her about it when I’m home for Yule.”
This brought a wide smile to Kerry’s face. “You going to tell her about me?”
She already knows about you, love. But she couldn’t tell him that—not until he could remember their times together in dreams. “I’ll tell her everything. Including what a magnificent witch you are.”
Kerry took Annie’s right hand and held it tight. “Only because of you, Sweetie.”
“No.” She shook her head. “You have the talent—”
“You showed me how to use it.” He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it. “One month ago today we walked through Founder’s Gate, and I wouldn’t be half the witch I am now if you hadn’t given me that lecture in Spells Class.” Kerry gently touched Annie’s hand to his cheek. “I give credit where credit’s due.”
Annie couldn’t argue with his sentiment. “Thank you, dear.”
“Thank you for believing in me.”
“I believe in you—” She kissed his hand. “—because I love you.”
Loving little bunch, aren’t they? I really do love writing moments like that, because they do have a developing, mature romance. Yes, there is quite a lot of hand holding and snuggling and kissing, and while some may say it doesn’t feel “real”, I say stuff that, I like how my kids love–though Kerry is still a little hesitant about whipping out that L Word and laying it on Annie.
But they are about to lose that loving feeling, because they are about to get a bomb dropped in their laps.
“Annie? Kerry?” Netra Bonds, one of the Dining Hall hostesses, stood on the other side of the table. Her slightly lopsided grin was enough to tell the engrossed couple that she may have been standing there for sometime.
Annie recovered quickly, releasing Kerry’s hand and sliding her chair back to its original position before answering. “Yes?”
“I have a message for you.” She cleared her throat, though being an AP it was nothing more than a programmed reflex. “Professor Douglas would like to see you both this morning. She’s in her office in the Spell Center, and would like you to come between eight-thirty and nine.”
Annie and Kerry exchanged quick glances before Kerry cleared his throat. “Did she say why she wanted to see us?”
Annie nodded twice. “Thank you, Netra.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll inform the professor the message has been delivered.” She turned and walked off.
A couple of things, one of which I’ve only brought up once before. An AP is an Artificial Person, which is to say an android. All the staff assistants–groundskeepers, nurses, kitchen staff, housekeeping, security personnel–at the school are APs, but that’s not to say they’re just emotionless creations straight out of some Japanese anime. No, they’re self-aware and capable of independent thought and emotions, and are considered living beings by The Foundation. Which is to say they’re being paid to help run Salem, and that’s a far better deal than any naked elf got at that other special school.
And if you aren’t following on your score card from home, Professor Douglas is Wednesday, and it looks like that dun dun dunnnn moment I spoke of yesterday is coming, doesn’t it?
There you are: twelve hundred words down for last night’s scene, and only one more scene to go before I close out Chapter Fourteen. See?
I don’t imagine I’ll finish the last scene tonight, but who knows?
Stranger things have happened.