One of the maxims of writing is, “Write what you know”. Which is a hard thing to do for this novel, because what do I know about witches and super science and secret organizations that run the world without us knowing anything. Okay, for that last I have notes from last week’s meeting . . .
But this novel isn’t all about witches and magic and fighting off some dark, unseen presence–though give me a few more scenes and you might be surprised. It’s also about feelings. It’s about my two main characters learning about stuff, you know . . . things. That’s what happened earlier in the current scene I’m writing: Annie came back in to see the laid-up Kerry, apologized, and told him a secret. It’s all good, right?
Kerry’s got a few secrets of his own. He tells Annie he understands strange relationships with you parents, because he has the same. But he doesn’t stop there: oh, no. That would be too easy. Because Kerry’s been hanging around Annie for almost two months now, and he’s discovered that, after all the years of being around his parents and experiencing an unaffectionate relationship with them, he really does have feelings.
Which leads to this:
(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie nodded slowly, witnessing the emotions flowing across Kerry’s face. Something was bothering him, something that he wanted to say aloud, and she wasn’t about to leave him alone with feelings that seemed to bother him. “Kerry?”
He took two deep breaths before he quickly raised his head so he was looking directly at Annie. “A couple of years ago my mother told me she wished I wasn’t with them. I knew she didn’t mean that I wasn’t with them in Cardiff: she meant she wished . . .” He took a long, tortured breath as his gaze shifted away from Annie. “I wasn’t here.”
Write what you know–and I know that one. Because my own mother dropped that bomb on me when I was ten. Sure, I was probably driving her crazy with my depression and all the other baggage I was carrying, and this moment came after my parents pulled me out of therapy after two months–therapy that was suppose to help me learn how to “make friends,” because one of my mantras then was, “No one likes me.” At that time in my life I never left the house except to go to school and places with my parents. There was one point where I didn’t leave my room unless it was necessary for about two years.
I’m sure none of this had anything to do with the various sentences my mother threw at me from the time I was about six that always ended in, “Like a girl.” Yeah, thanks. Lots of help there.
Fortunately Kerry has Annie. And while he might not understand everything there is to know about girls, he will understand this:
If she could have Annie would have taken Kerry and pulled him close and held him, but she couldn’t do that, not with him being unable to move. She moved as close to him as possible. “Do you remember when we had lunch in Russel Square?”
He didn’t look at her, but Kerry nodded. “Yeah. That was—”
“Do you remember telling me that you felt that no one cared for you, that you weren’t loved?”
Kerry gaze slowly returned to Annie’s hazel eyes. “Yes. I remember.”
She laid their hands upon her chest and held him tightly. “You’re wrong. You’re worthy of love, Kerry: you deserve love. You deserve to have someone tell you at least once every day that they love you. You deserve to hear those words and know them to be true.” Annie lightly, lovingly kissed his hand. “I love you, Kerry. I always will. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you.” She placed his hand against her right cheek and closed her eyes. “Every day.”
Kerry felt her warm cheek against his fingers, her skin against his. He started to smile, then the gravity of her words fell over him, and it was all he could do to stare opened mouth, his breathing coming in short, jagged bursts. As Annie opened her eyes and looked back into his, he finally found his voice. “Every day . . . That’s a long time.”
“Yes, it is.” Annie lowered his hand so it once more rested on the bed, though she refused to let it go. “Unless you keep letting Emma crash into you.”
He began laughing; Annie joined in a moment later. The seriousness of the moment was now in the past, replaced by their levity. Kerry coughed once. “Yeah, that could shorten my life considerably.”
“By more than a few years.” This time the lights across the ward were out for three seconds before coming back on. “And I think—”
“That’s your cue.” Kerry slid his hand from Annie’s. “You better get going before Nurse Gretchen throws you out.”
The rest of the scene comes tonight, when Kerry starts to understand something important. Something not just about Annie, but about himself. Something that’ll bring another kind of hurt–
Don’t worry, kid. You don’t have to stay empty forever.