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.
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.”
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.”
“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?”
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.