I’m like Rule #1 for The Doctor: I lie. I said I wasn’t feeling the NaNo Love, that I didn’t know if I was going to get the job done this time . . . and I rip off twenty-two hundred words yesterday. Sure, it took me most of the day, because it seemed like I could only write in two or three hundred word spurts, but I got it done. Sure, that was yesterday, and today is today, but I have a plan to hit my word count today no matter what–long before The Walking Dead comes on and we find out if Beth is still doing the damn singing on the show.
It was work, though. I couldn’t seem to keep my head in the game. Was it distractions? Yeah, a little. Was it thinking about what I wanted to write and not simply throwing crap on the page? Yeah, a little. Was it not feeling the writing energy? Yeah, a whole lot. Was because my characters wanted to do something else? No, hell no. My characters are my bitches, and they do nothing but wait for me to paint them upon my literary canvas. Because . . .
What I managed to do was finish the scene with Kerry at his grandparents–with something happening that I’m not showing, sorry–and moving to Christmas Eve and a conversation between Annie and her mother. And from this word smithing came and interesting passage between Kerry and his grandparents:
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
“When we first heard you were selected to go to this private school, we were surprised.” Aaron tapped the table hard twice with his fingers. “But I’ve been telling your mother for years that you’re special, that the only reason you weren’t doing well in school is because they weren’t giving you a challenge.”
Margaret nodded. “You’re doing well, I hope?”
“Oh, sure. I’m doing extraordinarily well in everything.” Kerry wasn’t lying, either: the midterm status report he received last Thursday said his marks were Extraordinary in all seven Proficiencies.
While Aaron seemed impressed, he had to comment about someone who wasn’t. “Your mother complained that she hasn’t seen a report card from your school.”
“Yeah, I heard.” When he was first emailed on the family holiday gathering at his grandparent’s house, his mother made a point of asking about when she’d get a report card on his progress at school. She’d brought it up again yesterday, at which point Kerry had to remind her, once more, that the school didn’t give out report cards, and that they didn’t grade the way his old schools graded.
“I told you mother to never mind; I’m certain if you weren’t doing well, the school would let them know.”
Yeah, they’d send me home and farm me off to another school. Kerry knew all about no doing well: he’d discovered that last week two students were told that they were on “probation” through the end of the school year, and that they needed to show “improvements”. Annie mentioned that anyone on probation before Yule holiday would not likely return to the school unless they were discovered to has a hidden Gift, and there was a possibility they’d be placed in another school before Ostara. “Oh, they would. I’d know, too.”
Writing that third paragraph forced me to come up with something else, which was the actual grading marks given to the students. The list below shows, from top to bottom, the worse to the best:
There you go: you suck at Salem, and you are Worthless, baby! These witches, they don’t pull punches. Kerry knows he’s in the Extraordinary group, and you can bet his Bulgarian Soul Mate is as well. The next thing I’ll have to do is figure out the Proficiency, some of which I already know, but which aren’t written down.
One of the things that will keep coming back is that Kerry’s parents think it’s strange that this new school doesn’t grade the way Kerry’s old schools graded. He’s Extraordinary? At what? Well, there is some BS the A Levels with Normal parents were told to pass along as the truth until such a time that they are given permission to say, “I’m Extraordinary at turning you into a frog.” Which Kerry may be able to do at some point, so stop asking about the grades, Mom.
I moved the action to a few hours before Christmas, with Annie moving out to her private abode on her parent’s property. Really, it must be nice to be a twelve year old girl and have a place to you can call your own and use as a place to chill when the family is getting on your nerves.
Annie sat in her lake house alone, staring into the fire as she waited for her company to arrive. She suspected that they were held up by events over which they had no control, but would arrive soon.
She wasn’t concerned; things here at home were not the same at school. At Salem things were on a schedule, everything had a reason, events occurred as expected. At home one could expect to eat at certain times, but everything else simply happened.
Just like what had happened the first Monday home. After breakfast Papa took everyone off to Copenhagen for shopping and lunch, then they rode the train into Sweden and had dinner in Stockholm. After that they wandered about the city, enjoying the festival-like winter that had overtaken the city. It was fun: Annie hasn’t been to Stockholm in almost four years, and there were few places that were a wonderful in winter as Stockholm.
As much as Annie enjoyed the time, however, after a weekend away from school, she found herself wanting to share the moments in Denmark and Sweden with Kerry. Being with her parents was good: being with Kerry would have been great . . .
“You enjoy sitting in the dark in front of the fireplace?”
Annie’s mother was standing to her left, framing the entryway between the bedroom and the staircase to the loft, dressed in her dark red housecoat, and carrying her laptop cradled in her right hand. Annie slowly turned her head and cocked it slightly to the right. “It reminds me of the Midnight Madness.” She returned to staring straight ahead into the fire. “And in the Cernunnos Commons.”
“Bet they don’t burn cherry wood in their fireplaces.” Pavlina set her laptop on the dining table in the center of the huge, single room that was the ground floor of Annie’s lake house before walking over to the sofa, remaining on Annie’s left. She didn’t sit, but stood next to the arm instead. “Have you spent much time staring into the commons’ fireplace when it’s dark?” She half-turned her head and chuckled. “I seemed to remember the lights in the commons area not going completely out until after midnight.”
“It’s still that way.” Annie wasn’t going to play coy with her mother, not while they were alone, not after of few of Mama gently trying to learn more about her relationship with Kerry. “And, no: they don’t burn cherry wood.”
There’s an important little tidbit in that exchange that will show up again in Act Three, but what is it? That Annie loves going to Stockholm? Probably.
And Mama finally has a few pointed questions for her daughter:
“That makes sense.” Pavlina eyed Annie’s locket. “You never told me how he managed to get you that locket for your birthday.” She crossed her arms, looking motherly. “A Levels aren’t allowed off the grounds.”
“He asked two of the staff if they would buy it for him, and he paid them.” Since arriving home her mother had a few questions about the locket, but she’d never came right out and asked if it had come from Kerry. Annie had deliberately ignored the questions: she understood that eventually her mother would find a moment alone to ask her directly.
“It’s lovely. Did he have it engraved?
“Yes, he did.”
“Something personal?” Annie stared back, saying nothing. “I didn’t think you’d answer.”
Annie crossed her arms. “You were right.”
“Who were you waving to when you jaunted from the school?”
Closing her eyes Annie took a deep breath and released it slowly. “Kerry.”
Pavlina’s tone changed slightly. “But you weren’t really waving, were you?”
I’m not about to tell her I was blowing him a kiss. “Are you going to help me, Mama?” Annie’s stare turned cold, as did her tone. “I would like if you would.”
Mothers are so nosy when it comes to their daughters and their boyfriends that they’ve been sharing dreams with for at least a decade. And why does Annie need help from her mother? Do you feel like I left something out in this recap?
I’d say that’s a yes. Let’s see if that gets answered today.
NaNo Word Count, 11/1: 2,217
NaNo Total Word Count: 2,217