Well, I managed. I turned off all distractions, put on some music, and got to writing. And when I was finished, I had another scene done and my NaNo goals were met.
Happiness all around, yes indeed.
Last night’s scene was a reunion. Kerry is up and about, dressed and refreshed, and half expecting Annie to be waiting outside his door. But she isn’t, because while she may like to sneak into the hospital and watch him sleep, she’s not totally stalkerlicious. This time, however, the setting is turned around, and Kerry sees this on the Mezzanine Commons–
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie was sleeping on the sofa, fully dressed in a sweater, jeans, and her soft boots.
Kerry entered the mezzanine, walking with care even though he knew he’d not make any sounds on the carpeted stone floor. He approached without making a sound and knelt before the sofa. He looked up Annie’s sleeping face, watched the flexing of her slightly open mouth and her slow, deep breathing. He’d never saw Annie when she was sound asleep, and her face didn’t show her normal fixed, controlled demeanor, but rather he saw Annie as no one else had ever seen her: relaxed, peaceful, unconcerned, and dreamy.
Kerry realized where he’d seen her like this before . . . She’s like this when we’re alone, when she can let her guard down and not worry if anyone is going to catch her smiling or laughing too much, or if they might see her pout or get angry. He reached towards her, so wanting to touch here, so much wanting to let his fingers glide over her cheek—
He lay a fingertip against her right cheek, barely making contact with her warm skin. When she didn’t move he drew it towards him and towards the corner of her mouth. He reached the edge of her lip and glided along the edge, outlining her lower lip until he reached the opposite corner of her mouth. Kerry thought of running his along her upper lip, but thought it was possible that someone would eventually come along and catch him in the middle of this act. Don’t want that— He pulled he hand away from her face. Wouldn’t be long before I’d start hearing stupid things like “Team Kerry” whispered in the Dining Hall . . .
He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek, then sat back and waited for her reaction.
At first noting happen, then Annie began to stir slowly, like an invisible hand were shaking her awake while she mumbled in a low, soft voice. “Molya ne spiraĭte, lyubov moya. Tseluni me otnovo . . .” She sighed once before slowly opening her eyes. She discovered Kerry’s face only a half a meter from hers, and she reached out with right arm and hooked her hand around his neck. “Kerry . . .” Her face brightened as her face broke into a wide smile. “You’re here.”
“I am.” He touched the tip of her nose. “Moyata polovinka.” He let himself be pulled into her lips, and he slid his left hand behind her back as he kissed her warmly. They kissed for almost a minute, though neither bothered judging the passage of time. This kiss had been building for many days, and it would end when their passion was subdued.
Kerry finally broke the kiss, though he only pulled back enough so he could keep Annie’s face fully framed in his vision. “I love you, Sweetie.”
“Oh, Kerry . . .” Annie wrapped her arms around him and hugged him hard. “I’ve been waiting over two weeks for that kiss and for you to say that.” She kissed him again. “I love you, my darling.”
I have to admit, I loved writing that scene. It’s really the first time you see Kerry sort of being romantic in a non-verbal way. I can also tell you that Annie was dreaming of Kerry–I know because I put them mumbly words in her mouth.
We find out that Annie got up about four and came down and slept on the sofa. Right after that she starts talking about her holiday:
“I was missing you terribly as well.” He kissed her hair. “How was your holiday?”
“It was—good.” She glanced up and smiled. “We traveled around a lot.”
“Just Europe, though we visited a lot of places. About the only time we were home was from Christmas Eve to the Second Day of Christmas, and New Year’s Day.” She rested her head against his shoulder. “I wished you were with me, particularly when we went to Copenhagen and Stockholm.”
“I wish I could have seen that with you.” He hugged her tight. “Did you see the Little Mermaid?”
“Yes, and she was freezing.” Annie laughed, tickling Kerry until he joined in. “One day I’ll take you to see her.”
“I want to do that.”
“We will.” Annie sat up. “Before you tell me about your holiday, I have something to show you.” She jumped up and held out her right hand. “Come on.”
Yeah, the little mermaid was probably cold, given, you know, she doesn’t really wear anything on, and she’s sitting on a rock out of the water. At least we can be assured that Kerry wouldn’t try cutting her head or arm off.
Annie drags him to their lab, and there’s something waiting for him:
“You can open your eyes.” Kerry opened them and saw a large black cloth covering the work table. It was the only thing that hadn’t been there when they left the lab on the Thursday night before leaving on holiday.
He turned to Annie, who was now looking rather pleased. “Well?”
She nodded towards the table. “You need to look under the cloth.”
Kerry did as instructed, lifting up the cloth and examining what was beneath. “There’s . . .” He ran his hand over the table surface. “Wood.”
“Are you sure?” Annie replaced the cloth and smoothed it out until it was once more flat.
He lifted a corner and looked again. “Yeah. Just the table.”
“Well . . .” Annie smoothed out the cloth, making certain every wrinkle was gone. “Maybe you’re not looking the right way—” She snapped the cloth up from the table as if she were shaking out dust, then yanked it away.
A PAV sat on the table where the cloth has lain seconds before.
I guess you can say Annie was doing a magic trick–and in a way it was, because it leaves Kerry shocked and surprised:
Kerry stared for several seconds, trying to fathom what Annie had done, and what he was now seeing. He understood the magic: several times he’d seen Professor Salomon reach behind her back and pull her broom out what seemed like nothing. She called it a Displacement Spell—that she was really grabbing her broom from a predefined location back in the Flight School—but Nadine told him that all the racers said they kept their brooms in “Hammerspace,” which Kerry understood because he’d seen enough anime to know one could pull enormous objects from out of nowhere as long as one reached behind their back . . .
He now-trained eye recognized the PAV right away: it was an Espinoza 4500 like the one he’d been flying since the beginning of school—only it wasn’t like that one. The carbon filament was the dark, shiny black of a device that had never seen a second of exposure to the elements. There wasn’t a visible scuff anywhere—save for some markings in white near where he would sit—and when Kerry placed his hand over the frame and activated the saddle, there wasn’t a sign of wear on the leather: no one had ever sat upon this device.
“It’s a good broom, Kerry.” Annie was next to him, her voice soft and comforting. “It’ll never let you down.”
He turned towards her, his eyes misting. “Annie—”
“I’d rather someone who I know will enjoy flying have it instead of someone who’d never know how to appreciate this gift.” She took Kerry’s hands and kissed them. “Happy birthday, Kerry.”
“Annie.” He looked to the broom sitting on the table, then back to Annie. “That must have cost a—”
She lay her fingers upon his lips. “Shush, you.” She shook her head, her glance radiating her love. “You should know by now I don’t care for the cost of a present—it’s the thought and feelings behind it that impress me.” Her fingers glided over her locket. “You knew what would touch me—I know what touches you.”
Here, for the first time, we hear about Hammerspace–yes, not the real name, but you know kids–and Annie repeats the same thing to Kerry that he said, years before, to the boy to whom he gave his bicycle, something Kerry mentioned during their very first Midnight Madness together. Goes to show you Annie was listening; she’s always listening. And now you know what she needed help from Mama for–though in another couple of scenes you’ll find out there was a little more to it than just having her order this off the Internet.
Since the emotions are really flowing, Kerry starts expressing them, because he can’t not . . .
Kerry fought to keep his emotions under control. “It’s a little early, but . . .” He wrapped his arms around Annie and hugged her tight. “Thank you so much.” He kissed her as tears dripped from his eyes. “Obicham te, moyata polovinka.”
Annie looked down and giggled. “You’re working on your Bulgarian.”
“It gave me something to do when I got lonely for you.”
“I think what you wanted to say was, ‘Obicham te, moya srodna dusha’.” She cleared her throat. “You know what moyato prolovinka really means, don’t you?”
Kerry wiped his eyes. “I looked it up.”
He looked down and avoided Annie’s gaze for the first time. “It means ‘my mate’.”
Annie touched his chin, raising his head. “This doesn’t bother you?”
He chuckled. “Should it?” He kissed her check. “Obicham te, moyata polovinka.”
“Obicham te, moya spŭtnik, you mean.” She patted his check. “I’ll have to start giving you lessons.” She turned towards the broom on the table. “Look on the frame under the saddle.”
What Kerry tries to say first is “I love you, my soul mate,” but Annie sets him straight–and then, in a roundabout way, lets him know that she wasn’t quite truthful about the exactly translation of “Moyata polovinka” as she explained it back in the garden after the Samhain Dance. “My soul mate” and “my mate” are just a little different in meaning, if you catch my drift. And when Kerry tries to say, “I love you, my mate,” she corrects him again and lets him know it’s time to give him lessons. Now won’t that be fun?
It should also be noted that Kerry doesn’t seem to mind the “my mate” reference. Annie’s also known, probably for a while, that Kerry would have looked up the translation on his own. The fact that he’s not upset means he either (1) doesn’t care, (2) realizes there’d a future for them, or (3) he’s still completely clueless.
And one last thing Annie did for him–remember she asked him to look under the saddle?
Kerry folded the saddle back into the frame and picked up the broom to give the area a closer look. The white stuff was lettering, and it spelled out:
Kerrigan Rodney Malibey “Starbuck”
“That area is enchanted.” Annie’s face was next to his, looking at the same spot on the frame. “The only ones who can see your full name are you and I—though that can be changed if you want. That way, no one can use your full name against you.”
“What does everyone else see?”
“They’ll see ‘Kerry Malibey’ and your call sign. Nothing else.”
He picked up the PAV and held it in both hands, feeling the weight and imagining how it was going to feel sitting upon the saddle. He set it gently upon the table, then slowly wrap his arms around Annie and held her close. He couldn’t hold back any longer, and the tears flowed freely for almost a minutes. All the while Annie held him close and smiled, for she knew, for once, his tears weren’t from sadness—she’d brought him tears of joy, perhaps the first he’d experienced in a while.
When he released her she dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve cuffs. “Better?”
“Oh, yes.” He managed a weak laugh. “We’ll have to see Professor Salomon later and find out where I can store this.”
I have to admit, Annie is a sweet girl. It’s not everyone who’d have their boyfriend’s name and call sign painted on his broom like he was a pilot at Top Gun school. Just wait until next Monday–you find out at the beginning of the scene that there isn’t any real classes the first week back–when the kids in Basic Flight see Kerry roll in with his birthday present . . .
The next scene has Kerry talking about something he learned over his holiday with his folks, and it’s going to be . . . interesting. That’s all I’ll say.
It’ll also be interesting writing the scene. Because, when I look at my word counts, I see Act Two is just short of one hundred and fifty thousand–
Which means the manuscript, as a whole, is just shy of twice that much–
So tonight I pass into some rare territory where only writers who kill characters off for the hell of it venture. Which means, if Act Three is anything like the first two, the whole mess should top out at around four hundred and fifty thousand words.
When I said this is my Infinite Jest–I wasn’t jesting.
NaNo Word Count, 11/2: 2,200
NaNo Total Word Count: 6,787