It only took me about three hours–and staying up past my normal bedtime–to churn out just a word over fifteen hundred to finish the scene, put finish it I did. It’s gonna need a good polish, because it’s not my best first draft, but it’s right where I want it, and that’s the idea behind a first draft.
Also, it does sort of have a rambling quality to the discussion. I mean, we are talking about a twelve year old girl–twelve-and-a-half now, if you consider Annie’s birthday was in September–and Kerry just a few weeks short of his twelfth birthday, so it’s not unusual for them to be a bit inarticulate when it comes to pour out their hearts to an adult. Although I should say Annie’s doing all the pouring right now, while Kerry has been sitting quietly.
So lets see what Annie has to say. Do you remember she wrote something in that center part of her book? She does:
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Before Erywin could question further Annie continued, her voice growing dream-like. “I’ve updated the portraits over the years. In the middle of August I did the first one of us together, and wrote next to it, ‘I’m off to Salem to see my love, my future husband’.” She turned a faint smile towards the professor. “Rather presumptuous of me, don’t you think?”
“We all do things like that when we’re in love, Annie.” She patted the young girl’s hand. “You feel in love with someone, and you wanted to share your life with him. I know that feeling, believe me: I’ve done the same.”
“Did you plan your life with Helena without telling her first?” Annie sighed and seemed to wilt. “I did. I went and decided I was going to marry, decided how it was going to be, how I was going to look—and when I found someone I loved, I went ahead and made them my fiance. Because that’s how I am: selfish.” She looked at the ground and snorted. “What Annie wants, Annie gets. Just ask my mother.”
And this has been a running theme with her: Annie is a selfish girl. She’s brought it up, Deanna brought it up, and her mother believes it all too well. Annie’s beating herself up over it and getting right down to the core of the matter:
For the first time she turned to Kerry, who had sat quietly through her conversation with a face that showed almost no emotion. “I never gave you a choice, my love. I decided everything for us, and in the years we were together in our dreams—even before you know I was real, before I knew you loved me, even before you knew I was witch—I never asked what you wanted. I never thought that you might want the same thing I wanted. What if you wanted something else?”
She turned back to Erywin. “What if he decided to stay with me because he felt obligated? What if he did and then hated me for what happened? What if he was miserable because I never asked him what he wanted because I knew what I wanted.”
“And there’s the problem—” She sighed. “All these things I wanted, I desired, they were there every time we visited in our dreams. What if they influenced my visions? I had my lake house vision after I knew Kerry was real—what if I only saw him in that vision because I wanted him there? What if what I wanted directed Kerry’s visions? What if—”
Annie has a lot of “What If?” going on, and she finally comes out and asks Kerry, “What if you’re not happy? What if this isn’t want you want? What if you stay with me and you’re miserable? What if you’re pretty, what if you’re rich, here’s what they said–” Sorry: Annie almost broke into song there. It’s all interesting questions, until someone–probably the boy who’s been listening to this for a while–lays just a bit of a smackdown on her.
But Annie’s so convinced she’s right, she’s gonna give him an argument–
Annie’s turned towards Kerry, who was now staring back with a look plastered across his face that didn’t hide his feelings. “But when we were in our dreamspace I could manipulate parts of the dream—”
“Because your magic allowed it; it was a form of lucid dreaming.” Kerry bowed his head for a moment. “You couldn’t have affected my subconscious with your own subconscious desire; it doesn’t work that way in dreamspace.”
“But what I wanted could have ended up in your mind—”
“I doesn’t matter what you wanted: you would have had to actively implanted a notion, and then erased my memory of the event.”
Annie wasn’t going to accept Kerry’s retorts. “What I saw in my visions—”
“Has nothing to do with what I saw in my visions.” He stood, shaking his head. “Annie, I know you want to think that you made me have those visions, but you couldn’t. Deanna said something the other night: you can’t make someone have visions. I know that, too, because I read it in those books you had me study. That’s how I also knew that . . . thing that happened to me was really a vision.”
This is the problem when you give your boyfriend a lot of books to read: he reads them, then has the answers you don’t want to hear. And he’s right: Deanna already told Annie that she couldn’t make them have visions. Annie’s position is that she influenced him with her subconscious, but Kerry’s got that one down: no, you couldn’t. Doesn’t work that way. I know ’cause I read about it.
And now that he’s on his feet, it’s time for him to get something off his chest.
He approached Erywin as he addressed her. “I know Coraline said I was bothered when she saw me that night, and I was—but not because of what I saw, but more because . . .” He grimaced a little as he looked for the right words.
Erywin stepped in to help. “Unexpected and messy?”
“Yeah.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “But by the time we made it to lunch, I knew I’d had a vision—I knew it because of all the stuff I’d been reading about divination and visions and dreams for months. I also knew from reading that the best odds you could get have for a vision being true or not were fifty-fifty.” He turned towards Annie, who was now listening silently. “This was before I knew you had your vision, and that it was the same thing I’d had—”
“But you had yours months later.” Annie appeared to want to jump out of her seat. “Yours could have occurred—”
“You couldn’t make me have a vision. It’s impossible. If Professor Arrakis couldn’t do it, you couldn’t.” He turned back to Erywin. “Coraline and Deanna probably mentioned that I was upset, that I was agitated, but it’s not for what you think—”
And that is probably the only time Kerry has ever talked back to Annie like that, because he has to cool her down, and the only way to do it is by telling here in no uncertain terms that she can’t be right. Sort of like a good sorceress keeping their head about them . . .
Which is what he does as he continues on why he was “agitated”–
He stood in front of Annie. “I wasn’t upset that I saw us together on our wedding night; I was upset that there was a chance that what I saw wouldn’t happen.” He slumped as all the energy seemed to leave him. “If it didn’t happen, it’s because we split and weren’t together any more. Or . . .” He looked down, whimpering once. “Something bad happened to one of us. Something—”
Annie jump out of her seat and took Kerry’s hands. “My love, nothing is going to happen to us, not like that.”
There it is: he made the connection that if it doesn’t happen, it means they are no longer together. Either they broke up, or–in a point he’s made before–one or both of them are dead. And there’s more coming–which means, if you know Kerry, you know what else is coming . . .
When he looked up Annie saw that Kerry was fighting to keep his emotions in check, but it was clear he was under tremendous stress. “The morning after we told each other our names I came downstairs in the morning, and my mother was like, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you so happy?’ I didn’t know it, but I was smiling: my mom said it was the first time in four months I’d smiled. You know what I told her? I said, ‘I’ve been bike riding with my Chestnut Girl’. She thought I was nuts; she even said so. But I didn’t care, because I knew it was true. It was the best time I’d had in a long time—and it was even better because I shared it with you.
“You’ve been in my life as long as I can remember, and I can’t think of what I’d do without you, Annie.” His shoulders started to heave as he started to lose the fight with his emotions. “I’m not good with expressing myself—I know that. My family isn’t like you’re: there’s no romance and little in the way of affection. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how I feel about you.” The tears started stream down his cheeks. “I don’t want anything to happen to you—to happen to us. I don’t want us apart; I don’t want you . . .”
Annie wrapped her arms around Kerry and comforted him as he released the pent up fear mingled with his love. “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”
Kerry buried his head into her shoulder. “You said you never gave me a choice, that you decided everything for us.” He wrapped his arms around Annie’s waist and held her tight. “You been giving me a choice for the last ten minutes—” He pressed his cheek against hers. “I’m still here. I didn’t go. I couldn’t go. I don’t want to go.” Kerry kissed her cheek. “I don’t ever want to go.”
Annie told her mother about her Ginger Hair Boy, and we finally discover that, at one time, Kerry told his mother about his Chestnut Girl, and he was happy about it. Mister Mope was actually happy after month of being sad and depressed, all because a girl in his dreams took him bike riding. And yes, he cries, because Kerry hasn’t learned how to keep a rein on his emotions. He’ll learn one of these days.
First scene out of the way, and it was a long one: longer than all of Part Nine.
But the other three scenes should go quickly, because I don’t anticipate them being very long. And I should point out that I’m about twenty-five hundred words away from fifty thousand for this act, which means Act Three is shaping up to be rather short compared to the first two.
Then again, I haven’t gotten to Part Twelve yet.