I am finally into the part of the story were we are all out of the school, at least for the weekend, and it’s not a holiday. It’s Spying Time, and my kids are all ready–well, as ready as they’re going to be. On the way over to Panera this morning I kept thinking of a good title for this post, and I finally fell on a variation of “Welcome to the Hotel California,” which, if you sing this title out, matching the syllables and time signature perfectly. And now, when you re-read the title–which I know you’re doing right now–you’re singing it out in your head.
My ladies, and one guy, are doing what everyone does: they’re getting into their rooms. Of course, when the leader of your group is a slightly paranoid sorceress, things are done a little differently.
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
They entered the hotel room silently, as Helena had instructed them while they were in the elevator on the way up to the floor. Helena looked about the suite—a closet; a doorway to the left and another to the right; a sofa, love seat, table, and television at the far end—then pointed at Erywin before pointing at the door on the right. She raised her hands and initiated the spell as Erywin opened the other door, entered the adjoining room, and initiated her own spell.
A grayness swept along the walls and ceiling, hugging it, touching it, slowly caressing it. It moved over the wall to the left, the wall at the far end of the room, then over to the wall on the right before slipping up to the ceiling. It hovered against the ceiling for almost five seconds before fading into nothingness.
Erywin stepped out of the adjoining room and gave Helena a quizzical look. Helena nodded towards the door to her left. “This room’s clean: let’s check the other.” They entered the room, leaving Annie and Kerry behind.
A minute later they returned. “Both are clean; we can talk.”
Anne pushed here roller bag against the wall. “You were checking for listening devices, weren’t you?”
“Yes.” Helena set her luggage and briefcase next to the door leading to the other room.
Kerry found the situation a bit curious. “Who’s bugging the room?”
Helena peeked into the other room. “Sure. We’re a new team out on a field operation, and there are nosy people in the Guardians who want to make certain we’re doing all the right things.”
Nice to know The Foundation–really, the Guardians–might be listening in on you. But there’s a reason Helena suspects this:
Annie, on the other hand, understand this world better. She addressed Helena. “You’ve put in listening devices, having you?”
“And enchantments that do the same thing. How do you think I knew what to look for?” She turned to Erywin, who was looking out the window. “Nice view?”
“I can see the Center—” She pointed at something outside to her right. ”Just across the street.”
“Which is where we want to be.” Helena moved to the center of the room and looked about. “Not bad for an executive suite. Then again, The Foundation is paying the bill, so why not give us something nice?”
Yep, let’s do a little spying on people, because someone’s gotta watch the watchmen. Also, now would be a good time to show everyone where the action is taking place. First, there’s the Crown Center in downtown Kansas City:
The center is also the location of the mall where the girl they are watching, Tanith, goes and hangs; on the picture above, it’s right where it says, “Crown Center Ice Terrace”. The hotel where everyone is staying, the Sheraton Crown Center Kansas City, is the building in the upper right hand corner with the circle on top, which is actually the restaurant and lounge. Here’s a better picture:
We can figure out from Erywin’s view that they are on the south side of the building, and probably high up, because they have nice rooms . . .
“It is pretty good.” Kerry stepped over to the door leading to the room next door and looked in. “The other room is just like this?”
“Yes: I asked for adjoining suites.” Helena snapped her fingers to gain the children’s attention. “This is the living area, as you can see. Main closet is right there—” She pointed to the area next to where Annie stood. “Through this other door is the sleeping area, with a king-sized bed and another television, and the bathroom.
“Here’s the plan for this evening. We’re going to leave for dinner in about an hour. I know you’re both hungry, but we’re in a different time zone here and we don’t want to make it look like we’ve just gained an hour. The restaurant is close by and is affiliated with The Foundation, so we’ll have a nice table off to the side where no one can listen in on us, so we’ll be able to discuss our plans for tomorrow without fear.”
Helena on the arm of the sofa where Erywin was already resting. “In the morning we’ll dine in the restaurant downstairs before heading out. I want to give the impression we’re a family, and dining in the open with others is the best way to do so.” She crossed here arms. “We’ll stick to the same morning schedule here as we have Salem: up early, down for breakfast by seven. And keep in mid we’re not adjusting for time, so plan on being up before the alarm and heading off to bed a little early. Ker—” She caught herself and smiled. “I mean, ‘Gavin’, I know you have your phone, so set the alarm for five-thirty.”
I’ve actually stayed in a suite like this in the Sheraton Kowloon during one of my visits to Hong Kong, and they are nice. And they have joining rooms, which is a nice deal–in fact, in some hotels you can get three of them side by side and actually use the room in middle for your entrance.
And about that “Gavin”; that’s the first code name you find out they’re using. But if I’m gonna tell one, I have to tell them all . . .
Kerry grimaced after hearing his phony name. “I really hate that name—Auntie Brenda.”
Erywin snorted. “I’m Phoebe: would you like to get stuck with that?”
Annie decided to join the name game. “I’m Nadya. I knew a girl at my private school named Nadya: she was a snooty little Normal bitch.”
This argument was one they’d already had, and Helena wasn’t about to go over it again. “Take it up with San Francisco: they picked the names.” She stood, dropping her hands to her sides. “Let’s unpack, change if you feel the need, and get ready for dinner.”
There you have it:
Annie = Nadya
Kerry = Gavin
Helena = Brenda
Erywin = Phoebe
And there you have it. Do you think Kerry will tease Annie about having the name of a snooty little Normal bitch? Not if he knows what’s good for him.
This brings up something that was likely on Kerry’s mind since walking in the door of the joint: sleeping arrangements. Being the only dude in the group it does bring up the question, “Where do I camp out for the evening?”
Kerry lay a hand on the handle of his travel bag. “So where are we sleeping—” He couldn’t help but grin. “Mom?”
Erywin pointed to the open door to his left. “Your room is in there.”
“Cool.” He glanced into the room. “You want me sleeping on the bed, or the sofa?”
Erywin stood next to her luggage. “Doesn’t matter to me; you can sleep where you want.”
Kerry was about to ask where Erywin was going to sleep when Annie was next to him, touching his arm. “Dear, she means that’s our room.”
“There are times when your significant other is far smarter than you, Clever Boy.” Helena indicated the bedroom behind her. “Adults are in here, and children—” She pointed to the open doorway behind Annie and Kerry. “—are in there.” She tilted her head slightly to the left. “Unless there’s a reason you two can’t be trusted alone for the evening.”
Annie glommed onto Kerry’s arm. “No, ‘Mama’. You can trust us.”
“Good. Here are the rules: that door stays closed when we are separated. If you want to come in and speak to us, knock and we’ll answer. Same goes for you: we’ll knock and wait for you to let us in—”
“However, if you don’t open the door—” Erywin smirked. “—we might have to come in and see if you need . . . assistance.”
Helena nodded. “Don’t leave by way of your hallway door; all comings and goings are through our door. Oh, and if you feel the need to raid the mini bar go ahead: someone else is paying the bill.” She held up an admonishing finger. “No room service. If you want something, let us know.” She waved them away. “Okay, go unpack and get ready. We’ll let you know when we’re ready to go.”
Helena–I mean, Auntie Brenda–is being pretty trusting letting the kids share the same room, what with those visions of wedding nights they’ve seen and the raging hormones they both have. But, I mean, come on: Erywin and Kerry sharing a room? Not gonna happen. And they would probably be a battle if Helena and Annie were sleeping together . . . At this place and time Helena is quite aware that these two sack out during the Midnight Madness all the time, and chances are she’s aware they’ve spent a night or two–or more–down on the commons sofa.
Beside, if you don’t think Helena doesn’t have a spell up her sleeve that would keep them apart, you don’t know her like I do. And seeing as how I created here, you don’t know her like I do.
The kids will be fine. I mean, there are separate sleeping arrangements in these suites–
Kerry followed Annie into the other room and closed the door behind him. He scanned the living area of the identical suite, but said nothing for a few seconds as he considered his next words. “Well, um, I could—”
Annie turned her head and gave Kerry her best cold stare. “If you are even considering the idea the sleeping on the sofa, I won’t speak to you for the rest of the weekend.” She walked smartly towards the bedroom entrance and stopped just before heading inside. “Come along, my love: let’s unpack and get ready dinner.”
Kerry closed his eyes as he shook his head as little as possible as a huge grin spread across his face. “Coming, Sweetie.”
And . . . you can forget about that sofa, Captain Clueless. What Annie wants, Annie gets, and what she wants is for you to be sleeping right next to her.
Why, it’s almost like being married . . .