Yes, the post is getting out a little late this morning, but only because I just finished writing fourteen hundred words to finish up a scene I started last night. And seeing how I said yesterday that it’s one with Annie and Kerry, some of you are probably wondering about the title of the post. Trust me, they’re not getting hammered on Korbel when they should be spying on Tanith. The title refers to something else. But of course it does.
We jump ahead a few hours and we’re outside Tanith’s school. Someone else is there, too . . .
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry sat with his back against the tree truck, keeping it between him and the steady wind coming out of the north. He’d pulled up his hood and keep his hands in his pockets trying to remain comfortable, and found he was succeeding marvelously. Once more he was happy he’d packed the microfleece hoodie his grandparent gave him for Christmas, because not only was it warm, but it had enough internal pockets to hold some of the devices he was using for this operation.
He was sitting on the front lawn of Lincoln Preparatory Academy waiting for his partner in crime to join him outside. While he’d waited for a delivery from Erywin, Annie was busy following Tanith and waiting for the right moment to secure another tag on her so she’d be easier to track with his tablet. She’d said she’d likely have an easier time of placing a tag on her, and he didn’t disagree: after all, if Tanith noticed a boy following her—tagging her with an enchantment wasn’t something they could do while bending light around them, not yet—she’d probably think it a little strange.
So he went outside to wait for his phony mother while also waiting for his real girlfriend . . .
The thing that comes from this is there’s a lot of waiting going on. That’s the spy business for you: a day’s worth of boredom sometimes punctuated by a few seconds of terror. But the terror part’s the one that everyone likes, right? Well, only if you’re the reader . . .
And what about that real girlfriend?
He turned to his left and watched Annie fade into view as her light bending field merged with his. “I was counting the seconds.” He patted the ground to his left and waited for her to get comfortable. “You have any problem tagging her?”
“No.” Annie partially unzipped her jacket and removed the light scarf around her neck. “I followed her into the bathroom and put it on her there.”
“The girl’s bathroom.” He chuckled. “The one place I can’t go.”
“It’s not that great.” She stretched out her legs. “Most girl’s bathrooms aren’t nice.”
“It’s not much better with the boy’s bathrooms, trust me. The only nice one I’ve seen is back at our school.”
Annie nodded. “I agree.” She nodded at the bag on Kerry’s right. “Lunch?”
“Yeah.” He set it in his lap. “Mom brought it about ten minutes ago.” Kerry stayed with the code names and pronouns assigned as they’d been told. He reached in the bag and removed a wrapped sandwich. “Lean roast beef with lettuce and onion—and a touch of horseradish—on rye.” He handed it to Annie. “Oh—” He removed another item. “And a dill pickle. Just as you ordered.”
“Thank you.” She partially unwrapped the sandwich and breathed in the aroma. “Lovely. What did you get?”
“Turkey with lettuce and onion—and a touch of mayo—on sourdough.” He removed a smaller bag from the larger one. “With a side of potato chips.”
“Not regular chips?”
“I will admit they do chips up better in Cardiff than they do in the States, so I passed.” He pealed open the wrapping and took a quick bite of his lunch. “Not bad.”
“Mine’s good, too.” She removed her pickle from the plastic wrap it came in and nibbled. “Though the school makes them better.”
“They do have an advantage other places don’t.”
The one thing to take away is if your girlfriend likes onions, you better have them, too, otherwise you’re gonna smell it on her all day. And Kerry loves that turkey, it seems. So, once more, they are enjoying a nice lunch together on a chilly day, only this time they’re invisible under a tree in Kansas City instead of sitting out in the open on a bench in a park in Salem. They love their lunches together, and the discussions that come with them . . .
And their discussion this time was a bit about romance. Annie talks about the things she’s seen her parents do–little touches, kisses, terms of endearment–and she tells Kerry that romance in a relationship is important. It’s also noted that Kerry’s seen none of that behavior in his parents, and why am I not surprised? Annie attributes part of his wanting affection to having spent a little of his life growing up around her, and there is probably some truth in that: he felt her love early on, and his soul cried out for whatever she radiated. Annie comes right out and tells Kerry the truth:
Annie stopped him abruptly. “You’re not your parents; not in any way. You want affection—maybe that’s because you grew up, in a way, around me and you felt what I felt.” She lay her head against his shoulder for a few seconds. “I couldn’t be with you if you were like your parents. It would kill me.”
“I know. I think that’s what the girl in my rune dream was telling me.” He rested his head against hers for a moment before sitting up straight. They both finished their lunches in silence after a few minutes.
Pretty harsh, soul mate, but a whole lot of truth there. And as Kerry says, it’s what the girl in his dream was trying to tell him: he couldn’t be cold to Annie, she would hate it, and he had to open his heart to her in order to make her happy. Smart girl, whomever she was.
They discuss a bit of the dream from the night before, and it’s obvious that Kerry is done California Dreamin’. They both come to the conclusion that it wasn’t so much the home that Kerry was attached to as it was the personal items he left behind. There was love in the memories those things brought, and when he left them behind, he left behind those memories. But the home–screw that. He knows it wasn’t a home, not based upon the definition that Annie gave him.
And that’s when Annie begins the reminiscing . . .
Annie took Kerry’s hand in hers and held it tight. “About a month before my eighth birthday my mother and I went away to a house her parents own just outside Pocancy, France. That’s in the Champagne region—do you know it?”
“I know of it. It’s like north-east France, right?”
“Yes. Beautiful country: lots of low rolling hills and fields and wooded areas. My grandparents have had that house there since the 1950s, I believe.”
“Why did you go there?”
“My mother had spent the summer on a project and she wanted to get away and rest.” She cuddled up against Kerry. “We spent three weeks there, with my father popping in every so often when he wasn’t testing or racing.” She smiled as the memories came back to her. “Every other day my mother and I went bicycling.”
“Yes. We’d ride maybe ten, twelve kilometers, stay out all day. That was how I got to see so much of the surrounding area.”
Kerry squeezed Annie’s hand. “Sounds wonderful, Sweetie.”
“It was.” She paused just a moment before telling him the rest. “I’d love to live there one day.”
“Yes. I have it written in my wedding book. A little château, walled off, with a garden in the back where I can grow vegetables and herbs. Maybe a small house in the back where I can have a lab like my mother’s.”
Kerry turned to Annie, a huge smile upon his face. “You have it all thought out.”
“Yes, I do.”
Leave it to Annie: she knows what she wants, and she writes it down so she doesn’t forget. And once it’s down in her wedding book, well, hell, it may as well be set in stone. And since this was right before she turned eight, she was already in love with her Ginger Hair Boy, so you can imagine she was probably imagining him as the Master of the House.
She adds something else in, which Kerry catches right away:
“What about your lake house?”
“Oh, I’ll always have my lake house; it’s not going anywhere.” She turned and gazed into Kerry’s eyes. “That will always be there for me to us, and once we learn how to jaunt, it won’t matter where we live, we can go there for a night or a weekend and get away from everything, just rest and relax and . . .” She pressed her cheek into Kerry’s arm. “Do whatever we like.”
He didn’t need to have “whatever we like” spelled out for him; Kerry’s suspicion was that it had something to do with what they’d already seen in their wedding vision. “You just said something telling—”
“You said ‘we’. When ‘we’ learn to jaunt ‘we’ can go there no matter where ‘we’ live.”
She lowered her head slightly and looked up at him. “Does that bother you?”
He shook his head once. “No.”
“Good. Because given what we’ve seen—given the possibility that it’s going to be true—my lake house will be your lake house one day.” She gave him a quick kiss. “And my house, wherever I live, will be yours as well.”
“A little château in France?”
“That’s one possibility.”
What’s mine is yours, Kerry, and she isn’t hiding it. She knows their future together is possible, and she’s going with that. There’s also the “whatever we like” line which Kerry gloams upon right away. It’s an unfortunate fact that they both saw something that should have remained imagined for some time, and that will have an effect on them as time moves forward. Annie could be talking about getting the Monopoly game out and spending the evening trying to force Kerry into declaring bankruptcy, but I’m gonna say she’s got something else in mind.
Kerry’s imagining something as well–
Kerry slipped his hand out of Annie’s and wrapped his arm around her. “I’m thinking . . .”
“One day I’d like to wake up early and get the bikes out, and ride into the nearest town. Find a small cafe and sit and have breakfast—”
“No.” He pulled Annie against him. “I’d do this with the person I love.”
She chuckled. “Anyone I know?”
“You do: she’s right next to me.”
Annie closed her eyes so she could visualize Kerry’s words. “What happens after that?”
“Well, we spend a couple of hours eating and talking before getting on our bikes and heading off—maybe riding to the next town, or two towns over, or maybe even another beyond that. Then we buy some things for lunch—bread, meat, cheese—”
“And a little wine.”
“Have to do that if we’re in France . . . We take that and find a nice, shady place on the side of the road, and have a picnic. Eat, relax, enjoy the weather.”
“It would be. And when we’re done, we bike home, take a nap—’cause we’re gonna be tired—and then clean up and get ready for dinner. And if we are in France, and we can jaunt, there are so many places where we could dine.”
Annie saw all this in her mind’s eye: the riding, the picnic, resting at home, getting dressed and going out . . . “And is there anything after that?”
“Sure we go home, or . . . we go to our lake house where we rest, relax . . .” He kissed her on the cheek. “Do whatever we like.”
He’s going with the idea that perhaps their future together is in somewhere in Europe–maybe a walled château in France–and that they’ll have access to their lake house whenever they need to get away. And Kerry’s words have an affect upon Annie–
Annie heart raced as Kerry’s ideas for their day together came together in her head and the images became real. She so wanted to speak his name right now, but knew she couldn’t, that even though the odds they were being watched were small, she didn’t want to go against the instructions that Helena gave them this morning.
She half-unzipped her jacket, then took his hand and held it against her chest. “Do you feel that?”
Kerry sighed. “Yeah, I do.”
She pressed their hands into her shirt. “That will happen one day. I promise.”
He said nothing for a few seconds. “No, you won’t.”
Annie turned her hand and gave him a shocked look. “What do you mean?”
“It’s not yours to promise.” He smiled. “It’s mine.” He quickly kissed her on the lips. “And one day that will happen. I promise.”
She had agreed last night they wouldn’t think about a future wedding, that they wouldn’t discuss the mater out of fear they would destroy the possibility of it occurring. But after hearing this, Annie could do nothing but hope and wish that their visions come true. “I’m going to hold you to that promise, my love.”
Kerry did his best to ignore his own racing heart, if only to keep the emotions running through is mind out of his voice. “I’d expect nothing less, Sweetie.”
Racing hearts and emotions. I think the next novel will end up titled B for Because Hormones Are Out of Control, as that’s going to be a problem by next year. Or will it? Because there are probably more than a few magical ways to keep these kids from getting too carried away.
Then again, I know things about that story, and . . . I can’t say. I’m a stinker, I know. And until I write it down in a story anything I say makes me an unreliable narrator, because I don’t want to tell you too much of their future.
But we know now: Annie wants a future in France. And Kerry can see them sharing it.
Pretty nice deal coming out of a spy operation, wouldn’t you say?