Well, then, my writing is finished for the day. Three hundred and seventy last night, and just over fifteen hundred this morning, and not only is the scene finished, but Chapter Thirty-Nine is finished as well. With that out of the way, I’m into the Forty Chapters, and there aren’t many of those–Forty through Forty-Three, for your information. Oh, and I’m six hundred words short of ninety thousand words, and that means for sure I’ll roll over one hundred thousand words total.
The biggest part of this scene is Annie reminiscing about flying–and she did fly as a kid, oh yes. We have heard a little about how she tried flying on her own and crashed and burned horribly, but we’ve never gotten the details of that event. Because of a question asked by Kerry, she opens up–while once more hanging out at the Observatory, resting under the blankets while laying on one of those big deck chairs.
What was that question, you ask? Well, if you must know–
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Without looking at Annie Kerry asked a question that had been on his mind earlier in the day, but that he’d keep filed throughout the day. “Why did you tell me to go on no matter what?”
“Because I didn’t know if I was going to finish the flight.” She raised her head to look at him for just a second, then lay back against his chest.
“But you flew as well as everyone in the flight.”
“That doesn’t mean I didn’t know if I’d finish.” She adjusted her position. “I knew we’d hit turbulence; it was a given. I also figured it might be severe turbulence.”
“You still made it.”
“Barely.” Annie shook her head a little against his chest. “I wasn’t the only one who was shook up by those last few microbursts. Besides Daudi, Kalindi and Loorea were iffy, too.” Her chuckle was muffled against his . “You were the only one I wasn’t worried about. That’s why I told you to keep going no matter what.”
He figured it out. “Because you were afraid if you hit your panic button, I’d come after you.”
“Exactly.” Annie lightly ran her fingers over his neck. “I’m not a flier like you—I didn’t want you to fail because you thought you had to stay with me.”
When it comes right to it, Annie knows Kerry will follow her anywhere, even if that means failing his mission. He said yes to going on the Guardian mission, and while it turned out well with them returning home in pretty much one piece, it could be argued that he followed her lead. And for something as important to him as the Mile High Flight–and it was important to Kerry–she didn’t want him tossing it into the gutter just because she felt the need to bail. He might have felt that it was necessary at the time, but she knows that given time, he’d have hated that it happened.
And Annie has already said she doesn’t want to be the girl who is hated because of something that happens to Kerry.
You discover something else in the process:
“I’m glad you made it.” He gently rubbed Annie’s back. “I’m glad we both made it to the top.”
“I am too. It might sound strange, but I wanted to make it.”
Annie never spoke about flying, or what she did before coming to the school. “Can I ask—?”
“Because I wanted to make it.” She sighed softly. “I wanted to prove I could do it.” She raised her eyes towards his face. “I did it for myself—just as you should do everything for yourself. Not for anyone else: just you.”
Annie keeps saying she’s not a flier, that she’s not all that interested in flying, and yet . . . it seems as if she’s just as eager to fly a mile into the sky as her boyfriend. And this is where she start talking about growing up at the House of Kirilovi, and Annie’s Adventures In Flying–
Kerry debated asking her about the flight when she continued speaking in a low, soothing tone. “I can remember when I was about three or four seeing my father fly on his broom for the first time. I thought it was incredible: I mean, I’d seen magic around the house before that, but I’d never seen anyone flying before that moment. It wasn’t long after that my mother told me about how they were witches, and that I was a witch as well.
“The summer before my sixth birthday I went flying for the first time. My father flew his broom, and I rode behind my mother on hers—she used an enchantment to keep me from falling off. We never flew higher than a couple of hundred meters, but we flew off into the mountains, had a picnic, and then spent a few more hours flying around before returning home. Remember how you said the Samhain dance felt magical? That’s how I felt flying with my parents: it was an experience I couldn’t forget.”
“My mother bought me a flight trainer for my seventh birthday. It’s a little broom that never flies more than a couple of meters above the ground, and almost never goes faster than fifteen or twenty kilometers an hour; it’s design to teach you how to fly. And I was always flying: if Mama and I were home I’d have breakfast, get my trainer, and fly around the back field for most of the day. Sometimes Mama would get on her broom and fly alongside me.
“I thought I’d get a broom for my eight birthday, but that didn’t happen. Mama was letting me fly her broom now and then, though I wasn’t allowed to go very far or fast. I did get a good head for altitude, though—I loved flying up four, five hundred meters and circling the yard. That was also when I received my first warning about letting Normal people see us; it wouldn’t have done to get my picture taken while I was flying over Pamporovo.”
Annie clutched Kerry tightly, holding him with her right arm as she slipped her right leg over his. “I received my broom for my ninth birthday. I thought I’d get a Witchy Poo, but Papa bought me the Espinoza 3500. I was a bit intimidated when I saw that, because I knew it was an advanced broom—my mother didn’t even fly one, she had a Witchy Poo—but Papa said he was going to take me flying and show me how to fly properly. I thought we would go the next day, but that was a Sunday, and Papa was off racing, so then sometime during the week—but it didn’t happen. Not that week, nor the next. Three weeks later I was still waiting for him to take me flying, and I knew we wouldn’t have many good flying days left—
“So one night when Papa was away and Mama was working in her lab I took the Espinoza out to the back field and decided I’d teach myself to fly. And I had no successes at all. I’d get off the ground, but I’d never get much higher than five or six meters, and it seemed like I’d fly for forty, fifty meters and then the broom didn’t want to fly any further, and I’d have to land.
“After about thirty minutes I’d made it down by the lake, close to where my house now sits. It was dark and a storm was rolling in; the wind was picking up, there was some thunder and lightning, and it was starting to sprinkle. I was almost five hundred from the house, and I was determined to fly back. I know now that I shouldn’t have flown, because I was angry and Vicky told us broom don’t respond well to anger. I didn’t know that at the time, and I didn’t care. I was determined to fly back, and do all in one long, slow stretch.
“I got on the broom popped up into the, and stuck out for the house. At least that’s what I wanted to do. What happened instead was I shot about ten meters into the air, veered to the right over the lake, and slammed into the water at speed.
“It was like hitting the ground: the force stunned me, and I started sinking. And since it was dark once I was under water I couldn’t tell which way was up. All I remember is that I never let good of the Espinoza: I felt it in my right hand as I started blacking out . . .
“I woke up on the short, coughing and spitting, next to my tree—”
Kerry brushed her hair with his fingers. “You have a tree?”
“Yes, I do. One day you’ll see it. But for now . . . I was laying on the shore next to it, having no idea how I made it out of the lake. The broom was next to me, and I thought later that maybe, because I want to get back to the show, it actually flew us there. I don’t know; I have no idea. Maybe one day someone will search my memories and figure it out, but I don’t know.
“I lay there for about five minutes as the rain poured down on me. I finally got to my feet and walked back to the house, dragging the Espinoza behind me. I went up to my room, took a hot bath, and went straight to bed. In the morning I took the broom to my father, handed it to him, and told him I’d never fly it again. He augured with me, tried to convince me that I was being hasty and impulsive, but I wouldn’t relent: I told him to lock it up in his office and if he didn’t, I would. Eventually he did.”
Annie finally sat up so she could face Kerry. He’d seen her unhappy before, but this was the first time he could say he was seeing her sad. “I know I hurt my father by doing that. I know I broke his heart. But at the same time, he broke mine; I felt as if he’d lied to me, that he’d betrayed me. Even though my mother told me that it was my fault that I’d gone out and almost drowned, I felt I wouldn’t have put myself in that position if he’d only kept his word and took me flying.
And there it is, Annie’s First and Final Flight. The start of her “I hate flying” phase, and–according to Mama–the origin of her “daddy issues”. And it’s easy to see how this driven girl, the one intent on proving to herself that there’s nothing that can’t be done, comes off like a spoiled little brat–particularly when you realize that she follows up this flight with her then demanding the construction of a lake house near where she almost died. Because when Annie wants something, she gets it.
There’s something else she has to say as well:
She lay down next to Kerry once more, inching against his body as she had before. “That’s why I love flying with you: when we fly, it’s just us, and scenery below and the sky all around. There’s no orders, no doing anything wrong—it’s just us enjoying the flight and each other’s company.” She touched his lips with her fingers, using her lightest touch. “Mama told me at Yule that you would be like Papa when it came to flying, and that was one of the reason I was drawn to you. She’s wrong—” Annie kissed his cheek. “You’re nothing like Papa; you’ll never be.”
Annie allowed the silent to build around them before she finished her thoughts. “You’re a great flier, and you’ll become a great racer. And though I’ll never be quite as good as you, I’ll fly with you anywhere—because I love you. But these things we do, we have to do them for ourselves. If we don’t, then they have no meaning to us—they have no meaning to our lives.”
She sank into the crook of his arm and chuckled. “Just don’t ever be afraid to go all the way to the top without me, because I won’t hesitate to go there without you.”
Kerry kissed Annie’s forehead. “Don’t worry, Sweetie: I’ll get there.” He sighed softly. “I’ll always get there, one way or the other.”
Yeah, Soulmate, you better always be pushing for the top, because someone’s gonna leave you in her dust if you don’t. Sure, she sort of makes it sound like a joke–but Annie’s not joking. And there’s a scene coming up where she gets pretty serious about that fact. She isn’t saying that to be mean: she’s saying it because it’s true.
Annie does these things for herself, because she wants her life to have meaning.
All she wants is for her soul mate to find meaning in his life as they travel into the future.