The Year From the Bench

There was finally writing last night, all of one thousand, one hundred, and seventy-six words writing.  But it was done.  I let the TV run in the background and I kept working away at the story, and after two hours I finally managed to bring the scene to a close.

It’s all about the goodbyes, and some of the things that the kids are admitting to each other.  There is, however, a lot of silence, and when they do speak–well, you know how these two are by now . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

After a couple of minutes of lingering in the silence, Annie felt the need to express what was on her mind. “I know I said I wouldn’t let our separation bother us, but . . .” She clutched Kerry’s arm. “I will. I know I will.”

“I will, too.” Kerry lay his head against Annie’s. “But you already knew that.”

“I did.” She chuckled softly. “You’ve told me that several times in the last few weeks.”

He breathed deeply a few time, then snickered. “We were here the first night, when we came in.”

“I remember. I told you I loved you.” She looked across Kerry’s shoulder into his eyes. “You kissed me.”

“Yeah. First time that either of those happened to me.” He gently kissed Annie on the lips. “And I love you even more now that we’re leaving nine months later. Right here on our bench.”

“It is our bench.” Annie kissed her soul mate back. “No matter how long we life, it will always be ours.”

“You once told me that you’d remember your twelfth birthday a hundred years from now—”

“I did.” She wrapped her arm around Kerry’s body and snuggled against him. “I stand by that.”

Kerry still found the statement a little hard to believe, even if he was now aware that there was a good possibility that Annie was right, that they’d both live to see that moment . . . “I believe you. I also believe we come back here in a hundred years, this bench will be waiting for us.”

“And we’re do what we’re doing now: kissing—” Annie kissed Kerry once more. “—and reaffirming our love.”

 

A year ago on this spot he struggled to keep his emotions in check–now, it’s all about being with Annie and loving her this 1 June morning.  And, apparently, living another hundred years.  Which is could tell if you if happened, but . . . spoilers.

But they can’t stay on the bench forever–

Mostly because Kerry forgot to conjure a pink balloon.

Mostly because Kerry forgot to conjure a pink balloon.

–Which means it’s time to head off to the Great Hall, where they run into someone else . . .

 

They had just stepped out of the West Transept and were turning towards the Dining Hall when they heard a familiar voice. “Kerry.” They both stopped and turned as Emma approached from the east side of the Rotunda. “You going to eat?”

“Yep.” He squeezed Annie’s hand. “Last breakfast this school year.”

“Yeah, I just finished . . .” She eyed Annie for a few seconds before turning to Kerry. “Just wanted to wish you a good vacation, and check to see if you got my Skype address okay.”

“Yeah, I got that.” Emma had emailed him her Skype address last week; he’d mentioned it to Annie while they were on their flight on Graduation Day. “Don’t know if I’ll get much of a chance to chat, thought—”

“I know: seven hour time difference.” Emma shrugged. “If you can, that’s cool.”

“We’ll see what happened.” He wasn’t just saying that because Annie was standing next to him; he meant it. Seven hours difference would make conversation difficult, he’d either be speaking with her late in the afternoon or early in the morning his time. He simply didn’t think he’d find the right window to link up.

 

This is about as brave as anything Emma’s ever done.  Flying almost two miles above sea level?  That’s nothing compared to asking, “Did you get my Skype address?” with the Dark Witch girlfriend starting at you.  And Annie is being silent, and Emma senses that all is not well with her nervous looks in her direction.

But wait!  There’s more!

 

“Yeah. Um . . .” Her eyes darted towards Annie once more. “I was wondering: Vicky said she’s gonna pair people up in Advanced Flight, and I was wondering . . .”

He’d been expecting this question ever since Vicky confirmed they’d both be in Advanced Flight One. “I’ll be your wingmate.”

Emma’s surprise was mixed with delight. “Really?”

“Sure, why not? We’ve proved that we can work well together, and—” He chuckled as he turned to Annie. “Vicky will probably pair us anyway.”

Annie nodded. “I think you’re right. And you are right: you both work well together—” Emma smiled broadly as Annie turned her gaze in the girl’s direction. “In the air.”

It wasn’t difficult to pick up the slight inflection in Annie’s voice, and though Emma seemed a bit rattled by the statement, she continued smiling. “I guess . . .” Emma shrugged. “This is it for the year.”

Kerry titled his head slightly to the right. “I thought your bus doesn’t leave until ten?”

“It doesn’t, but I have a couple of things left to pack. By the time I do that and clean up, it’ll be time to gather in the Atrium.” She looked as if she were about to lean in and hug Kerry, then caught herself and waved. “Take care, Kerry; have a good vacation.”

“You too, Emma.” Kerry waved back. “Enjoy your holiday.”

“I will.” She looked to Annie before turning away. “Have a good vacation, Annie.”

“You as well, Emma.’ Annie made no effect to wave. “Enjoy your holiday, and we’ll see you next year.”

 

Yes, Emma:  we’ll see you next year.  Oh, and have a good time with Kerry–in the air.  Well, Annie could have said, “Keep your lips to yourself, bitch,” and made blood gush out of Emma’s nose–which, honestly, would have made for a great scene . . .

Even Captain Clueless caught the shade:

 

Once Emma was gone from sight Kerry half-turned towards Annie. “I saw what you did there.”

“You did?” She grinned slyly.

“Yeah: ‘You work well in the air’.”

“And only in the air.” Annie smile was bright, but her eyes were filled with complete seriousness. “She needs to remember that.”

Kerry chuckled and gently tugged Annie in the direction of the Dining Hall. “Why do I have this feeling you’re going to be waiting for me at the end of each of those classes?”

“Because most likely I will.” They entered the Dining Hall and headed for their old A Level table on the other side of the room.

 

And that’s about as much of a warning as Emma will ever get.  Dark Witches from Bulgaria don’t screw around, and next time they’ll be action should Emma try anything.  Which Kerry wouldn’t allow.  Trust me.

But do you think the strangeness is over?  Ha!  You don’t know me very well.

 

They were almost halfway across the room when Professor Salden approached them. “I figured I’d find you here.”

“Hello, Professor.” Kerry was still a little unsure if he should still address her by here title, or call her by her given name.

She sent him straight instantly. “Oh, please: we’re not in school right now.” She took in both children. “You’re in the European group—”

“Yes, we are.” Annie’s right eyebrow lifted slowly. “Why?”

“Supposed to leave at fifteen-thirty?”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yeah.”

“No.” Erywin minutely shook her head. “Change of plans.”

Annie’s appearance expressed her confusion. “What happened?”

“Problem with the hotel in Boston—they apparently lost your reservation.”

“Lost?” Kerry chuckled. “How’d they lose that?”

“Not certain, but these things happen from time to time.” Erywin lowered the tone of her voice slight. “Anyway, we’re managed to secure you special accommodations, so don’t leave with the rest of the European students; come to the Atrium at seventeen-twenty instead. We’ll leave shortly after.” Erywin turned away and caught herself. “Don’t worry about your luggage; it’s being transferred to come with us.” She nodded once. “Understand?”

Neither child were all that certain if they truly understood, but they both nodded slowly, with Annie answering for them both. “Yes, Erywin.”

“Good. See you this afternoon.” She spun on her heel and left the Dining Hall.

Kerry frowned a few seconds after the professor had left them, then turned to Annie. “What was that about?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you really think they messed up our reservations?”

Annie smirked as she looked at Kerry through half-closed eyes. “Do you?”

 

I’m with Kerry:  how did the hotel lose their reservation?  This is The Foundation we’re speaking of here:  they lose nothing!  And even the kids are buying this bullshit, so whatever lie Erywin is peddling, it’s not a good one.  And probably not just hers.

So what are these “special accommodations”?  Wouldn’t you know it–that’s the title of the next scene.