Well, that is that. I’ve been writing for the last hour and a half, working my way through the end of this scene, and It hasn’t been a happy moment for me. Mostly because, just like Kerry at the end, I gave in to the inevitable and went with the fact there wouldn’t be any happy moments in this last thousand or so words. It’s the last time in just over four hundred thousand words that my kids are together, and it’s not a good time. There were no tears from me, but it’s a sad time when you have to pull apart this couple on Valentine’s Day.
There was the question, “Who called out Kerry’s name?” and that’s where this picks up. Because of course it does . . .
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
There was his name again, being called by a voice he knew so well. He turned to see Annie standing close by with someone else. “Kerry, there’s someone I’d like you to meet: this is my mother.” She stepped slightly to one side with her attention on the older woman. “Mama, this is Kerry Malibey.”
Pavlina Kirilova held out her hand. “I’m pleased to meet you, Kerry.”
He shook and tried to look happy. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Kirilova.” He half-turned to the women on his right. “This is Ms. Rutherford, my case worker.”
“Bernice Rutherford, Mrs. Kililova” She shook Annie’s mother’s hand. “Pleased to meet you.”
“Pleased to meet you. You’re to take care of Kerry?”
Ms. Rutherford nodded. “Um, hum. That’s the plan.”
“I hope you do a good job.” Pavlina cast a glance at her daughter standing on her right. “Otherwise you may hear from someone I know well.” Annie’s eyes half-closed as she cast a perturbed glance at her mother.
Annie’s mom, Pavlina, really loves to get those digs in on her daughter. It’s as if she knows exactly how much in love Annie is, and she’s doing her best to say, in a passive-aggressive fashion, that not taking care of Kerry means having to deal with the Wrath of Annie. Not that Annie would do anything to Ms. Rutherford if something were to happen to Kerry, but . . .
And just to show the Lovey Dovey Couple just how much she does know–
Pavlina ignored her daughter’s stare and instead spent a few seconds taking in the person before her. “I finally get to meet the Ginger Hair Boy in person.”
Kerry chuckled. “Yeah, Annie told me you know about that.”
“What else did she tell you?”
He examined Annie’s mother as he tried to come up with the correct answer. Annie’s got her mom’s face and hair, but her cheeks are a little different—as are her eyes. She got those from her dad. “Just—a lot of different things. I know how long you’ve known about me.”
She smirked. “Not quiet as long as you’ve known Annie.”
Annie was on the verge of rolling her eyes. “Mama.”
Yes, throw that out that you know of their dream time together, and how Young Annie would talk about her Ginger Hair Boy. Because it’s not like they need any more reminders that they’re about to split up for the summer . . .
“It’s all right, dear—” Her face softened as she smiled. “I’m just having a bit of fun with your young man.” She turned to her daughter. “We have to be going; your father is waiting for us.” Pavlina turned back to Kerry. “You must understand, given the time, we’re expected for dinner.”
Kerry knew that given it was almost twenty hours, a lot of people were expecting to have dinner as soon as they arrived home—himself included. “I understand.”
“I hope that one day you can come visit Annie in Pamporovo.” Pavlina’s eyes cast downward for just a moment, as if she didn’t want to say what was coming next. “Not this year, but maybe one summer.”
“I would like that.” Kerry looked Annie, and watched as she her face hardened into a mask of impassiveness. “I’d like that a lot.”
Annie didn’t take her eyes off Kerry. “I would like that as well, Mama.”
“Maybe next year, then.” She adjusted her purse on her shoulder. “Take care, Kerry. Have a good holiday.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Kirilova.”
“Come along, Annie.” Pavlina turned away and took two steps—
And being the dutiful daughter that she is–
Annie wasn’t following, however, She took two steps in Kerry’s direction, instead. “I have to go.”
“I know.” Kerry fought to keep from breaking down in front of Annie’s mother, as he’d promised.
Annie held out her right hand. “Have a good holiday, my . . .” She caught herself before she said the next word.
Kerry reached out with his left hand and took Annie’s. He was oblivious to all those standing around him: he didn’t care that Ms. Rutherford and Mrs. Kirilova were watching him with the girl he loved. He only wanted to touch her for one last time . . . “Have a good holiday, Annie. See you in—” His voice hitched as he forced himself to continue. “See you in August.”
“Yes.” Annie’s voice dropped slightly as her face grew less impassive and began to show what she was feeling. “See you in August. Don’t forget to write.”
“Come along, Anelie.” Pavlina motioned for her daughter to follow. “We must go.”
Annie gave Kerry’s hand one final squeeze. “Goodbye, Kerry.”
He squeezed back. “Goodbye, Annie.” He released her hand and watched in silence as she turned and took her place at her mother’s right side. They entered the concourse, turned to the left, and walked away.
And there she goes, not to be seen until the very last scene of the novel.
Naturally Kerry is taking this well–which is why Ms. Rutherford hustles his away from the waiting area to the special areas The Foundation keeps for their people.
They stood in another of the “airlocks” that Kerry has seen as San Francisco International Airport. He figured there was a bank of escalators on the other side of the doors he was facing and having trouble seeing because his vision was blurring due to the film of tears forming over his eyes. He waited for Ms. Rutherford to open the door so they could leave, so he could take the escalators down under the airport and find the station and do . . . whatever they were going to do . . . Go home. Return to the place he’d been nine months before. By himself. Alone . . .
He felt an arm lay across his shoulders and pull him into soft, dark cloth and hold him close as he screamed out his frustration. He wrapped his arms around his support, crying in anguish over what he’d just lost. He finally glanced away from where he’d buried himself and looked up into the face of Ms. Rutherford. “Why does it hurt so much? Why?”
“It hurts because you’ve lost something, Kerry.” She directed them to the row of seats along one wall and sat. “You see, when you’re in love—deeply in love—it’s more than just emotional or physical: it’s always spiritual, and when you reach that level of commitment, you give a part of yourself, your essence, to that person.
“When you’re together you don’t notice this, because you’re still in close proximity to this part of your being. But when you are about to become separated by a significant distance, you feel it leaving you. The pain inside is that part of your essence that Annie has taken with her.” Ms. Rutherford lay her hand across Kerry’s wet cheek. “There’s one thing you need to know, however.”
Kerry sniffed back the discharge from his nose. “What’s that?”
“Annie felt the same thing. Did you see her face as she was preparing to leave? I know she’s good at hiding her feelings, but even I could tell she was hurting there before she left with her mother.” She patted Kerry’s shoulder. “She’s left behind a piece of her essence inside you, and while she may not show her pain in the same fashion as you, she feels it, Kerry. Right now she feels every moment of being away from you.”
If there is one thing Kerry has going right, it’s that there are better mother figures for him than his mother. His mother wouldn’t have held him or spoken to him that way, because–well, trust me, She wouldn’t. It’s not that she’s a stone cold bitch, it’s simply that she, like her husband, don’t get their son. As he pointed out, they don’t understand why he’s so emotional, why he’s such a geek, why he’s not like all the other boys his age. And if they were to hear about his love affair with The Dark Witch of Pamporovo, it’s likely there’d be a massive amount of eye rolling and statements like, “You’re too young to understand!” thrown in his direction instead of a little tenderness and hugging to help him though the loneliness.
Nothing left to say here, save this:
Ms. Rutherford dug into her large purse and pulled out a handkerchief. “Here, dry your eyes and clean up your face. I can’t take you back to your parents looking as if I’ve abused you.”
He chuckled as he wiped himself clean. “How much do you know about Annie and me?”
“Everything. As your case worker I’ve read your counseling reports—” She smiled as a concerned look appeared on Kerry’s face. “Don’t worry: all your secrets are safe with me. Nothing will be discussed unless you want to discuss them.”
“Thanks.” He returned the handkerchief back. “I don’t want them seeing this, either.” He shrugged, getting his backpack comfortable. “Almost done now, aren’t we?”
“Another twenty minutes or so, yes.” Ms. Rutherford straightened a few things in her bag. “Do you want to eat before we leave?”
Kerry shook his head. “No.” He slowly stood and tilted his head slightly to the left. “No point in putting this off—
“Let’s go home.”
Yes, Kerry: it’s time to go.