Blessed Beltane to everyone, near and far. Somewhere, in another world, some kids are getting ready to torch a couple of huge bonfires, but they won’t be my kids, because in this time frame they’re D Levels and too told to qualify to light the fires. By this time they’ve probably set some people on fire–just kidding. I know exactly what they’re doing in Beltane 2015, and while they’ll be at the lighting, and doing some of the events after, they won’t torch them.
They’ll save that for the Deconstructors.
Chapter Three is finished, and along with that Part One. Annie and Kerry got through the summer with help, Kerry made it out of Cardiff pretty much unscathed, and kids finally met up again in Berlin. And I wrote like crazy last night, hitting just short of two thousand words–if you count what I wrote yesterday morning, I did hit that number. I wasn’t in any speed groove or something like that; I just wanted to finish their story and not leave any dangling threads.
Though I’m sure I’ve opened up a lot of questions for people.
Here’s the happy couple strolling through the Tiergarten on their way to the Berlin Victory Column . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie held up her charms to the light for a moment, watching the light dance over the silver. “When did you get this?”
“About a month ago.” He thought back to the moment when he’d decided to buy the gift. “I started looking for someone for you the day after our lunch in London, and found this after a couple of days. The next Monday, when my parents were at work, I went to the shop to check it out, told them what I had in mind, and they worked it up by Wednesday.” He chuckled. “When I got the travel package and confirmed that we were coming to Berlin on the day we first met, I knew I had to give it to you today.”
She kissed his hand. “Were you going to give it to me today anyway?”
“Yeah, but . . .” Kerry’s blush spread quickly. “It was going to be an anniversary present of one kind or another. Either for our first meeting, or . . .” He bowed his head and spoke in a revered tone. “The first time you told me you loved me.”
Annie pressed his hand against his cheek. “Out on our bench?”
“Out on our bench.”
“Any event would have been good.” She lowered their arms to their normal position between them. “But you’ve made this day even more special.”
Now, I did leave out a part here, and that’s Kerry running an earworm through his head and thinking about some song Annie listened to after they woke up from their afternoon name. What was it? Ha! I’m not telling. Oh, and I figured out on the walk into work what costumes Annie and Kerry will wear during the Samhain dance. Not telling you that, either.
And now we get into a burning question, one that Kerry has through about–
“Thank you, honey.” They strolled along in silence for another thirty seconds before Kerry felt the need to speak. “Can I ask a question?”
“Of course. You can ask me anything.”
“Okay. Well, when we were in London you remembered who I was—right?”
She nodded slightly. “Yes, I’ve told you that.”
“Then how come you didn’t recognize me at first when we met?”
Good question, Kerry. Annie gets to school and starts telling Deanna about how she remembers him, how she was going to come after his and not even go to Salem so she could, and . . . she doesn’t even recognize him. And why? She has an answer.
Annie turned and looked off into the midst of the Tiergarten, saying nothing for nearly a minute. “I thought about this when you got your memory of us back.” She turned her head so she was looking down the path they walked upon. “I didn’t want to talk about it at the time because of everything else going on, and since you didn’t bring it up before we went home for the summer, I decided I would either.
“But after our lunch last month I thought about that some more. I can remember you standing there in the light while I was hiding in shadow—I did that on purpose, by the way.”
“Yes. I knew you were with us, and I knew that eventually you’d show, so I wanted to surprise you. And when you showed up . . .” She sighed and glanced at Kerry. “I didn’t know you. I should have known you, but I didn’t recognize you at all. It wasn’t until you said your name that I finally figured out who you were.
“When I started giving it thought, when I started remembering that moment, I realized the problem: the way you looked hadn’t matched my memory of you. The way I remembered you when I saw you in that book store was how you were on the night of my tenth birthday—the night I told you in our dream that I was a witch.”
“I remember. I had just turned nine at the start of summer.”
“I know.” Annie leaned against Kerry as they walked. “I think whatever you did to lock out our dreams and your memory of them forced me to focus on one of the great events of those moments.”
Kerry shook slightly as Annie brought up their dream from last June, when she’d mentioned she was going away to school, and he’d freaked out because he’d imagined she was leaving him forever. His anxiety mixed with the magic neither of them knew at the time he could perform locked them out of their dreamspace and placed blocks around their memories: he forget her completely while Annie found she couldn’t remember the events of that evening.
And now it appeared his action affected her more than either had first imagined.
He lightly pressed his head against Annie’s. “I’m sorry, Sweetie. I didn’t know—”
“It wasn’t your fault.” She stood, chuckling. “It’s really The Foundation’s fault: they should have told you about being a witch months before. Anyway, know that’s what happened. I was expecting to see a sweet nine year old boy, and instead a—” Annie reached across and ran her left finger over his cheek. “Slight sullen and tired eleven year old boy stood in his place.” She planted a quick kiss on the same check. “At least I got the right boy in the end.”
At the time I was putting the whole, “I remember him from a dream, but he doesn’t remember me!” line together, I had to figure out a lot of things, and one of those was “Why didn’t Annie recognize him right away and leap into his arms and cause a scene in the book store?” Now you know: Kerry’s actions removed the image of him from her mind, and she remembered, for her, the “last perfect moment” they had together, when she told him her biggest secret.
And there will be no “But wait! That’s not what really happened” pronouncements later. This is what happened.
Now it’s Annie’s turn, and she asks a simple question: why did you inscribe the locket with this message? Given that, in that first month at school, Kerry wasn’t sure how to love the girl who loved him, the inscription came from out of nowhere and floored Annie–mostly because she wasn’t expecting anything from him for her birthday. He has an answer as well–
“Yeah, well—” Kerry remembered those days as well, and the image he had of himself not knowing how to deal with Annie’s affection reminded him of their early days together. “I had no memory of a girl who tells me after a week that she loved me and that she had for a long time—”
“Which is why the inscription touched me so greatly.”
“I thought about that as well.” He readjusted his hand around hers and slowly his pace slightly. “I spoke to Coraline and Erywin at a Midnight Madness a couple of weeks before your birthday and told them I wanted to get you something, and asked if they could help. So the following Tuesday night, after we got back from Astronomy class, I go to shut off my computer and there’s an email from Erywin. She tells me they found a locket, showed me a picture of it, and asked if I wanted them to pick it up. They also wanted to know if I wanted it inscribed, and if so, what?
“I didn’t even have to think about it: I wrote back that I wanted our names together, and under that, ‘With Love’. I mean, it was like I knew it had to say that.” He sighed. “It was something you needed to keep close to your heart.”
You can probably figure out the inscription from the clues given. And now that Annie knows this, it leads to a follow-up:
“I remember you saying that.” She stopped them there on the path. “Did you get a headache after you sent off the email?”
“Yeah: a small one.” He got the implications of Annie’s question. “It was déjà vu, wasn’t it?”
“I think so.” They’d discussed déjà vu and how it worked, that it was actually repressed memories trying to force their way to the surface, and that in Normals it usually manifested as the belief one was reliving an event—while in the Aware it often manifested as physical discomfort or pain, and depending on the intensity of the memory, the pain could become unbearable, sometime even debilitating. “It sounds as if your memories were bleeding out slowly, even then.”
“They were. Like you, I thought about it, and I realized that, after that first night, they were returning slowly. When I kissed you on the bench—”
“You said it felt like you should.”
“Because something was telling me that I’d kissed you before, and it was all right to kiss you again.” He leaned in and kissed her lightly. “I think your reminding me that you’d loved me a long time help start breaking down that wall—” His grin was slight and a bit sad. “It was up to me to do the rest.”
“And you did.” Annie kissed him back, brightening his mood.
“Took me forever, though.”
“Not forever, my love. Besides . . .” Annie hugged him softly as she whispered to her soul mate. “You feel in love me all over again. Not a lot of girls get something that special.”
Kerry pushed away the oncoming sadness. “Three times if you count when I got my memories back.”
“Three times, then.” She held on to him while gazing into his eyes. “Now I feel incredibly special.”
“You should, because I did it all for you.” Kerry held her right hand in a firm grip, holding on as if he never wanted to let go. “And always will.”
“I know.” Annie caressed his cheek. “Nyama nishto nyama da napravi za men, moya lyubov.”
“There is nothing you wouldn’t do for me, my love.” That’s what Annie tells him in her own language, because it’s easier to express herself that way, and she knows Kerry loves to hear her speak Bulgarian. And “Lyubov” is the other word for “love”, but more along the lines of, “You’re my love,” and “my love,’ as Annie says.
And now we have Kerry’s impressions of what was happening, and his recollections of why he did what–not just with the locket, but some other things–and they eventually get to this moment in the park–
“What you said. We should get going—” He playfully flicked the tip of her nose. “My Dark Witch.”
She stepped back from him as her tone changed to that of mock anger. “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife. But after what you just said, I’m not even sure I want to be that any more.” She huffed as she placed her hands upon her hips.
Kerry moved around behind Annie and sipped his hands around her waist. “I’m sorry, dearest witchy wife. Can you forgive me?”
“Well . . .” She looked over her shoulder and felt her face break into a grin. “I suppose I can—this time.” She spun around in his arms. “It’s another part of our past now.”
“A good part, or a bad one?”
This time Annie bestowed a sweet, passionate kiss upon the boy of her dreams, the boy whom she loved more than anything. “Good or bad, it’s still the past. And after we spent so much time last school year trying to bring back the past—” She closed her eyes as she sighed. “Can we just concentrate on what happens now, and what will come in the future?”
Kerry didn’t want to dwell on the past, either. Last year had been a roller coaster for them both, and he didn’t want to deal with that again, not this time. We’ll have enough to keep us occupied this year—I want to enjoy it, and what ever comes after. “That sounds like a plan. Let’s do this.”
She nodded. “Let’s.”
“Okay, then.” He held her right hand as he took a step to his right. “We should get going; we got a monument to visit.”
Annie skipped twice. “Then we should be off. Come along—” She tugged at his arm. “My Dark Witch.”
“As you wish—” Kerry began skipping along the path alongside the most important person in his life. “My Dark Witch.”
There they go, my twelve year old Dark Witches skipping off through the park, looking like twelve year old kids in love. And there above you see something that will appear in all the novels: Annie quoting “I’m not a witch–” from The Princess Bride. That’s going to happen at least once in each book, just as I’ll always have an Annie birthday present, and we’ll see the Samhain costumes. And you also see something else that will be a big part of this novel: no looking to the past, it’ll all be about the here, the now, and the what will be. And that’s because I’ve answered all the questions to answer about that Summer of ’12, and now we gotta look forward to the 2012/2013 Salem School Year, and what comes after when Kerry tells the folks he’s a witch.
For now, though:
It’s time to start on Part Two and get my kids out of Europe and across the Atlantic.
And we’re gonna do that with a different version of the Midnight Madness . . .