I was, for sure, in a better mood last night, attention-wise and health-wise. I didn’t feel as tired, that’s a fact, Jack, and that meant I could write with almost minimal distractions–well, almost. Last night Zero Hour! was playing on TCM, and if you aren’t familiar with this movie, it’s about a Air Canada flight going to Vancouver that sees the passengers and crew coming down with ptomaine poising because of bad beef and fish, leaving the only person on the plane to fly a former pilot who hasn’t been back in the cockpit since a disastrous mission at the end of World War II.
If the plot sounds like you may have seen this movie somewhere before, this was the story spoofed by the movie Airplane!, and the spoofing went so far that actually lines of dialog were taken straight from Zero Hour!, and the character who has to fly the plane while still suffering from the lingering effect of his last mission–probably not over Nacho Grande–is named Ted Stryker. Surely I jest? I don’t. And . . . you know the rest.
Still, I wrote–if only because Sterling Hayden was on my TV yelling at me. I wrote a lot more than the night before, probably two-and-a-half times more. It was sit down time with Deanna, and once the greetings were out of the way, she got right to business:
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
The setup was much as it was last year: pillows on the floor, most of them up front where Deanna had created a nice spot for her to sit and converse with several students at once. Annie sat on one of the pillows facing Deanna’s seat, and Kerry waited until she was comfortable before taking the pillow to her right.
Deanna smoothed out her loose, cream colored slacks and sat cross-legged facing her friends. “How was your summer?”
Annie smiled, knowing this question was coming. “Good.”
Kerry mimicked her. “It was good.”
Deanna nodded. “I see. Did you manage to keep in touch?”
“Yes. We wrote.” Annie reached for Kerry’s hand. “He wrote by hand, just as he promised.”
Kerry couldn’t keep from blushing. “Well, yeah.”
“Good for you Kerry.” A faint grin began forming upon Deanna’s face. “I heard you had a small rendezvous for lunch in London.” She caught the surprised looks. “Erywin told me last night during the coven leader’s meeting.”
“Oh; okay.” Kerry looked at Annie out of the corner of his eye. “Yeah, we met. But . . .” He turned to Annie, his grin fading.
Annie squeezed Kerry’s hand. “It wasn’t long enough. We didn’t want to part.”
“I can understand you feeling that way.” The seer glanced from one child to the other. “Love does that to you: it makes it so you never want to let go.”
Annie nodded. “I didn’t.”
Kerry stared at a space on the floor between Deanna and him. “I didn’t, either.”
Deanna doesn’t have quite the line on love that, say, Coraline or Erywin have, but she knows it when she sees it, and she sees it a lot in these two kids. She also knows a few of their intimate secrets–something you really don’t want to have at twelve, and even less want to talk about at that age–but who can guess at what our Salem Seer really knows. Speculate all you like, ’cause I know, and I’m not talking. Not for a while, anyway . . .
With the “Hey, have a good time?” out of the way, Deanna gets serious:
“No need to worry about that now; you’re back here.” Deanna waved the door shut. “There, more privacy. Now . . .” Even with no one else in the room, the seer lowered her voice. “Did you share any dreams?”
The couple exchanged looks before Annie chose to speak. “Yes. There were . . . two.”
Deanna couldn’t help but notice the pause. “Only two?”
“Yes. Over the summer.”
“Were there others before the summer? Say—while you two were away one weekend in April?”
The two exchanged hurried glances. “We didn’t say—” Kerry looked over his shoulder, confirming they were alone.
Deanna put their fears at rest. “You need not worry: I figured the stories given for your absences that weekend were fabricated.” She shrugged. “Annie was home for ‘personal reason’, and you, Kerry: you were in New York for ‘testing’. And at the same time Erywin was home for personal reasons as well, and Helena was off somewhere on ‘Guardian business’.” The was one soft chuckle. “It didn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to figure out the four of you were off somewhere together—and given that you both were working with Helena and Erywin for most of the month—and when you came back and had to spend the night in the hospital . . .”
“I suppose it wasn’t much of a cover story.” Annie had thought at the time that the reasons given for their being away, but since the Guardians demanded they stick to those particular stories, Kerry and she felt that had no choice.
Deanna shook her head. “People here always suspect Guardian business when Helena runs off for a weekend. And if she should disappear with Erywin and two students in tow . . .” She shrugged. “Did you believe someone would come up and ask you if your story was legitimate?”
Annie had never considered the question before, but now it made complete sense. She’s right; who would question us? If Deanna knew we were lying, others must have figured it out as well. No one wanted to say anything, likely because they knew we were doing something for the Guardians that weekend, and they were worried if they asked questions they’d end up getting into trouble . . .
There is a completely valid point here: who the hell is going to come out and ask, “Were you guys doing something with the Guardians last weekend?” Besides getting a “No” and a cold stare from a certain Chestnut Girl, that person would set themselves up as just being too damn snoopy. Deanna pretty much indicates no one ever pestered Helena over her weekends away from the school, and now that it seems she’s taken a couple of students under her wing–one for sure, Skippy–one can bet they’ve learned at the leather-clad knee of the Dark Mistress, so why would any student–or even instructor, for that matter–set themselves up that way? Going there puts one at risk, and who wants that?
They tell Deanna about their first two dreams, and she loves how they interact while discussing them–
Deanna loved watching their interaction together. They are so unlike the children their age: so mature in their affection . . . “And the third dream?”
No, nothing like that:
Kerry sat up and appeared embarrassed, while a slight flush appeared in Annie’s cheeks. Words stumbled from Kerry’s mouth. “We were, um, in a hotel room, and—”
Annie decided to get the matter out in the open so they wouldn’t be more embarrassed than they’d already been. “We were in bed together—naked.”
“That is—” Deanna wasn’t worried about what might have happened in the dream: as in real life, she trusted their actions—at least for now. “I take it that’s never happened before.”
Kerry shook his head. “No. We always show up in our pajamas first, then usually change after.”
“And did you dress?”
“Yes. We got our pajamas on, and then . . .”
Annie picked up the thread. “We left the room and went to my grandparent’s villa in France.”
This was something Deanna had never heard mentioned before. “Your grandparents live there?”
“No. They have a villa there they visit once in a while. I’ve stayed there with my mother, but not in a while.”
“And why do you think you went there.”
Annie half turned towards Kerry before explaining. “We’ve spoken about living there—”
Kerry took Annie’s hand. “We talked about it when we—” He shrugged. “When we were away last school year, and we talked about it when we were in the dream.” He looked directly at Deanna. “We want to have a home there—later. You know.”
“Yes, I do.” The seer watched Annie’s face as Kerry finished his statement. She’s proud of him for saying that. Deanna realized this was a far different Kerry than who’d left here at the end of last year—at least when it came to speaking about Annie. She remembered Erywin telling her about their meeting in Perquat’s Grove, and how after Annie had spoken of her desire at an earlier age to marry Kerry, he’d accepted Annie’s feelings, and ignored her concerns, even arguing that she couldn’t have influenced his feelings with hers.
Deanna didn’t find this unusual: all the times she’d seen Kerry with Annie, even through the periods where he didn’t remember their full history, he never had issues showing his affection. Learning to show his love was more difficult—it always is, I know—but affection was never a problem. And now the boy was talking of making a home with his Bulgarian sweetheart—
Bulgarian sweetheart–I like that. She’s more than that, but we’ll take it for now. But it’s fairly serious now, particularly when twelve year old kids–almost thirteen in Annie’s case–are suddenly talking about making a home for themselves–and you better believe Deanna knows what they mean when they say “home”.
How does this end? Like so–
She believed now was the time to move on to another subject. “I’m glad you showed up, because there’s something I’d like to discuss.”
Kerry glanced to his right. “Does it involve tea?”
Deanna’s laugh was quite loud. “You noticed, huh?”
“I did as well.” Annie was looking in the direction of the set out tea set, the same one Deanna had used with them the year before. “What do you have in mind?”
“Have a spot of tea?” Don’t mind if I do. I’m supposed to go to dinner with friends tonight, but I should be back in time to write some of what’s coming next–
Which could be . . .