Twelve hundred words is a grove thing, yeah? I thought so. That’s what I did last night, while The Poseidon Adventure played in the background, and eventually segued into Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, which should have sunk like the ship did the in original novel. (In the first movie I like watching the guy do the fall into the lights, because you can see the stuntman’s setting himself up for the fall before he does, so he hits spread-eagle on his back. Also the jump that Pamela Sue Martin’s character does: she has on shoes, then she doesn’t when she jumps, then they’re back. It’s like magic!) I even stayed up until 11:30 last night finishing this, because I’m always so slow to get things started.
But here we are, the kids in the garden on the first Saturday night back, it’s late, and they’re tired. They’re also back on their bench, and they’re talking . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
They walked towards the seat just inside the covered walkway that they considered “theirs”. So much had happened between them on this bench—their goodbyes before leaving school at the end of the year and right before Yule were two of the saddest—
But there were a few others that had brought them great happiness.
Kerry waited for Annie to sit down before joining her. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close, cuddling her against the warmness of dark brown hoodie he’d worn since the evening temps had dropped into the Celsius upper-teens. “Comfortable, Sweetie?”
Annie nodded. “Always with you, my love.” She pulled her arms tight around her torso, keeping her body heat trapped inside her light sweater. “I love this. So dark and quiet.”
“I know. It’s usually never this dark this close to the Great Hall.”
“Well . . .” Annie sighed. “It’s a beautiful night and a full moon—and most of the students are inside right now.”
“Yeah.” He looked towards the Great Hall as if he expected someone to exit the building. “It was like this last year, too.”
“Yes, it was.” She tilted her head slightly and looked up. “You know what today is, don’t you?”
Kerry had known since waking. “Today is the day we arrived at school last year.”
“Yes. And do you know what time it is?”
“I checked the HUD when we landed: it was around twenty-two.”
Annie was glad Kerry couldn’t see the smile on her face. “A year ago about this time we were sitting out here.”
Anniversaries are all around, and they remember them. Good thing, too, because in a few years Kerry will be like, “Oh, shit: is that today?” and then Annie goes all Dark Witch on his ass, and . . . yeah, better remember those times, kid, and stay out of trouble.
Kerry pressed his head against Annie’s. “I remember it well—like it happened just the other day.” He kissed her cheek. “Another happy anniversary. The first time you told me you loved me—well—” He grinned before speaking in a soft voice. “At least the first time I knew you’d said those words.”
“But it was . . .” As she’d done the year before, Annie turned around so she was facing Kerry. “It was the first time I told you in person I loved you. All the other times happened in our dreams while we were separated by thousands of kilometer.” She took his hands and pressed them against her body. “It was a first time for something else, though: the first time I called you my soul mate.” She slowly lifted their hands to her lips and lightly touched them to their their fingers. “I’d never said that before, ever.”
“It was also the first time I kissed you for real—” He bowed his head. “I’ll never forget that.”
“Neither will I.” She bowed her head, resting her head against his. “You’re thinking of something again, I can tell. You’ve been like this ever since we left the Gift Center. You were particularly quiet when we were walking to the North Wall.”
She can always tell when I’ve got something on my mind. “Yeah. I’ve been thinking—”
Yes? What could be on your mind, Kerry? It’s not as if anything strange has happened to you since . . . oh, wait: never mind.
Kerry gently turned Annie around until she was cuddling securely between his left arm and shoulder. “The vision we had yesterday—” His breath caught for a second. “We were gonna have sex, weren’t we? I mean—”
“I know what you mean.” She exhaled slowly . “That kind of sex. Yes?”
“Yes. That kind.”
The vision had been on Annie’s mind since yesterday as well, but she knew how Kerry would get with their visions, and waited until he was ready to discuss what they’d seen. He won’t talk before he’s ready; I’ve learned that . . . “I’ve thought about it, too: that one and the first one.” She ran her right fingers down his arm. “Do you remember how you said that the only way the first one would change is if something happened to either of us?”
He chuckled. “After reading all those books I figured it’s the only thing that makes sense.”
“It does, but there are ways . . .” She turned slightly so she was she could rest the side of her head against his chest. “You felt, like me, that in that vision it was our first time.”
“I still do.”
“But what if that was the part of the vision that could change?” Annie settled against her soul mate. “The vision could come true and still end up changed.”
He nodded slowly. “Do you think that’s what the second vision meant? That our first vision would change?”
“I don’t know.” Annie couldn’t help but snort. “At this point you know more about visions than me.”
It’s bad enough that as kids get older that urge to want to, you know, experiment starts to take over and ends up becoming troublesome and confusing as hell. So now, with the hormones beginning to come on, you discover you’re having visions of things that will happen in your future, and damned if they don’t involve when you’re gonna get intimate. It’s a nasty thing to have happen to you, on top of, you know, learning magic and stuff, having things come to you and say, “No worry. In about eight years you’ll be able to do it!” Thanks, Future Sight. You’re a lot of help.
Kerry has something else on his mind, however . . .
“Yeah, only because you made me learn.” Kerry pulled Annie snug against him. “It’s possible that’s what we saw: the first vision will happen, but things that we felt might not be the same.” He barley touched her cheek. “I have to tell you something.”
Annie picked up something in the tone of Kerry’s voice, but it wasn’t concern or fear she heard . . . “Tell me, please. You know you can tell me anything.”
“I know.” He remained silent for almost ten seconds before getting to the matter on his mind. “I want you to be my first time . . . I need you to be my first time.”
Annie looked at his face in order to gauge his feelings. “Need me?”
“Yeah.” He touched her cheek with a gentle caress. “I want my first time to be with someone I care for, someone I respect—someone I love. I don’t want to just do it and be done: I want to share it with only one person. Only with you, Annie—” He kissed her forehead before whispering in her ear. “Moyata polovinka.”
I’ve pretty well established that Kerry is a smart kid, but emotional clumsy as hell. He’s also not the smoothest of characters; even with Annie there are things he says that don’t seem to come out right. But when he gets serious, it doesn’t matter how it comes out–he does mean it, and it comes from the heart. Deep down he’s as much of a romantic as Annie–and she is, never feel she isn’t–and by telling her, “I want you to be my first,” he’s not just saying something to sell himself to a twelve year old girl. He’s known Annie all his life, and when he tells her something like this, he means it. He has to, because Annie’s also known him all her life, and she’ll smell bullshit on him in an instant.
What does she feel in return?
There had been many moments where Annie felt her control slipping away, and all of them had been where Kerry was concerned. At the moment she felt that control slipping away, much as she’d felt after being kissed here last year, or in the seconds after she began dancing with Kerry after the Samhain Dance. Only he knows how to touch me in that way—
She kissed him on his cheek before speaking in a low, soft tone. “Vie shte bŭdete v moyata pŭrva lyubov, i az shte bŭda tvoya.” She kissed him upon the lips. “You will be my first, Kerry. There will be no one else, ever.” She chuckled as she touched his lips with her finger. “And if our vision yesterday means we’ll not be virgins when we marry, then . . .” She kissed him again. “We’ll still share that moment together.”
Kerry held her close, warming her against the encroaching chill of the night, pulling her love nearer to his. “Another anniversary together.” He touched the charm bracelet on her left wrist. “And I didn’t get you anything.”
“This?” She shook her wrist, making the charms jingle. “That was for one anniversary.” She touched the heart-shaped locket pressed against her chest. “This was for another. But you did give me something tonight—” She touched his heart. “This. I know my future with you is not just a vision—it’s real. I need never fear you won’t be with me.”
Kerry rested his head against Annie’s. “You know I’ll be with you.” He touched her locket. “I want to be there in a hundred years when you remember getting that locket.”
Annie pressed her hand over his. “It’s almost ninety-nine years now—” She rested against Kerry and sighed. “You wait is growing shorter, my love.”
What Annie says in Bulgarian is, “I will be your first love, and you will be mine,” and she isn’t talking about exchanging friendship rings. She’s also pledging herself to him–and the reference of still being together for Annie’s one hundred and twelfth birthday is about as long distance planning as one can get–
Is that a tugboat I hear pulling up next to this ship?
Anyway, the chapter is done, the kids are ready to start their first classes–the next chapter starts them in some of their advanced classes–and it’s only taken about forty-five thousand words to reach this point.
Let the magical games begin.