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On the Matter of Difference

A day after I put up a post where I sorta say, “I don’t write as much as I used to,” I come home last night and burn down the barn, more or less.  First off, I write up another Humans recap, and that’s like twelve hundred words in the can by the time I finish, and then I get into the current scene and I’m thinking, “You know, I’ll just do as much of this as I can,” and . . . well, you’ll see.

This last scene of Act One was all about feelings.  Not those of love, but of what went down on Thursday in the book.  And they’re not at the school; no, they are somewhere else . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Though the weather in the city of Salem was windy and gray, whenever the opportunity for a field trip came up, few students ever passed because things were less than perfect. Given that this was the first official B Level outing, every student from that level permitted off school grounds gathered in the ground floor jaunt station and teleported in three groups of eight—plus two instructors—to the station located under the Museum Place parking structure on Church Street.

Annie and Kerry were in the last group, teleporting with the last of the Åsgårdsreia and Blodeuwedd B Levels. The moment they arrived at the destination the other six students headed up the stairs to the parking structures as quickly as possible, leaving them behind with the chaperons, Professors Bashagwani and Ellison. They said nothing as they walked hand-in-hand up the stairs, entering the parking area alone and made their way to the street. They had no particular place they wanted to go, but had decided to head for the Essex Street Mall before deciding on where to have lunch.

 

Writing this stuff was easy–or at least knowing where the kids were walking was.  Remember the image from yesterday?  Well . . .

Cheating.  I know, I'm cheating.

Cheating. I know, I’m cheating.

This is what it looked like when I was writing.  Also, notice on the right hand said, the “walked hand-in-hand” part.  I note that the first “hand” is word eighty thousand.  Yes, I know these things, and I do keep track.  I’m strange that way, but it’s the way I like it.  Being “different,” you might say.

Which is what Annie remembers from the other day.  And Kerry hasn’t spoken about what happened, and now is the perfect time to make with the discussion:

 

Annie nodded once and sighed. “Is everything good, my love?”

Kerry lightly touched the back of Annie’s hand, his fingers gliding over her cool skin. “Everything’s lovely, Sweetie.”

“I was wondering, because . . .” She waited to see if Kerry would finish her statement for her.

He kept heading down Essex Street, never hesitating. “Because you wanted to know because of what happened in Sorcery class?”

“Yes.”

Kerry cast a glance towards the Red Line Cafe, then turned back to the conversation. “I’m good with what happened. It’s over; it’s done.” He chuckled as he set his head against Annie’s. “We came out okay.”

For an instance Annie’s memories slipped back to a year ago, when Kerry was in the hospital with a torn-up knee due to a racing accident, and they had a short, late night conversation about how she felt about him, and some insight into their relationships with their families. It was this conversation that led Kerry to eventually tell her that he loved her, and worked towards breaking down the déjà vu that surrounded the mental block keeping him from his memories of their dreams together.

He was so different then. Annie turned him off of Essex Street and down Derby Square towards the old town hall. He was the way he was when we first met: so introverted and emotional. He’s matured: partially due to remembering our past, but partially because he’s matured some. He’s grown into being Aware; he’s grown into being a sorceress. She still had concerns; it wasn’t like Kerry to say nothing. “The things that were said, though—they hurt.”

 

Annie rarely speaks about how she feels, save for a counselor or two.  She’s shed a tear for Kerry, and much later, in Act Three, she’ll say something to Nurse Coraline that sums up how this relationship is developing.  Needless to say, in the year that’s pasted since the “Worthy of Love” talk in the hospital the night of Kerry’s first wreck, a change has come over both.  Annie sees it, and it’s for damn sure Kerry has, too.

 

They walked close to the trees, the buildings around them blocking the brisk wind from the west. “Yeah, they did.” He squeezed her hand. “Did it hurt you?”

Annie glanced down for a few seconds. “Some. I’ve never had people tell me that didn’t want me around.”

Kerry placed his hands around Annie’s shoulders and held her close. “I’m sorry that happened to you; it was wrong that it happened.” Kerry slowed as they walked around the old town hall, slowing to avoid the few sightseers in the square. “It’s not something you’ve heard. You’ve been around people—witches—all your life who’ve supported and encouraged you.” He chuckled and spoke in hushed tones. “Even when you were doing those spells.”

“Yes.” She half-giggled. “I never heard things like that from my family. From other witches.”

“And that was the first time your own kind pointed out you were different.”

“They’re your kind, too, you know.”

“Yeah—” They stopped in front of the town hall and looked it over, acting like another couple out on a walk. “I most used to hearing that sort of thing, though.” He continued, not waiting for her question. “Ever since I was five or six I’ve had my parents telling me I was ‘strange’ or ‘different’ because whatever I was doing, it was something they couldn’t understand.”

He slowly turned them away from the town hall and directed them out of the square and towards Front Street. “I used to hear it at school, too: not so much in California, but a lot when I started school in Cardiff. I was the weird kid from the States who no one ‘got’.”

He stopped when they reached Washington Street, but instead of walking on he turned to Annie, holding her hands. “That stuff that happened the other day, it’s not Aware stuff or Normal stuff: it’s just, you know, tween-teen . . . bullshit.”

 

I think what you’re trying to say is “Drama!”  And Kerry has seen and felt it, and doesn’t like it when the Drama Llama comes out to play.  So he just tells her how he sees it–

 

Annie laughed. “I love how you put things.”

“I have a way with words.” They turned and headed slowly south along Washington Street. “We are different. We’re in the advanced classes, we’re teaching what we’ve learned to each other, and we’re moving ahead of everyone else in sorcery.”

Annie held his hand tightly. “You know Helena tested us with that class.”

“Yeah.” He playfully swung their arms as they walked. “I figured that out by the time we were down in the Black Vault. She wanted to see what we would do—”

“And what the others would do, too.” Annie examined the restaurants they passed as they walked south. “Lisa, Franky, and the others made trouble for themselves: it wasn’t our fault.”

“No, it wasn’t. We didn’t get them detention—”

“Or petrified.”

Kerry grimaced when he thought about the punishment Helena handed down to Lisa and Franky. Instead of turning them over to Jessica so they could be transformed into something others could use, Helena petrified them and left them in one of the lower level rooms. “I didn’t like being frozen for twenty minutes: I can’t imagine staying that way for the weekend.”

“I didn’t like being that way, either.” They waited for the light to change so they could cross New Derby Street. “Helena told me she was going to use our mixtures to un-petrify them, and let them know it was ours.”

“Jeez.” He shook his head as they quickly crossed the street. “Nothing like rubbing it in.”

 

So now you know:  if Coraline gives you detention, you clean the morgue in the middle of the night; Jessica will probably turn you into furniture; and Helena?  Screw it, she’ll petrify you and leave you for the weekend in the lower levels of the Witch House.  Does the punishment fit the crime?  Who the hell cares!  You can argue with Helena and listen to her laugh when you say you’ll write “I’m a bad witch” five hundred times with a quill, ’cause she’s having none of it.  And just imagine the sort of punishments she got when she was a kid–we all ready know her grandmother magically beat the shit out of her because she blew up some chickens.  And we know she doesn’t like bullies, so . . .

And the kids just blow that off and move on, with Kerry laying out this nugget of wisdom–

 

“They deserve that.” She pulled Kerry to a stop. “Your parents still tell you you’re different, don’t they?”

He nodded. “Sometimes. It’s—” Kerry shrugged. “I learned something a long time ago—”

“What’s that?”

“When someone tells you you’re different, that they don’t understand you, what they’re really saying it they want you to act the way they think you should act. You can do two things, then: either change and be what they want you to be—or ignore them and continue being yourself.”

She looked into Kerry’s eyes, a slow grin forcing its way out. “You’re always yourself.”

“I do my best.” He nodded towards the corner they were approaching. “I think the harbor is down that street—”

Hey, Annie; Kerry.”

 

Hey, who’s calling them now?

 

They both came to a stop and turned in the direction of the calling voice. Alex stood outside a Starbucks waving them in her direction. They crossed the parking lot to meet their covenmate. “Alex—” Annie directed a warm smile in the Ukrainian girl’s direction. “How are you? What are you doing?”

“We’re inside—” Alex nodded back over her shoulder. “Penny, Jario, and I. We came out ahead of the B Levels.” She glanced at one of the windows for a moment. “We’re just hanging out, is all. You wanna join us?”

Kerry didn’t want to answer for Annie, but he was interested. “If you don’t mind. I wouldn’t want you to feel like the odd girl out.”

“Oh, that. Well . . .” Alex’s face turned red as she looked down. “My boyfriend’s here, too.”

Annie grinned back. “Is that the one from Blodeuwedd?”

“Yeah.” She looked through the window again. “You know about Penny and Jario, too, don’t you?”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah. Jario told me about it a couple of weeks back when we were in the bathroom.”

“I knew about it as well.” After that first night spent hanging out on the second floor, Annie suspected that their was more than simply class friendship between Jario and Penny. “So three couples.”

“If you want.” Alex glanced from one to the other. “What do you say?”

 

For the first time we find out there is romance a-brew on the second floor of Cernunnos Coven.  Peen and Jario are a thing, and Alex is seeing an Owl.  Hormones:  Kids Haz Them.  And now Annie and Kerry can actually hang out with people who are couples and who aren’t gonna snicker at them and mumble “Lovey Dovey” when they aren’t looking.

In short, they can feel like they belong.  And it turns out they do . . .

 

Annie knew Kerry was interested, and he was waiting for her approval. “We’d love to join you.” She turned to Kerry as she spoke to Alex. “Could you give us a minute?”

“Sure.” Alex backed towards the door. “We’ll get a couple of chairs set up.” She turned and vanished back inside.

Annie faced Kerry and crossed her arms. “Do you know what I’m thinking?”

Kerry relaxed as he face his soul mate. “Tell me.”

“I’m thinking we can sit and chat for a while, and have a few snacks, then walk down by the harbor when we’re done. And then . . .” She move until they were almost pressing into each other. “About fifteen we can find a nice place to have a early dinner: someplace nice where we can sit and talk and relax.”

“And not worry about being different.”

“Not in the least.”

“Sounds like a plan.” He placed his arms behind Annie and pulled her against him, kissing her lovingly for several seconds, blocking out the memories of the last week, keeping only Annie in his mind. He pulled away and quickly kissed her cheek before speaking. “So, can I buy you a Frappuccino, Sweetie?”

Annie wrapped her arms around he soul mate and buried herself against him, feeling his love in every breath. “Any time, my love. Any time.”

End of Act One

 

And there it is:  “End of Act One.”  I started writing and decided I couldn’t stop, and somewhere around eleven PM I put a stop to the story.

So it kind of looked like this.

So it kind of looked like this.

Saved it, then got Act Two ready–

I love that new act smell, don't you?

I love that new act smell, don’t you?

Right off the bat we’re getting into the Samhain Celebrations, which means racing, dancing, and costumes.  Though I likely won’t start writing tonight:  I’m going out to do a little private celebrating, then I need to set up a few things before I can start in on the next chapter.  I’ve said that one before, however, so take the “I won’t write” line with a large block of salt.

The important thing is, the act is over, and instead of Kerry wondering what lay ahead after having the best week of his life with the girl of his soon-to-remember dreams, we end with kissing and hugging and the understanding that you are different, so just be that way–oh, and Frappuccinos, too.  Don’t forget the Frappuccinos.

You'll notice I didn't.

You’ll notice I didn’t.

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26 thoughts on “On the Matter of Difference

  1. That’s nice. No third wheel. I think they should hang out more with their coven mates. Their classmates are toxic. Jealous, petty, nasty, bitchy.

    • That’s what will happen. They are signifying their differences by moving past them. It’s significant that their older covenmates ask them to join them: it sort of shows they don’t thing of them as being these younger and maybe filled with drama. Annie and Kerry are on their level, and that’s a good thing.

      • Does their coven have a lot of couples ?

        Birds of the same feather stay together. I guess it’s true in this situation. I think their covenmates should be proud the topnotch students of Salem are in their coven. You know, I’ve always wondered why CAnnie and Kerry were placed in one coven…. and even stranger, it’s just the two of them. Was that mere coincidence, or was it intentional? Who sorts them out ? The Phoenix ?

        • The Phoenix does the placing. She makes the assignments. And there was Alicia–but she didn’t last out the night. When she departed, that left Annie and Kerry by themselves.

          You are going to see very soon that there are a couple of people in the coven who are total dicks, however. Not everyone is nice.

          It would seem as if they are lucky to have kids on their floor who like them, though.

      • It’s good to know there are students who like them, or at the very least, not antagonistic. How about Nadine > Does she only like Kerry ? Well , for sure, there’s one that really likes Kerry…

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