The close of business yesterday wasn’t the best. I had to run out and get a new inflatable bed because my last one sprung a leak, and in the process of doing that my bank thought someone was using my card and disallowed the charge (fortunately I had backup), and I split a nail. Not chipped, not broke: split it right down the middle. It wasn’t a bad one, but this is the first nail issues I’ve had in months, and it totally pissed me off to have to cut and file and watch my manicure become damaged. I know, First World Girl Problems.
That didn’t put me in the best of moods for writing, not to mention I was fading like crazy after carrying this heavy inflatable bed from car to elevator to underground passage to elevator to apartment and then having to set it up. But there was work to do, and I got to it. First, I got Act Two organized so I’ll know how many words I’m into it, and still be able to see how much has been added to the novel as a whole. I filled out the coven rosters a little bit more, and ended up putting Not-Tanith-Anymore where she belonged, and made a change to the racing team rosters because, oops, I made a mistake in the original setup.
My head was all over the place, but still: six hundred fifty words in, one thousand eighty total for the scene, and here it is, all for you, because you got to hear about other things yesterday:
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry felt complete calm as Annie and he finally reached the Great Hall. The last Saturday of October was Samhain Celebration, and everyone was already in the mood to hang out, relax, and enjoy the festivities—particularly the last part, with the high point being the costumed Samhain Dance. Kerry realized how lucky Annie and he were to still have their lower level lab to used as a place to practice magic and plan other activities, because Penny, Alex, and Jario were driving them crazy trying to learn about their costumes. As Annie told Penny during last night’s Madness, “You’ll see our costumes when you see them.”
Keeping their outfits for the dance under wraps wasn’t the only thing on Kerry’s mind. Unlike last year, where he and Annie spent most of the time hanging out in the Observatory watching racing before getting ready for the dance, this time he’d run at least one race as a member of the Cernunnos B Team. The B Team heats ran from nine-thirty until eleven-thirty, all of them three lap races with Class 1 PAVs on the Green Line. After the B Teams were finished there would be an ninety minute break, and the A Teams would take over from thirteen until fifteen-thirty. Each coven would complete three times over five heats, flying Class 2 PAVs for six alternating laps starting on the Green Line before moving to the Blue Line, and then moving back to the Green.
This month he’d run two races as a member of the Cernunnos B Team, and had done well in both races. While he’d not won yet, the last race he’d finished forth, just missing a podium, and his first race he’d finished second. The schedule had him in a heat at ten between Cernunnos, Blodeuwedd, and Åsgårdsreia, and depending on the outcome of that race, he would either race Ceridwen and Mórrígan, or Ceridwen and either Blodeuwedd, and Åsgårdsreia again. Before last night’s Madness Professor Semplen told Kerry he had a good chance at another podium finish during the first heat, as he’d gotten his podium finish during a race with Åsgårdsreia.
No matter the outcome of his race or races, Kerry would finish by noon, after which Annie and he could relax in the Dining Hall, watch the afternoon races, and get ready for the dance. It wa going to be a good day for racing, and an even better day to enjoyed the evening’s entertainment.
Not to mention having the opportunity to take another stroll through the garden at midnight with Annie at his side . . .
B Team stuff there, and though it’s just two races, Kerry seems to be doing well, with a podium and near-podium finish. And if you’re not familiar with that, think of when you have first, second, and third standing together on boxes, only the boxes are a podium, and that’s what we’re talking about. Here they take their racing seriously, and laugh at fictional games on brooms. I mean, flying around throwing a big ball through a hoop while enchanted cannon balls try to knock you out? Really?
Kerry has his mind on something else, however . . .
There was a tap on the back of his left hand: Annie was doing it to get his attention. “You’re off in thoughts again, my love.”
“Yeah, I know.” He waved open the doors of the West Entrance and waited for Annie to enter ahead of him. “Just running over everything in my head.”
“You mean for today.”
They slowed as they walked through the West Transept. “I’ve got the race on my mind, then just, you know . . .” He shrugged and smiled at her as they walked into the Rotunda and turned right. “The dance tonight.”
Annie gave a slight node. “Um, hum. Are you thinking of anything else tonight?”
“Yeah: the walk between the bonfires.”
“As am I.” She stopped him, swung him around to face her, and moved to within centimeters of his body. “I’m also thinking of something after that, my love.”
“So was I, Sweetie. Maybe—” He smiled. “A walk at night in the Pentagram Garden?”
She ran her fingers lightly along his jaw line. “That would make for a perfect end to a wonderful day. Like you, I want to walk between the bonfires.”
Walking between bonfires is a highly symbolic ritual at Salem: you’re basically cleansing the old you of crap you no longer need, and preparing yourself for the seasons ahead. The bonfire walk as Samhain prepares you for winter and spring, and those at Beltane prepare you for summer and autumn. And ritual is huge at Salem: they have just over three hundred years of school history to draw upon, and centuries more that came before that, so it’s there: it’s always present. The way certain events are kept in the memories of the students shows just how much the school still believes in ritual and traditions.
Speaking of memories . . .
Kerry remembered their walk after the dance, where they’d slowly walked between two huge bonfires letting the heat wash over them before they walked back to The Pentagram in the cool, misting rain. At the time he’d thought it was as perfect as thing could be: their first school function, where they mingled and chatted and danced, where he’d dedicated a song to Annie and they shared the floor alone, a moment where he’d held her close because he feared she may grow light-headed and faint.
It was an important moment for Kerry, for that night he almost told Annie that he loved her. This was before he’d remembered he’d known her through his dream all his life, and that he’d expressed his love to her years before. Last Samhain all he knew was that Annie loved him, that he’d fallen in love with her, and he was being a horrible person because he’d been afraid to express that love.
He’d wanted to tell her that night, but fear and déjà vu prevented the words from coming out. It was only a few days later, after the school was attacked during the Day of the Dead, after he’d saved people and was almost killed by an Abomination, after a night in the hospital where an old dream finally began breaking through the wall of around his mind and heart that he’d accidentally created causing him forget Annie, that he finally told her he loved her—
Kerry knows all this now. He remembers all the stuff about Annie and him before losing his memory of her, and how he re-developed his love of her over time. As he’s said, maybe there was something in the back of his mind pushing him to remember, and that’s possible, but there new memories of how he fell in love with her again will never go away, either. It has to be incredible to know that you did return to loving someone as you had once before, and it would have to mean that you were made for each other, yeah? Deanna was right when she told Annie, “He fell in love with you twice: how many girls can say that’s happened to them?”
Not many girls at Salem. Scratch that: none of the girls at Salem. Annie’s the only one.
Kerry snapped back to real time, to where they were standing just under the first floor landing on the west side of the Rotunda. “I’m sorry—” He slipped his arm around Annie’s shoulders and hugged her. “I was thinking about last year, Sweetie.” He kissed her forehead. “My little sarmi.”
Annie laughed as she playfully slapped his chest. “I am not stuffed cabbage leaves for you to enjoy.”
He laid his hand over hers. “But you do taste good.” He cocked his head slightly to the right and slowly raised his brows.
For just a quick moment Annie blushed, then placed her fingers over Kerry’s lips. “Shush, you. You’re supposed to keep that to yourself.”
“I will, then.” He nodded towards the dining hall entrance. “Shall we?”
In case you’re wondering, sarmi is a Bulgarian dish of cabbage leaves wrapped around a mixture of meat and vegetable–in other words, stuffed cabbage leaves. And Bulgarians love to cover it in a tomato sauce and serve it with a side of sour cream or yogurt. First she was his pumpkin, and now she’s Kerry’s savory cabbage roll–
With all this talk of food, it’s off to breakfast, yeah?
“Yes.” She lightly slapped his chest again. “You need your strength.” Annie took him by the hand and led him towards the Dining Hall and breakfast.
They didn’t go far, however. They were just passing the stairs to the hospital when a voice they knew called out. “Kerry.”
He looked up the stairs; Penny was standing about a quarter of a way from the top. “Hi, Penny.”
“Hi.” Penny seemed ill at ease. “Could you come up? We need to talk.”
That certainly sounds serious. And if I’m not too burned out tonight, you’ll find out just what it is going on.