The chapter in the book is in the books now: done, finished, over. This one was actually a bit shorter than others–only eighty-five hundred words–but a lot got done, and now the Princess Buttercup is now the one girl few people in the school who’ll have people getting in her face. And if they do–well, there’s always the Manor.
Where we pick up is around nineteen on the clock–about seven PM–and it’s pitch dark outside and cooling, with a new moon about the rise. The kids are in Astria Portal, and their sitting in the mezzanine in their fall school jackets, because it’s getting colder, and there’s a ball of blue cold fire hovering near by–hence the title of this post. And their snuggling like mad–what a surprise.
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Normally they stopped to snuggle and kiss in the dim light of cold fire before heading to class, but tonight was special for them, for in the aftermath of Annie’s Judgment Trial victory, for Kerry had been particularly attentive. Annie figured that some of the extra affection was brought on her combat with another person; she remembered that after their recovery from their fight in Kansas City he’d been as equally attentive.
It’s not because I’m a girl and he’s a boy— Annie snuggled back into the fold of Kerry’s heavy school jacket, which they were now wearing as winter approached. It’s a natural reaction for him. It’s not because he feels I’m hurt or traumatized: it’s because he wants me to know he loves me. “There is something I want to know—”
He tightened his hold around her shoulders. “What’s that?”
“Did you yell something during my trial? When I cast my Lightning spell?”
Kerry began chuckling. “Yeah, that was me.”
“What did you say?”
He cleared his throat. “I yelled, ‘Yatta, Lum-chan’.”
She arced an eyebrow as she twisted around to take in Kerry’s blushing face. “And what exactly does that mean?”
“Um, well . . . Yatta is Japanese; it means ‘I did it’, but it’s usually said in moments of happiness or excitement. And Lum-chan—”
“She’s a character from a manga and anime. She’s a oni—that’s a demon—who can fly and has green hair—”
Annie broke into an enormous smile. “You have something for girls with green hair, it seems.”
“Um . . .” Kerry cleared his throat once more, visibly embarrassed. “She also has little horns—”
“Because she’s a demon.”
“Yeah. And she wears a, um . . . tiger-stripped bikini and matching boots.”
It was impossible to hold back the laughter. “Something you want me to wear next Samhain?”
“I wasn’t planing on that . . .” He glanced down as he recovered his composure. “There’s something else: she likes to call her boyfriend ‘Darling’.” Kerry ran his fingers through Annie’s hair as he attempted a girl’s falsetto tone. “Dar-ling.”
Annie shivered as she giggled. “Hum, that I like. Maybe I’ll have you call me that—” She half-closed her eyes as she ran the fingers of her right hand lightly down his cheek. “Darling.”
Of course Kerry knows Lum, because he’s Kerry, and a geek, and there’s something he must like about girls with green hair, as Annie pointed out. She’s kind of old school for us who started getting into manga and anime back in the 1990s, when you had to hunt all over the place for imported manga and hope you could find someone on the Internet–using your copy of Netscape 2.0, mind you–who’d done a translation of the panels, because the odds weren’t in your favor that you knew Japanese. Same with anime: back in the day you had to buy VHS tapes from fan subbers who did know Japanese and would create subtitles for video they’d manage to get out of the Land of the Rising Sun.
But, yes: Lum-chan, as my once Japanese girlfriend used to call her. I mean, Annie does kinda fit the part now–
–but that’s gonna be in another novel, so there’s no point worrying about costumes now. What we have to wonder about is Annie’s thoughts on her judgment . . .
Kerry pressed his hand against hers. “I like that.”
“I do, too, my love.” She stretched out her legs and sighed. “Did it bother you that I didn’t include you in my judgment?”
“No. Your trial wasn’t about me: it was about you.” He shook his head slowly. “I had nothing to do with what happened. Beside, I don’t think Professor Chai would have allowed that.”
“I believe you’re right.” During the Formulistic Magic Class Erywin reminded Annie that Ramona was the final arbiter of judgments, and if she felt a student was asking for too much, she’d request they modify their demands—something Ramona pointed out before the trial began. “If I’d tried to include you, she likely wouldn’t have allow the judgment.”
“Yeah, well—” He kissed her forehead. “It’s over. Lisa is vanquished—”
“For now. I’m certain the spiteful little witch will find a way to make a nuisance of herself.” She tapped Kerry’s cheek. “She may turn attention upon you.”
“Humph. Let her. I can call her out just as well.”
Kerry’s not bovvered he’ll have Lisa bothering him–does he look bovvered? No. And they’re both right: Ramona wouldn’t have allowed her to include him, because she was giving Annie shit, and Kerry was trying to walk away.
Which is something else Annie has in mind–
Something had been nagging Annie for most of the day, since after she’s told Professor Semplen about calling out Lisa. “You didn’t want me to confront her, did you?”
He didn’t attempt to hide his feelings on the matter. “No, I didn’t. I didn’t think she was worth it.”
A cautious tone crept into Annie’s voice. “There’s something I want to say, but—”
He shrugged. “Go ahead. You can always be honest with me.”
“Well . . . You’re accustomed to having people make derogatory comments about you—” She felt her mouth dry up. “Because of what you went through in your life—with you parents.”
Kerry remained quiet for a few seconds as memories flooded back. “Not just them; there were a lot of people in school who used to make fun of me, and they’d say a lot of things that—” He leaned against Annie. “They used to talk crap.”
“And you didn’t stand up for yourself.”
He closed his eyes. “No.” His sigh carried a great deal of the dejection his memories carried. “I wasn’t strong, physically, emotionally, or mentally. I was afraid to say things because I thought I might get beat up, or something.”
“What about with your parents?”
“What would I do about them?” He snorted. “Get upset and yell? That’s about all I can do—and look how that worked out.”
She knew he was referring to the conversation he had with his parent the day he received his school travel package, and how he’d become angry and reveled that both of them were given a talk by Nurse Coraline concerning their burgeoning sexuality. Annie was aware that his parents had shook him up enough that he’d lost control over his feelings and said something he shouldn’t have told them—the end result of that confrontation was telling Ms. Rutherford that they were unhappy the meeting had occurred without either of them being notified. “That’s because your parents do not respect you, my love. When they realize how special you are—”
“They’ll continue to think I’m a strange kid.” He held one of his fingers up to Annie’s lips. “I don’t want to talk about my parents, not tonight: not after what you did today—” Kerry twisted around and kissed her passionately, enveloping Annie within his arms. When his broke the kiss he graced Annie with a slight, sweet smile. “Darling.”
At times Kerry can seem kinda wimpy. He’s been mentally, emotionally, and verbally abused, and he’s just bore the anguish and keep everything bottles up, until he decides to let it out. We saw a lot of that in the last novel with him crying. This is why when he flips out–as he did when he thought Annie was leaving him–it’s usually not a good thing. He knows he’s emotional, he knows it can lead to outbursts, and those outbursts usually get him into trouble.
He’s becoming far more confident these days, though, because he’s a racer and a witch and, oh yeah, his girlfriend has shown him how to kill people. Has your significant other done that for you lately? No? I thought so.
So out of one chapter and into the next–
And the next chapter is Kerry-centric and starts out by taking him somewhere he’s seen but never visited until I write about it–