Chapter Fourteen is finally out of the way. It didn’t seem like a long chapter, but it was tough to write. There were so many things I had to figure out–and, yes, the tone of the chapter actually changed several times. In fact, the penultimate scene where Annie quizzed Kerry on his dream, Coraline was supposed to show up, but I decided to keep the focus on them both, and not bring her into the mix.
Still, plenty happened–
–and this finishes up the conversation in Emma’s hospital bay.
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Professor Salden sat me down for the next race.” Emma’s voice grew soft and reserved as she addressed Kerry. “She told me if I race again like I did yesterday, she’d send me back to the B Team—” She looked down as she swallowed hard. “And if I don’t shape up after that, I’m off both teams for good.”
“That’s not gonna happen—” Kerry shook his head. “You know better now, so there’s nothing to worry about.”
“I know.” Heavy frown lines creased her brow. “I’m gonna miss all the races this weekend
“But you won’t miss the Red Line race the weekend after.” He was referring to the race held the second weekend of December, which was the second use of the Red Line course, the most difficult on the school grounds. The first time the course was run was the weekend before the Samhain Races. “And you’ll be around for the next one in January.”
We’ve yet to see a big race on the Red Line, and there will be a mention of it in the next chapter. But we now see that Erywin has laid down the law: Emma’s not racing, which is a hit in personal points, and if she screws up again she’s off the A Team, and maybe out of Coven Racing all together. Since you can’t give her detention, it’s serious enough. That and the hospital stay, and learning that she almost lost an arm.
But she has questions . . .
“Yeah” She sat quietly with her handing resting on her thighs, both sets of fingers tapping against the heavy covers. When she raised her head she looked to Annie instead of Kerry. “Do you still want to fly with me? Be my wingmate?”
Annie raised one eyebrow. “I do not tell Kerry whom he can and can’t have as a wingmate.” A slight grin played upon her face. “That’s his decision.”
He didn’t give an answer, but asked his own question instead. “Did Vicky tell you how we did on the scavenger flight?”
Emma looked his way. “She told me we not only had the most targets and the farthest to fly, but that we found everything without needing a lot of looking around.”
“Right. That’s because we worked great as a team.” His face framed a bright grin. “I had the best pilot with me—”
“And I had the best navigator.”
“And if we’re gonna do the Polar Express next year, we need both working together—otherwise I’m not going.” Kerry slowly pushed himself up, using his cane to support him. “A third of the school year is up, and we probably wouldn’t get new wingmates until Advanced Flight Two anyway. I can put this behind me if it means having the best advanced flight team in the air.” He nodded towards the girl in the bed. “It’s up to you: whaddya say?”
I know: Kerry’s being nice again. But so is Annie. In fact, Annie sort of sets the mood at this point–
Annie chose to offer an observation in that instance. “My father has not always worked with people with whom he’s had the best relationships, but when they are on the track, racing for their team, he’s always put his differences aside.” She pointed out the obvious. “You’re going to only have another year and a half of classes left: if your team is the best, why break it up now?”
For a moment Emma appeared conflicted, as if she didn’t know which course she should follow, which decision she should make. She finally found her voice. “I know—” She locked eyes with Kerry. “Nothing’s going to happen between us.”
“No.” He shook his head. “It won’t.”
“But you still want to be friends.”
“I know I can—I think you can, too.”
Emma looked down, making a faint sound as she exhaled. “Then . . .” She held out her right hand. “Wingmates?”
Kerry reached out with his right hand and clasped hers. “Team Myfanwy stays flying. And we’re gonna show them all when we do the overnight in a couple of weeks.”
No breakups, but Emma’s been schooled a bit. She’s been warned by her coven leader and race coach; she’s been warned by people on her team, and she been warned by Annie to knock off her shit. She’s apologized, though, and maybe even grown up a little in the process.
She does have one last question, and it’s one that others who’ve viewed these proceedings have asked as well:
He turned back towards the bed, the curtain barely open. “Yeah?”
“Why—?” Emma once more looked as if she didn’t know if she should ask what was on her mind. “Why are you always so ready forgive me?”
Kerry looked away and stared at spot on the floor for a few seconds before replying in hushed tones. “Because I know what it’s like to want something you can’t ever have . . .” He sighed slowly as he met her gaze. “It hurts.”
“Yeah.” She wiggled her toes under the covers. “Does it go away?”
“It does.” He gripped Annie’s hand. “Something better always comes along.”
Something better always comes along. We know what Kerry lost in his move from California to Wales, and what came along that was better, and like it or not, those two events helped define him now. He’s been hurt a lot, and that’s one of the reasons why he doesn’t want to hurt anyone else. And because he’s twelve and isn’t that good picking up on different social situations, he doesn’t realize that he’s been hurting Emma more by not shutting her down right away.
He tells her what he understands best: I know you want me, but you can’t have me. I’ve been there, and it hurts, and that sucks. And I don’t want to do that to you . . . but it gets better, because something else good will come along.
It did for him.
He’s gotta figure it will for her as well.