Well, now, it’s Yule Time in my world at this moment, and it’s time for the kids to get away and head for home. And as you’ve probably noticed, the bad German in the post heading means they’re going someplace where German is spoken. If you’re thinking, “Berlin,” wrong, because you only need look at my layouts to know where I’m going, and know that Wien means something else in English:
If you remember from last year–yeah, about that time–when Annie left for home sweet home at Yule, she jaunted into Vienna. And by now we know why we’re going to the airport, because The Foundation loves using airports for something besides flying . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Bernice Rutherford entered the waiting area of the Main Foundation Jaunt Transit Center located twenty meters under Terminal 3 of Vienna International Airport, having jaunted from London to the public center under Terminal 2 only ten minutes earlier. She scanned the room—about twenty by fifteen meters, with the main jaunt platform in another room just beyond a glass wall—and quickly counted just under a two dozen people. She knew they were there for the same reason she was there: children were returning from Salem for Yule holiday, and people were on-hand to take them home.
A number of the individuals gathered in the waiting area were like Bernice: case workers there picking up, for the most part, A and B Level students, though a few C and D Level students were still in need of transfer from here to their homes. In some cases one or both parents arrived with their child’s case worker, but most were waiting alone like her, and would leave as soon as their charge was ready to depart.
There actually wasn’t a need for Bernice to be in Vienna. Her charge lived in the United Kingdom which meant she should pick him up from the transit center under Heathrow, but an email she’d received on Wednesday informed her that her charge was entering Europe through another station, and she’d formulated a good idea why there was a change of venue.
She spotted a somewhat familiar face in the crowd, and as she head toward them to make her introductions, she wondered if they knew of this change in plans . . . “Hello, Mrs. Kirilova.”
Pavlina Kirilova turned towards the young black woman and spent only a moment searching her memory. “Bernice Rutherford, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” She held out her hand. “We met in Amsterdam when your daughter returned from her A Levels.”
Here we are, and I’m starting out the scene with the point of view not from the kids, but someone close to one of the kids. It only makes sense that if Ms. Rutherford is in Vienna she’s probably going to run into someone who close to the other one of the kids, and she wasn’t disappointed. And that other person remembers who Ms. Rutherford is close to as well–
Pavlina smiled as she shook the case worker’s hand. “My daughter and someone else, I believe.”
Bernice tightened her grip on the purse handles around her shoulder. “Yes—someone else.”
“Is that the reason you’re here?”
“Yes. Kerry emailed me Wednesday morning and told me he was returning through Vienna.” Bernice watched the face of Annie’s mother. “Were you aware he was coming?”
“Yes.” Pavlina glanced over Bernice’s shoulder, then shifted her gaze back. “The last letter from Annie informed me that Kerry was going to accompany her to Vienna, and from there he was going to either London or Cardiff.” She gave a quick shrug. “I received her last letter yesterday morning, though, so I didn’t have a chance to ask more about the change.”
“Oh, I see.” Based upon everything Bernice knew about Annie, it almost appeared as if the young woman was trying to head off a conversation by waiting until the last moment to inform her mother than she wasn’t traveling alone. “You could have contacted the school yesterday and asked for clarification.”
A few seconds went be before Pavlina chuckled. “Doing that would have made me look like one of those parents who micromanage their child’s life—and one thing I learned years ago is that Annie does as she likes. Contacting the school to speak with Annie—” She smiled while slowly shaking her head. “Besides, I trust Annie’s judgment: it’s not as if she’s doing something one might consider bad—”
“What are you two discussing?”
Yes, Annie’s mom knows all about Annie’s, um, friends. Her close friends. Her soul mates, you might say. And here we learn that Annie waited until the very last minute to tell her mother that, hey, guess who’s jaunting into Vienna with me? Not saying that Annie is being a little sneaky, but (1) she could have mentioned this at any time weeks before, and (2) she totally is.
But there’s really no harm here, because Annie’s mom has met Kerry, and Kerry her, and since they’re both headed for Europe why not leave together? Kerry would have to kill time before leaving for London anything–because of the time difference he wouldn’t leave the school for another ninety minutes–and maybe they both thought it best to remove Kerry from a place where (1) Annie wasn’t around and (2) a certain red haired girl might throw caution to the wind and try something really stupid, which would lead to (3) Annie killing said girl, or at least messing her up bad.
But wait: who is talking here at the end? Because it’s obvious they’ve interrupted Pavlina–
Bernice turned and found a man about six centimeters taller than Pavlina standing to her right with short-clipped dark hair and brown eyes. He was dressed simply in jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweater. He wasn’t wearing a coat, but that was to be expected if he’d just jaunted from a home.
He handed a small cup of steaming liquid that Pavlina accepted without question. She took a small sip and nodded her approval. “Thank you, dear—oh, nothing much.” She turned to Bernice as she motioned towards the man who’d just joined them. “Bernice, I’d like you to meet my husband. Honey, this Ms. Rutherford.”
Remember me saying you’re going to meet someone you’ve never really met before? Who has only actually appeared in the novel once, way back in the very first scene I wrote, which was Annie leaving for school. He’s actually never appeared in the excerpts, but now, finally, you get to meet him.
Welcome, Annie’s father!
The man held out his hand. “Victor Kirilov. Pleased to meet you.”
She shook his hand. “Bernice Rutherford. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She sighed out a breath. “And, if I may, congratulations on this last season.”
He appeared pleased. “We fought hard to reach third, so it was a welcomed podium.” He turned to his wife. “Did I hear you talking about Annie?”
Pavlina nodded. “Yes. Bernice is a case worker, and she’s here to pick up her charge.” She peered over the rim of her steaming beverage with large, dark eyes. “She knows Annie through her charge.”
“I see.” Victor turned to Bernice. “Are they someone in Annie’s level?”
Bernice fought hard to keep the grin off her face. “Yes, they are.” She shot a look at Pavlina, not certain who should be the one to do the reveal.
Annie’s mother saved her with a quick nod and a gleam in here eyes. “Honey, she’s here for Kerry.”
Victor required a few seconds before turning to his wife. “That Kerry?”
“That Kerry?” Sort of like, “That slime mold?”
“Yes, the one and the same.”
“Didn’t you say he lives in Wales?”
“He does, but apparently he’s coming home with our dearest daughter.”
“Hum.” He cast as quick glance in the direction of the jaunt platform. “I see.”
Pavlina smiled at the now grinning case worker. “I believe you will.”
Yes, I believe you will, Victor: you will finally meet your dearest daughter’s one and only. And he’ll get to meet you.
Yeah . . . this should be fun.