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Beneath the Hardened Child

This is All About Annie.  Really, we are in that place where she’s being asked about stuff–you know, things–that that stuff happens to pertain to a certain Ginger Hair Boy from Wales.  It’s a given that her mother knows a bit about the boy, but Daddy?  If there was a Nopesville, Bulgaria, Annie’s father would be mayor.  But isn’t that how it is?

This means that, now, in the space after coming home and going to dinner, Papa gets a little me time with his lovely little witch.  Annie knows what he wants–he’s just taking his time getting there.

 

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

“We’re also thrilled with all the advanced classes you’ve been invited into. Although . . .” Victor rubbed his right index finger just under his lower lip. “Why didn’t you take Advanced Transformation and Advanced Flight One?”

Annie had expected these questions as well, and had her answers ready. “I’m auditing Advanced Transformation: Professor Kishna is letting me study the advanced spells with someone else—” She left the question of with whom she was studying and moved to the next answer. “—and as far as Advanced Flight One: everyone knows if I need additional flight training, I know where to turn.” She turned raised eyebrows and slight grin towards here father. “Is that not so?”

Victor couldn’t keep from chuckling. “That is true.” He sipped his tea for the first time. “I’m certain I could do as well as any of your instructors.”

They sat quietly looking at each other across the small table. Annie kept expecting her father to continue speaking, but he said nothing as his eyes darted from point to point around the siting room. After thirty seconds she decided to make things easy for him. “Papa?”

He sat up attentively. “Yes, Nini?”

She grinned partially due to what she was about to say, and partially due to her father calling her by the nickname they’d used for years. “You can ask the question you really want to ask—” She raised her tea mug to her lips. “I don’t mind.”

 

First off, Annie’s tired of beating about the bush:  if you wanna ask about my boyfriend–of which said terms has yet to come up–go ahead.  And second–Nini!  Annie has a nickname!  One that Kerry doesn’t know about.  And in case anyone’s wondering:  Kerry’s nickname is “Hey, You.”

Now that you have permission, ask away, Papa–

 

Victor set his tea upon the table and wrapped both hands around the mug. “How is Kerry?”

Finally. “He’s good, Papa.”

“And how is your time with him?”

“I enjoy being with him.”

He cleared his throat as quietly as possible. “Yes, but . . .” He raised his gaze and met Annie’s soft stare. “How is he to you?”

Annie set her mug aside and lightly placed her folded hands on the table before her. “He’s always nice to me: he never gets angry or mean, and he’s never raised his voice except when he’s frustrated with himself. He’s kind and always keeps me in this thoughts. He greets me every day with ‘Good morning’ and says ‘Good night’ before we go to our rooms to sleep.” She allowed her gaze slip slightly to the right. “He’s always there with a sweet word or affectation—” She looked back at her father. “He makes me feel wonderful, Papa.”

Wonderful Annie is a good witch filled with sunshine. Make her unhappy, and . . .

Wonderful Annie is a good witch filled with sunshine and unicorns. Make her unhappy, and . . .

 

Annie is a complex girl.  You could say, “Oh, but she’s a teenager:  of course she’s complex,” but there’s more to it than that.  Some might say that any girl who starts planning her wedding at around the age of seven with a boy who may be nothing more than a dream figment is probably a little obsessive/crazy, but there’s far more to her than just a stalker mentality.  She is in love, and she’s getting to the point where she doesn’t care who knows.  That little look off to the side–that’s her love remembrance.  And to tell one’s father that a boy they just met for about five minutes makes you feel wonderful . . . that’s heavy.  So much so that her father is a bit taken aback:

 

Victor regarded his daughter for fifteen seconds, his face a combination of calm interest. “You weren’t like this when you came home after your A Levels—”

“That’s because I missed him, Papa.” She glanced off to her right once more. “I was sad to leave him at the airport that day.”

He nodded slowly. “You were holding hands when you arrived in Vienna.”

Annie kept her head turned slightly to the right while her eyes turned back towards her father. “We were, yes. We hold hands nearly everywhere we go.” Her right eyebrow rose as she gave her father a quizzical look. “Didn’t Mama and you hold hands when you were at school?”

“Yes, we did.” Victor returned his daughter’s look. “But we never did that in front of our parents.”

She shrugged. “I’m different: you know that.”

 

She may as well said, “I’m not like the other girls,” and she’d have been right.  Oh, you saw us holding hands?  Ha!  I’m Annie:  I do what I want!  And to show she means business, this short little passage happens–

 

“I most certainly do know that.” He twisted slight in his seat so he could cross his legs. “I only want to know that you’re happy, and that this boy isn’t—”

“His name is Kerry, Papa.” Annie’s face froze into impassiveness as one thought entered her mind: I won’t allow him be spoken of in the same way Kerry’s mother tried to speak of me. I won’t. “Please don’t call him ‘the boy’. He’s more than that.”

There were a couple of slow, measured breaths from across the table before Victor spoke. “I apologize, Nini. I didn’t mean any disrespect.”

 

She knows about being “The Girl Who Writes” and she’s aware Kerry lost his shit on me mom for saying that, so you know Annie isn’t going to give either parental member a lot of slack when it comes to using a term like “the boy”.  And to say “He’s more than that”–yeah, she’s leaving little doubt where Kerry stands with her.

All this said, I figure to finish this scene tonight, and with this scene goes the chapter.  Not a big chapter, but one that seems to be taking a long time.

Don’t worry:  everything’s going to start going to hell here soon.

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17 thoughts on “Beneath the Hardened Child

  1. Annie’ Dad is alright.

    I know Dad is not concerned to know if Annie’s happy, because he knows she is….. rather, he’s wants to know if Kerry is….. it maybe a silly question to ask , but that’s proof Dad trusts Annie to open up to him and talk about her concerns , if there are any. Dad is a guy too, and if there are any questions about guys’ behavior, he may give the right answers, being a guy himself. I ‘m wondering if Dad is concerned that Kerry may have been bamboozled to go into a relationship with her daughter. He may go along with it, now, because he’s just 12 and doesn’t know any better.

    • He’s looking for signs. Remember, he doesn’t know all the details about the Chestnut Girl and the Ginger Hair Boy. He knows that they know each other through their dreams, but like his wife, he doesn’t understand the how of it. In a way he’s trying to find out if the Real Kerry is like the Dream Kerry, because we all know dreams aren’t reality.

      He’s seeing that Annie is happy, but you have to wonder if he’s seeing that she’s in love.

      • I can understand that. Maybe he thinks Annie is happy that she has found the boy in her dreams, literally.

        Well, yeah, her dad in fact has already told her about his concerns.

        Oh, by the way, I’m sure her Dad knows about her gift, right. It looks like they know what ‘s going on at Salem, as far as her academics go. I’d

        go as far as believeing they know about Kerry’s , as well. There’s really no problem with Annie’s family.

        About Kerry’s….. it ‘s not going well, is it ? You said as much.

        • Oh, he knows about the broom. He hasn’t said anything, but that could be due to her mother saying, “Don’t say anything.” And it would appear that she’s found the boy for her dreams, as her father would know that she almost didn’t go to Salem because she thought she’d lost Kerry. But you know those headstrong 11 year old girls: once they realize they’re doing something foolish, they’ll come around. 🙂

          Annie’s mother has friends who are keeping an eye on these things. She knows what’s happening.

          You’ll see Kerry’s family up next in the first scene of the next chapter.

  2. I can’t wait to read Kerry’s scene. It wasn’t that bad when he got home…. the tke out dinner was expected, maybe the awkward, initial conversation with him…. now if hell woud break loose in the morning, over breakfast, I’m so eager to know what would trigger that ? Annie’s parents maybe aware this contraceptive thing is going on at Salem… I bet they were given too, but they’d know it does not prove anything….. now with Kerry’s parents….. boom ….I’m sure they’re going to take up that issue again with Kerry. They
    d be like, ” what kind of school is that that would give contraceptives to 12 year olds ? ” The concern is understandable. What I hate about Kerry’s parents is the way they talk to him, and their neglect of their child.

    • Annie’s parents would know about the contraceptives because–well, they got a dose! There probably comes a time when girls start to worry they may be pregnant, and then the doctor tells them, “Not possible, because . . .” Did this happen with Annie’s parents? I’ll not tell.

      When hell does break loose in the Malibey household, it won’t be pretty.

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