Yes, I know: late, late, late. No, really, it is late. It’s like almost one PM, or thirteen on the clock, here, and I’m just getting to this. Why so late? Because I have like no energy. I spent a lot of time just napping and stuff yesterday, and this morning . . . just can’t focus. Every little thing pulls me away–like the pain in my left shoulder that came back yesterday.
But I’ve done stuff, too. Like . . . you’ll see.
First, though: the writing. Between last night and this morning, twelve hundred and seventy words went down. The Christmas tea party is over, and well, Annie had questions, right? Lots of questions. But what are her answers?
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie waited for nearly twenty minutes before broaching a subject that had been on her mind since returning home. “May I ask for something?”
Pavlina set down her tea. “Is there something you’d like from the kitchen?”
“No, Mama, thank you. I had something else in mind.” She looked from her mother then to her father. “If I may—”
Victor nodded. “Certainly, Nini. Speak whatever’s on your mind.”
She knew she’d not have a problem with that, as that was her intention. “I’d like to buy either a laptop or a phone.”
Both parents glanced across the table before her mother spoke. “Why do you need one, Annie? You can use my laptop most of the time.”
“I know, Mama, but . . .” Annie cleared her throat and kept her tone reasonable. “I feel it’s time I have a computer of my own—or, if nothing else, an iPhone like—” She caught herself before she said, “Kerry,” and went with the far more generic expression. “—the other kids at school.”
Again Pavlina and Victor looked at each other across the dining table, neither speaking a word, and again it was left to Pavlina to answer. “I’m not certain you need a mobile, dear—” She glanced out the large window to her right. “Or a computer.”
A puzzled look dashed across Annie’s face. She expected her parents to ask a question or two, but she didn’t expect her mother to seem reluctant to commit to the idea. Annie moved on to the next part of the process— “I wouldn’t expect you to buy either for me; it’s best if I pay for this out of my trust.” She turned towards her mother, a slight smile upon her face. “All you have to do is pay for it then take the money from my—”
For a moment Annie was taken back by her mother’s single-word comment. “What do you mean, no?”
Yeah, mom, what do you mean by “no”? This is something Annie’s not heard much in her life, or at least not this definitively. Keep in mind the year before it was, “I wanna buy Kerry a broom,” and mommy bought the thing and took the money out of Annie’s trust fund. Suddenly Mama’s putting down the hard line, and Annie wants answers.
“I mean no. I mean you I don’t believe you require a computer or a mobile right now.” Pavlina raised her cup to her lips. “That should answer your question.”
Annie wasn’t about to take her mother’s answer as the final answer. Though she was educated and cultured, she wasn’t above performing the same action as teenage girls everywhere: she turned to her father. “Papa, I—”
Victor was ready for his daughter’s tactics, however. “I agree with your mother on this matter, Annie. You have a computer terminal at school, and your mother has a laptop here you can use when absolutely necessary.” He took a moment to enjoy a bite of banitsa before bringing up this last point. “As for needing a mobile—it’s not as if there are a huge number of people with whom you need to speak, so again, the need for a mobile—”
“What do you mean it’s not as if there’s anyone with whom I need to speak?” She hadn’t meant for her tone to come off sounding as heated, but she knew full well that they knew there was someone with whom she wished to speak . . . “You should—”
“I do know, Annie.” Pavlina set both hands palm down on the table as focused on her daughter. “We know exactly why you want these: you want to be able to speak with Kerry. Either you’re going to call or text him—or, if you have a computer, you’ll Skype him so you can speak face-to-face, more or less.” She shook her head. “If I thought you were going to use either for something other than speaking to—” For a moment Annie thought her mother was going to say “that boy”, but she didn’t. “—Kerry, then I might consider your request.
“However, I don’t believe that to be the case. I feel the only reason you a computer or mobile is so you can spend this upcoming summer holiday chatting away with your Ginger Hair Boy. Isn’t that so?”
So Annie’s parents are totally hip on the reasons why Annie wants this: they just aren’t down on given them to her. Or letting her buy them. It seems like Pavlina has visions of her little girl sitting in front of a computer screen all day long during the summer chatting up her boyfriend–who she’s careful not to call her boyfriend, at least in front of her husband. Even though you know they both totally know.
It’s also nice to know that Annie isn’t above doing the old, “If one parent says no, see what they other says,” trick. Teenagers be teenagers, even if they’re witches.
Finally Annie gets right to the exact point of why she wants to have this contact with her soul mate:
Annie nodded. “I want to be able to speak with Kerry directly starting this summer. He has to come out to his parent after we go home—”
“As always happens with witches from Normal backgrounds.”
“It’s not going to be easy for him, Mama.” Annie leaned towards her. “His parents aren’t like either of you: they don’t understand him, they don’t show him any affection—”
“Thank you for saying we do those thing for you.” Victor smiled across the table at his wife. “It’s so rare one hears these things from their children.”
Pavlina smiled back. “Very true, my darling.”
“Mama; Papa.” Annie knew her parents were stalling, trying to deflect the conversation away from the current discussion. “I want to be there for Kerry this summer. I want him to be able to speak with me quickly, and not have to rely on sending as letter and waiting three days for a response.” She changed her tone so as not to be so stern. “Please, Mama? I don’t want Kerry to feel alone.”
Pavlina slowly drew in a breath, scrutinizing her daughter the whole time. “I know you’re not going to want to hear this, but you need to understand this: you can’t always be there for the one you—” She caught herself before substituting the correct word for another phase. “—care about. This is most true about Normal witches who come out: they don’t always have an easy summer following their announcements, and what follows is something they must face alone.
“And as painful as it seems, you can’t be there for Kerry. You can help to a certain extent, but you can’t be his lifeline, Annie. You can’t always be there to rescue him; you can’t help ease his discomfort.” She shook her head just enough for Annie to notice. “And even if you had some way of maintaining constant contact with him over the the summer, it won’t always be enough.” Pavlina poured more hot water into her cup and set her tea ball inside to seep. “He has the face these things alone; he has to decide for himself what path to follow.” She place one hand over the other and set them in her lap. “Just as you do with him now: you let him learn these things on his own.”
The last thing her mother said made Annie regard her with cold reflection. The reasons given to Annie concerning not getting a phone or computer could have boiled down to, “Because we said,” but her mother took the reasons a little further and gave the exact reason: You can’t be there for Kerry. You can’t be there to help him.
Even then there was more to the statement, and her mother made certain Annie was aware of this fact.
What seems to be at work here is Annie’s parent know things are often hard for witches from Normal families, and Kerry will likely not be an exception. But there are things said, things hinted at, and when Annie goes to her room at the end of this scene she begins to wonder things . . .
Two scenes down, two to go:
Tomorrow we get a peek at Annie’s house–no, not the lake house: you’ve seen that. Her parent’s house. And it’s really a treat . . .