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Resting Through the Aftermath

Lots ‘o writing this morning:  thirteen hundred and two words in ninety minutes, which is pretty good considering I did this at early morning Panera with people coming in and out while I’m playing a lot of 70s and 80s tunes this morning, so I’m in the “select, listen, and write” mode of creativity.  It’s not a bad way to get through the story, and if it works, then it works.

Now you all know what happened to Kerry, and that seems to have produced a whole “Death to Lisa” cheering section in real life.  But!  Her assholery–yes, that is a word–goes even further . . .

 

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

Something in Annie’s tone clicked instantly with Kerry. “What do you mean?”

“Lisa admitted she was racing hard and slid into Anna—and, by extension, you—because she went into the The Sweep too fast.”

“She played it like a totally noob move.” Penny didn’t bother hiding her frustration. “She reported to Vicky as soon as she was called out and said the wreck was completely on her. Didn’t say a word when she got assessed her penalty: just nodded and kept her mouth shut.”

Now that he knew the what and how, Kerry needed to hear the rest. “What was her penalty?”

Nadine answered. “Five seconds.”

Kerry would have sat up straight if it were possible. “That’s it?”

“If they had penalized her ten seconds, Vicky would have needed to prove that Lisa set out to wreck you. Given that she—” Nadine did air quotes with her fingers. ‘—’accidentally’ took out her own teammate, that made it look like a legitimate mistake, and Lisa could have appealed a ten second penalty.”

Emma nodded. “And she probably would have won, too. It would have looked like she was being held to a higher standard than—” She looked about the bay. “—the rest of us.”

Kerry knew exactly how it played out: Lisa crashes out Anna and him, crosses the line, admits she screwed up, and took her punishment. All that remained was . . . “Where did she finished?” He glanced at Alex. “How far behind her were you?”

Alex looked down as she exhaled. “Five point seven eight seconds. I got fourth.”

Kerry’s sigh reflected the mood of everyone in the bay. “She got third.” He set his eyes upon the one teammate he knew was ahead of him in the race. “What did you get?”

“I got second. Rivânia just beat me to the line.” Penny chuckled. “It’s a good thing Lisa was on the other side of the podium from me, ‘cause I wanted to punch her face in.”

Nadine snorted. “You ain’t the only one. Riv told me she had to restrain herself from smackin’ the shit out of Lisa when you guys were up there. She say she told Lisa in their ready room that if she pulled any crap like that again, she was gonna get her tossed off the A Team.”

 

I know right this moment, as people are reading this passage, some are going, “What the hell, Cassidy?  That little bitch should be kicked out of school!”  And if Lisa were stupid enough to try and take Kerry out by, say, throwing a bad spell at him during dinner, she probably would get tossed–actually, she’d probably get a massive amount of detention first and then, if it happened again, she’d get tossed.  Then again, Kerry–and Annie, too, ’cause love grows where Annie’s lovely one goes–would probably smack Lisa down so hard that she’d need resuscitation on the spot, which might make her rethink her life choices after she wakes up . . .

But we’re also talking about a place where the school also has martial arts clubs that don’t get nearly as much press as the racing, and students are allowed to settle their differences by getting in a ring and throwing spells at each other, which turns The Manor into little more than a Magical Thunderdome–two witches enter, one witch leaves–so one has to expect that racing on brooms isn’t always gonna be the safest of sports.  After all, Hemingway once said that auto racing was one of three real sports–the other two being bullfighting and mountain climbing–and after a few moments of thought you realize the real meaning behind his statement:  these are three sports where you stood a real chance, at least at the time he said this, of dying.

Auto racing is dangerous.  There hasn’t been a high-profile death in a while, but they do happen.  Wrecks can be fairly horrific, and while safety systems prevent most serious injuries these days, it’s only a matter of time before something breaks and there’s another fatality.  And as far as drivers wrecking other drivers–yeah, those “racin’ deals” happen.  There was even a case a few weeks back where a driver, who believed he’d be wrecked intentionally the week before, went after the offending driver and put his ass “in the wall”, as we say in racing parlance.  He was immediately parked because using your race car as a high-performance death machine is kinda frowned upon these days.  That wasn’t the case for a long time, however, and it only took about, oh, forty years of wild on-track cowboy shit before officials decided that it might be a good idea to give drivers going at each other during a race a time-out before something happened.

Lisa did a bad thing:  no arguing there.  But the conniving little shit picked her moment to get her revenge, waiting until the last turn on the last lap to take out someone who shamed her the week before.  And the truth is she could have also wrecked herself doing it, but she didn’t, and by admitting she screwed up and taking her punishment without too much complaint, she was able to “get away” with what she did.  This time.  The next time–well, she’ll probably be sat down or even kicked off the team, because she’s been warned.

And if you don’t think Annie “I’m Not Gonna Act Like The Crazy Girlfriend In Public” Kirilova hasn’t marked this event down in her Burn Book, you’re not paying attention.  More than one person around this joint knows how to get even.

But that’s not gonna happen in the hospital . . .

 

Doesn’t matter.” Kerry slowly moved his fingertips against Annie’s palm. “She got her revenge, so she should be good for a while. I’m guessing she and her gang of idiots are gonna wait for me to make the next move—”

“Which you ain’t making anytime soon.” Coraline burst into the bay and took in the group of students situated around Kerry’s bed. “Besides, you kids know the rules: no revenge plotting in the hospital.”

Kerry put as broad a smile on as he could muster. “We’re not plotting anything. How’s Anna?”

“She just woke up. Needless to say she’s not taking her first Big One well—” Coraline pointed at Nadine and shot her a warning look. “And before you utter the smart ass quip you’re working up, keep in mind I can entertain everyone with the story of your night here after your first big wreck.”

“And here we were about to pay our respects.” Holoč Semplen appeared just outside the bay entrance with Manco and Darius in tow.

“What took you so long, Holoč?” Coraline posted a deadly grin as if she already knew the answer.

“Oh—” He nodded over his shoulder. “I needed to find the rest of the team.”

“Hey, guys.” Kerry didn’t need further explanation on the actions of his coven leader: it was clear he made Manco and Darius come to see him, and that he followed along to make sure they did. “Thanks for coming.”

Manco nodded grimly. “No problem. How you feeling?”

“Eh, you know—” Kerry resisted the urge to shrugged. “I’ve felt better.”

“Sure.” Manco appeared almost pained to have to make small talk with an injured teammate with whom he’d almost never spoken to in the past. “I’m sure you have.”

 

Sure, we can talk about the enemies on other teams, but you know it’s gotta suck when your coven and race leader has to go and grab the two boys from the team and drag them off to the hospital to make it look as if everyone on the Cernunnos race team are one big happy family.  They’re not, and the boy probably resent Kerry a bit for taking Penny’s and Alex’s side.  Grow up, boys:  the girls are your equals, though they way they’ve been racing you might say they’re your betters of late.

And that leads to this little exchange–

 

Darius smirked. “Yeah, I can bet.” The boy paused for just a second as he considered something. “Hey, can I ask a question?”

Since Darius hardly spoke to Kerry, he wasn’t about to pass up to answer him, regardless of how dumb the question might sound. “Sure, go ahead.”

“I noticed at the start of the race you were going through the turns a lot faster than before. How’d you manage to keep up with the—” He picked up on the looks he got from Kerry’s visitors and refrained from saying what he’d intended originally. “—girls?”

“Oh, that.” Kerry had wondered prior to the start of the race if anyone was going to notice that his times had picked up slightly, and had his suspicions proven correct. “I used transformation magic to retract my genitals into my body.” He looked towards Holoč. “I checked with Professor Salomon last night and she said there was nothing in the rules that forbade that sort of change, so she gave me the okay.”

While Holoč maintained an air of detached coolness, the other boys from the Cernunnos race team were less collected, with Darius speaking for them both. “You pulled your junk up into your body?”

“Yeah.” He glanced to his left and winked at Annie before turning to the rest of his teammates on his right. “I got the idea from something Alex and Penny told me after my first A Team race, and only now just got good enough to make it happen.” Kerry looked down the bed at the incredulous boys from his coven. “Want me to show you how it’s done?”

Annie patted his hand and smiled. “Maybe later after you’re healed, my love.”

“Which won’t be for another twelve hours or so.” Coraline waved her arm dramatically. “Okay, everyone out. I need to examine my patient.”

 

Darius was looking for racing tips, and he got one he didn’t want.  Maybe we can say that Kerry had . . . wait for it . . . his junk in a tuck?  Ba-da-boom!  Maybe if Darius and Manco had asked the girls if their lady bits got squished when they went through the turns they’d have figured this one out on their own.

Coraline gets everyone out, and it’s time to get down to business of being a doctor:

 

Penny tapped Alex on the shoulder. “Let’s go down and see Anna.”

Kerry cleared his throat. “Give her my regards, will you?”

“Will do.” The Cernunnos girls departed the bay followed by the Mórrígan girls, who wished him well before leaving. As soon as Holoč and the boys bid their farewells, Coraline closed the privacy curtain. “This is what happens when I have celebrities check into the hospital.”

“I’m sorry.” Kerry chuckled as he gazed at Annie, who he noticed never left her chair nor was asked to leave. “I can’t help it if I’m liked by some people in this school.”
Annie grinned back. “By some far more than others.”

Kerry looked up at the ceiling. “How bad is it this time?”

“About as bad as anything you’ve had before.” Coraline stood between the bay beds and moved her monitors into position. “Broken right ankle and arm, broken collarbone, broken ribs; you broke you left wrist, which I guess you already figured out, and dislocated your right shoulder.” She tapped a screen a couple of times before placing her right hand over his face and producing the orange glow everyone knew so well. “The biggest difference here is you broke your hip, which means you’re gonna feel some discomfort walking around for a few days after you get out of here.” She slowly moved her hand down the length of his body. “And you tore up your left knee again, which I was hoping against all hope wouldn’t happen this year.”

 

Kerry got messed up good:  broken bones and concussions are pretty much the norm when you wipe out at high speed.  This is why he’s a bit numb and not moving around on the bed at all.  And this has Coraline taking extra precautions–

 

She snapped her hand shut and stepped back so she could see both children clearly. “What that means is, one, you’re not getting out of her before eleven tomorrow; two, I’m putting you on a ninety-six hour hold, minimum, before I clear you to fly again; and, three, due to the damage to your knee and hips I’m probably gonna have you sleeping here tomorrow and Monday night—”  Coraline rolled her eyes the moment Annie cleared her throat. “You, too, Annie: I wouldn’t dream of having you sleep down in the B Section all by yourself.”

“Why would I need to sleep here?” Kerry already had a good idea as to the answer . . .

“Because getting up and down three flights of stairs in the coven could be problematic. It’s easier if you use our lift to get here from the ground floor and back.”

“Which only makes sense.” Annie turned her chair so she was facing Coraline. “You don’t anticipate any problems from this accident, do you?”

“Not a single one. Though I’m getting a little nervous with all the damage you’ve taken to that knee.” She sat against the other bed. “This is the third time in under a year and a half you’ve torn it up, and if it happens again I’m gonna have to consider doing a full regrowth spell.” She tossed her head to the right side. “You know, so you’re not a cripple at fourteen?”

Kerry sighed weakly. “Yeah, I’d like to avoid that.”

Annie nodded. “So would I.”

“And I.” Coralie stood and straightened her coat. “I’ll bring a menu around—” She wagged a finger at Kerry before turning to Annie. “On second though, keep him on soups and light sandwiches. That Bulgarian stew you guys like is okay, too, just don’t give him too much.”

“Yes, Nurse Coraline.” Annie liked that Coraline trusted her to help with Kerry’s recovery. “I’ll take great care that nothing else happens to him—”

 

A full growth spell would involve having to completely regrow the knee and the joint and the ligaments, and probably parts of the leg bones as well.  This would likely mean a bit of bed rest for Kerry, as you can’t walk around if you don’t have anything holding your leg together.  Yeah, that sucks, but the alternative is Kerry walking around with a cane or, maybe, him trying his own magic to fix his knee.  I mean, it is entirely possible he’ll try fixing the problem himself–though there’s no telling how well that’ll turn out.

But at least he has Nurse Annie looking after him.  Like she says, she’ll make sure nothing else happens to him.  And I’m sure nothing will–

And even though there's one more scene in the chapter--

Even though there’s one more scene in the chapter–

But that doesn’t mean I’d do anything bad to my kids.  Right?  Right?  Tap, tap.  Is this thing on?

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