Congratulatory Blues

So, nails are done and pretty, I showed the women at the salon what Annie really looks like, the rest of the clothes I ordered arrived yesterday, and, oh, I got some really big earrings as a present yesterday . . .

Nails, Earrings, Clothes, and Coffee.  What more could one want?

Nails, Earrings, Clothes, and Coffee. What more could one want?

I managed some writing last night, and this morning I’ve been hard at work, with the upshot being that I’ve written almost eleven hundred words since starting the new scene last night.  I started this chapter in the ready room at the Flight School with Kerry surrounded by the members of his racing team by his side and Annie outside waiting to give him a kiss and encouragement, and I end this chapter with Kerry in a different room with the same people by his side once again.  Only Kerry isn’t sitting–nor is he gonna be walking before the day is out.

Pretty soon they'll just put a plaque with Kerry's  name on this sucker--

Pretty soon they’ll just put a plaque with Kerry’s name on this sucker–

It’s a nice scene, because everyone seems like they’re in good spirits:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“It was a great day for us all.” Manco looked happier than he’d appeared since the season started. “Thanks to you guys.”

Penny cast her gaze downward as she raised her eyebrows. “You did your part as well.”

“She’s right.” Annie held Kerry’s hand as she shifted her gaze from one member of the Cernunnos race team to another. “You all did your part. You all pointed—”

“Which is what we set out to do.” Kerry looked as happy as he could given he was sitting up in a hospital bed with his left knee once more locked in a cast. “Four race; four point.”

Alex slowly raised her fist over her head and gave it a quick pump. “Cernunnos, my naykrashch.”

Penny tapped her dormmate on the shoulder. “What she said.”

Annie squeezed her soul mate’s left hand, careful not to disturb the IV patch she’d tapped there nearly eight hours earlier. She’d helped Nurse Bianca and she undressed and cleaned him—though this time they didn’t remove his underwear—she assisted when they set his knee, and she administered the first IV of pain medication that quickly knocked him out and kept him unconscious for close to four hours. She saw to getting him something to eat when he was once more awake, and she stayed by his side and sat quietly while people from other race teams came by to congratulate him on the race, and to see how he was faring.

All but one person . . .

 

Gee, I wonder who that might be?  Think you’ll have to wait long to find out?  Should be a fun encounter–

 

Right around nineteen hours the other three members of the Cernunnos team who’d raced today stopped by to check on Kerry. Annie sat alone on the left side of his bed while Penny and Alex sat on Bed #1 and Manco remained standing at the foot of the bed. She immediately inquired why Darius hadn’t come with the rest of the group, and was given two answers. The first, from Manco, was that Darius was still upset that he wasn’t able to race at Katahdin as he’d done the year before, and that it wasn’t anything person against Kerry. The second answer came from Penny, and it was the one that Annie felt was closer to the truth: that Darius was being a “butthurt little bitch” and he couldn’t put his ego away long enough to see a team member and wish them well. Annie also noticed that Manco was not willing to refute her comment—

 

Given that the other members of the team have sort of reached the conclusion that they don’t need Darius’ shit, he had best get his act together or go find something else to do with his time on Saturday afternoons at the school.  While it may not help out the team for the rest of the season, having everyone unified can certainly help next school year.

 

She was happy that Kerry was in such good spirits. Nadine and Rivânia had been the ones to give him the final standings, and for a moment Annie thought that he might turn introspective and sullen, but instead he shrugged and congratulated Nadine for winning the race and Rivânia on retaining her winning time record—both all agreed in better weather conditions it was unlikely she’d hold that record much longer.

A few people from other teams stopped by, and Vicky, Erywin, Holoč, and Deanna also came by as a group to see how he was feeling and to congratulate him on a good race before the Cernunnos team showed. Annie felt concerned that her loved one’s good mood wouldn’t remain that way long, for though one racer in particular had yet to show, it was only a matter of time before they paid a visit—

That wasn’t on Penny’s mind at the moment, however. “So, are you guys coming to the Midnight Madness?”

Kerry shook his head. “Coraline said that if I absolutely wanted to put in an appearance she’d set me up with a wheelchair and help me down to the Dining Hall, but . . .” He bowed his head slightly.  “Naw. It’s just too much of a hassle to get down there, and it’s not like I’d be able to get out of the chair and sit on the sofa.” He glanced over towards Annie. “Which is what I’d really want to do.”

Penny nodded. “I can understand that.”

“How good’s your knee gonna be tomorrow?” Alex nodded towards the slight raised appendage hidden under the blankets. “You were in a lot of pain when you left the paddock.”

“That’s because I few nearly three hundred kilometers with it all tore up.” He released a slow sigh. “I’d have deadened the nerves while I was out there, but I didn’t want to get another penalty for using magic.”

Annie thought she should be the one to tell the others the truth about Kerry’s injury, least he downplay the severity. “He does have to take it easy, however. Coraline told him there was a lot more damage to the ligaments this time, and he was going to need to take it extra easy for the next few days.” She turned her best proud yet sympathetic look upon her soul mate as she lightly patted his fingers. “He’s lucky he has someone to ensure he doesn’t ignore doctor’s orders.”

Penny and Alex exchanged knowing looks before Penny chuckled. “Can’t break the rules when you have your own private nurse, can you, Kerry?”

He shook his head. “Nope. I’m always being—”

“Excuse me?”

 

What’s the expression?  “Well, this is a bit awkward!”  Yeah, it could get that way real fast . . .

 

Five sets of eyes focused on Emma standing in the ward corridor just outside the confines of Bay #1. Annie felt the mood change instantly, and saw Penny and Alex stiffen. She’d arrived in the Katahdin paddock in time to see Penny more or less threaten the Mórrígan flier, and she certainly didn’t want that to happen now—

Kerry managed to defuse the situation by asking a question in a quiet, subdued tone. “Can you guys give us the bay for a moment?”

The other members of the Cernunnos team glanced between themselves before Alex stood. “We should get ready for the Madness—” She tapped Penny on the leg. “Right?”

“Yeah.” Penny slid off the bed, keeping her eyes on Kerry. “You listen to Annie once you’re out of here.”

“Always do.” He rubbed Annie’s hand. “You don’t have to worry about that.”

Manco tapped the foot board of the bed. “We’ll see you later. Get better, okay?”

“I will.” Kerry waited for the three team member to silently file past Emma before he addressed her. “Come on in.”

Emma shuffled into the bay and leaded against the foot board, staying to Kerry’s right. “How are you feeling?”

“Better now—all that heeling magic and cool mixtures, you know.” He gave Emma one single slow nod. “Congratulations. You got yourself a podium.”

 

Good thing Kerry defused that situation, probably because he didn’t want Penny and Alex to get into trouble for getting into a fight with Emma in the hospital–not to mention Coraline would probably start throwing stunning spells at the whole lot of them to cool that shit out.

But there’s that last thing that Kerry said, and it’s going to be an important point that comes up in the rest of the scene.  Though to understand it all, we first have to look at the unofficial race standings:

Which, you know, I just happened to have.

Which, you know, I just happened to have.

Needless to say Kerry finished third–unofficially.  We say, “unofficially”, because penalties need to be assessed on racers before the official results are issued.  And according to the “unofficial” standing, Emma finished forth.  But Kerry just said she got a podium, which means she had a top three finish.

What does this mean?

It means shit is about to get real . . .