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Ostara Conversations: Prelude to Annie Art

Hasn’t this been an interesting morning?

I actually woke up about five hours ago as I write this at 10:02 AM in the EST zone.  I was tired when I hit the bed, but a minor panic attack hit me about 4:45, and though I tried getting back to sleep I knew it wasn’t happening, so I got up, made coffee and a little something to eat, and started working on the new scene.  I didn’t get all that far, however, because about 6:15 I began getting tired again, so I set down in my easy chair, pulled my hand-made Orphan Black blanket over me, and took about an hour nap.

Everyone should have a hand-made blanket from England with Cosima's copyright number on it.

Everyone should have a hand-made blanket from England with Cosima’s tag number on it.

I slowly made it back to writing, telling myself that I’d stop at ten so I could start on my blog post.  Which I did, and which I’m doing now.  Oh, and I’m also making chili in my slow cooker, because it’s cold outside and I like something hot to keep me warm.

Kerry’s had his nap and time has moved ahead to later in the evening.  This means we’re getting close to performance time for Nadine and Kerry and everyone else who decided they were going to play a song, or dance, or do a reading.  But that’s not for later, and as I indicated, we’re not actually going to see Kerry play, but we will hear about his performance.  On the other hand we do get to see another part of Ostara, because if you remember last year, there’s a painter in this group as well, and their work gets displayed long before the other half of this romance gets up in front of the whole school–

 

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

Kerry felt refreshed in the aftermath of his seventy minute nap in the darkened hospital bay. The exhaustion he’d felt hours before was gone; even the nervous stress over tonight’s performance was gone, and he looked forward to his performance in a few hours. Months of practice, a few weeks of rehearsals, and about eight minutes after he’d take the stage, the moment would finish.

Until then he’d enjoy the evening.

Since October he’d made the trek to Orchestra Hall many times, though it was rare he’d walked the path that started between the Spells Center and Life and Earth Sciences Building and ended up just north of the parking lot in front of the hall: most of the time he hopped on his broom and sped over to the hall on Friday morning or Sunday afternoon so he could rehearse with Nadine. Like the year before they had a reserved room and equipment. Kerry was a bit surprised that Professor Ellison honored his request for one instrument in particular, but as Matthias later said, given the song Kerry had chosen, he was sure he’d put the keyboard to good use.

Annie had seen their last rehearsal the previous Sunday, so she knew the songs Nadine and he were going to perform. She knew one of the songs Nadine had played, but she told Kerry she’d never heard his. He didn’t find that at all surprising as their musical interest, while growing closer, were still wildly diverse. She did say, however, that they both played beautifully, though Annie had to give Kerry the edge when it came to performances—something that Nadine didn’t find surprising or take personally.

Kerry held the door for Annie as they entered the lobby of Orchestra Hall. It was eighteen-thirty and a smattering of students and adults were already examining the art work. The Ostara Presentation was much like a Normal school talent event: parents and relatives of students were allowed to attend, but only if the student was a C Level or greater, or if they were a Legacy. Annie’s parents weren’t here for the same reason they didn’t come last year: Ostara usually fell right around the time the Formula 1 season started, and the first races of the year were held on the other side of the world. The year before the performed on the same day as the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, and this year her parents were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, preparing for the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Earlier Annie stated that her parents might be able to show up next year, as there were already rumors that the start of the 2014 Season would start the week before Ostara, and if that happened it was possible they could attend.

As for Kerry’s parents, he’d wait and see.

 

It wasn’t mentioned much during the first Ostara performance, but this is the one time when parents are allowed to visit to the school and watch the evening’s festivities.  They can start arriving as early as eleven so they can have lunch and then watch the races, but the majority start appearing around seventeen for pre-performance snacks and drinks, and stay for the after-performance dinner.

All this means if Kerry’s folks–or any of the Normal parents of the kids in his level–want to come watch the show in 2014, they are more than welcome to come.  After all, The Foundation will see to it they get to the school in comfort–like, you know, via a jaunt station–and can even do a little poking around if they don’t want to see the races.  With an escort, naturally:  wouldn’t want them getting into something . . . strange.  Right?

Annie’s parents could have come to see the festivities, but Papa’s off doing his job and that makes it difficult, even when you can teleport all around the world.  After all, being a Formula 1 driver puts one in a certain public eye, and when it’s race morning one can’t just jaunt off for a few hours so they can hang out with their little witch.

Since I’ve time lined out all the Ostara festivals for a six year stretch I know when they’re held.  That means I know so the dates.  Like the one I’m right about now.  It’s held on the 23rd of March:

I looked it up and wrote it down so I wouldn't lose track.

I looked it up and wrote it down so I wouldn’t lose track.

Then I checked the Formula 1 schedule for 2013, because they’re a matter of public record and easy to find:

Which makes it easy to find the first two races of the season.

Which makes it even easier to find the first two races of that season.

Now, it says there than the Malaysian Grand Prix was held on 24 March, 2013, and that’s the next day, yeah?  Kerry pointed out the obvious:  the first few races are held on the other side of the world, and that brings the International Date Line into play.  And that means it’s possible that early evening on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, is also early morning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

And it turns out it totally is.

Turns out it totally is.

Malaysia is twelve hours ahead of the Salem School, and Mama and Papa are probably just waking up and getting ready for Viktor’s performance.  That means another year where Annie and Kerry are all on their own, just like the rest of the A and B Levels with Normal parents and relatives.  Will Annie’s parent show up next year?  Will Kerry’s?  Wait and see, people.  Just wait and see.

Right now it’s back to the school, where my kids have arrived, though probably not in black tails and gowns–

 

Performing on the stage was only part of the evening’s event, for those students whose artistic endeavors followed sketching, drawing, and painting were presented in the hall’s lobby. Annie presented two paintings during their A Levels, and she was presenting two paintings again tonight. Whereas last year the art was a complete surprise, Kerry knew she was painting this year—though it was only in the last two weeks that he discovered she was presenting two works once more. And like last year, she kept her works secret, much as he’d done with his musical piece.

“Seems like there’s a lot more adults this year.” Kerry stuffed his hat and gloves into the pockets of his coat as Annie flipped her coat’s hood back and removed her fingerless gloves. Though the temperature had hovered around five Celsius for much of the afternoon gusting wind made it feel far chillier, and with the sun setting the wind chill was dropping the temperatures below freezing.

“There are.” Annie unzipped her coat and handed her coat to Wilhelmina Ananas, one of the AP groundskeepers who helped check attendee’s garments for the evening. “Isis told me the other day there were expecting the relatives of at least eighty students. Last year only sixty-three students had relatives in attendance.” She smiled as she turned to Kerry. “You’re thinking of next year, aren’t you?”

“Getting down to a couple of months before we head home.” He finished smoothing the sleeves of his shirt. “Parents are never far from mind anymore.”

“Get them out of your mind now.” She took his hand and pulled herself closer. “You don’t need any distractions when you’re up on stage tonight: you’ll have enough to keep you occupied.” Annie leaned against Kerry’s arm. “Given that you’re likely giving the most difficult performance tonight—”

“Okay, Nadine.” Kerry laughed to show he was only teasing; he’d mentioned several times that his practice partner told him the very same things nearly every time they were together in their rehearsal room.

Annie led him slowly through the assembled works. “It won’t matter in another ninety minutes.” She kissed his hand. “You’ll perform great tonight.”

“And if I don’t, at least I took my shot.” He kissed her hand right back. “And then think about what to do next year.”

“Leave that for next week.” Annie stopped and spun around so she was facing Kerry. “My paintings are right there behind me.” She nodded towards the two display stands about four meters away.

“Are you ready?”

“To see what you created?” Kerry smiled and nodded. “Always.”

“Then close your eyes.” She led him by the by the hand and brought him before her work. “You can open them.”

 

Ha ha!  I didn’t show you what Annie made.  At least not yet.  That will be for tomorrow, and at that time there’ll be a little more conversation about what Kerry’s playing.  I mean, I gotta tease you with something.

I wouldn’t be a good writer if I didn’t leave you with a cliffhanger now and then.

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