Home » Creativity » The Last Laps: Underground Tenderness

The Last Laps: Underground Tenderness

It’s a lovely Sunday morning, and it seems as if the weather is finally turning into something good.  Yesterday and today I’ve even broken out the maxi skirts, and odds are good since it’s going to be  80 F/27 C tomorrow, I’ll likely be in my long skirt and sandals at work.

And two weeks ago I was standing in this same spot in a winter coat.

Just think:  two weeks ago I was standing in this same spot wearing a winter coat.

There’s something else of which I must brag:  I am now a Wikipedia citation.  How did this happen?  Not by my doing, I assure you.  It’s all due to those television recaps I’ve been writing.  One of them concerned predictions I had for the show Orphan Black, and I mentioned in those prediction that I had not only discovered the titles, but I knew where they were from.  So imagine my surprise when my Partner in Snarking Dead Crime, Rachel, told me she’d discovered that my post was now the citation on Wikipedia for the Orphan Black Season 4 episode titles and attribution–

I'm bad: I'm Wiki Wide.

Yep, I’m bad: I’m Wiki Wide.

I have since discovered that the same post is used as a citation on the Orphan Black Wiki for Season 4.  So there.

But what about your novel, Cassie?  Never fear:  three hundred and forty words last night, nine hundred and fifty-four this morning, and you’re getting them all.  Let’s not wait:

 

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

Kerry stood before the bathroom mirror and stared into his reflection for a few moments before stepping over to the dryer. A few waves of his hands over the enchanted device to remove all moisture, then he was out the door and into the West Hall of the Great Hall. Annie was leaning against the opposite wall, waiting. “You didn’t take long.”

“I didn’t have to go as bad as I thought.” He stood looking up and down the hallway as if he were unsure where to go.

Annie watched his confusion for a few seconds before taking his hand. “My love?”

He turned to her. “Yes?”

“Would you like to visit the hospital?”

His brow scrunched up. “Why?”

“Because Coraline may be able to give you something for your nerves.” She leaned in and kissed him lightly on the lips. “I haven’t seen you like this since the first time.”

“First time what?”

Annie rolled her eyes. “Your first race on the A Team.” She wrapped her arm around his and led him towards the Atrium. “You need some relaxation.”

Kerry released a long, sad sigh. “I guess.” He looked ahead to the Great Hall’s open entry area and exhaled loudly one more. “It’s this weather. May’s almost here and it’s still so wet and gray.”

During the time since her solo flight Annie noticed a slow change that had begun nearly a week before. April has turned out chilly, rainy, and overcast, more so than the year before, and most of the students appeared ready for sunshine and warmer days. She wondered if Kerry perhaps suffered from one of those disorders where, if they don’t get enough bright light, they become depressed. “It’ll be hot soon enough, my love. And then you can feel better.” She nodded towards the staircase. “Why don’t we head down into the lower levels? It’s better than being in the cold and gloom.”

 

This is the first indication where someone wonders if perhaps Kerry might have–issues.  Given his home life and some of the crap he’s grown up with, it wouldn’t be unusual for him to suffer from depression–and all the gray and gloom that the school has seen of late would go a ways towards triggering that.  And while Coraline could fix him up with something that would calm him right down, there’s no way in hell Kerry would take something before heading on to the track.

Annie has something else in mind:

 

“At least it’s well lit down there.” He chuckled and gave her a peck on the cheek. “Lead on, Darling.”

They headed down the stairs into the lower levels of the Great Hall and found their way to the access tunnels leading to The Chunnel. Along the way they passed a few students coming from the south Pentagram covers—Blodeuwedd and Ceridwen—who were on their way to the dining hall, the library, or one of the various Saturday morning activities held by students throughout the day.

They were in the Pentagram Wall tunnel and nearing the cut-off passage to the Chunnel when Kerry finally spoke. “I’m worried about the race.”

Annie pressed lightly against his arm. “Why?”

“For one, it’s the last of the season. For another, I have to be down there at noon for a special preflight briefing.” He glanced at Annie out of the corner of his eyes. “Emphases on special.”

“Oh, that—” She nodded to the tunnel opening about a dozen meters ahead. “Let’s wait until were there and I’ll tell you.”

The Chunnel was fairly deserted: Annie spotted a couple of students walking towards them, maybe thirty meters distant, but the rest of the wide, well-lit tunnel was deserted. She tugged Kerry to her left, towards the south. “We can find some privacy down this way.”

Kerry’s mind was already focused on something particular. “If we want to be back in time for lunch we won’t be able to get to our hidey-hole.”

“I know that.” She winked. “Doesn’t mean there aren’t other areas besides out private universe.”

 

The kids have made their way into the tunnels more than a few times this novel, and now we see them heading downward once more.

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are--you'll see them if you look hard enough.

Remember these?  You should.

The big rectangle at the bottom is the Great Hall, and the long tunnel in the middle of the picture is The Chunnel, which means that one tunnel that juts out at an angle from the Great Hall to The Chunnel is the cut-off Annie took.  The three squares near the middle represent the science centers, and the big rectangle in the middle is the Aerodrome.  The tiny rectangle in the upper right is the Flight School, in case you were wondering.

The interesting thing here is Kerry instantly thinking they’re off to their underground hiding place, aka their “secret universe”.  Hummm . . . what are you thinking about, young man?  Don’t answer that.

But Annie does have one answer for him–

 

He nodded. “What did you want to tell me?”

“About your meeting at noon.” She gripped his hand tight and slowly swung their arms back and forth as they slowed their pace. “You have several people in a tight race for the top podium positions, and three covens in a tight race for the team podium positions. I imagine that this meeting is meant to let everyone know there’ll be a lot of eyes on the course today.” Annie smiled as she turned to look at Kerry. “Papa’s been in a few meeting like this: it’s fairly common.”

Kerry didn’t seem comforted by this revelation, however. “I figured it was, it’s just—”

“Shush.” She stopped them before the entrance to a dimly lit passage. “Down here.”

Kerry followed docilely—given that Annie had a tight grip on his hand there was little else he could do—and they stopped perhaps ten meters off the off the Chunnel. He looked around. “How many of these old storage tunnels are there?”

“I told you before, dozens.” Annie slid Kerry against the wall. “I’m not here to talk about tunnels, though. Are you worried about someone in particular today?”

There were a few moments of silence before he signed. “Yeah.”

“Who?”

 

With whom is Kerry concerned?

 

“Lisa.” The strain in his face melted away as he relaxed. “She’s been pissed at me ever since I did that squeeze job on her a few weeks back—”

“You did that because she was racing like a crazy person.” Annie remembered the moment from the first race in April, where Lisa tried to force her way between Kerry and the safety barrier enchantment in Observatory Bend and his action not only stopped her, but Race Control gave her a ten second throttle back because of dangerous racing. “I think she’s gonna try an get even today—and I don’t mean with a squeeze job of her own.”

Annie didn’t require clarification. “You feel she’ll try to wreck you.”

“I think it’s likely.”

“So let her try.” Annie’s smile brightened her face. “If you’re already aware that she may try this, that means you’re ready.”

“I know. It’s just I really don’t need this BS today.”

“No one does.” She leaned against the same wall as Kerry, watching him closely. “This isn’t something you’ve worried about before, my love. What’s actually bothering you?”

 

Because you know there’s something else on Kerry’s mind–and pretty sure you know what it is . . .

 

He tossed his head to the side. “Another month and we’re out of here.”

Separation anxiety: I should have known. “Summer holiday is several weeks away: don’t let it bother what you need to do today, Darling.”

Kerry appeared almost ashamed to admit to this apprehension. “Everything coming up—revealing I’m witch; the possible transition; being away from you—I’m having trouble not thinking about this stuff.”

Annie knew it was time to reveal her own apprehensions. “I feel it, too, my love. Even though the only concern that affects me directly is being away from you, I worry about what may happen with those other things.” She placed her finger against the middle of his chest and traced over the enchanted monitor she knew was there. “To say I don’t have my own concerns over these things would be a lie.”

He caressed her cheek while looking down. “I’m sorry that you—”

She playfully slapped his arm, but her tone told him that she wasn’t entirely pleased with his comment. “You have no control over any of those things: never apologize for something that is not your fault.” Annie gave him a stare full of warning. “Don’t make me remind you again.”

Kerry finally found the ability to giggle. “Okay, I won’t.” He kissed her lightly. “Sometimes I forget the one person with whom I shouldn’t trifle is my Dark Witch.”

Annie laughed. “I’m glad you’ve learned your lesson.” She kissed him back with a touch more affection. “And now I want you to remember something else.”

“What’s that?”

“That you’ve never let a race rattle you this season, and now is not the time to break that string. Run your own race as you have before, and ignore what the others are doing.” Annie wrapped her arms around Kerry and pressed herself against him. “No matter the outcome today, you are always my champion.”

 

The last race of the season, concern about what may happen on the course, and major anxiety about this coming summer.  Needless to say Kerry’s a bit of a mess, and as Annie says he needs to get his head in the game and run his race.  Put all the other bullshit behind you, kid, ’cause you’ve done it before, so you best do it again.

And you’re about to learn one of Kerry’s concerns aren’t his alone–

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “The Last Laps: Underground Tenderness

  1. The school should warn Lisa that if she did it to Kerry again, there’d be hell to pay.
    To be honest, I think that’s not really what Kerry’s all worried about…. clock is ticking and in about a month, shit’s gonna hit the fan in the Malibey’s home.

  2. Honestly, if he wasn’t a nervous wreck, I’d be a little worried. They are still kids and he’s got a lot going on in his life. I know he can handle it. He’s got this, but if he wasn’t nervous about it all, I’d think he was a cyborg.

    Also, congrats on your Wiki status. That’s exciting!

I Want to be Part of the Craziness! Let Me Say This:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s