The Final Days and Nights: Presents and Perceptions

As much as I thought writing this scene would be difficult, I’m finding it pretty easy to get the words out.  Yesterday there was a little over seven hundred twenty-five words written; today a hundred more than that.  Maybe it’s the coffee:  maybe it’s just that I’m getting the writing feeling again now that I’m near the end of this novel.

Maybe getting out on a cold morning gets the creative juices flowing.

Maybe getting out on a cold morning gets the creative juices flowing.

Whatever the reason, I’m probably half-way through the scene now, and my Party of Six has begun making their rounds of Provincetown.  In fact, I even know where they’re headed:

 

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

They’d decided to take lunch there because of the central location as well as being close to the water and at the entrance to MacMillan Pier. Before arriving, however, they’d wandered about the town examining the local and doing a little window shopping in the process. Though they weren’t wandering without a destination in mind: they headed south to see a bed and breakfast before walking down to Commercial Street to look at a rental property. He’d discovered both locations during his examination of Provincetown the week before, and joked with the others that he was considering the possibility of using either of the locations in the future for a holiday.

While the other chuckled at his comment, Kerry knew Annie took his comments seriously He’d discussed the possibility of using their Foundation connection to perhaps stay at one of the locations in the future, maybe even for a weekend when they were older. He’d told her spending one of the graduation weekends there might be allowed once they were D or E Levels.

By the time they arrived at Lopes Square they’d walked two and a quarter kilometers and lunch was definitely required. They sat outside, moving two tables together so they could sit as a group. Being slightly off-season there weren’t a lot of people about, and the chilly, gray weather reduced the number of visitors considerably. No one minded: they were used to these conditions, and had hot beverages to offset the chill.

 

Part of what I’ve done this morning is lay out their walking route.  They want to look up a few places before they sit down to eat, and leave it to Kerry to set up an itinerary.  Either that or you got everyone going, “Where to next?”

When you have an itinerary, you always know where you're going.

When you have an itinerary, you always know where you’re going.

Kerry heading up to the Roux isn’t completely out of the question:  it is a well-know bed and breakfast in PTown, but it’s also one of the locations for the Cape Cod Writing Workshops, who I’ve followed for a couple of years.  It’s my hope that this year I’ll save enough to do a weekend retreat–though not on 15 October of this year, which is when Bride Pride, the largest lesbian wedding in the world, takes place.  Unless, you know, I just happen to be getting married . . .

The other place where Kerry stops is also a real rental property, right there on the bay shore.  Is he really serious about getting away for a weekend with Annie at some point in the future?  Hummmm . . .  that boy’s really thinking ahead.  And it sounds like Annie wasn’t adverse to the idea.  We’ll have to see, won’t we?

The distance they walked is about about one and four-tenths miles, and while that may seem like a lot, keep in mind these kids have spent the last nine months covering distances like that every day.  Sure, Kerry hops on the broom, gets Annie on the back, and takes off when they’re in a hurry, but for the most part Annie and he are all about the walking thing at school.  And just think, a year and a half ago this sort of walk would have killed Kerry, but now he’s just dealing with the stroll like it’s no big deal.  And if he can handle this, so can the other kids.

Now that everyone’s down to eat, it seems one of the girls has become a big inquisitive–

 

They were only thirty seconds into their lunch when Penny cleared her throat. “Annie, can I ask a question?”

Annie stopped in mid-sip and put down her beverage. “Naturally.”

“I, um—” Penny appeared embarrassed that she was bringing up the question. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way—”

“I won’t know what way to take your question until you ask.” She smiled broadly. “What do you want to know?”

Penny pointed to Annie’s purse, which was slung over the back of her chair by the shoulder strap. “Is that a real Louis Vuitton bag?”

Annie gave a slight nod. “Yes, it is.” She reached down and gave it a light touch. “It’s a birthday present.”

Alex joined the conversation. “You got a Louis Vuitton bag for your birthday?”

“Yes: when I turned ten.” Annie finished the interrupted sip before saying more. “The day after my tenth birthday party Mother and I went to Paris where she bought the bag at the main store. She told me I was old enough to have a real handbag.” Annie took a bite of her sandwich. “Mama has three: she says a woman needs a good bag for every occasion. Oh, she bought me a wallet as well.”

 

By now it’s a given that Annie comes from a bit of money, as both parents do rather well for themselves.  We know she dresses well, and it’s hinted that when there’s shopping to do, Mama and she jaunt off to one of the various cities around Europe to make their purchases.

Now you know:  Annie doesn’t have just any handbag, she’s walking around with a Louis Vuitton bag.  That she got in Paris.  For her tenth birthday.  Maybe she doesn’t like to show off the face she’s got money, but when an eleven year old girl walks into school with a bag that, at the time, probably cost a bit more than €1000.00, kids are gonna take notice.

And, yes:  I know what her bag looks like.

Because you know I do.

Because you know I do.

It’s an Alma BB, which is one of their smaller cross body bags without being a clutch.  You can put your keys, your compact, you phone, and–oh, yes, your wallet in there and be set for the day.  And the wallet is from the Paris store as well, because of course Mama isn’t going to get her little girl a proper bag without a matching wall.  One that, I have to point out, has her initials stamped inside–

In gold, because naturally.

In gold, because naturally.

But it doesn’t just end at the bag and wallet:

 

Penny and Alex exchanged looks before Penny turn back towards the Bulgarian girl. “Of course. Is that also when you got that roll-on bag?”

“Oh, no.” Annie shook her head. “That was a going away present for school. That was actually Papa’s idea: he wanted me to have good luggage for when I was traveling.”

Kerry set his drink down. “She also has a passport holder.”

Penny nodded. “I’m not surprised.”

 

Yes, that roll-on we’ve seen her with when traveling is also from the Paris store, only this time Daddy got it for her.  And she has a cover for her passport, so this girl is covered.  She didn’t go that time, but you can imagine she had a good time going with Mama when they picked out her birthday present–

I can now point out that I have been to the Louis Vuitton store in Paris, where I bought someone a bag for a special occasion, and while I was waiting for them to make up their mind about what they wanted, I hung out in the luggage section of the store and watched as a mother and daughter–no, not Annie and Mama, the daughter was older than Annie–bought a couple of pieces of luggage for, oh, a lot of money, and while the salesperson rang up the sale and checked the warehouse for availability and delivery times, he brought out a bottle of champagne, cracked it open, and poured them a couple of glasses to enjoy while they waited.  You can bet it wasn’t cheap stuff, either:  you drop low five figures on luggage, you’re getting something a lot better than the bottom shelf shit.

It’s probably easy to imagine Annie sitting in the store drinking sparkling apple cider from a champagne flute, however . . .

All this talk of her fancy goodies has some effect on Annie’s mood, however:

 

Annie immediately felt she’d done something that she’d always said she wouldn’t do while at school. “I’m sorry: I must sound like I’m bragging.”

Alex leaned over the table. “No, not at all. I mean, if I had a bag like that, I’d show it off like mad.”

“Yes, but I’m not trying to show off—” She set her hands on the table, appearing a bit nervous. “I don’t like to bring up anything about the fact my parents have money. Yes, I have my bags and luggage and clothing, but this is just how I am, how I look. I don’t try to appear better than everyone else.” She looked across the table to Kerry, who sat opposite her so the other couples could sit together. “I don’t want people to imagine I’m some spoiled rich girl.”

Penny reached over and patted Annie’s right hand. “I don’t think that, Annie: none of us do.” She gave her friend’s had a light squeeze. “Believe me, I had that bag I’d be rockin’ the shit out of it all the time. I wouldn’t do it to show off; I’d do it ‘cause it’s my bag.” She offered a smile. “I don’t think you’re spoiled.”

“I don’t, either.” Alex offered her friend a smile as well. “We’d never think that of a friend.”

Penny nodded. “Truth.”

Annie’s face softened as she put away the concern that had affected her for a moment. Normally she wouldn’t allow herself to feel overly bothered by the notion that she may have been acting ostentatiously, but Penny and Alex were close to her, and she never wanted them to feel as if she was trying to come off as being better. “Thank you, both of you. I wouldn’t want to ever hurt your feelings.”

 

Annie doesn’t like to hold up her privilege to others, and it does bother her when it’s noticed by people she likes.  You know she wouldn’t give a shit if Lisa started in on her, but Penny and Alex are now close friends, and she doesn’t want them feeling bad because she’s gotten lucky in the parental lottery.  It’s also one of the reasons why she doesn’t talk about any of this stuff with Kerry, though it’s impossible to keep it from him.  Fortunately, he doesn’t care if she has money:  he loves Annie for being her.  Though there will come a point when he finally sees the Lake House, and he’ll likely be a bit astounded if not a little shocked, as he knows why that house is there . . .

Now that the class discussions are out of the way, the kids can get down to eating–and who knows what else–