It’s been a long, busy morning. And a lot of writing, believe me–over three hundred and fifty last night, and almost thirteen hundred this today. I’ve been up since 5:30, made a few calls, did my laundry, and lunch is a-cooking.
Busy little bee, am I.
The writing yesterday and today has put an end to the first scene. The next scene will likely be a short one, then the scene after that has everyone getting off the plane in Berlin and saying whatever goodbyes they have to say before going their separate ways. Lots of thing still to come.
First, however, there’s a goodbye that needs to be said right here and now. And the person saying the goodbye is . . ?
The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie turned towards their visitor and gave her a slight yet warm smile. “Hello, Anna.”
“Hello, Annie.” The German girl from Åsgårdsreia turned her head to her left. “Hello, Kerry.”
Kerry relaxed as he faced Anna, keeping Annie’s hand in his left. “How you doing?”
“I’m . . .” She shrugged with an embarrassed look on her face. “I’m as good as could be expected right now. I didn’t get a chance to meet with you at school, but I wanted to say goodbye and wish you both a great summer holiday.”
Annie was truly touched. Though they’d had little contact with their levelmate the year before, she’d begun noticing a change in her behavior not long after her judgment battle with Lisa’s champion, and saw how much more open and friendly she’d become after being promoted to her coven’s racing A Team. “Thank you, Anna. We hope you have a great holiday next year, too.”
“Thank you.” Once more the look of embarrassment came over her. “I also want to thank you both for showing what Lisa was really like. It—” She cast her gaze towards the floor.
“It’s hard to admit she had me fooled so badly last year.”
Kerry was the one to speak after a quick exchange of looks. “I know all about doing things that make you feel dumb; I’ve done that more than a few times.”
Anna seemed to consider how she should answer that comment, finally making a decision five seconds later. “She actually had me thinking that she cared for me.” She looked right at Kerry as she spoke. “You proved that otherwise during Sorcery class last year.”
Now it was Kerry’s turn to look embarrassed as he recalled that particular Sorcery class lab and his successful use of the Draught of Submission on Lisa—which resulted in her subsequent outing as a possible lesbian. He’d felt a great deal of guilt for a week afterwords, but was reminded several times that it remained Lisa’s choice not to say anything and that she could have stopped the incident at anytime. “I’m sorry if I caused problems for you—”
“It didn’t.” Anna looked across the terminal for a moment. “We were sharing a room at the time, and that night she was pissed; she wouldn’t let what happened in class go. I asked why she didn’t just say my name that . . .” She glanced upwards. “I found out later it wasn’t me that she thought of in those moments.
“Then this year she starts hanging with Franky more, which I didn’t mind, but then when we made the B Team, she was pissed at me that I tried out without telling her. It was as if she didn’t want me on the same course with her, that I was going to somehow—”
“Show her up?” Kerry chuckled. “Might be because you’re a better racer.”
“Danke. Then after Annie beat up her champion she went nuts.” Anna glanced at Annie. “She wanted me to challenge you.”
“What?” Annie’s eyes went wide in disbelief. “Why?”
“She told me some BS about being able to hurt you in the ring—” Anna shook her head. “I told her if she were so eager to go after you, she should call you out and do it herself. It wasn’t long after that I asked for a new room and we were separated.” Her sigh was quite loud. “She really hates you both.”
Anna, who has remained mostly in the background for most of two novels, is stating to come out into the open. We find out that Anna was used by Lisa, and that she even wanted Anna to challenge Annie to a match, which would have involved Anna getting her butt kicked hard. And we hear that Lisa hats the Lovey Dovey Couple? Color me surprised.
And with this in mind, we hear something surprising, as well as some personal information about Anna:
“I’m not surprised.” Annie stepped forward and placed a hand on the German girl’s arm. “I’m sorry you went through that, Anna. I’m also glad you’re doing better, too.”
Anna’s smile contained a touch of sadness. “I am.” She looked at Kerry. “Now to get through what’s next.”
“We will.” He patted her shoulder. “We don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens, so best not to give it a lot of thought.”
“Well, that’s why I can’t wait to get on the plane and sleep most of the way home.” Anna turned and saw activity at the gate. “Shouldn’t be too long now.”
After Anna’s confession Annie felt there was only thing she could say at this moment. “If you ever want to hang with us, consider this an invitation. You can—” She smiled. “—whomever you want to bring.”
“Really?” Anna’s face brightened. “I’d like that.”
Kerry began chuckling. “Though it might get a little confusing with the Annie/Anna stuff.”
Anna laughed at the comment. “Well, you can always call me Sabb.”
“That’s my nickname. It’s short for Sabine; that’s my middle name.”
Kerry immediately perked up. “Like Sabine Schmitz?”
Anna’s face broke into a surprised smile. “You know her?”
“Yeah, the Ring Queen. Everyone knows her.”
“I didn’t think many people outside Germany knew her.”
Kerry nodded. “If you follow racing, you do.”
“Yes, you do. My father and I rode with her around the Nordschleife three years ago, right before she stopped driving.”
“Wow.” Kerry was about to ask about the right when he noticed the playful look he was getting from the person on the right. “Maybe next year we can talk about that.”
“I understand.” Anna glanced between Annie and Kerry, grinning cheerfully. “I hope to see you when we arrive in Berlin, but if I don’t, I’ll see you next year. And if you ever happen to be in Berlin, or any German city, let me know: I’d love to meet up.”
“We’ll do that, Anna.” Annie folded her hand against her stomach. “Have a good flight.”
“You, too.” After giving a wave to Kerry Anna turned and headed for her luggage.
Anna Sabine Laskar: we have her whole name, and she’s the first student who’s full name we know other than Annie’s and Kerry’s. And the back and forth between Anna and Kerry is legitimate: Sabine Schmitz is a real person, as anyone who follows racing and/or the BBC program Top Gear knows. One of her nicknames is “The Ring Queen,” and during her time driving a BMW M5 “Ring Taxi” around the gigantic Nordschleife road course–essentially she was hired by people to drive them around the course as fast as possible–she believes she drove twenty thousand laps, which is a lot of driving. She’s won the 24 Hours Nürburgring twice in a BMW M3, and once on Top Gear drove a van around the 20.8 kilometer course and almost brought a ten minute lap doing so.
Yeah, you can bet Kerry’s found someone new to talk racing with next year.
The nice thing about Annie’s invitation is that she kept open the gender of whatever “friend” Anna might want to bring. She doesn’t care with whom she shows up, and honestly, at this point, Annie’s going to have to deal with the idea that one of these days in the future she’s gonna show up at one of these get together with a girlfriend of her own.
All of this sparks some curiosity, but before they get too far–
It wasn’t until the girl was out of hearing range that Annie spoke. “That was unexpected.”
“I’ll say.” Kerry eyed the woman standing behind the ticket counter at the gate. “At least we know Lisa’s actively looking to get back at us.”
“It’s not as if we didn’t believe that—”
The woman Kerry was watching picked up a mic and spoke. “You attention, please. We are ready to board passengers for the Air International special charter to Berlin, German. Will all passengers holding a pass for this flight come to Gate E7B. We will begin boarding in a few minutes. Thank you.”
Kerry grabbed on to his luggage handle “That’s our cue.”
“Indeed.” Annie began walking toward the gate with her luggage in one hand and Kerry’s in the other. As there were fewer than two dozen students and instructors taking the flight back to Europe boarding proceeded quickly. After the woman at the gate—who Annie recognized as one of the air hostesses from their flight at the start of the school year—quickly scanned their boarding passes Kerry and she proceeded down the gangway to the aircraft entrance.
Trevor Parkman, dressed comfortably in jeans, polo shirt, and sneakers waited for them just inside the airframe with a tablet in hand. “Ah, we meet again.”
Kerry nodded as he let Annie pass through the doorway first. “Seems like we saw each other just yesterday.”
“So it does.” Trevor asked their names and took their palm prints. “By now you’re experts with these flights—” He held the tablet close to his chest. “Have a good flight home.”
“Thank you, Mr. Parkman.” Kerry nodded towards the front of the aircraft. “First class?”
Annie raise a questioning brow. “Do we travel any other way?” They made their way into the spacious front cabin of the aircraft, allowed the hostess to stow their luggage, and gave their drink orders before selecting two seats in the middle of the cabin.
Kerry snapped his belt into place and left rest loosely in his lap. “I don’t imagine we’ll be here long.”
Annie accepted her tomato juice and took a good sip before speaking. “Be like when we were in Berlin.”
He checked the time on his phone. “It’s six forty-one: Helena say last night we were supposed to be wheels up at six forty-five—”
A woman’s voice came over the speakers. “Attention, this is your pilot. The doors are closed and we are about to push back from the gate. We have been given priority takeoff clearance on Runway 22 R and should be airborne in a matter of minutes. Flight crew, secure for takeoff.”
Now it’s time to go, and here’s the route the plane is going to take as my kids get ready to leave:
According to weather history, the wind is coming out of the southwest this day, so the planes taking off can leave the terminals and leave on the right runways, while the inbound planes land on the runway on the left. This is the way you run an airport, although Boston may run their own differently. I prefer my way, because it’s my world, yeah?
All that’s left now is for my kids and sit back and enjoy what’s coming next:
Annie set her right hand on the armrest between Kerry and her. “You were right; they have nothing to hide now—”
“So why wait?” He set his left hand over Annie’s. “A little over eight hours and we’re back in Europe—” He half-looked at Annie. “Back home.”
“No, my love.” She turned her hand palm-up and entwined her fingers around Kerry’s as the plane made its way to the end of the takeoff runway. “We’re going back to our families; it’s our home we’re leaving behind.”
They sat in silence as they made the final turned to get into position for takeoff, and as had happened three times before the engine sound subsided for only a moment before they were set to full thrust and the A330 was propelled forward. Maybe twenty seconds later the nose came up,and the vibrations caused by the runway vanished as the landing gear thumped into place. The plane made a climbing turn to the left and only leveled out when the sun was no longer visible in either window.
Kerry pointed towards the windows on the left side of the airframe. “Look: you can just make out Cape Ann.” He gave a small wave. “Goodbye, Salem. See you in a few months.”
Annie gave Kerry’s hand a squeeze as she imagined the now-empty school greeting the new day upon the barely visible island. “Farewell for now.” She turned to Kerry with a smile upon her face. “We’ll be home soon.”
There we go: the plane is in the air and heading back to Berlin. And can we see what the kids see?
It would be some ways off in the distance, but Cape Ann could be see on a clear day–and this is a clear day. And the next scene is going to take place somewhere on this picture:
I may even state that tonight.