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Meetings and Greetings

Now that all the political stuff is out of the way, I’m able to get back to editing.  Well, I was back to editing anyway, but other stuff kept me from writing about it.

A couple of things however.  First, I found out I can get into a local wifi at work and listen to music, and that means guess which girl is taking her earbuds to work with her today?  For the first time in almost three years I can jam out at work and not struggle to stay away when I need a good beat.

And last night I got together with my fellow Snarking Dead collaborator Rachel to test a program that allows one to record Skype calls and show both people chatting side by side, and it worked like a charm.  This is something we’re going to use for what “What We Want to See This Season” posts, and I realize now that anyone who wants to talk about writing or gaming, or anything, Skype me and we got food for the blog.

Now for the editing–

I went through about twenty-five hundred words as the kids got on their plane and started to get comfortable.  And we get to see Kerry getting snarky with Annie at one point, and learn something about her:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry looking around, wondering what to do and where to do it. He needed to get a seat, and there were plenty here, however— “I can’t believe they’re sending us to the U.S. in this kind of style. The Foundation is spending a fortune on us.”

Annie figured he was right, but she also know The Foundation wasn’t worried about the expense. She’d heard her parents talk about it before, about their world-wide finances and assets, and while a lot was speculation, they were certain The Foundation had billions available. “How much do you think this costs?”

“I know most airlines spend about a quarter of a million dollars on a 747 flight going overseas. There’s a dozen students here: the headmistress in the back—”

“Perhaps a few more instructors.”

“Maybe.” He needed about ten seconds to get a figure. “Thirteen to fifteen thousand U.S. dollars each.”

As Annie had never paid for a ticket on any airplane she didn’t know how that related to a normal flight. “I take it that’s a lot.”

“Yeah, that’s probably—I don’t know? Double a round trip first class ticket to where we’re going.”

It did seem like a lot of money, but money was something that had never been a concern for Annie. She’d never gone without, she’d never had to worry that her family might not be able to pay bills, buy food, or afford their house. When she told her father she wanted the lake house, no questions about the cost were asked: he contacted people and the house was built—

But she wasn’t like Kerry. She wasn’t Normal, which meant she existed in a completely different world. And he’ll find out what that world is like soon. And maybe that will make him remember— She turned and walked a few steps towards the still-open door before stopping. “Where does that go?” She pointed to the staircase they’d both passed upon entering the plane.

Kerry joined Annie, then gave the staircase a careful going over. He was unable to resist quoting a line from one of his favorite movies. “It goes up.”

Annie’s glare landed somewhere between boredom and incredulity. “Just for that—” She curled her finger at him as she headed up the stairs. “Follow me.”

 

So there we learn that Annie doesn’t worry about money, because when your family is making fat stacks of Euros–you can bet Annie’s mom isn’t doing too badly in terms of income, either–wondering about how you’re going to pay for your next meals isn’t a concern.  Which is one of the reasons Annie is sort of a spoiled little rich girl, because in many ways she’s been disconnected from the–shall we say “Normal” world?  We shall.  And she would probably be one of the first to agree with that.

Now that we’ve learned something about the kids, it’s time to meet the staff of Salem.  And who do I start with a few people you already know well:

 

Mathilde stepped into the Instructor’s Cabin and pulled the door closed behind her. She expected to be the first one aboard, but she wasn’t—another person was already seated and reading a magazine. “Oh. I didn’t expect anyone already.”

The dark haired, dark eyed woman laid the magazine across her lap. “I came aboard fifteen minutes ago.” The woman spoke French, but like Ms. Rutherford it was obvious she wasn’t a native speaker as her accent every-so-slightly changed the sound of each word. “I suppose I’m ready to get underway.”

Mathilde continued to speak in English. It wasn’t that the other woman’s French wasn’t good—it was excellent, actually—but Mathilde needed to get back into the habit of speaking English for the rest of the school year, and the sooner she started, the better. “I take it you’re looking forward to starting another year, Deanna?”

Professor Deanna Arrakis set her magazine on the seat next to her left and stretched her legs while running her hands over her gray slacks. Taking Mathilde’s cue, she switched back to English as well. “I’m always eager to start new classes.” She finished stretching and pulled the lapels of her dark gray jacket across her light green tee shirt. “There’s something this year—”

There were few things that made Mathilde uneasy, but the bottom of her stomach always felt as if it were in free-fall whenever her Director of Divination’s words trailed off into nothingness. “Are you sensing something?”

Deanna flashed an impossibly bright smile, made brighter by her light creamy complexion. “I’m always sensing something, Headmistress—”

Mathilde raised her hand. “Mathilde, please. No need for titles in private, you know that.”

“Yes, sorry. I’m always sensing something; you know how I am. Sometimes I see the things that may happen, and sometimes I see things that will happen . . .” She let out a deep sigh. “Other times it’s like a dream: there’s something just on the edge of making itself known, but it refuses to come into focus. It remains there in the shadows, lurking.” She ran her fingers through her hair. “Nothing I can do but wait for clarity.”

“But you sense something bad?” This wasn’t the way Mathilde wanted to start the school year, worrying that some horror was going to befall the school.

“It doesn’t work that way.” Deanna stood and walked to the hostess compartment situated at the rear of the cabin. She asked for water and the hostess there gave her a small glass. “I wish I knew what is bothering me.” She turned towards the headmistress, concern etched upon her face. “But I don’t. That doesn’t mean that something will happen, though: I mean, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this feeling.”

“I know.” Mathilde put on a brave smile to lighten the mood. “Nothing we can do except what we would do if you hadn’t told me this.”

“Exactly.” Deanna shifted her weight to her right leg; only now did Mathilde notice the pink slippers the young women wore. “It’s how I live through each day. It’s the only way one can live.”

“Well now—” Mathilde and Deanna turned towards the opening door and the sound of a voice whose owner was a petite blond woman wearing a brightly colored, long-sleeved peasant top and a calf-length skirt that hid a pair of brown, flat-heeled boots. “I prefer to live as if tomorrow may not come, which means . . .” She moved across the cabin to the far window seats. “I give not a single fuck what happens next. Therefore, I will enjoy everything now.” She paused before placing her purse in the overhead bin, and turned to the Mathilde and Deanna. “Has it been a pleasant day for you both?”

“How are you, Erywin?” Though she didn’t always show it, Mathilde did enjoy how the school’s longest practicing instructor viewed everything with her cynical yet inquisitive eyes. While there were times when the woman was a complete pain in the ass—particularly when she was quick to snap at students and quicker to get physical should the need arise—there was no greater defender of the school or its students. “Did you have a good summer?”

Erywin Sladen popped open the overhead compartment and set her bag inside. “It was nice, but it could have been better.” Her clipped English accent helped punctuate her tone and feelings. “The significant other wasn’t home for most of the holiday.”

Before Mathilde could ask where “the better half” was, Deanna saved her the trouble. “Hello, Helena. We were just going to ask about you.”

The tall woman standing just inside the Instructor’s Cabin was, in many ways, the complete opposite of her partner Erywin. Where Erywin was short, Helena Lovecraft was tall. Where Erywin was pale—as were a lot of Caucasian women from England—there was a soft richness to Helena’s complexion brought about by her mother’s Māori lineage. Where Erywin eyes were blue, shimmering, and inviting, Helena’s were black, inky, and intimidating. The closest physical attribute they shared was hair color, thought Helena’s was a dirty blond where as Erywin’s was more a honey blond.

Their clothing styles were also wildly different. Erywin favored dress and skirts of all lengths and colors, and always matched them with a perfect top or jacket. Helena preferred light colored tops and dark slacks, and her ubiquitous long black leather duster was a trademark around the school.

They seemed to have nothing in common, and yet they’d been together as a couple since the time they’d met at Salem in 1979, a perfect example of opposites attracting. Even their jobs and personal, horrific tragedies could not quell their affection for each other, and they’d been together for over thirty years now.

“I hope you were saying good things about me.” Helena shut the door before joining Erywin. She set her purse in the overhead compartment next to her partner’s.

 

So right off the bat we meet Deanna being spooky, Erywin being loud and brash, and Helena being murderously mysterious.  And what a surprise they’re on the same flight as Annie and Kerry.  I wonder if anyone saw that coming?

Anyway, the kids find their seats in the hump of the 747, and since it’s a short scene, you get it all for a Friday:

 

At the top of the stairs Annie stopped, turned, and looked down the aisle towards the front of the plane. The area here was smaller than below, with only one aisle and two chairs per row on either side. The chairs were the same as those in the main cabin, but here there were only four rows. She was about to wave Kerry up, thrilled that they might have the entire space to themselves, when Alica poked her head into the aisle. “Oh, there you are, Kirilova.” She chuckled at her own bad humor. “Come join the cool kids, why doncha?”

Annie was about to reply with something cold when Kerry stepped past her. “It’s only cool ‘cause we just showed up.” He held out his hand for Annie. “Show me where you want to sit.”

She didn’t really want to sit up here with Alica—and, more than likely, with Collin as well—but since Alica’s comments didn’t bother Kerry, they didn’t bother her. She took Kerry’s hand and, with a huge smile upon her face, led him forward.

Annie found Collin sitting in the aisle seat across from Alica in Row Three. She stopped at Row Two and took the window seat while Kerry slid his backpack under the aisle seat in front of them. He sat in the large, comfortable chair, and slowly ran his hands over the arm rests. “Wow, this is better than anything I’ve been on before.”

Collin stuck his head into the aisle, though it didn’t allow him to see Kerry. “You’ve flown before?”

“Yeah.” Kerry got on his knees and looked over the back of his seat. “Flew business class when I moved from San Francisco to Cardiff, and last year I took a flight from Cardiff to Paris.”

Annie looked up at Kerry. “You’ve been to Paris?” Given his story about his trip to London with his parents, she was sure that if he told her about the trip she’d hear much the same tale.

She didn’t need to worry about Kerry’s story, however, because Alica closed that possibility with her smart mouth. “You’re a real world traveler, ain’t you, Welsh Boy?”

“I’ve been to a few places, Scotty Girl.” Kerry kept the smile fixed upon his face to show Alica he was playing around.

Annie climbed up on her seat and leaned over the back to see both Collin and Alica. She caught the girl smiling at Kerry, but the moment she saw Annie she began frowning. Ignoring Annie, Alica turned her attention to Kerry. “So, where else ya wanna go? I’m sure you gotta a lot of interesting places in mind.”

“There’s a lot of places I want to visit.” He saw how Alica reacted every time Annie started paying attention to her, and Kerry got that she didn’t like Annie, but like with a lot of things, he didn’t know why. It’s not like they’ve had arguments about stuff; probably has more to do with Annie not caring for her sarcasm, and Alica doesn’t like Annie’s attitude

Alica wasn’t about to let the matter go. “Like where?”

“I’ll tell you later.” He noticed Annie looking his way and it suddenly hit him: was Alica upset because Annie was paying attention to him?

Alica threw her arms over her chest and crossed them tightly. “Humph.”

One of the hostesses appeared at the top of the stairs at that moment. “Ah, children.” As she approached both Annie and Kerry returned to their normal seated positions. “We’ll be departing in a few minutes, so would you please place your seats in the upright position and fasten your seat belts. We should be airborne not long after.” She continued walking forward and vanished into an alcove.

Kerry clicked his belt closed and drew it tight across his waist. He turned to Annie. “It’s almost time.”

Annie didn’t take her eyes away from the activity outside the window. The mobile stairs vanished into a nearby hangar and there were a number of people on the ground speaking into headsets. She saw one person look up and towards the front of the plane, then flash a thumbs up. “Yes, Kerry—” She closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. “It’s almost time.”

 

Is Annie acting strange because another girl is paying attention to you, Kerry?  Well, after the week you’ve had with The Princess From Pamporovo, the answer should be “yes”.  But you’d too clueless to see this, so you’ll have to wait until the end of this day to finally get the truth.

But before that happens, there’s a lot of little scenes to get through–

A lo of them.

A lo of them.

–but before you know it, you’ll be at the school.

And nothing will ever be the same in your life.

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