Rendezvous Within The Dark Mist

This has turned out to be something of a strange morning.  For one, I woke up at three-thirty, and as it is now ten-forty, I’ve been awake for just over seven hours, which I’m certain is going to come back to bite me at some point this afternoon.  However, I did get some gifts this morning as part of an exchange I was in, and at five this morning I was recording the opening of the package and the unveiling of the gifts.  Not only did I get a copy of The Martian, but I picked up a new hand-made bracelet:

That actually fits.

That actually fits.

And a geeky pair of swirling earring.

Here seen with coffee.

Here seen with coffee.

I also launched into a half-hour crying jag–again!–and for a while I felt like crawling back into bed and not bothering with my normal Sunday morning trip to the local coffee shop.

Which you can see didn't happen.

Which you can see didn’t happen.

And interesting thing I’m noticed, however:  since I’ve pretty much stopped drinking coffee–something I started about six weeks back–after a couple of cups of coffee my stomach is doing flip-flops and my head is twisting about something fierce.  In other words, my tolerance to caffeine is not what I was just a few months ago, and the chances are good I’m gonna have to switch to tea for my morning fix, as even two cups of Panera coffee yesterday left me with some unease.

At least this isn’t keeping me from editing.

Today I made my way through three thousand words, and they are probably some of the most important words in Act One of A For Advanced.  But before I got there I spent last night editing up about fifteen hundred words dealing with Coraline giving Kerry his examination, and during that event the following exchange happened:

 

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

“Sure.” He didn’t get why Nurse Coraline seemed all excited because he didn’t think what they did last night was all that strange. “Like I said, it was something she wanted to do, and I went with to, you know, keep her company.”

“Keep her company—” By now Coraline found it difficult to keep the smile she’d felt coming on a few seconds early from bursting out. “And you did this because you’re her friend.”

“Well, I mean . . .” Kerry found it impossible to ignore Coraline’s imperious grin. “What?”

She couldn’t keep her silence, keep what she believed the truth from this boy any longer. “Kerry, when a young lady asks you out to dinner, and once that dinner is over she follows it up by asking if you’d like to go for an early evening stroll along the Amsterdam canals—” She shook her head as her smile spread across her face. “She’s not asking you out as a friend.”

Kerry was utterly confused by Coraline’s last comment. “I don’t get it: what do you mean?”

She kept her chuckle soft and low so it didn’t carry beyond the waiting room. “You really don’t have a clue, do you, Red?”

“About what?”

 

Yeah, whatever do you mean, Coraline?  That’s really the first good look at Captain Clueless as he navigate the waters through which the female types sail, and he’s quickly learning he doesn’t have any ideas where he’s going.  But Coraline sure knows about these waters, as she’s lived upon them for some time, and it wasn’t difficult for her to notice the signals coming fro a certain Chestnut Girl–said signals confirmed by Kerry’s Tales of Amsterdam.  Makes you wonder if Coraline ever asked a boy to walk with her along the Salem oceanfront at some point.

This leads up to a sitting upon one of the most famous benches at the School of Salem, and where a certain feeling is reviled for the first time:

 

“It’s like this in the mountains, too.” She took a deep breath and let the cool, damp air calm her further. “May I ask something?”

“Sure.”

“You’ve not said much since leaving the hospital.” Annie didn’t sit up or pull away as she spoke. “Is something bothering you?”

Kerry didn’t answer right away and Annie wondered if he was having trouble wondering how to answer. When he finally spoke his words seemed like they were coming from far away. “Coraline came back and checked me out to make sure I was okay. After that we talked, and . . .” He drew a sharp breath through his nose which he sighed out slowly. “She told me something.”

What? What did she say? Annie felt a touch of panic rising for there were so many things that Nurse Coraline could have said. She could have talked about the school, or The Foundation. She put those thoughts aside immediately. No, she wouldn’t have mentioned those things, because she can’t, not yet. This was something else. “What did she say?”

“She said . . .” He turned his head so that his face was brushing up against Annie’s hair as he looked her way. “She said you were in love with me.”

“Oh.” She pulled back a bit so she could see Kerry’s face. “She said that?”

He nodded slowly, his face blank. “Yeah.”

Annie’s eyes locked with Kerry’s and held his gaze. “Yes, I am.” She slid back under his arm and returned to where she was safe and warm.

 

Leave it to Annie to just drop a truth bomb like it’s no big deal.  “Oh, she told you that?  It’s true.  Now let me snuggle–”  Annie doesn’t mess around as we now know, and when she want her feelings known they are known.  She let Kerry know just a week before she wanted him to go sightseeing with her, and now, she’s letting him know she harbors feelings for him.  Deep feelings that involve not just the L Word but, mentioned for the first time, the S Word.

And they end the moment preparing for their future:

 

At that moment a woman’s voice seemed to come from everywhere around them. “Attention, all newly arriving students. Please report to The Rotunda immediately.”

Kerry was off the bench and on his feet. “I guess this is it.”

Annie stood beside him. “Yes. Time for us to head off to the towers.”

“Probably.” He hesitated for a moment before holding out his left hand, which Annie took and held tight. They exited the protection of the covered walkway and headed towards the Great Hall as fast as their medicated excitement allowed.

 

All that’s left now is to walk back through the darkness and discover what awaits.

Hint:  it's not the light at the end of this burgeoning relationship tunnel.

Hint: it’s not the light at the end of this burgeoning relationship tunnel.

But you knew that–