It’s only taken like a little more than a week but I’ve finally gotten around to going through the whole of Kerry’s letter to Annie. But there’s something else we need to talk about here, and that’s–tea?
Yeah, tea. Remember, Pavlina was making tea and bringing snacks, and they were gonna have a little mother-daughter bonding time together because unlike a family in the UK Mama Kirilova doesn’t have a stone heart when it comes to her child. And not only does the tea arrive, but there’s a bit of a surprise:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
The door cracked open and Pavlina peeked in. “Tea’s ready.”
Annie stood and faced her mother. “You can bring it in here.”
Pavlina pushed the door all the way open. “Are you sure?”
For a moment Annie looked down and kept her smile to herself. It wasn’t often that she invited her mother into her room, and they hadn’t shared a tea here since about a month after her tenth birthday. That was when she discovered I’d told Kerry I was a witch: it wasn’t a pleasant time.
Yeah okay, so it wasn’t always fun times up here. I’m pretty sure Pavlina hit the roof when she found out that Annie told a boy they knew was real and probably a Normal that she was a witch, even if it did happen in a dream. But that was three years ago, and things are better. Sort of–
But this was different. While then her mother was trying to learn as much as possible about this mysterious ginger boy who found his way into her daughter’s dreams, now her mother knew what the boy meant to her and wanted to help Annie understand how to interpret and deal with the emotions tossing her about.
So why not have tea in a more casual environment?
“I’m sure, Mama.” She extended her arm and gently levitate the tray with he kettle and cups off the table in her sitting room. “Should I bring it in?”
Pavlina glanced back at the tea then to her daughter. “I’ll bring in the tea. You can set up your room.”
“Yes, Mama.” She waited until her mother held the tray before giving the command to add another comfortable chair and place a small table between the chairs. The enchantment in her room were much like those in the Dining Hall at school, though the setup in the Great Hall was far more complicated than the one she commanded.
It wasn’t until the cups were poured and the tea was seeping that Pavlina sat back in her own chair and spoke. “Did you finish your letter?”
Annie nodded. “I did.”
“And how is he doing?”
“He had a fight with his parents.” Annie quickly recapped the letter, highlighting the points that she felt were important. “He thinks his parent are going to spend their time ignoring him now.”
A tiny smile forced its way on to Pavlina’s face. “Don’t they usually do that?”
Seems Annie’s spoken enough about the condition at Casa Malibey that her mom is now shooting off burns about his parents. At least it sound like Annie’s parents will be nice to Kerry–
“Yes.” Annie had spoken about this matter a few times. “There’s something else—”
Pavlina raised her tea cup to her lips and blew upon the hot liquid. “What?”
“They asked about me.”
“Oh? What did they ask?”
“They asked if the ‘girl who writes’ was also a witch.”
“I hope Kerry gave a good answer.”
Pavlina finally sipped her tea and sighed her pleasure. “Hum. What did he say?”
“He said I was a witch, and I was one of the best at school.” She sipped her tea with a smile. “He wrote that he wanted to say more, but felt if he’d told them the truth about our relationship it would have been said for the wrong reasons.”
“He’s right.” Pavlina took another sip before setting her cup aside. “He’s a smart boy.”
Annie beamed. “That’s why he’s my boyfriend.”
“He’s more than that to you—” Pavlina cast a glance to the dresser in the far corner. “—otherwise he wouldn’t be in your book.”
Annie relaxed as she chuckled. “You would understand that.”
“I would.” Even though they were the only ones in the house Pavlina waved the bedroom door closed. “I like Kerry; it’s easy to see he and you make a good couple. Although… While I am not foolish enough to try and dissuade you to do things where it comes to him, you need to know that when you marry him you’re making his family part of yours.” She tapped her fingers slowly on the table. “And as they are Normal, that brings a whole different set of complexities to your relationship with him.” She sat back scratching her arm. “And his mother sounds like a piece of work. I worry she’s going to be a horrible mother-in-law.”
Annie was completely taken back by her mother’s honesty and frank discussion. She preparing for the day when I’ll be a married woman and learning to live on my own. “I understand. And I worry about her as well. But—” She sipped her tea and gave a slight grin. “I’m going to marry Kerry, not his mother.”
“Oh, Annie.” Pavlina began laughing as she sat back. “So there are some things you don’t quite understand completely—”
Yeah, Annie. You’re a bright witch and a loving girl, but when it comes to marrying into a normal family, you’re gonna find you’ll have to develop a whole new skill set for dealing with people ’cause, well, to put it bluntly, they ain’t like us. And you may need to approach issues with them differently–
–The real answer there is, “Don’t.” Unless maybe you can get away with it. I have a feeling that in the future Pavlina is going to advise Annie on what a bad idea killing your mother-in-law is… “But, Mama: she did have a heart attack.” Don’t go there, Annie: you mother knows better.
Now, one last thing. Right now the family are apart and the only contact there’s been has been Kerry meeting Annie’s parents in airports on their way to and from school. There will come a time when Annie meets Kerry’s parents, and a time after that when the parents finally meet. It’s just… that doesn’t happen in this novel. It does, however, happen in the next book. Spoilers, ‘kay? Now you know those meetings are coming.
But not for a while.