Here’s an interesting factoid from this scene I’m writing. I’ve spent two days working on it and as with everything else, I’m keeping track of my word counts. The first night I wrote 333 words; last night I wrote 888. Hum… 888 is exactly two-and-two-thirds more than 333, so some interesting symmetry there. Or not. It could just be straight up bullshit with me being the only one who notices.
Or maybe it’s something magical? No, probably not. Just coincidence.
It’s also Back to the Future Day today, with this date picked in 1988 because, as was figured then, it was the day the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series–something that could happen this year. There’s still a chance the Cubs could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so who knows? Anyway, remember the immortal words of Doctor Emmett Brown, who recorded a video on this day last year: “Yes, it (the future) is different than we all thought. But don’t worry, it just means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.”
Yeah, that’s a good message to live by. Which is something my kids will strive to do.
Speaking of my kids…
Kerry’s in Paris and approaching his hotel and one and only, so let’s pick up where we were:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Believe it or not for my C Levels.” Bernice gave a soft laugh. “My A and B Levels were nothing like yours, though. My A Level departure was Stockholm and my B Level departure was London. Go to Rome for my D Levels and Amsterdam for my Es. Just like they always do, I finished my F Levels in Stockholm.” She turned to Kerry again. “You always end where your started.”
Kerry sat back and turned his attention to his passenger. “How come we don’t go there now?”
“Stockholm and London?”
“At the time we had a lot more students located in northern part of Europe so the majority of the cities were there. Once we started getting a steady trickle from Africa and Western Asia it was decided to move things a little southward.” Bernice stifled a yawn. “There’s been talk for a few years that we’ll move out of Rome and head eastward into either Hungary or Bulgaria, though there’s also talk of moving to Istanbul.” She shrugged. “It’s not up to me; the Council in Washington will decided that. And probably not for another twenty years.”
A thought instantly entered Kerry’s head: We won’t go to those places, but our kids will. Ever since the night when Annie said their children resisted inside her as eggs, there had been moments when he would imagine Annie and him married with a family. He thought of them with a boy, a few times with a girl, and even a couple of instances with one of each. And then there was one occasion…
He didn’t want to think about Annie like that, not right now. Kerry glanced at Ms. Rutherford. “What was Stockholm like?”
“Beautiful city. I remember the international airport was about forty minutes from the hotel where we stayed, which was right down town. That was my first time in another country—also my first time riding in a limo. I felt so important.” She looked across the vehicle to what was beyond Kerry’s window. “We’re almost there.”
He turned to his left just as the car turned in the same direction and saw the large park. “What’s that?”
“Place de la République: a nice, public square as well as a major subway terminal.” The car made another left followed by an almost immediate right. “We’re hitting all the lights; it won’t be long now.”
The car traveled two blocks down Boulevard Voltaire before taking a hard left—almost a u-turn—on to Rue de Malta. After driving just over half the block the car came to a stop outside their destination: Hotel du Nord et de l’Est. Bernice set her hand upon her bag. “Here we are.”
First, travelogue: Place de la République is like a two to three minute walk from the hotel where he’s staying. When I was there the traffic drove all the way around the area, but during Kerry’s time here it’s finally been finished–only two months before by the time in the novel–being turned into a pedestrian park with traffic prohibited from one side of the plaza. Right near the center of the plaza and the entrance to the subway system is a huge statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic and the inspiration for both Columbia (the U.S.’ symbol) and the Statue of Liberty.
So down the street and up another, and finally they are at the hotel–seeing it pretty much as I saw it in 2006.
In real life you can get a nice room here for about $75/night, and while it might seem like you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’re a three-minute walk from two subway stations which can take you anywhere in the city and a five-minute walk from the Canal Saint-Martin, and area which is quiet nice. Trust me, once you walk out the door, you’re only about thirty minutes from the Eiffel Tower.
But why stay here? The other cities had bigger hotels, so why something smaller? That’s easy:
Kerry examined the building just outside his window. “Not quite like the last two where we stayed.”
“Don’t let the appearance fool you: it’s a comfortable, quiet place.” She looked out Kerry’s side of the car. “Today through Wednesday night The Foundation has rented out every room.”
That caught Kerry by surprise. “Is this a Foundation place?”
“No. But The Foundation has used it many times in the past and they have a few contractual agreements with owners.” Bernice grinned as a light tone crept into her voice. “Paris is a huge and intimidating, yet wonderful city, and first time visitors can find themselves either overwhelmed or over-excited by the local. The Foundation believes that while it’s not exactly a which hotel it’s still a good place to rest, relax, and decompress.” She chuckled. “And knowing that no Normals will be here for most of the week, it’s easier for your chaperons to know who’s here and who isn’t.” Bernice opened her door. “Let’s check you in.”
“Sounds good.” Kerry was out his door and heading back to the now-open trunk. He lifted his luggage and backpack out while Ms. Rutherford waited and the moment the trunk lid closed the car departed. He took three steps towards the entrance—
In the large picture window to the right of the entrance Annie stood with a large smile on her face, watching him arrive.
There you are: The Foundation has rented out the whole hotel for three days for about thirty-five students and two, maybe three instructors. No magic casting in the public areas, but you can have a good time upstairs and not worry about running into Normals. And the instructors watching over the kids can lock the doors and keep some of the kids inside of shit gets too crazy.
So here we are with Kerry walking up to the front door and–who’s that?
Better rush inside and say hello…
Kerry hurried up the step and into the hotel and turned immediately into a small lounge. Annie turned to face him: she was wearing her locket necklace and her charm bracelet and she touched the silver heart resting against her chest as he approached. He set his roll-on aside, stepped up to Annie, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her deeply as she placed her arms around him and pressed her hands against his back.
He finally broke the kiss and gazed into Annie’s hazel eyes. “Te obicham.”
Annie drew a breath and exhaled before answering. “Az sŭshto te obicham, skŭpa moya.”
Kerry rested his forehead against hers. “You been waiting long?”
A voice from behind answered. “Not long at all, Kerry.”
He closed his eyes as his face pinched upon realizing what he’d done. He opened them to find Annie smiling back at him before glancing over his shoulder. She quickly arched her eyebrows as if to tell him there was nothing he could do about his faux pas…
He turned around slow and a bit sheepishly. “Hello, Mrs. Kirilova.”
Pavlina Kirilova stood next to Bernice Rutherford just outside the entrance to the lounge: both were still smiling from what they’d witnessed. “It’s good to see you again.”
“Yeah. Um…” He half-turn towards Annie. “About what—”
“It’s alright, Kerry.” Pavlina closed the distance between her and her daughter’s boyfriend so she could speak in a low tone. “I was once your age and in love as well.” She glanced past him at her daughter. “Though it’s probably good your father isn’t here.”
Annie, still smiling, nodded. “I agree, Mama.”
Busted! Kerry runs in, sees his Darling, and goes right to the lip locking. Hey, dude: always check your surrounding to make sure things are safe before you engage in any activity–don’t they teach you Young Guardians anything? Fortunately for him his future mother-in-law is sorta cool about this, though mother and daughter both agree it’s a good thing Daddy Kirilov didn’t see this go down.
What I liked about writing that scene is that Annie did nothing to stop the kiss from happening even though she knew her mother was no only nearby, but probably in sight. And once busted she’s like, “Whatcha gonna do, amirite?” She doesn’t even hide her “I love you, my darling” which her mother had to hear. One can almost imagine Annie and her mom are gonna have some kind of talk over morning tea when she’s home for Yule, because now Mama knows Annie ain’t bothered by those PDAs…
And just for reference, when I visited Paris I didn’t arrive at the same hotel via the route Kerry took–no, his route was how I left Paris on my way to Brussels via high-speed Thalys out of Gare du Nord. No, I arrived through the Gare du Lyon, having arrived via TGV from, where else, Lyon. I came in from the south and did roll right past the Bastille, so I had that going for me.
I guess all that remains for Kerry now is to convince his future MiL that he’ll have a room all to himself and that he and Annie will won’t do any of that public face sucking–
Who are we kidding? Get check in, kid.