I woke up this morning and I still have all my fingers. That’s probably due to not going out and blowing off fireworks, which is something I never do. As it was I saw the city display just fine from my apartment while I worked on my recap. I’m certain there are a few people who are missing appendages today, however, and to them–well, nothing. I’m sure they got fixed up at the ER last night.
It’s time to wrap up Chapter Fourteen, and how better to do it than to find out what else Annie’s parents found in the Hall of Remembrance. And you know it’s good:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry was about to mention that her nickname wasn’t important to him when he heard Victor grunt loudly in surprise. He motioned to his wife. “Pavlina, vizhte tova.” (Pavlina, come look at this.)
Kerry looked toward Annie’s feet as he mumbled softly. “They found it.”
The softness of Annie’s voice matched his. “I’ll handle this.”
Both Victor and Pavlina’s turned slowly towards their daughter. Her father spoke as he pointed at the picture on the wall. “This is Kerry and you on the Mile High Flight.”
Annie glanced at the spot of the wall he was indicating. “I’m certain you’re correct, Papa.”
“You’re… You’re kissing.”
Annie gave one quick nod. “Yes, we are.”
Pavlina gave her daughter a strange look. “These were taken with Spy Eyes.”
“They were the only thing that could’ve taken that picture, Mama.” Annie returned to look. “We were at our objective.”
“They were broadcasting this back to the Dining Hall.”
“Yes, we know.”
“That means the whole school saw this happen.”
Annie started to roll her eyes and stopped halfway through when she realized it would only upset her mother more. “Mama, it’s not as if the school hasn’t seen Kerry and I kiss before.”
“Is that so?” Victor stepped up alongside his wife. “And how often does the school see you two kiss?”
Annie set her hands upon her hips as she took a defiant stance. “I’m sorry, Papa, but I don’t see how that’s your business.”
For a few seconds Annie and her parents stared at each other in silence as if no one knew what to say next. Victor’s eyes were suddenly drawn toward Annie’s left hand sitting upon her hip. “What’s that you have on?”
Hey, Mama, it’s not like the school hasn’t seen us kiss before! Yeah, that’s a great answer, Annie. It’s also a good thing Annie didn’t answer her father’s question about kissing, as he might not have been able to take the stress that comes with the answer. Up to that point he likely never thought his daughter was into public displays of affection.
And by the way: what is that you have on, Annie? You know–on your hand? Or… is that a finger?
“This?” Annie held up her hand so everyone could see clearly. “It’s a ring. Kerry gave it to me for my birthday.”
“Kerry gave you—” Pavlina glanced at the blushing boy and smiled. “A ring?”
“It’s a sapphire ring, Mama. It’s just my birth stone.” She turned to her father. “What did you think it was, Papa?”
Now it was Victor’s turn to blush. “I didn’t—”
“Kerry wouldn’t give me an engagement ring: we’re too young for that.”
“Why are you wearing it on your left hand, then?”
“Because I’m right handed, that’s why.” This time she did roll her eyes. “Really, Papa? You actually believe I would get engaged now?” Annie glanced back at Kerry. “Besides, he knows better.”
“Oh?” Pavlina continued smiling as she addressed Kerry. “And what do you know?”
He cleared his throat. “I know that Annie wants an Astral Etching as an engagement ring and I haven’t learned how to do that yet. So…” A weak smile appeared on his face.
“Can’t get engaged until then.”
“You see, Victor—” Pavlina turned to her husband, who was now altering his gaze between Kerry and his daughter. “Kerry does know better. Or, at least he knows what Annie wants.”
You see, guys? Kerry can’t do Astral Etchings yet, so no engagement. You now know for sure what Kerry gave Annie for her birthday, though a few people had already guessed a ring. One that, I should point out, Annie wears all the time. I couldn’t mention her wearing it ’cause that would have given away the surprised, but–well, we can talk about it now, can’t we.
It’s funny that Pavlina doesn’t seem all that surprised by this revelation. After all, she knows Kerry’s name is “in the book”, so she is fully aware that every time she looks at Kerry, she’s likely seeing her future son-in-law. We can already assume that Kerry is viewing Annie’s folks as his future in-laws, so it’s a good trade.
How does Victor handle this news?
Victor spent a moment composing himself before answering. “Yes, well…” He cleared his throat. “When one is dealing with our Annie, it’s important to know everything she wants.”
Pavlina took his arm. “Why don’t we sit in the Rotunda and relax before getting something to eat?” She glanced back at her daughter. “Annie, would you be so kind as to find us all a seat? I think we’ll be ready for a light breakfast in about ten minutes.”
“Yes, Mama.” She waited until he parents were out of sight before taking Kerry’s hand as she turned towards him. “I told you I’d handle this.”
“And you handled it well.” He glanced down the hall towards where Annie’s parents had vanished. “I have a feeling your mother isn’t going to let this drop.”
“Oh, she won’t.” Annie quickly arched an eyebrow. “I half expect her to begin asking me how far along we are with Astral Etching.”
“Why would she want to know that?”
Annie gave here soul mate a slightly exasperated look. “Because, my love, she knows that once you learn how to do that, I won’t want to wait long to get engaged.” She pulled him towards the Dining Hall doorway. “Let’s get a table. I imagine Papa will regain his appetite in about five minutes…”
First, Victor knows what Annie wants, Annie gets, and he’s aware she’s already schooled her soul mate on his etching thing.
And Second, Annie lays it out right there about when the engagement happens: not long after Kerry knows how to do an Astral Etching. Eyes On the Prize and all that shit, but Annie just let Kerry know as soon as he’s got this etching thing down she’s gonna want it on her finger. Annie knows what she wants and she goes for it.
And that includes getting some astral tattooing on her finger.
Now that the family is here, it’s time to race.