After a few days of videos it’s time to get back into the novel–and I have in a good way. With almost twelve hundred words written in the last two days, the middle scene of Chapter Sixteen is finished and the novel is exactly four hundred and sixty words away from the magical two hundred thousand word mark.
With the end of Act One in sight it’s time to do a little longer than normal novel dump here, and I’m gonna give you want you want. And first up is: what’s the rest of the Party of Six wearing?
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie took hold of Kerry’s arm. “I’m sure you were going to tell me who they are.”
He smiled at her. “You know who they are: we watched the show on Netflix a couple of Sundays ago.”
That cue stirred Annie’s memory just enough that she remembered. “Oh, that.” She chuckled. “But I’m not sure I remember the names other than for Penny’s character.”
Kerry pointed at Penny, Jario, Alex, and Kahoku in turn. “Lana, Archer, Cheryl, and Krieger.”
Kahoku got a strange look on his face. “I’m not Krieger.”
“Really?” Kerry went along with the act. “Not even a little?”
Kahoku’s eyes shifted from left to right for about five seconds before he responded. “Maybe.”
“Come on, lets get some snacks and sit.” Penny grabbed on to Jario’s arm and held fast before turning to her friends. “We’ll be over later to chat, ‘kay?”
Annie nodded. “We’ll see you then.” There wasn’t any need to ask where they would chat: everyone knew there was only one place in the Dining Hall where Kerry and she sat.
This also gave her an opening for something she’d wanted to do for some time. She turned to Kerry. “My love, would you be kind enough to get me some punch?” She glanced at their friend. “I’m sure Nadine would like some as well.”
Nadine nodded. “Yeah, some punch would be great.”
He never hesitated. “I’ll be right back.” Kerry turned and wandered off in the direction of the snacks table.
First up: Penny, Jario, Alex, and Kahoku went as characters from Archer, which gave those four a large enough ensemble to keep them covered. We also learned something else in that discussion: Annie and Kerry sometimes take a Sunday and do a Netflix and chill, probably down in their private lab while they were working on their costumes. I wonder if they were in their pajamas and under a comforter drinking hot chocolate while Kerry streamed the program on his computer? Did the kids at Hogwarts ever do this? No, they didn’t. My witches rule!
Now, for the first time, Annie has Nadine alone. What’s Annie got in mind? Nadine seems to know–
“Well—” Nadine chuckled. “There are times when you are not the least be subtle, Annie.”
“I know.” Annie watched Kerry for a moment before turning back to her friend. “I’m certain Kerry knows as well, but he won’t say anything.”
Nadine nodded once. “So what did you want to talk about?”
Annie drew in a breath before asking an unrelated question. “It’s personal. If you don’t want to talk—”
“Naw.” Nadine shrugged. “We know each other well enough I don’t think you’re gonna ask me anything embarrassing.”
“Good. I was wondering… This is the third dance we’ve attended together and I’m going to say you’re here alone as you were the last two times.”
“Why is it you never come with an escort?”
“You mean a date, don’t you?”
Annie shrugged. “If you wish. Why do you come alone?”
Nadine looked off to her right for a moment scanning the crowd. “I’m not alone. I’m here with friends. Besides, there are a lot of people here who came without dates.”
Annie knew Nadine’s statement was true: there were a lot of people who came unescorted, but a lot of those same people ended up finding people with whom to dance, which was something Annie had never seen Nadine do. “True, but—I always found it interesting that you never came with anyone. I’ve always imagined there are a lot of boys who would love to ask you to the dance.” She flashed a slight smile. “Probably a few girls as well.”
Nadine scratched at her right jawline for a few seconds, an action Annie knew she did when she was slightly uncomfortable. The only other times she’d ever seen her do that was in Advanced Spells when Nadine was about to craft a complex spell and she was doubtful she could make it happen. “I have been asked out, by both boys and girls. I get asked out every year.” She tilted her head slightly to the right as she looked at Annie. “I never wanted to come with a date ‘cause I always felt there was some, you know, expectation about what should happen.”
This drew a raised eyebrow from Annie, for she found it difficult to imagine Nadine believe that a date would expect something from her in exchange for time spent together. “It’s not really like that—”
“Oh, not for you guys. You know what you’re going tonight, so there’s no need for wondering.”
It took Annie a moment to realize what Nadine was suggesting. “Do you believe Kerry and I are going to have sex after the dance?”
Nadine shrugged. “Aren’t you?”
Nadine has been hit on a lot by both boys and girls, which isn’t surprising given she’s a rather public figure at Salem as well, as being a stunning ginger. At the same time she doesn’t seem interested in dating because of expectations–and to her, that means she figures people who date her want sex. And, it turns out, she’s also among the group who think Annie and Kerry are “doing it” whenever the opportunity arises–like, you know, after this dance. This doesn’t shock Annie, but she does seem a bit surprised that her friend thinks that way:
“Oh.” Her expression turned a bit sheepish. “Sorry for insinuating you were.”
“It’s quite all right.” Annie smiled to show there wasn’t any hurt feelings between them. “Not everything has to end in sex, you know.”
“I know.” Nadine looked off into the crowd once again, as if doing so allowed the conversation to seem less intimate. “I sometimes wonder if I’m asexual. Whenever I’m asked out I always start thinking that at some point the person will want to hook up and I have no interest in—anything.” She turned back to Annie. “Does that make any sense?”
Annie nodded. “It does. Not everyone is interested in sex as a pleasurable act—which is quite all right. And I can see why that colors your view of being asked out.”
For the first time since their conversation started Nadine’s face brightened. “Thanks. I’ve never really spoke with anyone about that.”
“Not even a counselor?”
“I thought about speaking with Erywin once, but I don’t know if she’d understand.”
Annie couldn’t help but chuckle. “Oh, I believe she’d understand.”
“Understand what?” Kerry returned with a drink in each hand and one hovering in front of him. He handed the one in his left hand to Annie. “Here you are, Sweetie.” He then gave the one in his right hand to Nadine. “And for you—” Lastly he snatched the hovering glass with his left hand and brought it to his lips for a quick sip. “Did you two have a good conversation?”
Gotta love Annie for being non-judgmental when it comes to her friend. We’ve never really seen much of Nadine beyond class and racing, so this is a little peek behind the veneer she throws up for everyone else. And given we’ve seen individuals who are straight, gay, lesbian, and even one who considered herself bi–that would be Wednesday–we discover there’s at least one student who may identify as asexual. Salem: It Takes All Kinds to Make a School For Witches.
So the conversation was good.
But there’s more to come…