Dreams of My Summer Holiday

I was, for sure, in a better mood last night, attention-wise and health-wise.  I didn’t feel as tired, that’s a fact, Jack, and that meant I could write with almost minimal distractions–well, almost.  Last night Zero Hour! was playing on TCM, and if you aren’t familiar with this movie, it’s about a Air Canada flight going to Vancouver that sees the passengers and crew coming down with ptomaine poising because of bad beef and fish, leaving the only person on the plane to fly a former pilot who hasn’t been back in the cockpit since a disastrous mission at the end of World War II.

If the plot sounds like you may have seen this movie somewhere before, this was the story spoofed by the movie Airplane!, and the spoofing went so far that actually lines of dialog were taken straight from Zero Hour!, and the character who has to fly the plane while still suffering from the lingering effect of his last mission–probably not over Nacho Grande–is named Ted Stryker.  Surely I jest?  I don’t.  And . . . you know the rest.

Still, I wrote–if only because Sterling Hayden was on my TV yelling at me.  I wrote a lot more than the night before, probably two-and-a-half times more.  It was sit down time with Deanna, and once the greetings were out of the way, she got right to business:

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The setup was much as it was last year: pillows on the floor, most of them up front where Deanna had created a nice spot for her to sit and converse with several students at once. Annie sat on one of the pillows facing Deanna’s seat, and Kerry waited until she was comfortable before taking the pillow to her right.

Deanna smoothed out her loose, cream colored slacks and sat cross-legged facing her friends. “How was your summer?”

Annie smiled, knowing this question was coming. “Good.”

Kerry mimicked her. “It was good.”

Deanna nodded. “I see. Did you manage to keep in touch?”

“Yes. We wrote.” Annie reached for Kerry’s hand. “He wrote by hand, just as he promised.”

Kerry couldn’t keep from blushing. “Well, yeah.”

“Good for you Kerry.” A faint grin began forming upon Deanna’s face. “I heard you had a small rendezvous for lunch in London.” She caught the surprised looks. “Erywin told me last night during the coven leader’s meeting.”

“Oh; okay.” Kerry looked at Annie out of the corner of his eye. “Yeah, we met. But . . .” He turned to Annie, his grin fading.

Annie squeezed Kerry’s hand. “It wasn’t long enough. We didn’t want to part.”

“I can understand you feeling that way.” The seer glanced from one child to the other. “Love does that to you: it makes it so you never want to let go.”

Annie nodded. “I didn’t.”

Kerry stared at a space on the floor between Deanna and him. “I didn’t, either.”

Yes, never let go, even when you look like you're going to get turned into marketing material.

Yes, never let go, even when you find yourself having to let go.

Deanna doesn’t have quite the line on love that, say, Coraline or Erywin have, but she knows it when she sees it, and she sees it a lot in these two kids.  She also knows a few of their intimate secrets–something you really don’t want to have at twelve, and even less want to talk about at that age–but who can guess at what our Salem Seer really knows.  Speculate all you like, ’cause I know, and I’m not talking.  Not for a while, anyway . . .

With the “Hey, have a good time?” out of the way, Deanna gets serious:

“No need to worry about that now; you’re back here.” Deanna waved the door shut. “There, more privacy. Now . . .” Even with no one else in the room, the seer lowered her voice. “Did you share any dreams?”

The couple exchanged looks before Annie chose to speak. “Yes. There were . . . two.”

Deanna couldn’t help but notice the pause. “Only two?”

“Yes. Over the summer.”

“Were there others before the summer? Say—while you two were away one weekend in April?”

The two exchanged hurried glances. “We didn’t say—” Kerry looked over his shoulder, confirming they were alone.

Deanna put their fears at rest. “You need not worry: I figured the stories given for your absences that weekend were fabricated.” She shrugged. “Annie was home for ‘personal reason’, and you, Kerry: you were in New York for ‘testing’. And at the same time Erywin was home for personal reasons as well, and Helena was off somewhere on ‘Guardian business’.” The was one soft chuckle. “It didn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to figure out the four of you were off somewhere together—and given that you both were working with Helena and Erywin for most of the month—and when you came back and had to spend the night in the hospital . . .”

“I suppose it wasn’t much of a cover story.” Annie had thought at the time that the reasons given for their being away, but since the Guardians demanded they stick to those particular stories, Kerry and she felt that had no choice.

Deanna shook her head. “People here always suspect Guardian business when Helena runs off for a weekend. And if she should disappear with Erywin and two students in tow . . .” She shrugged. “Did you believe someone would come up and ask you if your story was legitimate?”

Annie had never considered the question before, but now it made complete sense. She’s right; who would question us? If Deanna knew we were lying, others must have figured it out as well. No one wanted to say anything, likely because they knew we were doing something for the Guardians that weekend, and they were worried if they asked questions they’d end up getting into trouble . . .

There is a completely valid point here:  who the hell is going to come out and ask, “Were you guys doing something with the Guardians last weekend?”  Besides getting a “No” and a cold stare from a certain Chestnut Girl, that person would set themselves up as just being too damn snoopy.  Deanna pretty much indicates no one ever pestered Helena over her weekends away from the school, and now that it seems she’s taken a couple of students under her wing–one for sure, Skippy–one can bet they’ve learned at the leather-clad knee of the Dark Mistress, so why would any student–or even instructor, for that matter–set themselves up that way?  Going there puts one at risk, and who wants that?

They tell Deanna about their first two dreams, and she loves how they interact while discussing them–

Deanna loved watching their interaction together. They are so unlike the children their age: so mature in their affection . . . “And the third dream?”

“In that dream we were mature, and . . . sparkly? Does that seem right? And emo? I’m sorry: I don’t do emo.”

No, nothing like that:

 Kerry sat up and appeared embarrassed, while a slight flush appeared in Annie’s cheeks. Words stumbled from Kerry’s mouth. “We were, um, in a hotel room, and—”

Annie decided to get the matter out in the open so they wouldn’t be more embarrassed than they’d already been. “We were in bed together—naked.”

“That is—” Deanna wasn’t worried about what might have happened in the dream: as in real life, she trusted their actions—at least for now. “I take it that’s never happened before.”

Kerry shook his head. “No. We always show up in our pajamas first, then usually change after.”

“And did you dress?”

“Yes. We got our pajamas on, and then . . .”

Annie picked up the thread. “We left the room and went to my grandparent’s villa in France.”

This was something Deanna had never heard mentioned before. “Your grandparents live there?”

“No. They have a villa there they visit once in a while. I’ve stayed there with my mother, but not in a while.”

“And why do you think you went there.”

Annie half turned towards Kerry before explaining. “We’ve spoken about living there—”

Kerry took Annie’s hand. “We talked about it when we—” He shrugged. “When we were away last school year, and we talked about it when we were in the dream.” He looked directly at Deanna. “We want to have a home there—later. You know.”

“Yes, I do.” The seer watched Annie’s face as Kerry finished his statement. She’s proud of him for saying that. Deanna realized this was a far different Kerry than who’d left here at the end of last year—at least when it came to speaking about Annie. She remembered Erywin telling her about their meeting in Perquat’s Grove, and how after Annie had spoken of her desire at an earlier age to marry Kerry, he’d accepted Annie’s feelings, and ignored her concerns, even arguing that she couldn’t have influenced his feelings with hers.

Deanna didn’t find this unusual: all the times she’d seen Kerry with Annie, even through the periods where he didn’t remember their full history, he never had issues showing his affection. Learning to show his love was more difficult—it always is, I know—but affection was never a problem. And now the boy was talking of making a home with his Bulgarian sweetheart—

And riding bikes--though Kerry would kill himself before wearing those shorts.

And riding bikes–though Kerry would kill himself before wearing those shorts.

Bulgarian sweetheart–I like that.  She’s more than that, but we’ll take it for now.  But it’s fairly serious now, particularly when twelve year old kids–almost thirteen in Annie’s case–are suddenly talking about making a home for themselves–and you better believe Deanna knows what they mean when they say “home”.

How does this end?  Like so–

She believed now was the time to move on to another subject. “I’m glad you showed up, because there’s something I’d like to discuss.”

Kerry glanced to his right. “Does it involve tea?”

Deanna’s laugh was quite loud. “You noticed, huh?”

“I did as well.” Annie was looking in the direction of the set out tea set, the same one Deanna had used with them the year before. “What do you have in mind?”

“Have a spot of tea?”  Don’t mind if I do.  I’m supposed to go to dinner with friends tonight, but I should be back in time to write some of what’s coming next–

Which could be . . .

Anything.

Love’s Long Laments

I make no secret that I tend to write about relationships.  I can’t tell you how many times I received a response from a blog fan concerning The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced, that stated, “I thought this would be about magic, but it’s really about love,” and I just smiled because that’s so true.  Anyone can write about casting magic:  it’s happened a lot since a certain boy wizard appeared on the literary scene.  But what about relationships?  What about love?  And what about putting them in usual locations and circumstances that could affect the outcome of that relationship?

I do that.  A lot.

I thought about this last night when I was editing Kolor Ijo.  My main characters, Indri and Buaua, come from different cultures and religions, they come from different backgrounds, and when it comes to the paranormal, they come from far different experiences.  Long ago I laid out a series of stories around these two, because if there’s something that’s not lacking in Indonesia–where the stories take place–it’s the supernatural, and the supernatural there would pretty much kick the asses of the Winchester Brothers without so much as working up a sweat.

Sure, she looks harmless, but you'll think differently when she's ripping your heart from your body.

Sure, she looks harmless, but you’ll think differently when she’s ripping your heart from your body.

But though all their trials and tribulations, Indri and Buaua will never be anything but great friends and colleagues.  And it’s not their religion that keeps them apart:  it’s that they recognize they each have their own lives, and there isn’t any interest in getting the waters muddy with a lot of face hugging of the good kind.  I like that, because it means I can concentrate on the investigation of the horror and not get bogged down with a lot of stupid, “By doing this, I’m putting him/her in danger!” tropes that should die out faster than certain ghosts and goblins.

But when it comes to some of my other characters, however . . .

There’s Couples Dance, where the married couple in the story learn about the twisted romance of the people who owned their house, and there’s Suggestive Amusements, where a writer and his muse become something of a couple when he realizes mythical beings need love, too, even though they know they shouldn’t become involved in the romantic affairs of mortals.  In the end things go wrong for both couples, but that’s the breaks, right?

And then there’s Echoes.

Behold the Old!

Behold the Old!

Echoes was written at the very end of 2011 and through the month of January, 2012, and last edited December, 2012, right after I finished writing Kolor Ijo.  As my stories go it’s one of my shortest:  just under twenty-one thousand words.  It’s also one of my more personal stories, because it was written at a time when I was starting a new job I hated, I found myself moving to a new location, and I was dealing with separation anxiety of the worst kind.  In short, I was more of a mess that ever before.

It deals with characters from my novel Transporting, and it’s a strange world.  For one, it’s twelve hundred years in our future.  For another, it takes place in a parallel universe that’s like ours, but it’s not.  This was where I started working on the idea of The Multiverse, which is something you’ll hear a lot of in The Foundation Chronicles, because my witches know there are a billion different universes out there, and while be can’t visit them, that doesn’t mean things can’t slip through to here.

Albert Dahl is also something of a transgender character, because though various handwavium and not a little technobabble, he becomes Audrey Dahl, who is just as nutty and crazy as him, but also the beloved of her lesbian partner in crime and duty to the Crown, Cytheria Warington, a planetary duchess from this future with access to a time machine who originally kidnaps Albert from 1986 because she thought there was something different about him.

Already you can see this is an unusual relationship.

Echoes is about Albert and a love that could have been.  He dreams now and then of a woman he knew when he worked in Chicago, Marissa, which whom he had a brief affair that left an enormous, lasting impact upon him.  The relationship was so intense that, in the course of the story, the reader realizes that while he loves Cytheria, he still loves this Marissa, who, however you cut it, has been dead a long time.

Which leads to the main gist of this story:  did Albert and Marissa ever get together in the universe in which the current future Albert now lives?  See, not only did he come from the past, but from the past of another of these multiple universes, and that means that an identical Marissa and Albert could have lived at the same time in his current universe, and they could have been . . . happy.

Really?  You believe that?  You don’t know me well, do you?

In a nutshell, after an order from the Crown–in this world everything is ruled by various aristocracies, and they all pledge fealty to the Queen–the reader learns the truth:  he did exist in this work, and he did not only get together with Marissa, but they married, had kids, and were happy–

For a short time, for it did all go to hell at some point.  Such was Albert’s luck, that another version of him couldn’t even find true happiness.

I just reread the last chapter of that story, and it still affects me.  I cried when I wrote it; I cried when I edited it, and I’ve cried a little reading over it now.  Like I said it’s a personal story, and reading it brings back those times in all their horrid glory.  In the last chapter of Echoes, Albert and Marissa meet in a dream, though Marissa knows it’s a dream and that she’s deal, and she puts forth the question that perhaps she’s really the remnant of what Albert’s Marissa had been, that somehow jumps from on universe to another, found the Marissa living in the universe where her Albert–her love, as she calls him–and took up residence there and found a way to pass from one of their generations to another until she found her Albert living in the future.  It’s a hell of a twist, you have to admit.

But that story reminds me of another couple . . .

Albert Dahl is sort of an older, far more screwed up version of a certain Ginger Hair Boy (you gotta trust me on that one, but yeah, he is), and Marissa is a less stuffy and controlled version of a well-known Chestnut Girl.  Marissa even calls Albert “love”, which is a whole lot like “my love” when you think about it.  And the last line from Dream Marissa is, “Sweat dreams, my beautiful Albert.  Sweet dreams . . . of us.”  Hummm.  Now who have I heard say that before?  Oh, yeah:  this girl.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie saw Kerry’s eyes flutter, and in that moment she wasn’t an almost seven year old girl sitting in the crook of the arm of a six year old boy with whom she was sharing a dream—she was back in Bay #1, cuddled up next to her soul mate. “Kerry?”

“I’m tired, Annie.” He turned his head enough that he could see her lying snuggled next to him. “I feel so tired.”

“Then you need to sleep.” She laid her hand part-way across his chest and circled it over his heart. “I won’t go anyway. You’ll be safe.”

“Okay.” He rubbed his check against the top of her head. “Good night, Annie—”

She was about to tell him the same when Kerry finished his thought:

“I love you.”

Annie gasped in a near-silent voice. “Good night, Kerry. I love you.”

“No.” He chuckled as he fought to keep his eyes open. “You’d say it in Bulgarian.”

She chuckled as well. He would know that. “Yes, I would . . .” She leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Leka nosht, Kerry. I az te obicham.”

“Um, hum.” His eyes closed and his breathing slowed as she sunk back into sleep.

Annie made herself comfortable against Kerry’s torso. She only now realized that his right arm was draped over her torso, making sure she was secure against him. “That’s it, my love.” She stopped rubbing his chest and left her hand there. “Sleep and dream. And remember it so you can tell me in the morning.”

Sleep began to take her as she wished her soul mate into dreamland. “Dream of your tree in California.” Her eyelids fluttered. “Dream of reading to your Chestnut Girl.”

Her eyes closed as she sunk into the same sleep that was claiming Kerry. There was only one thought left that needed saying before she joined him in unconscious bliss . . .

“Dream of us.”

 

Yes, I went there with that, and I make no apologies for that last line, because I was going to use it no matter what.  Does that mean Annie and Kerry are Marissa and Albert.  No–but maybe a little yes as well.

A writer does remember all the things that made them what they are–to somewhat paraphrase Harlan Ellison, they are all of the lies that are your life.  A little of Kerry came from Albert, though Albert is far more messed up where love is concerned, and while Kerry is now confident in his love for Annie, Albert never finds that contentment because the one true love of his life whom he can never forget was taken away.  And since you know I time lined out the lives of those characters, a reader would eventually discover that Cytheria also lost the one great love of her life, and as much as she may love Audrey, she is forever reminded of what she could have had, but couldn’t because, as the movie Roman Holiday reminded me last night, the aristocracy has its duties they must uphold.  And because of that, Cytheria spends her life silently suffering.

Cytheria and Albert/Audrey are broken people, they really are.  They do love each other in their own way, but it’s never going to be the love they could have had, so they instead settle for the love they have.  That will never be Annie and Kerry.  While life may never be completely fair to my witchy couple–and if you think it will, again, you don’t know the stories I spin–they will love each other, and that love will grow more intense over the years.  Annie and Kerry heal each other–in another story, one might say they complete each other, and in a way that is true, because they are far better together than apart.  And in the opening chapters of the next novel, you’ll even see Annie do something that she never did in the first novel.  Why?  Because of Kerry.

And, no:  it’s not kill Emma.

Not yet.

They’re not a perfect couple, but they do represent something I long for, and it’s one of the reasons I sometimes found myself having a difficult time telling the tale of my kids, because what they have is something I’ve always wanted.  One of the reasons I developed Albert is because he did represent my outlook on love at the time:  you can’t always get what you want, and that means you settle for what you can get–and in doing that, you’ll never truly be happy.  You may believe you are, but in time you see it for the lie it represents.

Annie and Kerry are my current outlook on life and love:  sometimes you do find your soul mate, your moyata polovinka, and when you do you work your ass off to try and make it happen.  It may not happen, because life sucks like that, but don’t give up hope, because as I said yesterday, hope is sometimes all we have.

And why would you want to give up on that?

The New Office Lady

In case you hadn’t heard, something happened to me yesterday.  Something . . . well, few things don’t get bigger.

Besides being Imbolc (in some parts of the world, that is) and the celebration of an oversized squirrel somewhere in eastern Pennsylvania, it was also my coming out day at work.  They’ve known about this for three weeks, and from what I’d understood the higher ups had already told their people this was coming, and that people should be ready.

So . . . that said, I’d been waiting, and–no lie–dreading the moment just a little.  Waiting for it because something like this only comes around once in your lifetime, and dreading it because it was something that wasn’t quite what you see every day, particularly in an office environment.

Like it or not, it had been affecting me.  I had a bit more in the way of nerves than I wanted to admit, and it was affecting my sleeping, my ability to do things correctly, and even my writing, because as I wasn’t sleeping well, then I was coming home and crashing out hard at night, and remaining sleepy throughout the evening.

But this was something that needed to get done, and done it would become.

I didn’t sleep well the night before, which meant I was dragging a bit when I got up yesterday.  And up I was at five-fifteen.  I tried to write my post the best I could, then checked the weather, looked outside and saw it was a mess, looked over the outfit I was going to wear . . . yeah, everything was ready, so all I had to do was get ready as well.  Cleanup, change, put on my makeup–all the good things.

And take pictures before I walk out the front door.  Always be taking pictures.

And take pictures before I walk out the front door. Always be taking pictures.

With everything out of the way in my morning routine, it was time to start walking and head into work.  I threw on my walking shoes–no way I’m trying to cover a mile in heeled pumps–and headed out into the cold.  Along the way I passed three people who greeted me with a “Good Morning”, which is something I never got when I was in male mode.  I half expected someone to tell me to smile . . .

Since I’m usually one of the first ones in the office, I just entered an went to my office, which is actually an oversized cubical–sort of like the groundhog, only it doesn’t pretend to predict the weather.  I got my jacket off, changed my shoes, and then snapped a picture to prove I really was in the office and not fooling with people.

Who doesn't look their best in the harsh lights of the early morning office?

Who doesn’t look their best in the harsh lights of the early morning office?

I got my coffee, stomping all the way to the break room at the other side of the building, because when you wear a size 11 women’s wedge heeled shoe, and the floor is covered without insulated padding between the pull-up carpet squares above and the concrete below, you’re gonna make some noise when you walk.  Then it was back to the office cube and another picture.

Much better now that I'm just about to mainline java.

Much better now that I’m about to put down my first cup of the morning.

People came down to see me a few times during the day to tell me they had my back.  People who spoke with me that day were kind and curious–and you can’t help but be curious, can you?  I wa in a couple of meetings that day, and no one thought it strange.  Everyone addressed me by my chosen name after I told them what it was, and I expect that to continue.

In short, by the time I got home last night I was pretty high on myself.  I felt great, although I was tired:  not getting a lot of sleep the night before took its told, and I was nodding on and off from about eight-thirty on.  I had the story ready to go, but there was no way I was going to write anything worthwhile:  I was simply too tired.

But I’m better now, and I expect to do some writing when I get home from work tonight.  I’ll get right to that after I eat.

There you have it:  the tale of a new office lady.  One who I believe will be around for while.

Now that I've had my close up, I should get back to writing.

Now that I’ve had my close up, I should get back to writing.

Home is Where the Dreamspace Lay

Sometimes last night Chapter Thirty-Five was finished, tidied up and put to bed.  The last of the four scenes was completed, and I’m happy with them–

I wasn’t happy with how I felt, but that’s another story.  Maybe a change of pace going out tonight will liven things up just a bit.  I don’t know:  of late I’ve been in a massive funk and it’s affecting my work and my writing, and I’m not sure how to stop it.  Maybe some plotting and time lining tonight will fix things up a bit and get my mind off in a different direction.

I did catch a minor flaw in my writing, last night–at goof, if you will.  After a conversation I had yesterday about Annie and her statements concerning her attending Salem, I went back and checked out the parts of the story where she mentioned this fact.  It happened with Deanna way back at the start of the school year, and I happened with Kerry twice:  once on 1 April in Salem, and then three weeks later in Kansas City.  There was one point where Annie remembers something about the time different without realizing it has something to do with something she did her in “Last Dream”, so I left it in because, yes, these kids both have slip-ups in memory, and that’s something relating to her dream.  (And I can also have her remember that when she’s in KC, I love how to work that . . .)

But the mistake I made came about three hundred thousand words apart.  When Annie is speaking to Deanna she mentions when she discovered Kerry’s real name and wrote it down.  She also mentions that later to Erywin.  We know she told Erywin it was after Kerry moved to Cardiff, which happened after he turned eight and the summer before she turned nine.  But she tells Deanna it happens before she turns eight.  Oops.  This is where I have to make sure I get some keywords in place in Scrivener so I can keep facts like this straight, because I know stuff I wrote in November, 2013, is probably just a little off from things I wrote a year later.

But you don’t want to hear about that.  You want to know what happens next, right?

Well, Annie’s standing in the middle of a road . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie squinted as diffused light stuck her eyes. The scenery began coming into view, and she glanced right and left, taking in her surroundings. She was standing in a tree-lined street with houses on either side, though there wasn’t any traffic, nor were there any cars. Sound was absent: wind, animals, music, people being outside—there was nothing was dead silence.

She gazed down her body towards her feet. She was still dressed in her blue silk pajamas and her feet were bare. She touched the pavement with here toes: it felt like she was walking on the bed’s comforter and not something hard and unyielding.

She was aware shouldn’t be here, because she was in bed asleep.

Annie remembered getting under the covers and turning out the lights. She remembered Kerry telling her good night and that he loved her, and she doing the same. She remembered rolling onto her right side and feeling Kerry cuddle her and kiss the back of her neck before spooning up against her back and sliding his left arm over her tummy.

She remembered feeling content and happy and loved before closing here eyes—

 

Oh, Annie, you lovely girl.  Talking about falling asleep in bed with your soul mate.  But now she’s standing in the middle of a street in her pajamas.  And . . .

 

“Annie?”

She turned to her right and there he stood, slightly behind her and maybe five meters away. He was also dressed in his pajamas, but he wasn’t wearing his glasses. He always wears his glasses. She took two steps in his direction as he began walking towards her. The only time I’ve ever see him without them is when . . .

The moment he was within arm’s length Kerry took Annie’s hands. “Is this what I think it is?”

Annie looked up. “Does everything feel a bit strange to you?”

“Just a little.” He reached up and touched his face. “I’m not wearing my glasses.”

“No, you’re not.” She looked down the street past Kerry, then back to him. “This is—” A huge grin broke out on her face. “We’re dreaming.”

“This is our dreamspace.” He laughed aloud. “We’re dreaming again.”

 

Finally they are back.  This is what it’s like for them:  everything looks real, but there’s just enough off to make it seem not real.  And there’s a little test, just to see if it is real–

 

She wasn’t certain how they were doing this, but Annie was ecstatic to see them back in a space they’d shared so many times in the past. “Wait—see if you can change your clothes.”

Kerry closed his eyes and appeared to concentrate. A few seconds later his pajamas vanished and he was wearing the same outfit he’d worn from Salem. He looked down at himself. “Wow. I can do this.”

“Of course you can—” Annie’s own clothing changed, though instead of wearing the outfit she’d worn from school, she was wearing a tank top, jeans, and sandals. “You’re a witch, just like me. And if I can change, so can you.” She laughed and leapt against him. “I can’t believe we’re here.”

Kerry had never seen Annie so happy before—but then, this was their private world; this was a place they’d shared so many times in the past, and now, it seemed, it was open once more . . . “When we were talking about this tonight, something must have unlocked that allowed us to get back here.”

“It must have.” Annie continued hugging Kerry tight. “We were together last night—”

“But we didn’t figure out our last dream.” Kerry spun Annie around, laughing. “Oh, man. This is fantastic.”

“It is.” Annie kept her arms draped around his shoulders as she checked their surroundings. “Do you know this place? I don’t recognize it.”

 

We’ve seen Annie singing and showing off here nail polish, and now she’s leaping for joy.  Pretty soon she’ll want to go shopping, and she’ll end up dragging Kerry into every store she can find.  But that’s for a later date and a latter time.  Right now questions are asked, and Kerry does have an answer . . .

 

He nodded. “I know it.” Kerry pointed to the house behind her. “That’s my old house on Van Winkle Drive. This is Sleepy Hollow.”

Annie stared at the house. “I’ve never seen it from out here.”

“No. The only time you ever saw it in our dreams was out on the back patio and in my bedroom.”

She remembered something that he’d mentioned after returning from Yule holiday. “You didn’t go by here when you were visiting your grandparents, did you?”

He shook his head. “No.” He looked to his left, staring down the road. “My parents did, but I didn’t want to.”

Annie slowly untangled herself. “Why not?”

“I just—” He cleared his throat and looked away from the structure. “I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.”

 

Abandonment and separation play a big part in Kerry’s psychology, and both seem to go together.  It seems as if his life in California wasn’t much better than his current one in Cardiff, but he seems to have an answer of why he misses this place so much . . .

 

There were many things that Annie remembered from their last eight months together, but the thing that stuck out this very moment was one of the first things he said to her after she’d told him she loved him. “’This is a new chapter for me’.”

He shook himself. “What?”

“You said that our first night in the garden after you told me that no girl had ever said they loved you or called you their soul made.” She gently placed his left hand between hers. “You were talking about your E&A; it was the only thing you could remember.”

He allowed his mind to wander back to that moment. “I remember I was told not to dwell on the past.” He looked at the dream house and slipped his hands into his pant pockets. “And I haven’t been dwelling—”

“So why didn’t you go by and say goodbye?”

Kerry looked down and shook his head. “I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.”

Annie touched his chin and slowly raised his head. “My love . . .”

He blinked twice. “Yes?”

“Why can’t you say goodbye?”

“Because . . .” He swallowed and motioned towards the building. “I didn’t want to say goodbye without you.” He lowered his arms to his side. “I didn’t know why at the time I didn’t want to see this place; I kept thinking it had to do with what I remembered from the E&A, that I have to write new chapters and move forward.  But I know now:  this is where we met, were we played, where we learned about each other.  That’s why I couldn’t go . . .” Kerry stared deeply into Annie’s eyes. “You should be there when I say goodbye to my home.”

 

It’s not so much the memories he shared there with family and friends, but he now knows this is the place where he first met Annie, and he wants to be with her when he finally waves this place off.

However, Annie has some words of wisdom for him–

 

She turned and pointed towards the house. “That’s not your home, darling.”

“I know: it’s just a dream.”

“No, I mean . . . it’s not your home; it never was. It was a place that you lived until you were eight, and then you moved to Cardiff.” She took his hands. “Until you find a place where you can live with someone you love, and who loves you, and you both fill that place with your love, you won’t really have a home.”

She stood to his left and hugged him as they faced the front yard. “We shared many memories there, and many more in Cardiff, but those don’t mean nearly as much to me as bike riding in our dream countryside, or the place in the mountains where we picnicked—or your tree where you read to me.” She wrapped her arms around him and closed her eyes. “That place means more to me than either of these places you’ve lived.”

Kerry sniffed once and lightly pressed his head against hers. “I never thought of it that way.”

She nodded. “I know. You think of this place as where we first met, but really—” She pulled slightly away and looked around. “This place, our dreamspace, is where we first met, where we played, where we learned about each other. This is why I’ve missed out dreams: because this was our first home.”

He chuckled. “It is, isn’t it?” Kerry turned to Annie and kissed her lightly. “It’s our home.”

“And our home is filled with our love.” Annie nodded towards the house. “One day we’ll say goodbye to this place in person, but—” She stepped back and tugged lightly on his arm. “Show it to me so we can say goodbye now.”

 

When I wrote the above passage last night I was only concerned with getting it right, with writing it in Annie’s voice–which I do hear when I’m writing her dialog–and it didn’t affect me then, but just rereading it now . . . I teared up big time.  Yeah, I know:  I’m like Kerry.  Big surprise there.

But in those words you find the one reason out of many why Annie wanted Kerry to remember his dream, and why she wanted to return to sharing them with him:  because this is their home.  And you realize–and it’s something that gets brought up in another scene–that even Annie wants and needs a home.

Probably with here husband-to-be, but we know how goes, right?

And there’s on last thing:

 

“There were.” He laughed softly. “You really want to go inside?”

“Yes.” She kissed his cheek. “And then I want to see our tree again, and rest in its shade.”

He faced the house, holding Annie’s right hand in his left. “You ready?”

She stood alongside and faced the house as well. “I am.”

“Okay, then.” Kerry nodded sharply once. “Let’s do this.”

Annie nodded once. “Let’s.”

 

Those last four lines will get used at least once a novel, assuming I ever get around to writing them.  I also know something special about those words, too–I just can’t tell you, not just yet.

So, out with the old and in with the new . . .

Just like all my other plans so far, it's coming together--more or less.

Just like all my other plans so far, it’s coming together–more or less.

And as you can see I’ve already started some house cleaning.  I’ll finalize this layout tonight, and probably do a little writing an a little time lining, and in no time we’ll be through the Kansas operation–

Safe and sound, I hope.

The Deconstruction of the Wall of Dreams

There comes a moment when you have to pull out the last of the secrets and show them.  At least in this book, that is, because while I’ve presented a lot of secrets about my kids over the course of nearly fourteen months, there are a few that will carry over into other stories.

Right now, however, we’re dealing with secrets in the here and now.

Kerry is saying he’s figured out their final dream together, the one that both have had difficulty seeing, even with his memory block of their dreams removed.  It’s a big moment because it really defines why he lost touch with Annie, why he couldn’t remember all their dream moments together.

And how does he start?

 

 All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie almost slipped away from Kerry’s embrace so she could turn and face him. “Really?”

He nodded. “I think so.”

“When did this happen?”

He looked down at his lap, avoiding Annie’s sideway glance. “After we fell asleep last night at the Observatory, I had a dream, and . . .” Now he met her gaze. “I saw something.”

His last three words had Annie wondering: did he have a dream, or was it a vision? She knew her rune dream was actually a vision, and while Kerry’s seemed to be more of a dream, one could also debate that something was telling him of a possible future, and reminding him of the steps he needed to take to get there.

Annie waved her hand at two of the lights and extinguished them; she felt there was too much light in the room, and she wanted things a bit more intimate. “What did you see?” No matter if it were a dream or vision, Annie had to know something about that last moment they shared in dreamspace.

His voice remained low as spoke. “It was short. I saw us in a fog, talking—well, not really talking, but—” His face twisted into a grimace. “I was upset, standing there with my hands over my ears, and I could hear you saying you had to go away . . .” He gulped softly. “That was really all I saw, but it was enough to get me thinking when we were flying back to the tower.

 

Something triggered him up at the tower.  Maybe it was falling asleep together and being in close proximity to Annie, and having things just chipping away inside his head.  He goes on:

 

“I didn’t go back to sleep right away when we got back to our rooms. I stayed up and thought about what happened, starting at the beginning, and then read through the books, trying to find answers to what I was thinking.” He pressed his face into Annie’s hair. “I remember, I had a bad day that day; my mom was yelling at me about something—I don’t remember what, but I remember I went to bed upset and wanting to see you—”

“I remember I had a bad day as well.” Annie’s voice grew soft and tender. “My father and she were going on about my attending Salem and how it was going to be great for the family to have another Kililovi there—” She slowly shook here head. “By the time my mother was finished I didn’t want to hear about Salem anymore, I just . . .” She held onto Kerry’s comforting hand. “I wanted to see you.”

“We were both like that.” Kerry slid down on the bed a little so he was cheek-to-cheek with his soul mate. “In bad mood and wanting to see each other. Only . . .”

“Yes?”

“When I saw you I knew something was wrong, and I felt it hit me. You asked me how I was doing, and I asked you. Then . . .” He swallowed before speaking softly and slowly. “You said, ‘I have something to tell you; I’m going away’.”

Now Annie did sit up and turn her head. “Wait, I don’t remember saying it that way. I told you that I had news, that I . . .” The realization hit Annie that the moment she’d had so much trouble remembering returned to her as if it had happened just yesterday. “That I have something to tell you; I’m going away.” The shock she felt flowed into her face. “I did say that.”

Kerry nodded while keeping his eyes downcast. “I know you said that you were going away to school in America, but that came after. By that time—” He closed his eyes. “I was already starting to lose it.”

The scene rushed back into Annie’s memory: Kerry looking sad when he greeted her; her telling him she was going away; the look of anguish that took hold as he couldn’t believe what he’d heard; she telling him in a dejected tone that she was going to America in a few months, that their sleep schedule would get changed, that she didn’t know how it was going to affect their dreams—

And the crying, the moaning, the hacking sobs as Kerry . . .

Annie’s breath quickened. She tightened her grip around his hand. “You thought I was abandoning you.”

He opened his eyes and a few tears dribbled from his eyes. “Yeah.”

 

Finally, just by getting that first little part out of the way, Kerry is able to remember what he saw, and so is Annie.  It’s one of those, “Oh, really?” moments when it happens–and because strange things happen here all the time, it’s not that unusual for it to come together suddenly.

But Annie remembering she came on a little brash?  Well, we are talking about Annie here.  And that leads here to what she remembers prior to this night . . .

 

Don’t leave, please. They all leave. Everyone leaves me. That was what he told her in the middle of his delirium during their night on the ward. Annie also remembered what he told her at the end of the first Saturday Madness: My best friend . . . and the only one who loves me. She understood the meanings of these statements: He feels I’m the only one who loves him—and that he was afraid I was going to leave him. She closed her eyes an saw Kerry in that last dream, almost screaming out his sorrow. Just as his Chestnut Girl left him . . .

Annie returned to the hollow between his arm and his warm body and wrapped his arm around her. “I’m sorry I hurt you, Kerry. I didn’t realize I was saying those things. Only—”

He continued to speak in a low, calming tone resting on the edge of sadness. “Only why did I forget?”

“Yes.”

 

Which is the reason that Annie’s been looking at for almost a year.  And because she’s so close to the subject, right on top of the matter, so to speak, she misses the most important part . . .

 

He pulled Annie tight against him, as if he were trying to merge with her body. “It finally came to me because of our meeting with Erywin in the glen. The whole things about being able to affect a person’s subconscious while in a dreamspace—

“We determined one person can’t affect another that way.” Annie rested her head against his chest. “So I couldn’t have done anything to you.”

“You didn’t have to.” He sighed. “I did it. I affected my own subconscious. Because . . .”

Annie didn’t wait for him to answer, because she knew the answer. “Because we didn’t know you were a witch.”

“Right. Neither of us knew. The only people who did were The Foundation, and they weren’t telling you, so . . .” He slowly ran his fingers across Annie’s silk-covered tummy. “I changed the dreamspace without anyone knowing. And in doing so, I changed my own mind.

“Remember in my rune dream the girl who was talking to me . . .” He reached over and lay his hand over Annie’s heart. “She said before I could give you my heart, I had to break down the walls around it. That’s what I was reading about this morning—”

Dream walls.” Annie didn’t mean to sound excited but the answer was so obvious. “You walled off all your memories of me and our dreams.” She turned her head just enough that she could see his pouting face out of the side of her eye. “That’s why you suffered déjà vu—”

“But why I’d remember things every so often—usually when I was really upset.”

“You were getting upset—”

“—Because I was remembering. Not just the dream, but why I walled them off.” He turned his head as Annie did, and they were almost chin-to-chin as his spoke. “That’s why I didn’t remember anything: because I didn’t want to remember. I thought you were abandoning me, but before you could talk me down, before you could reassure me that things would be okay, I used magic before you knew what I was doing. I put everything behind a dream wall and sealed it off.” Kerry bowed his head. “I did that because I didn’t want to live without you in my life—so I removed you from my life.”

 

What happens when you have a secret witch getting all out of their mind over something?  They run the risk of doing magic and screwing things up.  Just as on this operation they’re doing they’re worried Tanith will do something in public that will hurt others, Kerry did something that hurt him–well, it messed up his ability to remember something that was important to him.  All because he’s quick to lose it emotionally, and he didn’t know he know magic.

And now Annie knows this:

 

She heard the pain in his voice: he’s still blaming himself for what happened. “Kerry, it’s not your fault for what happened. We were both in bad moods, I approached you wrong, and . . .” She shook her head. “I would have made it better if I’d been able.”

He nodded. “I know.”

“I never wanted to hurt you; I never want you hurt.” She kissed his nose before lightly caressing his lips. “I think I know why I forgot what happened, too.”

“Because you realized, at some level, that you’d set me off.” He turned his head and sighed so he wouldn’t exhale into Annie’s face. “And in doing so, you’d somehow pushed me away.”

“That sounds right. I could remember you—”

“And you remembered that you wanted me back.” For the first time he smiled. “I got that part.”

“I did: more than anything.”

He pulled her close and kissed her. “Why did you want me to remember everything? Even after I feel in love with you again?”

“Because I wanted all of you.” Annie settled back into his arms. “I wanted you to return to every moment we ever shared, because all of those moment were the best of my life.” She grinned. “And you should know by now, when I want something—”

“You get it.” He hugged her tight. “I know.”

 

All better now–right?  It would seem that things are right in the world again.  And it’s a simple reason why Annie wanted him to remember:  because she wanted him back.  All of him.  Because she’s a selfish girl, and no way in hell was she going to leave him not knowing everything they did.

There is, however, a final revelation . . .

 

Annie closed her eyes and found herself drifting. “It’s funny, but now I can remember it all.”

“So can I.” He used simple levitation to adjust the pillow behind his back. “I think I broke down the last bit of the wall around my heart, and that probably affect whatever block you had.”

The implication of such a thing washed over Annie. “Does that mean we’ll share dreamspace again?”

“It might. One of the books indicated that lucid dreaming is easier when there are no barriers in your subconscious to hinder your progress.” He shrugged. “We’ll have to see.”

Oh, I hope it’s so . . . Annie drew in a deep breath and released it slowly, feeling cleansed after. “I’m so glad I had you read all those books.”

Kerry said nothing for almost five seconds, then quietly cleared his throat. “I wonder if it was you who had me read those books?”

“You know—” She barely turned her head as she gazed to here left. “What are you thinking?”

“It was our first day at school, I knew nothing about magic, we go visit the school seer—who we won’t have class with for three years—and a while later you’ve got me reading all sorts of books on divination and visions and dreams . . . With all the magic I could have studied, why that?” He almost whispered the question. “Didn’t you say Deanna had us in a trance?”

Deanna’s words in the hospital a few weeks came tripping back into Annie’s memory—You were in a trance for almost eight minutes: it was necessary—and it made her wonder what else the Seer saw in her vision on the flight over the day before. Did she see herself giving me an hypnotic suggestion to put Kerry on that path because she knew it would bring us to this point? “If you don’t mind, I’d rather not think about that because—” She half turned in his arms. “—I don’t want to imagine what else Deanna may know about us.”

Talk about secrets.  Is Deanna responsible for getting them to this point?  Breaking down Kerry’s walls and returning him to Annie?  Did she know this all along, even that first time when Annie came to see her?  Hummmm . . . I could tell you, but I won’t.

I will, however, leave you with my kids getting into something else here.

 

Annie threw her right arm over Kerry’s body and hugged him. “But we’re here, love. We’re together, we’re alone—and we’re back to where we were a year ago.” She glanced upwards at his face. “At least I hope we are.”

“We’ll find out.” He touched the towel. “How’s the hair?”

“Dry by now.” She untangled herself from Kerry’s arms. “I just need to brush it out and we can go to bed.”

She was about to slide off the bed when Kerry lightly touched her arm. “Can I ask something?”

Annie turned back toward him. “Sure.”

“Could I . . .” A red glow filled his face. “Brush it?”

She whipped the towel off here head and let her hair cascade over her shoulders. “You want to brush my hair?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“Because—” He looked down at his feet. “I never have, and now I can.”

“Well . . .” Annie’s hand slid over and took Kerry’s. “If you do this, I might get used to it.”

“But can’t do it unless we’re alone, so I wouldn’t be able to do it at school.”

“Then maybe—” Her eyes sparkled. “That will come after we graduate.” She slid off the bed and pulled him towards her. “Come along, my love: I’ll show you how it’s done.”

 

Uh, oh, Kerry.  You better not do that!  First it’s brushing her hair, then it’s fixing the cabinets in the kitchen.  Just you wait . . .

Last night was two thousand and eight words of fun.  Really, it was.  I thought I would be upset writing, because I was suffering some major depression, but writing about it pulled me out.  And now–

There's only one last thing for them to do before they gotta get to work.

There’s only one last thing for them to do before they gotta get to work.

By the time they get back to school they’re going to be completely different kids . . .

Decisions Done Dark

It’s been a strange night and morning, let me tell you.  This morning my computer has been slow to come up and do anything, to the point where I’ve already rebooted once to get it going again.  That tends to happen any time the anti-virus program decides to update, which is pretty much every other day, it seems.  But here I am, typing away at six-oh-eight in the morning–and I’ve been messing with this computer just short of an hour, so that should give you an idea of when I got up.

And getting up . . . the vivid dreams are back, people.  The last couple of nights I have had some amazingly interactive dreams, so vivid that at one point I felt someone pushing at my back so hard that it woke me up.  Seriously.  I could feel a person there.  The thing is, in my dream I was laying down, so that would mean someone was pretty against my back in bad.  If only . . .

But before that there was writing, and it was good.  One scene, short–if you want to call eleven hundred words short, so be it–and it’s setting up all the stuff that’s happened and confirming whether or not my little kids are ready for the spying witch thing . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Which brings up the next point . . .” Helena had been dreading this part of the conversation, because she knew Erywin wasn’t a fan of what they were doing. “Are they ready for this operation?”

Erywin rubbed her hands together for a few seconds. She had to give an answer—and an honest one that Helena wouldn’t see though. “From a professional standpoint, they’re ready. We already know they have the skills, and they’ve shown that in their test runs here and in the city. They’ve been able to conduct themselves as excellent witch out in Normal public, and have taken great care to blend in with the rest of the population. Given Kerry’s background, and with Annie being in the semi-public eye for a part of her life, I didn’t expect this to be a problem. They both know there are lots of eyes watching them.

“As for their emotional maturity—they can handle this. They haven’t complained when we’ve given them little to do other than follow people around, and that’s going to be a huge plus for them once we’re in Kansas City. They understand this isn’t going to be a glamorous operation: it’s more sneaking and peaking, and they’re expected to blend into the surroundings like any other pair of tweens.” She rolled her shoulders and sighed. “All my personal opinions aside, they can do this.”

 

Erywin was the key in this, really:  she knows people well, and if she said Annie and Kerry weren’t ready for this thing, Helena would have pulled the plug.  But she also knew she had to be honest with Helena, who after thirty years would know if her partner was giving her a line.  Who else can you trust if not someone whose life you’ve shared for that long?

And we find out why Helena hasn’t tried harder to stop this . . .

 

Helena nodded slowly. “And just so we’re still on the same page, I still share many of your personal opinions.”

“Yes, but you’re not doing anything to put a stop to this.”

“And you know the reason why.” Helena pushed back into her chair and stretched. “We let them go now, with us handling them in the field, and there’s less of a chance for everything to go tits up and for them to come back in worse shape than they left. Otherwise . . .”

Erywin wasn’t about to leave the comment hanging. “Would they really turn this into a training operation just to get them in the field?”

“They could. It would be completely legal, and were that to happen they couldn’t use their Right of Refusal to turn it down. All they’d need to do is bring them to a facility, do a workup on them, and then turn them loose in a city—who the hell knows what might happen?” Helena pulled her mobile from her jacket and laid it upon her desk. “And they could also do this during the summer, when there’s limited visibility on our side. No: this is the best course of action. We can keep them in our sights and come home if shit gets too deep.”

 

See?  I have little Catch-22s everywhere.  Just label it a different way and there you are:  you’ve got a couple of twelve year olds spending the summer perhaps running for their lives.  See, it’s not a “Field Operation”, it’s a “Monitored Test”.  Just like it’s not torture, it’s “enhanced interrogation”–and a monitored test could end up being just about the same thing.

But did you think things we’re going to happen with a bit of a twist?  Guess again!

 

“And it’s all on us now.” Erywin stood up and started slowly pacing the room. “I worry about myself.”

“You’ll do fine.” Helena meant it, too. She didn’t see this as a dangerous operation, and was aware that her partner could take care of herself in any situation. “If you could fly Air Patrol during the Day of the Dead, you can handle this. I wouldn’t have asked you along if I didn’t think you were capable.”

“I know. Still, I have by doubts—”

Helena’s mobile buzzed. She snatched it off the desk and checked the message. “Son of a bitch.”

Erywin didn’t like the tone of her lovely girl’s voice. “What?”

Helena typed in something quickly and sent off a message before tossing the phone down. “They moved the operation up a week—” She sat back, smoothing out her hair. “We leave this Thursday.”

“You did say we could expect this.”

“I know. But for the reply to come back so fast . . .” She shook her head. “They must have known they were going to move it up a few days ago. Which is why they asked for a decision by tonight.” She chuckled. “Bastards.”

Erywin leaned on the back of one of the chairs. “You could still kill this operation.”

“I could, but I’m going to let it go.” Helena shrugged. “Like you say, we knew it could happen, and I was half expecting this. No, we go on. Like it or not, this isn’t a huge deal breaker.”

 

So it’s the Tuesday night follow the Sunday meeting in the Grove, and now it looks like our Fearsome Foursome is going to leave sometime Thursday afternoon or evening.  And the next scene is a late night one with the kids, and it’ll serve to clear a few things up, as well as push Act Three over the fifty thousand word mark, and maybe even three hundred and sixty thousand words.

Half way out of this chapter and one step closer to the next part.

Half way out of this chapter and one step closer to the next part.

If there aren’t a lot of distractions at Panera tonight, I could finish the scene, and that would mean I’ve been ready to start on the next part, Kansas City, by Friday or Saturday.  I already know there are things in the first chapter of that part I want to add, so I’ll likely start layout out those scenes as soon as I can.

Oh, and you’ll see some surprising things in Chapter Thirty-Five.

Trust me.

The Persistence of Visions and Love

It only took me about three hours–and staying up past my normal bedtime–to churn out just a word over fifteen hundred to finish the scene, put finish it I did.  It’s gonna need a good polish, because it’s not my best first draft, but it’s right where I want it, and that’s the idea behind a first draft.

Also, it does sort of have a rambling quality to the discussion.  I mean, we are talking about a twelve year old girl–twelve-and-a-half now, if you consider Annie’s birthday was in September–and Kerry just a few weeks short of his twelfth birthday, so it’s not unusual for them to be a bit inarticulate when it comes to pour out their hearts to an adult.  Although I should say Annie’s doing all the pouring right now, while Kerry has been sitting quietly.

So lets see what Annie has to say.  Do you remember she wrote something in that center part of her book?  She does:

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Before Erywin could question further Annie continued, her voice growing dream-like. “I’ve updated the portraits over the years. In the middle of August I did the first one of us together, and wrote next to it, ‘I’m off to Salem to see my love, my future husband’.” She turned a faint smile towards the professor. “Rather presumptuous of me, don’t you think?”

“We all do things like that when we’re in love, Annie.” She patted the young girl’s hand. “You feel in love with someone, and you wanted to share your life with him. I know that feeling, believe me: I’ve done the same.”

“Did you plan your life with Helena without telling her first?” Annie sighed and seemed to wilt. “I did. I went and decided I was going to marry, decided how it was going to be, how I was going to look—and when I found someone I loved, I went ahead and made them my fiance. Because that’s how I am: selfish.” She looked at the ground and snorted. “What Annie wants, Annie gets. Just ask my mother.”

 

And this has been a running theme with her:  Annie is a selfish girl.  She’s brought it up, Deanna brought it up, and her mother believes it all too well.  Annie’s beating herself up over it and getting right down to the core of the matter:

 

For the first time she turned to Kerry, who had sat quietly through her conversation with a face that showed almost no emotion. “I never gave you a choice, my love. I decided everything for us, and in the years we were together in our dreams—even before you know I was real, before I knew you loved me, even before you knew I was witch—I never asked what you wanted. I never thought that you might want the same thing I wanted. What if you wanted something else?”

She turned back to Erywin. “What if he decided to stay with me because he felt obligated? What if he did and then hated me for what happened? What if he was miserable because I never asked him what he wanted because I knew what I wanted.”

“And there’s the problem—” She sighed. “All these things I wanted, I desired, they were there every time we visited in our dreams. What if they influenced my visions? I had my lake house vision after I knew Kerry was real—what if I only saw him in that vision because I wanted him there? What if what I wanted directed Kerry’s visions? What if—”

“That’s impossible.”

 

Annie has a lot of “What If?” going on, and she finally comes out and asks Kerry, “What if you’re not happy?  What if this isn’t want you want?  What if you stay with me and you’re miserable?  What if you’re pretty, what if you’re rich, here’s what they said–”  Sorry:  Annie almost broke into song there.  It’s all interesting questions, until someone–probably the boy who’s been listening to this for a while–lays just a bit of a smackdown on her.

But Annie’s so convinced she’s right, she’s gonna give him an argument–

 

Annie’s turned towards Kerry, who was now staring back with a look plastered across his face that didn’t hide his feelings. “But when we were in our dreamspace I could manipulate parts of the dream—”

“Because your magic allowed it; it was a form of lucid dreaming.” Kerry bowed his head for a moment. “You couldn’t have affected my subconscious with your own subconscious desire; it doesn’t work that way in dreamspace.”

“But what I wanted could have ended up in your mind—”

“I doesn’t matter what you wanted: you would have had to actively implanted a notion, and then erased my memory of the event.”

Annie wasn’t going to accept Kerry’s retorts. “What I saw in my visions—”

“Has nothing to do with what I saw in my visions.” He stood, shaking his head. “Annie, I know you want to think that you made me have those visions, but you couldn’t. Deanna said something the other night: you can’t make someone have visions. I know that, too, because I read it in those books you had me study. That’s how I also knew that . . . thing that happened to me was really a vision.”

 

This is the problem when you give your boyfriend a lot of books to read:  he reads them, then has the answers you don’t want to hear.  And he’s right:  Deanna already told Annie that she couldn’t make them have visions.  Annie’s position is that she influenced him with her subconscious, but Kerry’s got that one down:  no, you couldn’t.  Doesn’t work that way.  I know ’cause I read about it.

And now that he’s on his feet, it’s time for him to get something off his chest.

 

He approached Erywin as he addressed her. “I know Coraline said I was bothered when she saw me that night, and I was—but not because of what I saw, but more because . . .” He grimaced a little as he looked for the right words.

Erywin stepped in to help. “Unexpected and messy?”

“Yeah.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “But by the time we made it to lunch, I knew I’d had a vision—I knew it because of all the stuff I’d been reading about divination and visions and dreams for months. I also knew from reading that the best odds you could get have for a vision being true or not were fifty-fifty.” He turned towards Annie, who was now listening silently. “This was before I knew you had your vision, and that it was the same thing I’d had—”

“But you had yours months later.” Annie appeared to want to jump out of her seat. “Yours could have occurred—”

“You couldn’t make me have a vision. It’s impossible. If Professor Arrakis couldn’t do it, you couldn’t.” He turned back to Erywin. “Coraline and Deanna probably mentioned that I was upset, that I was agitated, but it’s not for what you think—”

 

And that is probably the only time Kerry has ever talked back to Annie like that, because he has to cool her down, and the only way to do it is by telling here in no uncertain terms that she can’t be right.  Sort of like a good sorceress keeping their head about them . . .

Which is what he does as he continues on why he was “agitated”–

 

He stood in front of Annie. “I wasn’t upset that I saw us together on our wedding night; I was upset that there was a chance that what I saw wouldn’t happen.” He slumped as all the energy seemed to leave him. “If it didn’t happen, it’s because we split and weren’t together any more. Or . . .” He looked down, whimpering once. “Something bad happened to one of us. Something—”

Annie jump out of her seat and took Kerry’s hands. “My love, nothing is going to happen to us, not like that.”

 

There it is:  he made the connection that if it doesn’t happen, it means they are no longer together.  Either they broke up, or–in a point he’s made before–one or both of them are dead.  And there’s more coming–which means, if you know Kerry, you know what else is coming . . .

 

When he looked up Annie saw that Kerry was fighting to keep his emotions in check, but it was clear he was under tremendous stress. “The morning after we told each other our names I came downstairs in the morning, and my mother was like, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you so happy?’ I didn’t know it, but I was smiling: my mom said it was the first time in four months I’d smiled. You know what I told her? I said, ‘I’ve been bike riding with my Chestnut Girl’. She thought I was nuts; she even said so. But I didn’t care, because I knew it was true. It was the best time I’d had in a long time—and it was even better because I shared it with you.

“You’ve been in my life as long as I can remember, and I can’t think of what I’d do without you, Annie.” His shoulders started to heave as he started to lose the fight with his emotions. “I’m not good with expressing myself—I know that. My family isn’t like you’re: there’s no romance and little in the way of affection. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how I feel about you.” The tears started stream down his cheeks. “I don’t want anything to happen to you—to happen to us. I don’t want us apart; I don’t want you . . .”

Annie wrapped her arms around Kerry and comforted him as he released the pent up fear mingled with his love. “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”

Kerry buried his head into her shoulder. “You said you never gave me a choice, that you decided everything for us.” He wrapped his arms around Annie’s waist and held her tight. “You been giving me a choice for the last ten minutes—” He pressed his cheek against hers. “I’m still here. I didn’t go. I couldn’t go. I don’t want to go.” Kerry kissed her cheek. “I don’t ever want to go.”

 

Annie told her mother about her Ginger Hair Boy, and we finally discover that, at one time, Kerry told his mother about his Chestnut Girl, and he was happy about it.  Mister Mope was actually happy after month of being sad and depressed, all because a girl in his dreams took him bike riding.  And yes, he cries, because Kerry hasn’t learned how to keep a rein on his emotions.  He’ll learn one of these days.

First scene out of the way, and it was a long one:  longer than all of Part Nine.

Funny how that works out.

Funny how that works out.

But the other three scenes should go quickly, because I don’t anticipate them being very long.  And I should point out that I’m about twenty-five hundred words away from fifty thousand for this act, which means Act Three is shaping up to be rather short compared to the first two.

Then again, I haven’t gotten to Part Twelve yet.