Mother’s Little Annoyance: I Am Not the Danger

If my fantasy were a reality, right now a young girl would be getting up from breakfast and setting out to handle the events of the day.  She would have awakened to find a young man waiting to escort her to breakfast and he’d end up spending the rest of the day with her.  At some point in the afternoon he’d take her to the shores of a lake where they often sat and give her a present, for this is her most special of days.

Today is the day Annie Kirilova turns 17 during her last year as a student at the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning.

Kerry would get her a special cake, too.

Kerry would get her a special cake, too.

Little Annie is gonna be all grown up by this point and getting ready to head out on her year of Real Life Experience with her soul mate at her side.  And in another year she’ll turn 18 and then wait until Kerry turns 18 so they can wait until as close to the summer solstice as they can get so they can get married and live happily ever after and maybe even have a few little witches of their own, which we know Annie is already carrying in her belly.  But you say, “What about the ones Kerry will have?”  We’ll worry about that later…

And speaking of Kerry, he’s still with his mom in the here and now of my fictional realty.  I thought I would write more than three hundred and eighty-five words last night, but I got caught up in the debate and was having a great time making fun of the Orange Dumpster Fire.  However, I did get to something important–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Louise shook her head. “I still think it shows a lot of irresponsibly on the part of your school to allow you to learn those—” She puckered her face. “Dangerous spells.”

“You mean our Morte spells?” Kerry snorted. “The only people who are taught those spells are the kids responsible enough to know not to use them—”

But you’re just kids. That’s the point. You’re admitting you have the ability to kill someone—

“You have the ability to kill someone every time you get in a car.” Kerry felt himself getting wound up and spend a few seconds getting his emotions under control. “Anyone in a car can kill someone if they wanted—”

“And we’d go to jail if we did.” Louise was getting wound up as well, though she was having less luck at controlling her temper. “It’s not the same thing.”

“The Foundation has their own jail, too, as well as police.” He shook his head. “If I killed anyone just because I could, I’d go away, Mom. I’d get punished. I’d go to jail.” He snorted aloud. “You act like there are no repercussions if we go out and start hurting people with our magic. If we did we’d been in so much trouble it’s not even funny.”

Kerry leaned against the table. “The reason Annie and I are able to learn those spells is because we’re trusted. The school and The Foundation knows we’re not crazy, we’re not irresponsible, we’re not gonna act like maniacs. That’s the reason we’re in C Level Sorcery; that’s the reason Annie can teach me what she learns from Professor Lovecraft.” He stood and straightened. “You don’t have to worry about us, Mom: the school doesn’t.”

Louise spent a few seconds regarding her son in the now-silent dining room. She crossed her arms just under her breasts. “What does this girl mean to you?”

Kerry was somewhat taken back. “Who? Annie?”

“Yes. You’ve mentioned her several times, and just now when you talked about being trusted you included her.” Louise rubbed her chin. “It wasn’t ‘I’ it was ‘we’.” She exhaled slowly. “What is she to you, Kerry?”

He didn’t even pause. “She’s my girlfriend, Mom.”

 

We know, as does Annie and Kerry, that if they went around killing people they’d go to jail.  Probably Cloudland, too, since these two would be looked upon as crazy maniac witches who need to be put in their place.  So even though it’s not been discussed in the first two books, you can rest assured that Helena or Isis or both sat them down and told them, “This is what happens if you step out of line.”  And it won’t be pretty.

But lastly:  “She’s my girlfriend, Mom.”  It’s finally out in the open around the Malibey house that The Girl Who Writes is really Kerry’s One and Only.  And sometime tonight I should be able to get Louise’s reaction to the fact her son is, um, “dating”.

You know it’s gonna be good.

A Certain Day in May: Wishes and Kisses

Here I am, down to the coffee shop on a rainy and gray Beltane, writing my butt off and feeling better than I did yesterday, which was probably one of the suckiest days I’ve had to push through.  But push I did, and I even managed to get in three hundred words last night, though I had zero motivation to do any writing.

However, Chapter Thirty-two is finished, and a little checking shows that this is the shortest chapter of the novel, shorter than Chapter Nineteen, which was just over fifty-one hundred words.  Hey, I’m still over three hundred thousand words total, so it’s all good.

And it's not like I've been slacking to get to this point.

And it’s not like I’ve been slacking to get to this point.

I should point out that last night’s and today’s writing has happened for the most part while Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue plays in the earbuds.  As a personal note, this has always been one of my favorites pieces, one that I discovered when I was in seventh grade, and one which I’ve loved dearly ever since.  In other words, I knew this before a certain airline made it famous in their TV ads.

Now that my kids are on “their” bench, where is their conversation leading?  Well, let’s listen in–

Continue reading

A Certain Day in May: The Moment of Giving

Kerry’s Birthday Adventure is nearly over, and that’s because I managed my way through another night of nearly eight hundred word writing to bring this second scene to an end.  I didn’t think that was going to happen, but it did.

I even have proof, which is all that matters.

I even have proof, which is all that matters.

 

Now, there isn’t much to say at this point about the writing:  it was just writing, you know?  You wanna know the payoff, which is something I’ve promised for a while.  Well, here it comes, just like the blog title says.

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

They entered Salem Green, one of the numerous walkways found around downtown Salem, and they quickly found themselves in a small lot behind the restaurant where they would dine this evening. The moment she was certain they were alone Annie pulled Kerry to a stop before drawing him off to the side next to some trees. After a short kiss she reached inside her purse and pulled out a small, gift wrapped box. “Happy birthday, my love.”

“I wondered when you were going to spring this on me.” After removing his backpack and setting it down he turned the box over slowly in his hands. “Quite a difference from last year.”

“Yes, but just as important.” Annie leaned against Kerry resting her chin on the hand she’s clamped over his left shoulder. “Last year when I gave you the Espinoza, it was to allow you to become a better flier and, in time, an excellent racer. I wanted you to feel the sky and become comfortable being there. This, however—” She nodded towards the box. “It’s going to help you next year.”

“Really? Well—” He began to carefully unwrap the package. “Let’s see then.” In about thirty seconds he had the paper off and handed it to Annie to fold and place in his backpack. The uncovered box was slightly smaller than his mobile and completely unadorned. Upon sliding off the top he discovered a small silver clam shell case inside. He popped it open—

Inside was a compass.

Kerry lifted the small device from the case, snapped the case closed, and began examining his present closely. The compass itself sat at one end of a Plexiglas baseplate that curved around half the ring dial, and extended a few centimeters to where he noticed the rulers, an orienting arrow, and a small magnifying lens. He moved it about, watching the arrow slowly align on magnetic north no matter which way he turned.

“I’ve spoken with Penny and Alex about what they did on The Polar Express.” Annie moved around so she was facing Kerry. “I know how you navigate: maps and a compass and visual flight rules, nothing more. And as the navigator of your team you need know that the course you’re setting is correct.” She nodded towards his hands. “I was told by Alex that’s one of the best you can get: it’s what she used during their flight. It will adjust for magnetic variances, it glows in the dark so you can navigate at night, and best of all, that one is global: you can use it in both the northern and southern hemispheres.” She chuckled. “I don’t know if we’ll ever need that function, but I figured it was good to have because you never know where we might travel.”

 

I’m certain there are a few people reading this going, “Are you kidding?  That’s Kerry’s present?”  No, really:  that’s what she bought him.  I’ll even show it too you, because I do know what it looks like.

The gift that any witch with a couple of million Euros in a trust fund can afford.

The gift that any witch with a couple of million Euros in a trust fund can afford.

While that is the current 2016 version, the 2013 version is nearly identical–I know, I’ve looked.  But there’s a little more that goes with this gift . . .

 

“That’s really nice.” He was rather impressed with his new toy, and he not only flashed upon an image of him using it to plot a course on a map, but he also considered the notion that one day in the future he may be somewhere in the southern hemisphere using this navigation aid. “Thank you.” He pulled Annie close and kissed her with great tenderness. “This is a beautiful present, Darling.  I’m going to start working with this over the summer.”

“I as much figured.” She tapped the hand that held the case. “There’s more.”

He pushed away slightly in surprise. “There is?”

“Yes.” Annie chuckled slightly upon the utterance of his question. “Open the case and look inside the lid.”

Kerry did as instructed and saw what he missed when he opened the case the first time: the inscription inside the lid—

 

Tova shte vi otvede obratno kŭm men. Lyubovta, Annie.

 

He read it three times, hoping his nascent Bulgarian would be sufficient, but the only words he recognized were the last two. “I know the last part says ‘Love, Annie’, but I don’t recognize the rest.”

She moved next to her soul mate and pointed at the inscription. “It says, ‘This will bring you back to me’.” Annie turned and kissed Kerry with as much tenderness as he’d done with her moments before. “And it will. No matter where you are, when you want to reach me, you will.”

Kerry closed his eyes and heard her words in his mind once more, then a second and third time. Only then did he slowly open his eyes, though he couldn’t see for they were filled with tears. “Oh, Darling—”

Annie touched his cheek. “What is it, my love?”

“The gift.” He sniffed back the tears. “It’s just a compass, but the feeling you placed within—” He hugged the love of his life tightly. “What did I ever do to deserve you?”

She placed his face between her hands and, while gazing into his eyes, spoke to him in tones of hushed reverence. “You were born.”

 

I ran that last line of the except–“You were born”–over and over for the last week, and most of the time when I played out the last part of this scene I’d begin crying.  It’s touching because Kerry understands what Annie’s saying to him with such a simply gift:  no matter where you are, you’ll always find your way to me.  And since the inscription’s in Bulgarian, no one else–save someone who speaks Bulgarian–will know what Annie had inscribed.

It’s for them and them alone.

Now, something I want to touch upon, so bear with me . . .

The idea of a compass really came to me about a year and a half ago, though I have to admit I didn’t start doing my research on this until about a week back.  It seems like a cheap-ass gift–what did Annie spend?  About €50?  Yeah, about that.  Considerably less than what she spent on Kerry’s broom.

I’ve said several times in the past that they give gifts based upon feeling, not cost.  The most Kerry’s spent on Annie so far was a few hundred Pounds on the earrings, and mention will be made in the next scene about them.

As for this gift . . . I have a little something to show.

A few nights back–Monday the 25th around 10:30 to be accurate–I was chatting with my friend Tanya, who is the person who created the original Annie upon whom my Annie is closely modeled.  We were chatting about the story–which we tend to do–and I brought up the matter of Kerry’s gift.  And here’s what was said:

 

Cassidy Frazee
That will get mentioned, but he’s getting his present from Annie.

Tanya
Oh!!
Does she end up giving him the same thing or is it something else?

Cassidy Frazee
She gave him his broom for his twelfth birthday. This year, because he’s doing the Polar Express the next school year, she’s giving him an engraved compass.
They give gifts that mean something. 🙂

Tanya
Not just because??
lol
Maybe Kerry could use some chap stick
all that wind can’t be good on the lips

Cassidy Frazee
She’ll have written on the back, “This will bring you back to me. Love, Annie.”

Tanya
awe
that’s adorable

Cassidy Frazee
It’s what Annie would do.

 

Of course I hadn’t decided on the exact type of compass the other night, and once I picked the Plexiglas one engraving something on the back would have been out of the question, which is why it’s now inside the case lid.  But that’s beside the point:  what’s important is Tanya’s last statement:  “Awe.  That’s adorable.”  Only the Real Annie(tm) would understand the meaning behind the gift, and get that it’s not a matter of being cheap, it’s a matter of being on point.  This will allow him to navigate across hundreds of kilometers of wilderness in the middle of winter with the intention of returning to the school.  Which they consider home, because we know, home is where the love lay.

Home is where Annie waits.

So, the gift is Real Annie(tm) approved, and that’s all I need to hear.

And you can bet a certain kid is gonna spend a lot of time zipping around England and Wales over the summer making sure he can find his way home when it matters the most.

A Certain Day in May: A Quick Remembrance

Only a few hundred words entered the Word Bank last night ’cause it was TV recap time, and twenty-one hundred words and pictures went out in that post, which meant I didn’t get much into this one.  I did, however, edge over the thousand words beyond three hundred K area, so I have that going for me.

But I got him out to his birthday dinner–sort of–and right below, there in the first paragraph, you discover the name of the restaurant that has become a favorite of theirs:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry followed Annie out of the Museum Place and turned right on Church Street. The restaurant where they were dining, Turner’s Seafood, was down Church on their left, but before leaving Salem Annie mentioned that she wanted to walk around the block and stroll down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall before joining the others at what had become their favorite restaurant in Salem after visiting it during their school year end layover at the Sea Sprite Inn.

The sun was still up with perhaps an hour to go before setting. The temperatures were still cool, hovering between eleven and twelve Celsius, but the sky was clear and was expected to stay that way all the way through midnight tomorrow. Kerry hoped this meant warm weather would reach them before they left their school, and the rest of America, behind for the summer.

After all the cold Friday afternoon flying Kerry was ready for some warmth . . .

But the afternoon didn’t start off that way. Things were already different when everyone gathered in the Ready Room and the minions took their places at the back of the room. As promised Annie joined Nadine, Rivânia, and Nattat Adriano in the back of the room, but up front Kerry was completely surprised, and not a bit mortified, when “Doctor Gallagher” came out with Vicky and a big deal was made about the face that not only was it the birthday of the school’s Chief Medical Officer, but it was also the birthday of one of their class members—

At that point a cake was wheeled out and Kerry stood next to Coraline while everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” Coraline congratulated Kerry on becoming a teenager, and, just like last year, she gave him a kiss on the cheek—though she first looked to the back of the room and received a nod of approval from Annie before proceeding.

 

Yeah, Coraline knows better now than to give a kiss to someone who ain’t her soul mate.  That Annie is a possessive one.  And in case you’re wondering, Nattat Adriano is a Mórrígan C Level from Lucira, Angola, and the person whom finished ninth overall in the Individual standings for the 2012/2013 race season.  She was the covenmate who ascended the lower podium right behind Emma in the last scene of the last chapter.

So where are they walking?  Well, I had to put this together last night, too, so there’s more time taken right there.

These maps don't make themselves, you know.

These maps don’t make themselves, you know.

As Kerry is thinking about what’s happening Annie and he are probably at the corner in the upper right hand of the picture, which is as place they’ve been before:  they were here way back in Act One after they’d been dismissed as minions by their own levelmates, and Kerry gave Annie the “We Are Different” talk about why he didn’t care if the other kids their age accepted them or not.  This time they’re not talking about something that’s upsetting:  this is a day to celebrate, and there’s nothing gonna bring these two down.

And, yes, you’ll see the gift Annie is gonna give Kerry.

I know:  I’m the worst for cliffhangers.

Gifting From the Past Heart

I will admit:  I was distracted last night.  I was also tired as hell, but there were distractions.  And the looking up of things.  And Mothra–yes, she was on TCM last night, in the original Japanese with subtitles.  “Moothh-er-raaaaaaa . . .”  Yes, just love that, because who doesn’t love gigantic moths?

Back in my other world it’s birthday time–and since it’s the end of September, we know who is having that birthday.  Annie has a birthday, and a special someone gets to take her off somewhere to have a mini-celebration–

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

As you’ll see in the excerpt they flew up–it’s after lunch, but you don’t see that part.  And they have all the time in the world because they don’t have classes that afternoon.  I should include the schedule in the book, just so people know, because you don’t see every class this time.  But that’s besides the point:  my kids are at the lake, they are off their brooms, and Kerry’s fidgeting with the backpack in one hand and a strange look on his face . . .

 

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

Kerry leaned their brooms against a nearby tree and shrugged off his backpack as he walked back. “Beautiful day.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie stood with her hands locked together in front of her belly and her feet pressed together. She shifted her gaze from one spot to another, attempting to appear as nonchalant as possible. “We won’t have many more of these.”

“No, we won’t.” Kerry pointed towards her legs. “You’ll have to start wearing tights then.”

She looked down at her bare legs and nodded. “Not that I mind: I rather like leggings.” She shrugged and settled her gaze upon a visibly nervous Kerry. “Did you have something you wanted to discuss?” Annie struggled to prevent the smile she felt inside from breaking out.

Kerry almost began stammering, then unzipped his backpack, and removed a wrapped package nearly as large as his tablet. “Happy birthday, Sweetie.” He extended his hand towards her. “You teenage girl, you.”

This was the first time today anyone brought up that she was now thirteen and no longer a tween-aged girl. “I am, aren’t I?” She accepted the present using both hands. “Thank you so much, my love.” She ran one hand over the wrapping. “I can’t wait to see what’s inside.”

“Then I’d start removing the paper.”

Like she did the year before, Annie carefully undid the wrapping paper. She saw that Kerry had taped it lightly so she’d not have a problem removing the paper the time. He learned from the last time—

She handed the paper to Kerry, who folded and returned it to the inside of his backpack while she examined the box. It was far larger than the one that held her locket, and the weight told her it was something far heavier. Annie also felt that after giving her the charm bracelet in Berlin, Kerry wouldn’t surprise her with another piece of jewelery—

She opened the box and discovered a hardback book inside. The dust jacket showed a gray surface with needle-like spires on the right side, and a brownish-colored world showing the outlines of North and South America on the left, There was a red boat-like ship skimming across the gray, leaving a trail in its wake.

It was the title, however, that immediately drew Annie’s attention: A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke: the book that he first read to her in their dreams.

Her fingers carefully touched the cover, as if she thought it was an illusion. “How did you get this?”

Kerry nodded towards the present. “Open it and turn to the inner title page.”

She found the page after a couple of page flips. Across from there she found a hand written dedication:

To My Chestnut Girl

The the next time you need someone to read to you, don’t look in your dreams: look across the tower

Your Ginger Hair Boy

A heaviness settled in over her heart, and Annie feared she’s show the same response as the one at Kensington Gardens. “This is—” Her voice broke as she tried to speak. “This is incredible.”

Kerry stared at the ground and shuffled his feet. “I didn’t know if you would—”

Shush, you.” She slowly closed the book and pressed it against her chest. “My darling, this is perfect.”

 

Yeah, about that book . . .

I’ve mentioned many times that A Fall of Moondust is the second adult novel I read:  The first of Earthlight, but Clarke as well.  Originally I found them in an omnibus collection, with the two novels together, at the public library, but later I found a first edition Moondust at the library as well.  It was this novel I read about a dozen times before buying a paperback version of the same story, and which I still own today.

Part of the “looking up of things” I performed last night involved getting information on this novel, but at the same time I wanted to see the covers–and wouldn’t you know it?  There it was:

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry's "handwriting".

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry’s “handwriting”.

Now you know what Annie’s present looks like.  And in the rest of the scene you’ll learn a little more, and see the aftermath of the giving.  This won’t be a long scene–maybe another five hundred words–but it’s nice, it’s tender, and where I said before that Annie wants gifts that come from the heart, this one doesn’t get much more heartfelt.

Not every girl can say they were given, as a present, the book of their dreams.

The Giving of the Gifts

It’s a good day, more or less, though cold as hell outside.  That’s to be expected ’cause, you know, it’s the middle of January, and most of the northern part of the country it’s winter.  It’s one of the reasons when, around this time, people start posting pictures of snow and exclaim, “Why is it so cold?” I usually want to tell them something that I know will get me in trouble, so I keep my keys to myself.

"My face is growing numb and there are white things falling from the sky.  What is this phonomina that I've lived through every year since I was born?"

“My face is growing numb and there are white things falling from the sky. What is this phenomena that I’ve lived through every year since I was born?”

Let’s not go there.

At my school it’s cloudy and cool, and there’s gonna be a bit of rain, but nothing major.  And my kids are on the way to breakfast on Kerry’s birthday–maybe he should get steak and eggs . . .

 

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

A few weeks before she was worrier that they might die. Now she felt more loved than at any time since Kerry had recovered the memories of their dreams.

Upon reaching the Great Hall Annie flung open the doors of the West Entrance for Kerry, who laughed as he walked inside. Annie was loving this: she wasn’t prone to showing off, but today she felt as if there wasn’t much she couldn’t do, and what she could do she’d do for Kerry. She knew if their birth dates were reversed he’d do the same for her—after all, his crafting was as good as her when it came to spells, and while she held an advantage over him in sorcery, he showed far more skill with transformation spells. We each have our advantages and disadvantages—though I need to speak with him later about our talk in Kansas City

Kerry. Annie.”

Both looked up and found Coraline leaning over the first floor railing. “Hey, come on up to the hospital.” She straightened. “I’ve got something I need to tell you.”

 

And that is probably the only time you’ll ever hear anyone put Kerry’s name first when mentioning both in the same name.  ‘Cause birthdays, right?  So you can forgive Coraline for putting him first at least one day out of the year.

They make their way to the hospital and . . .

 

Upon entering the waiting room they found Nurse Coraline waiting for them with her hands in the pockets of her hospital smock. “Enter, young children.”

“Hello, Nurse Coraline.” Annie kept one hand wrapped around the strap of her messenger bag, and the other wrapped around Kerry’s.

Kerry waved with his right hand. “Hey, Nurse Coraline.”

“Hey, yourself.” She rocked back and forth on the heels of her black flats. “I understand someone around here has a birthday today.”

“Um, yeah.” Kerry blushed a bright red. “I do.”

“Really? What a surprise—” Coraline lightly touched her the area over her heart. “So do I.”

Both children glanced at each other before they turned back. Kerry blurted out a quick laugh. “Really?”

 

Really, she does, and there’s a story behind that . . .

Because I’m a bit lazy, and because Kerry started out as a role playing character, when I created him I thought, “I’ll just give him my birthday.”  So his birthday, 3 May, is almost mine–something I’ve never hidden on this blog.  I’m slightly older, because I was born forty-three years earlier, and at the time of his twelfth birthday, I was turning fifty-five and having a semi-miserable time coming down with a cold.

Now, for Nurse Coraline Gallagher . . . she was modeled physically after actress Christina Hendricks, which is why Coraline has mentioned from time to time that she was rather . . . developed as a young girl.  But my Coraline is a great doctor, and she also possesses the real Christina’s birth date, which is . . . 3 May.  The only differences are that I’m eighteen years older than Ms. Hendricks, and Coraline is twenty-two years older than Kerry.  And Coraline is a witch and Ms. Hendricks isn’t–at least that we know.

And this is something that Coraline brings up . . .

 

“Really. Though I’m a bit older, naturally.” Coraline chuckled. “The moment you were born it was already the Fourth of May here, and I was still up hoping that two students I’d spent most of the afternoon working on would make it through the night.” She shrugged. “I’d celebrated my twenty-second birthday about twenty-two hours sitting alone in my office with a piece of chocolate cake for company, not knowing that someone I was going to come to know well in eleven years was coming into the world in a few hours.” She raised her left hand slowly, and a package floated down from its hiding place just over the hospital entrance and behind Annie and Kerry. She handed it to the smiling boy. “Happy Birthday, Kerry.”

He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to hold back his emotions. “Thank you, Nurse Coraline.”

“Oh, just Coraline for now.” She nodded at the package. “I’d like for you to open it here, if you would.”

 

What she’s alluding to is bring brought in late at night on 30 April to administer to the wounded and dying in the aftermath of The Scouring.  Since Coraline lives in Salem the city, she was contacted and asked to fill in due to the actual school doctor being slightly dead.  It wasn’t going to be a full-time gig, but twelve years later, she’s still here.  And hiding presents in plain sight–okay, floating them over the doorway–nice touch.

So what did she get Kerry?  Money?  A tome on death spells?  A real Pokemon, which Isis could totally do?

 

Kerry set the package down on a chair and carefully opened the wrapping paper without tearing it to shreds. One it was off he popped the tape with a simple levitation spell and opened the package. He removed the gift inside. “This . . .” He held the hospital gown for Annie and Coraline to see. “It’s a gown.”

“Yes, it is.” Coraline stepped closer and touched the garment. “This is what you wore the night you were admitted after your accident during the Day of the Dead attacks.” She pointed towards the open package. “There’s something in there for you, too, Annie.”

She reach in and pulled out a white hospital smock similar to Coraline’s but shorter. “Let me guess: I wore this the same day.”

 

That Coraline, she’s a wild woman, right?  Why would she hand these over?

 

“That’s what you wore when you were working on him.” She turned to Kerry and her tone turned serious. “When you came in here eight months ago, I called you clueless—and you were. You were into something you had no idea existed—” She looked at Annie and winked. “Well, two things you didn’t know existed, and when you guys walked out of here I really wondered how you were going to do the next day during Orientation.

“I watch you come in for various reasons; you had to spend the night the first week, and you ended up a guest again a month later. I was seeing changes in you, though, and in Annie, too—changes that were significant enough that when the Day of the Dead arrived, you both knew what you wanted to do to help.”

She pointed at the garment in Kerry’s hands. “I want you to have that as a reminder of how much you’ve matured—not only before that attack, but since. Both of you, it’s been marvelous experience to see you grow up through this school year, and who the hell knows what you’re going to be like when you return for your B Levels.

“I will say this, though . . .” Coraline stepped forward and held Kerry’s hands in hers. “You sure ain’t clueless anymore, Red.” She leaned over and kissed him on the right cheek. “You’re gonna have a great day, Kerry.”

 

There you have it:  he gets a reminder of how much he’s changed since arriving at the school, and a kiss from probably the one woman that a lot of the boys at school wish they’d get a kiss from.  Losers.  Get a life.  And a significant other.

Oh, and tonight when I finish this scene, that kiss?

Yeah, just wait on that . . .

Starting the Day the Birthday Way

Before we get into the writing–which I actually did this time, no TV watching unless you count that I had Braveheart, one of the most historically inaccurate movie ever made, on in the background, and then there was some Breaking Bad on after that, but that’s all good–there is some important news.

I’m out at work.

By that I mean I finally went to my manager and told them, “Look, outside of this environment I’m a woman, and I can’t keep pretending I’m not one here, so . . . let’s fix this.”  And they said yes, they’ll work with HR on this matter, and I hope, in about a month, I can start doing all that, “It’s five-thirty, I gotta start working on my face,” stuff that women love doing so much while I prepare for my day at the office.

On the up side, there's always coffee.

On the up side, there’s always coffee.

That makes 12 January, 2015, another milestone day in my life.  Remember:  it’s not just a gender adjustment, it’s an adventure.

On the writing side, another milestone of sorts.  At one time I was worried that Act Three might not make it to a six-figure word count, that it was gonna fall short of the other acts in the novel.  Well, nope, my fears are unfounded, because . . .

Gaze upon my wordiness, ye mighty, and despair.

Gaze upon my wordiness, ye mighty, and despair.

Without realizing it I headed over the ninety thousand mark last night, and I’m about twenty-two hundred words of going over the four hundred thousand mark–meaning I’ll probably hit that point in the next scene.  That makes me believe that by the time I get into Chapter Forty-One I’ll be over one hundred thousand for this act, though were I to write another ten or eleven thousand words for this chapter, I’ll clear that easily.  And since the next scene has Annie and Kerry returning to the scene of an event that sort of helped shape Kerry’s life, Annie will have a few things to say, and that means . . . words.

The point of this scene is another birthday:  Kerry’s.  The lad finally turns twelve, and he’s caught up with all the other kids in his level.  It’s true:  his is the last of the A Level birthdays, though his isn’t the last one in the school.  Without mentioning it in the last few scenes, by virtue of his birthday being so late in the school year, he became the second youngest student to student to complete the Mile High Flight.

So how does this special day begin?  Like this:

 

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

Kerry checked his email first thing after returning from his morning shower. Though he half expected nothing, the message from his parents was there in the Inbox. It was short, wishing him a good day and saying they were looking forward to his return in a month. He deleted the message as soon as he was finished and went on to the next: an auto message from the Headmistress’ office wishing him a good day and reminding him that he was not only allowed a choice of special selections for dinner, but that between twenty and twenty-one hours he and a guest could enjoy a slice of a cake of his choice.

He was surprised to see the last part of the message, for when he’d joined Annie for her birthday cake, she’d not mentioned whether or not she was told she could bring a guest. As Kerry hadn’t sat in with anyone else during their birthday celebrations, he didn’t know if they were allowed a guest as well. He had to figure that everyone was allowed at least one guest, and maybe, in the case of people who weren’t seeing anyone, they could bring along two or three people.

I’m glad I’m with Annie. He powered down his computer and finished dressing in his uniform before slipping the device into his backpack. If I were by myself I’d probably not go and sit in the Dining Hall at night alone . . .

 

If anyone were to go back and look at Kerry as he was back before Annie’s birthday, you’d find a sad-sack kid who more than likely wouldn’t have fit in at Salem at all being chased by some ginger girl from Colorado who’d think their hair color would look fantastic on their kids.  In short, he’d be a mess, and an unhappy one at that.

And speaking of Annie–

 

He grabbed his backpack and hurried towards the door. Annie was on the other side, a wide grin on her face as she stepped to one side to allow Kerry access to the hallway. She said nothing until the door to his room was closed; she threw her arms around his shoulders and whispered in his ear. “Happy Birthday, my love.” She kissed him slowly and with tremendous love, much like he’d done with her two days before. The moment she broke the kiss she straightened his jacket. “Mozhe da imate dnes naĭ-izumitelna rozhden den, sŭprugŭt mi da bŭde.”

Kerry chuckled as they walked towards the stairs. “What did you say?”

“Something you’ll hear every birthday—” Her eyes twinkled as she glanced in his direction. “For the rest of your life.”

“Just like you telling me you love me?”

“Exactly.” She was nearly skipping down the stairs as they headed into the Commons. “I only wish we didn’t have class today.”

“You can’t expect the school to shut down for us.” He took Annie’s hand the moment they reached the ground floor. “At least the weather is a little better than what we had on Beltane.”

“Only a little rain in the morning—” Annie moved quickly for the door and held it for Kerry. “My turn to be nice to you.”

“You’re always nice to me.” He walked through into the Pentagram Wall passage, but before he could open to the door leading into the garden, Annie waved it open with a Movement spell. “Hey.”

“You need to be fast around me today, moyata polovinka.” She skipped out into the garden walkway, matching Kerry’s smile with hers. “I love seeing you happy this early in the morning.”

“My last year as a tween; the last A Level to turn twelve—” He took her hand and gave it a nice, loving squeeze. “And I’m in the most wonderful relationship at school with someone I’ve loved for years. Those are four of the best reasons in the world to be happy.”

 

Look at that Annie, opening doors with magic.  And there’s she’s trotting out the “my mate” line again, one we haven’t seen her or Kerry say since they returned from Yule.  And she’s rolling out another line, one that she says he’ll hear for the rest of his life–and let’s hope he doesn’t break his neck at the end of the day.  She already told him that she’d tell him she loved him for the rest of his life, she’s gonna lay this on him.  And what did she actually?  “May you have a most wonderful birthday today, my husband to be.”  Though, in time, the “to be” part will probably go away . . .

I know:  Annie’s bringing up the future, she’s gonna jinx this relationship.  At the same time, as I see this scene, both of them are probably the happiest they’ve been the whole school year.  I can imagine the smile etched on Annie’s face as she magically opens doors for Kerry, and the happiness on his face and the bounce in his step as they walk through the Garden on the way to the Great Hall.  Notice, too:  of the reasons to be happy, Annie takes up fifty percent of them–and there’s no mention of his family.  It’s almost all about Annie.

She brings him joy.  And that’s good right now–

‘Cause he’s gonna need that later.