Significant Significances

Far better mood I have this morning, thank you.  Yesterday was all about getting stressed out at work, then getting away, getting something to eat, coming home and trying not to lost my emotions.  Okay, didn’t quite make that last one, but everything else happened, and with gusto, as the old beer ads used to say.

It’s life.  Move on.

Things are downright cozy back at the coven tower, though it’s not quite as alone here as it was in the last scene . . .

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

For most of the night they sat before the fire, talking, listening to whatever played on Kerry’s computer, and watching students return to the coven. About twenty-one the last of the coven’s students arrived—D Level Darius Roy and A Level Nancy Piugattuk from Canada, and A Levels Huwey Juanico from the island of Guadeloupe and Menan Torres from Paraguay. Darius waved to his fellow racers as he headed for the stairs—the first time Annie could remember him doing anything that looked outwardly friendly—while the three A Levels sat off to one side of the ground floor for about fifteen minutes chatting. Before heading to their floor they came over to introduce themselves, hoping they weren’t “breaking the fishbowl” by speaking to upper levelmates. Everyone welcomed their warmly, and Kerry told them that this time late year Annie and he were living on their floor, and that while he couldn’t speak for all the students in the coven, those on the second floor were “pretty cool”.

Annie couldn’t keep the smile off here face, even after the A Levels went to their rooms. As much contact as they’d had with upper levelmates during the last year, they’d yet to have contact with the A Levels in their own coven, and she liked how Kerry made them feel welcome. A year ago at this time her moyata polovinka was a quiet bundle of nerves and unhappiness: now he was comfortable with both school, friend, and most of all, his soul mate. She also, in that moment, realized they would be the ones welcoming the new B Levels to the second floor . . .

Since this is the first time we’ve really seen the new students at Cernunnos, and like a lot of other towers the students are from all over the place.  Kerry and Annie, as pointed out, had little access to the upper levels of their own towers:  all of the older students they met came from the other four.  Here now, however, The Party of Five–well, Six for the moment–are taking time to say hi and make the new kid feel welcome.  This is something that’ll get touched on much later in the novel, but for now, it looks as if all the young witches have come home to roost.

Some, however, need to visit other parts of the school first–

As the time neared twenty-two Alex and Kahoku left; he was tired and want to get to sleep, and she wanted to bid him a good night. In the aftermath of their departure the remaining couples grew quiet as they listened to music. Penny and Jairo moved to the floor in front of the fireplace and cuddled, while Kerry lay back against the sofa arm while Annie lay back against him. There wasn’t a need for conversation: both couples wanted to reacquaint themselves with each other. Annie paid no attention to what her floor mates were doing: it was a habit she’d immediately picked up once they began attending the Midnight Madness. It was an unspoken rule that as long as you didn’t stare at others, they wouldn’t stare back.

And Annie was well aware Kerry and she did enough to warrant stares from others.

Alex returned a half-hour after leaving. Penny turned around to greet her, with Jairo taking his time moving around. “You give Kaho some good night snuggles?”

“I gave him more than snuggles.” Alex slid over the arm of the love seat where her levelmates had sat most of the evening. “I so missed him.”

“I know that feeling.” Annie pulled Kerry’s arms around her before adjusting the covers over her legs.

“I checked the status board in the Atrium on the way back—” Alex swung one leg over the love seat arm. “Only about half the instructors and staff are here.” She intertwined her fingers and cracked her knuckled. “Only three of the coven leaders, too.”

Kerry rested his chin against Annie’s shoulder. “Which ones?”

“Arrakis, Salden, and Palmescoff.” Alex snorted. “I met Palmescoff on the way over to Blodeuwedd; she was on her way to the Instructor’s Residence.”

“What was she doing?” Jairo snorted before asking the followup. “Checking on her students?”

“Probably. Don’t know. I didn’t go inside.” The blond Ukrainian girl wiggled her eyebrows. “We didn’t go right to his tower, if you know what I mean.”

Penny chuckled. “No need to elaborate.” She stood and helped Jairo to his feet. “And speaking of good nights, we’re heading up to the second for a few of our own.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” Alex was on her feet before she turned to the couple on the sofa. “You guys coming?”

“We’re going to stay up a bit longer.” Annie turned slightly so she rested on her side against Kerry. “We still have catching up to do.”

Yes, Annie and Kerry have “catching up to do”.  I guess that’s what kids there are gonna call it, right?  But we do get to see that the Lovey Dovey couple aren’t the only ones who do the snogging thing.  And Alex didn’t take her boyfriend right home?  Whatever could she mean?

So lets sorta bring the lights down a little on this party . . .

Penny was about to say something when Alex tapped her arm. “Come on; let the lyubyty ptakhiv have their privacy.”

“Yeah.” Penny gave them a wave. “See you guys in the morning.”

Jairo nodded. “See you later.”

Kerry gave them a short wave. “Mañana, guys.”

Annie did the same. “Have a good night.”

Alex was the last to leave. “Don’t stay up too late.” She chuckled as she bounded up the stairs after her friends.

It wasn’t until their friends were out of sight that Annie stretched out and relaxed. “Alone at last.”

“And I think completely this time.” He slid down slightly so he could rest his head. “We got the whole commons to ourselves.”

“Which mean we should make good use of the space—” Annie rolled around and gave Kerry a short kiss. “I missed you so much, my love.”

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

The scene isn’t quite over, and it’ll lead directly into two scenes that comes pretty much back-to-back to each other.  But I have to end this on off first, and that may happen tonight, as there is a bunch of stuff I should do tonight, but that I may put off until tomorrow–

We’ll see–won’t we, Scarlett?

Sliceable Life

Everyone, in life real or fictional, wants to have a place to call their own.  It’s one of the concepts I keep returning to in the novel, because it’s truly a focus for my kids.  They have their childhood homes; they have their rooms at the school; they have their space where they share dreams.  It’s something I feel right–had for a few years now–because I sometimes feel like I have no real place to live, that I have no real home at the moment.

But that’s me:  my kids, they’re finally back home to, as Kerry called it, “Salem Home.”  Like it or not, since about a week after they arrived at school back in their A Levels, they’ve called good old Cernunnos Tower home, or at least Annie started that and Kerry picked up on it quickly.  Everything after that was, “Let’s go home, Sweetie,” and given how they were developing as a couple it was easy to believe they were really sort of setting up a little mini home of their own.

And that’s where they’re at now, Back Home in Cape Ann, kinda beating the rush back to school . . .

 

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

The Jaunt from Vienna brought Annie and Kerry back to Salem around twelve-twenty, a far different time than their return the year before. They considered getting a quick bite before heading off to their rooms to do their adjustment, but they were informed at the station that the kitchen was in operation until twenty hours to accommodate all but those students returning late that night.  Knowing this they headed off to the tower to spent the next three hours in adjustment.

Cernunnos Tower was still nearly empty. The only students who’d returned were those from east and central Asia, Australia, and other parts of Oceania. Though a few students from Europe and the Americas were already back, the majority of the current traffic for the next hour or two was returning from Africa and Europe, and kids from North, Central, and South America would soon follow.

Adjustment was, as always quick and easy. They were given their coded mixtures as soon as they arrived, and upon returning to their rooms they changed into their pajamas—their bags were teleported directly from the station—drank them down, and crawled into bed. As they’d done on the flight over at the start of the school year, both kids slept soundly and dreamless, and when they awoke around sixteen-thirty, they were back on local Salem time.

Neither student changed back into street clothes upon awaking: since there weren’t classes or school events today, the feeling around the school was much like that of an all-day Midnight Madness. Nearly everyone wore some kind of sleeping garment, or at the least, something they were comfortable in which to relax. Annie and Kerry both wore their heaviest sleep ware and robes and kept to the tunnels when moving about The Pentagram. About the only difference in their apparel was Annie wore he Ugg boots to keep her feet warm while Kerry wore a heavy pair of socks with his slippers—again, much like they did during the Midnight Madness when the weather turned cold.

They had taken a table in the Dining Hall and had just placed their orders when Penny and Jairo entered the room with Alex and Kahoku close behind. The covenmates—and Alex’s boyfriend—ask if they could join them for dinner, and the six of them sat around the magically enlarged table chatting away while they enjoyed their light dinners, deserts, and plenty of hot chocolate and apple cider. Outside it was dark and the temperatures were dropping, but in the Dining Hall the lights were low, the environment was cozy, and the conversation between friends great.

Outside the sky was clear and the temperatures were near minus five Celsius, but the Ground Floor Commons of Cernunnos Tower was bright and warm now that the large fireplace was once more operational. It was the perfect place to hang out with returning friends—as they’d were all doing since they’d returned from dinner. Since there wasn’t much in the way of security at the moment—Sabrina was allowing all students access to the commons of all towers so they could mingle—Kahoku sat with the Cernunnos B and C Levels to enjoy their company, but mostly to be with Alex, whom he hadn’t seen since they’d left on Yule Holiday.

At no time did Annie mention that he’d dreamwalked Kerry on Boxing Day: given the way the other two couples commiserated about being unable to see each other for the two weeks they were away, she felt any mention of their dream time together would come across as bragging. She almost asked if they’d written to each other during their time away, but after Penny remarked about being able to make one call right after Christmas, Annie had her answer.

 

That penultimate paragraph was actually the first I wrote before writing all the other stuff before it.  That was how I envisioned the scene starting before jumping into a mini flashback showing the kids arriving back at school, but I kept moving it down until I got to where it is now, then I put the last paragraph in, called it a night, and sat down to watch Fargo.

But here they are, relaxing at school with two other couple that are closely becoming friends–yeah, even brought in Alex’s boyfriend from Laos–sitting in front of the big fireplace in the coven tower, talking and waiting for the night to come to and end.  After which . . .

Well, if this layout is any indication, it could be something crazy.

Well, if this layout is any indication, it could be something crazy.

But you won’t know that until tomorrow.

Beyond the Dreamstate

Here I am, finally on the web, but running late again due to . . . well, I woke up, didn’t like that I was running late again, and decided to change up my routine a little.  Yes, I’ve eaten and had my coffee, but I’m also finished with shopping and thinking about doing a little running around today.  But all is pretty much finished for the day that needs to be finished.  That means I have time for things . . .

I also didn’t believe I was gonna write as much yesterday as I did.  It was a blah, miserable day, rainy and cloudy and full of depression.  Between naps and just sitting around doing nothing I kept Scrivener up and the story ready, and when I felt like it I’d write something.  By the time I rolled off the computer about ten-thirty, I’d added fourteen hundred words to the scene–and it’s not finished, in case you were hoping for a quick resolution.  Nope.  I don’t roll that way.

I be writin', readers be waitin'

I be writin’, readers be waitin’

Yesterday we ended with Annie and Kerry discovering their real names, and Erywin seeing something strange happening between them.  Which means that’s as good a place to pick up this party as any–

 

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

“You were doing more than that—” Erywin leaned forward. “Tell me: where were you when you were telling me about your dream?”

They stared at each other puzzling over the question. Kerry smiled when he realized the answer. “We weren’t here.”

“No—” Annie smiled as well. “We were back on the hill.”

“How is that possible?”

“I don’t know, but—” She turned to Erywin. “Do you know what happened?”

“I think . . .” The instructor looked from one child to the next. “You were staring at each other, but you weren’t seeing each other. Your eyes were unfocused, and you were both speaking in a soft near-monotone. I think you were experiencing a waking dreamstate.”

Annie turned to face Erywin across the path. “It’s happened before. Once when we were recounting our rune dreams and Kerry remembered—” She glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes.

Kerry spoke right up. “I remembered the first time I said I loved her.”

“And there was another time when he remembered something else—” Annie didn’t wait for him ask a question. “It was the night after the Day of the Dead. You remembered the first time you read to me.”

“I did?”

“Yes.” She touched Kerry’s hand. “It was the first time I knew for certain that you must have remembered our dreams together.”

Kerry looked down for a moment, and when his gaze met Annie’s once again, there was a touch of sadness in his eyes. “That was months before I completely remembered them again.” He slowly leaned against the back of the bench. “I wish I could have known them then.”

Annie was unable to look at Kerry. “I wish it had been possible, too.” She turned to Erwyin. “I don’t know that it matters, though.”

 

Waking dreamstates–something new to ponder.  So now that they remember they sort of fall into this thing where they’re actually back in the dream.  Strangeness, yup.  It’s right there.

But it’s that last night that gets Erywin going–after all, she’s a couples counselor–I even went back and edited this part:

 

“Deanna felt that your reason for speaking was something of a—” Erywin glanced at Kerry for only a second. “Well, that you may have needed someone who understood long term relationships. And of us three full-time counselors, I’m the only one who’s been in a long term relationship. Coraline has a boyfriend and Deanna—well, we know someone’s sweet on her . . .” She winked at Annie. “But I’ve been with Helena for thirty years, and while not all of them the best, we’ve managed to make it work and we’re still together” Erywin rubbed her hands to warm them. “First time to the grove?”

And anyone who can spend thirty years with the Mistress of All Darkness and not have been killed at one point must be doing something right, so dealing with these kids should be a snap.

And that’s what she does–though she gets a little help with indecision:

 

Erywin quickly picked up on the moods across from her. Kerry was quickly becoming concerned, and Annie appeared worried about—well, it was impossible, but given the subject of most of the conversations with Annie that Deanna related to her, Erywin was fairly certain she could pin down the issues here. “Annie, would you like to sit next to me while you tell me what’s on your mind?”

Annie was about to say “No” when she felt a light touch on her right arm. “It’s okay.” Kerry nodded across the path. “Go ahead.”

She twisted around so she could look at him. “Are you sure?”

“I can hear you from over here.” He chuckled. “It’s okay.”

She started to stand, the stopped. “Kerry . . . I’m going to say things that—”

He shrugged. “If I’m being a butthead to you, I’d like to know.”

“It’s not that—”

“Then it’s okay.” He leaned over and lightly patted her thigh. “I promise I won’t get upset.”

Annie finally stood. “You promise?”

“You know it.”

Erywin welcomed Annie over and had her sit to her right. She spoke with Kerry first, however. “While I’m with Annie, you can listen, but I would politely ask that you not interject a lot of comments.” She flash a smile across the path. “I’ll be with you in no time at all.”

She turned to Annie. “Also, I want you to speak as if Kerry’s not there. You’ve both shared a great deal up to now—personally and emotionally—and since you wanted him here originally, don’t hold back. As I always say, we can only get to the heart of the problem if we open up the chest.” She smiled and then launched into her first question. “When you learned each other’s names, you didn’t actually know if Kerry was a real person, did you?”

 

You know Kerry isn’t your average guy if he’s just gonna sit there and say nothing!  But he does remain quiet while this exchange goes down . . .

 

Annie relaxed and kept her focus on Erywin as she answered. “At the time, no. I knew there was something unusual about how we’d meet in dreams, and I’d wondered why I wasn’t seeing him that often for almost three years, but I hadn’t actually made a connection that he was real, and I saw him that night because he was only two hours away.”

Erywin nodded slowly. “So when did you know Kerry for certain was real?”

“A few days later. I asked my mother to look him up.”

“She knew about him?”

“She knew about my Ginger Hair Boy.” Annie grin was full of happy innocence. “She was able to find him using Foundation search engines.”

“And there was no mention about The Foundation watching him.”

“None at all; that’s why I didn’t know he was a witch.”

“Doesn’t surprise me—” Erywin glanced at Kerry. “They’re usually very tight-lipped about who they are observing. And at that age—” She looked across the path. “How old were you?”

Kerry shifted on the bench. “I’d turned eight the month before.”

“See?” Erywin slid around on the bench and slipped her right leg under her left. “Only a few people would have known then that he was being watched. When did you finally learn he was a witch?”

 

So Kerry could be found in Foundation search engines, which doesn’t really mean anything other than you don’t get a lot of strange pop up ads when you’re looking for something.  Like Nadine mentioned when she was getting sheet music for Kerry’s and her’s performance, The Foundation is plugged into everything, so Welcome to the Pond, you can find just about anything if you like.  More than likely they found Kerry’s school records, and maybe even travel information, maybe even his birth records.  We also find out something else–

 

“When my mother told me at the beginning of August that he was attending Salem.” Annie didn’t mind answering that question as it was something she’d told Kerry two weeks ago. “Before that I always figured he was a Normal.”

“Deanna told me that you’d let him know on your tenth birthday that you were a witch.” Erywin had shown great surprise when Deanna had mentioned this fact, because it was such a soul baring expression. If The Foundation had known she’d said this, they’ve have probably grabbed them and give both a little memory adjustment. “Why did you do that?”

“Because I loved Kerry, and he’d told me he’d loved me a few months before.” She slowly shifted her head a little to the left and right as she thought about her statement. “Kerry already suspected that I could manipulate the dreams somewhat, so I figured he should know.”

“You could manipulate dreams?”

“Only a little. Like creating the bicycles and the landscape we rode through—small things like that.”

 

Annie broke a rule:  she admitted to a Normal that she was one of the Aware, and a witchy witch at that.  Then again, Annie has shown she’s not really good with rules, and if she feels like breaking them, she will.  Like, you know, crashing out in a hospital bed with your convalescing boyfriend–he needed help, so rules are for suckers!

And speaking of rules, Annie shows that she not only does what she wants, but this relationship with Kerry in the Dreams–she felt something . . .

 

Erywin didn’t think those things were that small, but Annie was advanced for a witch her age, and if Kerry and she were experiencing some kind of shared lucid dreaming, that kind of manipulation was entirely possible. “So a few months earlier—that was Kerry’s ninth birthday?”

“Yes.”

“That was when he professed his love.”

“Yes.”

Now ask her the real question. “When did you fall in love with him, Annie?”

She swallowed once as she closed her eyes. “I fell in love with him not long after I turned seven.”

Erywin cleared her throat and shifted a bit. “You knew you were falling in love with someone who might very well have not been real?”

“I was aware of that, but—” She once again closed her eyes as she shook her head. “I felt otherwise at times. I knew there was a good chance Kerry was just a dream creation, but . . . I could touch him, feel him, sense his emotions.” Annie shrugged. “Maybe it was because I was Aware, but I just knew, before I confirmed it, that Kerry was real.”

“And you never said anything.”

“I wasn’t seeing him that much while asleep—but I promised myself I would find out his name when I had the chance.”

“Like when you saw him the night he needed you?”

Yes.” A broad smile opened upon Annie’s face. “It’s funny, but I wanted to see him as well, and as I was going to bed I had the strangest feeling I would see him.”

“And you did.” Erywin gave Annie a relaxed, friendly smile. “You were going to ask him his name—and he beat you to it.”

“He did.” Annie returned the smile. “I was so happy that he told me—”

“Because now you could look him up and know for certain he was real?”

The smile vanished from Annie’s face as her demeanor changed, growing more serious. “There was . . . another reason.”

 

The night Kerry needed someone, Annie also needed someone, and one might think that the universe was conspiring to bring them together that night, because Kerry was in pain and needed comforting, and Annie was in love with someone she hadn’t seen in a while and she needed to be with him.  It was also a great leap of faith on here part to believe Kerry was real, but as she said, maybe being Aware did something to make her know he wasn’t just a boy in her dreams.

Stranger and stranger.

But Annie’s getting serious again, and that usually means trouble.  And since Erywin is there to help, she doesn’t waste time asking, “What’s up, Buttercup?”  The answer she gets isn’t the one she expected . . .

 

“I see.” All the while Erywin felt the conversation leading to this point. “And what was that reason?”

The was a pause, an extended one, as Annie looked down at the space between her and Erywin. She finally lifted her head, a far less serious expression stretched across her face. She answered the question with her own question. “Erywin, have you ever seen a girl’s wedding book?”

She nodded slowly. “I have. I knew a girl when I was growing up that had one, and a few of my students have had them.” She softened her tone, trying not to shake Annie. “When were you given yours?”

 

Wedding book?  Like that big book Annie brought with her from Pamporovo?  The one with writing inside and a certain chocolate wrapper kept pressed between the pages?  The one she’s never shown anyone?

The one she’s never mentioned to Kerry?

Ummm . . . Naw.  That couldn’t be the problem here.

Could it?