An Short Yet Annoying Interlude

I know you’re here looking for what a promised I’d have right now, but guess what?  It ain’t here.  And it’s not because I didn’t finish the scene last night, because I totally did.

I even put in other scenes to blabber on about as well.

I even put in other scenes to blabber on about as well.

Yes, I wrote twelve hundred and fifty words exactly last night and put the main Dance Away scene to bed–along with me, because it was close to eleven-thirty when I finally went to sleep.  I showed the rest of the children who are in the notes, what they were wearing, identified them, and then . . . we found out who Annie and Kerry had come as for the dance.  Oh, yeah.  Great times.

However . . . I have a special assignment for this morning, and because it take some time to put together everything with the proper images and accompanying snark, and because I’m supposed to be on the road in, let me check the clock, fifty minutes at six-forty in the AM, I figured I’d work on that post when I return from my travails.

Yes, you get two posts today!  Aren’t you the lucky ones?

In the mean time you can guess away all you like about my kid’s costumes, and you can wonder at whatever I’m implying with the titles of the sub-scenes shown in the image above.  Needless to say, I think the one between Annie and Deanna will likely generate the most comments, because . . . well, they’re talking about love, aren’t they?

But with me you never know what you’re getting:  I say one thing, and in my mind I’m thinking something completely different.  It’s one of the advantages of being the writer:  you are supposed to know what’s going on, and you leave the readers guess right up until the moment when you give them what you want.

I’m looking forward to writing that next scene, because it’s one that’s come to me over the course of the last week, and what would the school year be without Annie and Deanna having a heart-to-heart.  Actually, they have a couple of heart-to-hearts, because Deanna likes to listen, and Annie . . . give her the chance and she loves to talk.  And it must be something about which she can’t talk to Kerry about.

It must be serious.

It’s six on the nose and I’m ending the post now.  I’ll see you all later in the evening.

Play nice, kids.

The Moment of Clarity: Small Talk

This what comes from not being able to sleep and having something on your mind from the scene you wrote the night before:  you’re up early and you’re adding a hundred words before you forgot something.  And the killer is, I think I forgot something else, so maybe it’ll come to me later.  Or not.  If not, I’m happy with how it is now, because it addressed an important point that needed to get covered.

Five-thirty in the morning and it's not like I have anything better to do.

Five-thirty in the morning and it’s not like I have anything better to do.

Here we are with Annie and Kerry alone at last–really alone, not just sleeping on a sofa or deck chair somewhere, but totally alone–and doing–what?  Snogging away?  Well . . . you’d be surprised.

 

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

Annie emerged from the bathroom with her folded clothes in her hands, her favorite towel wrapped around her head drying her hair, and her favorite long blue robe wrapped around matching silk pajamas. She quickly surveyed the room: television on but sound turned down low; Kerry in his lounging pajamas sitting on the bed right side of the bed, head turned to the left as he stared out the window; his hands folded in his lap and his legs crossed at the ankles.

She stopped and open the drawer where she’d placed her unpacked clothes. He’s thinking. He has something on his mind and he’s wondering how he should tell me. She noticed the tee shirt and jeans he wore from Salem laying across his luggage. Annie half turned and looked over her shoulder. “Dear, are you going to put your clothes away?”

He snapped out of wherever he was and returned to reality. “Oh, yeah: sure.” He hopped off the bed, quickly folded his jeans and shirt, and placed them in the drawers where he was keeping his clothing. “Sorry about that.  I can be a bit of a slob sometimes.”

“It’s okay. It’s just . . .” Annie turned and walked slowly towards him. “I’m used to doing things a certain way, and this is the first time in my life I’ve had to share a living space with someone who’s not my family.” She turned her head slightly to the right and grinned. “Not that I’m complaining.”

“I’m not either.” Kerry crawled back onto the bed and rested against the headboard. “You just need to . . . teach me. Is that it?”

“I don’t know that I would have to do a lot of teaching.” Annie almost jokingly said, “train you,” but realized that would probably come across as sounding too mean. “But we would have to get use to living with each other at some point . . .” She glanced at the television. “Are you watching this?”

 

It’s already been mentioned that it looks like Annie will “wear the pants in the family,” and she certainly isn’t gonna deal with Kerry leaving his clothes laying around.  Like she says she’s not used to being around someone who’s not here family, and it’s even more difficult considering she has no siblings.  But she has Kerry, and . . . she’s certainly not gonna let him mess up her living space!  Sure, she called him “Dear,” but you can almost hear the tone in her voice when she said it . . .

And since she’s asking if he’s watching TV, that means she has other ideas . . .

 

He shook his head. “Not really. I just wanted something on for background noise.”

“Would you mind if I put on some music?”

“Not at all.” Kerry held his left hand over the remote on the nightstand next to him and levitated it to Annie. “Put on whatever you like.”

Annie plucked the remote out of the air and brought up the cable guide. She found a music channel and brought it up before levitating the remote to a spot next to the television. She stepped back as she listened to the song that was finishing. “Can I turn it up a little?”

Kerry nodded. “Go ahead.”

 

Given Kerry’s musical tastes, one has to wonder if he’s inwardly grimacing at the thought of what Annie’s gonna put on.  Probably not, because by now he’d know what she likes, and he’d also know their tastes are wildly different.

Annie does find something she likes, and we get to see her doing something that hasn’t happened all that much in the story:  we get to see her acting like a twelve year old girl . . .

 

Annie waved at the television: the sound bar illuminated and went up five point. A new song began, and Annie bounced with joy. “Oh, I love this.” She moved into the open space between the bed and the bathroom and began dancing as she removed her bathrobe and set it on a nearby chair, humming and singing along with the tune the whole time.

As the song segued into the chorus Annie faced Kerry and sang along. “Hey I just met you/And this is crazy/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She performed a quick spin and pointed at him. “It’s hard to look/Right at you baby/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She laughed as she sprinted and leapt at the bad, turning in mid-air so that when she landed, she fell backwards against Kerry’s right side. She pushed herself straight back into the space between his right arm and torso and got comfortable. “Are you gonna call me?”

He laughed along. “Do I have a choice? I’ve never seen you dance around like that before.”

“You’ve never seem me at the lake house when I’m alone and the music is on.” She twisted her feet back and forth. “I would bet anything you’ve never heard that song before, either.”

“I’ve heard of it, but . . .” He nodded. “That’s the first time I’ve heard it played.”

 

So there you have it:  Annie likes popular pop music, and she’ll even dance and sing to it when she’s alone.  And, I have it on good authority from someone who knows Annie probably even better than me that were she to have a theme song, it would be Call Me Maybe.  After all, it is about love at first sight, and Annie’s all about that.

But I loved having her sing and dance and getting her hand motions down, and in the end launching herself onto the bed, laughing the whole while.  She’s relaxed and happy, and she’s finally cutting loose a little.  And both kids are noticing things . . .

 

Annie reached up and ran her fingers through his hair. “I like that you changed the color back.”

He chuckled. “I was getting tired of seeing blond all the time.”

“So was I. I love my Ginger Hair Boy.”

“I figured as longer as I change it to blond before going out I’m okay.” Kerry focused on Annie’s feet. “Is that a new polish?”

“Yes, it is.” Annie always liked that Kerry took notice of her nail polish. She’d started doing her fingernails last year, and this summer before coming to Salem—mostly because she wanted something to take her mind off not seeing Kerry in her dreams and the upcoming school year—she started giving herself pedicures. Since then she’d been doing her nails a couple of times a month, and always made sure to show Kerry because he seemed to like them polished. “My mother gave it to me for Yule.”

“That’s a—what? Metallic gray?”

“Yes. It’s from Butter London. It’s called Chimney Sweep.” She flashed her fingers. “See? I match.”

“I saw you did them this morning.” Kerry noticed that Annie always found time in the morning or at night to do her nails—more than likely using some kind of localized time spell to dry them quickly. Since he’d been with her last night and hadn’t noticed the polish, he figured she did them early in the morning. “I like it.”

“I like it, too.” She crossed her arms across here waist and settled back into Kerry’s arms. “What’s on your mind?”

 

She notices his hair, and he notices her polish.  We learn for the first time that Annie does her nails, going the mani-pedi route, and Kerry likes seeing them painted.  Oh, and the polish Annie’s wearing?  It’s real.  Maybe not then, but it is now.  I’m sure there was something similar to it if it wasn’t around, but allowed a little authoritative licence, okay?

This gets to the last order of business:  what’s on Kerry’s mind.  And he tells her–

 

Kerry loved feeling Annie in his arms, and given that there was no possibility of anyone walking in on them, or overhearing what they were discussing, he felt more relaxed that normal. “I was thinking—”

“Yes?”

“I’m the only eleven year old boy in the world sitting in a hotel room alone with the twelve year old girl who could end up being his wife.”

“Could be?” The grin on Annie’s face was huge as she looked upward so she could see Kerry. “And this doesn’t bother you?”

“Nope.”

“Not at all?”

He kissed her on the cheek. “I wouldn’t have thought about it if it was.”

 

Pretty strange thing to think about:  Hey, I’m sitting on a bed with the girl who could be my wife.  Yeah, his mind is getting wrapped around that idea, and he’s getting comfortable with the notion, and Annie’s happy that he’s comfortable.  Nothing to hide there any longer, so just go with it.

But that’s not the real thing–

 

Though she was happy to hear this news, it wasn’t what Kerry had been considering earlier. “But that’s not all that’s on your mind—what were you thinking when entered the room?”

“Oh—that.” He pulled Annie tighter. “I figured out our last dream.”

 

And that’s where I ended everything off, last night and this morning, with Kerry saying he figured out their last shared dream.  Did he?

Well . . . you’ll find out.

The Calm Before the Seeing

First off, let’s move this out of the way:  after mentioning yesterday that I made a video for the first time, I had, shall we say, a few requests to see me speak.  Oh sure, I’ve presented pictures of myself, but never have I gone and made a fool of myself before one of those talky camera things.  So, today, I’ll upload the video to my YouTube account and present it here for you amusement.  You Have Been Warned.

And I had a session with my therapist, the first since starting my hormone treatment.  She was happy to see me, happy to see I appear happy, happy to hear how I’m moving forward in my life.  She also pointed out a few things she noticed about me, and this is where I do a Law & Order trope and invoke doctor/patient privilege so that I don’t have to go into just what it was she noticed.  While I’m open to a lot of things in my life, that isn’t one of them.

Which brings us to writing.  It must have been a good night, because I ended up just short of twelve hundred words for the evening, setting up a new scene at the Samhain Dance.  I also mentioned yesterday that I’d written six hundred and sixty-six words to finish the last scene, so imagine my surprised when I checked my word count this morning . . .

I believe I've moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I believe I’ve moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I love seeing number like that:  Ms. Rutherford would probably tell me that the Numerologists of the Foundation would find that an auspicious sign.  Given what I know is coming next in the scene, and the following scene, and the following chapter, they’re probably correct.

Onward to the party!

 

 

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

“Hope we’re not disturbing.”

Annie looked up along with Kerry and found Professors Sladen and Arrakis standing on the other side of the coffee table. Sladen’s costume was a simple affair: A rather plain halter top and matching brown wrap around skirt that feel to her knees, brown boots, and a braided gold and brown headband used to tie back her hair. She also carried a large fighting stick, maybe a jō, outfitted with leather bands to allow the user better control.

Professor Arrakis was far more elaborate and beautiful. She wore a bright green outfit that looked like a silk dress with a high collar and long sleeves, but Annie also saw what looked like the end of leggings just above her ankles. She also wore a helmet adorned with a feathered headband, and each wrist was covered with large gold wrist bands.

Annie shook her head. “No, Professor Sladen. We’re just sitting here enjoying the dance.” She was glad she didn’t need to raise her voice; there were enchantments in place to keep sound at a lower volume outside the dance floor, so people could enjoy the music and still carry on a conversation. “Please sit with us.”

“Thank you.” Erywin chose the chair to Annie’s left.

Deanna pointed to the empty spot on the soft to Annie’s left. “Would you mind if I sit next to you?”

She shook her head. “No, go right ahead, Professor.”

“Thank you.”

Kerry waited for both women to get comfortable before addressing Professor Sladen. “I recognize your costume—”

The right side of Erywin’s mouth curled up into a smile. “You do?”

“Yeah—where’s your Xena?” He looked around, grinning wildly.

Erywin laughed. “Either in the loo or preventing Armageddon from breaking out. She should be along shortly.”

“But your costume . . .” He looked around Annie at Professor Arrakis. “I have no idea.”

Deanna flashed Kerry a sweet smile. “You mean I’ve stumped you? I thought you knew everything.”

He shook his head. “Not everything. Not since coming here.”

“You have an honest boy there, Annie.” She smoothed down her skirt. “Razia Sultain, first female Muslim ruler in South Asia. She was the fifth Sultan of Delhi for four years, until 1240.”

 

See?  I not only give you a costume party, but a little history lesson.  And you discover that Kerry doesn’t know everything.

It’s not all fun an games at the dance, though.  As you can see when, as Kerry calls her, Erywin’s “Warrior Princess”, shows up to the party.

 

Professor Lovecraft walked up, greeted everyone with a hello, then sat in the open chair to Kerry’s right without asking. She leaned back and loudly exhaled her last breath before looking across the coffee table at both instructors. “I’m about to round up all your shieldmaidens and Celtic warriors and dump their asses somewhere north of the Observatory so they can beat the hell out of each other until no one is left standing.”

“Are they getting a big anxious for their annual skirmish?” Each Samhain the girls from the Åsgårdsreia fight team challenged the girls of the Mórrígan fight team to an “Ancestral Battle” fought with mock swords and shields. This had gone on for almost two hundred and sixty years, but in the last five years the lead up to the battle had begun to turn a lot more acrimonious, and it wasn’t unusual for the students to use the “Safe Space” status of the dance—meaning no one could be “called out” to settle their grievance with a real challenge fight inside Gwydion Manor—to start throwing a few non-magical punches back and forth.

“Coraline’s already fixed one broken nose—” She pointed at Erywin. “—that one of your girls threw, Honey.”

Erywin didn’t seem that concerned. She turned to Deanna. “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.”

Deanna nodded as she he’d heard her fellow coven leader, but didn’t quite believe her. “Perhaps you could discuss protocol once again with them before they are unable to participate in the evening’s encounter?”

Helena nodded then stood. “That might not be a bad idea. I’ll help.” She turned to Annie and Kerry as Erywin rose from her seat. “You look lovely Annie. You’re . . .” She smiled slyly. “Good too, Kerry.”

Kerry almost laughed. “Thanks . . . Xena.”

Helena snorted. “I’m from New Zealand: who the hell else am I gonna come as?”

He pointed at her legs. “Your skirt’s a little long, though.”

Erywin stopped next to Helena as the later gave the skirt, which ended just above her knees, a tug. “Forgive me: I’m modest.” She turned and both teachers made their way through the crowd.

 

Helena?  Modest?  As with everything here, there’s probably a reason for that . . .

Also, you see the semi-informal school event that I actually blogged about way back on January 13 of this year, something I said I was going to write.  That post also included an excerpt from the first time Annie and Kerry attended Sorcery Class with Professor Lovecraft.  And here she is again, seven and a half months later, breaking up fights between the two groups of energetic fighting witches.  Just like Annie, I keep my promises.

Besides, these girls have been waiting months to kick each other’s butts.

"I'll break more than your nose, bitch."

“I’m gonna break a lot more than your nose.”

"You just screwed with the wrong Sheildmaiden."

“You just screwed with the wrong sheildmaiden.”

The Untempered Dance

Blessed Beltane to everyone, near and far.  It’s the traditional first day of summer, and it’s a time to build some Maypoles, set out your flowers and may bushes, then build some bonfires and dance your heart out.  It’s a time of joyous celebration, and one that we should get back to–but we don’t, ’cause those commies had to go and ruin it for everyone.  Thanks, Lenin!

At my fictional Salem school, today is a big deal.  Coven Blodeuwedd is responsible for setting up the celebrations–better The Flower Girl than Cernunnos, because Beltane is also tied to fertility, and the last thing you want to do is send half your student population home to the folks in a family way because The Horned God kicked out the jams.  Don’t worry:  Cernunnos does the Ostara Festival, and they keep the kids busy singing and dancing then.

Beltane at Salem has its own traditions.  First, there are no classes:  it’s casual lay about day for everyone.  Despite being metric to all hell, the Flight of the Mile High Club takes place right after breakfast.  What’s that, you say?  It’s the day a few brave A Level, first-time for flying students, hop on their Class 1 PAVs and fly them a mile, 5,280 feet or 1,610 meters, into the air.  It’s described a bit like getting on your mountain bike and riding to the top of a mile high peak–only your mountain bike hasn’t any wheels, and there isn’t any mountain under you.  The only thing keeping you in the sky is a thin sliver of enchanted technology and a whole lotta willpower.  Think about sitting on a bicycle with nothing between you and The Big Splat but emptiness–and then think about doing that when you’re twelve.

Yeah, it’s like that.  Either you stay home because that image is too much, or you become a leaf on the wind.

Funny, I left the splating part out of my outline.

Funny, I forgot the splatting part in my outline.

Then, after it gets dark, about half the instructors head out to Selena’s Meadow where awaits the mother of all bonfires.  They bring about fifty, sixty students with them, all there by invitation only.  They say a few words about how great the school year has been, how there’s only a month left and they’re going to miss everyone, they bless all those who reside within the hallowed walls of the school–then light that sucker up with a few well-placed fireballs.

It’s at this point that people are encouraged to dance, have fun, and let their feelings hang on their sleeves.  It’s also where the optional part of the show kicks in:  anyone wanting to dance “skyclade” is encouraged to disrobe and get right down to their nothings.  This is why it’s invitation only for the students, because you need to have a not-easily blown mind to know you’re not only gonna be dancing around naked with a few of your fellow classmates, but you’re liable to find the instructor you’re having class with the next day cavorting around in her birthday plumage.  Don’t worry:  only about two-thirds of the instructors and staff attending get down to their altogethers, so some students may be spared some momentary embarrassment.

It’s actually in this year, March 2014, that in my fictional universe Professor Erywin Sladen tells Kerry the story of her B Levels, her “Year of Hell” as she dubbed it.  It was the year she came out as the first openly gay student at Salem.  It was the year she got her ass beat in the girl’s bathroom for her troubles.  It was the year she was shoved back inside the fishbowl by a huge portion of the student body, because it was 1979/1980 and shunning was the order of the day.  It was the year that everyone was afraid they were gonna get lesbian cooties from her.  (Sure, it wasn’t like the school hadn’t seen lesbians before–like three hundred years before–but times get strange, you know?)

It was also the year she met her “pretty girl”, her ta mokoed Kiwi, Helena.  It was the year she finally made a mate, and then a bestie, and at Beltaine a skyclade Helena convinced Erywin to cast aside her prudish Protestant upbringing and join her to dance under the stars, and Erywin did that.  She dance first for the first time, she actually made friends–who finally realized she wasn’t some perv and that she wasn’t there to seduce them, and who was, all in all, a pretty damn good witch.

It was also at that bonfire she cried, because someone told her they loved her, the person remained the center of her life and who still taught along side her as she tells Kerry this story with misting eyes.

It’s a time to change, to bring in newness.  It’s a time to find direction and focus.  It’s time to cleanse yourself of the staleness of winter.

It’s time to get out and dance–

With wild abandon.