A Certain Day in May: Salem Surprises

Well, today has been a strange morning, because, for the first time since making my way to The Burg, I didn’t set my alarm.  That means I woke up about a half-hour later than normal, and that means I couldn’t make coffee and there was little else I could do before the need to get ready for work took over.

"Do I have to go into work?  Can I just lay around and do nothing like I do on the weekends?"

“Do I have to go into work? Can I just lay around and do nothing like I do on the weekends?”

Now, I did get to writing last night, and managed a decent amount before I had to stop all that and gather my notes for Orphan Black, which was a bit of a chore in that so much was happening so fast that it was all I could do to keep up.  But I at least learned an Allisonisum:  if you’re a scientist and a lesbian, you never let anything go.  This girl is rather snarky.

The last scene in Kerry’s Birthday chapter sees him and Annie back at the school.  And it seems as if he’s in a good mood because of how dinner went–

 

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

Though the temperatures were only a few degrees above freezing, Kerry found he didn’t need more than his heavy robe to keep the cold at bay, and the thick set of wool sock he wore with his slippers kept his feet sufficiently warm. It didn’t matter that much: the sky was clear and dark, the wind still, and the one person he needed was walking along side.

Midnight was nearly here, and it was almost time to say goodnight to both Annie and his first day as a teenager.

The dinner at Turner’s Seafood was an incredible affair. Besides Annie and he, Helena was there with Erywin, Wednesday was there with Isis, and Coraline was there with her boyfriend, Gregory Everheart, whom they’ve met here a year earlier. They were both surprised to see Deanna and Trevor join them, as they weren’t “out” officially as a couple at school, but both children knew better.

They conversed for about forty minute after sitting down, enjoying their appetizers and drinks, though while everyone else enjoyed a glass or two of wine, Annie and Kerry had to suffice with sparkling apple cider. They continued speaking through dinner, enjoying their dishes and company, all the way into desert. The moment Kerry worried about came as soon as a small cake with chocolate frosting and five candles arranged in the familiar pentagram shape was brought to the table, and after sitting through another rendition of “Happy Birthday” Coraline and Kerry blew out the candles and looked at each other as if they were glad they wouldn’t need to do this again for another year.

The moment that was the most surprising came while Erywin was cutting up the cake and handing around slices. It was while he was passing a slice to Coraline that Gregory Everheart learned close and asked a question of the doctor of the School of Salem . . .

 

So, Annie and Kerry hanging with the power couples at school:  Helena and Erywin as well as Isis and Wednesday, who are finally stepping out.  Coraline’s there with her boyfriend–who was mentioned in the first novel during the kid’s time as the Sea Sprite Inn–and finally we have Deanna and Trevor stepping out together.  Everyone at the table a witch save one, and that’s Gregory, who is about as Normal as they come.

However, what is this thing he asks?  Well . . .

 

They were nearly to the covered section of the walkway leading to Cernunnos Tower when Annie leaned against Kerry’s arm and sighed. He was rather certain he knew what brought about his soul mate’s sound of happiness. “Something on your mind, Sweetie?”

“Oh, I was thinking once again—” She brought him to a stop so she could lean her head against shoulder. “It’s rather romantic getting engaged on your birthday, don’t you agree?”

“I do” He kissed Annie’s forehead. “And given how much of a romantic Coraline is, she thought so as well.” Kerry remembered how quickly the news spread around the Midnight Madness moments after Coraline entered the room and took her place with the rest of the instructors, and it wasn’t long before perhaps a their of the girls in the Dining Hall came up and asked if they could see her ring. They joined those students as they had been asked before returning to the school not to say anything to anyone, and pretend they weren’t aware of the event. “She certainly enjoyed showing off her ring tonight.”

“Of course she did: a girl is supposed to get engaged once in her life and turn it into an event.”

“Is that how it’ll be with you?”

“You’ll find out when you propose to me and we’re engaged.” Annie slowly pulled Kerry towards their bench. “Come, my love: let’s sit.”

 

And there you have it:  Coraline got engaged, which means she’ll one day go from being Doctor Coraline Gallagher to Doctor Coraline Everheart.  And she had fun showing off her new rock at the Midnight Madness, so it’s obvious she’s happy as hell.

This brings up another question and that is:  how the hell does Coraline go about breaking the news to her soon-to-be new husband that there’s something that makes her just a little different from all the other girls–

"Lesson One:  Bewitched is not a good example of our marriage."

“Lesson One: Bewitched is not a good example of how our marriage is gonna go.”

Needless to say, that’s gonna get covered her a little in the next part of this scene.  For now just know:  it’s something that Coraline will need to do, and it’s something Vicky and Jessica have done as well, and it’s something that Isis’ father did.  It happens that witches marry Normals, because there are a lot more of them than there are of the Aware, so make it work, guys.

So will Annie want to show up her ring when she gets engaged?  It sounds like she will.

Only question that remains now is the when.

After Dinner Moments

After finishing the second scene I have a feeling that this chapter, the penultimate one, will end up becoming the shortest chapter in the novel.  I’ll have to check, but right now I’m just under three thousand words, and if I know my next scene well, I doubt very much that I’ll get the scene over a thousand words.  But the act finally cleared one hundred ten thousand, so there’s an excellent chance I’ll end up with something close to one hundred and twenty thousand words total for Act Three.

But . . . what’s up with the kids?  What did they do?  How was dinner?  Glad you asked . . .

 

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

Kerry held the door for Annie as she walked into the room, then followed her towards the bed, moving to the far side as she headed towards the side closest to the chest of draws. He sat on the bed and slipped off his tennis shoes and socks as Annie unbuckled her sandals, removed them, and set them by her bedside table. Once they were comfortable, they slipped towards each other, meeting up in the middle. Kerry places his right arm around Annie, who snuggled into his side and half-closed her eyes.

The dinner was great and interesting. Like the Sea Sprite Inn, the restaurant was owned by The Foundation and partially managed by its people, which meant it was possible to come in and discuss matter that weren’t always Normal related. They were told to stay away from any discussions magical, however, because Coraline’s boyfriend was a Normal and wasn’t yet aware that the doctor he was dating was a witch. Since Kerry had been practicing for these discussions with his parents should they arise, he didn’t see it as a problem.

It was great that they got a chance to dine with the adults and see how they acted when they were away from the school and business. Kerry hadn’t seen Erywin and Helena this animated during their trip to Kansas City, when most of their interaction revolved around the field operation and didn’t delve into personal matters, and it was refreshing to see Deanna and Coraline in social settings where they weren’t dealing with the problems of others. Most of the discussion revolved around what everyone planed on doing over the summer, and what they were expecting for the next school year.

The only awkward moment came about when Coraline’s date asked why Annie and Kerry were tagging along with the European-bound instructors. Deanna quickly answered that they were the valedictorians of their level, and as such they were being treated for their hard work. Kerry wondered how much truth there was in that statement, and how much of it revolved about the feeling that Annie and he deserved a last time together before summer holiday.

 

Another Foundation front, and a chance for the kids to see the adults in action.  Also, the statement about the kids being at the top of their level–which they are–leaving Kerry to wonder if what Deanna said was true.  Or are there other motives?  Hum . . . probably other.

Let’s discuss other things, however.

 

He reached over and bushed Annie’s right cheek. “Did you enjoy dinner?”

“Yes, mine was delicious. How was your lobster?”

It was his first time for eating the local crustacean, and he’d only ordered it after being told he could. “Fantastic. I’d always wanted it before, but it wasn’t like I’d ever went anywhere with my parent where I could get it without having to worry that my parents were going to flip.”

Annie slowly moved her head as she enjoyed the warmth coming from her soul mate. “I’m glad you liked it. I had lobster for the first time two years ago and loved it, but I know it’s something one saves for special occasions.”

“Like tonight?”

She looked up into his eyes. “Tonight was very special.” Annie reached out with a spell and dialed down the lighting in the room to about a third of normal brightness. “There: much better.”

 

Ol’ Annie getting the mood set.  The question did come up:  was it a smart thing to leave these two alone for the night?  After all, we, as readers and writers, know a little of their past in these situations, but I doubt very much if Kerry is going to spend tonight trying out magic on Annie.

 

Kerry said nothing for almost a minute, preferring to enjoy their silence together in the dim light of their room. “Can I ask something?”

“Anything.”

“When will Coraline tell her boyfriend that she’s a witch?”

“When she’s certain they’ll have a meaningful relationship. Only then will she tell him so he can become a Knower.” That was a term he’d heard before, describing someone Normal who knew of the existence of The Foundation and the Aware. “If they’re still dating by this time next year, she’ll likely tell him. Or maybe before there: Coraline doesn’t seem like the sort of person who becomes involved with someone for reasons other than a strong emotional attraction.”

Though tonight wasn’t the first time he’d thought of the question, he felt that he needed to ask. “Did you get in trouble when you told me you were a witch?”

“No.”

“You didn’t worry about telling me?”

“We’d known each other for years by then, and you were the last person I expected to be shocked by the declaration that the girl you knew in your dreams was a witch.”

“Okay.” There was something else. “When did you tell your mom that you’d told me?”

“Two weeks later.” Annie snuggled tightly against Kerry. “She took it well. She also didn’t seem surprised. She’d known about you for years, and even though I’d never told her directly about how I felt about you, she’d my book . . .” She chuckled. “You know which page.”

“Yes.” He stroked her hair. “I know which page.”

“You, you do.” Annie stroked Kerry hand holding her tight. “I wasn’t worried I’d get into trouble with anyone. Other than my mother no one else knew about you—well, my father did the last few years—”

 

Yes, Mama knew about that page:  everyone knows about that page now.  I don’t think Annie’s father knows about that page her in book, but he knows Kerry’s name, so he’s probably go surveillance out the butt on the kid.  Just wait for the moment when he suspects Kerry’s getting too “touchy feely” with his only daughter.  That should be fun.

Speaking of touchy feely . . .

 

“How do you know no one in The Foundation knew about us?” Kerry rested his head against Annie’s. “They knew about me, but you didn’t, so maybe it’s possible they knew about us?”

That was something Annie never considered, and wasn’t about to now. Tonight was about being together, not wondering about mysteries. And even if they did know, that happened years ago. Nothing happened to us, so it’s not a concern . . . “We’ll think about it later.” She slipped away from Kerry’s grasp and spun around on the bed. “If you don’t mind, I’ll clean up first. It’s been a long day, and—”

“That’s fine.” He nodded slowly. “Your hair will dry while I’m cleaning up.”

The was a slight hesitation before Annie answered. “Yes, that’s true.” She was about to head for the bathroom when she noticed something in Kerry’s expression. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. It’s just—”

“Yes?”

He leaned slightly towards her. “I love you so much, Annie. I don’t . . .” He shook his head as he looked at her with near pleading eye. He brought his left hand towards his face and kiss his pressed together index and middle fingers, then reached over and touched Annie’s lips with the same fingers. “You are lovely; you are so lovely.”

Annie stared back at Kerry for almost five seconds, her eyes never leaving his face as her expression softened and light smile formed on her face. “I’ll be right back: don’t go away.”

“I’m not going anywhere.” He followed her past the end of the bed and through the bathroom door on the other side of the wardrobe where she’d put her things. The door closed behind her and Kerry was alone in the dim room.

 

I like that little moment he did with the fingertip kiss.  It’s something both of them have done, and now Kerry gets to do the actual touch.  You could almost feel Annie melting–well, at least I did.  Oh, those poor little Bulgarian hormones . . .

Leaving Kerry alone at this point may not be a good thing, but Annie’s gotta get clean.  In the meantime he can think about the summer ahead . . .

Good think Kerry lives in the city, or he'd look for fields to go all emo in.

Good think Kerry lives in the city, or he’d look for fields to go all emo in.

I hope to get the next scene up before I turn in and watch TV tonight.  It’s not a long scene, and I want to get my crying out of the way . . .

Upon Their Ways

This is it:  the final scene with the Headmistress of the School of Salem.  For after this moment she’ll be seen no more–and I mean that, at least for this story.  In fact, from here on out you’ll only hear from four more instructors and a staff member before the book reaches its conclusion, and a few other adults here and there, but with the exception of one scene, it’s all Annie and Kerry from here on out.  And even in the scene where it’s two instructors talking, Annie and Kerry are sorta there as well.

There is, however, one more scene I may add, and that’s Kerry finally returning home.  We saw him leave–a long time ago, I might add–with Ms. Rutherford, and after returning from the school he’ll return home with her.  By putting this in, the end of the novel will sort of reflect the beginning, where we saw Annie first, then two scenes with Kerry.  The end of the novel with have two scenes with Kerry, then Annie alone.  A nice little bookend.

But first, a last supper, if you will, at the Salem Institute for Greater Learning and Education.

 

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

Headmistress Mathilde Laventure ascended the podium and watched the students gathered for the last dinner of the current school year. With the graduating class and the Last Cuts now home or on their way, the students now gathered in the Dining Hall numbered thirty-five fewer than this time last week. We’re missing a Coven and a quarter. She took her place behind the podium and activated the microphone spell. Let’s hope we can make that up next year.

“Good evening, students.” She scanned the crowd before her. “As you are aware, this is out last dinner together this school year, our last opportunity to enjoy each other’s camaraderie—a chance to enjoy one last, good meal before we depart Salem.

“Some of you will leave tonight, so we can get you to the other side of the world in an agreeable time. Most of you will sleep for a last time this year in your coven towers, awake tomorrow and partake in an enjoyable breakfast. Most of you will leave in the space between then and lunch; the rest of you will leave later in the afternoon. By tomorrow evening all of you will be back in your own homes, eating dinner with your families, sleeping in your own beds. Your time with us will have come to an end; the following morning you will begin your summer holiday.”

 

While what Mathilde says is correct, the are thirty-five fewer students than a week before, the graphic I showed you yesterday is wrong, because I left off something:  the nine students that died during the Day of the Dead attacks.  Factor those in and we have one hundred and five students at this dinner.  (I give that number because one of the deceased students was an F Level and is one of the two that didn’t make it to graduation.)  I’ll now have to fix that because, hey, I’m all about getting it right.

After a few things said about how lucky everyone is to be moving on–or leveling up, if you will–she turns her attention to the new students who aren’t so new any more.

 

She shifted her gaze to the children sitting closest to the dais, her smile still radiant. “It is a special moment for you A Levels, for you finally leave the fishbowl and enter the pond. From this moment on you are a integrated part of the school, meaning you may participated in inter-cover sports and other extra-curricular activities. Keep in mid, however, that you’ll now be held to an even higher standard of conduct than you were this year, and where you could beg ignorance for grievances and misdemeanors, that is no longer true. You know the rules and regulations: you now understand how Salem works. Incidences as A Levels which may have led to verbal warnings and minor detentions will merit far sterner punishments. And you will quickly discover that if you cause problems for another student, those students have ways of rectifying their grievances.”

 

This “rectifying their grievances” thing has been hinted at when the expression “call them out” has been used.  They’re talking about magical combat, where someone gets tired of being picked on and has the chance to fix that situation by heading out to the Manor where Self Defense is taught and doing their best to beat the shit out of the other person with spells.  Naturally if you’re good with, say, sorcery, you’ll have an advantage–and should you know, oh, Morte spells, the chances are pretty good no one will ever mess with you.  You’ll also be watched a lot closer by Security as well, and if you end up bullying people because you know they can’t do anything against your magic, you may find yourself being called out by the Chief of Security–and that would be bad.

With that we get to the end of Mathilde’s speech, and something special . . .

 

Mathilde looked to her right and nodded to one of the kitchen staff. “And now, a tradition our upper level mates know quite well, but which we’ve kept hidden as best we can from our A Levels. If you will . . .” A champagne flute of nearly clear, bubbling liquid appeared before not just the A Levels, but every student in the hall. As a murmur rose among the A Levels, the headmistress spoke. “There’s no need to get excited: it’s sparkling apple juice. If we were in France, however . . .” She chuckled at her own joke, then grew more serious. “This school has a long and storied history, and with every additional year we instruct the Aware, that history grows even more storied. There are many graduates of this institution who have went on to initiate great changes within The Foundation, and in some instances, throughout the world as well.

“I see the A Levels sitting before me, and I can’t help but wonder: will your names be immortalized one day in the Hall of Remembrance? Some of you have already earned a special place there—” She grinned but did not look at any students in particular. “—but I suspect that a few of you will achieve greatness. When we say ‘You are the future’, I firmly believe that a few of you will make differences that will affect not only the Aware and The Foundation, but the world as a whole. You will help make the future for all of us and those who follow.

“With that said, a toast.” She raised her flute, as did all the instructors and staff sitting on either side of the headmistress. A few seconds later, every student in the hall did likewise. “To the past and the success we’ve archived; to the present and the events which shape our character and our being; and to the future, which we will shape for the betterment of everyone.”

Mathilde set her flute aside and lightly drummed her fingers against the podium. “But enough of me talking . . .” She spread her arms wide and smiled. “Let’s eat.”

 

Yeah, lets toast the students, and let them toast themselves, and hope the kids who are good with transformation magic don’t ferment that apple juice a little too much before sucking it down.  You can bet every instructor on that dais is turning up their Spidey Senses just waiting for some kid to go, “Yeah, I’ll fix this!” so they can finish off dinner with a good buzz.  Save that for when you’re out of school and you can hang with your witchy friends.

"Remember all those times we nearly died trying to change the world?  Yeah, good times.

“Remember all those times we nearly died trying to change the world with magic? Yeah, that was fun.”

So there you have it:  the absolute last school activity.  Next scene is the following morning, a Friday, and it’s time to leave . . .