The Night Discussion

Let me just throw this up here first:

Fluttershy yay!

Fluttershy yay!

As you can see from the URL I took this screen shot before I downloaded the certificate.  But there’s also this:

Yay again!  Louder!

Yay again! Louder!

See?  Winner.  I finally crossed the line last night, and my records last night showed I was just one hundred and fifty-two over, which when I take into consideration where the two twenty-six came from, you do the math and I was right on the money with my count.

Doesn’t matter:  last night I hit 50,152 words, so I’m in the books (ha, ha!) for a fourth NaNo win.  I’ll add to that through the next three days, and maybe finish up around fifty-three thousand or so, which would make this my smallest NaNo win, but I’ll take it considering during the two NaNo whereupon this novel was written, over one hundred and fifteen thousand words were added to the manuscript.

Not bad, Sweetie, not bad.

This NaNo took a lot out of me, mentally and emotionally.  I know I’ve said a few times I don’t know if I can do another, and then I turn around and do one.  This time, however, I’ve spent most of NaNo feeling like I wanted to burn this story and just leave it, because my feelings for the characters have been waxing and waning like crazy.  It hasn’t helped that I’ve had to write some personally emotional scenes between Annie and Kerry while dealing with my own emotional insanity, and a lot of that has really brought out the crazy.

But I didn’t really have to deal with that last night–well, not much–because the focus was on the kids and their decision in the Witch House earlier in the day.  Let’s just say Nice Ol’ Professor Lovecraft was having her doubts about the affirmatives she heard . . .

 

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

The moment Annie awoke she realized something was different. It wasn’t unusual for Kerry and her to be awoken and sent to their rooms: it fact, it had become a bit of a ritual for them to crawl under the comforter around twenty-three thirty and sleep for an hour.

The different now was the Dining Hall. Usually there were a couple of instructors and staff going through the space waking up the other students who’d fallen asleep. This time there wasn’t an instructor in sight—nor were there any other students.

If Annie were to venture a guess, she’d say Kerry and she were the only ones in the darkened hall.

“Annie.”

She turned around, still half asleep, at the sound of her name. Helena was sitting in the chair to the left of the sofa Kerry and she had come to call their own. “Hello, Professor Lovecraft.”

“Good morning, Annie.” Her smile was slight and soft. “And it is morning: a little after two-ten.”

“What?” She looked around the darkened hall once more. “Why didn’t you wake us up?” Professors Salden was on “clean up” for the end of the current Madness, something they did a few times a month.

“Because I thought Kerry and you needed to talk—” She raised her eyes towards the ceiling. “And now’s as good as time as any.” She stood and smoothed out her long night gown. “When you’re finished head off to your tower and get some sleep; we meet in the Witch House at nine sharp.” With a light pop she jaunted off to her residence and sleep.

Given that Helena mentioned that Kerry and she “needed to talk,” Annie’s mind immediately began going over some of the things said at the meeting today—yesterday, actually—and focused upon one thing in particular. She gently shook the still sleeping Kerry. “My love, wake up. Wake up . . .”

As was usual his eyes opened slowly. He sat up and yawned while he looked at Annie with sleepy eyes. “Time to go?”

 

Yeah, keep manipulating the situation, Helena.  It makes you wonder what sort of control she does have at the school–and the answer is probably not as much as you think, but if she wants something, she can get it.  And during the Day of the Dead attack, Helena was actually Ramona Chai’s second in command for the Rapid Response teams that were on the ground killed Deconstructors and Abominations.  There’s a reason for that . . .

Kerry is pretty sure he knows why Helena wants them to talk:

 

“Why we’re doing this?” He shrugged. “Why am I doing this.”

Annie knew that was the issue that Helena wanted them to discuss. She remembered how Kerry agreed to the operation after she did; she remembered the look on his face when he said yes, and the look on Helena’s face as well—and how she appeared to believe his answer wasn’t sincere—

She had wanted to ask him the same question.

“Why do you think that?” Annie didn’t want to directly ask him if he really wanted to go, or if he’d wanted to exercise his Right of Refusal. She knew Kerry was more likely to open up and explain himself honestly if she approached the matter through a different set of questions.

“Because I saw how everyone looked at me when I said yes.” He chuckled darkly. “Even you. I could tell you were wondering.”

“Since you bring it up—” She turned Kerry so she could rest upon his torso with her arm across his chest. “Do you mean it?”

He wrapped his left arm around Annie’s shoulders and held her close. “When the guy from The Foundation came to convince my parents that I should go to Salem, I was standing on the stairs listening to him talk with my parents, and I heard them tell the guy I wasn’t that great a student, that I was just average.” He gave a long, slow shrug. “It was all stuff I’d heard before, but that day it really hit me the wrong way—I remember walking into the living room feeling all upset and depressed because that’s how they’ve always made me feel—nothing special, just average.

“This thing we’re going to do . . .” Kerry rested his head against Annie’s and spoke in a low, soft, comforting tone. “I’ve never been asked to do anything like this. I know it’s a big deal, and I really want it to happen because—” He rubbed his cheek against her. “Before coming here I was thinking that there wasn’t anything special about me, that I was nothing more than an average kid who’d never turn out to be anything exceptional.”

Kerry turned his head enough so he could look at Annie, who had turned her head so she could watch him. “I really want to do this. Not because you’re doing it—though if you’d said no, I would have to, because I don’t want to go alone. I’m doing this because I’m not Normal, I’m not average . . .” He breathed in deep and let it out in a long sigh. “I am special, Annie. I know I am.”

 

Kerry’s always been the one who openly has wondered if he were any good.  He’s been quiet about it of late, because his confidence has grown, and he’s received support from Annie and given it in turn.  This is the first time he’s actually articulated his feelings that he’s better than his parents believe, though . . . sorry, can’t say anything.  Must.  Remain.  Quiet.

Annie confession that her mother would probably believe she’s doing this to impress her father, because it is long assumed that Annie has some Daddy Issues lurking in the background.  I mean, little rich witch with a father who drives in Formula One and used to be a hot-shot flier and racer at Salem–what’s she got to prove?  Nope, she’s not going there:  she considers being asked by the Guardians to do this operation a great honor.  And there’s something else . . .

 

She chuckled. “Even if we can’t hold hands.” Her tone turned far more serious. “There’s something Helena didn’t mention today about this operation—”

“What’s that?”

“We aren’t going to simply observe this Tanith and then speak with her: we’re tasked with bringing in a new witch. So everything she hears about magic, everything she hears about The Foundation, even everything we may tell her about Salem—we’re the one who are going to create her initial impressions about this world.” She slipped her hand out of Kerry’s and then held it within her grasp. “We end up doing this wrong, and we lose her.”

Kerry grasped the enormity of the situation right away. “She’ll end up like her father.”

“Or worse.”

“Or worse.” He squeezed her hand right back. “That won’t happen.”

“No—” She shook her head. “We won’t let it happen.”

“Then we know what’s expected of us, and what we’re going to do.”

“I believe so.” Annie rested against Kerry. “Still want to do this?”

He didn’t hesitate with his answer. “Yes. And you?”

Annie closed her eyes and sighed as she imagining being away from the school on this operation for a couple of days with Kerry at her side. “I wouldn’t say no for anything, my love.”

 

It’s a little bit more important that the operation seems on the surface.  Do this right, and though she might be a little late to the party, you add another check mark to The Foundation’s tally.  Do it wrong, and you’ve got another Sideliner–or worse, a budding Deconstructor–on your hands.  It’s a lot more than just doing a few magic trick for some new kid:  they have to convince someone that one, if they feel strange there’s a reason it’s not bad, and two, oh, by they way, you may be a witch and if so, welcome to the club.

Simple field operation?  Guess again.

Oh, and there’s a scene coming up . . . if any of you have followed the comment section, you’ll see there’s been some discussion about the upcoming meeting between Kerry and Nurse Coraline about, well, those magical birds and bees.  Now, originally I wasn’t going to write about it, however . . . given the revelation that Annie had the exact same vision as Kerry had that touched off this mess only a couple of days before–you can check my time lines, but it has only been a few days–Coraline is probably thinking that it might be a good idea to have a little family planing talk . . .

I wonder if she’ll start off, “When a witch really loves another witch . . .”?

But it's titled "April Fools" so I'm probably BSing you.  Probably.

But it’s titled “April Fools” so I’m probably BSing you. Probably.

Late Eves and Early Returns

One nice think about NaNoWriMo is that it does get you to pecking out those words, and the more you peck out, the faster your novel finishes.  For example, yesterday was more pecking by scenes, with a couple of short interludes to eat and go out shopping for a little while.  The weekend before I may have done two thousand words or so:  I’d have to check.  This last weekend, the first of NaNo, I wrote almost forty-six hundred words, completed Chapter Twenty-Seven, and finished the first scene of Chapter Twenty-Eight.

That’s right:  I’m on the last chapter of Act Two, and now there are only–well, how many scenes are left?

Not a lot, Bub.

Not a lot, Bub.

Five scenes, and at least two of those are short–three if you count the one I just finished.  There is a real possibility that I could finish Act Two by this coming weekend.  Who’d have thought, huh?

What was written was the rest of the late night Christmas Eve discussion between Annie and her mother.  It was . . . shall we say, interesting?  Because it starts out with Annie being told that she’s not serious about whatever it is she needed help from her mother.  And then talk turns to a certain boy . . .

 

 

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

“I am serous.” Annie didn’t find her mother’s reaction to her request all that humorous. “Why do you think this is funny?”

“Because you remind me of something I once heard.” Pavlina moved away from the sofa, slowly making her way towards the fireplace. “Girls who have problem with their fathers end up dating boys just like their fathers.”

“Kerry is nothing like Papa.”

“Do you know what I’ve found the most interesting?” Pavlina stopped about a meter from the fire and warmed her hands. “Watching you tell your father about school without telling him too much.” She spoke in a slight falsetto, trying to imitate her daughter. “’Papa, I’m doing well in Flight School. And Kerry does well, too. He’s learned how to handle a broom well.’ Exactly what sort of broom is he handing these days?”

“Why do you ask, Mama?” A cold feeling started gnawing away at Annie’s stomach. She isn’t expecting an answer—because her question was rhetorical.

Pavlina turned away from the fire. “Because Kerry wouldn’t fly observational patrol on a Covington. What’s he flying?”

“How do you know—?”

“What’s Kerry flying, Annie?”

There wasn’t a point trying to answer a question—she’s going to keep asking until I answer. “An Espinoza 4500.”

“That’s rather nice. When was he allowed to fly that?”

Annie’s voice dropped slightly. “The weekend after we arrived.”

“Well, now . . .” Pavlina rubbed her hand together slowly. “For someone doing well he’s moved up quickly.” She nodded towards Annie. “I know you’re not on a Covingtons; what are you flying?”

“A 3500.”

“Just like the model locked up in your father’s office. Do you go flying with Kerry?”

Annie felt her face growing flush. It wasn’t so much her mother’s questions, but rather how pointed they were. “Yes, Mama. Almost every weekend.”

 

Mama Kirilova does seem to know more than she’s ever let on–and she lets that bomb drop next:

 

“I’ll bet he didn’t even have to ask twice.” Pavlina chuckled. “I did the same thing with your father. I wasn’t that interested in flying, but the first time he asked me, I couldn’t wait to get on a broom.” She moved two steps closer to her daughter. “Why didn’t you tell your father you received a commendation from The Foundation for helping during the November attack?”

Annie was aware that her mother knew about the Day of the Dead attack—she was told that week that The Foundation had notified her parents—but was surprised that she knew about her award. “I didn’t tell anyone; it wasn’t important.”

“Is that the reason you didn’t mention Kerry’s commendation for flying patrol?” Pavlina slipped her hands into the pockets of her housecoat. “Or that The Foundation gave him the Medal of Conspicuous Bravery last week?” She turned her head slightly to one side. “Pretty good for someone who handles a broom ‘well’.”

She kept her face passive, but Annie’s tone told her mother everything about what emotions were coursing through her daughter at the moment. “How do you know that? Are you spying on Kerry?”

Pavlina wasn’t nearly as controlled as her daughter, and didn’t mind letting her voice rise. “I learned through my contacts in The Foundation; did you think after hearing about the attack on the school I wasn’t going to do my own investigating?” Her face grew dark. “And I have a right to know about the boy my daughter loves. If you won’t tell me anything about him, I’ll get my own information.”

“What else do you know about him?” Annie fought not to clench her fists.

“I know he saved three lives. I know he was almost killed by an Abomination. I know he was injured and ended up spending two nights in the hospital.” Pvalina let her anger pass and lowered her voice. “I also know from my medical contacts that both nights he was on the floor a ‘care specialist’ watched him—an ‘A. Kirilova’.” She sighed soft and long. “Quite a step up from helping with triage.”

Annie stared at the floor for almost ten seconds. There wasn’t much she could say that might not result in yelling and arguing, and that was something she didn’t want on Christmas Eve. She was concerned with one thing, however . . . “Are you going to spy on me all the time while I’m at school?” She looked up at her mother, her voice choking with emotion. “Are you going to know about everything that happens between Kerry and me?”

 

Finally we find out what it was that Emma was gushing over Kerry about concerning some “ceremony”, which was The Foundation and the school honoring those who helped in the Day of the Dead attacks.  So, yeah:  saving the lives of three people and almost getting eaten by a monster will get you a medal–

And you also get the notice of Mama, who comes right out and says she has “a right to know about the boy my daughter loves.”  No pussyfooting around there:  Pavlina has heard Annie chat off and on about Kerry–aka Ginger Hair Boy–for years, and knows it’s not just some passing phase for Annie:  she knows that just like everything her daughter does, if she’s interested in it, she gets serious.

It’s good news that these two don’t come to blows:  in fact, they calm down and have a discussion about school, being adults, and life in general.  But there is this mention . . .

 

Pavlina leaned over the arm of the chair and reached out towards Annie, who extended her left arm. She took Annie’s hand and held it. “You’re in a relationship: already you’ve discovered that things aren’t always as you expected—and they’ll never remain that way.

“You have issues with your father: I understand that. I understand why there are things you won’t do or say, like fly with him or tell him about your flying at school; you know how it would make him feel.” She gave Annie’s hand a final squeeze. “One day you’re going to have to do these things, because you won’t be able to hide things from him any longer. And then there’s Kerry—”

Annie’s brow furrowed. “What about Kerry?”

“There are things about your relationship you’ve not told him.” Pavlina straightened her housecoat over her legs. “Have you ever said anything about your book?”

Annie’s gaze dropped towards the floor. “No, Mama. But you told me most boys never learn of that book until—”

“Yes, I said that. And your father didn’t learn of my book until after you were born. But . . .” Her smile was soft and knowing. “I’d known your father a while before I wrote down his name.”

“I knew Kerry for a while—” Annie looked up and breathed out hard. “—before I wrote down his name.”

“You told me you wrote down his name almost as soon as he told you.” Pavlina raised an eyebrow. “That’s quite a difference than what I did with your father.”

 

Book?  What is this book of Annie’s–one that her mother had as well?  Maybe it’s a witches thing . . .

Chapter Twenty-Eight starts, and Kerry’s zipped back to early morning Salem, almost one in the morning local time.

 

The Cernunnos Commons was as dimly lit as he remembered it, and it brought a smile to his face. Christmas morning he awoke with the feeling that he’d dreamt of the commons, but as with all of his dreams for nearly the last year, he couldn’t remember any of it clearly—he wasn’t even certain if he’d had a dream. All that remained was the feeling that he he’d been sitting in front of a fire, and that maybe he’d had someone cuddling next to him—someone who always sat on his left.

He climbed the stairs to the first floor, the floor he shared with Annie. Everything here was as he’d left it: the lighting, the shadows, the silence. Instead of going directly to his room, Kerry walked to the girl’s side of the tower and walked to Annie’s door. He stood outside for almost a minute, imagining her sleeping on the other side. I wonder if she told me she loved me before she went to bed again tonight? He’d promised her that he would wish her a good night and say that he loved her before he fell asleep, and he’d kept that promise: he was certain Annie had done the same . . .

Whether she’d said it or not wasn’t a concern—what came to Kerry was that he’d see her in the morning. He lay his hand against her door before resting his head on the back. “I’ll see you soon, Sweetie.” Kerry closed his eyes and sent his love to the sleeping girl in the room beyond the door, then headed for his.

 

Since Kerry is sleeping after Annie sleeps, and it’s been established that he does dream, was he really dreaming about the coven tower commons?  Or was he dreaming about being with a girl he knows as she sat before her fireplace thinking about being with a boy she knows, and her feelings eventually found their way to him?  Curious, isn’t it?  Maybe they weren’t so separated after all.

Tonight will be interesting, because it’s not the weekend, it’s the first night of NaNo after I work a full day, and if I’m gonna keep up, I need to hit at least seventeen hundred words.  Can I do it?

Tune in tomorrow.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/2:  2,370

NaNo Total Word Count:  4,587