Out On Their First Flight: Family Involvement

There was a whole lotta writing going on yesterday.  A whole lot.  Put on the recapping hat last night and did my first recap of the year for Humans Season 2, and that took up about two thousand words in ninety minutes, then it was into the novel for a short rest, where another eight hundred words were set into the mix.

Why so little for an original work?  When you’re recapping you just watch and make notes, then turn the notes into detailed descriptions.  I had to imagine everyone in a building that I designed, then I and to pull up that design so I could make sure I had dimensions right.  Then I had to image things about the superlab and that led to looking up clean room requirements and codes so I could get one line right.  And I’m still getting notes on chemical processing equipment down, because finding information on how to put a superlab together for something other than making meth is a bitch.  It’s like they figure you know how to put a lab together already.

And on top of all this I’m in the middle of Erywin describing something and my mind goes, “Hey, remember you just listened to the song #9 Dream?  I got a great scene that will go with that!”  And just like that I gotta take about ten minutes to visualize it and figure out what’s going on.  Because my mind is like a bag of cats trying to get comfortable and this is its way to letting me know I can’t rest for too long or I’m gonna get another scene thrown my way.

But the hell with all that:  Emma’s got a broom and she’s not doing any cleaning.  And she wants the whole family to watch something…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“We have a bunch of trees out in our backyard, so I get us in a group of them and I tell everyone to get in tight around me. I didn’t tell them what I was doing, I just throw up a light bending spell so the neighbors can’t see what’s going on. Now that I know no one can see us, I put the broom in hover and bring up the HUD again and start explaining everything to my parents. But instead of just letting the broom hover like I did in my bedroom when I was speaking with Ronnie, I get on the broom while I’m talking. That way I knew I’d have my parents attention and they could see something that were used to seeing all the time.

“Now that I showed them what the broom could do I told them to watch and let them know that once I was like twelve feet in the air I was going to vanish because of another spell. I got my feet back, pulled just enough on the column to get it to move, and rose slowly into the air. Just like I knew would happen I got four and a half meters off the ground and they start looking around because they can’t see me. So I hover for about five seconds and then slowly push back toward the ground and settle right down the middle of them.

“I explained to them how there’s a levitation and movement spell built into the broom and the processor on the back feeds energy into it to keep it going. I start telling them things about how fast and high it can go and tell them about the different race courses at school and the Mount Katahdin race course, and I tell them about how I did in the races over the school year.

“Then I decided to try something a little strange. I’m sitting side saddle on the broom and look at Ronnie and asked her if she wanted to go up with me.”

Kerry had avoided speaking up to this point but felt the urge to interrupt. “You asked your sister if she wanted a ride on the back of your broom? That’s pretty ballsy.”

 

This is the smart thing to do:  find something that isn’t too scary but is nonetheless magical–and what’s more magical than a witch’s broom?  Of course it’s cool when those brooms have radar and altitude/speed sensors and a lot of the conveniences found on a commercial jet, but it’s still a damn broom.  And then she asks her sister–the little brat, mind you–if she wants to go up.

And she says..?

 

Emma grinned as she shrugged. “I figured if there was anything that was going to get across the whole ‘I’m different from you because I’m a witch’ thing, it was going to be using some form of magic with someone in the family. And I saw how Ronnie looked at me when I pulled out the broom, so I figured this would be a good way to kind of bond with her over our differences.

“After she said yes I extend the seat for two people then told her to get on behind me. I let her know that her feet would automatically curl up behind her when she got on so she wouldn’t have to worry about holding them in place, and when she was on o put her arms around me and just hug me. Once she was in place I asked her if she was ready, and once she gave me the go-ahead I pulled on the column and off we went, straight up.”

“How high up did you take her?”

“Seventy-five meters. I figured that would be high enough to give her a good look around and at the same time give her a feeling of what it was like to be on the broom.”

“Good idea.” Kerry rubbed his chin as he considered his wingmate’s sound logic. “Did you fly any?”

She shook her head. “Not that time; all I did was a slow spin so she could get a good look at everything. I could tell she was a little nervous going up, but once we were on location and she was seeing everything she was calm, really cool about the whole thing. She even asked me how high I’ve been up on my broom and I told her, I’ve been up about two miles on this thing.” Emma chuckled for a few seconds. “I think that was first time I’ve ever heard Ronnie gasp.”

“But she liked it?”

“She dug the hell out of it. After we landed she was all excited about how we went up in the air together and it was just so cool being on the back of this thing… I mean, she really loved it.”

Kerry tapped his hands against his knees. “She takes after her sister.”

Emma considered statement for a few seconds before nodding. “Probably.”

 

I should remind everyone that the Neilson Sisters were doing their Rocky Mountain High thing in their pajamas and Veronica likely marveled a bit at how nonchalant Emma seemed.  And if anything it not only made the parents a little less worried about their Ginger Witch, but likely caused the sisters to bond somewhat:

"I'm sorry I was mean to you."  "I'm sorry I called you a brat."  "No, you're not."  "Okay, got me there."

“I’m sorry I was mean to you.” “I’m sorry I called you a brat.” “No, you’re not.” “Okay, got me there.”

But Emma said something in one of the paragraphs about and it’s going to lead to a little more bit more of an explanation…

Out On Their First Flight: Making First Impressions

A lot of interesting things happened yesterday, though not all of them were good.  First, I had tacos for Valentine’s Day.  Tacos are love, so I had a little love.  I also had two margaritas, which are a whole lot of love.  And a whole lot of booze.

When you don't have a Galentine, tacos are a girl's best friend.

When you don’t have a Galentine, tacos are a girl’s best friend.

So I got home and right off the bat I had to deal with a catfish.  I’m on a couple of dating apps and so far everyone is contacted me has tried to catfish me.  Which leads me to believe that dating apps are as much bullshit as Facebook.  I’ve also done a lot of reporting: I even reported someone early this morning who claimed that they were on a secret mission with the US military in West Africa and not actually 69 miles from where I live.  I told him that just by telling me that they were in violation of the Military Code of Justice and then I reported them.

You don’t get one over on me that easily.

Then I watched Humans, which was good, so that I can get prepared to write my recap for tonight.  After all this nonsense I finally got to the point where I could work on the novel.  The let me state this: as I pointed out Chapter Ten is all about Annie and Kerry in special classes.  It’s a whole week of special classes.  And right off the bat I’m going into the special class of Advanced Formulistic Magic.  Fortunately for me, I have a list of everyone who are in those classes.

Unfortunately, I forgot to update the list when I started the C Level novel.

So here I am, going through the attendance for AFM making certain that everyone who I say is there is supposed to be there.  I knew one person had graduated, so she’s gone, but I had to make certain that no one else had dropped out.  I only did it for AFM, but tonight I’m going to need to go through that list and make sure it’s all updated for the C Levels.

Oi.  The things I do to myself.

Still, I started the new chapter:

See? New chapter all shinny!

See? New chapter all shinny!

But before we can get to the new chapter, I’m still finishing up stuff in the old chapter.  Because I’m way ahead of you–though if I only continue to have five hundred word nights, you’ll catch up to me eventually.  I mean, it’s just math.  No tacos involved.

Speaking of tacos Emma didn’t have them for dinner after coming out as a witch.  She had something else, as well as an interesting night and following morning…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

This time Kerry did laugh. “Are you kidding? Your mom asked if you were hungry and that she made meatloaf?”

Emma looked down and shook her head. “I know, right? I’m expecting everyone to freak out at this point and everyone’s acting like, hey, time to eat. By the way, that was the quietest my family ever was during dinner: there was almost nothing said at the table. After I ate I excused myself, got my bag and went to my room, and after sitting up a while to see if anyone wanted to talk I went to bed.

“Next morning I get up and go to the bathroom. We live in a tri-level so all the bedrooms are up above the garage and the living area is all pretty open, so on the way to and from the bathroom I can hear my parents talking. There’s an island in our kitchen and my parents will usually sit at it in the morning the weekends and drink coffee and talk.

“After I’m done I go back to my room and close the door. I’m in there about two minutes and there’s a knock on my door. I figure it’s my mom because when I’m in my room and she wants to talk to me, she knocks on my door. I opened it but it’s not my mom: it’s Ronnie. Now I’m kind of freaked out because my sister never knocks, just the sort that just throws open the door and starts yelling at me. She looks at me for about five seconds and then asks if she can come in. I didn’t know what she wanted, so I told her she could.

“She comes in and without thinking I waved the door close, you know, because we do it all the time here. She looks at the door and back at me and she asked if I used magic close the door. I sit down at my desk and I tell her, yeah, that’s how we open and close doors at school. She asked me if I’m really a witch and I told her, yes, I’m a witch. I may not be able to do as much magic as some people, but I’m as good as most of the students at school.

“Ronnie sits on the end of my bed and I can tell she’s got a lot of questions. So I decided to make it easy for her and I start telling her about all the things we do at school. I tell her about normal spells class, I tell her that we took astronomy, I tell her about Formulistic Magic class, I tell her about transformation class, and about sorcery. And the last thing I tell her is that I have a broom and I’m on the race team and that I finished tenth overall in this last season.

“I figured that would interest her and it did. She was like, you really have a broom? And I smile and say, yeah: would you like to see it? I stand up and I pulled it out of Hammerspace, because I hadn’t removed it from the night before. When I pulled out she didn’t freak: she gets his big smile on her face and she’s like, whoa, that’s cool. So I put in the hover and bring up the HUD and I start explaining everything through her—

“And that’s when I get an idea. I snatched the broom out of hover and tell Ronnie to follow me, and I put on my slippers and head down toward the kitchen. Just like I thought my parents are sitting at the island having coffee, so I walk past them with the broom in my hand and I’m like, let’s go out back, I want to show you something.

 

See, having an inquisitive sister, even one who is usually a pain in the ass, is a good thing, because the chances are good she doesn’t hate you that much and wants to know if this magic thing is true or BS.  Just imagine if Kerry had a sister–no, don’t.  She’d probably be a spoiled little brat whom Mommy has thrown all her hopes and aspirations into while he just sits on the outside looking in while simmering.  And could you imagine Kerry having a mean sister and she meets Annie for the first time?  Kerry would quickly become an only child.

In the end here Emma appears to want the whole family to join in the fun, and that’s what’s coming tomorrow.  Today, though, you can listen to Fox on the Run, because I was on a Guardians of the Galaxy kick last night and the second movie can’t get here soon enough…

I’m that kind of girl…

Out On Their First Flight: Magic in the Mountains

Last night in Harrisburg… Yeah, it sounds like something important.  Maybe it is.  Actually, a lot got done yesterday.  First off, I finish the scene which means I finished Chapter Nine.  Which means I’m officially done with all the single digit chapters and I can move on to double digits.

Let's take a minute to say goodbye together.

Let’s take a minute to say goodbye together.

What’s coming up in Chapter Ten are four slices of what happens in the advanced classes.  Or I should put it this way: you get to see what happens in three of the advanced classes and what happens in one specialty class.  It should be interesting and it’s going to lead up to an event that may end up becoming the talk of the school after a while.

In fact, there’s a whole lot of stuff is coming out–I mean, the step of having a novel, correct?  But that’s beside the point.  The next two chapters are going to get real interesting and they are leading up to a big event.  And it won’t be long before we get there.

In the meantime we have to deal with what’s happening now, which means were dealing with the past.  Which means were about to see what really happened when Emma came out.

And it’s right here–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Well, I was sitting there listening to Miora speak, but I’m hardly even listening. All I can think is the moment I come out my parents are going to freak, and I’m trying to put together was going to happen after that. Then, all of a sudden, Miora says ‘Emma, you have something to tell your parents, don’t you?’

“I knew what she wanted me to say, but I couldn’t get the words to come out. I just sat there like an idiot with this dumb stare on my face and all I can see is my family staring back at me. Just as Miora is about to say something, I sat up real straight and just said it: ‘I’m a witch.’ And I then sat back like it was no big deal.”

Kerry knew Emma well enough to imagine she was probably in a state of semi-shock the entire time this was happening at her home. Though she wasn’t quite the weak willed witch she had been during their A Levels, there were times when she was easily rattled, though those moments always happened away from the track. He suffered a great deal of nervousness during his own coming out, but he couldn’t imagine himself just sitting there and staring at his parents. “What did they do when you told them?”

She shook her head as she looked off to one side. “They just sat there: they didn’t do anything. My parents were looking at me like they didn’t quite hear what I said and my sister is sitting there rolling her eyes. That’s when Miora leans over and tells me that maybe I should show them some magic. So…”

“So you did.”

 

So Emma started laying out the magic.  It sounds like this is something that every coming out B Level does, and you have to wonder if there are tales of witches who were so nervous they botched their spells and did shit like set the dog on fire by accident or blow out a wall in the family abode.  So, what did she do?

 

“I did. It wasn’t anything spectacular: I did the Illuminate spell and levitated a couple of things. The one that got everyone, though, was when I made a small fireball—”

Kerry began laughing. “You crafted a Fireball spell in your living room?”

Emma’s blush was bright. “I know, right? I mean, they were duly impressed with the other spells, but when they saw me holding a fireball between my hands—” She smiled as she nodded twice. “There was no way they could say I was somehow faking things.”

“I know what you mean.” Kerry didn’t mention that his parents had the exact reaction that Emma didn’t believe her parents would have. “So what happened after that? What did you?”

“That’s the thing: my parents did nothing. After all that they just sat there on the sofa staring at me like they didn’t know what to say or do. Miora asked them if they had any questions and my father’s just like, no, I think were good. Even Ronnie—”

“Who’s that?”

“My sister Veronica: we call her Ronnie for short. She’s always the first person to mouth off and even she just sat there looking shocked and not saying a word. I really didn’t know what to think; it was kind of unnerving.

“Since my parents didn’t want to say anything, Moria decided to leave and she asked me to walk her to the door. When we got there she reminded me that I should contact her if there’s any issues, and if worse comes to worse I had the panic button. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about I told her so, but she wanted me to know just in case.

“After she leaves I go back in the living room and I just stand there looking at everyone waiting for my parents to say something. After like fifteen seconds my mom looks at me and says, ‘I made meatloaf; are you hungry?’.”

 

At least she had a good teacher when it came to the Fire spell:  Kerry told her during their first overnight flight that he’d help her with it.  So yeah, Kerry.  Those teaching lessons with Annie came in handy.

But you have to love her mother’s reaction:  “Oh, you’re a witch?  Um… I made meatloaf.”  Kerry’s parents are giving him and his case worker shit because they can’t believe this was kept hidden from them and Emma’s family are suffering from just a bit of shock, which is what you’d expect most parents to do when their thirteen year old kid drops this mic on them.  Your kid creates fire out of nothing and shock is probably going to set in–

The question now becomes:  how does the Nelson Family handle this new news?

Mother’s Little Annoyance: It’s That Time Again

Yes, it is that time again:  it’s time to get out the school travel packages.  In the last novel they came two weeks before the kids departed for Berlin, and while Kerry left for London at the last minute Annie had her orders in hand two weeks before heading out as well.  It’s a thing that happened all over the world, and just as it’s happening to Annie and the various friends she and her soul mate have made during the last year, it’s also happening to a certain boy in Cardiff, Wales.

It does appear, however, that he has a bit of a complication to work through:

 

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

 

The moment the bell ran Louise Malibey was out of the chair in the sitting room and heading towards the front door. She was aware of the day: it was one she’d had marked on her personal calendar for nearly and had applied for a personal day from work at the beginning of the month. She’d told Davyn over the weekend that there were “things” she wanted to do today, but he knew exactly why she was staying home—

That reason was now standing at the door.

She opened the inner door and found a young woman dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt standing beyond the outer door. Louise unlocked the entryway and greeted the woman. “Yes?”

The woman held tight to the strap of the messenger bag slung over her left shoulder. “I have a package for Kerry Malibey.”

Louise presented her best smile as she held out her hand. “I’ll take that.”

The delivery woman smiled back. “May I see your ID?”

The smile on Louise’s immediately became a frown “Why?”

“So I can confirm you are Kerry Malibey.” She woman slid her hand down the strap and rested it against the bag. “The package I have can be given to him only.”

“You don’t understand—” Louise stood straight and spoke firmly. “I’m his mother. If you have something for him, then I can accept it for him.”

The woman shook her head. “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but I can only give this package to Kerry.”

“And I’m telling you—”

“I’ll take that.”

Kerry slid around his mother without looking at her and addressed the messenger. “I’m Kerry.” He held out his right hand. “Here’s my student ID.”

The messenger woman took the ID and gave it quick examination before looking up at Kerry. She returned the ID and pulled a tablet from her bag. “Palm print, please.” She held it out, surface up, and Kerry set his left hand upon the surface until it beeped. After a quick glance at the screen she woman returned it to her bag and removed a standard mailer envelope that she handed to him. “Here you are.”

“Thank you.” Kerry slid his ID into his pants pocket before taking the mailer.

The woman gave him a curt nodded. “You’re welcome. Have a nice rest of the day, Kerry.” Without acknowledging Lucile’s presence she spun on her heel and head out to the car waiting at the curb.

Kerry waited the car to pull away before turning away. He gave his mother a thoughtful glance before walking back into the house and heading towards the kitchen.

 

So there you go, Mom:  first part of your plan thwarted and the witchy teen living in your house has one-upped you, even if he did have a lot of help from the organization that sends him to school.  (And maybe an email or two telling him to wait for someone to show up exactly at a certain time just so he could sucker punch Mommy Dearest.)

From here it’s all about details–including one that’s going to be a bit surprising and a few more that won’t seem that way.  Before that happens, however, we need Louise Malibey to give her son the Bitch Face From Hell–

Be assured, there's nothing resting about what comes next.

Be assured, there’s nothing resting about what comes next.

Penny On Your Thoughts

It’s strange.  I’ve been at work on this current chapter, Number Two, since 14 August, and I’ve been pretty steady on writing for the last twenty-two days (I just calculated the span so I know).  Because of all the stuff going on the last couple of days I’ve hadn’t written much:  my total output for Friday and Saturday was eight words–yes, eight.  That means I’m getting into that mindset that I ain’t doing jack and I’m falling behind and I’m just a horrible person.

And then I calculate that in these last twenty-two days I’ve written 11,404 words–I know ’cause I keep track–and when you calculate the average it comes out to five hundred and eighteen words a day.  Which means that just like Kerry, I’m beating myself up over dumb crap again and I need to knock it off.  I just passed twenty-six thousand words and if I keep at this pace for another year I’ll add almost another one hundred and eighty-three thousand words.  Sure, I may only be two-thirds of the way done with this novel by then, but I’ll still have two hundred words written and you can’t ignore that.

 

This is my Surprised Face.  See how surprised I am?

This is my Surprised Face. See how surprised I am?

Writers are their own worst critics ’cause we like to find any and all reasons to point out to ourselves how crap we are.  That’s not to say some of us aren’t writing crap, but at least we’re writing and some of that crap makes their authors rich.    But one of the things I love to do is convince myself that I’m wasting my time with these stories and that I should move on to something else, like maybe cooking meth.  But I won’t do that, mostly because I don’t know how to cook, nor do I have a private domicile where I can’t be harassed, bitch.  As Alan Arkin’s character said in Little Miss Sunshine said, “A real loser is someone who’s so afraid of not winning he doesn’t even try,” and I’ll always keep trying.  Of course he also said this–

Grandpa: [in response to Frank, aimed at Dwayne] Let me tell ya, don’t do that stuff. When you’re young, you’re crazy to do that shit.
Frank: [to Grandpa] Well what about you?
Grandpa: [to Frank] What about me? I’m old. When you’re old you’re crazy not to do it.

 

–so take anything he says with enough grains of salt to make a salt lick.

But what about my kids?  Glad you asked.

Kerry asked Penny about her own coming out yesterday–well, several days ago, but you know what I mean.  And that means Penny has her own story to tell:

 

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

 

“Not too much, though it wasn’t easy at first.” Penny grew quite as she sought her memories from the previous summer. “When I came out to them there was a lot of silence at first, like they didn’t know how to process the info. Then I crafted a couple of simple spells and…” She smiled as she shook her head. “It was like I’d walked into the room and killed a puppy, or something. They sat there and looked at me like they’d never seen me before—which they hadn’t up to that point.

“The first month was the hardest. For the first week they never said much to me, and after that they tread lightly whenever I was around, like something they would say would make me rage out and go full Three-W on them.” Three-W was a phrase many of the kids at school used: it meant “Wicked Witch of the West” and was used to label a dangerous witch. “It was a real pain in the arse. I felt like I was being judged every second I was around them. I mean, you should have seen the first time we all went out for dinner together: me mum and dad actually asked me not to do anything ‘bad’. Penny snorted. “Like I was gonna start throwing around fire, or something.”

 

Little by little it comes out that all the kids in my school have their own nomenclature and slang for things related to their world.  We know they often say “craft” when it comes to generating spells and “Art” for magic, but now we you know they sometime call out dangerous witches as “Three-Ws”, or Wicked Witch of the West, which we all pretty much know without having to go into full-blown exposition mode.  There’s only a couple of witches at Salem who any of the students lay that moniker upon, the main one being the Head Sorceress, Helena Lovecraft, who is really more like the Wicked Witch of Kiwi Land and dresses a lot more like Trinity from The Matrix than what a lot of Normal people imagine witches dress–

Only 'cause if she ever showed up in class dressed like this she's probably scare the piss out of everyone.

Only ’cause if she ever showed up in class dressed like this she’s probably scare the piss out of everyone.

It’s probably a good bet that there are a few students who are known as dangerous, though it’s debatable if they are Three-W dangerous.  There are a few students who have red flagged files, though they are all older kids, all E and F Levels.  After all, it’s not like anyone younger than that has ever killed anyone–right?

So things started out rocky for Penny, and Kerry is interested to know how that turned around–

 

“You said they were like that for the first month—” Kerry was eager to know what happened to change her parent’s opinion of her, as it was obvious they didn’t appear to have a problem a year later. “What changed?”

“My big sister.” She glanced at Kerry. “I have a sister who’s fourteen months older than me and a brother four years younger. My sister and I share a room ‘cause my brother needs his own room and we only have three bedrooms in our house.

“Anyway, one afternoon I’m in my room sitting on my bed listening to music, and my sister comes in. Now, she hasn’t said much about me, either, but she hasn’t acted like I was going to set her on fire, either. This time she sits on the edge of her bed and just keeps looking at me like I’d turned blue or something. So I pop out the earbuds and I’m like ‘What?’ And she goes, ‘Would you show me what you can do? Can you do magic?’ No one has asked me to actually show them anything, so I figure I’ll give her a show—

“I crafted up a bunch of stuff: I did levitation and manipulation. I did some of the minor transformation stuff I know. I did light bending which I thought would freak her out but didn’t.” Penny chuckled for a few seconds. “I got out my broom and let her hold it before I put it in a hover and showed her how it works. I even let her sit on it: she thought that was the greatest.

“That night when we went down to dinner Olivia—that’s her name—is no sooner in her chair when she looks at mum and dad and says, ‘You should stop acting like there’s something wrong with Penny. She showed me what she can do and it’s blinding.’ So Mum asks what I did and we told her, and…” She shrugged. “That was it. After that everyone was cool with me. No acting like I was going to set the house on fire or turn everyone into animals or some shite like that. Just—” She drew in a long, slow breath. “Me being me.”

 

Having an older sister made it all the better for Penny:  just ask and ye shall receive a crafting lesson.  It also helps that Olivia didn’t lose her mind and start screaming, “Burn the Witch!” ’cause that would have been awkward as hell.  Maybe her younger brother felt that way, as younger brothers aren’t known to get along with their older sisters, and it’s possible he’s told his parents “She turned me into a newt, but I got better” just because it’s something a kid might do.

Unfortunately Kerry doesn’t have any siblings so he can’t fall back on this ploy.  He can, however, quiz Penny on another things that puzzles him greatly…

Magical Mountain Home

So, much has been said about the House That Annie Had Built, and it’s even shown up here before–

The building that launched a couple of hundred thousand words.

Just in case you’d forgotten, the place where a shared vision will eventually come true–if nothing happens to my kids.

But everyone knows about the Lake House, because it gets talked about all the time.  What hasn’t been seen much, save during the holidays and the scene in the first book where Annie left for school for the first time.  However, that doesn’t mean I have figured out what it looks like . . .

The background to Annie’s parent’s house really started back in 2011.  The house first came up in conversation, probably around August of that year, when my friend Tanya–the original Annie–started talking about an idea she had for the house where Annie lived in the mountains.  Now, Tanya will be the first to say she’s not a “visual person,” and while she had the idea about how the house looked, she didn’t know how to bring that vision out.

But since I’ve all the tools and I’m used to designing stuff, I thought I’d draw up the house based upon what she said in our texts.

Just for the record, Tanya loved the layout; she felt it was just how she thought the house should look:  not too fancy, but still something impressive.  And just strange enough that it would fit in well in the world of magic.

I’m considered doing a three-dimensional version of the plan for some time, and Saturday afternoon I spent several hours putting the house together, making some modifications from the original design, and then getting pictures of the three-dimensional layout.

All so you guys can see this.

Let’s start with the basement, because it’s as good a place to start.  Here it is:

Welcome to the lower levels!

Welcome to the lower levels!

So, from right to left we have a spiral staircase to the ground floor, a family room, a bed room, a full bath, and a tunnel.  The staircase is easy enough to explain, as is the tunnel, which is the four hundred and twenty meter route to Annie’s Lake House, with a little detour to Pavlina Kirilova’s greenhouse and lab.  This is the way Annie takes when there’s lots of snow on the ground and she doesn’t feel like dealing with the mountain elements.  The large passage from the stairs to the tunnel also has little areas set in the wall you can’t see for storage and other things.

The family room is found in a lot of homes, where people retreat into their lower levels to watch TV and BS.  The full bath, however, seems a little too full for anyone to just use, and if you look closely, you’ll see there’s a door leading to the bedroom as well.  There’s also a door leading from the from the family room to the bedroom, and that’s because . . . this is the master bedroom where Pavlina and Victor sleep.  The parents sleep in the basement?  Yep.  And why not?  It’s quiet, you have your own bathroom, and when Annie’s up in her room or out to the lake house, it’s a nice, quiet place to stay and feel like you’re the only couple in the universe.

So the stairs go up.  To where?  Here:

Now this looks like a normal house.

Now this looks like a normal house.

Here is the ground floor.  Big porch out front, another big porch in the back.  What we have here, going clockwise, are the stairs, the living room, a storage area and the half bath, the dining room, another set of stairs going up, the mud room, the kitchen, a full bath and a closet/storage area, a bedroom, and Victor’s office/study.  In the dining room scene just described, Annie sits along the long side of the table facing the windows, her mother sits to her right and close to the kitchen, and her father sits with his back to the large window.  And Victor gets his own office because, well, he needs one.  Where’s Pavlina’s?  Out in the greenhouse/lab:  that’s her domain.

This is as good a time as any to point out that the main entrance faces north, looking out on to a mountain flank, so the dining room is gonna get all the morning light.  The kitchen is filled with a lot of modern equipment, most of it enhanced with magic.  And the bedroom is now the guest bedroom, but at one time this was Annie’s bedroom until she was almost six, at which time the bedroom on the first floor was built for her.  Even as a little girl Annie had her own bath.

Originally the first floor of the house was a lot of open space, and there was always talk of building guest rooms up there, but once Annie grew older and required her own space, Mama and Papa decided their little girl needs here own area.  And they got it for her:

What little witch doesn't need a place of her own?

What little witch doesn’t need a place of her own?

And talk about a place!  It’s everything a teenage Bulgarian princess needs to call her own.  And that’s really what the first floor is:  it’s Annie’s living quarters.  Off the stairs she has a sitting room for visitors, and a bathroom for them both.  Inside the room there’s access to a walk-in closet, and her bedroom–it’s the size of the dining room, the half-bath/storage area, and half the living room.  With a little magic Annie can bring about just about any kind of furniture setup she likes in the open space at the end of her bed:  study area, TV area, even a sitting area for those friends closest to her.  It’s really her lake house before she had a lake house.  When you think about it, Annie has living areas bigger than a lot of apartments and even some houses.  Needless to say, she’s living large for a little girl.

There you have it:  The Kirilovi Family dwellings.  Probably the thing to do one of these days is to make out the land, and maybe build Pavlina’s lab/greenhouse.

But that’s for another time.  After a few thousand more words.

Yule Time Tea Time

Yes, I know:  late, late, late.  No, really, it is late.  It’s like almost one PM, or thirteen on the clock, here, and I’m just getting to this.  Why so late?  Because I have like no energy.  I spent a lot of time just napping and stuff yesterday, and this morning . . . just can’t focus.  Every little thing pulls me away–like the pain in my left shoulder that came back yesterday.

But I’ve done stuff, too.  Like . . . you’ll see.

First, though:  the writing.  Between last night and this morning, twelve hundred and seventy words went down.  The Christmas tea party is over, and well, Annie had questions, right?  Lots of questions.  But what are her answers?

 

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

Annie waited for nearly twenty minutes before broaching a subject that had been on her mind since returning home. “May I ask for something?”

Pavlina set down her tea. “Is there something you’d like from the kitchen?”

“No, Mama, thank you. I had something else in mind.” She looked from her mother then to her father. “If I may—”

Victor nodded. “Certainly, Nini. Speak whatever’s on your mind.”

She knew she’d not have a problem with that, as that was her intention. “I’d like to buy either a laptop or a phone.”

Both parents glanced across the table before her mother spoke. “Why do you need one, Annie? You can use my laptop most of the time.”

“I know, Mama, but . . .” Annie cleared her throat and kept her tone reasonable. “I feel it’s time I have a computer of my own—or, if nothing else, an iPhone like—” She caught herself before she said, “Kerry,” and went with the far more generic expression. “—the other kids at school.”

Again Pavlina and Victor looked at each other across the dining table, neither speaking a word, and again it was left to Pavlina to answer. “I’m not certain you need a mobile, dear—” She glanced out the large window to her right. “Or a computer.”

A puzzled look dashed across Annie’s face. She expected her parents to ask a question or two, but she didn’t expect her mother to seem reluctant to commit to the idea. Annie moved on to the next part of the process— “I wouldn’t expect you to buy either for me; it’s best if I pay for this out of my trust.” She turned towards her mother, a slight smile upon her face. “All you have to do is pay for it then take the money from my—”

“No.”

For a moment Annie was taken back by her mother’s single-word comment. “What do you mean, no?”

 

Yeah, mom, what do you mean by “no”?  This is something Annie’s not heard much in her life, or at least not this definitively.  Keep in mind the year before it was, “I wanna buy Kerry a broom,” and mommy bought the thing and took the money out of Annie’s trust fund.  Suddenly Mama’s putting down the hard line, and Annie wants answers.

 

“I mean no. I mean you I don’t believe you require a computer or a mobile right now.” Pavlina raised her cup to her lips. “That should answer your question.”

Annie wasn’t about to take her mother’s answer as the final answer. Though she was educated and cultured, she wasn’t above performing the same action as teenage girls everywhere: she turned to her father. “Papa, I—”

Victor was ready for his daughter’s tactics, however. “I agree with your mother on this matter, Annie. You have a computer terminal at school, and your mother has a laptop here you can use when absolutely necessary.” He took a moment to enjoy a bite of banitsa before bringing up this last point. “As for needing a mobile—it’s not as if there are a huge number of people with whom you need to speak, so again, the need for a mobile—”

“What do you mean it’s not as if there’s anyone with whom I need to speak?” She hadn’t meant for her tone to come off sounding as heated, but she knew full well that they knew there was someone with whom she wished to speak . . . “You should—”

“I do know, Annie.” Pavlina set both hands palm down on the table as focused on her daughter. “We know exactly why you want these: you want to be able to speak with Kerry. Either you’re going to call or text him—or, if you have a computer, you’ll Skype him so you can speak face-to-face, more or less.” She shook her head. “If I thought you were going to use either for something other than speaking to—” For a moment Annie thought her mother was going to say “that boy”, but she didn’t. “—Kerry, then I might consider your request.

“However, I don’t believe that to be the case. I feel the only reason you a computer or mobile is so you can spend this upcoming summer holiday chatting away with your Ginger Hair Boy. Isn’t that so?”

 

So Annie’s parents are totally hip on the reasons why Annie wants this:  they just aren’t down on given them to her.  Or letting her buy them.  It seems like Pavlina has visions of her little girl sitting in front of a computer screen all day long during the summer chatting up her boyfriend–who she’s careful not to call her boyfriend, at least in front of her husband.  Even though you know they both totally know.

It’s also nice to know that Annie isn’t above doing the old, “If one parent says no, see what they other says,” trick.  Teenagers be teenagers, even if they’re witches.

Finally Annie gets right to the exact point of why she wants to have this contact with her soul mate:

 

Annie nodded. “I want to be able to speak with Kerry directly starting this summer. He has to come out to his parent after we go home—”

“As always happens with witches from Normal backgrounds.”

“It’s not going to be easy for him, Mama.” Annie leaned towards her. “His parents aren’t like either of you: they don’t understand him, they don’t show him any affection—”

“Thank you for saying we do those thing for you.” Victor smiled across the table at his wife. “It’s so rare one hears these things from their children.”

Pavlina smiled back. “Very true, my darling.”

Mama; Papa.” Annie knew her parents were stalling, trying to deflect the conversation away from the current discussion. “I want to be there for Kerry this summer. I want him to be able to speak with me quickly, and not have to rely on sending as letter and waiting three days for a response.” She changed her tone so as not to be so stern. “Please, Mama? I don’t want Kerry to feel alone.”

Pavlina slowly drew in a breath, scrutinizing her daughter the whole time. “I know you’re not going to want to hear this, but you need to understand this: you can’t always be there for the one you—” She caught herself before substituting the correct word for another phase. “—care about. This is most true about Normal witches who come out: they don’t always have an easy summer following their announcements, and what follows is something they must face alone.

“And as painful as it seems, you can’t be there for Kerry. You can help to a certain extent, but you can’t be his lifeline, Annie. You can’t always be there to rescue him; you can’t help ease his discomfort.” She shook her head just enough for Annie to notice. “And even if you had some way of maintaining constant contact with him over the the summer, it won’t always be enough.” Pavlina poured more hot water into her cup and set her tea ball inside to seep. “He has the face these things alone; he has to decide for himself what path to follow.” She place one hand over the other and set them in her lap. “Just as you do with him now: you let him learn these things on his own.”

The last thing her mother said made Annie regard her with cold reflection. The reasons given to Annie concerning not getting a phone or computer could have boiled down to, “Because we said,” but her mother took the reasons a little further and gave the exact reason: You can’t be there for Kerry. You can’t be there to help him.

Even then there was more to the statement, and her mother made certain Annie was aware of this fact.

 

What seems to be at work here is Annie’s parent know things are often hard for witches from Normal families, and Kerry will likely not be an exception.  But there are things said, things hinted at, and when Annie goes to her room at the end of this scene she begins to wonder things . . .

Two scenes down, two to go:

Keeping the words coming even when it's not easy.

Keeping the words coming even when it’s not easy.

Tomorrow we get a peek at Annie’s house–no, not the lake house:  you’ve seen that.  Her parent’s house.  And it’s really a treat . . .

The Sorceress’ Mantra

Between the early morning and the late evening, the first scene finished up, leaving me to move onto the next.    I’ve actually gotten into the habit of leaving myself a couple of hours to write before bedtime so I can move along quickly and not be bothered by distractions, and so far it seems to be working.  Also, I was tired when I finally crawled into bad, and this morning was the first time I remember the alarm waking me instead of getting up before it went off.

So . . . Kerry’s mom doesn’t have a problem smacking her son across the face.  I can still vaguely remember my mother doing the same thing to me for similar reasons Louise Malibey did it to Kerry, and it’s not a lot of fun.  I spanked my son a few times, and I’ve never raised my hand to my daughter, and they’re both doing okay.  I would have to say that being fearful of being hit again did something to me, and if I remember it happening almost fifty years after the last time it went down, then it made an impression upon me, and likely not for the right reasons.  Because the reason is to install fear of speaking out, instead of teaching appropriate ways of establishing a dialog.

Except in this case in the story, the dialog established was Kerry calling out his mom on her bullshit, and her not liking what was said.

 

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

Kerry touched the warm spot on his cheek and said nothing. It had been a long time since his mother had struck him: the last he could remember was back in California right after he turned seven, and just like this time he said something his mother didn’t like and she reacted much the same way. He remembered crying and running off to his room, and his father yelling, telling his mother to get her “Irish temper” under control. Later that afternoon she came to his room and apologized for striking him—

He was fairly certain she wasn’t about to apologize this time.

“You little shit.” His mother’s face was a dull share of red, slightly less luminous than her hair. “Is this what they’re teaching you at that school? To be a smartass towards your parent?”
“No, Mom.” He strained to keep his voice level. “They teach us to think for ourselves.”

“Then you have better think about this attitude you’re developing, because you’re becoming a tad insufferable, young man.” Louise’s tone soften slightly, but her emotions continued to shine through the words. “You started changing over the summer, Kerry—you began acting differently.”

“I don’t know how.” He stopped rubbing cheek. “I don’t think I changed.”

“That’s your problem: where you should be thinking, you’re not.” Louise snorted. “You don’t ever question what I think is best for you, do you understand?”

Kerry wanted to argue, wanted to tell his mother that he didn’t need her making decisions for him for everything, but he knew that was an argument he’d lose because his mother would keep at him until he made a mistake and gave her reason to yell at him again. I won’t let her get to me the way she did before I left; I’m not making that mistake again. “I got it, Mom.”

 

Kerry has never really called out his parents on anything.  Oh, sure, maybe a snide comment here and there, but never a full-out, “I know why you really did this,” statement like he did with his mother about her supposed outrage at this discussion he had with Nurse Coraline.  Kerry’s right:  his mother never got to say “no”, and one wonder if and when they were going to have “The Talk” with their son.  Maybe after Annie was pregnant?

 

“Good.” Her tone continued turning cold and distant. “Go to your room.”

He turned back towards the sink. “Let me put my—”

I said go to your room.” Her voice didn’t grow that much louder, but she laid out her anger in every word. “Do it now.”

Kerry left the kitchen, headed up the stairs, and hung a left at the top of the flight, and bolted straight into his room. He was already standing at the foot of his bed when he flipped his hand behind him and shut the door: he was fully aware he was doing magic before coming out as a witch to his parents, but as his mother didn’t follow him up the stairs, and he father was still at work, there wasn’t worried that he’d have to explain how the door closed on its own.

The room was quiet: no sounds penetrated from below, and his computer was on standby. He remained still, his hands at his side, while staring out the window over his bed’s headboard. He slowed his breathing and drew down his anger while running his favorite mantra through his mind: A good sorceress keeps their wits about them while everything goes to hell around them. Kerry finally took one long, deep breath, and exhaled the majority of his stress away—

He looked down body and saw the spheres of ball lightning hovering in the palm of in each hand.

 

This is something we’ve seen with Annie, when she was so pissed off at Emma that she let slip a Morte spell and started to bleed the little Bolder Ginger out.  Now we’re seeing it with Kerry:  Mommy pissed him off, he goes up to his room, shuts the door–magically, I might add, because he got away with it.  And because I may get asked:  yes, students are warned not to use magic before they come out as B Levels.  They’re also warned to keep the magic on the low after they do come out because they don’t want a literal witch hunt on their hands because some fifteen year old kid decided to get fancy and start cutting loose with spells in their hometown square.

And what happens to those who just won’t listen, who just say “The hell with it” and go nuts?  They usually get a memory wipe and kicked out of school, that’s what.  The way they look at it, if you can’t keep your shit together and not act like a witchy jag in public, then why do they want you?  They don’t.  So enjoy the old life you would have had if you weren’t a witch, ’cause for damn sure you aren’t getting a new one.

And there’s always Cloudland as a last resort . . .

 

Kerry shook his hands as he pulled the dark energy from the Lightening spell. He was a little surprised to see the spell just happen, but Annie told him during one of their lessons that under times of extreme stress, a knowledgeable witch could craft a spell without being aware they were doing so. This is what Helena means by keeping your wits about you. He checked his hands to make certain the spell was off: nothing remained. You can’t let Mom wind you up: if this had happened downstairs, Mom would be screaming and you’d probably be on the phone to Ms. Rutherford explaining what happened.

He fell upon his bed, rolling over on his back with his hands under his head. Kerry closed his eyes as he damned his situation, trying not to imagine how things were going to be in just over five months when he finished his B Levels and told his parents what he was really learning at school—

“Happy-freakin’-Christmas Eve.” He blurted out a rude sound as he inched his way up the bed so he could rest his head upon his pillow. “I’ll be Annie’s having a great time—” He closed his eyes and sighed, imagining her all dressed up and mingling with her family of witches . . .

 

And this is why Helena gave them that mantra back as A Levels:  she saw something special in them both, and she wasn’t about to see them waste it all by doing stupid stuff like, you know. Air Hammering another student into the hospital in front of their levelmates.  This is also one of the reasons she only teases about Morte spells early on, but doesn’t get into the actual teaching of them until a student’s C Levels.  If you’re gonna act all crazy and shit, the last thing the Mistress of All Things Dark wants to do is give you access to killing spells–she saves that for the people she knows can handle the deal.

And it’s likely the same reason she’s letting a couple of B Levels instruct each other on these things.    I mean, how easy might it be for Kerry to throw an electrical charge Mom’s way, then tell his father, “I don’t know; maybe something shorted out?”  Sure, The Foundation would figure it out, but probably not his family.  The fact he didn’t even go there is a good indication he’s one of the ones to trust–you might go so far as to say he’s one The Foundation could trust to be a Guardian . . .

Here we are, then–

Writing, always writing.  And more writing.

Writing, always writing. And more writing.

And since the next scene says “Pamporovo local”, you can bet we’re going to look in on Christmas afternoon with the Kirilovi Family–

Snackable Thoughts

Here it is, just before five-thirty in the morning, and I’ve not only been up since about a quarter to four, but I’ve been writing for nearly the last fifty minutes while listening to ABBA and Crowded House.  Sometimes you can’t sleep because you had a sore, irritated eye from the night before that made writing difficult; sometimes you can’t sleep because you’ve got a scene rummaging around in your head and you gotta get up and write out five hundred or so words–which is what I’ve done this morning.

Picture snapped at 4:45 this morning--what? You don't get up and start writing in moments like this?

Picture snapped at 4:45 this morning–what? You don’t get up and start writing in moments like this?

So what’s got me up this morning?  Kerry.  Actually Kerry and his mother, who is hovering over him like a UFO looking to abduct him so they can conduct strange experiments upon his young body.  Mommy Malibey seem to have a bit of a bug in her bonnet, and she’s not getting off to a good start after Kerry tells her about the great lunches they have a school–a point she continues upon before they delve into family matters–

 

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

Louise crossed her arms as she watched her son finish making his lunch. “It would appear. Do they serve filet mignon every night, too?”

“No, just on Wednesdays and Saturdays.” He quickly changed the subject. “What time’s dad coming home?”

“He’ll be in the office until about three or four—” Out of habit she checked the digital clock on the wall, which was set to the familiar AM/PM cycle; Kerry found it amusing that she never grew used to universal time. “You know how Christmas Eve is: they have to go over all the final sound edits for all the specials tomorrow.”

Kerry finished pouring the last of his soup into a bowl and set his sliced sandwich around the edge of a plate. “Yep—” He set the bowl in the center of the plate and grabbed a spoon. “Wouldn’t want the TARDIS sounding doggy on Christmas.”

“No, we wouldn’t.” His mother finally broke into a smile. “He said he’ll be home for dinner no matter what.”

“Sounds good.” He headed into the dining room and took his normal seat at the table. For a moment he thought his mother might join him at the table, but instead she headed into the family room and sat on the sofa watching television. It was obvious, however, that every few minutes his mother would glance in his direction and watch him eat, and he thought there was something on her mind that she wanted to share with him, and it had nothing to do with lunches, at home or school.

He was correct. After five minutes his mother found the need to open up. “I tried contacting your school.”

Kerry finished chewing before answering. “What for?”

“I wanted to speak to your headmistress about her response to my letter.”

“Oh?” He looked down and away just long enough to roll his eyes. “Didn’t you get one?”

“Yes, but . . .” Louise crossed her legs and pulled a sweater around her shoulders. “I felt her response was a bit too formy for me.”

“Formy?” Kerry stared into his soup bowl, smiling. “Is that a new word?”

“You know what I mean.” Louise got up and walked into the dining room, putting on the sweater before she took her normal seat to Kerry’s right. “I wanted to discuss a few things with her, so I called the school.”

 

Here we are again, back to “The Letter” about “The Talk,” and Kerry doesn’t seem too want any of this–well, he sort of looks at it as nonsense.  Nor does he want to hear about it again, so he tries to deflect the conversation . . .

 

“How’d you get the number?”

“It was in the literature we were given last year.”

“Oh.” Kerry was vaguely aware it was possible for the Normal parents to call a number that was linked to an office somewhere. The idea was if something important came up and a person couldn’t get in touch with the school through email, they could place a call that would eventually get passed along to the people in charge at Salem.

Louise ignored his exclamation. “I never did get the chance to speak to her, however. I was told she’d contact me when time became available.”

“I’m not surprised—” He finished the last of his sandwich and wiped his mouth. “Headmistress Laventure is pretty busy. About the only time we ever see her is when there’s a all-student announcement, and everyone has to show up to hear her.”

His mother seemed not to care for her son’s explanation. “Well, I would think—”

“Mom, we have students from all over the world.” He polished off the soup and pushed the plate forward. “I’m sure she hears stuff from parents all the time, and has to find time to talk to them all.” He headed into the kitchen to get a glass of water: when he returned his mother was still at the table. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”

“You wouldn’t?” She waited only long enough for him to sit then continued. “This thing that happened with you—”

Kerry started across the table, focusing on the wall between the dining room and the kitchen. “Mom, let it go.”

Louise started at her son, almost unsure if she heard him correctly. “What?”

“I said let it go.” He set down his water glass. “That talk happened almost nine months ago, and it’s been four months since I told you.” He slowly shook his head. “You still act like it’s the worst thing in the world that’s ever happened to me.”

 

What Kerry is doing right now is something the Kerry from a year ago–really more like eighteen months–would have never done.  The Kerry we first met about five hundred and seventy-five thousand words back was moody and quiet, and for him to tell his mother to “Let it go”–well, in another year he could get up and start singing the most infectious earworm ever released upon humanity, but right now they’re words of advice he’s offering his mother–

Who doesn’t seem to enjoy having her son tell her to let something go.  Especially when she damn sure isn’t ready to do just that.

 

Nothing in the way of a visible emotion crossed his mother’s face, but Louise sat silently contemplating her son’s words for almost ten seconds before formulating a reply. “The point isn’t about if what happened was the ‘worst thing in the world,’ it’s that your school allowed the doctor there to discuss a . . . private matter with you without asking your parents if she could.” She slowly and deliberately set her hands upon the surface of the table and moved slightly forward. “You’re surrounded by girls—you said so yourself. What is it? Five times as many girls—”

“Between three or four girls for every guy.” Kerry glanced as his mother as he nodded.

“Between three or four then. What I’m saying is you’re starting puberty, and with all these girls around you’re going to have . . .” A look of unease crossed Louise’s face. “There’ll be temptations—”

“Mom.” This time Kerry didn’t hid the eye rolling.

“I’m only saying, it’s a challenge you’ll face, and given the personal nature of the matter, your school’s doctor should have at least told us she was going to have this discussion so we could give our input.” Louise cleared her throat. “And despite your belief that no harm was doing, I still believe that we should have had this talk with you, not—”

“Why didn’t you?”

 

Now, first off, Kerry’s tired of his mom harping about this thing that happened.  He’s moved on–well, sorta.  I mean, it’s not like he can go, “Oh, hey, Mom?  The real reason we had this talk is because your future daughter-in-law and I had a vision of ourselves in our birthday suits getting ready to do the Wedding Night Boogie.”  Yeah, that would go over real good.

Secondly, while Kerry may not have a problem expressing himself at school, his social skills at home suck.  Back at Salem he has pretty normal and honest conversations with adults who, quite honestly, have offed people with the flick of a wrist, so having an adult conversation with one of his peers isn’t that big of a deal.  (In case you’re wondering, that includes three of the five coven leaders who are also their instructors–Maddie, Jessica, and Erywin–along with Wednesday, Helena, Ramona, Harpreet, and in Kerry’s case, Vicky.  You can throw Isis into that mix as well, since she’s instructing Annie as well with Kerry tagging along.)

The point is, Mom is not Helena Lovecraft–hell, she’s not even on par with one of his fellow B Levels.  Unfortunately, Kerry’s brain isn’t registering this fact, and once more his mouth is working faster than his mind because Mom has a way of winding his ass up.  Or maybe he is thinking and has just had enough, because he lays some cold, hard facts on Mommy Dearest:

 

The interruption disrupted Louise’s thoughts. “I’m sorry—what?”

“Why didn’t we have that talk?” Kerry finished off his water before turning to his mother. “I told you about the girl-to-boy ratio last year when we were at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s for Christmas, so you knew about that for five months before I came home from my A Levels. Then I didn’t tell you about the talk until the middle of August, when I got my travel package, I was was here—what? Two and a half months? Since you knew that there was all this possible—” He half smirked. “—’temptation stuff ‘ at school, why didn’t you have this talk with me over the summer? I mean, it wasn’t as if we were busy doing anything, and since there’s always a couple of days every week when we’re home while dad is at work . . .” He shrugged before standing and gathering his dishes. “Plenty of time for that talk we never had, Mom.”

He walked into the kitchen with his mother close behind. He didn’t look at her as he deposited his dishes on the counter and so he could clean them. “You know what I think? I think you’re upset ‘cause you never got the chance to say no.” Louise stood to Kerry’s right, regarding him coldly. “I don’t think this has anything about Dad and you wanting to have a talk about sex—more like it’s all about not getting to control what was said—or what you wanted me to hear.” He rinsed off the dishes and set them on the drying rack before turning towards his mother. “Isn’t that right?”

Louise slapped her son hard across the face.

 

And . . . that last line is why I was up writing.  I needed to get that out of my system before heading off to work.  I had to bring that section of the scene to a conclusion and get it out in the open because I simply couldn’t sit on it for another ten, twelve hours.

I’ve seen this coming for a while, and while it’s a horrible thing to lay on one of my kids, it needed doing.

It’s times like this he really needs Annie close by . . .

Beneath the Hardened Child

This is All About Annie.  Really, we are in that place where she’s being asked about stuff–you know, things–that that stuff happens to pertain to a certain Ginger Hair Boy from Wales.  It’s a given that her mother knows a bit about the boy, but Daddy?  If there was a Nopesville, Bulgaria, Annie’s father would be mayor.  But isn’t that how it is?

This means that, now, in the space after coming home and going to dinner, Papa gets a little me time with his lovely little witch.  Annie knows what he wants–he’s just taking his time getting there.

 

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

“We’re also thrilled with all the advanced classes you’ve been invited into. Although . . .” Victor rubbed his right index finger just under his lower lip. “Why didn’t you take Advanced Transformation and Advanced Flight One?”

Annie had expected these questions as well, and had her answers ready. “I’m auditing Advanced Transformation: Professor Kishna is letting me study the advanced spells with someone else—” She left the question of with whom she was studying and moved to the next answer. “—and as far as Advanced Flight One: everyone knows if I need additional flight training, I know where to turn.” She turned raised eyebrows and slight grin towards here father. “Is that not so?”

Victor couldn’t keep from chuckling. “That is true.” He sipped his tea for the first time. “I’m certain I could do as well as any of your instructors.”

They sat quietly looking at each other across the small table. Annie kept expecting her father to continue speaking, but he said nothing as his eyes darted from point to point around the siting room. After thirty seconds she decided to make things easy for him. “Papa?”

He sat up attentively. “Yes, Nini?”

She grinned partially due to what she was about to say, and partially due to her father calling her by the nickname they’d used for years. “You can ask the question you really want to ask—” She raised her tea mug to her lips. “I don’t mind.”

 

First off, Annie’s tired of beating about the bush:  if you wanna ask about my boyfriend–of which said terms has yet to come up–go ahead.  And second–Nini!  Annie has a nickname!  One that Kerry doesn’t know about.  And in case anyone’s wondering:  Kerry’s nickname is “Hey, You.”

Now that you have permission, ask away, Papa–

 

Victor set his tea upon the table and wrapped both hands around the mug. “How is Kerry?”

Finally. “He’s good, Papa.”

“And how is your time with him?”

“I enjoy being with him.”

He cleared his throat as quietly as possible. “Yes, but . . .” He raised his gaze and met Annie’s soft stare. “How is he to you?”

Annie set her mug aside and lightly placed her folded hands on the table before her. “He’s always nice to me: he never gets angry or mean, and he’s never raised his voice except when he’s frustrated with himself. He’s kind and always keeps me in this thoughts. He greets me every day with ‘Good morning’ and says ‘Good night’ before we go to our rooms to sleep.” She allowed her gaze slip slightly to the right. “He’s always there with a sweet word or affectation—” She looked back at her father. “He makes me feel wonderful, Papa.”

Wonderful Annie is a good witch filled with sunshine. Make her unhappy, and . . .

Wonderful Annie is a good witch filled with sunshine and unicorns. Make her unhappy, and . . .

 

Annie is a complex girl.  You could say, “Oh, but she’s a teenager:  of course she’s complex,” but there’s more to it than that.  Some might say that any girl who starts planning her wedding at around the age of seven with a boy who may be nothing more than a dream figment is probably a little obsessive/crazy, but there’s far more to her than just a stalker mentality.  She is in love, and she’s getting to the point where she doesn’t care who knows.  That little look off to the side–that’s her love remembrance.  And to tell one’s father that a boy they just met for about five minutes makes you feel wonderful . . . that’s heavy.  So much so that her father is a bit taken aback:

 

Victor regarded his daughter for fifteen seconds, his face a combination of calm interest. “You weren’t like this when you came home after your A Levels—”

“That’s because I missed him, Papa.” She glanced off to her right once more. “I was sad to leave him at the airport that day.”

He nodded slowly. “You were holding hands when you arrived in Vienna.”

Annie kept her head turned slightly to the right while her eyes turned back towards her father. “We were, yes. We hold hands nearly everywhere we go.” Her right eyebrow rose as she gave her father a quizzical look. “Didn’t Mama and you hold hands when you were at school?”

“Yes, we did.” Victor returned his daughter’s look. “But we never did that in front of our parents.”

She shrugged. “I’m different: you know that.”

 

She may as well said, “I’m not like the other girls,” and she’d have been right.  Oh, you saw us holding hands?  Ha!  I’m Annie:  I do what I want!  And to show she means business, this short little passage happens–

 

“I most certainly do know that.” He twisted slight in his seat so he could cross his legs. “I only want to know that you’re happy, and that this boy isn’t—”

“His name is Kerry, Papa.” Annie’s face froze into impassiveness as one thought entered her mind: I won’t allow him be spoken of in the same way Kerry’s mother tried to speak of me. I won’t. “Please don’t call him ‘the boy’. He’s more than that.”

There were a couple of slow, measured breaths from across the table before Victor spoke. “I apologize, Nini. I didn’t mean any disrespect.”

 

She knows about being “The Girl Who Writes” and she’s aware Kerry lost his shit on me mom for saying that, so you know Annie isn’t going to give either parental member a lot of slack when it comes to using a term like “the boy”.  And to say “He’s more than that”–yeah, she’s leaving little doubt where Kerry stands with her.

All this said, I figure to finish this scene tonight, and with this scene goes the chapter.  Not a big chapter, but one that seems to be taking a long time.

Don’t worry:  everything’s going to start going to hell here soon.

Homecomings and Heart Feels

So much happening today; so much has happened already this morning.  For one, I awoke at four AM, and it’s been a tiring morning.  Needless to say there’s been a bit of stress in my life of late, and a bit of the stress pulled me out of slumbers.  It happened; you just go with it.  At least I can take a nap this afternoon and try to catch up on sleep this weekend.

This morning the story inched over the one hundred and fifty-nine thousand word line.  Eighty-one words to the one sixty mark–onward and upward.  I probably won’t make notice of the milestone until I hit one seventy-five, and then again at two hundred thousand.  Looking at where I am, this likely means I’ll go upwards close to three hundred thousand words–does this sound familiar?

We’ll get to that later, but right now . . . Ginger Hair Boy is almost home.  He’s been told to just be himself when he’s with Annie and her parents, and they’ll see just how good a person he is.  And guess what?  Kerry likes that idea.

 

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

He couldn’t find anything wrong with Ms. Rutherford’s assessment of the what happened in Vienna, or what might happen in the future. She was right: it didn’t matter what her father thought of him, Annie loved him, wanted to married him, wanted to have—well, what came next in that progression, but there wasn’t any need to bring that up now. It’s not something I should worry about now: it’s going to be a while before I spend any time with her family—maybe not until our D Levels—and since we know we marry . . .

They were on Newport Road and clear of the main part of downtown, and it wouldn’t be long before they made the left-hand turn on to the Albany Road. “Almost there.”

Just a quick left up ahead and it's home sweet home time.

Just a quick left up ahead and it’s home sweet home time.

“Yes, we are.” Bernice scrutinized him carefully. “You’re handling this separation better than last year.”

“Kinda.” He glanced out the passenger window. “It still hurts, but I remember what Erywin told me about hurt—the good and bad kinds. Right now I have the good kind—”

“Which is what?”

“It’s what you have when you know you’re going to see the person you love again.” He turned away from the window with a huge smile on his face. “Just two weeks, right?”

“Fifteen days.” She smiled back as they turned left off Newport and drove up Albany. “Pick you up in the afternoon and get you dinner.” She nodded towards the front of the car. “Unless you want to eat at home.”

“We’ll eat out—” The car turned off Albany and entered Timbers Square. “Something light, though: Annie and I will have dinner that night after we Adjust.”

“I love a good plan.” The driver pulled the car to the curb in front of Kerry’s home and shut off the engine. Kerry gripped the door handle as he started up at the front of the entrance of his house. “Well . . .” He smirked. “I’m guessing Indian takeaway awaits.”

“You’ll only find out if you go inside.” Bernice cracked open her door. “Shall we?”

“You bet.” Kerry was out of the car and had his backpack and luggage in-hand about a half a minute later. He was half way up the walk when the front door opened and his mother framed the entrance.

 

Now we’re home–well, Kerry is, we’re just watching as readers.  Kerry’s already thinking about what’s ahead two weeks in the future, and all of the fine dining that awaits him as Casa Malibey.  We’ve already seen that Kerry has become spoiled by the fine dining that is a trademark of the School at Salem, and when he returns home for the various holidays, he’s not happy with the home fare, but hey:  that’s what happens when you’re now having your food cooked for you by artificial people working with time spells.

Was he right?

 

“There you are.” She opened the outer door. “Welcome home, Kerry.”

“Hi, Mom.” He walked into the entrance hallway.with Ms. Rutherford right behind him. “Hey, Dad.”

“Hello, Kerry.” His father waved from the lounge entryway. “How was the flight over?”

“Good, good.”

“He got into Heathrow on-time.” Ms. Rutherford adjusted her purse on her shoulder. “Miracles do happen, even today.”

“Yeah—” He turned half-way back towards Ms. Rutherford. “It was just like magic.” He was afraid she wouldn’t get the little in-joke, but she smiled and gave him a little nod to let him know she understood.

“I’m glad you didn’t have any problems getting here.” His mother turned towards Kerry’s case working. “How long is Kerry with us?”

“Until 5 January. I told him I’ll be by to pick him up that afternoon, then it’s off to London and a late-night flight back to the States.” Bernice glanced towards the boy. “We went over this in the car just before we arrived.”

“Yeah, I got it all, Mom.” He gripped the handle of his luggage. “Then you don’t see me for five months.”

His mother chuckled. “I’m sure we’ll find a way to get by.”

Bernice felt it was time to go. Kerry needed no further information, and any additional updates would come too him through email and texts. “With that said . . .” She faced Kerry’s parents. “Mr. Malibey, Mrs. Malibey: Have a good holiday and a wonderful Christmas.”

Louise Malibey answered for them both. “You, too, Ms. Rutherford. Have a wonderful holiday.”

“I will, thank you.” She faced Kerry. “Enjoy the Yule holiday, Kerry.” A slight smile played across her face. “You’ll be back at school in no time at all.”

“I know.” He grinned back. “Have a good Yule, Ms. Rutherford.”

“Take care, Kerry.” She bid everyone a good evening and returned to the car.

 

Yeah, totally right.  Though he gets points for zipping off a inside joke that only Ms. Rutherford and he could get–for now.  Give that another five months we’ll see if mom and dad get the joke.

Speaking of mom and dad–

 

Louise locked the inner door before speaking to her son. “We didn’t know if you’d eaten on the flight or picked up something on the train—”

“I had a little something before getting on the train.” He fidgeted next to his luggage. “Nothing big, just enough to to hold me over.”

“Okay, well . . .” Louise seemed a bit embarrassed. “I had nothing planed tonight; we thought we’d just get some take away—”

Kerry resisted the urge to smirk. “That’s fine, Mom.”

Davyn Malibey spoke finally spoke up. “How do you feel about fish and chips?”

“That would be great, Dad.”

“That’ll work.” His father looked at his wife. “I’ll call Albany. We can have them deliver.”

 

By the way, the Albany Fish Bar is the place of which his father is referring, and it’s a real place, only about a kilometer from their house, and it gets a lot of good reviews.  Hard to say if this is the same place that Kerry said has fish and chips that don’t measures up to Salem’s, but–we already know he’s getting spoiled, and he better learn to Cook the Salem Way if he doesn’t want to spend the next hundred years going, “The pizza at Salem is better than this crap.”  Don’t disappoint yourself, kid:  take that step.

There’s a little more back and forth with his mother–who wants to know if Kerry is gonna have issues with jet lag–and then it’s off to his first floor room:

 

Kerry headed up the stairs to the first floor, taking the left from the landing directly to his room. He pushed the door shut with his foot—he was careful not to use magic to swing it shut from a meter or more away—and set his backpack on his bed. He wasn’t concerned about putting his clothes up at this moment, but he did want his computer set up right away.

He pulled the tablet computer and keyboard from his backpack, set them upon his computer nook between the northeast wall and his wardrobe, and powered up the system as he retrieved the power adapter. The system was up almost instantly due to the upgrades Isis had performed on his system for his birthday. He waited until his tablet was hooked into the house grid before taking time to admire his desktop wallpaper: a selfie of Annie and him snapped at the Starbucks the day Alex invited them to come in, sit, and chat. He’d considered changing the wallpaper before coming home, but decided to leave it as is: he figured if his mom or dad had questions about the girl in the picture, he’d tell them. After all they knew Annie was in his “dorm”, and that she shared classes with him—

And she’s already planning our wedding and I’ve met her parents and she’s said she’s carrying our kids— He sat on the corner of his bed, his eyes locked on the image of his Chestnut Girl, the girl of his dreams that he loved so dearly. I wonder what mom would say about that?

He lay back on his bed, placing his hands behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling. Annie was going to do her Adjustment when she got home. He sighed softly. She should be getting up right about now . . .

 

Right now, I would give anything to be able to draw a picture of the selfie serving as Kerry’s tablet wallpaper.  I can imagine Annie holding her Frappuccino so it’s seen–or maybe Kerry had Alex or Penny take the picture with his phone, and they’re both holding their Starbucks drinks up while they sit, cheek-to-cheek, smiling like crazy and as happy as two kids in love can be.  It’s the one thing I love about their world being rooted in ours:  kids are still doing kids things, and once again stuffy witch Annie show everyone she’s really a teenager at heart.  Only she can kill you with her mind, which means you still gotta stay on her good side.

Now, if Kerry is wondering about Annie getting up right about the time he’s laying down, if you remember what happened during their time apart last Yule, you’ll know what’s coming next . . .

Willkommen in Wien: Antworten und Abschiede

Interesting morning, let me tell you.  If I were more superstitious I’d say the people in Philadelphia who said today is the end of the world may have been on to something, but it’s really more like someone’s been jacking around with the firewall filters, and that’s messed people up.  Never the mind:  I have my excerpt, and maybe a little something else that I’ll mention at the end.

Still in Vienna and still with Daddy Kirilovi.  Now, you know Annie’s dad isn’t going to lose the opportunity to ask a certain Ginger Hair Boy a few questions, and so, yeah–he does . . .

 

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

Another protracted silence fell between Annie’s father and Bernice’s charge, and she wondered who was going to be the first to speak. Annie watched them both, her eyes flitting from Kerry to her father and back, examining both the way her father was examining the boy standing before him. It was Victor who broke the stalemate. “Are you enjoying school, Kerry?”

He nodded. “Yes, sir, quite a lot.”

“Must have been something of a shock to find out you were Aware.”

“Um, yeah, it was a bit.” He cast a glance towards Annie for just a second.

Victor noticed the glance. “Have you enjoyed your time with Annie?”

Annie’s face darkened as she glanced towards her father. “Papa.”

Annie would really like to look more peeved, but do you know how hard it is to find that picture?

Annie would really like to look more peeved, but do you know how hard it is to find that picture?

 

Yeah, Papa, you wanna watch going there with Daughter Dearest standing next to you, ’cause she’s protective of the moyata polovinka and she’ll get all up in someone’s business if they aren’t kind.  Fortunately, Kerry’s not gonna freak:

 

Kerry held up his hand for a moment. “Naw, it’s all right, Annie.” He started to relax, though there was a hint of nervousness in his voice. “Annie did a lot to help me fit into this new world; she helped me understand The Art so I could become a better witch—and a better sorceress.” A light grin played across his face. “She’ll say that’s not true, but I know different.” He smiled at her before facing her father. “I value every moment I’m with Annie, sir. She’s . . . She’s a special person. The most special.”

Bernice knew of the things that Kerry had already surmounted, but over the last minute she’d watched him present his bravest face ever. Victor Kirilov was an imposing man even though he wasn’t tall or large, but his confidence gave him an unshakable persona. She saw, as did Annie, and Kerry was a bit unnerved, but he didn’t cower—and if the look on Annie’s face is any indication of her current mood, she’s proud as well.

Victor turned to his wife. “We need to get home.” He placed a hand on Annie’s shoulder. “This young lady needs to do her adjustment before we go to dinner.”

“I agree.” Pavlina turned to Bernice. “It was pleasure meeting you again.”

She adjusted her purse so it set better on her shoulder. “Same here, Pavlina.” Bernice held out her hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Kirilov.”

“The pleasure was mine.” He shook her hand, then held his out for Kerry. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Kerry.”

“Thank you, sir.” He gave Victor’s hand a quick shake. “I’m glad I got to meet you.”

“Oh . . .” The right corner of his mouth curled upwards once more. “I’m sure it won’t be the last time.” He spread his arms as he took a step back. “Shall we go?

Pavlina waved to Kerry. “It was nice seeing you again, Kerry.” She shot a sideways glance at her husband. “I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.”

“I’m sure.” Kerry held out his left hand towards Annie. “I’m, um, I guess—”

“Hold on—” She spun around as her parents prepared to leave the waiting area. “I’d like to say goodbye to Kerry.”

Pavlina looked towards the young man. “Go ahead.”

Annie’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Privately?”

Victor seemed about to say something when Pavlina hooked her arm in his. “We’ll wait in the corridor.”

Bernice patted Kerry on the back. “I’ll be outside, too.”

 

Now, one might say Annie’s dad cut short the meeting, but really:  in a public place, do you really expect him to ask something like, “Are you doing kissy-face stuff with my daughter?”  Victor is a somewhat public person among Foundation people–being an F1 driver who just finished a season in third place will do that for you–and it wouldn’t do to have him getting all intimidating on a twelve year old boy.  Even if he did see that boy holding hands with his daughter.  Who wants to say goodbye to that boy Privately.  Did you get that, parents?  She wants privacy.

 

She headed into the corridor and leaned against the wall waiting for the kids to finish their goodbyes. She saw the Kirilovis standing about five meters from the entrance, speaking quietly to each other, and Bernice could only imagine the conversation they were having . . .

Annie and Kerry stood against one wall of the waiting room, and were just visible to Bernice. She saw their heads bowed and close together as they faced each other, holding hands. Annie touched Kerry’s cheek as she said something that appeared to relax him: it was only then that Bernice noticed his right hand quivering slightly. He listened as Annie spoke, stroking her arm as if to confirm she was there.

There was a moment when they gazed into each other’s eyes before hey kissed long and tenderly. Once the kiss finished then broke into a hug, and she observed Annie whisper something into his ear—something obviously pleasant and meaningful, for he was smiling as the turned and headed hand-in-hand for the waiting room exit . . .

They held each other’s hands tightly one last time in the corridor. Annie beamed. “I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, my . . .” She caught herself before speaking the last words within earshot of her parent. “I’ll write.”

“I’ll write back.” He quickly kissed her hand. “Have a good holiday, Annie.”

“Have a good holiday, Kerry.” She released Kerry and waved to Bernice. “Take care, Ms. Rutherford. Have a good holiday.”

“You, too, Annie.” Bernice waved back. “Enjoy your holiday.”

“I will.” Annie kissed two right fingers and held them towards Kerry. “Goodbye, mlechna.”

He did the same with his left fingers. “Sbogom, malko samri.”

She turned away with a giggle and smile and rejoined her parents. Kerry watched them walk away for a few seconds before her turned and approached Bernice. It was only then, while facing her, that his shoulders slumped. “Wow.” He let out a long, deep sigh. “Wow.”

“Let’s go sit in the lounge for a few minutes—” She pointed down the hall behind her. “Let them get to the public platform so they can jaunt home.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” He followed her to the small lounge where those who arrived early for an arrival or departure could wait in comfort. They found a couple of cozy chairs in a corner away from the few people there and sat. “Better?”

“Yeah.” He tapped his fingers on the arms of the chair as Bernice set her bad on the small, round table in front of them. “Why did he act that way towards me?”

She knew exactly to whom Kerry was referring. “Annie’s dad?”

“Yeah.”

 

Oh, you thought that was a grilling, Kerry?  Better watch out:  you may break under pressure.

Annie was about to lay “My love” on Kerry and caught herself.  One day soon she’s just gonna have to throw caution to the wind and kick it out there.  What she did call him was “sweet”, as in “sweet banista”, which is what she called him the night before at the Observatory, and Kerry responded with “Goodbye, little cabbage roll”, which is less romantic than “darling”, but darling might have had Daddy asking more questions.

Even so, Kerry got himself a case of the “First Time Father Meeting” nerves, and now gets to ask Ms. Rutherford about this.  Being that she’s a girl, she may have some experience in this matter . . .

Now, lastly, some news.  Yesterday I had someone ask me if I’d like to submit a series to Channillo, which is a website where people can post, in a continuing way, their novel series.  There are hundreds of writers already there, and it’s something that I may consider.  However . . . one of their stipulations is that whatever series you post there cannot be offered elsewhere for free, and were I to put, say, my first novel up, I’d have to go back over two years of posts and strip out excerpts that are hanging out on my blog.  Which, quite frankly, is a huge pain in the ass.

At the moment I’m wondering if this is a route I want to go, because I don’t figure to do a hack and slash on my blog that way.  The other choice would be to take another work of mine–say, one that isn’t selling all that well–and post it there with the promise of doing new content after the initial novel.  That’s a ballsy move, and one that would probably take up the majority of my time right now.

Right now I’m considering my options–one of which is I don’t think people are gonna pony up $5/month to read my first novel.  Maybe for another work, but not this one.\

So many decisions, so little time to do all the things I want to do.