The Birthday Girl

I didn’t think it was going to happen, because yesterday was such a lazy day and nothing seemed to wanna move.  But at some point–probably after The Longest Day finished and my mini-tacos were consumed, but before I got into a long conversation with another woman over guys that have been hitting on me on Facebook of late.  But I got my writing done–a lot of writing done.  Like two thousand words on the nose writing done.

Right there:  2000 words.  And a First Draft label all over the place as well.

Right there: 2000 words. And a First Draft label all over the place as well.

As you may have guessed from the post title, the scene concerned one of the kid’s birthday.  Since Professor Semplen gave his birthday greeting as “Chestit rozhden den”, it’s probably a safe bet that it wasn’t Kerry’s birthday.  Not to mention the title of this post has “girl” in it, so that pretty much narrows down the character in question.

Yes, Annie turned twelve, and it was an important moment.  Her last year as a tweener, sure, but this occasion involved something she didn’t expect:  a present from the last person she expected to see one from.  Kerry tried not to act like a goof, and since they had a lot of time before Astronomy class, he walked her up to the north shore of Lake Lovecraft, the place where they’d rested after flying around the school grounds the second Saturday they were there.

And what gift did he give her?

 

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

There wasn’t a need to feign surprise: the last thing Annie expected was a present from Kerry. “How did—?” She took the package from his hands and held it close to her body. “When did you find time to buy this?”

“I had help.” Kerry had gone from looking at the ground to looking at Annie when he spoke. “I asked Professor Sladen and Nurse Coraline for advice, and then if they could pick it up for me.”

“That was nice of them.” She examined the package, which was slightly larger than a paperback book. “This is unexpected.”

“I felt it was needed.” He nodded in her direction. “Go ahead: open it.”

“I will.” She unwrapped the gift it slowly, careful not to tear the paper, which she then handed to Kerry and asked him to fold it into a small square. The package was a brown, unmarked box that felt far too light resting in her hand. She popped open one end, found brown packing paper, and pulled it out. There was something smaller inside: Annie tipped the box to one side—

A red jewelry box slid into her hand.

“Kerry . . .” There weren’t a lot of moment where Annie found she couldn’t express her feelings, but now was one of those moments. “It’s—”

Kerry cleared his throat. “I hope you like—”

Shush, you.” She locked eyes and Kerry instantly grew quiet. Annie stared at the red box in here hand for maybe five seconds, then opened it slowly.

A silver heart-shape locket lay in the middle of a red velvet pillow.

 

Awwww.  In some countries giving a gift like that is pretty much the same as getting married, dude.  Particularly after you had Sladen and Nurse Coraline engrave something on the back.  Something that Annie saw.  Something that touched her deeply:

 

“You—” Annie’s gaze met Kerry’s. “Do you mean this?”

A red haze returned to Kerry’s cheeks. “You mean about the love part?”

“Yes, silly.”

“Well, I mean . . .” He place the wrapping paper and brown box back in his backpack before answering. “As much as I’ve learned about loving you this last month . . .” He rolled his shoulders as he looked at scenery around the lake shore. “Yeah, I mean it. I mean—” He sighed slowly, the red in his cheeks growing brighter. “You needed to see that and keep it close to you all the time.”

Annie clutched the locket in here right hand, then opened the clasp before turning her back to Kerry while holding the ends of the chain above her shoulders. “Would you fasten this, please?”

Kerry fastened the clasp while Annie held her hair up. Once in place she smoothed her hair, then faced Kerry. She pressed the locket to her chest. “I love this. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He managed a slight smile, though his cheeks remained bright red. “I know it’s not a lot—”

Shush, you.” Her right index finger shot up like she was going to press it against Kerry’s lips. “Don’t ruin the moment, my love.” Once again Kerry grew silent, saying nothing more least he raise Annie’s ire.

 

Yeah, be quiet, Kerry.  You’re gonna get the evil eye if you keep that up–and given that Annie is your Dark Witch, she probably can do something evil if  she puts her mind to it.  Not that she’d do it to you.  Ever.  You’re lucky there.

Because Annie is so happy–after all, this is the first time she’s gotten a present from someone other than a close family member–things . . . develop.  Tender things.  Kissing things.  And just like in The Princess Bride, they must be read:

 

Annie felt the difference in their embrace. Since the first Midnight Madness and the kiss under the comforter, there had been pecks and brushes, tiny kissing on the cheek, but nothing like the first night when she admitted her love. She allowed Kerry to feel his affection for her, to grow used to her presence—perhaps to remember something they’d shared in a dream. Kerry had not taken an initiative to advance their romance beyond the hand holding and cuddling—

This wasn’t the same. Her soul mate’s kiss came back to her with the same passion she gave him. Her right hand moved from his chest to his shoulder, slid over it, held him from behind. Annie pressed her lips against his, their kiss fueled by the emotions flowing between them. Their lips parted, then kissed, parted once more, kissed, parted . . .

Annie noticed the light pressure along her waist, then around her lower back, then sliding up to the middle. She was relaxed in Kerry’s embrace, leaning back into his arm. He’s holding me; he’s pulling me closer. She tightened her hand against his shoulder, drawing him into her. He’s not pulling away; he’s not hesitating. He’s not afraid to kiss me like this . . .

She finally stopped the kiss but didn’t pull break the embrace. She met his gaze nose-to-nose. “You didn’t run.”

Kerry’s eyes were having difficulty focusing. “I what?”

“You didn’t run. You didn’t stop. You didn’t tell me you didn’t know how to react.” She cocked her head left to right, examining him in the gathering gloom. “You weren’t the way you were—”

He placed a finger upon her lips. “Shush you.” He kissed her on the nose. “Don’t ruin the moment, Sweetie.”

Annie hugged him tight. “You’re right. I don’t want to spoil this moment.” She twisted them them from side-to-side. “I’m only taking this off when I sleep and shower. The rest of the time I’ll wear it for everyone to see.”

 

Whole lotta shushing going on, you know?

This was an important scene for me, because things are happening here, stuff is opening up, and changing are occurring.  Chapter Fourteen starts out disgustingly fun–you’ll see–and then moves into something that’s going to change things for the kids in ways they didn’t expect.  That starts today, getting into the first scene which I do hope is not only geeky, but disgusting as well.  Because sometimes you gotta roll that way, and my Self Defense and Weapons Instructor doesn’t keep boggarts in her wardrobes . . .

Lots of "To Dos" on my To Do List.

Lots of “To Dos” on my To Do List.

By Lovely Lake Lovecraft Once More

So this happened last night:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Thank you.” She walked slowly out into the hallway. “I enjoyed our talk as well.” She turned and headed towards the steps leading to the lower level.

Deanna’s eyes unfocused for perhaps a second before she snapped back to reality. “Don’t take the tunnels.”

“What?” Annie spun around quickly. “What’s what?”

“Don’t take the tunnels to The Pentagram. Take the paths.”

“Why?”

“It’s a nice day; you never know what you’ll see on the way.” She nodded towards the main entrance. “Go on.”

She wouldn’t be telling me to take the paths unless she knew something. Annie grinned a little, then turned and headed slowly to the main entrance. Once there she turned, her hand pressed against one of the large doors. “Goodbye . . . Deanna.” Then she slipped outside, the doors closing behind her with a whisper.

Deanna kept her own grin affixed until the door were closed. The moment she was alone in the building her face took on a far more serious demeanor. She stepped back into the middle of her office and closed the door, then slipped deep into thought.

She finally pulled herself back to her surroundings and looked about. “So I was right.” She reached for her table. “I need to speak with Trevor.” Deanna’s eyes narrowed. “He’ll know who to contact.”

 

Damn seers:  they know everything, and tell you nothing.  Sneaky like cats, I tell ya.

The rewrites are, as far as I’m concerned, finished.  Character corrections are completed and there really isn’t anything more to do–save get back into Act Two and start writing.  Except . . . I gotta go through all the last scenes before the end of Act One and check for mistakes.  I also get to reread things:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie returned her gaze to the path. Rather than retracing the route Kerry and she had taken on their first trip to Memory’s End, she took the longer, wider path leading to Gwydion Manor. From there she thought she’d head south to the main Witch House path, or take the path winding around the south and west shore of Lake Lovecraft. Dolvan Pavillion sat upon the west shore, and Annie saw it as a good place to sit and reflect upon what Professor Arrakis and she had discussed. Maybe she would ponder her dreams of the past, and try and imagine what the future would bring—

“Excuse me, Miss?”

Annie heard the voice and looked around, expecting someone to jump out from behind a tree. But that’s Kerry’s voice, and he’s not in the trees . . . She looked up and saw nothing, then turned to her right and saw a shadow slowly moving along the ground behind her.

She twisted around and looked up again—

Kerry was hovering maybe five meters above her, floating around to position himself before Annie. She watched as he dropped nearly to the ground, then rotated about so he was facing her. “Do you have a moment to hear about the horned god of our coven, Cernunnos?” He settled down until he was hovering a meter away, eye-to-eye and grinning wildly. “You’ll want to hear about it now before you sleep in the tower tonight.”

Kerry.” She bounded the short distance to her soul mate, standing to his left.  “Look at you.”

“Yeah.” He took his hands off the broom and lifted his goggles.  “Look at me.”

 

I can see this routine going over well in Boston.  Then again, he can knock on your door with his broom and float away if you don’t want to listen.

Though I managed to delve a little into the last scene, the last one I worked upon in full was Lovely Lake Lovecraft–which, as the resident Dark Witch tells everyone, has nothing to do with her.  Here is the scene in full:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The sunshine lay warm upon Annie’s face while she squinted up into a sky full of light clouds. After a morning of flying and exploring, she was resting upon her back on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, and the moments Kerry and she had shared played through her memories.

They’d flow over the school grounds at a low, leisurely pace—”bicycle speed” as Kerry said. They found buildings they didn’t know existed—all three of the groundskeeper’s buildings scattered around the grounds, and a long building north of Lake Lovecraft that they’d not walked near, but that Kerry recalled reading that it was known as the Firing Range. They flew over all the science buildings, the Hanger, and the Aerodrome. They found another lake and a small spring, with neither appearing to have a path leading to either. They found courses cut out through the woods that Annie knew were used for racing.

They flew over The Diamond and were astounded by its immenseness. They flew around the Observatory where the dome was open with a few students standing about, taking in the bright noon air and looking at the scenery beyond the walls. They managed a touchdown on the outside deck, much to the surprise of the students and Professor Bashagwani, who was working on the telescope. They stayed long enough to enjoy a small mug of her special hot chocolate before sailing off into the sky once again.

Kerry showed Annie the route Professor Salomon and he took when they buzzed The Pentagram. They did it once, then ten minutes later did it again, only at a speed like the first time Kerry had flown the route with the professor. This time, however, instead of flying past Åsgårdsreia Tower, they circled around and landed inside the Pentagram Garden near Mórrígan Tower before heading into the Great Hall to get lunch.

Annie heard the murmur running through the Dining Hall the moment they both entered wearing their flying gear and carrying their brooms. She watched Kerry the whole time, noticing how confident he appeared, as if how he was dressed and what he was carrying had become a normal part of his life. She saw that he wasn’t strutting about the room, that none of the attention was going to his head. It’s time for lunch, and he’s talking a break from flying—nothing more or less. He’s not about showing off; he only wants us to eat.

At no time in her life did Annie believe she’d share a moment like this with anyone. Her mother told her a few times that her Papa was the flier in the family, that she’d done what was necessary to get through A Level Flying, and that they rarely flew together except during class. Annie was aware she wasn’t much of a flier, either, and after her disastrous first flight, her interest had become less than zero.

But when Kerry asked her to fly with him, she couldn’t say no. His desire to see her fly, and his confidence at her unseen abilities, drove her to show him, her love, that she could meet his expectations. And his confident spilled over onto her being, for she’d never expected to sit upon an Espinoza and have it perform as expected.

Today, she’d piloted her broom as if she’d piloted one for years.

They flew another thirty minutes after lunch before setting down on the northern shore of Lake Lovecraft, unzipping their flight jackets and laying down next to each other upon the grass. Everything seemed so perfect to Annie—or as perfect as anything she’d felt since meeting Kerry two weeks ago. The weather, the company, being together on another adventure: given how the day has begun, she couldn’t ask for a finer interlude.

Yet something nagged her, and she soon understood that there was something she had to tell Kerry . . .

She stared into the sky while moving closer to him. “Can I ask you to do something for me?”

Kerry was lost in his own thoughts, but he heard Annie’s voice clearly. “Sure.”

“If you should ever meet my father . . .” She reached for Kerry’s left hand, holding it tightly against her stomach. “Please don’t tell him about this day.”

He knew the chances were slim that he’d meet Annie’s parents any time soon, but he respected her wish enough not to ask why. “Sure, Sweetie.”

“Thank you, my love.” She held onto his hand, as if she expected to float away without an anchor. “Thank you for everything.”

 

And that’s where I leave them, at a spot at the school where so many feelings will come to them over the course of this year:  a moment of rest, a moment of confession, a moment of remembrance.  But those last two are some time off in the future, both in the book and writing.  Tonight they go home–and I can move on with my kids, in the way they were meant to be seen.

Though there seems to be some confusion about what sort of students they're rousting.

Though there seems to be some confusion about what sort of students we have at this school.