Setting Straight the Soul Mate

Finally, after a crazy weekend, I’m back to getting the novel written.  Yesterday was crazy as well, and my recap that was supposed to go out last night had to be delayed until this morning because while I was writing directly from the episode as it played, Netflix decided to crap out about 8:30 PM and remain out for the remainder of the evening.  That means I was up at 4:00 AM finish it off, something that took me another couple of hours.

This means I’m tired and will likely nap as soon as I get home from the coffee shop.

"Don't worry, I'll get back to writing as soon as...  zzzzz..."

“Don’t worry, I’ll get back to writing as soon as… zzzzz…”

Today I’ve written over six hundred words for the novel, and will probably go well over a thousand before the night is over ’cause I’m feeling like I’m on a roll.  And I like this particular scene which is getting into some interesting territory.  For now, though, it’s time to bring Annie’s conversation with Berniece Rutherford to an end.

The question that’s come up is “Will Kerry leave home?” and Berniece knows, as does Annie, that Kerry fears abandonment.  Annie says that should’t be a problem because he has her.  Well, Berneice has an answer for her:

 

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

“He has you but the reality is you’re only his wife to be.” Berniece leaned slightly forward as she softened her tone. “I don’t mean that with disrespect, because I know what you mean to him: his love for you is tremendous. But his parents exert a tremendous pull upon his psyche, and though they can be inattentive and unaffectionate, they’ve been with him all his life—even more that you. And that’s a difficult attraction from which to leave.

“We know his parents aren’t violent: they prefer being passive-aggressive with him, and he’s learned to adapt. I might even say that he’s still trying to leach out some modicum of respect from them, and that’s going to keep him there for a while.” She cupped her hand over her mouth as she sighed. “For Kerry to leave something traumatic will need to occur—”

Annie turned a smirk upon her guest. “And he can’t have a lot of time to think about the event.”

“You know your future husband so well.” Berniece chuckled. “That’s what I psych profile shows: if Kerry makes up his mind in the first few minutes of something happening, there’s an eighty-eight percent chance he’ll go with his original plan. Give him more than five minute to think about it, and he’ll almost always go the other way.” She shook her head. “It’s how he is.”

“I know all too well.” Annie looked away as her smirk grew tighter. “I try not to influence his thinking—”

“But sometimes you want to shake him and tell him to make up his mind.”

“Exactly.” She looked towards her guest’s cup. “Would you like some more tea?”

“Maybe a little before I go.” Berniece stretched her shoulders. “I’ve never been treated so nice.”

“Well, I did invite you here.” Annie stood and levitated the kettle to her hands, then walked around the sofa towards the kitchen. “I was surprised you agreed to meet.”

“Are you kidding? When I saw your email two weeks ago, I didn’t even give it a second thought: I had to come.” Bernice stood as well and followed Annie towards the small kitchen. “Besides, if I had said no, I knew you’d ask again. And probably again after that.”

Annie set the kettle on the stove and turned on the heat. “I would have, too.” She stepped back and regarded her guest. “Did you determine that from my psychological profile?”

There are some things—” Berniece examined her nails. “—that don’t require a psyche profile.” She dropped her and to her side and smile. “Knowing how you’d react after Kerry returned home was one of those things.”

Annie stared at the kettle and watched the flames lick the bottom. I would have contacted her again—and again a third time. Because what I want, I get

 

There you have it:  Kerry’s psycho profile indicates that he will leave home, but only if something really bad happens to him, because he’s put up with bullshit for so long he’s used to it.  And it’s true that Berniece’s comment isn’t meant as a slam, but Kerry really isn’t coming home to Annie every night wishing her a goodnight and I love you from the other side of the bed, so while they know they’re getting married, they’re still in the “to-be” territory, and Mommy and Daddy are still a huge part of his life.  Until they go completely off the rails it’s gonna be hard to convince Kerry to pack up and get the hell out.

So you’ll have to see if Kerr splits this summer.  He may be given the opportunity, but at the moment the Magic 8 Ball says “No.”  That can always change, but as we’ve seen with Kerry, change can be hard.

Well, he has about three hundred thousand word in which he can make up his mind if he so desires…

Psyching Out the Psyched

Believe it or nor, I pretty much lived up to my commitments last night.  I did get home, I got my meds, and I started writing.  And while I only need about four hundred and seventy-five words to make it “Mission Accomplished,” that finished up the scene.  For reals.

Ya see?  I can do it when I gotta do it.

Ya see? I can do it when I gotta do it.

The word count is currently 6,616, which means it’s pretty much the Number of the Beast with a dependent.  I probably won’t get to writing tomorrow, but I imagine this weekend will be a good one for that, and the next scene is going to be something I’ve never tried for this series–though in a way I have, but you just don’t realize it yet.

Up to this point Annie has learn a great deal about what the life of a Protector case worker is like, and what they actually do for their charges.  But she’s about to learn more–

 

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

If the contract was enchanted Annie imagined there were other action built into it that may have compelled Kerry’s parents to sign without out having it looked at by a lawyer. And given there are other Normal parents who sign the contracts weeks before their children leave for Salem, it’s likely there’s some kind of effect that makes them feel comfortable signing. Annie was beyond the contact now and had one last thing she needed to know. “I still need to know one thing, but I don’t know if you can tell—”

Berniece smirked. “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.”

She pushed on now that she knew she could at least ask. “Your group develops psychological profiles on us. Helena told me she saw the report that was started based upon an interview I had the summer before I started, and Deanna told me she saw the report on Kerry.” She drew in a breath to clear her mind. “I can understand Helena seeing my report because it’s a given I was yellow flagged before entry—but there wouldn’t have been any reason for Deanna to read Kerry’s. She told me she saw it because she’s a coven leader, but—” Annie sat back and raised her head. “Deanna must have seen it because she’s a counselor, and that means what she saw was probably a psychological profile.

“Which means what Helena also read was a psych profile—at least it sounded that way based upon what I was told. And from what you’ve told me this morning, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover you have that report. And since you’re Kerry’s case worker, that means you have his.”

Berniece regarded Annie with open appreciation. “You’re correct on all those points. But the question remains: what is it you want to know?”

Annie intensified her gaze upon the case worker. “Based upon Kerry’s profile, do you believe he’ll leave home at some point?” She brushed several stands of hair from her face. “Since you have one developed you must have some assumptions about the possibility it can happen.”

 

Annie is asking for a peek behind the curtain, something that most of us never get.  She’s had just a little of that, when Helena told her what part of her report said–and stung Annie with the “emotionally immature” line–and she’s heard a bit of Kerry’s from Deanna.  This is the first time she’s asked for assumptions based upon those reports, and she digging into something about her soul mate that she herself has likely considered and wondered.

However, she might not like the answer–

 

Berniece sat in silence for a moment, looking at the floor as she appeared deep in thought. “Annie, what’s the one thing Kerry fears the most?”

She didn’t need to give the question much thought. “Abandonment.”

“That’s right. Based upon our profile that’s Kerry’s biggest fear. When he moved to Cardiff he felt somewhat abandoned by his grandparents because he lost contact with them—”

“I know.” Annie remembered the night after the Day of the Dead attacks when Kerry awoke in the middle of the night delirious and crying. That was when he told me that everyone had abandoned him, that no one loved him—that even she was gone

Berniece nodded. “And our profile shows that over the years the lack of affection from his parents has led him to feel as if they are slowly abandoning him.”

Annie was confused by this information. “What does it mean?”

“It means he may not want to leave, because to do so is to admit that he hasn’t a family.”

“But—” Annie slid to the edge of her seat. “—he has me.”

 

Yes, he has you, Annie, but it’s not that simple, is it?  If it were he’s probably walk into the room in his pajamas right now, wishing you a good morning as he scratches his groin.  He has you, but only for most of a year, and that’s what makes a difference.  And the reply to your comment is something you might not want to hear.

Now to continue into the next scene, and now that I think about it, we may see something else that’s never happened before–

A Clause Because 

I really did intend on getting a lot written last night, but what was supposed to be a quick phone call ended up becoming a two hour discussion, and it was just past 10 PM–or 22 Hours if you go to my school–when I got off the phone.

However–

One of the habits I have when I’m on the phone is that I walk around.  I do that when I’m thinking a lot.  So I’m on my feet for most of the two hours, and when I finally get to where I can type–I can’t.  My fingers are swollen because of the fluid that’s pooled in my hands.  Which meant my fingers wouldn’t move right.  Which means I was having difficult time writing.

Yay for my plans of getting stuff done.

The story is finally up over six thousand words, but I’ve been on this scene for five days, and three of those have seen little added.  The plan for tonight is write when I get home, then go out about six-thirty to pick up medication, then come back and write a little more.  That is the plan, and I’m sticking to that sucker.

But now, we have Annie and Berniece and their fresh hell of the day.

Now that we know all about Berniece and what she knows about our Lovey Dovey Couple, Annie has more questions to fling her way.  Like–

 

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

There was something else that Berniece mentioned that worried Annie more, only because she wasn’t privy to this part of Kerry’s life. “What if he parent try to keep him from attention school in the fall?”

Berniece smiled. “They have no control over that. It’s not up to them: it’s up to Kerry.” She crossed and uncrossed her legs until she was comfortable. “There’s a clause in the control his parents signed that passes the decision to attend Salem, or any other school in The Foundation network, to the student in question—that student being Kerry. That was another thing we disused before leaving Berlin, and he said he’d bring it up if they pressed him about not going back.”

That’s one problem out of the way, but— “What if—?” Annie pressed her thumb over her lips for a moment. “What if his parent were stupid enough to take the contract to a lawyer and attempt to have it broken? Or even try to expose The Foundation?”

 

So there’s a clause in the contract that says Kerry’s the only one with the power to decide if he’s going to school or not.  Neat.  It probably also means that he can now have all the sex talks he wants with Coraline ’cause F-you, folks, I can.

But Annie makes another good point:  what if they try to go to court to break the contact and expose The Foundation and their evil band of young witches in training?  It’s a legitimate question, but there’s something Annie’s isn’t considering…

 

Berniece stared across at the girl for a few moments before resting her weight against the right chair arm. “Annie, have you ever heard of that happening?”

“No.”

“And you never will.”

“Why? Does The Foundation step in the moment they hear someone is attempting to break a contract?”

Now Berniece laughed. “They don’t have to: they take care of the problem ahead of time.” She sat back with a sigh. “The contract is enchanted: it’s a modified form of a Sorceress’ Bargain. See, there’s a clause in the contract that states that the signatories to the contract—that would be Kerry’s parent in this instance—are not allowed to divulge the contents of the contract in public without the express permission of a representative of The Foundation.  Originally that person was Mr. Mayhew, but he passed that responsibility over to me. And, when we were in the Cardiff station, I passed that responsibility to—”

“You passed it to Kerry.” Annie’s face brightened as she smiled. “They can’t do anything with the contract without his permission?”

“It’s not just the contract: they can’t tell anyone who is Normal that Kerry is a witch. Louise and Davyn can’t even tell their families without Kerry’s permission. He would likely need to start that conversation before they could say a word.”

Annie looked down shaking her head. “His mother is not going to like that.”

“No, she won’t, but it’s of no matter: they signed it, the contract is binding, and they have to live with that—and with the fact that Kerry controls his fate as far as his parents going around blabbing about his existence. It’s a common practice for Normals.” Berniece shrugged. “And even if they could speak about the contract, there isn’t a solicitor in the UK who’d believe a story about a school for witches in the US. They’d think they were being presented with a fake contract and likely tell them to leave.”

 

And now you know what happens when you sign contacts with witches–they get you under their enchantment and jack you up!  It makes sense in a way ’cause as Berniece says, have you ever heard of anyone coming forward and saying, “Witch!  I know where there are witches ’cause my kid is one!”  No, never.  And that’s because The Foundation is keeping that in check with enchanted contracts.  So basically, if Kerry wanted to be a dick, he could just never let his parents ever say he’s a witch to anyone, and this is why people aren’t going off bragging on their kid’s magical abilities.

Annie’s never thought about this because it’s her life:  she’s always been around magic, and it’s not like her parents go around bragging on how their daughter can bleed out people real fast.  This is one of the disadvantages of Annie trying to understand everything Kerry’s going through, because she’s magically privileged.  Though I’m sure Annie would never start hashtagging stuff with #AllWitchesMatter because she isn’t like that.  Also, she doesn’t have a Twitter account.

Tonight I must stick to my plan, and I will do as I said and get in the writing and then get my meds and then back to the writing.  ‘Cause there is so much to do–

Okay, maybe I'll take a moment at some point and stop and smell the coffee--

Okay, maybe I’ll take a moment at some point and stop and smell the coffee–

A Link Back to the Link

You know what I’m going to say, ’cause it was Recap Night yesterday, but because I have a good deposit in the word bank I can still lay stuff out,  and that’s why you’re still reading.  I’m just about at six thousand words total in the story, which is a little behind my average of about five thousand a week, but I’m pretty certain that by the time the middle of August rolls around I’ll be over the fifteen thousand word mark and probably into novella territory.

But last night it was finishing up Stranger Things before spending three hours to write my recap–yeah, it takes me that long–and then maybe another twenty minutes of watching some TV before I finally went to bed tired as all hell.  It was a long day, and today will likely be as long because I would like to finish this current scene and get into the next one.

Oh, and maybe watch a little TV, too. Damn you, streaming media!

Oh, and maybe watch a little TV, too. Damn you, streaming media!

Annie has now guessed that Ms. Rutherford–or Berniece, as Annie is calling her, ’cause this is a more relaxed environment and Annie is all about that–is a Protector, it’s up to her guest to spill the beans.  Is she or isn’t she?  And the answer is…

 

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

“You have access to reports on our academic progress, to issues which are personal, and you know the things we’ve done with the Guardians. I don’t believe you are a Guardian, so that leaves being a Protector.”

Humph. You are quick to figure things out.” Berniece tugged a bit on the skin below her lips. “The Educational Division develops and monitors curriculum as well as hiring and supervising staff and instructors, but they felt it was best if someone else watched over the students when they were away from their schools and step in to assist them should the need arise.” She crossed her arms over her stomach. “Plus, since we’re already trained to write details reports, it allows us to begin the process of constructing a Foundation member’s dossier.”

“So you see everything.”

“Not everything. For example, I know that over this last school year the Guardians had you undergoing marionette training under the supervision of Lovecraft and Chai, and the reports I’ve seen indicate you’ve both done well for yourselves.

“I’m also aware that in the third weekend in April, 2012, Kerry and you left school grounds with Lovecraft and Sladen. Now, the report I received was heavily redacted: I know you left late Thursday afternoon and didn’t return until early Saturday night. Though I can piece together enough to figure out you were on an Observation and Pickup Op, I have no idea where you went, who you were their to watch and/or pickup—though I do know you must have encountered a bit of trouble.”

 

One could say that Annie, Kerry, and Erywin did encounter a “bit of trouble” when they were on their field op, and Annie is probably giggling inside at the comment.  But she is curious about something–

 

Annie couldn’t imagine the Guardians would have published any details of their battle with Deconstructors on the Link Bridge, but she eager to learn how Berniece was aware they’d seen action. “How is that possible?”

“Though jaunt logs and medical records. Kerry and you jaunted to Salem from the CDC in Atlanta, and you spent the night in the Salem hospital—probably in the same bed.”  Berniece chuckled. “Doctor Gallagher’s reports indicate Kerry suffered from a heavy electrical shock as well has having a slight concussion. And you had a broken arm and a concussion as well.” She flipped her right hand to one side as if she were casting something away. “Ergo, something happened while you were on your op. And if you were in that sort of shape, I can only imagine what happened to the people on the other side of your conflict.”

It wasn’t only the fact that she’d signed a non-disclosure document with the Guardians that precluded her from commenting on Berniece’s last statement, but there was also the sense that the Guardian has entrusted he with a special duty, and Annie didn’t want to betray that trust. “I wouldn’t know what happened.”

Berniece almost laughed. “Spoken like a true Guardian.”

Annie smiled back. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” The smile faded slowly. “What’s going to happen with Kerry?”

“For the moment, nothing:  life goes on as it would normally.”  Berniece took a moment to scratch the area between she brows.  “We don’t consider the Malibeys a high risk family, so I don’t anticipate they’ll attempt any violence towards Kerry.  Depending on what he told them after he left, they probably don’t want to try anything.”  She tapped the arm of her chair.  “He has a panic button, and he’s assured me that if the situation at home gets too bad he’ll leave.”  There was a monetary pause as she checked her nails.  “We’ll both have to wait and see.”

 

This means that Ms. Rutherford sees stuff about their operations–as in, they went out on one–but that’s as deep as the dirt goes.  It is a bit funny that Annie immediately slips into “I can neither confirm or deny that rumor” mode when it looks like Ms. Rutherford is looking for answers.  She’s also probably worked on a line like that for years, even that she’s always wanted to be a Guardian.

But the important part is, what is going to happen with Kerry.

You’ll find out soon enough.

Secrets Outside the Secrets

I surprised myself last night, I really did.  Just when I didn’t think I was going to have a good writing session, I sat down and worked my way through a little over nine hundred words, and that ended up getting the scene right around twenty-three hundred words, with more to come.  I may get in a few this evening–maybe just to finish a few thoughts–but my best guess is I’ll finish the scene tomorrow night.

And then I get to write about angsty Kerry.  It’s so much fun.

"So far it's going great.  If only I could get this story to write itself."

“So far it’s going great. If only I could get this story to write itself.”

Yesterday we got a little bit of info on what happened in the aftermath of jaunting out of Casa Malibey, and we got to see what Berniece Rutherford really looks like.  And while we’re on the subject of Kerry’s case worker, Annie has a few more questions:

 

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

Though she was the one who first told Kerry about the slow aging of witches once they were through puberty, Bernice’s appearance only emphasized the point even more. “I’m certain I will. You must excel at this job.”

Bernice shrugged. “Not really. It’s common for The Foundation to choose case works who are only a few years removed from their own graduations. They feel it’ll help us empathize with our charges since we went through the same things only a decade before.” She glanced towards the unlit fireplace. “My own case worker was twenty-four when I same out.” She took a long sip of her tea before setting it aside. “One of the advantages you get being born into a Normal family is you get someone to help you through school.”

Being a Legacy it was true that Annie didn’t require a case worker since, as her mother said once, she didn’t need to live outside The Foundation system as much as a witch from a normal background. “Yes, I don’t need a case worker—” She eyed her guest. “But I have one anyway—don’t I?”

“Because of your relationship with Kerry—which we both know is more than just a relationship.” Berniece crossed her legs. “I see all the reports on you as well as Kerry. I know your proficiencies in magic; I know how well you tutor each each. I know of your astral bond—” She motioned with her hand towards Annie. “—and I know why there’s a medical monitor etched into your chest.” She smiled moments after her host glanced downward as if to assure herself that the enchantment wasn’t showing. “You’re a part of his life, and he yours, so I am kept aware.”

 

This is the first time we actually learn that they are a package deal, and that Annie is looked at just as much as Kerry.  And by saying that Berneice knows they are more than just a couple, she’s referring to the special situation that originally brought them together.  In a way, Ms. Rutherford is sitting across from one half of the youngest married couple in The Foundation, and she isn’t there to give Annie an update on her boyfriend–she’s there to tell her about her husband.

But Annie has some ideas about the person in the lake house with her she needs to discuss:

 

Annie was curious about how much the case worker was aware of their lives. “You know of our shared vision, yes?” She nodded back over her right shoulder. “You’ve spent enough time looking up there for it not to be a coincidence.”

Berniece looked downward with half closed eyes. “I have read the report on your shared vision, and what represents to you.” She scratched the bridge of her nose with a nail. “I also get reports on your Guardian activity.”

“You do?” Annie was surprised to hear this. “Why do you get that?”

“To keep track of your progress—I mean, in a way what you do with them could be considered part of your schooling.”

It was only then that Annie figured out something about the woman across from her. “You work for the Protectors, don’t you?”

“Why do you say that?”

“You have access to reports on our academic progress, to issues which are personal, and you know the things we’ve done with the Guardians. I don’t believe you are a Guardian, so that leaves being a Protector.”

I wonder if Berniece knows about Annie’s rune dream, too?  Probably, because those dreams were an important part in both their lives.  Annie’s likely showed their link to their astral bonding–and may have indicated that the Three Bindings took place–and Kerry’s dream not only reminded him that he, too, was connected to Annie through their astal bonding, but there was a “someone” inside them waiting for their chance to merge and become one with him.

Ever think Berniece reads these reports and wonders what of crazy hell she’s gotten herself into?

I guess this means we find out if Ms. Rutherford really is a Protector.  I mean, after getting you to this set up, it wouldn’t make any sense not to give you a payoff.

The Aftermath of the Aformentioned

So, actually, a pretty productive weekend.  Did some editing, did shopping, did writing, did TV watching, had diner with friends, stayed out of trouble.  As of last night I climbed over the five thousand word mark in the new novel, which is about where I expected to be after a week–well, eight days, but there were a couple of days there where I didn’t actually do a lot or any work on the new novel, so more like five thousand in six days.

I quibble.

And that brings us to the post of the morning:

"Seriously, she thinks Rose is the best?  I'm gonna have to set this bitch straight, won't I?"

“Thanks, Cassie:  I wondered when you were getting to the point.”

I do get there, eventually.

If scene one was a lead-in to a flashback, and scene two was the flashback, then it only seems to reason that scene three is gonna bookend scene two.  And that’s just what happens:  we now head back to the House by the Lake and finish up what was started a few thousand words back:

 

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

“You jaunted out of their house?” Annie leaned forward and snorted. “I wonder how shocked they were by that?”

Berniece snickered before taking a sip of her tea. “Quite a lot, I imagine.”

“Did Kerry know you were going to do that?”

“No. I thought it best he not know.”

Annie nodded in agreement. “Probably would have made him more nervous.”

“And that was something he didn’t need.” Berniece set her cup and saucer on the end table next to her chair. “I didn’t want to add to the stress he was already under.”

“Then why did you jaunt out?”

“Why not? His parents knew I was witch, so why pretend that I can’t do simple magic?”

Annie couldn’t argue with her logic. Magic is something we do; why pretend you can’t? “I imagine Kerry had to explain what happened.”

“More than likely.” Berniece sighed. “Poor kid.”

 

Having Ms. Rutherford jaunt right out of sight while standing in front of Kerry’s mom probably didn’t help Louise’s nerves much, though I imagine Kerry probably chuckled after that happened.  Ah, just wait until Kerry starts doing that:  he’ll be like Carl and never stay inside the house.  Though that might not be a thought that went running through his mom’s mind at that moment . . .

 

“Why didn’t you stay with him?”

“Because his mother and father wanted me to leave, and to go against their wishes would have created a situation.” Berniece passed her hand over her tea cup and a wisp of steam rose from the water. “We’re instructed to become confrontational only if necessary, and it wasn’t necessary. Not at that moment.”

Annie didn’t belabor the point: it didn’t take much imagination to see the harm that would be caused by an Aware case worker getting into a fight with the Normal parents of a young witch. It would hurt Kerry more than help him if she’s refused to leave. “Have you heard from him since last night?”

 

You could say, “She should have stayed there while Kerry’s parents ripped him a new one for no good reason,” but why?  To force yourself into the conversation?  To prove you’re not going to let the Normal people push you around ’cause you’re one of the Aware and better than them?  Bang-up job you’re doing there to keep people from shitting themselves, because you’re not helping your cause by being an asshole to the parents.

It’s really a shitty place to be, but Ms. Rutherford will say things later on to support why she doesn’t think it’s a problem.  Besides, it was pointed out that Kerry can stand up for himself these days, though when it comes to his parents, there’s still a lot of internalized conflict there.

Now, has Kerry contacted his case working?  Well . . .

 

“No.” She removed her mobile from her purse and checked something. “I had a Watcher go by his house around twenty-two thirty last night, and their message then said that he was up in his room at his desk doing something while his parents where still in the family room watching TV and talking.” She put her phone back in her purse. “No messages this morning, but that’s not usually. They’ll likely take a pass by his house before noon.”

“I see.” Annie didn’t find it unusual that a Watcher had checked in on Kerry, or that Berniece asked for the check-up. “How long will that continue?”

“For the next few days. Just to make certain things haven’t turned bad.”

“You don’t expect that, do you?”

“No. But best not to take chances this first week.”

“True.” Annie cleared her throat. “May I ask a question?”

Berniece sipped her tea before answering. “Go ahead.”

“May I see what you really look like? I mean—” She gave a small grin. “You showed Kerry.”

“Oh, of course.” In seconds Berniece shifted from her older, more adult appearance to her unaltered appearance. “Sorry: guess I’m still in the habit of looking that other way.”

“You’ve had to look that way with us for a year and a half, so I see how it might be hard to break.” Annie reexamined her guest. “You do look young.”

“Remember this when you’re my age: you’ll look the same.”

 

Now you know that Ms. Rutherford showed up in “older mode” when she walked into the Lake House, and part of that may have been due to knowing she might meet Annie’s parents.  She can do away with that now because, well, the magical cat is out of the bag, and there’s no need to hid among your own kind–a phrase she used with his parents, and which may have not been the best phrase to throw out there.

The process here with the excerpts will be to put out about five hundred words daily, while writing a little more than that every night when possible.  That way I stay ahead of posting and don’t feel pressured to get the new content in before putting it out for all to see.  Right now I’m two posts ahead, and if I can get another six hundred into the story tonight it’ll stay that way.  I do hope to not feel pressured to write, because in the last few months of the last novel the pressure was there in droves, and I really want to avoid that at all cost right now.

Right now, the only one who should feel pressure is a certain ginger in Cardiff…

Handling Change Like a Pro

Now, while I didn’t do a lot of writing yesterday, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working at writing.  See, I was down in the editing, trying out a new writing tool:  ProWritingAid, which is found online and for which I’m supplying a link.  This came recommended to me by another writer, and for those of my friends who also write I’m recommending it to you.

See, I know I’m not a perfect writer.  Sometimes I’m not even a good writer, and sometimes I’m a lazy writer because I’m tired and I’m just trying to make a word count.  There are things I do in my writing that aren’t right, and though I do my best to prevent that from happening, things slip through.

So having this tool is nice.  At the moment it’s a web application, but there is a desktop version currently in beta testing that will be availble for a licence fee of $40 a year.  Depending on how much you write, that $40 might be worth it.

Usage is simple.  First you cut and paste what you want analyzed into the window on the first page:

Here's a few words I just finished writing.

Here’s a few words I just finished writing.

Then hit the big green button and wait for your report.

Which you may or may not want to see.

Which you may or may not want to see.

I enjoy seeing the overused words, because know there are words in my lexicon that end up being rode like a lathered horse in my novels.  Under Writing Style Check you can see I have repeated sentence starts, which is probably due to using the word “she” time and again in this particular piece.  I have an issue with sentence length here, but it’s the opposite of what I normally get, which is three or four sentences that are too long.  Here they are two short, and that’s probably due to the amount of dialog used in that particular excerpt, which does not involve a character named John Galt.

This has helped me catch and clean up more than a few issues, and I’ll use it on the scenes I’ve already edited in A For Advanced while running my new work through it as well.  It might not make me a perfect writer, but I’m betting it’ll make me a better one.

Speaking of writing–

The last few days have seen us reading about what happened to Kerry on his big Coming Out Night, and we’ve went from “I’m a witch” to “Oh, shit!  You’re a witch!”  And given that at least one third of the Malibey clan is just a tinsy bit high strung it’s not surprising that shit goes off the rails fast:

 

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

“I see.” Louise folded her hands across her lap and stared unfocused into space. “I need you leave.”

“I beg your pardon?” Ms. Rutherford cocked her head to one side. “Is there a—”

“I need you to leave.” Louise straightened as her eyes turned cold. “I want you out of this house, and I want you out now.”

Even before picking up Kerry this evening Ms. Rutherford had known there was a possibility things might not work out for the best, and events seemed to be taking a turn in that direction. It wasn’t her intention to argue or make Kerry’s parents see reason: her only concern was being with Kerry during his reveal and making certain he was aware of his options should the situation at home grow worse. “I understand.” She reached for her handbag which was on the floor. “I’ll be on my way.”

Wait.”

 

Ah, the old Facebook trick of getting ready of telling someone to leave a group, but then taking a few minutes to get in a few verbal licks before kicking them to the curb.  Good thing Ms. Rutherford isn’t on Facebook, though she is completely aware of how this trick usually plays out, because it’s been used in movies a million times–

 

Ms. Rutherford never liked situations where she was told to do something, then ordered to do just the opposite. It usually never went well. “Yes?”

“I want you to tell whomever it is you report to that I am not happy with what transpired tonight.” Louise paused to take a breath as she appeared to try and control herself. “I’m not happy with what I’ve learned today, and I’m certainly not happy that we’ve been lied to by your organization. I am particularly upset with the fact that we’ve had no input on our son’s education, and that your school feels they are the only one with an opinion here.”

“I’ll let them know.”

“Also—” Louise’s green eyes took on a dark hue. “Let them know that we are going to seriously reconsider allowing Kerry to return in the fall.”

What?” Kerry was almost out of his chair after his mother’s comment. “You can’t—”

 

Oh, please Kerry:  you knew this was coming.  And you had to expect what follows:

 

Shut up.” His mother’s eyes flashed anger as she jabbed a finger at her son. “This is partially your fault for not saying anything.”

“What was I supposed to say? That I was a witch?”

“You can be quiet—”

You wouldn’t have believed me if I had told you.”

SHUT UP. We’ll discuss this later.” Louise was on her feet facing Kerry’s case worker as Dayvn looked on embarrassed. “You can go now.”

 

Yes, Kerry, it’s your fault you’re a witch!  And you didn’t tell Mommy, so double your fault.  However, that doesn’t mean your case working doesn’t have a parting shot–

 

“Very well.” Ms. Rutherford got to her feet slowly. “One last thing before I leave—”

“What is it?”

“The Foundation believes that only among his own kind—among other witches, that is—will he flourish. They’ve already seen him grow both in both skills and personally, and they feel this will continue until he graduate.” She lowered her voice slightly. “Trying to prevent Kerry from returning to Salem would be a mistake, and The Foundation would take an extremely dim view on that action.”

Dayvn finally stood next to his wife. “Is that meant to be a threat?”

“Simply a statement of fact, Mr. Malibey. Nothing more.”

“Never the less—” He pointed towards the kitchen. “As my wife said, you need to leave.”

“And I will.” Ms. Rutherford turned to Kerry. “You’ll be all right?”

He looked up and nodded. “I’ll be okay.”

“He’s not your concern.” Louise now stood face-to-face with the Foundation witch and acted as if she were about to give the woman a push. “I’ll show you to the door.”

“That won’t be necessary.” A slight grin formed in the corner of Ms. Rutherford’s mouth. “I’ll show myself out—”

 

It’s official:  the Malibey’s have gone all Vernon and Petunia Dursley on their boy and are not happy there is a witch in the house.  Given that they’re always seemed a bit distant from their son anyway, Kerry will probably take this all in stride and chalk it up to more parental bullshit he needs to deal with.

However, Berniece Rutherford is speaking with Annie, and she will know the whole story of how Coming Out Night went.  She also knows how crappy Kerry is treated, and that Mommy Malibey has struck Kerry on occasion only because she can, and that’s something that doesn’t sit well with the Soul Mate of Pamporovo.  So one has to wonder:  how much longer before Kerry’s mom figures out that this Girl Who Writes is also a witch, and when does she discover that’s Annie’s also the Witch Who Can Blast You Through a Fucking Wall If You Piss Her Off?

"Hi, Mrs. Malibey.  I hear you have a problem with my soul mate--"

“Hi, Mrs. Malibey. I hear you have a problem with my soul mate–“

I have a feeling Annie will be one wife who doesn’t put up with bullshit from her mother-in-law…

Truthing the Magical Way

Yesterday I promised that we’d get to see Kerry showing the parents what he could do witchy wise, and today that time has come.  We know Kerry is trying to convince his folks that, yes, he’s really one of those people who do real magic and just don’t pretend, and given that they’re being such hard sells–well, sometimes drastic measure require drastic actions …

 

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

Kerry sat back slowly while keeping eyes locked on his mother. Before leaving Berlin he’d told Ms. Rutherford that his mother would have the hardest time with his coming out, and expected at least one outburst from her. “Okay, Mom.”

Louise turned on Ms. Rutherford. “Why are you having us listen to this bullshit? Why are we really here?”

“We’re here because it is necessary for Kerry to reveal the true nature of his studies.” Ms. Rutherford remained icy calm as she faced a hostile parent—something with which she’d had personal experience in the past. “Everything Kerry’s told you is true—”

“You expect us to believe he can actually do magic?” Louise scoffed loudly. “You made it sound as if you had something important to tell us—”

“It is important, Mrs. Malibey—”

“And you throw this—this goddamn nonsense at us.” Louise looked as if she were about to stand. “This is—”

Kerry.” Ms. Rutherford put just enough volume and tone in her voice to shut down the conversation from the other side of the room. “Maybe now is the time to do what we discussed.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

Louise immediately perked up. “Do what?”

Kerry’s eyes focused on nothing as he slipped into deep concentration. “Show a practical application.”

“Of what?”

He looked up and at his mother. “This.” Kerry held his hands up and flicked out his index fingers—

 

Do we expect you to believe your son can do magic?  No, Mrs. Malibey; we expect you to die!  Oh, wait:  wrong story.  Anyway, Kerry’s about the lay the mojo down, and–well ….

"I'm always amazed . . . that I actually wrote this crap."

“Yeah, Kerry:  show us what you got.”

Okay, then here goes:

 

All the window shades dropped simultaneously and what little outside light there was dimmed considerably. The door to the kitchen quickly closed and latched, and a black curtain seemed to fill the opening between the family and dining rooms. A moment later all the lights in the room went out, and the family room turned dark instantly.

A bright glowing sphere formed in front of Kerry and rose off his upwardly turned left hand until stopping a few centimeters short of the ceiling. It grew slightly brighter until the family room was filled with a soft white luminescence.

Kerry looked upward for a moment, then turned is gaze across the room to his parents. He crossed his arms. “That should do it.”

His parents sat looking about the room in surprised and confusion which Kerry had expected. Louise slowly turned to him. “Wha—what happened?”

“I used a variation of the levitation spell to drop the shades and shut the kitchen door.” Kerry sat back, looking somewhat pleased. “I threw a masking effect across the windows and did a kind of privacy curtain over the dining room entrance—” He looked to his left at his work. “It’s not that good, but I’ve only been working on something that big for about a month. And last I did a simple light spell and levitated it up towards the ceiling so we can see.” He shrugged. “Pretty simple.”

Davyn emerged from a semi-stupor brought about by Kerry’s crafting. “Simple?”

“Yeah, it really is, Dad—”

“What Kerry means is it’s simple for him.” Ms. Rutherford glanced over towards the boy on his left. “This is the reason he’s in all the advanced—”

“Stop it.”

Ms. Rutherford grew quiet and waited a few moment for Louise Malibey, who now seemed on the verge of being either confused or frightened, to gather herself together. “Is something the matter?”

Louise half-closed her eyes. “Stop this: just stop it.”

Ms. Rutherford nodded towards her left. “Kerry?”

“Sure.” He made the slightest of motions with his left hand: instantly the blinds rose to their proper open position, the door to the kitchen opened, the light ball near the ceiling vanished as the light came on once more, and the privacy effects on the windows and dining room entrance vanished. He leaned forward, rubbing his hands against his thighs. “There.”

Lousie stared hard at her son. “You did that.”

Kerry gave a slight nod. “Yeah, I did.”

“That wasn’t a trick.”

“No, it wasn’t.” He held back from chuckling. “No one from The Foundation came in while the house was empty and set this up so I could trick you.”

Dayvn seemed to relax though he appeared wary and apprehensive. “So you used—magic?”

This time Kerry nodded twice. “Yes: I used magic.”

 

Yeah, Mom, I used magic.  So this cat’s out of the bag and is never getting back in–then again, what cat ever does?  Boxes, however:  all bets are off about when they’ll get out.

I wanted Kerry to do something that would show he’s really skilled with crafting the Art, as they say back at the school, but not do something that would literally scare the shit out of his parents.  Fireballs and Cold Fire?  They wouldn’t have dug it.  Shadow Ribbons?  Too sinister.  Air hammer?  Yeah, blowing out the windows in the family room would have made a statement.

And, yes, he could have done a little transformation magic like change the color of his hair or darken his complexion, but he’s probably aware by now that his parents would probably have freaked out even more if they knew their had their own little Mystique living under their roof, and that their child is a person who can literally become you if they want.

This, however, does lead to a few questions and a revelation–

 

Louise turned to Ms. Rutherford. “So all the students at school are witches?”

Ms. Rutherford remained calm. “Yes.”

“And the instructors?”

“They’re witches as well: it’s necessary.” She sat back just a bit. “And before you ask, yes: the staff at school are witches as well.”

Louise looked downward as she swallowed once. “That must mean—” She looked at the woman sitting across from her. “—you’re a witch, too.”

“I am.” Ms. Rutherford crossed her arms and gently rubbed her chin with her right hand. “I went to Salem, just like Kerry.”

Dayvn nodded slowly. “When did you go?”

“I started in 2001: I was among the first A Levels to begin the new century.”

“When did you graduate?”

“2007.”

Both of Louise’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “How old were you?”

“Seventeen.” Ms. Rutherford looked at Kerry with a certain pride. “The same age as Kerry will be when he graduates.”

“But—” Louise looked down and away as if she were having difficulty understanding something. “That was only six years ago.”

“Yes, it was.” Ms. Rutherford chuckled lightly. “In case you’re wondering, I’ll be twenty-three in about six weeks.”

“You don’t look anything like twenty-three.”

“I know. When we’re dealing with the parents of children from Normal backgrounds—non-witches, mind you—we try to make ourselves look more ‘age appropriate’. It allows the parents to feel more comfortable when dealing with us. But now that you know I’m a witch, there really isn’t any need to keep up the charade—”

Though she didn’t change in height or size, Ms. Rutherford’s features flowed from that of a woman who may have been in her mid-thirties to someone who appeared to be maybe three or four years older than Kerry. The transformation took place in less than three seconds, and when it was over she spoke to the visibly shocked adults. “This is how I really look. And how I’ll look from now on when I speak with Kerry and come for him.”

 

Now this little bit of writing required that I do something:  mainly, figure out all the stuff with Berniece’s life.  I knew a little about her, but it was only in this moment of writing that I locked her down to an age and attendance.

And that means having to get a time line ready.

And that means having to get a time line ready.

And it also shows that The Foundation is thinking ahead in that they like the people who have to deal with their student’s parents to look–let’s say “professional”.  Which is to mean age appropriate, as she says.

And that makes things a bit more interesting when we realize that those moments in which Ms. Rutherford comforted Kerry when his moments of need, she’s really only ten years older than him and Annie.  And that means she probably does relate to him better, because it wasn’t that long ago she may have went through the same things he’s going through now.

It’s also easy to see that here are at least three people at Salem that she may have known, though it’s doubtful she was ever friends with them.  Even her covenmate Wednesday would have been an E Level once Berniece was out of The Fishbowl, and that’s a pretty big gap to jump in terms of friendship.  Still, she would have likely known those three people, and she likely would have had Erywin, Jessica, Maddie, Ramona, and Mathias as instructors, and maybe even Helena, too; I’d have to check on that last.  She’s a good person to have as your case worker if you need something done, because she knows people, yeah?

So now that the Malibey’s have seen transformation magic up close and personal, they’re okay with it–

 

Louise’s face froze into a tight mask. “You look like a teenager.”

“Well—” She glanced over to Kerry, who was examining his case worker’s true appearance. “I do look like I’m eighteen, but that comes with being a witch.” She turned back to Louise with a smile. “It comes with being what I am.”

“I see.” Louise folded her hands across her lap and stared unfocused into space. “I need you leave.”

“I beg your pardon?” Ms. Rutherford cocked her head to one side. “Is there a—”

“I need you to leave.” Louise straightened as her eyes turned cold. “I want you out of this house, and I want you out now.”

 

–Okay, maybe not.  Then again, we knew Louise Malibey was going to be a hard sell, and we weren’t disappointed.

The question remains:  where happens next?

I guess you’ll have to wait and see, won’t you?

How I Ended Before a Summer Vacation

We all know what’s going to happen today, don’t we?  It’s the end of the line for a certain story, just as I promised.

I do my best to keep my word even when it's not wanted.

I do my best to keep my word even when it’s not wanted.

Last night and this morning I wrote just one word short of fourteen hundred to finish the story of my kids and their B Levels, and because this is the last of that story, you’re getting it all with few interruptions.  Well, one of two, but that’s it.  And as stated before, since Kerry started this novel, it’s up to him to finish it . . .

 

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

The car was outside Cardiff Central Station when Ms. Rutherford and Kerry exited the train station not long after jaunting in from Berlin. Though the sun was still up—with it now a little after twenty hour, it wouldn’t set for another hour—it was falling behind the building of central Cardiff.

They didn’t stay long at the station. The boot opened as soon as they exited the station; Ms. Rutherford got in behind the driver as Kerry put his luggage in the back and closed the lid, and as soon as he was inside with Ms. Rutherford and his seatbelt was locked, the Mercedes C300 Sedan pulled away from the entrance and merged into early evening traffic.
They were only thirty seconds away from the station when Ms. Rutherford handed Kerry a small, button-like object. “This is your panic button. You know how they work.”

Kerry immediately picked up that his case worker was not asking a question but making a statement. “Activate the enchantment and you’ll teleport off to a predetermined location.”

“The spot picked for you is safe and secure, and you can go there any time, day or night. Once that’s activated someone will be with you within five minutes; I’ll arrive within fifteen. Ms. Rutherford gave Kerry a sharp look. “You need to either keep that on you at all times, or somewhere close by where you know it won’t be disturbed.”

Kerry opened one of the small, side pockets of his backpack and slipped the enchanted device inside. “It’ll be safe there.”

Silence filled the back of the Mercedes for almost another minute, the Ms. Rutherford glanced out the window at the passing scenery. “I know about your Gifts.” She turned to the boy on her left. “Both of them.”

He nearly did a double take with his case worker. “They told you? About . . .” He shrugged. “That?”

“The one that requires you being monitored?” She half smiled. “Yes.”

“Because you’re my case worker?”

“That’s one of the reasons.” Ms. Rutherford slid around in her seat as best she could with the seatbelt on so she could better see Kerry. “Because we sometimes have to hear secrets about our characters, my division is attached to the Protectors and not the Educational Council. That’s one of the reasons why I’m aware of your Bigender Gift. Also—” The half smile softened into something comforting. “I’ll be with the group that will come to get you should you have your first transition over the summer. I asked to be included as a member of Doctor Gallagher’s group as soon as I learned of her plans.”

“When was that?”

“A couple of weeks after your monitor was attached.” She face forward once more, softly chuckling. “Coraline agreed that it’d be best to have me deal with your parents while they prepared to move you somewhere—” She looked at Kerry out of the corner of her eye. “Well, where they can make you more comfortable.”

Kerry was made aware of this situation weeks back when all the B Level were given their “Returning Home” orientation. He knew he could call or text Ms. Rutherford at any time—he had her number in his phone—but the panic button was a special situation in case things at home took a turn for the worst and the student in question found it necessary to leave right that moment.

He was surprised by the revelation that Ms. Rutherford would be the person to speak with his parents should he have his first transition while home for summer holiday. Just that little bit of knowledge left him feeling that much more reassured that if the event did happen while he was home, he’d find himself being taken care of by people who cared. “Thank you, Ms. Rutherford. That means a lot.”

“It’s the least I can do for you.” She settled back in her seat. “It’s also my pleasure and honor to make certain you’re handled in the best possible fashion.”

 

I wanted to get a feel for how it looked in Cardiff as Kerry returned home, and found some new landscapes for Stellarium, and the one I found–well, it’s not in Cardiff, it’s actually from Sofia, Bulgaria, which must be come kind of strange coincidence.

Does this mean if you look hard, you'll see Annie and her mom out shopping?

Does this mean if you look hard, you’ll see Annie and her mom out shopping?

But it’s a good enough view, and I’ll stick with this.

This is also the first time we learn that Ms. Rutherford is actually a Protector, who are like The Foundation’s own police force.  If you want a comparison, The Protectors are like the FBI, The Guardians are like the CIA, and The Marshals, who haven’t really been discussed, are like The Foundation’s own special forces unit comprised of witches with military-grade, magically enhanced bang-bang.  She knows a lot of things, but not everything, about Kerry, because while she has a security clearance, it’s not as high as the one Kerry already has.

We also see the magical “Get Out of Dodge” piece of this homecoming:  every student gets a panic button just in case things at home suddenly go sideways and they need to beat a hasty retreat.  And you can bet someone will be checking up on Kerry over the summer, for should his parents go all tyrannical on him, he could just blast them through a wall and burn down the house.  People in The Foundation would much rather he just jaunt out of a bad situation rather than go full-on Natural Born Killer on his folks.  And given that the family abode is empty at least three days out of the week, how hard would it be for a team of Protectors or Guardians to jaunt inside and set up some of those bugs Helena once checked for in a motel room in Kansas City?  The answer is, “Not very.”

Speaking of the Malibey Home, we’re almost there:

 

Neither spoke during the remainder of the short ride home. It wasn’t until the car pulled up in front of his house and came to a complete stop that Ms. Rutherford spoke. “Remember, Kerry: if the situation should turn ugly in the next few minutes, it is not a reflection upon you. Who you are, what you are, should be judged on your attitude and behavior, not fear.” She gave his hand a slight pat. “Just be yourself and nothing more.”

Kerry looked up the path to his front door hoping that everything went well and didn’t degenerate into any of the worst case scenarios he’d worked out in his head over the last few weeks. “I’ll remember that.” He looked ahead at the seat back in front of him. “I guess we should get this over with—” He threw open the passenger door and stepped out into the cool, clear, Cardiff evening.

He was half-way up the walk when the front door flew open to reveal his mother ready to receive them. “Kerry.”

“Hi, Mom.” He immediately picked up on the tone of her voice: he was worried. Kerry wished he knew what she’d been told about his return, but I was impossible to ask that in front of her.

Ms. Rutherford held the outside door for Kerry. “Good evening, Mrs. Malibey.”

“Good evening, Ms. Rutherford.” Louise Malibey stepped back so Kerry could enter. She addressed him as he set his luggage on the ground floor landing. “How was your flight?”

“It was good, Mom.” He looked behind her and gave a slight wave. “Hi, Dad.”

“Welcome home, Son.” Davyn Malibey joined his wife. “Hello, Ms. Rutherford.”

“Good evening, Mr. Malibey.” She closed the door behind her and turned toward Kerry’s parents. “I’m happy to see you both.”

“Well, you did ask us both to be here when he came home.” Louise turned to her son. “Is everything all right?”

 

Being a mom, Louise Malibey goes right to the “What’s wrong?” option for his meeting.  Because we know something must be wrong if Ms. Rutherford wants to talk to his parents, right?  We know that’s not the case, and Ms. Rutherford step in to chill this shit out:

 

Ms. Rutherford cut off Kerry before he could reply. “Is it possible we could all sit down and talk?”

Davyn pointed down the hallway behind him. “We can all sit in the family room. Come this way—”

The family room was large room with lots of windows in the back of the house, situated between the kitchen and dining room, and the sun room leading to the back yard. Louise and Davyn sat on the sofa facing the television: Kerry and Ms. Rutherford pulled the chairs from either side of the sofa and place them so they could set facing his parents. As they were sitting Louise expressed what she was feeling. “Ms. Rutherford, when we got your message I got worried. It sounded so important, and yet—”

“I didn’t give you any details?” She set her bag on the armrest and crossed her legs. “It was a rather generic email, and for that I apologize. I didn’t mean to cause undo concern.”

“But the tone made it sound like there’s something important you needed to discuss.”

“And there is. But first, I need you to understand—” She looked at Kerry, sitting to her left. “This meeting has nothing to do with Kerry’s academic standing at school. He remains one of the best students in his level, if not in the entire school.” She gave him a broad, pleasant smile. “There’s only one other student I know of who is Kerry’s equal.

“This also has nothing to do with his behavior, either. Kerry’s disciplinary record is clean: it’s actually quiet outstanding. One might say—” She gave him a knowing look. “—he’s done far more than most students over the last two years to help out around the school.”

 

Hum, I wonder who this other student is who’s Kerry’s equal?  Maybe a soul mate from Bulgaria?  We’ll discuss that matter later:  right now, we’re getting down to the big moment–

 

“Then this is about what?” Davyn seemed perplexed that whatever the reason was for being in this discussion had nothing to do with his son’s grades or discipline.

Ms. Rutherford looked thoughtful for a moment. “This is more of a—you might say, a personal matter.”

“Oh, God.” Louise held her forehead for a moment. “Kerry, what did you do?”

Kerry turned to Ms. Rutherford instead of replying to his mother. “I should tell them.”

Ms. Rutherford nodded. “It’s time.”

“Yeah.” Kerry scooted to the front of his chair and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his legs. “Well, then: here goes.” He swallowed once and exhaled slow as he looked at his parents. “Mom, Dad . . . I’m a witch.”

The End

 

And that’s it:  that’s the end of the novel.  It’s over, it’s done, it’s 327,931 words written in 422 days, for an average of 844 words written per day.

There's the tale of the tape for all to see.

There’s the tale of the tape for all to see.

But wait!  What about Kerry’s parents response to his coming out?  What is that “The End” crap up there?  Well, you see, I’m leaving what happens after the reveal for the beginning of the next novel.

And I expect this to be the look on some faces while they do.

“Wh–wha–WHHHAAAATTTT?  CASSIDY!”

Yes, afraid so, folks.  I knew the ending of this novel before I ever began writing, and that ending had Kerry announcing his witchness followed by the words “The End.”  I also knew that the next novel, C For Continuing, is where the reader discovers his parents reaction, and this is something I’ve had planed since the days when I was laying out the time line for A For Advanced.  Yes, as Skye Hegyes commented about a week and a half back, I’m being a bad witch by ending the second novel on probably the biggest cliff hanger I could find, and I’m not doing it to be mean–that’s just the way this story rolls.

Don’t worry, though:  you’ll only have to wait a few months to see how this is going to turn out.

I mean, it’s not like we’re talking forever . . .

Back to Berlin: Our Summer Goodbyes

Yesterday I was in a great deal of pain.  Right about seven-thirty in the morning I pulled a muscle in my left calf–the one that gives me a lot of trouble every so often–and spent the day hobbling around in pain.  Believe me when I say it made the mile walk from work really interesting and slow.

So went I finally made it home I spent most of the time with an ice pack wrapped around my leg, or with one of those portable head packs stuck on my calf.  I have the ice pack on now, and I’ll take it and a heat pack with me to work because baby gotta make that money.

But that gave me a lot of time to write, and I cranked out nearly twelve hundred words to put the penultimate chapter to bed.

There it is, snoozing away peacefully.

There it is, snoozing away peacefully.

As you can see there is one more scene, and the binder on the left tells the tale of the tape:  there aren’t any other acts or parts or scenes to follow.  The end really is here, and it’s likely coming this weekend.

Right now it’s time to get off the plane, ’cause there are people awaiting–

 

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

They proceeded slowly down the walkway, keeping in step and looking straight ahead the all the way to the terminal. Just as they’d done in Vienna they didn’t release their grips on each other’s hand, not even when they spotted Pavlina Kirilova chatting with Ms. Rutherford, both whom turned toward them as they approached.

They stopped when they were about four meters from the two women. Annie turned to Kerry. “Watch my luggage?”

“I got it.” He nodded towards her mother. “Go on.”

“Thank you.” Annie quickly covered the rest of the distance and threw her arms around her mother. “Mama—”

“Dobre doshŭl u doma, Anelie.” Pavlina hugged her daughter tight. “Mnogo mi lipsvashe.”

Annie looked up, smiling. “Az propusnakh Papa i ti sŭshto—”

While the Kirilovas were reuniting, Ms. Rutherford strolled over to her charge. “Welcome back, Kerry.”

“Thank you, Ms. Rutherford.” He spent a few seconds appearing sheepish. “I guess I’m glad to be back.”

“Hum.” She patted his cheek. “There are more than a few of us happy to see you home. And I’m certain your parents want to see you as well.”

“Yeah—at least for a few minutes.”

She leaned closer and allowed her voice to drop to a whisper. “Let’s try to keep a positive attitude. Now isn’t the time to sink into despair.” She lay a hand upon a shoulder. “Yes?”
Erywin appeared at his side with Helena behind her. “Listen to her, Kerry. She’s looking looking out for you.”

Ms. Rutherford smile. “I am.”

“I know this as well.” Pavlina and Annie joined the three women gathered around the young boy. “How are you, Kerry?”

 

The Kirilovas have a nice little reunion while Ms. Rutherford comes over and welcomes him home and gives him a little encouragement not to get down on himself without reason.  He’s worried about what’s coming next, and who can blame him?

Now even Annie’s mom is getting in on the act–

 

“I’m fine, Mrs. Kirilovi.” He smile, happy that Annie’s mother was actually concerned about his well being.

She seemed pleased with the answer. “Did you enjoy the rest of the school year?”

“Oh . . .” He glance over to Helena and Erywin before looking at Annie. “It was certainly a lot different from last year.”

“Just wait until next year: the C Levels tend to be even more difficult than the B Levels.” She wrapped an arm around Annie’s shoulders. “I’m quite certain you’ll both do better than expected.”

Annie looked over and up. “I certainly hope so, Mama.”

Kerry had to work at not laughing at Annie’s comment. “Where’s Mr. Kirilov? I thought he might be here.”

“He’s in Canada, believe it or not; Canadian Grand Prix is this next weekend, and his team is doing some testing in Montreal.” She looked at Annie. “He should be arriving home in about thirty minutes.”

“I understand, Mama.” A moment of sadness passed between Kerry and her. “We must be going—”

“But not just yet.” She released Annie and motioned towards the other three women. “I need to confirm a few things with your instructors about your ‘lunch dates’ this summer, and I think Ms. Rutherford should be a part of this as well. It shouldn’t take long.” Pavlina stepped away from the group. “Ladies, I think it’s quieter over this way . . .”

 

The date on the Canadian Grand Prix is correct:  it happened 9 June, 2013, the second Sunday after Annie came home from her B Levels.  And this is the first hint that things are going to be harder in the following school year, though at this point there’s no reason to believe it’s going to be that way.

Now, what is Mama Kirilova discussing?  Probably not much, but the kids pick up on this right away–

 

While all four women huddled together about five meters away, Annie slipped up next to Kerry. “That was nice of Mama.”

The smile on Kerry’s face found its way to his eyes. “She’s giving us a change to really say goodbye.”

“Yes.” A crestfallen look came over her face for a moment. “I know we’ll see each other in a few weeks, but—”

“I know.” He slightly lowered her head. “I don’t want to leave you.”

“I don’t, either.” She looked down for a moment. “I will miss you ever second you’re away, my mlechna banitsa.”

“And I will miss you, my malko sarmi.” He glanced over Annie shoulder to see if they we being watched, then looked upon Annie’s eyes and smiling face. “What?”

“If you’re going to kiss me, my love—” She grabbed the folds of his tee shirt. “Then kiss me.” She leaned in and kissed him slow and tenderly upon the lips. “After all, I am your wife.”

He chuckled after kissing her back. “About that—”

“I’m not ready to tell that to Mama. I’m certain she’d understand, but—” Annie shook her head. “Maybe in another year. Besides, it’s something I’d like you present for when that happens.”

Kerry instantly imagined him sitting with Annie and her parents, probably at a dinner, perhaps at her house. “I agree. And I’d like you present when we tell my folks as well.”
“Something else to plan for next year.” She pulled Kerry close once more. “I love you, Kerry.”

“I love you, Annie.” He held her by the shoulders as he leaned in and kissed her lovingly once more—

Annie.”

 

Yeah, Kerry:  you’re supposed to kiss your wife goodbye!  What’s wrong with you?  Also, you should get reminded probably, oh, once every day that Annie considers you guys married.  Then again, Kerry accepts that, so no big deal there, right?

But who caught these two in a kiss?  Only one person–or four:

 

They both broke their embrace and found Pavlina, Ms. Rutherford, and Helena and Erywin standing a few meters away. Annie acted as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. “Yes, Mama?”

“We must go.” She held out her right arm. “Dinner awaits.”

“Yes, Mama.” Annie gathered up her luggage and took a moment to touch Kerry’s face. “I’ll see you in three weeks—” She turned to the instructors. “Is that right?”

Helena shrugged. “About that long, yes.”

Annie let her fingers glide down Kerry’s cheek. “I will see you then.”

“I’ll see you then—my love.” He took her head. “And in my dreams.”

“Mine, too.” She moved next to Pavlina and gave Kerry a small wave before they walked off and vanished into the terminal crowd.

Helena and Erywin waved to Kerry as Ms. Rutherford took up position on his right. “Take care, Kerry.” Erywin gave him a warm smile. “See you in a few weeks.”

“Take care Kerry—” Helena offered a smile and a nod as she took Erywin’s hand. “Have a good summer.”

“I will. Thank you both.” He waited until they both vanished among the Berlin crowd before turning to Ms. Rutherford. “At last: just you and I.”

“Yes, it is.” She motioned them forward with a nod. “Shall we?”

He gave a nonchalant shrug. “Why not?”

They were about twenty seconds into their stroll when Ms. Rutherford offered an observation. “You’re better than last year.”

“You mean I’m not an emotional wreck.” He glanced over with a smile. “It’s okay. I was a blubbering mess last year.”

“And you’re not sad now?”

“I’m sad, it’s just—” He touched his heart. “That part of Annie you told me about is right here, and I know a piece of me is with her. There’s a hurt, but—” He remembered Eyrwin’s words from a year and a half ago. “It’s a good hurt.”

“I can hear it a little in your voice.” Ms. Rutherford slowed her pace. “Do you want a minute before we go on?”

He closed his eyes for a second as the emotions he tried admitting weren’t there began to welling upwards. “It might not be a bad idea.” He stared off into the distance. “Given what’s going to happen in the next thirty minutes, it’s better to have a good cry now than later . . .”

 

Annie gets busted and just blows it off like it’s no big deal.  Everyone says their goodbyes and leaves Kerry with Ms. Rutherford.  And Annie vanishing into the crowd of Terminal A is the last we see of her this novel:  she won’t show again until she opens the first scene of the next novel.  Kerry’s not a “blubbering mess” as he was last year, though he’s letting Ms. Rutherford know he’s probably going to need a moment to have a cry.  For he’s only a quick jaunt away from Cardiff–

Yes, the end is just about here.

Now to get Kerry home for that most important meeting . . .

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: Vater Themen

And just like that, Chapter Seventeen is half over.  Four nights of averaging about seven hundred and eighty words each night brought the scene to an end, and now I can move on to the kids finally arriving home.

This has been an interesting scene, because it’s nothing like I originally envisioned it in the beginning, which was just Kerry coming back with Annie and then both of them realizing they’d been seen arriving holding hands, which of course gets all sorts of things going in Daddy’s mind.  Here I went more into an explanation of what’s going on, and, like below, some of the implications of what this all means.  Like . . .

 

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

“It’s obvious you don’t have a sibling.” Bernice settled back in her chair and crossed her legs. “If you had a sister, you might have noticed how your father acts differently around her.”

He stopped tapping the chair’s arms and sunk down in the seat. “It’s just the way he was looking at me—like there was something wrong with me.”

She chuckled. “Don’t take it personally. That attitude goes all the way back to the days when it was considered part of the father’s duty to guard their daughter’s virginity.”

Kerry was aware of this being a standard in some cultures even today, and her found it as ridiculous as Ms. Rutherford seemed to make it appear. “That’s dumb.”

“It is, but . . .” She glanced towards the lounge entrance. “You have to realize something, Kerry. I’m somewhat aware of the deepness of your relationship with Annie—I know that Annie almost didn’t attend Salem because you wanted to stay in Europe and look for you when she got older—and I’m certain her mother know how deep it runs as well. It’s even possible Annie has said things to her mother about your relationship that it only know to her and you.

“When it comes to the father, he may not know the depth of your feelings for each other, but he’s aware it exists. He knows Annie has feelings for you, and you for her. When he saw you today, he didn’t see a young boy holding hands with this daughter—” She tapped her finger in the air in Kerry’s direction. “He sees a potential suitor for his little girl.”

 

All of a sudden Kerry is getting hit over the head with being a husband and, as we’ll see, something else.  It’s something that no twelve year old kids under normal circumstances ever deal with, but we all know Kerry is far from normal . . .

 

The moment Ms. Rutherford finished her statement Kerry began wondering just how much she actually knew about Annie and his relationship. There were only a few people who knew of the vision they shared, and while he was certain that Annie’s mother didn’t know about their vision, he was aware she’d seen his name in Annie’s wedding book. She knows Annie is serious about me, about what she wants to do. Her dad has to feel we’re not just a couple of kids holding hands. “He automatically knows I’m gonna marry Annie in the future?”

Bernice kept her face impassive, but she caught the way Kerry phrased his statement: Not “If I” but “I’m gonna marry”. He’s completely sure of where their relationship is going— “I’m sure he’s discussed you with Annie’s mother, and I’d venture that he was sizing you up as more to Annie than a boyfriend. He knows his daughter—”

“And what Annie wants, Annie gets.” Kerry chuckled. “First time I’ve said that.”

“Really?” Bernice chuckled with him. “The thing to keep in mind here, Kerry, is that all fathers are usually a bit unsettled by their daughter’s boyfriends. They know they have the potential to become their husbands, and because they were once some girl’s boyfriend who then became their husband. And it doesn’t take them long to understand why their father-in-law was so unsettled by them, because they also waited for their daughters to tell them the one phrase they didn’t want to hear—”

“What’s that?” He couldn’t imagine Annie’s father being that upset by anything Annie would tell him . . . “’I’m getting married’?”

“No: ‘I’m pregnant’.”

 

Yeah, just keep hammering home those little witches waiting in the wings!  The one’s who’ll have either red or chestnut hair and will get practice brooms when they’re five or six and ride around behind Mama and Papa in the yard, or maybe even down at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s big yard in Bulgaria, and then grow up and go to Salem and see pictures of their parents kissing two miles up in the air and hear the stories about how all they did was snog and eeeewwwwwww . . .

Really, these kids will, at some point, have to live down the fact that their parents were a couple of Tweenage Horndogs when they got to school, and other’s might wonder if they’ll follow in their footsteps.  When they’re not following in Mama’s Murder Time skills . . .

 

Those two words froze Kerry’s train of though. The thoughts of marriage didn’t bother him: after reconciling Annie’s vision with his, and continuing the discussion to where they would start their home after the wedding, this was the second time in twelve hours he was reminded that their was another responsibility that came with getting married and making a home for each other. Annie said she already carried our children, and now Ms. Rutherford is saying her dad is living with the knowledge that those kids are coming–

He shook his head. “I’m not ready to think about this stuff now.”

“I don’t blame you.” Bernice checked her watch. “It’s been about fifteen minutes; I figure Annie and her parents are back in Bulgaria about now.”

“I think so, too.” He stood and checked that his backpack was firmly secured around his handle of his roll-on bag. “I’m ready.”

“Good.” Bernice grabbed her bag and secured it tightly on her shoulder. “Feel like a light late lunch? I know a place here in Vienna that serves the most wonderful sandwiches.”

Knowing that he’d likely have nothing but take away or leftovers when he arrived home, Kerry liked her suggestion. “Dining in Vienna . . . sounds good to me.”

 

Ms. Rutherford knows her charge, and knows he’ll probably get crap for dinner when he gets home.  It must be nice to get a late lunch in Vienna after coming home from school with your girlfriend.  At least someone’s looking out for this kid.

Here we now are:

Half way done; half way there.

Half way done; half way there.

And if the titles of the remaining scenes are any indication–along with the times–I think we can say the kids get home in one piece . . .