Busy morning for a day off. I’m supposed to go to my doctors today, but given we’re also going to get hit with snow this afternoon, I’m hoping against all hope that I don’t get caught in snow and ice at some point. I won’t say I’m worried, but I am.
Also, my Facebook reminds me that today, one year ago, I finished The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: A For Advanced, after four hundred and seventy-four days of writing. And here I am today, just a few hundred words short of another quarter of a million words, and I’m closing in on the end of B For Bewitching. So much to do, so much to write.
This morning I finished Chapter Twenty-seven and Part Seven, which turned out to be almost forty-eight thousand words total. I’m about to step into something that I’m dreading, but before that happens, what happened in this scene?
Well, it’s after the Ostara performance, and Kerry’s deep in thought, which means he’s analyzing what he did on stage. And if I know Kerry like I think I know Kerry–at least I think–then it’s safe to say I know what he’s doing.
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
She wrapped herself around his left arm. “Your performance tonight was fantastic.”
He half-chuckled, half-grunted an answer. “It could have been better.”
She turned her head three-quarters of the way towards him before leaning closer. “Where do you think you could have been better.”
They came out of the woods close to the Spells Center and stepped upon the brick path leading to The Pentagram. “I missed a few notes leading into the guitar solo.”
“Which is understandable, given you had to turn around and flip a switch before you could start playing.” During the prior week’s rehearsal, Kerry showed her how he had two different sounds loaded on the Mellotron, and there was a selector switch that normally remained on Select A, but in order to get on particular sound it was necessary to flip the switch to Select B before he began playing. He flipped the switch without a problem, but the first key pressed was incorrect. It was the only misstep playing, but from her seat she saw his quick grimace upon realizing he’d hit the wrong note.
There was another issue as well. “And my vocals—”
“Weren’t perfect?” Annie looked around to see if they were alone, and stopped as soon as she saw they were the only ones on the path. “May I give you my honest critique?”
Kerry met her gaze and held it steady. “Always, Darling.”
The switch Annie’s thinking about–the one Kerry showed her and described–is right here:
It’s the one on the right that says “A – Mix – B”, and Kerry had to flip that from A to B in order to switch channels to get the keyboard to go from one sound to another. It was a tricky move, because he had to rotate his body ninety degrees, take his right hand and flip the switch down, then play with that same right hand. He was aware it was going to be the most difficult thing–well, one of the most difficult–and he hit the wrong first note. And because that happened, he’s beating himself up.
Plus we discover that Kerry’s not a trained vocalist. Surprise! Kid’s beating himself up a little more. Good thing Annie’s there . . .
“Tonight you performed a seven minute song. It was as difficult piece that required you to play four different keyboards, and one of those instruments was needed to play two different sounds, so in a way you were actually playing five keyboards. It was also necessary for you to swivel you body up to ninety degrees at times to play at times, and it was rare that you weren’t playing two separate instruments at the same time.
“Now, as far as your vocals—yes, they weren’t perfect. You didn’t miss anything there as far as I can tell, but there’s only so much autotune can do, even when it’s enchanted, and your voice cracked on a few high notes. But you knew you were singing in a different key than the song required, and you’re not a trained singer: you were pushing your voice.” Annie held both of Kerry’s hands in hers. “And though you may not think it played a part, you’re going through puberty, as am I, and that causes our voices to change, yours more than mine. Expecting your voice to remain perfect throughout the whole of the song was a foolish thing to believe.” She lightly touched his cheek. “But do you know what I saw tonight?”
“I saw you smiling. The moment you began playing the intro, a smile formed on your face. And when that girl drumming—”
“When she started that drum thing about thirty seconds in—” Annie made quick motions with her hands.
Kerry picked it up right away. “The descending drum roll.”
“That, yes. When she did that, you were looking at her and grinning, and I imagine it’s because you’d seen that moment in your mind while you were preparing for this performance. Am I right?”
He nodded slowly. “Yeah.”
“You dreamed about that moment many times over, and in that instant you were there. You were on stage with your band.” She raised his left hand, removed his glove, and kissed his fingers. “You still see all the mistakes: I still see the boy who lived his dream.”
Kerry sees the mistakes, Annie sees the dreams fulfilled. That last was the most important thing: Kerry likely dreamed about being on stage, and once he was there he couldn’t hide his joy, and while he didn’t see his happiness as he performed, everyone else in Orchestra Hall did.
And she also hits him with the biggest truth: they’re going through puberty, and that does strange things to their bodies and their voices. It’ a point to which he returns:
They walked in silence for a few seconds before Kerry changed the direction of the conversation. “Going through puberty, huh?”
“Yes, we are. I always hear it in your voice.” Annie snuggled closer. “There are times when I hug you and I can—” She chuckled. “—feel it happening.”
Kerry couldn’t contain his laughter. “You’re a naughty girl, Sweetie. You know that?”
Annie gave him a coy smile before kissing his cheek. “Oh, you have no idea.”
“I have some.”
O . . . kay. So Annie’s making remarks about feeling Kerry going through puberty, and give they’re often hugging each other tight and cuddling under the covers and all that stuff, it’s impossible that Annie isn’t picking up on more than a few things that are happening to Kerry. But the exchange about being a naughty girl, and Annie saying Kerry has no idea, while he says he has some–yeah. The next time someone says, “Get a room, you two!” they might want to reconsider that thought.
What else happens? Well now–
They stopped before the large door that was the entrance to the Pentagram Wall. Annie gave her soul mate a kiss on the lips. “Thank you for dedicating the song to me tonight, my love.”
The blush spread quickly across Kerry’s cheeks. “That’s because you’re always there for me, Darling.”
“I did nothing to help you prepare for tonight; that was Nadine.”
“Yeah, but—” He wrapped his arms around Annie as he kissed her with warmth and love. “She’s not here now: you are. And that’s what matters the most.” He waved open the door. “After you.”
“Thank you.” No one was in the inner wall corridor. Annie made her way around the exterior of Mórrígan Tower towards the door leading to the garden. “And I will always be there for you.”
“I know.” Kerry hurried up so he could get the next door. “I wish we were sitting together tonight.”
“You know we can’t.” She slowed her pace to allow Kerry to move around her. “Performers in one area, artists in another.”
“Speaking of art—”
“You’re getting the dreamscape panting.”
He stopped before the inner wall door. “You’re keeping Fenway.”
She touched his chest and ran her fingers over the zipper of his coat. “I’ll paint one with us together for you next year.”
“Thank you.” He waved open the inner door. “I think next year I’ll scale down my performance a little. Take a break and not make it too crazy.”
“You say that now—” She headed through the door and into the covered walkway—identical to the one leading away from their coven tower—leading to the garden. “—but you’ll likely change over the summer.”
“More than likely.” He took her hand and slowly swung their arms as they walked. “It’s like I have to prove to myself I can do these things.”
Annie remained silent while her thoughts brought back a conversation held earlier in the day. There’s one thing Coraline missed when she mentioned how much Kerry and I are pushed. She stopped the swinging and leaned against Kerry’s arm, smiling contently. We are the ones who push us the hardest.
Annie gets the song dedicated to her because she’s always there for him; he gets the dreamscape painting while she keeps the kissing painting; she’ll make him a couples painting next year, and he’ll do something a little less complex for next Ostara. But the underlying true is there: they are the ones who push themselves the hardest. No one made Kerry do the things he’s done in this month of March, nor do the things he’s done in almost two full years of school. The same can be said for Annie: she pushes herself harder than others are pushed, and no one is holding a wand to her head making her learn so many things in such a short period of time.
As stated, chapter and part are finished–
Now comes Part Eight, Chapter Twenty-seven, and this part is one I’ve been dreading for a long time. How long? Years. This isn’t something I though up along the way, though some parts have change only in how they’ll be written and presented. No, the idea here goes back close to five years when I first started developing Kerry, and maybe three years ago I knew how this part was going to get written.
You wanna know what’s happening with Kerry and The Carrot Girl?
You’re about to find out.