Away and Display

First off, the matter of business is:  how went the torture of the face?  Answer:  not well.  Second time now I started crying, this time about fifteen minutes, maybe twenty minutes in. It wasn’t good, and after that I simply couldn’t relax, and I did a quick laser session, which burned off a few of the remaining dark hairs.  I discussed the situation with the women who does my treatment, and we sort of figured out that (a) I’ve been beating up the same section of my face for three weeks now, and it’s probably causing a lot of the pain, and (b) I’m not getting the numbing cream on right, and that means nothing but pain.  So we’re going to try something different next week, and see how that works.

Also, my Orphan Black tee shirt came yesterday, and Pupok has the story of my transition right there in gray on purple.

Also, my Orphan Black tee shirt came yesterday, and Pupok has the story of my transition right there in gray on purple.

The real burning question–see what I did there?–is, “Did you write?”  Like a good aircraft, I did seven hundred and thirty-seven words, and inched to within fifty thousand before the events of the day caught up to me and I finally went to bed tired as all hell.

In the battle for your novel, 502 words is the same as inches.

In the battle for your novel, 502 words is the same as inches.

Considering how I felt like night, I considered the output to be something of a victory, because I felt ill by the time I returned from the face zapping place.  I really needed to write, even if it wasn’t easy getting the words down.  I really need to get through this chapter and onto the next, even though I know on of the scenes in the next chapter will probably raise some hairs on the backs of some people’s necks.  And that’s good, because writing is suppose to be about pulling out the emotions.  Maybe I could stop putting mine out there all the time.

In our last post Jessica wanted to say something to her students.  Now, after the writer got zapped, she gets her chance.

 

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

Jessica stepped behind Kerry. “This is our newest student: Kerry Malibey, a B Level from Cernunnos.” She watched the exchanges between the other four students, noticing Annie catching her own share of glances. “I know you find that a bit surprising, as the soonest any of you were invited in was at the end of your B Levels or the start of your C Levels, but I have my reasons for inviting Kerry and his girlfriend Annie—” She watched a couple of sets of eyes light up at the mention of Annie an Kerry’s relationship, though one of them wasn’t Fekitoa’s. “—into this class. Allow me to explain . . .

 

Well, of course a kid from their coven isn’t going to be surprised to hear about these two:  by now we’ve figured out that Annie and Kerry are kinda minor celebrities in their own tower.  It’s also interesting to hear Jessica call Annie a girlfriend, because she’s seemed to avoid mentioning the relationship at all, save to give one or the other a bit of crap in class.  The more we get into the year, the more it seems like the staff just accepts that there’s more here than hand holding and a lot of snogging.

What does Jessica have to say?

 

“Kerry is one of the best at transformation crafting I’ve seen, as is Annie—please, join us.” Jessica motioned the girl—who had done as much as possible not to look as if she was an official member of the class—to stand with them. “This is the reason I forwarded the invitation. Now, Annie won’t be in class most of the time: she gave good reasons for not accepting the invitation, and after giving the headmistress and me her reasons, we both agreed with them.” Jessica smiled at the girl. “She’s sort of auditing the class this evening, and while she’ll like not come to many, she’s welcome to join us any time.

“Kerry will stay with us for this year, and, I hope, for more to come. Because he needs to catch up to the rest of us, I’ll spend extra time with him now and then.” She put on her best smile. “Don’t take this as a sign that I’m trying to make him fit in: I assure you, he’ll be right along side you in no time.”

Jessica took a step back from the group, who turned to face her. “Dig out your notes on Invisibility: we’re going to start in on that again, since a few of you were just getting the hang of it at at the end of last year. While you’re reviewing those, I’m going to have a word with Annie and Kerry over in the corner.”

 

Oh, now it’s Invisibility:  the real thing, not just light bending.  Yeah, just what you need to teach to these two–well, to Kerry, and then he’ll run off and teach Annie.  Speaking of which . . .

 

Once they were away from the rest of the group Jessica threw up a privacy spell so they wouldn’t be overheard. She sat against the edge of a table before addressing Annie. “I hope you didn’t think I was putting you on the spot—”

“Not at all, Jessica.” Annie had half-expected Jessica to try and convince her to join the class full-time, and was surprised when she didn’t. “Thank you for not pressuring me to reconsider.”
“Oh, I considered asking you to do just that, but after discussions with Erywin and Helena, I better understand your position.” She nodded in Kerry’s direction. “As you said, in order to be good sorceresses, you have to be able to teach what you know—”

“And this is something that Kerry can certainly learn to teach.” Annie grinned at him. “Isn’t that right, love?”

“As rain.” Kerry hadn’t minded being put on display in front of the other, older students, but something struck him as odd. “You didn’t mention anything about me being a Mimic.”

“I didn’t because I don’t want that to get out—” Jessica shrugged. “At least not yet. Once you’ve been in class a while, and you’ve learned to developed your Transformational Art, people will likely figure it out on their own.” She shifted position to make herself more comfortable. “When it comes to Gifts we’ve found that the knowledge of who has them usually finds its way to the rest of the students in due time—making announcements become unnecessary.”

Jessica moved to a nearby chair, and invited Annie and Kerry to join her. “I want to bring up one thing, Kerry—something that wasn’t actually covered last year because, well, there wasn’t a need. But now that you’re about to take the leap into some major transformation magic, it’s time to make you aware of lay ahead.” She slowly crossed her legs, letting the wonder of what she would say next grow. “It’s no secret that people are afraid of sorcery, and with good reason—” She eyed Annie for a few seconds. “But you both already have first hand knowledge of that reason, so there’s no need to tell you something you already know. But have you ever noticed how skittish people get around witches who are the mistresses and masters of transformation magic?”

 

Yes, Jessica, we have, but what do you mean?  Oh, you’re not telling us until tomorrow?  Well, that’s not very nice!

The one thing to get from this is the public shout outs Jessica gave to both kids.  Now is the time when they are being touted, and not only is it going to show with people in their own level, it’s gonna show up with others.  Jessica isn’t one to hand out complements, but this is an advanced class, and we’ve seen those are a whole different mixture around this place.  One of the reasons Kerry likes it at school is that it’s the only place where he’s recognized for his skills, and not treated like a “strange kid.”  And Jessica is giving him and Annie high praise–something she’s not known for doing.

Tomorrow we’ll find out for sure what Jessica’s going to say–and maybe even get into the next scene as well.

Dragon Attacks and Breakfast Meetings

It’s not a good morning up here in Casa Burg.  Last night was electrolysis, and it didn’t go well.  It went badly.  Actually it went sort of horribly as I sorta lost it after ninety minute and had a five minutes combination panic and crying attack.  I couldn’t go on at that point, and the nice woman who shoots electricity into my face did what she could to comfort me.  Even so, I spent about half the trip home crying, and I never really felt up the rest of the night.

So remember, people:  being hormonal + emotionally raw for a few weeks + having electricity shot into your face + hearing the wrong song played at the wrong time, which is what really set me off = Massive Crying Jag.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve went through.  And I’m going back again next Wednesday, because I love having the most sensitive part of my face feeling like it’s on fire.

Dramatic recreation of how I felt.  No actual dragons used in the real thing.

Dramatic recreation of how I felt. No actual dragons were used in the real thing.

And even through all that, I wrote.  One thousand and nine words wrote, and that’s an exact count.  I would have stopped short of that count, but I had to finish up something least I be reminded that I left a particular scene hanging.  I wouldn’t want to do that.

It’s the first day of school at Salem, Reacquaintance Day as the returning students call that, and we know who’s back for seconds.  A few days ago we saw Annie getting ready, wearing her flats and a skirt because it was going to be hot.  But where is Kerry?  And how does he look?  Well . . .

 

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

“Good morning, Sweetie.”

Kerry jumped up from the sofa in the Mezzanine Commons and met her at the stairs. Annie couldn’t keep her grin from showing the second she saw him, because, just like her, she was dressed in a way she’d never seen before. Yes, he had on his tennis shoes and a tee shirt—this one had some kind of stone angel screaming at an unseen person—but he was also wearing shorts. They weren’t very short—like her skirt, they reached to just above his knees—but it was seeing Kerry’s legs like this

Kerry in long shorts.  Just imagine that . . .

 

She bounced up to him. “How are you, my love?” She gave him a quick kiss. “I’m surprised you’re here before me.”

“Ah, I was up early.” He stepped onto the stairs and walked to the ground floor with Annie to his left. “I guess I was too excited to sleep in late.”

“Even after getting to bed late?” Annie glanced out from eyes hooded by her brow as she gave Kerry a slight grin.

“Even with not getting to bed until after one.” He took her hand as they reached the ground floor and they began walking across the commons towards one of the tower exits. “Then again, that’s like normal sleep time for the Midnight Madness, right?”

“Yes.” She opened the inner tower door, and did the same when they reached the entrance to the outside. “And we were also up late every night in Berlin—”

“Getting accustomed to the times here.” Kerry breathed in the warm morning air saturating the Pentagram Garden. The sun was warm, the sky clear, the wind brisk. “So unlike last year.”

“I know.” Annie remembered there first day walking to the Dining Hall, the weather cool and cloudy. But nothing like the night before when I was professing my life while he kept me warm. “Come on, let’s get to breakfast.” She tightened her grip upon her love’s hand. “You know what I want—”

 

Yes, what does Annie want besides more face sucking time with here Soul Mate?  I think she wants food . . .

 

Things were set up as before: the A Levels were set up in the front of the hall, at assigned tables, while the remainder of the students sat at tables behind them. The food was laid out along the west wall buffet-style: today was a day for obfuscation, so no one would find their breakfast appearing before them. However . . .

A woman in a blue jumpsuit approached them. “Annie; Kerry. So nice to see you again.”

“Good morning, Una. Nice to see you again, Una.” Annie turned and gave the head of the kitchen, Una Grandinm, a huge smile.

Kerry placed his hand in front of him and laced his fingers together. “How you doing, Una?”

“Doing well, Kerry.” She indicated the buffet table to their left. “You’ll find everything you need today laid out—”

“Is it still possible to get special orders?” Annie was almost bouncing up and down on her toes.

Una tapped her finger against the corner of her mouth. “What would you like?”

“Printsessi: two, please.”

“I should have known.” Una turned to Kerry. “Would you like to order something as well?”

He glanced at Annie. “I’d like two printsessi as well, please.”

“Ah—” A wide grin appeared across Una’s face. “Developing a taste for Bulgarian fare, are we?”

“Well, you never know—” Kerry slid his arm around Annie’s shoulders and gave her a hug. “I might be eating it a lot in the future.”

 

The dish Annie and Kerry are talking about are the second one on this list, with their favorite Midnight Madness dish, banitsas, right below that.  They go over to the table they were at the day before–a couple of rows behind where they sat the year before–and comment on their situation:

 

Annie saw about half the instructors were already seated at the tables flanking the podium. “I’m excited.”

Kerry stopped lightly drumming his fingers against the edge of the table. “I am, too.” He leaned in towards Annie. “Now I know why all the kids from last year were looking at us so strangely.”

“Because they knew we were completely unaware of what was coming.”

“Well—” He touched Annie’s right arm. “At least one did.”

She shook her head. “My parents told me nothing about the school. While I knew what it was like to live in a magical environment, I was just as unaware of what was coming here as you.”

“And now we’re the experts—”

“Hello, Kerry.”

 

Now who is interrupting the excitement these two are feeling?  Any guesses?  Any?

 

Emma stood at the other side of the table, rocking back and forth on her heels as her eyes darted from Kerry to Annie and back. “How, how you doing?”

“I’m okay.” He smiled as he sat up slowly, keeping his eyes focused on his American friend. “We didn’t see you yesterday.”

“Yeah—” Emma looked towards Annie, who’d remained silent. “How you doing, Annie?”

“I’m well, Emma.” Annie let her head tilt slightly to the right. “Where were you yesterday?”

“Spent most of the time in the coven tower.” Emma leaned against the back of a chair, but made no move yet to sit. “They didn’t let us, um, you know—” She lowered her voice. “Adjust on the plane.” She looked behind her, then continued speaking in a normal tone. “So we had to do that when we got here. Ended up sleeping until almost eighteen, and ended up sitting with Nadine and a few others.” She let her voice drop again, as if sharing a secret. “I didn’t see you there.”

“We ate earlier—” Kerry smiled at Annie. “Then we went for a walk to the Observatory before going back to the tower.”

“We wanted to get inside before the A Levels were place.” Annie’s grin almost matched the conspiratorial tone Emma was effecting. “We came back on his Espinoza.”

“Ah.” Emma understood that Annie didn’t want to say out loud that they flew back on Kerry’s broom.

Yeah, keep that info to yourselves if you can.  At least Annie is being a good, um, host–

 

“No: these.” She picked up a fork, then remembered their guest. “Would you like to join us, Emma? I’m sure the kitchen can make you a plate.”

“Um—” She stepped back from the table, shaking her head. “I’m gonna go sit with some of the girls from the cover.” Emma caught herself before walking away and addressed Kerry. “Are you going down to the Flight School in the afternoon? Nadine said Professor Salomon will let us try out the Class 2’s”

“I don’t know.” Kerry hadn’t figured out his afternoon yet, because he didn’t know what Annie and he would do after breakfast. “I might: it just depends.”

“Oh, okay.” Emma nodded a couple of times. “I’ll catch you guys later.” She hurried off across the room, sitting with a group of girls about four rows over.

 

Like Emma wants to sit there all uncomfortable and stuff while they eat strange food from somewhere in Eastern Europe, though Emma did her best to entice Kerry away with talk of new flying equipment.  Honey, his girlfriend can buy him one if it wants to try it out–come to think of it, so could he . . .

So, a couple of thousand words over a couple of days, and the novel stands at just under thirty-seven thousand words:

Considering everything I've been though this last weekend, not too bad.

Considering everything I’ve been though this last weekend, not too bad.

I should finish this tonight, and maybe get my kids on the Road to Memory.  What will they find there?

Well, someone who’ll probably read their tea leaves . . .

Willkommen in Berlin und Schmerz

I’m in Berlin–well, not me, exactly, but Kerry is there.  But getting there wasn’t easy, and as the title of this post indicates, there were issues along the way.

Last night was my second electrolysis session, and I did things a lot differently than last time.  I put a topical on my face; I brought my ibuprofen with me to take afterwards, and I let my whiskers grow out an extra day, which had me at work yesterday with a bad case of cactus face.  So I was ready, more or less.

What I wasn’t ready for was the pain.

We debated why it hurt so much more this time, but the pain was far worse at times than the last session.  I came to the conclusion that it was due to the last session being in the down hormone cycle leading up to my shot, and this one last night came a few days after my shot, when I’ve got all those nice hormones coursing through my body, and my skin is nice and sensitive.  More hairs came out, and there was less swelling, but jeez:  I was squirming a lot.

Trust me:  it hurt a lot more than it looks.

Trust me: it hurt a lot more than it looks.

I needed ice on my face after this one, and then . . . I felt like a cold was coming on.  So I heated up to medication and had a nice hot cup of Away With You Cold while I kept icing my face.  After about an hour or so it was much better, but you know where they is going:

Not a lot of writing was done last night.  Nope, not at all.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t writing, but three hundred and twenty words is not my best effort.  Given how I felt it was a wonder I got that much done, but one must do what they can to get that girlish skin, right?  And I did my best, that’s for sure, while going back for more next week.

For now, however, Kerry is right where he should be . . .

On the way to the hotel . . . welcome to Berlin, kid.

On the way to the hotel . . . welcome to Berlin, kid.

And what is it like there?  Glad you asked.

 

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

Kerry entered the hotel room and hurried his luggage through the door before it latched shut. In about a half hour he’d traveled eleven hundred kilometers, with most of the time spent getting from one jaunt station to the other. And as Ms. Rutherford had said, getting checked in at Tegal Airport took about two minutes—he had to give his name and press his left palm against a screen to prove he’d arrived on schedule in Berlin—and then another twenty minutes to drive to the City Center Crowne Plaza Berlin on Nuernberger Strasse.

And also as Ms. Rutherford had promised, when he asked for Annie Kirilova’s room number, the manager informed him that a message concerning Miss Kirilova’s room would be found in his own room. Ms. Rutherford arched her brows, smiled, and told him to enjoy his stay in Berlin before turning on her heel and returning to the car waiting outside.

Kerry examined in his room. In a way it reminded him of the suite in Kansas city except there wasn’t a bed here. There was a large closet on the right as he walked in; before him was a entertainment center with a television atop, and across from that was a large soft. Closer to the window overlooking the park beyond was a table and chairs. There were a set of closed double doors in the left wall on the other side of the entertainment center—

There was also an envelope next to the television.

Kerry set his backpack down and reached for the envelope, opening it as quickly as his fingers would allow. The message left for him was simple:

I’m closer than you think.

Annie

“’I’m closer than you think’—” Kerry sighed. “What does that mean?”

The double doors opened slowly. “It means—” Annie leaned against the door on her right and turned towards her astonished soul mate. “—I’m closer than you think.”

 

Nice surprise, don’t you think?

At Home With the Malibeys, the Final Questions

I’m back up to NaNo Word Count Speed once more.  Last night I wanted to finish this scene, even though I didn’t start working on it until after eight because I was tired and bored and I little afraid to say what needed to be said in the scene.  At least my face isn’t a total mess this morning, and the swelling has nearly vanished.

This last section of the scene was hard on me, because I had to hurt Kerry.  I know some of you are laughing because I’ve hurt Kerry plenty:  broken limbs, broken ribs, a few concussions, and a messed-up knee.  That stuff is easy to mend:  knit the bones, give bed rest, medication, and magic, and you’re good as new.

No, this time I had to hurt him.  He’s talked about it before, how his parents have been uncaring and unloving, and, in particular, his mother has said things to him that leads him to believe there are times she’d rather have a cat around the house than him.

And Kerry spoke up in a way at Mommy that probably isn’t going to please her–while, at the same time, she’s got some questions on her mind . . .

 

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

Louise stared back at her son for about five seconds before proceeding. “Annie, then. Tell me about her.”

“We’re in the same classes—” Kerry had already given some of this information to this mother not long after the first couple of letters, but figured he could fill in a few other details based around the fiction he’s been tutored on. “She’s also the only one in my level in my dorm, so we end up spending a lot of time together just because.” He shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. “Because of that we spend a lot of time together studying, too. That’s one of the reasons we became friends.” That, and the fact we’ve known each other through out dreams since as far back as I can remember.

His mother appeared to consider Kerry’s words, staring at something over Kerry’s shoulder for about fifteen seconds. “Is she in that advanced class with you? When you mentioned that boy you know, you used plurals: ‘We hang with’; ‘We know’.” The right corner of Louise’s mouth curled upward into a tight grin. “And you did say you were in all the same classes together.”

There was something in his mother’s tone that he didn’t much care for, but he didn’t want to make another comment, not after his outburst moments before. He wasn’t certain what she was getting at, but he hoped she’s stop soon. “Yes, Mom: she’s in that class, too. We’re in every class together.”

“Who else from you year—”

“Level.”

“I’m sorry?”

“We say level, not year.” He smiled. “It’s just our term for things.”

 

That’s it, Kerry:  keep correcting your mother.  She’ll love you for it.

 

“Level, then.” His mother kept the sly grin in place. “Who else from your level is in the advanced class with you?”

“Um . . . no one.”

“Just you and Annie—right?”

Kerry nodded. “Yes. That’s right.”

“Hum.” Louise slowly interlaced her fingers and set her hands on the table. Her voice was softer, but the tone was nearly the same. “Kerry, do you like this girl? Do you like Annie?”

 

And here are where the loaded questions come in:  do you like this girl?  ‘Cause Mother wants to know.

 

The summer is almost over and now she wants to know how I feel about Annie? It had been their decision not to talk to their parents about their true feelings for each other, thought Kerry was aware that Annie’s mother knew a great deal more about how Annie felt for him. He agreed that he shouldn’t talk much about their relationship at school—and elsewhere. How could I tell my mother about our dream link without giving away what I am?

Kerry squirmed in his chair for a couple of moments. “She a friend, Mom—”

“Before this summer you never hand-wrote a letter in your life.” Louise unlaced her hands and set her left on in her lap, leaving her right one upon the table. “Now, every week, you write two, three letters.”

“I told you, that’s because she doesn’t have access to a computer or phone, so I can’t Skype or text her.”

“You could type and print out a letter.”

Kerry didn’t see a way around that question easily. “Annie asked me to write to her, so I do.”

“I know.” Louise tapped the table lightly. “And I know you, Kerry. You wouldn’t do that unless you liked her.”

As much as her relationship with her son may stink, Louise does know her son.  And when your computer savvy boy starts hand writing letters, then something’s afoot.  And, of course, his parents start taking the conversation of “You like a girl” into another direction:

 

His mother sighed. “We just want to make certain that you . . .” His mother slowly drew in a breath for a long, slow sigh as she looked up at the ceiling before speaking. “We don’t want you doing anything you could regret—”

Kerry started across the table and rolled his eyes. “Mom. What do you think I’m going to do?” He stared at his dinner with all sorts of thoughts running through his head. She’d die if she knew about all the times Annie and I shared a place to sleep . . . “And don’t worry: I’m not going to do anything stupid. I know better.”

“I know you’re smart—” His mother stressed the last word as if she were trying to prove that she didn’t believe it was true. “—but that doesn’t mean you know everything—”

“Mom, we already had that discussion at school with Doctor Gallagher.” The habit of addressing her as “Nurse Coraline” was strong, but during the times he was home alone he’d practiced using her other title, just in case. “It’s all right; you have nothing to worry about.”

 

You don’t know how hard it was to write “Doctor Gallagher”, because that’s not something my kids are used to saying.

 

His mother’s expression changed quickly from slightly smiling and somewhat concerned to coldly miffed. “You had that talk with the school doctor? When?”

“Back in March.” He didn’t need to think about the date: it was permanently etched in his mind.

“We never heard anything about this.” Louise glanced across the table for a moment, then back to Kerry. “We weren’t notified.”

“You didn’t need to be notified.” Kerry didn’t bother hiding his tone now: he was growing tired of feeling as if he was under interrogation. “When you signed the papers to send me to school your transferred your parenting rights to the school administration, and they usually let us choose if we want to do something.” He turned away from his mother, deadening her glare. “I was asked if by Doctor Gallagher if I wanted to have that talk, and left it up to me whether I wanted to have it, or not.” He let out a slow breath. “I said okay, and we talked.”

Silence descended over the dinner table. Kerry figured he’d said enough and there was nothing left remaining to speak about. “May I be excused?”

 

It’s never a good time to tell your parents that while you’re away at school you’re pretty much the master and mistress of your own decisions; they simply don’t like that.  Particularly control freaks like his.  And, Kerry:  you’re not about to be excused.  ‘Cause your mother has been hanging on your every word . . .

 

His mother pierced him with a stare. “What did you mean by ‘we’?” She leaned towards him. “You said we before, when you were talking about that girl—”

“Annie.” He barely croaked out her name.

Annie.” Louise didn’t raise her voice, but her tone betrayed her anger. “Did you have this talk with your school doctor with her there?”

Kerry knew he’d screwed up when he said “we”; he’d known it the second the word left his mouth, and he’d hope his mother would think that by “we”, he meant Nurse Coraline and him. He didn’t want to say why they were there: he wanted this to end. He needed this to end. “Mom—”

 

He didn’t so much screw up as his mother wants to know the meaning of every word and what he meant when he used them, and she’ll keep hammering away at him until he gives up the info she wants.  And it isn’t going to help that his father interjects with something from out of left field . . .

 

His father joined the conversation once more. “Kerry, did you do something with this girl? Something that made your doctor believe you both needed this talk?”

“No, Dad.” Kerry’s mind started racing as he thought about the best ways to spin the story so he didn’t say anything. “There wasn’t any—”

“Did you do something to Annie?” Louise’s voice started to grow louder as she started imagining her son being caught in the worst possible situation.

“No, I didn’t do anything.” He didn’t look at either his mother or father: Kerry didn’t want to meet anyone’s gaze. “I didn’t do anything; nothing happened.”

“Then why would you have this discussion together? Why?

 

Way to go, Dad:  throw it out there that maybe your son was caught doing something with Annie that he shouldn’t have done.  Just keep ramping up the pressure until something comes out, and you know it will, ’cause this isn’t going to end well for Kerry . . .

 

Because we had a vision . . . “Nothing happened—”

“Then why would you—”

Because I had a wet dream about Annie.” Kerry screamed out the words in this mother’s direction. He calmed himself enough to continue without yelling. “I had a wet dream, and I got freaked out by it—” I saw us together on our wedding night, and didn’t know what it meant at the time— “—and I went to the hospital and they called Coraline, the doctor, and she talked with me about what happened and asked if I wanted to have the talk—” He took a couple of deep, ragged breaths as he began returning to something close to normal. “—and before we did she found out from another counselor that something similar had happened with Annie—” She had the same vision months before, but couldn’t tell me about it because of an enchantment

Kerry closed his eyes as he lowered his head, fighting to control his breathing and his emotions. “We’re sorta like a couple at school: everyone knows that, everyone’s seen that. That’s why we had the talk together: because Coraline thought it was best we heard about this as a couple.” He swallowed once, then opened his eyes. “There, that’s what happened—” He turned to his mother. “Can I go now?”

Louise sat silently for several seconds before she hissed out her reply. “You’re excused.”

 

Yes, Newt, you can leave.  You can even take your shame with you.

 

Kerry bolted from his chair and trotted towards the stairs, running up to the first floor. He paused for a second at the top of the landing, seeing his red face in the large mirror his mother mounted there to “help the feng shui of the home.” He turned left and nearly ran into his bedroom, shutting and locking the door behind him.

It was only after he’d sat on the edge of his bed that the tears started. He’s said things that he swore he’d never tell anyone but those who already knew about the vision, but his parents badgering lead to him making mistakes, and those mistakes led to his revelations. I didn’t really say what happened, just the aftermath. He leaned over, his head nearly between his knees, as he sobbed as quietly as possible.

I’m allowed to be who I am at school. He sniffed, then decided it was better to let everything flow outward. I’m a witch and a sorceress, and I’m far more advanced than the other kids in our level. I’ve flown two miles into the air: I’ve raced another person at three hundred kilometers and hour. He sat up and wiped his cheeks dry. I’ve helped defend the school; I’ve fought monsters; I’ve saved people. I’ve been on a secret operation, and I’ve faced bad guys who wanted to kill me and others.

And all my parents do is embarrass me.

He lay back on his bed and waved his curtains closed, letting the room fall into shadow. Kerry levitated his glasses to his desk ,rolled over, and buried his wet face into his pillow.

He couldn’t wait to leave the summer behind and return to school.

 

I mentioned earlier that I had to hurt Kerry, and while nothing close to this ever happened to me, I’ve had conversations with my own parents, at Kerry’s current age, that felt more like badgering than just wanting to gather some information.  I never had “The Talk” with either of my parents:  my father didn’t want to give it (I found this out later in life), and my mother was so cold when she asked me if I “wanted to know about sex” that I just said no, and left it at that.  I was also about fifteen at the time, and had read enough of her books over the last five years to get an clear understanding of how reproduction worked.

I think my reaction would have been worse than Kerry’s.

Last night saw eighteen hundred words written, and this last scene was the largest of the new novel.  And . . . there’s something coming–

If you look closely, you'll probably fear what is meant by the titles of the next two scenes.

If you look closely, you’ll probably fear what is meant by the titles of the next two scenes.

Is it a good something?

Define good for me.

At Home With the Malibeys, Button Pushing

Before we get to the fun with our favorite Cardiff Kid, a side track into my life, and how crazy I can get at times.

Last night, after work, I went out for a nice, thirty minute drive, to see a wonderful lady who proceeded to shoot electricity into my face.  Yes, I started on electrolysis last night, and it was an experience, having your facial hairs shocked out of your body one at a time.  Actually, more like shocked until they are dead, and then plucked away.

I was in the chair for two hours, and there was pain.  I spent most of the time tense and clutching an armrest in one hand and a grounding bar in the other.  (Yeah, you gotta let that juice flow through you, baby.)  And when the two hours were over, most of the left side of my face and parts of my chin were swollen and numb, and stayed that way for a while–like, for the rest of the night–and I looked like I was attacked by bees.

I mean, it wasn't that bad . . .

I mean, it wasn’t that bad . . .

I’m going back for my next session next Monday after letting everything grow out for two days, which will make getting all the gray hairs easier.

So then the right side of my face will look like this.

So then the right side of my face will look like this.

There’s a lot of redness and just a bit of puffiness this morning, but as Cosima Niehaus once told one of her clone sisters, “Thank god for concealer.”  And it will be getting a workout today.

The personal horror show is over, let’s get back to the one starting up in my story.

Kerry is starting to get a bit of shit from him folks–and, yes, I did write after all the stuff I’ve shown you above.  Almost a thousand words of stuff, actually.  Kerry’s parents–well, his mother mostly, it seems–find it a little hard to believe their baby we-still-don’t-know-he’s-a-witch boy would have friends who are girls instead of hanging with the boys.  And that gets addressed.

 

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

Kerry slowly turned towards his mother, unsure if he’d heard her question. “What?”

“Do you have any friends at school who are boys?”

“Well, there’s a guy in the advanced class I’m taking who we hang with a little after class, and a couple of others we know in other classes, but—” He looked down at his fish and chips while clearing this throat. “Not really.”

His mother’s fingers lightly tapped against the table top. “Not really what?”

“I mean, I don’t really hang out with them.” He shrugged. “Not like, you know, close friends.”

His father decided to join the conversation. “So almost all your friends are girls?”

Kerry half-turned his head in his father’s direction. “Yeah, I guess.” He shrugged. “Is there anything wrong with that?”

Louise wrapped her hand around her glass of mineral water. “It might not be a bad idea if you had some male friends—” She looked across the table at her husband. “And not just this Girl Who Writes.”

Kerry heard the capital letters on each of the last three works, and he did his best to push any nasty comebacks aside. “I don’t know why it’s a big deal I don’t have any close friends who are guys—”

 

There’s that slam again, and this time, as I point out, Kerry’s hearing Mom capitalizing those words.  Again, wait for what happens there, and you’ll find out Mom is using some of Kerry’s geekness against him.

 

His mother shook her head. “You did when you were at school here.”

“No, I didn’t, Mom.” He scoffed loudly. “I didn’t have any friends here; everyone thought I was a strange American kid with a funny accent—remember? The only reason you think I had friends is ‘cause I told you the moment people found out you worked for the BBC, they wanted to know if I could get them tee shirts and stuff.” He pushed his half-eaten wrapper of food away. “Jeez.”

 

Kerry’s usually pretty calm and cool–when he’s not crying, yeah–but now he’s getting a bit flustered.  And kids from California have a funny accent?  Dude . . .

 

“I agree with your mother—” Davyn seemed to lean a little further forward, if that were possible. “Having some boys your age as friends—”

“Is boring.” Kerry couldn’t understand what the big deal was about his choice of friends. They were never like this when I was going to school here. “Besides, Salem is mostly girls anyway—it used to be an all-girls school, you know.” He turned from his father to his mother, and back. “Since it’s mostly girls, it makes sense that I’d make friends with them, right?”

“All the more reason I’d think you’d want to hang out with some boys.” He father sat back, chuckling. “There’s safety in numbers, isn’t there?”

 

Yeah, watch out, Kerry!  Those girls have cooties, and if you’re not careful, before you know it they’ll wanna do stuff like hold hands and kiss and sleep with you, and tell you all about how they’re going to marry you and . . .

Oops.  Too late.

Kerry starts asking his own questions, and . . .

 

“Only if you think the girls are out to get you.” Kerry decided to try and push the conversation back on his parent. “Didn’t you have any girls as friends, Dad?”

Davyn’s response was immediate. “No.”

Kerry needed a few seconds to comprehend his father’s answer. “You’re kidding.”

“He’s not.” Louise smiled at her husband. “Your father was quite popular with the women before we met.”

His father smiled back.  “The women I knew loved the accent.”

Kerry stared straight ahead through half-closed eyes. “I don’t want to know.” He turned back to his mother. “What about you, Mom? Didn’t you have any guys who you were just friends with?”

Unlike with his father, his mother didn’t answer for almost ten seconds. “Well, yes, there were a couple—”

Kerry raised his right hand as if he were celebrating a victory. “There you go—”

“They were gay.”

“Oh.” Kerry pursed his lips and blew out a raspberry. “I see.”

 

As I was told yesterday, the implications that his parents could be forming are (1) Kerry is a playa, or (2) Kerry is gay.  How do his parents get those ideas?  Well . . . they pretty much were that before they found each other and got married.  Makes you wonder if Louise figured she was getting the Bay Catch of the Day when she landed Davyn, because he’s got that Richard Burton accent thing going.  As Kerry says, I don’t want to know.

But, you know, moms being moms, she wants to know all about these . . . girls.  And now the uncomfort level is about to get cranked, and if you pay close attention, Kerry sort of gives away a little of the game in the process before–

 

His mother wanted to know more about Kerry’s choice of friends. “So, how do you know these girls?”

He looked up and nearly rolled his eyes. “Mom.”

“Mom, what? Don’t I have a right to know about your friends?”

Kerry wanted to tell her it was none of her business, but figured he would tell his parent as much of the truth as they wanted to know, then head for his room. “Nadine’s in the advanced class we’re in—”

“We’re?”

“Annie and I: we’re in an advanced class together, and Nadine’s there.”

“I see. Go on.”

He cleared his throat. “Nadine is also my keyboard tutor—”

“Wait?” Davyn cocked his head to one say. “A keyboard tutor?”

“Yeah. First day of school I found the school’s collection of keyboards, and the head of the Arts and Music Department, Professor Ellison, and I started talking. He found out I like a lot of old music, and asked me if I wanted to learn how to play better.” He nodded slowly, turning back to his mother. “He got Nadine to tutor me on different technologies and things like that, on top of learning to be a better player.”

For the first time during the conversation Louise seemed impressed. “I didn’t know that.”

Kerry shrugged. “All you had to do was ask about some of the stuff I do there.”

His mother didn’t care for the implication that she was uninterested in her son. “And Emma?”

“We’re in almost all the same classes, and she likes racing.” There’s a few other things that you don’t need to know about her, though . . . “Also, there aren’t a lot of Americans in our level, and she still sort of thinks of me as one.”

Davyn almost laughed. “Must be strange being an ex-pat in your own country.”

Kerry chuckled. “There’s so many kids from everywhere that you start thinking at times like we’re in our own little country.”

His mother snorted. “I can imagine—” She wasn’t interested in all the students at Kerry’s school—just one more in particular. “Now about The Girl Who Writes—”

Kerry had finally reached the point where he wasn’t about to take any more of his mother’s passive-aggressive attacks. “She’s not a Doctor Who episode, Mom. She has a name: it’s Annie. Okay?” It was only after he uttered the last word that he realized he had started breathing hard due to his anger.

 

–He starts to lose it on his mother.  You’re picking on the woman he loves, Louise–not that she knows that, or, as you will discover, she’d give much of a shit about.

Louise is referencing the Doctor Who episode The Girl Who Waited, which dealt with Amy being split into two parts, with one of them living alone through just over thirty years.  Given what his parents do at the BeeBee, it’s possible his father probably managed some of the sound effects processes for the episode, and his mother may have help on the visual effects.  Needless to say, the episode doesn’t end on a completely happy note, and Louise is likely jerking her son around a little, playing on his love of the show while at the same time kinda pointing out, without really knowing, that they both are waiting for this summer to end.  This was what Kerry meant when he said to Annie in London, “Better than The Girl Who Waits,” though Annie replied she does wait, and that eventually led to a tear running down her cheek . . .

Yeah:  Mother of the Year here.  I wonder what she’d say if she knew her son could blast her across the room?

Hey, how about a look at my novel so we end on a happy note?

Hey, how about a look at my novel so we end on a happy note?

The Sadness, the Songs, and Everything

The first chapter of the new novel, Chapter One, is a done deal.  Almost seventy-eight hundred words in five days–

I have proof right here.

I have proof right here.

Which isn’t a bad start to things.  It’s not a NaNo Start, but close enough.  I only do NaNo Starts during NaNoWriMo, though getting through ten thousand worlds in the first few days isn’t that big of a deal for me–I’ve done it a couple of times before.  Not this time.

So . . . Annie’s crying.  Well, one tear’s worth of crying, but still, it’s a start.  She doesn’t do more, but in the course of events we learn that, yeah, this isn’t the first time.  What was?

 

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

“Do you know what was the hardest part of the day we returned from Salem? Going to dinner with my parents.” Annie’s eyes didn’t leave Kerry’s, and they seemed to reflect her emotions. “I sat there and was pleasant and answered questions and tried to keep a smile on my face through most of the evening, but the entire time we were together all that mattered was seeing your face as I left you in Amsterdam. I felt the pain of out separation with every step I took.”

“So did I.” Kerry pulled Annie in and held her close. “Ms. Rutherford had to clean me up before she could take me home.”

Annie brushed his cheek with her fingertips. “I’m so sorry that happened.”

“It’s not your fault, Sweetie.”

“No, but I don’t like to see you in pain.” She rested her head against him for a moment. “When we returned home that night, my mother wanted me to sleep in my room in the main hour, and I tried, but after an hour I gave up and went out to the lake house and started a fire—”

“Did you use cherry wood?” The scent of cherry wood burning in the lake house fire place as he experienced it in the vision of their wedding night remained strong within his memory.

“Yes, I did—” Her mood began to lighten a little. “I sat on the sofa and stared into the fire and thought of you at home looking up at the moon and imagining me looking back at you. I got up and went to the deck and sat and did the same; it wasn’t until I started to write that first letter to you that I realized my cheeks were wet.” Annie kissed him slowly, at first brushing his lips with hers before showing her full affection. “You’re the only one who’s ever done that to me. My parents haven’t made me cry since I was about five, but you—” She touched his chin, then ran her fingers across his chest. “I’m away from you for a few hours, and I’m crying.”

She signed and leaned into him. “Don’t tell anyone, particularly Helena. I don’t want them to know.”

“Your secret’s safe with me—” He touched his head to hers. “Forever.”

“I know.” She wrapped her arm around Kerry’s back. “I love you.”

He reached for her hand, found it, and gave it a squeeze. “I love you.” He kissed her cheek. “You know how much I’ve wanted to say that to you since we left America?”

Though she suspected the answer, she couldn’t ask because they suddenly found they were no longer alone. “There you are.”

 

Helena and Erywin:  Romance Buzzkills Since 2011.  That’s one of the problems with people being able to teleport in and out:  they just show up and there they are.  Just as long as the don’t know it at the lake house during “The Moment”, if you know what I mean.

We hear about cherry wood again, and that aroma seems to haunt Kerry a little, probably because he wants to smell it first hand.  And now we know that seeing how you’ll be away from your soul mate for months will bring a tear to the eyes of a girl who hasn’t given her parents the satisfaction of seeing her cry in seven years.  That Annie, she’s a tough one.

Still, there are still things ahead, and stuff to do . . .

 

Annie’s arm remained around Kerry as she turned to face the owner of that voice. “Hello, Helena.” She nodded to the women standing next to her. “Hello, Erywin.”

“Hello, Annie.” Erywin hung her right hand on her purse strap. “You been taking care of Kerry?”

She turned to him and smiled. “I’ve given him more attention in the last four hours than I’m certain he’s had in the last four weeks.”

Helena nodded. “I’m sure he’s not gone without” She pulled out her phone and checked the display. “I told your mother I’d have you back for dinner, and it’s almost eighteen.” She dropped the mobile in a jacket pocket. “We need to leave.”

“I know.” Annie began to step away from Kerry, then turned and hugged him passionately. “I wish I didn’t have to go.”

“I wish I could stay with you the rest of the summer.” Kerry didn’t want to release her: he wanted to go home with her, see her parents, visit her lake house, sit before the fire and gaze up at the loft where their vision said they would one day consummate their love . . . “It isn’t fair.”

“No, it isn’t.” She gazed into his eyes. “But I must.” Annie touched his lips. “Promise me you won’t cry.”

He nodded slowly. “I’ll have a smile on my face when you leave.”

“You better.” She walked slowly towards Helena, turning around two-thirds of the way there to address her soul mate as she walked backwards. “Seven weeks, yes?”

“Seven weeks.” He pulled one strap of his backpack—which he’d been carrying since leaving the bench—over his right shoulder. “Pogrizhete se, prekrasnata mi srodna dusha.”

Annie laughed as she took her place at Helena’s right side. “You’ve been working on your Bulgarian.”

Kerry shrugged. “What else am I gonna do this summer?” He forced a smile. “See? Smiling. Just like I promised.”

“Just as you promised.” She reached for Helena’s hand, but stopped short. She kissed the right index and middle finger of her right hand, then held them out in Kerry’s direction. “Obicham te, Kerry.”

He did the same with his left hand and fingers. “I love you, Annie.”

She smiled and managed a small wave before they jaunted out.

 

Those kids, laying the lips on each other right in front of the adults.  Should be mentioned that they’re adults who’ve gotten them rooms at hotels/inns, but still . . . the kissing parts.  You have to read them.  And there has been a lot of kissing on this lunch date.

And kissing leads to–singing?  Yep, because I said I was going to work a certain song into this scene, and damned if I didn’t.  Behold!

 

A second after Annie departed Kerry’s smile vanished. He closed his eyes and started sobbing, fighting to stay on his feet. He felt as if he were back in Amsterdam, watching Annie follow her mother out of the airport. The afternoon was perfect—even the weather was unable to dampen their enthusiasm and love.

He felt a light touch on his shoulder, and Erywin was next to him, singing.

I turned around she was gone
All I had left was one little flower in my hand

But I knew
She had made me happy

Flowers in her hair
Flowers everywhere

Even with tears streaming down his cheeks, he couldn’t prevent himself from smiling. He’d heard her once before, when she was under a spell that compelled her to sing, and while others in Sorcery class had laughed and joked, Kerry could only imagine her on stage during the Ostara Performance, back when she was a student, singing to the school the way she was singing to him—

I love the flower girl
Was she reality or just a dream to me?

I love the flower girl
Her love showed me the way to find a sunny day

 

And in case you were wondering:

Always have your notes for different languages and song lyrics at hand and ready.

Always have your notes for different languages and song lyrics at hand and ready.

That’s always how I do things, by keeping my notes close at hand for just the scene.  One day I’ll need to move all my Bulgarian comments to a separate text file so I’ll have them for reference.  Not to mention a few songs I’ve used here and there, though in the last novel I only did one song, and Kerry referred to it in the scene above.  I’ve had my kids go to the Russell Square Pert a Manger in both novels, and Erywin has sung in both novels?  What else can I set up as happening every year?

But it helps to have things around, and that’s one of the reasons I like that little strip over on the right of Scrivener:  it gives me places to keep things.  Such as that word count.  I wrote in two different locations and I kept track of what my count was at each station.  I also finished up this last section during the first thirty minutes of The Americans, mostly during ads and when no one was speaking Russian, because when that happens you gotta check the subtitles.

How’d you like that song, Red?

 

Kerry sniffed a couple of times between the chuckles. “What’s that? I’ve never heard that song.”

“It’s something my mother used to sing.” Erywin slipped her hands into her jacket and hugged here purse close to her body. “It was one of her favorite songs. Whenever she was feeling down she’d sing, and that was part of her repertoire.”

“Nice.” He wiped his face clean with his hand. “You have a lovely singing voice, by the way.”

“Thank you.”

“Did you ever do Ostara?”

There was a slight pause before she answered. “Yes.”

 

Why the pause, Erywin?  I’m sure there’s a story there–well, I know there is, because I’m also Erywin.  And a song Kerry didn’t know?  Yep.  Because his mom was an egg when that one was popular, and more than likely didn’t listen to it as a kid.

Now that he’s crying, Kerry wants to know–

 

He decided not to pursue any more questions there: he sensed it was something Erywin didn’t want to discuss. “Does it ever get better?”

Erywin shifted her weight from one leg to the other. “What?”

“The pain.”

She shook her head. “No. You get better at managing it, but the actual pain never gets better.” Erywin looked off into the distance, concentrating on something. “If it’s any consolation, the pain doesn’t get worse. Usually.”

“Yeah.” He slipped the other strap of his backpack over his shoulder and adjusted it into place. “I’ll learn.”

“You will.” Erywin moved so she was standing in front of Kerry. “Do you like ice cream?”

He laughed. “I’m twelve; of course I like ice cream.”

“There’s a little shop in Brighton that has the most incredible confections.” She cocked her head to one side. “Care to give one a try?”

“And ruin my appetite for the wonderful take away we’ll probably have tonight?” Kerry wondered what sort of meal Annie was going to sit down to later in the evening . . .

“In that case, we can share a parfait.” Erywin gave Kerry’s arm a squeeze. “How’s that sound?”

“Sounds good.”

“I’m glad.” She punched the location into her phone app before holding out her hand. “Let’s go.”

He stared at her hand. “Don’t we have to wait for Helena?”

“No. We discussed this before coming here, and she’ll meet us there.”

“Oh.”

“We considered taking you both, but then thought—” She lowered her hand. “You would probably rather have the time alone.”

“Thanks.” He sighed loudly as he looked around the still-empty park. “This was the best four-and-a-half hours of the summer.”

She reached for him once more. “Don’t worry: we’ll take you both next time.”

Kerry took the outstretched hand. “Will there be a next time?”

Erywin winked. “You know it.”

 

Ice Cream!  Everyone likes ice cream, especially twelve-year-old boys.  I love that line, actually:  was quite proud to think it up, and it seems the sort of smart ass thing Kerry would say to someone with whom he’s comfortable as a friend.

Where they matching making?  Don’t need to do that with kids who’ve seen their wedding night.  More like a couple of friends knew it was the mid-point of the summer, and it might be a good idea to let these two have some time together.  But there is the promise of another outing, and while I might not happen this novel, it’s something that will happen with some regularity.

One chapter down, many to go.

It’s a good start.

Love’s Long Laments

I make no secret that I tend to write about relationships.  I can’t tell you how many times I received a response from a blog fan concerning The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced, that stated, “I thought this would be about magic, but it’s really about love,” and I just smiled because that’s so true.  Anyone can write about casting magic:  it’s happened a lot since a certain boy wizard appeared on the literary scene.  But what about relationships?  What about love?  And what about putting them in usual locations and circumstances that could affect the outcome of that relationship?

I do that.  A lot.

I thought about this last night when I was editing Kolor Ijo.  My main characters, Indri and Buaua, come from different cultures and religions, they come from different backgrounds, and when it comes to the paranormal, they come from far different experiences.  Long ago I laid out a series of stories around these two, because if there’s something that’s not lacking in Indonesia–where the stories take place–it’s the supernatural, and the supernatural there would pretty much kick the asses of the Winchester Brothers without so much as working up a sweat.

Sure, she looks harmless, but you'll think differently when she's ripping your heart from your body.

Sure, she looks harmless, but you’ll think differently when she’s ripping your heart from your body.

But though all their trials and tribulations, Indri and Buaua will never be anything but great friends and colleagues.  And it’s not their religion that keeps them apart:  it’s that they recognize they each have their own lives, and there isn’t any interest in getting the waters muddy with a lot of face hugging of the good kind.  I like that, because it means I can concentrate on the investigation of the horror and not get bogged down with a lot of stupid, “By doing this, I’m putting him/her in danger!” tropes that should die out faster than certain ghosts and goblins.

But when it comes to some of my other characters, however . . .

There’s Couples Dance, where the married couple in the story learn about the twisted romance of the people who owned their house, and there’s Suggestive Amusements, where a writer and his muse become something of a couple when he realizes mythical beings need love, too, even though they know they shouldn’t become involved in the romantic affairs of mortals.  In the end things go wrong for both couples, but that’s the breaks, right?

And then there’s Echoes.

Behold the Old!

Behold the Old!

Echoes was written at the very end of 2011 and through the month of January, 2012, and last edited December, 2012, right after I finished writing Kolor Ijo.  As my stories go it’s one of my shortest:  just under twenty-one thousand words.  It’s also one of my more personal stories, because it was written at a time when I was starting a new job I hated, I found myself moving to a new location, and I was dealing with separation anxiety of the worst kind.  In short, I was more of a mess that ever before.

It deals with characters from my novel Transporting, and it’s a strange world.  For one, it’s twelve hundred years in our future.  For another, it takes place in a parallel universe that’s like ours, but it’s not.  This was where I started working on the idea of The Multiverse, which is something you’ll hear a lot of in The Foundation Chronicles, because my witches know there are a billion different universes out there, and while be can’t visit them, that doesn’t mean things can’t slip through to here.

Albert Dahl is also something of a transgender character, because though various handwavium and not a little technobabble, he becomes Audrey Dahl, who is just as nutty and crazy as him, but also the beloved of her lesbian partner in crime and duty to the Crown, Cytheria Warington, a planetary duchess from this future with access to a time machine who originally kidnaps Albert from 1986 because she thought there was something different about him.

Already you can see this is an unusual relationship.

Echoes is about Albert and a love that could have been.  He dreams now and then of a woman he knew when he worked in Chicago, Marissa, which whom he had a brief affair that left an enormous, lasting impact upon him.  The relationship was so intense that, in the course of the story, the reader realizes that while he loves Cytheria, he still loves this Marissa, who, however you cut it, has been dead a long time.

Which leads to the main gist of this story:  did Albert and Marissa ever get together in the universe in which the current future Albert now lives?  See, not only did he come from the past, but from the past of another of these multiple universes, and that means that an identical Marissa and Albert could have lived at the same time in his current universe, and they could have been . . . happy.

Really?  You believe that?  You don’t know me well, do you?

In a nutshell, after an order from the Crown–in this world everything is ruled by various aristocracies, and they all pledge fealty to the Queen–the reader learns the truth:  he did exist in this work, and he did not only get together with Marissa, but they married, had kids, and were happy–

For a short time, for it did all go to hell at some point.  Such was Albert’s luck, that another version of him couldn’t even find true happiness.

I just reread the last chapter of that story, and it still affects me.  I cried when I wrote it; I cried when I edited it, and I’ve cried a little reading over it now.  Like I said it’s a personal story, and reading it brings back those times in all their horrid glory.  In the last chapter of Echoes, Albert and Marissa meet in a dream, though Marissa knows it’s a dream and that she’s deal, and she puts forth the question that perhaps she’s really the remnant of what Albert’s Marissa had been, that somehow jumps from on universe to another, found the Marissa living in the universe where her Albert–her love, as she calls him–and took up residence there and found a way to pass from one of their generations to another until she found her Albert living in the future.  It’s a hell of a twist, you have to admit.

But that story reminds me of another couple . . .

Albert Dahl is sort of an older, far more screwed up version of a certain Ginger Hair Boy (you gotta trust me on that one, but yeah, he is), and Marissa is a less stuffy and controlled version of a well-known Chestnut Girl.  Marissa even calls Albert “love”, which is a whole lot like “my love” when you think about it.  And the last line from Dream Marissa is, “Sweat dreams, my beautiful Albert.  Sweet dreams . . . of us.”  Hummm.  Now who have I heard say that before?  Oh, yeah:  this girl.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie saw Kerry’s eyes flutter, and in that moment she wasn’t an almost seven year old girl sitting in the crook of the arm of a six year old boy with whom she was sharing a dream—she was back in Bay #1, cuddled up next to her soul mate. “Kerry?”

“I’m tired, Annie.” He turned his head enough that he could see her lying snuggled next to him. “I feel so tired.”

“Then you need to sleep.” She laid her hand part-way across his chest and circled it over his heart. “I won’t go anyway. You’ll be safe.”

“Okay.” He rubbed his check against the top of her head. “Good night, Annie—”

She was about to tell him the same when Kerry finished his thought:

“I love you.”

Annie gasped in a near-silent voice. “Good night, Kerry. I love you.”

“No.” He chuckled as he fought to keep his eyes open. “You’d say it in Bulgarian.”

She chuckled as well. He would know that. “Yes, I would . . .” She leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Leka nosht, Kerry. I az te obicham.”

“Um, hum.” His eyes closed and his breathing slowed as she sunk back into sleep.

Annie made herself comfortable against Kerry’s torso. She only now realized that his right arm was draped over her torso, making sure she was secure against him. “That’s it, my love.” She stopped rubbing his chest and left her hand there. “Sleep and dream. And remember it so you can tell me in the morning.”

Sleep began to take her as she wished her soul mate into dreamland. “Dream of your tree in California.” Her eyelids fluttered. “Dream of reading to your Chestnut Girl.”

Her eyes closed as she sunk into the same sleep that was claiming Kerry. There was only one thought left that needed saying before she joined him in unconscious bliss . . .

“Dream of us.”

 

Yes, I went there with that, and I make no apologies for that last line, because I was going to use it no matter what.  Does that mean Annie and Kerry are Marissa and Albert.  No–but maybe a little yes as well.

A writer does remember all the things that made them what they are–to somewhat paraphrase Harlan Ellison, they are all of the lies that are your life.  A little of Kerry came from Albert, though Albert is far more messed up where love is concerned, and while Kerry is now confident in his love for Annie, Albert never finds that contentment because the one true love of his life whom he can never forget was taken away.  And since you know I time lined out the lives of those characters, a reader would eventually discover that Cytheria also lost the one great love of her life, and as much as she may love Audrey, she is forever reminded of what she could have had, but couldn’t because, as the movie Roman Holiday reminded me last night, the aristocracy has its duties they must uphold.  And because of that, Cytheria spends her life silently suffering.

Cytheria and Albert/Audrey are broken people, they really are.  They do love each other in their own way, but it’s never going to be the love they could have had, so they instead settle for the love they have.  That will never be Annie and Kerry.  While life may never be completely fair to my witchy couple–and if you think it will, again, you don’t know the stories I spin–they will love each other, and that love will grow more intense over the years.  Annie and Kerry heal each other–in another story, one might say they complete each other, and in a way that is true, because they are far better together than apart.  And in the opening chapters of the next novel, you’ll even see Annie do something that she never did in the first novel.  Why?  Because of Kerry.

And, no:  it’s not kill Emma.

Not yet.

They’re not a perfect couple, but they do represent something I long for, and it’s one of the reasons I sometimes found myself having a difficult time telling the tale of my kids, because what they have is something I’ve always wanted.  One of the reasons I developed Albert is because he did represent my outlook on love at the time:  you can’t always get what you want, and that means you settle for what you can get–and in doing that, you’ll never truly be happy.  You may believe you are, but in time you see it for the lie it represents.

Annie and Kerry are my current outlook on life and love:  sometimes you do find your soul mate, your moyata polovinka, and when you do you work your ass off to try and make it happen.  It may not happen, because life sucks like that, but don’t give up hope, because as I said yesterday, hope is sometimes all we have.

And why would you want to give up on that?