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 . . .

Yule Time Tea Time

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No.”

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

“As always happens with witches from Normal backgrounds.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Two scenes down, two to go:

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

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

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

Willkommen in Wien: Das Setup

Well, now, it’s Yule Time in my world at this moment, and it’s time for the kids to get away and head for home.  And as you’ve probably noticed, the bad German in the post heading means they’re going someplace where German is spoken.  If you’re thinking, “Berlin,” wrong, because you only need look at my layouts to know where I’m going, and know that Wien means something else in English:

This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna

“This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna.”

If you remember from last year–yeah, about that time–when Annie left for home sweet home at Yule, she jaunted into Vienna.  And by now we know why we’re going to the airport, because The Foundation loves using airports for something besides flying . . .

 

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

Bernice Rutherford entered the waiting area of the Main Foundation Jaunt Transit Center located twenty meters under Terminal 3 of Vienna International Airport, having jaunted from London to the public center under Terminal 2 only ten minutes earlier. She scanned the room—about twenty by fifteen meters, with the main jaunt platform in another room just beyond a glass wall—and quickly counted just under a two dozen people. She knew they were there for the same reason she was there: children were returning from Salem for Yule holiday, and people were on-hand to take them home.

A number of the individuals gathered in the waiting area were like Bernice: case workers there picking up, for the most part, A and B Level students, though a few C and D Level students were still in need of transfer from here to their homes. In some cases one or both parents arrived with their child’s case worker, but most were waiting alone like her, and would leave as soon as their charge was ready to depart.

There actually wasn’t a need for Bernice to be in Vienna. Her charge lived in the United Kingdom which meant she should pick him up from the transit center under Heathrow, but an email she’d received on Wednesday informed her that her charge was entering Europe through another station, and she’d formulated a good idea why there was a change of venue.

She spotted a somewhat familiar face in the crowd, and as she head toward them to make her introductions, she wondered if they knew of this change in plans . . . “Hello, Mrs. Kirilova.”

Pavlina Kirilova turned towards the young black woman and spent only a moment searching her memory. “Bernice Rutherford, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” She held out her hand. “We met in Amsterdam when your daughter returned from her A Levels.”

 

Here we are, and I’m starting out the scene with the point of view not from the kids, but someone close to one of the kids.  It only makes sense that if Ms. Rutherford is in Vienna she’s probably going to run into someone who close to the other one of the kids, and she wasn’t disappointed.  And that other person remembers who Ms. Rutherford is close to as well–

 

Pavlina smiled as she shook the case worker’s hand. “My daughter and someone else, I believe.”

Bernice tightened her grip on the purse handles around her shoulder. “Yes—someone else.”

“Is that the reason you’re here?”

“Yes. Kerry emailed me Wednesday morning and told me he was returning through Vienna.” Bernice watched the face of Annie’s mother. “Were you aware he was coming?”

“Yes.” Pavlina glanced over Bernice’s shoulder, then shifted her gaze back. “The last letter from Annie informed me that Kerry was going to accompany her to Vienna, and from there he was going to either London or Cardiff.” She gave a quick shrug. “I received her last letter yesterday morning, though, so I didn’t have a chance to ask more about the change.”

“Oh, I see.” Based upon everything Bernice knew about Annie, it almost appeared as if the young woman was trying to head off a conversation by waiting until the last moment to inform her mother than she wasn’t traveling alone. “You could have contacted the school yesterday and asked for clarification.”

A few seconds went be before Pavlina chuckled. “Doing that would have made me look like one of those parents who micromanage their child’s life—and one thing I learned years ago is that Annie does as she likes. Contacting the school to speak with Annie—” She smiled while slowly shaking her head. “Besides, I trust Annie’s judgment: it’s not as if she’s doing something one might consider bad—”

“What are you two discussing?”

 

Yes, Annie’s mom knows all about Annie’s, um, friends.  Her close friends.  Her soul mates, you might say.  And here we learn that Annie waited until the very last minute to tell her mother that, hey, guess who’s jaunting into Vienna with me?  Not saying that Annie is being a little sneaky, but (1) she could have mentioned this at any time weeks before, and (2) she totally is.

But there’s really no harm here, because Annie’s mom has met Kerry, and Kerry her, and since they’re both headed for Europe why not leave together?  Kerry would have to kill time before leaving for London anything–because of the time difference he wouldn’t leave the school for another ninety minutes–and maybe they both thought it best to remove Kerry from a place where (1) Annie wasn’t around and (2) a certain red haired girl might throw caution to the wind and try something really stupid, which would lead to (3) Annie killing said girl, or at least messing her up bad.

But wait:  who is talking here at the end?  Because it’s obvious they’ve interrupted Pavlina–

 

Bernice turned and found a man about six centimeters taller than Pavlina standing to her right with short-clipped dark hair and brown eyes. He was dressed simply in jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweater. He wasn’t wearing a coat, but that was to be expected if he’d just jaunted from a home.

He handed a small cup of steaming liquid that Pavlina accepted without question. She took a small sip and nodded her approval. “Thank you, dear—oh, nothing much.” She turned to Bernice as she motioned towards the man who’d just joined them. “Bernice, I’d like you to meet my husband. Honey, this Ms. Rutherford.”

 

Remember me saying you’re going to meet someone you’ve never really met before?  Who has only actually appeared in the novel once, way back in the very first scene I wrote, which was Annie leaving for school.  He’s actually never appeared in the excerpts, but now, finally, you get to meet him.

Welcome, Annie’s father!

 

The man held out his hand. “Victor Kirilov. Pleased to meet you.”

She shook his hand. “Bernice Rutherford. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She sighed out a breath. “And, if I may, congratulations on this last season.”

He appeared pleased. “We fought hard to reach third, so it was a welcomed podium.” He turned to his wife. “Did I hear you talking about Annie?”

Pavlina nodded. “Yes. Bernice is a case worker, and she’s here to pick up her charge.” She peered over the rim of her steaming beverage with large, dark eyes. “She knows Annie through her charge.”

“I see.” Victor turned to Bernice. “Are they someone in Annie’s level?”

Bernice fought hard to keep the grin off her face. “Yes, they are.” She shot a look at Pavlina, not certain who should be the one to do the reveal.

Annie’s mother saved her with a quick nod and a gleam in here eyes. “Honey, she’s here for Kerry.”

Victor required a few seconds before turning to his wife. “That Kerry?”

 

That Kerry?”  Sort of like, “That slime mold?”

 

“Yes, the one and the same.”

“Didn’t you say he lives in Wales?”

“He does, but apparently he’s coming home with our dearest daughter.”

“Hum.” He cast as quick glance in the direction of the jaunt platform. “I see.”

Pavlina smiled at the now grinning case worker. “I believe you will.”

 

Yes, I believe you will, Victor:  you will finally meet your dearest daughter’s one and only.  And he’ll get to meet you.

Yeah . . . this should be fun.

Late Eves and Early Returns

One nice think about NaNoWriMo is that it does get you to pecking out those words, and the more you peck out, the faster your novel finishes.  For example, yesterday was more pecking by scenes, with a couple of short interludes to eat and go out shopping for a little while.  The weekend before I may have done two thousand words or so:  I’d have to check.  This last weekend, the first of NaNo, I wrote almost forty-six hundred words, completed Chapter Twenty-Seven, and finished the first scene of Chapter Twenty-Eight.

That’s right:  I’m on the last chapter of Act Two, and now there are only–well, how many scenes are left?

Not a lot, Bub.

Not a lot, Bub.

Five scenes, and at least two of those are short–three if you count the one I just finished.  There is a real possibility that I could finish Act Two by this coming weekend.  Who’d have thought, huh?

What was written was the rest of the late night Christmas Eve discussion between Annie and her mother.  It was . . . shall we say, interesting?  Because it starts out with Annie being told that she’s not serious about whatever it is she needed help from her mother.  And then talk turns to a certain boy . . .

 

 

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

“I am serous.” Annie didn’t find her mother’s reaction to her request all that humorous. “Why do you think this is funny?”

“Because you remind me of something I once heard.” Pavlina moved away from the sofa, slowly making her way towards the fireplace. “Girls who have problem with their fathers end up dating boys just like their fathers.”

“Kerry is nothing like Papa.”

“Do you know what I’ve found the most interesting?” Pavlina stopped about a meter from the fire and warmed her hands. “Watching you tell your father about school without telling him too much.” She spoke in a slight falsetto, trying to imitate her daughter. “’Papa, I’m doing well in Flight School. And Kerry does well, too. He’s learned how to handle a broom well.’ Exactly what sort of broom is he handing these days?”

“Why do you ask, Mama?” A cold feeling started gnawing away at Annie’s stomach. She isn’t expecting an answer—because her question was rhetorical.

Pavlina turned away from the fire. “Because Kerry wouldn’t fly observational patrol on a Covington. What’s he flying?”

“How do you know—?”

“What’s Kerry flying, Annie?”

There wasn’t a point trying to answer a question—she’s going to keep asking until I answer. “An Espinoza 4500.”

“That’s rather nice. When was he allowed to fly that?”

Annie’s voice dropped slightly. “The weekend after we arrived.”

“Well, now . . .” Pavlina rubbed her hand together slowly. “For someone doing well he’s moved up quickly.” She nodded towards Annie. “I know you’re not on a Covingtons; what are you flying?”

“A 3500.”

“Just like the model locked up in your father’s office. Do you go flying with Kerry?”

Annie felt her face growing flush. It wasn’t so much her mother’s questions, but rather how pointed they were. “Yes, Mama. Almost every weekend.”

 

Mama Kirilova does seem to know more than she’s ever let on–and she lets that bomb drop next:

 

“I’ll bet he didn’t even have to ask twice.” Pavlina chuckled. “I did the same thing with your father. I wasn’t that interested in flying, but the first time he asked me, I couldn’t wait to get on a broom.” She moved two steps closer to her daughter. “Why didn’t you tell your father you received a commendation from The Foundation for helping during the November attack?”

Annie was aware that her mother knew about the Day of the Dead attack—she was told that week that The Foundation had notified her parents—but was surprised that she knew about her award. “I didn’t tell anyone; it wasn’t important.”

“Is that the reason you didn’t mention Kerry’s commendation for flying patrol?” Pavlina slipped her hands into the pockets of her housecoat. “Or that The Foundation gave him the Medal of Conspicuous Bravery last week?” She turned her head slightly to one side. “Pretty good for someone who handles a broom ‘well’.”

She kept her face passive, but Annie’s tone told her mother everything about what emotions were coursing through her daughter at the moment. “How do you know that? Are you spying on Kerry?”

Pavlina wasn’t nearly as controlled as her daughter, and didn’t mind letting her voice rise. “I learned through my contacts in The Foundation; did you think after hearing about the attack on the school I wasn’t going to do my own investigating?” Her face grew dark. “And I have a right to know about the boy my daughter loves. If you won’t tell me anything about him, I’ll get my own information.”

“What else do you know about him?” Annie fought not to clench her fists.

“I know he saved three lives. I know he was almost killed by an Abomination. I know he was injured and ended up spending two nights in the hospital.” Pvalina let her anger pass and lowered her voice. “I also know from my medical contacts that both nights he was on the floor a ‘care specialist’ watched him—an ‘A. Kirilova’.” She sighed soft and long. “Quite a step up from helping with triage.”

Annie stared at the floor for almost ten seconds. There wasn’t much she could say that might not result in yelling and arguing, and that was something she didn’t want on Christmas Eve. She was concerned with one thing, however . . . “Are you going to spy on me all the time while I’m at school?” She looked up at her mother, her voice choking with emotion. “Are you going to know about everything that happens between Kerry and me?”

 

Finally we find out what it was that Emma was gushing over Kerry about concerning some “ceremony”, which was The Foundation and the school honoring those who helped in the Day of the Dead attacks.  So, yeah:  saving the lives of three people and almost getting eaten by a monster will get you a medal–

And you also get the notice of Mama, who comes right out and says she has “a right to know about the boy my daughter loves.”  No pussyfooting around there:  Pavlina has heard Annie chat off and on about Kerry–aka Ginger Hair Boy–for years, and knows it’s not just some passing phase for Annie:  she knows that just like everything her daughter does, if she’s interested in it, she gets serious.

It’s good news that these two don’t come to blows:  in fact, they calm down and have a discussion about school, being adults, and life in general.  But there is this mention . . .

 

Pavlina leaned over the arm of the chair and reached out towards Annie, who extended her left arm. She took Annie’s hand and held it. “You’re in a relationship: already you’ve discovered that things aren’t always as you expected—and they’ll never remain that way.

“You have issues with your father: I understand that. I understand why there are things you won’t do or say, like fly with him or tell him about your flying at school; you know how it would make him feel.” She gave Annie’s hand a final squeeze. “One day you’re going to have to do these things, because you won’t be able to hide things from him any longer. And then there’s Kerry—”

Annie’s brow furrowed. “What about Kerry?”

“There are things about your relationship you’ve not told him.” Pavlina straightened her housecoat over her legs. “Have you ever said anything about your book?”

Annie’s gaze dropped towards the floor. “No, Mama. But you told me most boys never learn of that book until—”

“Yes, I said that. And your father didn’t learn of my book until after you were born. But . . .” Her smile was soft and knowing. “I’d known your father a while before I wrote down his name.”

“I knew Kerry for a while—” Annie looked up and breathed out hard. “—before I wrote down his name.”

“You told me you wrote down his name almost as soon as he told you.” Pavlina raised an eyebrow. “That’s quite a difference than what I did with your father.”

 

Book?  What is this book of Annie’s–one that her mother had as well?  Maybe it’s a witches thing . . .

Chapter Twenty-Eight starts, and Kerry’s zipped back to early morning Salem, almost one in the morning local time.

 

The Cernunnos Commons was as dimly lit as he remembered it, and it brought a smile to his face. Christmas morning he awoke with the feeling that he’d dreamt of the commons, but as with all of his dreams for nearly the last year, he couldn’t remember any of it clearly—he wasn’t even certain if he’d had a dream. All that remained was the feeling that he he’d been sitting in front of a fire, and that maybe he’d had someone cuddling next to him—someone who always sat on his left.

He climbed the stairs to the first floor, the floor he shared with Annie. Everything here was as he’d left it: the lighting, the shadows, the silence. Instead of going directly to his room, Kerry walked to the girl’s side of the tower and walked to Annie’s door. He stood outside for almost a minute, imagining her sleeping on the other side. I wonder if she told me she loved me before she went to bed again tonight? He’d promised her that he would wish her a good night and say that he loved her before he fell asleep, and he’d kept that promise: he was certain Annie had done the same . . .

Whether she’d said it or not wasn’t a concern—what came to Kerry was that he’d see her in the morning. He lay his hand against her door before resting his head on the back. “I’ll see you soon, Sweetie.” Kerry closed his eyes and sent his love to the sleeping girl in the room beyond the door, then headed for his.

 

Since Kerry is sleeping after Annie sleeps, and it’s been established that he does dream, was he really dreaming about the coven tower commons?  Or was he dreaming about being with a girl he knows as she sat before her fireplace thinking about being with a boy she knows, and her feelings eventually found their way to him?  Curious, isn’t it?  Maybe they weren’t so separated after all.

Tonight will be interesting, because it’s not the weekend, it’s the first night of NaNo after I work a full day, and if I’m gonna keep up, I need to hit at least seventeen hundred words.  Can I do it?

Tune in tomorrow.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/2:  2,370

NaNo Total Word Count:  4,587

A Year in Pamporovo

Last night was like any other Wednesday night for me.  Got home from work, changed, went to Panera, ate, and wrote.  I had two projects last night:  one was writing up a little over six hundred words for a letter I’m sending to someone–I always type it out before I hand write because my spelling is fairly horrible and I need to correct–and then I went to work on the novel and put in another eight hundred words there.  Nothing unusual, right?

It might not be were it not for the date.  Because last night represented three hundred and sixty-five days since I started this novel.  When I did that the novel sort of looked like this:

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

Only there were, like, zero words on everything.

And now it’s here, twenty-seven chapters later.

With a lot more words added.

With a lot more words added.

Tonight is the night when I started on this little adventure, and it’s been a milestone for me as well, for I’ve never stuck with a novel this long.  In the past I’ve usually burned out and given up on something like this, but I haven’t, not this time.

Doesn’t mean there hasn’t been stress.  I’ve probably had two or three nervous breakdowns in the process of putting out this story.  I spent a month rewriting chapters because I did Annie wrong.  Oh, and I grew breasts:  I should get points for that as well.

How did it all begin?  With Annie and her mother.  Let’s go back and see that moment, captured in the just over the first five hundred words I wrote (and have since edited) on 30 October, 2013:

 

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

The mountains were bright under the morning sun, though the light had yet reached many of the surrounding valley floors. Within the hour every valley in and around Pamporovo, Bulgaria, would bathe in sunshine, but for now most were enveloped in quiet shadows.

In one valley lay a small lake, the surface smooth and unmoving, still in possession of a layer of light mist from the prior evening. The eastern shoreline brushed up against the heavily wooded valley side, but everywhere else the lake was surrounded by low, rolling hills marked by a few bare spots of erosion, and meadows covered in short grass. Here no trees had taken root—

Save for one spot opposite the eastern valley walls. A lone tree stood upon a slight bend in the shoreline, making it even more distinctive. It was impossible to tell the tree type: even a close scrutiny didn’t reveal its secrets. It looked out of place—and yet, based upon it’s height and the spread of the branches, it was obvious it had been there for decades.

Stranger was the color of the leaves. They were a bright yellow, as if they were dusted with saffron—an unusual color, for the other trees on the opposite bank were a uniform green with a sprinkle of brown, and nary a spot of yellow anywhere. The coloration wasn’t due to the coming of fall—it was late August and the trees wouldn’t begin changing for another two months. It was possible that the tree itself sprouted yellow leaves, but if one had visited the tree the day before, they may have seen the leaves a bright red—and the day before that a light green.

The leaves changed color, but they didn’t change with the seasons . . .

Beneath the branches a young girl with wavy chestnut hair that rested lightly upon her shoulders stood. She was dressed in a light summer blouse and jeans and sneakers, making her indistinguishable from any other eleven year old girl currently living in and around Pamporovo. She stood facing the lake, her eyes fixed upon a point somewhere across the water, her arms locked across her chest. It seemed as if she were deep in thought, staring off into space so that her mind was free from distractions. She didn’t move, nor give any indication she was aware of her surroundings.

Her expression betrayed her emotions, though. She slowly blinked as she stared across the lake with lips slightly pursed while in the cool morning shadows of her unusual tree. Mist drifted off the lake and over her, making the skin on her arms dimple. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to finally enjoy this almost-perfect morning.

The girl was about to check the time on the small wristwatch she wore when a voice called to her. “Annie!” She turned slowly; she knew the voice, and why they were looking for her—

She spotted the woman standing on the porch of a small house forty meters away. The woman waved her right arm in the air as she called once again. “Annie!”

Awareness dawned upon young girl. “Yes, Mama?”

“It’s almost ten o’clock.” This time she waved for the girl to come to the porch. “It’s getting close to the time to leave.”

Anelie Kirilova—or, as her mother, father, and the rest of her extended family called her, Annie—knew her mother was right. She knew it was nearly time to leave; she’d known this for over an hour. In another twenty, thirty minutes she’d leave this all behind and not see it again until it was all covered with Christmas snow . . .

She brushed a strand of hair from her face as she walked toward the house. “Coming, Mama.”

 

There was my beginning.  And how did I continue a year later?  Another five hundred or so words with Annie and her mother:

 

The moment Annie’s eyes opened she checked the clock at her bedside. 5:21. She did a quick calculation and determined the time in San Francisco. It’s 19:21 yesterday there; Kerry’s likely meeting his family right now. Secure with the belief that Kerry was probably starting his holiday, she threw the covers back and sat up.

It was pitch dark in the room, but that wasn’t surprising: local sunrise wouldn’t be for more than an hour. She waved her hand at the lamp on the bedside table and it came on, illuminating her bedroom in low, white light. She slid off the bed and into her slippers before giving her blue pajama tops a final tug down. She walked the short distance to her dressing table and retrieved her locket from a necklace tree and fastened it around her neck, pressing the heart-shaped locket into her chest to assure herself it was there. Lastly she put on her robe and pulled it tight around her body before letting it swing open. With a smile she made her way to the bedroom door.

The night before, during dinner, her mother had said that now that she was on Salem time she would probably rise early, adjustment or not. Annie had said she expected to sleep in for the first time since leaving home, but she should have realized that Mama was speaking from experience. It makes sense— She reached for the door knob. I never sleep in at school, so why would I expect to sleep in once I was home. She slowly opened the door. Must be an enchantment they put on us during the E and A

Her mother was in her sitting room, seated at the table with a plate of food and a kettle before her. “Good morning, Anelie.”

Annie was surprised to find her mother up this early—and with breakfast ready. “Good morning, Mama.”

Pavlina Kirilova nodded toward the closed door to her left. “Go on and use the bathroom. I’ll prepare your tea.”

Annie was in and out of her bathroom in a short time. When she returned her tea was seeping and plate with a printsessi sat before the empty chair across from here mother. Annie sat and inhaled the aroma of the breakfast. “This is what I missed.”

“My printsessi?”

“Yes.” She took a small bite and savored the disk. “It’s still hot.”

“I cooked them last night and put a time spell around them.” Pavlina raised here tea and took a small sip. “From your perspective, they’ve only been out of the oven for two minutes.”

Annie savored another mouthful before speaking. “When did you get up?”

“I’ve been up about twenty minutes.”

“And Papa?”

Pavlina set her tea aside, chuckling. “I let him sleep. Though I expect him up within the hour.” She folded her hands in her lap. “I wanted a little mother-daughter time—like what we had before you went off to school?”

Annie didn’t remember there being a lot of mother-daughter time, but she wasn’t going to start contradicting, not now. She’s searching—and I think I know what she’s looking for . . . “I did miss chatting. I only had your letters.” She smiled. “At least we wrote. A few of the students didn’t hear much from their parents.”

 

A year later and Annie can tell her mother is fishing for something, but she’s playing along.  Any idea about what she’s looking for?  And as I’d said, as Kerry’s last thoughts upon reaching San Francisco and seeing his family were of Annie, Annie’s first thoughts upon waking–at the same time, mind you–were of Kerry.  There’s some kind of symmetry with those kids, I tell ya.

How much have I put behind me with this story?  As of last night Act Two finished up with 140,960 words; the full manuscript is 291,665 words.  I stared Act Two in May and I’ve been trudging along for a little over five months now, and I’ll finish it in November for sure.  And then it’s on to Act Three and the end of the novel.

Soon.  I hope.  I want to have some kind of NaNo, even though I haven’t bothered registering yet, and may not.  I’m still on the fence about doing so, because I’m really not sure I can keep up the pace this year.  Far too many things happening, far too many things to get in the way.

Or . . . I just have to suck it up and put my two hours of writing aside and not be distracted.

That would probably work better, yeah?