A Certain Day in May: Wishes and Kisses

Here I am, down to the coffee shop on a rainy and gray Beltane, writing my butt off and feeling better than I did yesterday, which was probably one of the suckiest days I’ve had to push through.  But push I did, and I even managed to get in three hundred words last night, though I had zero motivation to do any writing.

However, Chapter Thirty-two is finished, and a little checking shows that this is the shortest chapter of the novel, shorter than Chapter Nineteen, which was just over fifty-one hundred words.  Hey, I’m still over three hundred thousand words total, so it’s all good.

And it's not like I've been slacking to get to this point.

And it’s not like I’ve been slacking to get to this point.

I should point out that last night’s and today’s writing has happened for the most part while Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue plays in the earbuds.  As a personal note, this has always been one of my favorites pieces, one that I discovered when I was in seventh grade, and one which I’ve loved dearly ever since.  In other words, I knew this before a certain airline made it famous in their TV ads.

Now that my kids are on “their” bench, where is their conversation leading?  Well, let’s listen in–

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A Certain Day in May: A Quick Remembrance

Only a few hundred words entered the Word Bank last night ’cause it was TV recap time, and twenty-one hundred words and pictures went out in that post, which meant I didn’t get much into this one.  I did, however, edge over the thousand words beyond three hundred K area, so I have that going for me.

But I got him out to his birthday dinner–sort of–and right below, there in the first paragraph, you discover the name of the restaurant that has become a favorite of theirs:

 

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

Kerry followed Annie out of the Museum Place and turned right on Church Street. The restaurant where they were dining, Turner’s Seafood, was down Church on their left, but before leaving Salem Annie mentioned that she wanted to walk around the block and stroll down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall before joining the others at what had become their favorite restaurant in Salem after visiting it during their school year end layover at the Sea Sprite Inn.

The sun was still up with perhaps an hour to go before setting. The temperatures were still cool, hovering between eleven and twelve Celsius, but the sky was clear and was expected to stay that way all the way through midnight tomorrow. Kerry hoped this meant warm weather would reach them before they left their school, and the rest of America, behind for the summer.

After all the cold Friday afternoon flying Kerry was ready for some warmth . . .

But the afternoon didn’t start off that way. Things were already different when everyone gathered in the Ready Room and the minions took their places at the back of the room. As promised Annie joined Nadine, Rivânia, and Nattat Adriano in the back of the room, but up front Kerry was completely surprised, and not a bit mortified, when “Doctor Gallagher” came out with Vicky and a big deal was made about the face that not only was it the birthday of the school’s Chief Medical Officer, but it was also the birthday of one of their class members—

At that point a cake was wheeled out and Kerry stood next to Coraline while everyone sang “Happy Birthday.” Coraline congratulated Kerry on becoming a teenager, and, just like last year, she gave him a kiss on the cheek—though she first looked to the back of the room and received a nod of approval from Annie before proceeding.

 

Yeah, Coraline knows better now than to give a kiss to someone who ain’t her soul mate.  That Annie is a possessive one.  And in case you’re wondering, Nattat Adriano is a Mórrígan C Level from Lucira, Angola, and the person whom finished ninth overall in the Individual standings for the 2012/2013 race season.  She was the covenmate who ascended the lower podium right behind Emma in the last scene of the last chapter.

So where are they walking?  Well, I had to put this together last night, too, so there’s more time taken right there.

These maps don't make themselves, you know.

These maps don’t make themselves, you know.

As Kerry is thinking about what’s happening Annie and he are probably at the corner in the upper right hand of the picture, which is as place they’ve been before:  they were here way back in Act One after they’d been dismissed as minions by their own levelmates, and Kerry gave Annie the “We Are Different” talk about why he didn’t care if the other kids their age accepted them or not.  This time they’re not talking about something that’s upsetting:  this is a day to celebrate, and there’s nothing gonna bring these two down.

And, yes, you’ll see the gift Annie is gonna give Kerry.

I know:  I’m the worst for cliffhangers.

Preparing For All Points Homeward

Since I was on the road all day yesterday there wasn’t a bit of writing–other than my blog post, naturally, but in many ways I don’t count that.  However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t ready for this morning . . .

First off, Chapter Nineteen has begun.  We’re onto the point after Yule and, if you look at the image below, you’ll see we’re even into another year:  2103.

It won't be long before I'm up to our current year--whenever that may be.

It won’t be long before I’m up to our current year–whenever that may be.

Besides being the title of a song and album, “Goodnight Vienna” is Liverpool slang for “It’s all over,” and that pretty much sets the tone for this chapter:  the holiday is finished and students are on their bounce back to America.  It could also means more, but for me to say so . . . naw, I don’t play that way.  But I do like to pick up action somewhere on the worlds stage–maybe like in the namesake of the scene title?

 

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

Annie walked through Level 3 of the Vienna International Airport appearing as if she knew exactly where she was going—which, in fact, she did. After leaving her parents at The Foundation Jaunt Lounge, the concierge gave the message left for her almost an hour earlier, and those directions were the reason she was absolutely certain of her destination.

The lights were on in Level Three. The sun had set two hours before and full darkness was nearly upon the city of Vienna, though outside of the terminal windows the glow of the distant city were bright against the cloudy sky. Annie loved Vienna, and while there were other cities that stirred her teenage sensibilities more, there was an energetic charm that undeniable. One day I have to come here with Kerry and show him around . . .

She neared Gate G9 and saw the end of her journey nearing: the Vienna Tea and Coffee House cafe, situated in the middle of the level. Their selection of beverages and snacks wasn’t her reason for coming to this spot: the person waving at her from his table was. Annie headed directly for the table and took the seat being offered. “Hello, my love.”

 

In case anyone is interested–or not, ’cause I’m gonna tell you anyway–those three paragraphs came about from about forty minutes of looking about and trying to get things to load on a crazy wireless connection.  First off, I needed a map of the airport terminals at Vienna International, and wouldn’t you know they’d have a pdf of said layout?  But of course, because that’s how the world runs today.

Terminal map--check.

Terminal map–I mean, Flughafenplan:  check.

On the map I see that Level 3 has areas for people to rest and eat.  So I do a few more searched and I find an ifly.com listing for that level at the airport, and that’s when I discover that right by Gate G9 is the Vienna Tea and Coffee House.  The Vienna Airport site indicated that passengers were the only ones who access the G Gates on Level 3, but we know better than that:  if my kids and jaunt in and out of international airports around the world, they can also access any public spot in said airports.  If nothing else they’d just turn invisible and thumb their noses at airport security as they walked past the checkpoints.

And because a few Google searches are all that’s needed these days to find out just about anything you like, you know there are pictures of this location online–

Welcome!  Coffee, tea, or . . . another beverage?

Welcome! Coffee, tea, or . . . another beverage?

Now, where the guy in the orange shirt is sitting in the picture:  that’s where Kerry sat waiting for Annie.  He could have been sitting in the back where there’s a couple of easy chairs in front of a fire, but he wanted to people watch–and it’s also easier to see his soul mate coming . . .

 

“Hello, Darling Sweetie.” Kerry pushed in her chair and retook his own. “I see you got my message.”

“I wouldn’t be here otherwise.” She took the cup offered and waited for Kerry to pour the water over her tea. “I see you came prepared.”

“I knew it was only a matter of time before you arrived.”

She set the cup aside to let the tea seep. “So you’ve been here an hour?”

“About that.” He shrugged. “I emailed Ms. Rutherford this morning and told her I needed to get out of Cardiff, so if she could come for me about an hour early I’d appreciate it greatly.”

Annie immediately imagined more trouble at his home. “Was your mother causing trouble for you again?”

“Naw, nothing like that. It’s just since cooking for New Year’s Day, all we’ve been having is take away or leftover take away, and I wasn’t about to sit through a quick nuking of last night’s Chicken Tikka Masala again.” He shook his head. “She showed up an hour early and told my folks my flight had been moved up, and we have to leave like now—”

Annie chuckled because she could imagine his parents turning somewhat panicky at the prospect of their son missing his international flight. “Did you at least get a hug when you left?”

Kerry raised an eyebrow. “What do you think?”

“No.”

“Got a goodbye and see you in a few months and that was it.” He ran his finger around the rim of his tea cup. “Not that I was expecting anything else.”

 

You can bet that Annie had a light dinner with her family–who are an hour ahead of Vienna–before heading off to the airport, and she probably received a few hugs and maybe a kiss or two before leaving.  Kerry, it appears, was getting lots of leftovers, and he’d had enough of that crap that he begged out early with the help of his case worker.  Two years ago he probably wouldn’t have given a shit:  now he’s different, and being on his own and eating what he likes are his thing these days.  Oh, and the lack of affection thing?  Looks like someone’s got that covered, too–

 

She reached over and gently rubbed his hand. “Well, until you do return to Cardiff, you’ll get all the hugs you need.”

He smiled as he started at the table surface. “I’m gonna need a lot.”

“That won’t be a problem.”

“And kisses, too.”

She began grinning. “That can be arranged as well. Because—”

He looked up. “Yes?”

“I require all that as well.”

A tight smile formed upon Kerry’s face as he rocked his head back and forth. “Good thing we’re heading home”

“It’s good indeed.” She leaned over and planted a light kiss on his cheek. “I love you, Kerry.”

He returned the kiss. “I az te obicham, Annie.” Kerry took a slow sip of his tea before setting his cup down in a hurry. “Oh, I forgot—” He rummaged about in his backpack for a few seconds before removing a small, gift wrapped package. “Happy Christmas, Darling.”

 

What’s this–presents?  It would seem that way.  I’ll have more on that tomorrow after I write the rest of the scene.

It won’t be long before my kids are home . . .

Gifting From the Past Heart

I will admit:  I was distracted last night.  I was also tired as hell, but there were distractions.  And the looking up of things.  And Mothra–yes, she was on TCM last night, in the original Japanese with subtitles.  “Moothh-er-raaaaaaa . . .”  Yes, just love that, because who doesn’t love gigantic moths?

Back in my other world it’s birthday time–and since it’s the end of September, we know who is having that birthday.  Annie has a birthday, and a special someone gets to take her off somewhere to have a mini-celebration–

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

From the Pentagram to the shores of Lovely Lake Lovecraft.

As you’ll see in the excerpt they flew up–it’s after lunch, but you don’t see that part.  And they have all the time in the world because they don’t have classes that afternoon.  I should include the schedule in the book, just so people know, because you don’t see every class this time.  But that’s besides the point:  my kids are at the lake, they are off their brooms, and Kerry’s fidgeting with the backpack in one hand and a strange look on his face . . .

 

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

Kerry leaned their brooms against a nearby tree and shrugged off his backpack as he walked back. “Beautiful day.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie stood with her hands locked together in front of her belly and her feet pressed together. She shifted her gaze from one spot to another, attempting to appear as nonchalant as possible. “We won’t have many more of these.”

“No, we won’t.” Kerry pointed towards her legs. “You’ll have to start wearing tights then.”

She looked down at her bare legs and nodded. “Not that I mind: I rather like leggings.” She shrugged and settled her gaze upon a visibly nervous Kerry. “Did you have something you wanted to discuss?” Annie struggled to prevent the smile she felt inside from breaking out.

Kerry almost began stammering, then unzipped his backpack, and removed a wrapped package nearly as large as his tablet. “Happy birthday, Sweetie.” He extended his hand towards her. “You teenage girl, you.”

This was the first time today anyone brought up that she was now thirteen and no longer a tween-aged girl. “I am, aren’t I?” She accepted the present using both hands. “Thank you so much, my love.” She ran one hand over the wrapping. “I can’t wait to see what’s inside.”

“Then I’d start removing the paper.”

Like she did the year before, Annie carefully undid the wrapping paper. She saw that Kerry had taped it lightly so she’d not have a problem removing the paper the time. He learned from the last time—

She handed the paper to Kerry, who folded and returned it to the inside of his backpack while she examined the box. It was far larger than the one that held her locket, and the weight told her it was something far heavier. Annie also felt that after giving her the charm bracelet in Berlin, Kerry wouldn’t surprise her with another piece of jewelery—

She opened the box and discovered a hardback book inside. The dust jacket showed a gray surface with needle-like spires on the right side, and a brownish-colored world showing the outlines of North and South America on the left, There was a red boat-like ship skimming across the gray, leaving a trail in its wake.

It was the title, however, that immediately drew Annie’s attention: A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke: the book that he first read to her in their dreams.

Her fingers carefully touched the cover, as if she thought it was an illusion. “How did you get this?”

Kerry nodded towards the present. “Open it and turn to the inner title page.”

She found the page after a couple of page flips. Across from there she found a hand written dedication:

To My Chestnut Girl

The the next time you need someone to read to you, don’t look in your dreams: look across the tower

Your Ginger Hair Boy

A heaviness settled in over her heart, and Annie feared she’s show the same response as the one at Kensington Gardens. “This is—” Her voice broke as she tried to speak. “This is incredible.”

Kerry stared at the ground and shuffled his feet. “I didn’t know if you would—”

Shush, you.” She slowly closed the book and pressed it against her chest. “My darling, this is perfect.”

 

Yeah, about that book . . .

I’ve mentioned many times that A Fall of Moondust is the second adult novel I read:  The first of Earthlight, but Clarke as well.  Originally I found them in an omnibus collection, with the two novels together, at the public library, but later I found a first edition Moondust at the library as well.  It was this novel I read about a dozen times before buying a paperback version of the same story, and which I still own today.

Part of the “looking up of things” I performed last night involved getting information on this novel, but at the same time I wanted to see the covers–and wouldn’t you know it?  There it was:

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry's "handwriting".

Now immortalized in my Scrivener project alongside Kerry’s “handwriting”.

Now you know what Annie’s present looks like.  And in the rest of the scene you’ll learn a little more, and see the aftermath of the giving.  This won’t be a long scene–maybe another five hundred words–but it’s nice, it’s tender, and where I said before that Annie wants gifts that come from the heart, this one doesn’t get much more heartfelt.

Not every girl can say they were given, as a present, the book of their dreams.

The Past Through a Present Gate: The Long Walks

I was busy last night, believe me.  Busy trying to write; busy trying to stay focused; busy playing with new toys.  In the end I accomplished all three, but it was a struggle.

First, the toys:  since the new version of Google Maps has come out, I’ve been playing with devising routes to use within the story.  Last night part of  that evening was taken up checking on a route that is described in the third paragraph in the excerpt.  It’s not am exact took yet–there are some interesting choices that it picks when you’re walking, and they haven’t worked out how to layer the map yet so you can plan a route using planes, trains, and automobiles–but it’s still a lot of fun with play with and a time-consuming black hole that keeps you from writing.

Then again, the whole of this chapter sort of starts out like this . . .

First we leave the hotel and head through the park through the gate.

First we leave the hotel and head through the park through the gate.

Then, later in this excerpt, Annie will ask about something way off in the distance, and wants to know if they’re going there.

I've got that added to this trip as well--

I’ve got that added to this trip as well–

Then from there, if they decide they don’t want to hail a cab–

They can make the trip home from there.

They can make the trip home from there.

They’ll be plenty tired, but it’s not like anyone is going to wake them up in the morning.  After all, they are on their own for the most part–as are the other students attending this party.  And their first day back, they want to bask in that loving glow of being together.

With that said . . .

 

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

The sun had set an hour before and the sky was well approaching nautical twilight when Annie and Kerry strolled through Pariser Platz towards the eastern side of the Brandenburg Gate. The lights were coming on, illuminating the gate so that it could be seen clearly from the western end of the Tiergarten, at couple of kilometers away. The weather had been cool all day, around fifteen Celsius all day long, but the sky had remained mostly clear without a threat of rain, which made for an enjoyable day.

The day had went as expect. They’d spent the morning in the hotel cafe enjoying snacks and soft drinks while they worked out how they wanted to spend the next few days. They greeted Professor Semplen and Professor Grünbach, who were chaperoning the returning B Levels—as well as a few C and D Level students—back to school. They had lunch and talked and laughed before going up to the room to clean up before heading out.

They took the underground into the city. They visited Checkpoint Charlie, then walked a couple of blocks west to one of the surviving sections of the Berlin Wall. They walked north to Potsdamer Platz and spent about ten minutes there looking around before walking a few blocks over to the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. They hailed a cab and took it north to the Reichstag Building and hung out in the Platz der Republik for a while before heading over to the Spreebogenpark and a quiet, slow walk along the banks of the Spree River.

 

Just this part alone kept me, um, “busy” for about an hour.  It’s amazing how caught up you can get in something like this–

Just like I am right now--see?

Just like I am right now–see?

There’s the walk, laid out for all to see.  For a little trivia, Friedrichstraße 46 is the actual location of Checkpoint Charlie, one of the controlled passages between then West and East Berlin.  And the stop at Niederkirchnerstraße 1 is where one of the remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall exists today.  That spot is also the former location of the Gestapo and SS headquarters, upon which now sits a museum.

And after this walk ended . . .

 

Then it was another cab back to the hotel for a nap and early dinner before heading out into the coming evening for a walk through the Tiergarten to take the long way around so they could walk through the Brandenburg Gate.

Though there was a crowd mulling around the historic landmark, Kerry didn’t feel like he was stuck in the middle of huge throng of people. He felt calm and relaxed, if only a little tired from all the walking. Even with all the walking he felt he’d gotten enough rest to keep from burning out and growing stiff, though he wondered if he’d been throwing out a little transformation magic here and there to off-set the fatigue he should be feeling at this moment.

Annie doesn’t seem that tired either. Kerry gave her hand a squeeze, making her glance at him and smile. Then again, she does a lot more walking back and forth between her houses than I do at my place. None of this really concerned him at the moment: he had other things on his mind.

As they cleared the gate and walked out onto the western plaza, Annie pointed westward down Straße des 17. Juni towards the Berlin Victory Column in the distance. “Are we heading down there?”

“I’d like to, but first—” He pointed towards a large lamp post off to their left. “Let’s go over there for a moment.”

Annie nodded and walked alongside her soul mate. She was aware of his moods, and he knew there was something on Kerry’s mind. When they’d been out walking this afternoon he’d kept conversation to a minimum, as he usually did when they were out sightseeing—much like he’d done when they’d toured London last year. Annie didn’t have to remember that Kerry had been a completely different person then, but it wasn’t hard to tell he was acting different this evening.

 

Kerry with something on his mind?  Perish the thought!  He does have something on his mind, and we’re gonna find out what right now–

 

They rested under the light post, which was on and growing brighter in the gathering night. He leaned back against the post before wrapping his arms around Annie. He pressed his lips softly against hers and drew out a long kiss from his soul mate. He’d already kissed Annie a dozen times since meeting her upon his arrival in Berlin, but right now this was the best kiss he’d received today. Perhaps the best of the night—no, the best of the night was yet to come . . .

He rested his forehead against Annie’s. “You know how great you make me feel, just being here with me?”

“Maybe a good as I feel with you?” She hung her hands over his shoulders and signed. “If only every day could be like this—”

“We’d get tired walking around all day.” They both chuckled as he straightened. “Tomorrow is gonna be fun—”

“And there won’t be as much walking.”

“No, there won’t.” He took a moment to shrugged off his backpack. “But before we do anything else—”

He unzipped one compartment of his backpack and reached inside: a moment later he extracted a small but long black jewelry box. “Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.”

 

Kerry has changed a lot in the last year, just as Annie thought.  He isn’t the same kid that walked through Founder’s Gate at school, and it’s rather telling that he’s walking through another gate a completely different person.

Right now they're standing by that big light pole on the left.  If you squint hard, you can imagine two twelve year old kids standing there.

Right now they’re standing by that big light pole on the right. If you squint hard, you can imagine two twelve year old kids standing there.

Annie is, needless to say, touched right to her soul.  And what is the gift?  Let’s see:

 

Annie was almost at a lost for words. “You remembered.”

“The day we first met face-to-face at Bount Books?” He shook his head. “Not a chance.” He turned the box around for her. “Go ahead: open it.”

She opened the jewelry box and removed the gift, holding it up so they could both see. “A charm bracelet—”

“Yeah.” Kerry snapped the box closed and returned it to his backpack while Annie examined the bracelet. “Let me have that—” He took it from her and stretched it out. “Give me your left hand.”

Annie held out her hand and let Kerry fasten the bracelet around her wrist. Only then did she give it a close examination . . .

The strand holding each of the charms was silver, and of high quality from what Annie saw. The charm holders were small, hollowed-out silver spheres that fit over the strand, of which there were about a dozen. At the moment only two charms were present: a small circle with an “A” pressed against a light green background, and two entwined hearts with “A” and “K” pressed into them, side-by-side. “It’s beautiful.”

“Thank you.” Kerry stared at his feet while the blush crept into his cheeks. “I hoped you would like it.”

“I love it.” Annie wrapped her arms around his shoulders and neck and kissed him. “I’ve never owned a charm bracelet before, and now I have one to match my locket. Thank you, my love.”

“You’re welcome.”

She held up her wrist for Kerry to see. “I know the meaning of the hearts, but what of the A?”

“Well, it was my understanding that your charms are supposed to mean something.” Kerry pointed at the single letter. “I thought it might be nice to have something showing every level of school we’ve finished. So . . . A.”

“I see.” Annie hung on Kerry, smiling. “You said ‘we’.”

“I did, didn’t I?”

“You did.”

“That’s because we’re in this together.” He pulled out his mobile.” Let me get pictures of you in front of the gate.”

 

This whole last section I wrote this morning, starting about five-ten and finishing up about ten minutes later.  It actually started out as a gold locket, but then it wouldn’t match Annie’s silver locket if that was the case, right?  And I want them to match because it’s important.  After all, Kerry would pick up on a little detail like that.

A little over eleven hundred words for this scene, and the novel just cruised over twenty-two thousand words.  A pretty good output for almost three weeks of writing.  And I realize, once I’ve finished this scene, it’s not just Chapter Three that’s complete, it’s Part One of Act One.  I hope that by tomorrow evening I can start on Part Two and get my kids back to school–starting with a great idea for their flight home.  I should get to that soon–

Not much more to go for this chapter--but I've said that before.

Because here’s not much more to go here–but haven’t I’ve said that before?

The Private Moments

Well, I managed.  I turned off all distractions, put on some music, and got to writing.  And when I was finished, I had another scene done and my NaNo goals were met.

Happiness all around, yes indeed.

Last night’s scene was a reunion.  Kerry is up and about, dressed and refreshed, and half expecting Annie to be waiting outside his door.  But she isn’t, because while she may like to sneak into the hospital and watch him sleep, she’s not totally stalkerlicious.  This time, however, the setting is turned around, and Kerry sees this on the Mezzanine Commons–

 

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

Annie was sleeping on the sofa, fully dressed in a sweater, jeans, and her soft boots.

Kerry entered the mezzanine, walking with care even though he knew he’d not make any sounds on the carpeted stone floor. He approached without making a sound and knelt before the sofa. He looked up Annie’s sleeping face, watched the flexing of her slightly open mouth and her slow, deep breathing. He’d never saw Annie when she was sound asleep, and her face didn’t show her normal fixed, controlled demeanor, but rather he saw Annie as no one else had ever seen her: relaxed, peaceful, unconcerned, and dreamy.

Kerry realized where he’d seen her like this before . . . She’s like this when we’re alone, when she can let her guard down and not worry if anyone is going to catch her smiling or laughing too much, or if they might see her pout or get angry. He reached towards her, so wanting to touch here, so much wanting to let his fingers glide over her cheek—

He lay a fingertip against her right cheek, barely making contact with her warm skin. When she didn’t move he drew it towards him and towards the corner of her mouth. He reached the edge of her lip and glided along the edge, outlining her lower lip until he reached the opposite corner of her mouth. Kerry thought of running his along her upper lip, but thought it was possible that someone would eventually come along and catch him in the middle of this act. Don’t want that— He pulled he hand away from her face. Wouldn’t be long before I’d start hearing stupid things like “Team Kerry” whispered in the Dining Hall . . .

He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek, then sat back and waited for her reaction.

At first noting happen, then Annie began to stir slowly, like an invisible hand were shaking her awake while she mumbled in a low, soft voice. “Molya ne spiraĭte, lyubov moya. Tseluni me otnovo . . .” She sighed once before slowly opening her eyes. She discovered Kerry’s face only a half a meter from hers, and she reached out with right arm and hooked her hand around his neck. “Kerry . . .” Her face brightened as her face broke into a wide smile. “You’re here.”

“I am.” He touched the tip of her nose. “Moyata polovinka.” He let himself be pulled into her lips, and he slid his left hand behind her back as he kissed her warmly. They kissed for almost a minute, though neither bothered judging the passage of time. This kiss had been building for many days, and it would end when their passion was subdued.

Kerry finally broke the kiss, though he only pulled back enough so he could keep Annie’s face fully framed in his vision. “I love you, Sweetie.”

“Oh, Kerry . . .” Annie wrapped her arms around him and hugged him hard. “I’ve been waiting over two weeks for that kiss and for you to say that.” She kissed him again. “I love you, my darling.”

 

I have to admit, I loved writing that scene.  It’s really the first time you see Kerry sort of being romantic in a non-verbal way.  I can also tell you that Annie was dreaming of Kerry–I know because I put them mumbly words in her mouth.

We find out that Annie got up about four and came down and slept on the sofa.  Right after that she starts talking about her holiday:

 

“I was missing you terribly as well.” He kissed her hair. “How was your holiday?”

“It was—good.” She glanced up and smiled. “We traveled around a lot.”

“Where?”

“Just Europe, though we visited a lot of places. About the only time we were home was from Christmas Eve to the Second Day of Christmas, and New Year’s Day.” She rested her head against his shoulder. “I wished you were with me, particularly when we went to Copenhagen and Stockholm.”

“I wish I could have seen that with you.” He hugged her tight. “Did you see the Little Mermaid?”

“Yes, and she was freezing.” Annie laughed, tickling Kerry until he joined in. “One day I’ll take you to see her.”

“I want to do that.”

“We will.” Annie sat up. “Before you tell me about your holiday, I have something to show you.” She jumped up and held out her right hand. “Come on.”

 

Yeah, the little mermaid was probably cold, given, you know, she doesn’t really wear anything on, and she’s sitting on a rock out of the water.  At least we can be assured that Kerry wouldn’t try cutting her head or arm off.

Annie drags him to their lab, and there’s something waiting for him:

 

“You can open your eyes.” Kerry opened them and saw a large black cloth covering the work table. It was the only thing that hadn’t been there when they left the lab on the Thursday night before leaving on holiday.

He turned to Annie, who was now looking rather pleased. “Well?”

She nodded towards the table. “You need to look under the cloth.”

Kerry did as instructed, lifting up the cloth and examining what was beneath. “There’s . . .” He ran his hand over the table surface. “Wood.”

“Are you sure?” Annie replaced the cloth and smoothed it out until it was once more flat.

He lifted a corner and looked again. “Yeah. Just the table.”

“Well . . .” Annie smoothed out the cloth, making certain every wrinkle was gone. “Maybe you’re not looking the right way—” She snapped the cloth up from the table as if she were shaking out dust, then yanked it away.

A PAV sat on the table where the cloth has lain seconds before.

 

I guess you can say Annie was doing a magic trick–and in a way it was, because it leaves Kerry shocked and surprised:

 

Kerry stared for several seconds, trying to fathom what Annie had done, and what he was now seeing. He understood the magic: several times he’d seen Professor Salomon reach behind her back and pull her broom out what seemed like nothing. She called it a Displacement Spell—that she was really grabbing her broom from a predefined location back in the Flight School—but Nadine told him that all the racers said they kept their brooms in “Hammerspace,” which Kerry understood because he’d seen enough anime to know one could pull enormous objects from out of nowhere as long as one reached behind their back . . .

He now-trained eye recognized the PAV right away: it was an Espinoza 4500 like the one he’d been flying since the beginning of school—only it wasn’t like that one. The carbon filament was the dark, shiny black of a device that had never seen a second of exposure to the elements. There wasn’t a visible scuff anywhere—save for some markings in white near where he would sit—and when Kerry placed his hand over the frame and activated the saddle, there wasn’t a sign of wear on the leather: no one had ever sat upon this device.

“It’s a good broom, Kerry.” Annie was next to him, her voice soft and comforting. “It’ll never let you down.”

He turned towards her, his eyes misting. “Annie—”

“I’d rather someone who I know will enjoy flying have it instead of someone who’d never know how to appreciate this gift.” She took Kerry’s hands and kissed them. “Happy birthday, Kerry.”

“Annie.” He looked to the broom sitting on the table, then back to Annie. “That must have cost a—”

She lay her fingers upon his lips. “Shush, you.” She shook her head, her glance radiating her love. “You should know by now I don’t care for the cost of a present—it’s the thought and feelings behind it that impress me.” Her fingers glided over her locket. “You knew what would touch me—I know what touches you.”

 

Here, for the first time, we hear about Hammerspace–yes, not the real name, but you know kids–and Annie repeats the same thing to Kerry that he said, years before, to the boy to whom he gave his bicycle, something Kerry mentioned during their very first Midnight Madness together.  Goes to show you Annie was listening; she’s always listening.  And now you know what she needed help from Mama for–though in another couple of scenes you’ll find out there was a little more to it than just having her order this off the Internet.

Since the emotions are really flowing, Kerry starts expressing them, because he can’t not . . .

 

Kerry fought to keep his emotions under control. “It’s a little early, but . . .” He wrapped his arms around Annie and hugged her tight. “Thank you so much.” He kissed her as tears dripped from his eyes. “Obicham te, moyata polovinka.”

Annie looked down and giggled. “You’re working on your Bulgarian.”

“It gave me something to do when I got lonely for you.”

“I think what you wanted to say was, ‘Obicham te, moya srodna dusha’.” She cleared her throat. “You know what moyato prolovinka really means, don’t you?”

Kerry wiped his eyes. “I looked it up.”

“And?”

He looked down and avoided Annie’s gaze for the first time. “It means ‘my mate’.”

Annie touched his chin, raising his head. “This doesn’t bother you?”

He chuckled. “Should it?” He kissed her check. “Obicham te, moyata polovinka.”

“Obicham te, moya spŭtnik, you mean.” She patted his check. “I’ll have to start giving you lessons.” She turned towards the broom on the table. “Look on the frame under the saddle.”

What Kerry tries to say first is “I love you, my soul mate,” but Annie sets him straight–and then, in a roundabout way, lets him know that she wasn’t quite truthful about the exactly translation of “Moyata polovinka” as she explained it back in the garden after the Samhain Dance.  “My soul mate” and “my mate” are just a little different in meaning, if you catch my drift.  And when Kerry tries to say, “I love you, my mate,” she corrects him again and lets him know it’s time to give him lessons.  Now won’t that be fun?

It should also be noted that Kerry doesn’t seem to mind the “my mate” reference.  Annie’s also known, probably for a while, that Kerry would have looked up the translation on his own.  The fact that he’s not upset means he either (1) doesn’t care, (2) realizes there’d a future for them, or (3) he’s still completely clueless.

And one last thing Annie did for him–remember she asked him to look under the saddle?

 

Kerry folded the saddle back into the frame and picked up the broom to give the area a closer look. The white stuff was lettering, and it spelled out:

Kerrigan Rodney Malibey  “Starbuck”

“That area is enchanted.” Annie’s face was next to his, looking at the same spot on the frame. “The only ones who can see your full name are you and I—though that can be changed if you want. That way, no one can use your full name against you.”

“What does everyone else see?”

“They’ll see ‘Kerry Malibey’ and your call sign. Nothing else.”

He picked up the PAV and held it in both hands, feeling the weight and imagining how it was going to feel sitting upon the saddle. He set it gently upon the table, then slowly wrap his arms around Annie and held her close. He couldn’t hold back any longer, and the tears flowed freely for almost a minutes. All the while Annie held him close and smiled, for she knew, for once, his tears weren’t from sadness—she’d brought him tears of joy, perhaps the first he’d experienced in a while.

When he released her she dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve cuffs. “Better?”

“Yeah.”

“Happy?”

“Oh, yes.” He managed a weak laugh. “We’ll have to see Professor Salomon later and find out where I can store this.”

 

I have to admit, Annie is a sweet girl.  It’s not everyone who’d have their boyfriend’s name and call sign painted on his broom like he was a pilot at Top Gun school.  Just wait until next Monday–you find out at the beginning of the scene that there isn’t any real classes the first week back–when the kids in Basic Flight see Kerry roll in with his birthday present . . .

Yep, it'll be just like this.

Yep, it’ll be just like this.

The next scene has Kerry talking about something he learned over his holiday with his folks, and it’s going to be . . . interesting.  That’s all I’ll say.

It’ll also be interesting writing the scene.  Because, when I look at my word counts, I see Act Two is just short of one hundred and fifty thousand–

Just a little push and I'm there.

Just a little push and I’m there.

Which means the manuscript, as a whole, is just shy of twice that much–

What will a year get you?  This.

What will a year get you? This.

So tonight I pass into some rare territory where only writers who kill characters off for the hell of it venture.  Which means, if Act Three is anything like the first two, the whole mess should top out at around four hundred and fifty thousand words.

When I said this is my Infinite Jest–I wasn’t jesting.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/2:  2,200

NaNo Total Word Count:  6,787

The Birthday Girl

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

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

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

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

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

And what gift did he give her?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

A red jewelry box slid into her hand.

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

“Yes, silly.”

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Whole lotta shushing going on, you know?

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

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

Lots of “To Dos” on my To Do List.