The Loneliness of the Dark: Starting Out

I know there are studies that show that writers are able to alleviate their depression and sorrow through writing, and yet . . . we all know of at least one popular writer who ran the depression rails all the way to the end of the line and parked there forever.  That’s likely because other studies have shown that depression and creativity to hand-in-hand, and that’s one of the reasons so much artistic types are overcome by their demons, be it substance abuse and/or depression.

A lot of times we write to rid ourselves of our own demons, and that does help.  It also brings out moments where you, the writer, has to search your emotional closet looking for similar moments to mine for the entertainment of others.  It’s not fun, but depending upon your story, it’s often necessary.

Kerry’s in some dark spots right now in the story, and while I don’t like placing him there, it’s necessary.  Why?  Because . . . that’s the story right now.  I’m leading up to something, and while it’s not a nice thing to say, I gotta torture his ass just a little in their early chapters.  Not a lot was written last night, but I managed about six hundred and fifty words.  Part of it was due to my mood–I was more in a mood to kick back and just veg out a bit than getting into a story–part of it was not wanting to hurt Kerry some more, to dig into his soul and wound it once again.  His home live sucks, and he wants to be with the girl he loves.

And now there’s other crap at play . . .

 

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

Kerry’s eyes opened as he came out of the dream. He didn’t gasp for breath or jerk upright as characters did in movies when they awoke from a dream: he simply exhaled and rolled over onto his back, looking through the darkness at his his ceiling.

He had no idea how long he’d been in his dreamspace, but it hadn’t felt as if it’d been long. He remembered times with Annie when they’d spent an entire day, from sunrise until the next, talking, playing, laughing, enjoying each other’s company—and later, after the admissions of love, hugging, kissing, and cuddling. This time it was more like a quick “Hello, how are you?” and then back out into real life. Not to he had no idea who this person was who’d invaded the dreamspace he shared with his lovely Annie . . .

Kerry slowly drew back the covers and got out of bed. He quietly made his way out of the bedroom and walked the few steps to the toilet room. It wasn’t often that Kerry had to get up in the middle of the night to relieve himself, but for some reason now he found he needed to go badly. He sat and tried pushing the dream away, but the last thing the girl said stuck with him:

“You hold my life in your hands.”

He bowed his head and sighed. What did she mean by that? How is her life in my hands? I don’t even know her; how can I help someone I’ve never met? He finally put the dream out of his mind, finished up in the toilet room, and returned to his bedroom.

 

I’ve come out of a few dreams the same way as Kerry has, and it can be a bit of a shock.  I’ve never sat up in bed screaming, and don’t know anyone who has.  But it looks more dramatic on the screen when it show it that way, I guess.  And the dream was bothersome, because now Kerry’s got someone telling him he hold their life in their hands.  In his world, don’t think for a moment that dreams don’t have meaning.

And his mind wanders back to that world once he’s back in his bedroom . . .

 

It was impossible to return to sleep, however: the dream had left Kerry too wound up, and he didn’t bother getting into bed because he knew he would only toss and turn rather than return to sleep. Back at school he’d head off to the hospital and ask Nurse Gretchen for something that would let him sleep in ten minutes, then head off to Bed #2 for a couple of hours of sleep. There wasn’t any chance of that happening—not for another couple of weeks, at least.

Kerry chose to sit at his computer desk instead. He flipped on the small lamp to his left, casting light upon the desk and his tablet computer, while the rest of his room remained in darkness. He didn’t know what he wanted to do: usually he’d jump on the Internet and start reading whatever he could find, but this time he wanted to talk to Annie. If this had happened at school, he’d meet her in the Mezzanine Commons, in three hours time, and they’d discuss the dream over breakfast before heading off to—what class will I be in on Tuesday? He powered up his computer so he could check out the real schedule Ms. Rutherford had sent him, and not the fake one that came in his travel package . . .

His tablet was up and running after a few seconds, thanks to the modifications Salem Director of Security Isis Mossmaon performed on the system as a present for his last birthday. Kerry was about to bring up a browser and read the email attachment when he saw the Skype icon notification in the lower right hand corner pop up and display a familiar name. He checked the time on his computer—03:11—and performed a quick calculation in his head. Only a little after twenty hours there— His finger hovered over the notification icon. Why not see if she’s really on-line?

Kerry tapped the notification: Skype loaded and proceeded to call the user on the other end of the connection. A few seconds later—as Kerry was throwing up a spell that would keep the conversation localized around the desk—the call connected.

A red-haired girl wearing pajamas with unicorns on them stared back at him through his computer display. “Kerry?”

Kerry sat back and grinned. “Hi, Emma.”

 

Emma has pajamas with unicorns on them.  No word if they’re new, or if she’s worn them to the Midnight Madness.    You never know:  we may see them again.

There I left him–

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you're alone . . .

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you’re alone . . .

And I’ll return to him tonight so he can talk.

It’s not the person he wants to speak with, but . . . any port in a storm as they say.

At Home With the Malibeys, the Final Questions

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

“Who else from you year—”

“Level.”

“I’m sorry?”

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

 

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

 

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

“Um . . . no one.”

“Just you and Annie—right?”

Kerry nodded. “Yes. That’s right.”

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

“You could type and print out a letter.”

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

“Annie.” He barely croaked out her name.

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

“Then why would you—”

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

And all my parents do is embarrass me.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Is it a good something?

Define good for me.

At Home With the Malibeys, the Start of Dinner

I swear I’m not trying to rush into this story, but I spent most of the afternoon and evening working on this part–well, most of the afternoon was spent trying to futz around with the new Google Maps to make out a “fake route” for Kerry, because once I see a shiny toy like that, I have to make it mine.  While it would seem there are bugs to get ironed out in the new Google Maps to make the itinerary you’ll see below, it likely is coming.

I wrote almost fifteen hundred words over the course of several hours, because I wanted to get into this part of the story.  We didn’t get to see much of Kerry’s home life in the last novel, but this time we’re starting off with a little slice, and they’ll be more to come when we get into Yule holiday.  But right now in the story it’s two weeks before Kerry lights out of Cardiff, and the family has sat down for dinner . . .

 

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

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were the days that Kerry’s mother Louise went into work at the BBC, usually commuting with his father, Davyn. Not only was Kerry left alone on those days, but the evening dinner usually consisted of take way, mostly Indian and Chinese, though fish and chips and kababs also made their appearance, and once in a while buggers and pizza would grace the dinner table.

Tonight dinner didn’t arrive until just after nineteen hours, due to traffic and a delay at the restaurant. Kerry’s parents picked up fish and chips, and while this has always been one of his favorites, since having the fish and chips at the school, the Cardiff fare simply wasn’t as good. He never let on, however, because he didn’t want to have a discussion about why the Salem food was so much better.

After all, when it’s made by artificial people using magical means, it was hard for Normals to match the results.

The seating was always the same: Davyn sat at one end of the table with his back to the family room, while Louise sat across from him with her back to the main lounge. Kerry sat between them, facing the wall separating the dining room from the kitchen, with his father to his left and his mother to his right. Even when they lived in California they ate in the same configuration when they all ate together. It was only during this summer home, after spending nine months at school with Annie that Kerry understood what Coraline told him that night he went to the hospital after his vision: all the girls save Annie sit on his right.

Even his mother.

 

That last part . . . there will be an answer, of sorts, as to why Annie is always to Kerry’s left, and he to her right.  Just give me another couple of hundred thousand words to get there, will ya?

 

His parents spent almost ten minutes going over their events of the day before Louise finally got around to checking up on her son. “How was your day, Kerry? Did you do anything interesting?”

Kerry actually had something interesting happen, something he’d expected for a few weeks. “My travel package came today.”

“What’s that?” His father barely looked up from his chips.

“My travel package for school arrived.” Kerry rubbed his hands against his thighs. “You know: tickets and itinerary. All the stuff I need to get to the staging point for returning students.”

“Oh.” Davyn finally turned towards Kerry, wiping his hands clean. “It’s time for you to return already?”

“Yeah, Dad.” Kerry tried not to sound sullen when he answered. “I told you about this last Thursday.”

“Hum.” His father shook his head. “It must have slipped my mind.”

“Where are you, um, staging this year, dear?” Louise barely remembered Kerry mentioning this last week, but didn’t want her son to think they were completely uninterested.

“Berlin.”

“Berlin? In Germany?”

“One and the same.” He fought hard to keep from rolling his eyes. Mom’s smarter than that: she’s trying to make conversation so Dad doesn’t look like he doesn’t care . . .

Vaguely remembering that last year Kerry stayed in London for a few days before heading to Amsterdam, she decided to see if he was doing the same this year. “How are your plans for this year? Staying in London again?”

Kerry shook his head. “Nope. Ms. Rutherford is coming here early on the twenty-seventh, and we’re taking a car to Cardiff Central, then the train into Paddington, a car from there to Liverpool Station, the train from there out to Stansted Airport, and from there I fly to Berlin.” He nibbled at a piece of fish. “Gonna make for a long day.”

 

That is the route as I worked it out.  It looks like this:

 

Car from home to Cardiff Cental
Train from Cardiff Central to Paddington
Car from Paddington to Liverpool
Train from Liverpool to Stansted Airport
Flight from Stansted Airport to Berlin Tegel Airport
Car from Berlin Tegel Airport to Crowne Plaza Berlin–City Ctr Nurnberger

 

There you have it.  You can probably figure out how he’s really going to travel, but for the sake of continuing to fool the parents, that’s what his itinerary says and what the tickets show.

Oh, and you can almost see the air quotes around “staging” when Louise says the word.

 

His father nodded. “Certainly sounds that way. Wouldn’t it be easier for you to leave for school from London?”

“Probably, but that’s not how The Foundation does thing. Berlin is the staging area for all the returning students from Europe, Western Asia, and most of Africa. Last year they staged out of Madrid, and, I think, next year we stage out of Paris.” He didn’t want to say he’d heard that from Annie during their last dream together.

Louise snorted as she played with her food. “Still doesn’t sound efficient.”

“Apparently it works, though. Gives The Foundation time to gather everyone up, and lets the students have some time in a different city every year.”

“Do you know which cities they visit?” When Kerry had returned home after school in early June, Davyn seemed primarily concerned with how The Foundation was able to ship students back and forth to various parts of the world. Kerry figured he was getting a feel for the sort of costs that were run up transporting kids every year.

Kerry nodded. “Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Rome, and Berlin. Last year the returning students were in Madrid, Berlin this year, next year Paris. Then I think . . .” He searched for something Annie had mentioned off-hand during their last dream. “We go to Rome and then back to Amsterdam. I remember hearing something about you always end up your last staging year in the city where you started.” Assuming you don’t start jaunting off to Salem by that time.

 

I’ve run through, in my mind, of course, all the cities that the Foundation is currently using for staging, and I even worked out the line.  A couple of things here, though:  once again, we are working with five points–like in a pentagram–and three of these cities are the locations for the main headquarters for The Foundation.  The Protectors headquarters (they are like The Foundation police) is located in Berlin, the Guardians headquarters (we know these guys) is located in Amsterdam, and the main Foundation headquarters is located in Paris.  How ironic that Annie and Kerry started out in the main city of the people they did a field operation for a half-year later.  One might imagine something dark and nefarious about that, but no:  it just happened to be in the schedule for the A Levels.

Now that travel is out of the way, the parental units try to do the small talk thing with the young don’t-know-he’s-a-witch-yet person:

 

Silence returned to the dinner table for almost a minute as everyone caught up on the food before them. Louise once more broke the silence. “You seem happy about going back.”

Kerry wasn’t going to try and hide his joy. “I am.”

“You were never like this when you were returning to school here—”

“That’s because it was the Cardiff schools, Mom.” Kerry tried to keep his tone as snide-free as possible, but given his hatred for time in the Cardiff school system, he wasn’t completely successful.

Davyn thought he’d try to lighten the mood by changing the subject. “I guess you’re looking forward to seeing your friends again.”

“Yeah.” Thinking about the people he knew who’d return to school with him lightened his mood considerably. “It’ll be great seeing them again.”

His father placed his folded arms on the table and leaned against them. “Who are some of your friends?”

“Well, there’s Nadine, and there’s Emma—” He blushed slightly as he grinned. “And Annie.”

His mother addressed her husband. “You know, the girl who writes all the time?”

 

Remember The Girl Who Writes, because it’s gonna make for some problems in a bit . . .

 

“Yes, that one.” Davyn turned back to his son. “Anyone else?”

Kerry didn’t have to think about that one. “A few of the instructors, also.”

“They have names?”

“Sure. There’s Erywin and Helena—you met them, Mom—and there’s Deanna and Wednesday, and Vicky.” He considered the others he knew. “There’s also Professor Kishna and Professor Semplen, but I don’t knew them well enough to call them by their given names.”

Louise eyed her son hard. “I was going to ask about that.”

“Yeah, some of the instructors want you to address them by their given names when you’re in private—” He realized he was missing someone. “Oh, and there’s Coraline—she’s the school doctor—and Trevor, our librarian and archivist.”

“I see.” Louise set her right knuckles against the bottom of her chin. “Those first three, though: those are classmates?”

“Yes, they are. Annie and Emma are in my level, and Nadine is an older—”

“Don’t you have any classmate friends who are boys?”

 

And leave it to Louise Malibey, mother of Kerry, to find a button to push.  “What?  Don’t you hang out with any boys?”  Yeah, push that button–push it!

So here we are–

Looking more like something I'd do for NaNoWriMo right now.

Looking more like something I’d do for NaNoWriMo right now.

–Eleven and a half thousand words into the new story, and only a little over a week is gone.  Not a bad pace, if I should say so myself.  It’s likely I won’t get much done tonight, however, as I’m off to get my face zapped again after work.  But I do wanna jump back into this scene, and into the next.  They are important.

Oh, and do you recall Annie telling Kerry in their last dream that there wasn’t any love in his house?

Yeah, remember that . . .

Along the Scenic Dreamways

Trying morning today because stupid computer is being a pain in the butt, but I may have tamed the beast.  Maybe.  I’ll find out in a bit, I guess, but it’s likely it’ll keep frustrating me for another hour or so.

This was so unlike yesterday, which was nice and sunny and warranted getting out of the apartment and doing a little shopping.  The shopping part sucked a lot when it came to finding shoes, as none of these damn stores carry anything in an woman’s 11 wide, so I’m pretty much wasting my time going in there to look.  Note to DSW:  you lost out on about a hundred dollars of sales yesterday because you continue to think everyone has a narrow foot.  Get with the times, loser.

But the trip out to Lancaster was fantastic, and it was the first time in a long time I was flying down the road with the windows down–

And I actually had hair for the wind to blow through.

And I actually had hair for the wind to blow through.

'It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win."  Now all I gotta do is find my Mary.

‘It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win.” Now all I gotta do is find my Mary.

I should point out that those pictures above were taken with a mobile phone while I was traveling  at 70 mph/110 kph, while traveling in a straight line with no one near me.  Don’t try that at home, kids, unless you’re professional.  Like me.

I also managed to catch the first episode of Season 3 of Orphan Black, which was amazing as always, and made me feel sad for some of the seestras.  Why do they torture my poor clone girls?  Oh, wait:  I do that to my characters, too.

Speaking of which . . . I wrote.  I ended up producing fifteen hundred and fifty words, and finished the dream scene I’d started the other day.  Remember how I said I’d likely end up with ten thousand words written after the first week?

Yes, I believe I said I'd do that.

Yes, I believe I said I’d do that.

I believe I left my kids in a hotel room in dreamland, and . . . well, let’s see what happened next.

 

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

“Obviously.” Annie swung her legs to the floor, stood, and made her way to the red curtains on Kerry’s side of the room. She spread the curtains, exposing the balcony beyond the closed French doors. “Look out here.” She opened the doors and stepped out on to the open space beyond the bedroom.

The balcony was large enough for two people to sit close using one of the small chairs set in the far corners. The space between allowed that same couple to stand close together—something that Annie and Kerry were used to doing. The both leaned upon the railing and examined their surroundings.

They were on the second floor of their hotel; there was another floor above them. Their balcony overlooked a large, enclosed courtyard mostly covered in shadow at the moment. The courtyard was empty, as were all the remaining balconies for the other rooms. All of the balcony doors were closed and the curtains drawn.

They were the only ones here; the only ones present within their private universe.

 

Most of the time they are alone, but like a lot of dreams, they also get instances where they are in a crowd with other people.  Not this time, however.  And there’s something else–

 

Annie looked up to the cloudless, slate gray sky. “This feels like we’re in Europe.”

“I think so, too.” Kerry laid his hand over Annie’s. “It’s the way this place looks. It doesn’t seem like it’s in England, though—” He looked to the girl at his left. “Probably mainland.”

“I agree.” She twisted her right hand around and grasped Kerry’s. “It’s lovely, wherever we are.”

“It does feel like a real place—” He smiled. “Doesn’t it?”

“It does. It also feels—”

“Like it’s not a real dream?”

“Yes.”

Kerry searched his memory for any mention of instances where more than one person shared a dream vision. The books he’d read all thought his A Levels were thorough, but given that after his own experiences with dream visions, he’d gone over those chapters again before returning the books to the library . . .

He looked around as he sighed. “This is not happened before.” He looked over his shoulder into the room. “But you’re right: it feels more like something that’s going to happen to us instead of the last couple of dreams.”

Annie turned around, leaning against the railing as she peered into the room. “We should leave the room and see if there’s anything there.”

 

We know they’ve had the same vision, but they weren’t in it together at the same time–which may have been a bit strange if they had, and . . . we won’t go there.  Oh, and as an aside:  one day I will explain what Kerry’s first vision means, and why they had the same vision months apart.  Because I always figure those things out.

Eventually they leave the room, but what they find isn’t what they expect . . .

 

“Thank you.” She headed straight for the door with Kerry close behind. She designed an image in her mind of walking through the door and out onto the south deck of her lake house, a place Kerry had yet to see in their dreams. She opened the door, but rather than finding a hallway—or the deck she visualized—there was a sunny, tree-lined yard beyond. She stepped through the door and into the yard, walking about four meters before she stopped to examined their surroundings. “This was not what I wanted—or what I expected.”

Kerry began walking around in circles, looking at everything. “What did you want?”

“The deck of my lake house.”

“I don’t see a lake—” He pointed from where they’d just entered this area. “—and given what you’ve told me, I don’t think this is your house.”

Annie turned and gave a slight gasp when she saw the house. “No, it’s not, but . . . I know this place.” She turned to Kerry. “It’s my grandparent’s house in France.”

Kerry well remembered Annie describing her time this house, located outside the town of Pocancy, in the Champagne region. She’d told him about her time there during a lull in their Guardian field operation, as well as telling him of another dream of hers . . . “This is pretty nice. I like the yard.”

“I love having trees around a house.” She did a slow pirouette, taking in the grounds. “I haven’t thought about this in some time.”

 

Some of us remember the discussion about the house in France, which sort of morphed into a discussion about Annie wanting to live there one day–and not by herself.  As they walk through their dreamscape out to the dreamroad, the conversation turns back to that discussion, and the implications of what it means, and Kerry has to state the obvious . . .

 

Kerry noticed the use of the plural right away. “So this is where our house will be after we marry?”

Annie glanced out of the corner of her eye. “No: this is where we’ll make our home.” They stopped a couple of meters short of the road, with the gray, sunless sky beaming down on them. “Do you remember what else I said to you when we were on our field operation?”

There were a number of things Kerry recalled discussing while they were in Kansas City, but given their location, and Annie’s references, it wasn’t difficult to understand what she wanted him to remember. “What we talked about in our dream.”

“Yes. What we discussed outside your house in California.” She turned to him, never letting go of his hand. “You’ve lived in two houses, but you’ve never had a home.” She glanced at the ground for a moment. “That’s not completely true: you’ve had one near home—”

He was curious about this last statement. “Where?”

 

Yeah, where Annie?

 

“At the school—at Salem.” She slipped closer. “Do you know why? Because there you find love.” Annie held Kerry’s hand tight. “There is Vicky and Wednesday; there is Deanna and Coraline; there is Erywin and Helena.” She pressed herself against Kerry. “And I am there, above them all: your soul mate, the one who loves you most.

“I told you in our dream that a home is made of love, which is why you’ve never had a home. You have lived in California and you live in Cardiff, and while you have had some love in your live, you’ve never found in where you live. Your parents say they love you, but they don’t show it, they don’t offer the affection you require.

“I know this because I’ve been with you almost as long as they, and I know your wants, your dreams, your desires.” She kissed him, holding it for what seemed like forever. “We will marry—” Annie pressed her fingers against Kerry’s lips. “I know we are not supposed to speak of this, but here we are allowed to dream, are we not?

“We will marry, and we have a home. Maybe here, maybe in America, maybe in Bulgaria. I don’t care, as long as we are together. We will make that our home, because we will find love there. And we will say that to each other, every day, as I said I would do to you—and as I know you do for me.” She told both of his hands in hers and pressed them between their bodies. “Even when I can’t hear the words, I know you say them.”

He nodded slowly. “Every morning, and every evening. From now—”

“—Until the day you die?”

Kerry took a slight breath, ready to say the truth he’d held inside for many months now. “Until the day one of us dies.” He pressed his head against her shoulder. “That’s my promise.”

Annie held him against her. “I’ll hold you to that, love.”

 

Annie is not scared that talking about The Big M might be jinxing them in some way.  She doesn’t care;  she’s twelve, she’s a witch, she’s a hell of a sorceress who’s already racked up a body count, and she wants to give Kerry the love and affection tell him his parent are incapable of giving.  It’s likely she understands this last because she’s heard Kerry speak of it enough that it’s become as much a part of here as it is him.

And Kerry is right there, promising to tell his Sweetie that he loves her every day . . . until one of them die.  Yeah, a few people are going to read that line and say, “That could be tomorrow!” and start clutching pearls.  He’s also twelve, just a quarter year into that age, hanging out in a dream with a girl he’s known most of his life, and while he admitted last year that it’s possible they could die at any time, he’s now pushing that thought aside.  After all, Kerry’s been in the “I’ve cheated death” position three time in the last year, so he’s also developing that feeling kids his age get where they think nothing is going to happen to them.

Besides, His Dark Witch is gonna teach him to get those Morte spells up to speed while he teaches her to be a shapeshifter.  These kids got life by the ass right now–

Then again, if anyone believes that, they’re likely in the market to buy a bridge.

Back In the Dream Time

Semi-rainy, somewhat foggy, overcast morning here in The Burg, but there is so much going on.  Mostly due to the fact that last night was not all about writing, but rather about getting zapped with a laser.  That’s right:  I’ve started the process of getting the facial hair removed, and session one involved having someone who knows what she’s doing go over my face with a laser.  So it was a half hour drive out to where I needed to be, I waited a half hour to get in, an hour of zapping, and a half hour home with a slightly numb face and the smell of burning hair lingering in my memory.

I don't look none the worse for it, either.

I don’t look none the worse for it, either.

This morning there was almost nothing to shave away, and once I did my face was smoother than ever before.  Monday I go back for some electrolysis to burn away the dark hairs on my upper lip, and we see how I handle that to know how much more is needed.

And what did I do once I was home–other than hope the feeling returned to my cheeks and upper lip?  Wrote.  What else?

It’s on into Chapter Two now, and while I’m still with Kerry, Annie comes back–not for lunch, but for something . . . well, you have to see for yourself.  Which you will.  Below.

 

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

Kerry opened his eyes and realized he wasn’t in his bed—or his bedroom. For one, the bed was far larger than his. For another, there wasn’t a window over the head of his bed, so no sunlight coming from that direction.

And lastly, Annie was lying in bed next to him, slowly opening her eyes.

She blinked a few times before slowly looking about room without moving her head. She finally settled her gaze upon the boy next to her. “Kerry.”

“Annie.” He grinned and slipped closer to her. “Did you do this?”

“Put us here?” She barely shook her head. “I’ve tried to dreamwalk to you, but haven’t managed it yet. This was—” She smiled. “It happened.”

 

Those crazy dream are at it again.  Are you wondering a time frame?  Don’t worry:  Kerry has you covered–

 

“I’m glad it did; it’s been two weeks since we had lunch and I was missing you.” Remaining under the covers, he moved until they were close enough to kiss. “Strange to wake up in bed while still in bed.”

“I know.” Annie leaned into the kiss, making it sweet and tender. “I could get used to this.”

Kerry chuckled. “I’ve heard that somewhere before.”

She laid her hand upon the side of his arm and slowly side it towards his waist and hip. “If I remember correctly, it’ll be in a couple of—”

The second Annie touched Kerry’s hip her hand stopped, and he knew why, for he had reached for her waist at the same time. Both stared at each other in disbelief.

 

Okay, so the kids are in bed dreaming that they’re in bed, and . . . what would make them stare like that?

 

Annie was the first to find her voice. “Did you wear pajamas to bed?”

“I always do.”

She chuckled. “Always?”

He swallowed before speaking. “What about you?”

“I always wear pajamas or a night gown to bed—”

“Except for—”

“Let’s not go there.” Annie lifted her side of the covers enough to stare down at her body. “Didn’t expect that.”

Kerry caught a quick peak of himself as well. “Yeah, um . . .” He had a hard time keeping the smile away. “Maybe we should think about getting dressed.”

 

Yeah, maybe you should, kids!  It would really be embarrassing if someone dreamwalked their butts right now and found them in flagrante delicto–though they’re not actually doing anything except dream blushing.  And making jokes about being naked in a dream.  It’s just that when we have dreams like that, the other person we’re dreaming about usually isn’t really there.  It would sort of be like the time Jean Grey caught her scumbag husband Scott fooling around with Emma Frost in his mind.  The dumb was strong in those mutants . . .

But they’re rectifying the problem pronto–

 

“Some night clothes at the least.” The spaghetti strap of a night gown appeared on Annie’s shoulder as she visualized a proper night garment to wear. “There: much better.” She sat up and began to pull the covers back.

Hey.” Kerry quickly visualized a sleep shirt and lounging pants—his normal sleep attire—around his body before Annie exposed him.

Now she was laughing. “Remember, I’ve seen you, my love.” She fell along side and kissed him once again. “Or did you forget?”

“I do remember—” How can I not remember something like a wedding night that won’t happen for years? “That doesn’t mean you get to see the goods tonight.”

“Prude.” She stuck out her tongue, then looked about the room. “Is this anything you know?”

“I was going to ask you the same.” He sat up gave the room some scrutiny. It wasn’t a large room, but the lock on the door, the instructions next to the door, no visible closet, a door to his right behind Annie, and the large red window curtains to his left told him all he needed. “We’re in a hotel.”

 

I guess this means when they’re back at school and they start locking lips at the Midnight Madness, when they’re told, “Get a room!” they can yell back, “We already have!”  Oh, and if you’re wondering about there being some meaning to this place . . . maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe could be?  Room me maybe?

Anyway, that’s the start of the scene, and you’ll see where it leads tomorrow, because I’ll get to writing once I’m home and I’ve eaten and I’m ready to go.

It's easier to put these things together when I've not let people use ray guns on my face.

It’s easier to put these things together when I’ve not let people use ray guns on my face.

Also, I’ve put up a poll that I would love everyone to fill out.  If you can.  Please.  With sugar on top.

That would be great.

 


The Sadness, the Songs, and Everything

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

I have proof right here.

I have proof right here.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

“It’s not your fault, Sweetie.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

But I knew
She had made me happy

Flowers in her hair
Flowers everywhere

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

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

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

 

And in case you were wondering:

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

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

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

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

How’d you like that song, Red?

 

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

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

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

“Thank you.”

“Did you ever do Ostara?”

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

“The pain.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sounds good.”

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

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

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

“Oh.”

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

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

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

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

Erywin winked. “You know it.”

 

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

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

One chapter down, many to go.

It’s a good start.

Talking on the Town

There is this thing called “Real Life” that gets in the way of what writers do for either a living or for free.  That was pretty much me yesterday, as I spent most of my time out on the road until about seven PM, at which point I was completely out of it in terms of having creative juice left to stir.

First off, I walked into work in a pair of shoes I shouldn’t have.  This means I was in pain by the time I got there, because of really large blisters on my heels.  Which I popped at work, which came back as I walked home.  Which means by the time I treated them at the apartment before heading off for my appointment means I was in a lot of pain and having trouble walking.  Like I am this morning.  They’re sort and tender and . . . yeah, you get the idea.

But I have good news on the medical front.  My prolactin count has peaked–that’s one of the new hormones I’ve got stored inside my body–so no need for an MRI, my blood pressure was down about twenty points, and “the girls”, as the doctor calls them, are still growing and firming up nicely.  It’s good news all around.

The drive out to see my doctor is long; the drive back, longer.  Which means by the time I reached The Burg I was pretty burned out as far as getting anything done was concerned, and I didn’t get into the novel until after eight PM.  Closer to eight-thirty, actually.  I didn’t feel much like writing, but I wanted to keep going as I’ve been going because, well, writing.  You want to get back into that grove, that rhythm, that pops up when you’re starting a project.  You get to writing, not making excusing.

I managed a little over five hundred and eighty words, and here they are:  my kids back together again.

 

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

After lunch the urge existed to find things to do, but as Annie said, “We have plenty of time in the future to sightsee—I’d rather be with you.” That was what happened: they left the Pret a Manger and headed to Russell Square park and wandered about there for a while before returning to the tube station and taking the Underground to Lancaster Gate, across Bayswater Road from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

They headed over to the Kensington Gardens side of the park and walked hand-in-hand. They walked south past the Italian Gardens and along the west side of the Long Water. They stopped at the Peter Pan statue and lingered there for close to twenty minute nearly alone. The cool, rainy weather kept people indoors, and there were few pedestrians to cast wondering glances at the young couple walking close together, their hands intertwined.

They deviated for the lake’s shore and headed inland, standing for a while inside the Queen’s Temple when a light rain began to fall. Kerry finally chose this moment to ask Annie about how she ended up coming to London for Lunch.

“She visited Sunday.” Annie leaned against the wall catty-corner from where Kerry stood. “My mother and her spoke for about two hours while I was out at the Lake House; Helena made a point of insisting they speak alone.” She set her hands behind her back and shook her head. “I should have realized she was planning something.”

“I watched your dad race Sunday.” Kerry had streamed the British Grand Prix from Silverstone that day.

“Yes, he came in fifth. I watched it later after he returned home.”

Kerry couldn’t imagine Annie sitting with her father watching a race, but he had no reason to believe she’d lie. “You think your mom and Helena were talking about lunch the other day?”

“I’m not sure. Mama said they talked about what I’ve done in sorcery and some of the thing Helena planed for our B Level, but that was probably just a small part of what they discussed.”

Kerry thought that was likely true as well. He couldn’t see why Helena would discuss sorcery with Annie’s mother and not have her present as well; it was completely unlike her. “I take it she showed up today?”

“Yes, right after lunch. She spoke with my mother for a few minutes, then came up to my room and said she was taking me to lunch, and told me I didn’t need to change my clothes, because where we were going the weather was similar, and that she’d return later.” She repositioned her hands before her. “So I only nibbled until she returned.”

He nodded. “Was your dad there?”

“Yes, he was.” Annie grinned. “He knows Helena by reputation, and was cordial to her. I think having three sorceresses in the house made him nervous.”

He almost laughed thinking about her father—whom he’d never met—trying to remain casual while Helena and Annie’s mother chatted before Annie joined them. He has to know just how great a sorceress she is by now. “Hope he wasn’t too scared.”

She looked down at the ground for a moment. “He survived the experience.” Annie reached out and took Kerry’s hand. “It’s turned to mist; I want to walk.” He followed, a large grin stretched across his face, as he loved walking in cool mist as well.

And he liked it even better walking along with Annie.

 

I should mention that I also spent about half an hour looking though Google Maps and checking out Underground routes just to get those first three paragraphs right.  I could have spent less time, I admit, but I was tired, and it was a nice diversion to keep the mind semi-sharp.  And I like maps.

And I snapped this right before I went to bed.  Resting Bitch Face is all you can muster after a long day.

And I snapped this right before I went to bed. Resting Bitch Face is all you can muster after a long day and you’re not wearing makeup.

What will today be like?  I’ll find out soon enough.

So will my kids.