In the Inn: Stated Feelings

Novel writing was had last night, and it was a bit more than I thought:  Six hundred an sixty-six words.  Oooooooh!  I’ve done that before, too, so maybe this isn’t a coincidence.  You never know, right?

I was jamming through some interesting music last night, as I got back to my Chicago pop roots while writing.  Started getting into some old Cheap Trick, particularly their 80s stuff, which is when they were writing some great pop while sounding a lot like early-60s Beatles.  Some of the stuff was successful, but one of my favorite songs was I Can’t Take It, which didn’t do well as a single or video, but was always a hit with the fans, probably because all of us have been in the position laid out the lyrics.  I also love the lyric progression during the song, which makes it difficult to sing if you don’t have music.

And the other I’ve got in my head this morning is If You Want My Love, which is probably their most Beatlesque song ever.  This is the alternate version of the song, which returns over four lines of lyrics before the ultimate fade out::

Yeah, I’ll probably have these stuck in my head most of the day, and at some point they’ll get added to Kerry’s song list.

As for Kerry–well, he’s learning that Erywin and Helena have made an offer to put him up should he get kicked out of the house by his parent, and now that we return from yesterday’s fade-out, we find it’s more than that:

 

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

“Thought—” Helena crossed her arms and looked satisfied. “I believe we’re your only choice.”

There was something about the certainly in Helena’s statement that caught Kerry’s attention. “What do you mean?”

“She means we have rigged the game slightly in our favor.” Erywin glanced at the women on either side of her before turning back to the young couple at the foot of the bed. “The afternoon of your birthday, while Annie and you were out flying, we—Helena, Deanna, and I—contacted your case worker, Ms. Rutherford—”

Deanna deftly cut in on the conversation. “Actually, we went to see her: we jaunted to London.”

Erywin gave her a quick nod. “Yes, that’s true. We met with her for about an hour, and Helena and I explained how we thought if your situation at home were to deteriorate, we wanted you to come and live with us.” The instructor looked down for a moment. “We have a guest room at the Woodingdean house that we’ve never used because, well, we don’t actually have guests stay over night: anyone who shows up doesn’t require an overnight stay.”

“I went as a fellow coven leader and counselor.” Deanna looked to the women on her left with a slight grin on her face. “I wanted to assure your case worker that neither Erywin or Helena were intent on showing you any favoritism at school, nor would having you live with them affect the way they’d instruct you in the future.” She chuckled. “Which we know they won’t, but it helped to have another person with the same status as Erywin tell this to your case worker.”

 

Here is appears that all three instructors left the school the afternoon of 3 May, 2013, jaunted to London to meet with Ms. Rutherford, and let her know that The Mistress of Formulistic Magic and the Head Sorceress would put up Kerry for how ever long he’d require, and oh, don’t even consider any other location.

And what is meant by “The Woodingdean house”?  That’s Erywin’s house in England, specifically her home within the nice confines of Woodingdead, a suburb of the city of Brighton and home to about ten thousand people who maintain a village-like atmosphere while being completely unaware there are a couple of witches living in their confines.  It’s a nice, quiet place to live, and one that probably matches both women’s demeanor when they’re away from the school.

Just when you think you wouldn't know where witches live--

Just when you think you wouldn’t know where witches live–

And if Erywin has a home, does Helena as well?  Yes, she does, down on the North Island of New Zealand outside the town of Ngongotaha, which is located just north of Rotorua.  The place is also, I’m told, home to a large Māori population, and the second most spoken language in the area is Te Reo Māori, or The Language of the Māori.  All of which fits right in with Helena’s background.

So how does Kerry feel about this?  About how you’d expect:

 

For several second Kerry was unable to say anything. He knew Erywin and Helena—and Deanna, for that matter—considered Annie and he to be more than just students, that they considered them friend and respected the fact that they never tried to take advantage of that friendship. But this seems to go beyond mere friendship . . . “I don’t know what to say, guys.” He struggled to keep his emotions in check.

Erywin came over and slipped her arm around the boy’s shoulders. “You’re with friends, Kerry: there’s no need to say anything. We know how you feel.”

“And we knew this news might be a bit overwhelming—” Helena allowed her arms to drop to her side. “Which is why we didn’t spring this on you at dinner.”

“The thing is, Kerry—” Erywin’s tone softened slightly. “—I’ve been though this myself. I had to leave home mid-way through the summer after my C Levels because it had become too dangerous for me to stay. It happens even now: there are a couple of your levelmates who aren’t going home because The Foundation is fearful of what might happen when they come out to their parents.” She squatted down so she could better see Kerry’s face. “The same could happen to you, and if it does we want you to end up with people who not only care for you, but will try to make the event less traumatic.” She gave his hair a quick tousle. “That soul mate of yours isn’t the only one who loves you, you know.”

 

Finally we have one of the instructors expressing something that sounds a lot like maternal affection for Kerry, and likely Annie as well–after all, who was it who hooked these two up for a London lunch at the beginning of the novel?  It’s been stated that Erywin probably sees a lot of herself in Kerry, or at least Helena does, and that they also see a lot of Helena in Annie.  It’s quite likely that Erywin would probably be a better mother towards Kerry that Kerry’s own mom, and who know?  Maybe we’ll see that one day.  Makes one wonder how he’s flourish if he were to move to that environment.

After that there’s just a show fade-out:

 

Kerry couldn’t hold back any longer. The moment he wrapped his arms around Erywin and began hugging her, the tears began flowing. Though he’d always suspected Erywin’s—and, as well, the other instructors in the room— care for Annie and he went beyond mere academic interest, this was the first time any of them professed such deep affection. “Thank you, Erywin. And you know—” He choked up for a few seconds. “I feel the same way for you—” He looked towards the other women in the room. “All of you.”

Annie stood next to Kerry and held him close. “As do I—” She gave him a kiss on the cheek and turned to the older instructors whom she loved nearly as much as the boy who was her soul made. “As I always will.”

 

And we leave that part of the adventure behind.  There is but one last scene in Chapter Thirty-four, and once that’s written we’re prepared to not only leave Salem behind, the the whole of North America as well . . .

In the Inn: Setup Options

I was pretty much a–well, I won’t say bad girl.  Tired girl, yes.  Mostly due to starting some allergy medication yesterday that had me wanting to lay down for a nap about one-thirty yesterday afternoon at work.  Which I finally did when I arrived home and after l ate.

"I'll have Kerry professing his darkest secrets to Annie here just as soon as I lift my nose off the 'V' key."

Summertime, and your medication has you on the nod.

I also had a TV recap run about twenty-eight hundred words, because I’m a wordy bitch, and when I make promises to recap, I keep them.  The good thing is that was the last one for a Sunday for most of the coming summer, so that day is now free.  Of course I won’t be writing much over the summer, so there’s that, too.

So by the time I got to noveling I was beat as hell.  I manage almost four hundred words, but that was it:  after that point I was ready for bed–which, of course, I didn’t reach until almost eleven-thirty.  But!  I did tell everyone who is coming to visit in their Inn by the Sea:

 

 

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

Annie expected to see Erywin enter the room, and she did—along with Helena and Deanna, the same instructors who came to the Sea Sprite with them last year. Helena looked around the room with a smile on her face as Kerry shut the door and moved back close to the bed. “I hope we weren’t interrupting anything.”

She sat on the edge of the bed and crossed her legs. “Nothing out of the ordinary.” She reached for Kerry’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Is there something with which we can help?”

Deann placed her hands in front of her, lacing her fingers together. “Actually, we’re here to see Kerry.”

“You’re here to see me?” He moved next to Annie and nearly put his arm around her shoulders before he stopped himself. “What for?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.” Erywin took a step forward. “Actually, we’re here because of what’s going to happen tomorrow.” She lowered her head to clear her voice. “You’re aware of your options if things don’t work out at home after you come out?”

“I sure do.” Last Friday morning all the B Levels were summoned to the main conference room across from the Headmistress’ Office, the same place where Annie received her wings, and they were given an hour presentation on what to do if, after revealing their true nature and what they were really learning at school. “If things start to go sideways with the folks I’m to contact my case worker and tell them I need to be removed.” He raised his eyebrows for a second as he cocked his head to the side. “I mean, you were there—so was Deanna. So you should know.”

“Indeed I do.” As all coven leaders were present at the meeting headed by Isis and Trevor, Erywin knew exactly what Kerry and the other B Levels heard. “Therefor we want you to know that should things go ‘sideways’, as you say, and you are removed, you’ll be placed in another home—the home of more accepting witches.” She released a short sigh before smiling. “Helena and I have indicated that if you need to be placed in another home, we’d like to be your first choice.”

 

There you have it:  Kerry is getting an official invite from Helena and Erywin to come stay with them should he get kicked out of the house for being a witchy witch.  Which knowing his mom that might just happen.  All the hows and whys of this I’ll cover tomorrow–just let it be known, at least someone’s got his back and is looking out for his well being.

In the Inn: Rest and Recolections

Yesterday, squeezed in between the thirteen hundred word blog post and the fifteen hundred words of note I did for the mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I managed to start the penultimate scene for Chapter Thirty-four and plow about six hundred words into it before shutting down for the evening.

Like they say, there it is.

Like they say, there it is.

I know some people will say, “How can you write so much for the other things and only half as much for this?” and that’s a good question.  I probably has to do with the fact that I’m making stuff up as I go along, trying to come up with dialog and figuring out how these two kids are reacting to each other at the moment–really, that’s how it feels.

Looking at my numbers I’m currently sitting at three hundred eighteen thousand, five hundred words total, so my guess is that I’ll clear three hundred twenty thousand at the end of this chapter, and three twenty-five by the end of the last, which is gonna put me right where I said I should end up as well as bringing me in a hundred thousand words short of the last novel.  Three quarters of a million words written in about two and a half years is quiet a lot, and I do feel the need to step back and relax for a bit after this ends.  Because I do want to get into the third novel, and I need my wits about me for that.

And where does that lead?  We’re not at the school anymore, so we must be somewhere else . . .

 

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

Annie entered the room, left her bag near the door, and headed directly for the bed, where she dropped backwards with a thud on the mattress. She stretched her legs as she released a satisfied sigh she’d been holding in for the last hour. “This bed is just like I remembered from last year.”

Kerry set his bag next to Annie’s and looked about Room 308 of the Sea Sprite Inn, the same one Annie and he shared after finishing their A Levels last year. “The whole room looks the same.”

“Baseboard is a slightly different shade of white.” She closed her eyes and drew in a long, slow breath. “I noticed that right away.”

One of Kerry’s eyebrows shot up. “You noticed the baseboard?”

“I helped design a house, my love.” She giggled as she looked up into the bed’s canopy. “I have an eye for little details like that.” She raised her legs so she could examine her feet. “Alex did a great job with my pedicure.”

“Which I noticed right away if you remember.” Just like they’d done on their first night together, the Party of Five—now six with Kahoku coming over from his coven—had a small going away party on their floor with snacks and drinks. While they all talked about the summer holiday, music, movies, and video games, the girls rummaged through Annie’s collection of polish and did each other’s nails. Annie chose a deep metallic crimson that she’d gotten for Christmas and hadn’t tried, and before she asked what he thought, Kerry told her how lovely she made the color look, eliciting a smile and many kiss from her for the compliment.

 

Yes, it’s back to the Sea Sprite Inn, the same place they stayed last year and something that’s going to come up in a few more paragraphs.  The last paragraph is a good one in that it’s obvious Kahoku is really part of this little circle of friends, and if you remember from a long time back, when the kids returned from Yule, it was mentioned Sabrina left all the covens open so student could go from on to another without needing permission.  As Thursday night was the last before everyone started heading home, it was a good idea to open up everything so the kids could say their final goodbyes to friends.

It’s also interesting that everyone talked about the same thing while the girls we’re also doing each other’s nails.  Women:  we are multitaskers, are we not?  And we’ve already see that Annie likes getting her nails done, and she takes pride in having them done right.  Just wait until this summer:  Mama and her probably run off to one of the resort spas in Pamporovo to get their mani-pedis done every few weeks, because you can bet this is a habit Annie likely picked up from her mother.

Now that we know the who and where, is there anymore what?  Of course there is:

 

“Yes, you did.” She lowered her legs and patted the spot to her left. “Come rest for a moment. We have at least an hour before dinner.”

“As you wish—” He lay back on the bed and rolled over on his right side so he could hold her hand with his left. “Ms. Kirilova.”

She chucked again. “I loved hearing, ‘So nice you’re staying with us again’.” Annie rolled to her left so she could face Kerry. “Last year is was such a new experience, and this time I felt as if I were returning to a place we’d been visiting for years.”

“I think it helped that we’ve known for a week we were coming back. It wasn’t as big a surprise as last year.” This time Erywin came to them about twenty minutes after their return from Provincetown to let them know that, yes, they were once again sharing “special accommodations” this year after the school closed. “Last year it was like we didn’t know what to expect.”

“Uhmm—” Annie looked upward for a women. “I had a suspicion but nothing more. You, though—” Her smile lit up her face. “Wasn’t difficult to see you were still a bit clueless.”

Ha.” Kerry leaned closer and gave her a kiss. “Clueless no more, Ms. Kirilova.”

“I much prefer—” She snuggled close to Kerry to make it easier for them to kiss. “Mrs. Malibey.”

“Maybe Mrs. Kirilova-Malibey?”

She was about to give the question some consideration when they were a knock on the door. Annie turned her head in that direction. “It can’t be them this soon.”

“It’s not like we’re expecting any other guests.” Kerry slid off the bed as Annie sat up and smoothed out her skirt and blouse. He didn’t bother to see who was on the other side of the door: he figured it was one of the instructors from the school. It turned out he was only slightly right. “Oh, hi.”

 

That Annie:  she certainly loves hearing that married name.  It’s only a matter of time before a “Mrs. Malibey” slips out at school next year, leading to a lot of eye rolling and disgusted looks, because that’s exactly what teenagers like doing.  Oh, so much to write for the next book . . .

But before I get there I have to tell everyone who the “Oh, hi” was for, right?  I mean, that does make sense, doesn’t it?

Taking the Long Ways Home

Eight in the morning, and it’s time for the blog post–but only after two hours and just over a thousand words of novel writing.  Yes, I’ve been a busy girl, mostly because I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours and I need time to get ready.

But first, I’ve had this on repeat for most of the morning:  Moby’s God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.  Pay no attention to what the video cover page says: this version is the one found on I Like to Score, and is the one used as the outro music running over the credits for the movie Heat.  There are have been a few moments when this has started the tears a-flowing, because I’m imagining scenes where this can be used in my coming stories, and likely will.  Funny how my mind works, isn’t it?

The scene is over, and this is the last you’ll see of the school in this book.  After this everything takes place beyond the grounds, and half of the next chapter has my kids finally back in Europe for the summer.  But this goodbye is different than the one in the last novel.  Because this time they’re not standing around surrounded by silence–this time they’re surrounded by friends:

 

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

 

Kerry chuckled as he kept his arm around Annie’s shoulders and pulled her closer. “What are you guys going to do next?”

Penny quickly checked her phone. “We’re all jaunting out at the bottom of the hour to Logan and then on to Heathrow and to the local station at Paddington. We’ll spend about an hour and a half there, then Alex and Kahoku are going their own separate ways.”

“It’s already past twenty hours in Savannakhet.” Kahoku spoke of his home town on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. “I told my parents I’d be home no later than twenty-two thirty, so that gives Alex and me time to say goodbye.”

“You get home just in time to eat and adjust.” Alex gave him a peck on the cheek. “Lose a day going home, but at least you get it in a few months coming back.”

“What about you, Alex?” Annie figured the Ukrainian girl’s home was much like her own in terms of time changes.

“I’ll get into Kiev about eighteen-thirty, then fly home to Dubno. That should take me about an hour.” She sighed. “Just in time to eat, talk a little, and then adjust.”
Annie turned to Penny and Jario. “What about you?”

“I’ll be home, and Jario is almost on the same time as Salem, so we’ll hang out until about eighteen local before we head for home.” She gripped his hand. “That’ll give us almost four hours together. Then he jaunts back to Caracas, and I’ll fly home from London.”

“Venezuela’s a half-hour behind Salem because we’re right on the middle of one of the time lines, so it’ll be pretty much a normal day for me when I’m home: no adjusting needed.” Jario looked down as he smiled. “My case worker will be waiting for me at the airport to jaunt me home.”

“Mine does the same for me.” Kerry shrugged. “I don’t mind considering I gotta go like a thousand kilometers this time.”

Penny learned against Jario. “If you’d learned to fly, dear . . .”

“I did: I didn’t care for it.” He kissed Penny. “You girls are the fliers: I’m good with riding.”

“Just remember that.”

 

Now you see just how everyone is spread around the world, and even with being able to fly and teleport, getting from one place in the world to another is still gonna mess you up due to time changes.  This is how they play out:

B For Bewitching Time Zones Home

Party of Four going all over the world.

As you can see where their homes are concerned it’s still morning for Jario, late afternoon for Penny and Alex–and Annie and Kerry for that matter, too–and going into the evening for Kahoku.  And think about the A and B Levels that are still flying home:  this is why The Foundation starts shipping kids back to East Asia and Oceania just before midnight on the last Thursday at school.

And this is how the jaunts look.  First Penny and the other to London.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Then Alex heads home:

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Followed by Kahoku, who has to go to the other side of the world:

Where it's a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

Where it’s a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

And lastly there’s Jario, who’s doubling back on everyone.

Can we say he's going Back to the Future?  Probably.

Can we say he’s going Back to the Future? Probably.

Even though they’re going home, does that mean everyone’s stuck on their little homeland islands.  Maybe not:

 

Annie shifted her gaze among the members of her group. “Are you still going to try and meet this summer?”

“Going to try.” Alex nodded toward the girl to her right. “Penny and I have plans, and Kahoku’s pretty sure he can get into Kiev at least once.”

“I’m probably going to jaunt down to South America to see my honey.” Penny smiled at the blushing boy at her side. “I shouldn’t have any problems flying from the airport to his home town.”

Kahoku appeared sad for a moment. “It’d be nice if we could all meet up this summer.”

Penny grunted. “Yeah. Even though it’s getting easier to use to the jaunt stations now, it’s kinda hard at times to work out everything when we’re spread all through the world.”

“We should do something one summer.” Kerry’s face lit up as his mind worked out possibilities. “I mean, after we finish our C Levels Annie and I will be able to access the jaunt systems without needing permission from our parents, so that would make it easier for us to get around. Maybe not next summer, but the summer after that—”

“I agree.” Annie believe she knew where Kerry was going with his impromptu plan. “And not just a one day get together: maybe something for the a few weeks.”
Alex tilted her head slowly to one side. “Like what? Backpacking?”

Kerry laughed. “Or backbrooming.”

“Like the Polar Express.” Penny laughed. “I could see that.”

Annie nodded. “We should start working on that next year.”

Penny nodded back. “We will.”

 

First we see that once the kids are past their C Levels they’re permitted to use the Jaunt System without parental controls, and you know what that means?  Sounds like a certain couple will be hooking up for lunch and more in another year.  Kerry has a local station that will take him to London, or he could just jet off and be there in under an hour.  Annie as well:  she’s 150 km from Sofia and could fly to the airport in under thirty minutes.  And just imagine what it’ll be like when they start jaunting on their own–won’t be able to keep them apart.

As for Annie and Kerry’s idea of “backbrooming” with the other four–yep, that’ll happen one day.  Probably.  Maybe.  Could be.  Just not any time soon.  But you know I already have something in mind.

With all this out of the way, there remains only one last goodbye–

 

“And with that you should get going so you don’t miss your jaunt.” Annie gave Penny a hug. “Take care.”

“You, too, Annie.” Everyone began hugging and shaking hands, wishing each other a good summer holiday. Annie and Kerry waved their goodbyes to their friends as the four walked off the floor and vanished down the stairs, leaving them alone on the second floor.

Annie gave a near silent mummer. “Well, we’re one of the last in the coven—again.”

“Only this time—” Kerry turned and examined the empty, silent floor. “I don’t feel as sad as I did last year.”

“That’s because we knew we wouldn’t be returning to the first floor. Next year we’re back here, but when it comes time to say our goodbyes to our C Levels—” She rested against Kerry’s shoulder. “I imagine we’ll feel the sadness once more.”

“Probably.” He turned to her. “We have a lot to do next year.”

She nodded. “All new classes and a group of B Levels to help transition out of the fishbowl.”

“Uhh.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “Don’t say ‘transition’.”

“Don’t worry, my love.” Annie chuckled as she kissed her nervous soul mate. “I’ll be here to help you through that as well. After all—” She pulled down the neck of her blouse just enough to allow Kerry a peek at her glowing medical monitor. “We’re connected; I’m not going anywhere.”

He kissed her lips. “I’d never let you leave.”

“I’d never want to leave.” They stared at each other in silence for nearly fifteen seconds before Annie stated the obvious. “Come on: we have more goodbyes to say. I want to catch Professor Semplen before he returns home.”

“Yeah, we should get going.” He slipped his backpack over both shoulders and set it in place. “Let’s do this.”

Annie secured her purse strap around her body. “Lets.”

They walked hand-in-hand to the stair landing, turning just before exiting the floor, and spent a few silent moments regarding the place that was their home for the last nine months. Kerry raised his right hand and gave a small wave. “Take care, and see you next year.”

Annie offered a smile as she looked in the direction of her former room. “Goodbye and farewell. And thank you for the memories.”

Together their turned and slowly descended the stairs, leaving their latest home behind, but not forgotten.

 

No tears this time, no feelings of melancholy, because next year they’ll be back on the same floor, only a little closer to the stairs.  It’ll be interesting to see them “helping” the new kids when they move up into the B Area–not that the can’t handle being leaders, but it’s almost as if they’re getting one more duty stacked on top of all the crap they’ll already have waiting for them.  When you show everyone you’re a cut above the rest, you are expected to prove that point.

And with that we say goodbye to Salem and hello to a little place right on the water–

The Final Days and Nights: The After Cs

An interesting thing has started popping up the last couple of days.  I haven’t been napping during the day when I return from work, but since I’m going to bed at the normal time, I’m sleeping well through the night.  Strangely enough, I’m not feeling that tired while writing, either, and that was evident last night when when I stayed at the computer from about seven forty-five until eleven-ten, when The Americans was wrapping up and going to black, finishing the first scene of Chapter Thirty-four.

And finished it is.

Right here, right now, all that and more.

Right here, right now, all that and more.

I cranked through almost eleven hundred words in that time, and that’s the most I’ve written in a while at night, without being fueled by coffee.  Needless to say, I’m kinda proud of myself.  Maybe I’m shaking off whatever funk I’ve been under of late, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m within sight of the end of this novel and I want it to end on a good, high note.  Though you know it’s gonna be sad, you still want it to be good.

So, this thing the C Levels have worked up for Annie and Kerry–what is it?  That’s a good question.  And I have an answer.  But first, more history, you might say–

 

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

“And what exactly was that?” After hearing the unflattering portrayal of the current D Level boys, Annie felt a wave of satisfaction that she hadn’t tried out for the coven race team.

Alex chose to speak. “When we realized that we were going to be the C Levels this year, it left us a bit worried—mostly because we knew you two were going to be the B Levels. That had us just as little—worried.”

Kerry scrunched up his brow as he looked at Alex. “Why would you be worried?”

She turned to him. “You really don’t know what others have said about you.” Alex turned to Annie. “Either of you.”

Annie shook her head. “We never heard anything when we were A Levels: we were in The Fishbowl, and our reputation wasn’t something we discussed with anyone in Advanced Spells.” She wasn’t telling the complete truth—they were aware that among their own level there was some talk about them surrounding their entry into Advanced Spells as well as their first group test in Basic Self Defense and Weapons. And they not only knew about being the Lovey Dovey Couple, but did little to stop that gossip—

 

Way back in the A Level book, about the time Annie hugged Kerry while they were both covered in zombie entrails, she thought about Helena’s words concerning having a reputation, and begun reasoning that the looks of shock on the faces of some of her fellow A Levels was a good thing.  They knew about their whole Lovey Dovey Couple rep because there were times when it made them cringe, but beyond that they never much heard of what the school, or their own coven for that matter, thought of them.

The main reason for them not hearing anything is, naturally, they don’t care.  Talk all the shit you want behind our backs, we’re not listening.  And since Annie kicked that one dude’s ass during a judgement, it’s likely they won’t talk shit to their faces, either.

So what did their coven and school think?

 

It was Jario’s turn to enlighten them. “In this coven, you guys were—” He almost seemed as if he didn’t want to say the word. “Scary. We knew you were in Advanced Spells, which was something no A Level had done. The word was that you were crafting spells that were a level or two higher, and that you were doing things right away in flight that most everyone else needed time to learn. Also, we heard you were both pretty good racers—”

“That last had Darius worried.” Penny chuckled. “We even heard him say he thought one of you was going to join the team and kick him out.”

While Kerry laughed Annie felt the need to retort one of Jario’s last statement. “I never actually raced, though. Yes, we had speed trials last year, but I didn’t compete against anyone.” She stared across the table. “That was that one time with Kerry and Emma—”

“Nadine worked your time trials, though, and she was one of the minions when Kerry had his accident.” Penny knew there wasn’t any need to elaborate on that particular A Level incident. “She told me you could easily average two-fifty on the Green Line, and that you hit over three hundred klicks an hour on West End.” She lowered her voice slightly as if divulging a secret. “She also said when you were looking for Kerry that, um, time he was racing, the flight data on your broom said you topped three-fifty as you cut across the grounds—”

“That’s fast.” Alex held up her beverage glass. “That’s racing speed.”

Jario jumped in before Annie—who was trying not to look impressed by what she was hearing—could say anything. “Also, Kerry flew patrol during Day of the Dead, and you worked triage: neither of those were shabby.”

Penny nodded once. “Like we said, people knew about you two, and here we were, thinking about how we were gonna have you sharing the floor with us. It was fairly intimidating, but at the same time—we thought we could do something with this.

“We hated how we were treated when we came up from the first floor, and that treatment caused one of us to leave. Given the rumors that you guys had pretty had top proficiencies in every class—” Once more Annie and Kerry exchanged incredulous glances, surprised by what they were hearing. “—there was little chance you were going to leave, but you could end up hate being with the upper levels.”

“And we didn’t want you hating us.” Jario leaned his forearms against the table. “We didn’t know if you were going to become friend, but we sure didn’t want you to be enemies.”

 

Annie and Kerry were Scary.  Hey, that kinda rhymes!  And this is the first time we’ve learned about Speed Demon Annie on a broom:  now we know how she can zoom along at three hundred kilometers an hour and not blink an eye.  And they were out there, as A Levels, getting their hands dirty.  But it’s the classes and other sorts of bad assery that got them noticed.  You have to love that Darius was afraid he was gonna get bounced from the team to make room for these two, and that’s probably something he should keep in mind for next racing season as well:

 

“Well—” Annie brushed a strand of hair from her face. “I’m happy how things turned out.”

“So am I.” Kerry looked at Kahoku and smiled. “It’s good we got to know you.”

“Yes, over Starbucks.” Annie actually giggled. “That first time Alex invited us in, that was really when we knew we’d be friends.”

Penny reached over and patted Annie’s hand. “I think I hoped for it that first time Alex and me met you guys in Berlin, but that day in Starbucks: that was—” She looked down for a moment as she looked down. “Magical.” They all laughed at the in-joke, and as soon as they grew quiet Penny got to the core of what she’d wanted to say. “You guys are gonna be the C Levels next year, and all the A Levels are coming up—”

“Yeah, I heard that.” Both Annie and he were told by Professor Semplen earlier that day that they’d lost only one student this school year, and theirs was the only coven that had all their A Levels moving up to the next level. “We’re gonna have a full floor.”

“You’re gonna have five kids from five different countries from four different continents, and all of them from Normal backgrounds.” Alex shook her head. “They’re gonna feel what it’s like to be outside the fishbowl for the first time, and—”

Penny smirked. “And they’re gonna have you guys to show them what it’s like to hang with the big kids. There are good things, though: we heard that Torres is coming alone with transformation magic, and Juanico and Piuugattuk are supposed to be pretty good sorceresses—”

“No supposing: they are.” Annie knew this from her times as one of Helena’s A Level minions. “They have considerable talent.”

“Same with Torres.” Kerry sat back and stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets. “She’s a little more advanced than the others in the class.”

Alex turned to Kerry. “Yazdi and Couture are supposed to be good fliers, too. Professor Semplen is already talking about getting them to try out for the B Team.” She nodded towards him. “Maybe you can help out there.”

“Anyway . . .” Penny moved forward in her chair so she could glance at both her friends. “Make them feel welcome; help them become part of the coven; be their friends. And when you come to the end of the next level—” A bright smile slowly spread across her face. “Make sure you make this message the most important you teach them.”

 

Everyone likes to make the “magical” joke.  I wonder if Isis has a unicorn the kids can get pictures with, instead of one of those squid-things hiding in the outer walls so they can feel extra magical.  And post the pictures on Facebook, where everyone will argue about it being a photoshop job.  Because.

There you have it:  five A Levels coming up next school year, and two kids to show them how to fit in and make them feel welcome.  And if anyone could do that, they can, because, in a way, Annie and Kerry are the best examples of their coven.  It’s going to be an interesting C Level.

It’s also time to start saying goodbye to the school.  And in the next scene, that’s exactly what happens . . .

The Final Days and Nights: The Before Bs

This morning I’m doing my best to get my butt in gear.  I don’t feel well, and I’m not sure if it’s from the two drinks I had after work around six at night, or if I’m just generally feeling like crap for some reasons.  I think I need to get into drinking more water and juice and stop harming myself for whatever reasons.

At least I'm up, as this picture taking at 5:40 this morning proves.

At least I’m up, as this picture taken at 5:40 this morning proves.

And that’s really how I look every morning before I go to work.  Now you get to see the writer as she really is when the sun is coming up.

No recaping last night, which meant I could work on the novel.  The best part about last night was spending about an hour going over different parts that were already written, in particular the sections where they were in Berlin prior to coming to school for their B Levels.  I made a few corrections as I did my read through, and I generally miss the feeling I gave them before they went off and ran into all the crap waiting for them on the other side of the Atlantic.  And now I have to set them up for all the crap they’re gonna run into on their side of the Atlantic–yeah, it’s not going to get much easier from this point on.

But first let’s start getting to this project the C Level kids began mentioning.  And in order to get to that, we need a little history:

 

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

She looked down for a moment. “When we came up as B Levels there were four of us: the other was Hoven Kalajian, who was from Armenia. We made it through the A Levels okay, but when we got to the second floor . . .”

Jario smirked. “Let’s just say we weren’t greeted warmly.”

Penny nodded. “Damn right. The same six who are D Levels now were the Cs then, and the four boys acted like we didn’t exist half the time—”

Alex joined the conversation. “And the other half of the time the boys treated us horribly.”

“Yeah.” Jario leaned forward and switches his gaze from Kerry to Annie several times. “Tori and Victoria were usually nice to us, but the four guys—man, they were assholes most of the time. Manco has mellowed out a lot since last year, but Darius was a bigger jerk then than he his now.”

 

So now we know of the former fourth member of last year’s B Levels, a boy from Armenia.  And–surprise!  The boys who were then C Levels were huge jerky douchebags towards the new kids on the floor–two of whom are on the race team and were big jerky douchebags to the two girls and the new kid on the team.

Even a year later, it doesn't appear they grew out of that attitude.

Even a year later, it doesn’t appear they grew out of that attitude.

With that image above, if we take the B, C, and D sections and walk the letters back to A, B, and C, we’ll get a good look at the coven attendance on the first and second floors for the School Year 2011/2012, with the only difference being the addition of one more name under Jario’s name in the Boy’s Column.  Cernunnos may be small, but one good thing is there aren’t a lot of changes with attendance, so when someone does leave it’s noticeable.

The end result was bothersome to a few people:

 

Kerry rolled his eyes. “I can’t imagine.”

“Imagine it.” Jario’s face darkened. “He was the one who gave Hoven shit most of the time. Not like out-and-out bullying, but he was always making snide remarks and questioning his crafting abilities. Just—” He shook his head. “He was just a pain in the ass to him.”

“Darius knows enough to handle himself in a fight, and it was like he was trying to get Hoven to call him out so he could go to The Manor and kick his ass.” Penny’s tone softened with sadness. “The problem was, Hoven knew he’d get beaten if he fought Darius, and that did crazy things to his confidence, and . . .” She shrugged. “You can guess what happened.”

Annie didn’t need to guess. “He couldn’t do the work and his proficiencies suffered. Was her forced out?”

“He almost was.” Alex stretched as she spoke. “He was right on the bubble as far as advancing was concerned, and he knew if he stayed for another year he’d he’d never be a D Level. So he asked for a transfer.”

“He’s down Valparaiso now.” Jario referred to the large Foundation school in the hills outside the Chilean city. “We’ve all gotten email from him: he seems a lot better now that he’s away from here—”

“But it’s not the same.” Penny’s face reflected the sadness in her voice. “It’s one thing to wash out because you’re not able to keep up, but when you ask to move to another school because you feel you don’t fit in—” She shook her head. “Hoven should be here with us.”

Kerry could only imagine how it felt to have a close friend decide they couldn’t stay within this community and transfer to another school. He wondered if he’s been closer to Collin last year if he’d feel the same about him moving to another school as his fellow floormates felt. “It’s gotta suck.”

Penny nodded. “It does. That’s why we—” She nodded to Jario at her right before looking down at Alex. “—decided to do something about this last year.”

 

Here we learn that have two students who left Cernunnos on their own:  one because they didn’t feel as if they fit in, and another because, on the face of it, he felt he was being bullied and wanted out.  And before you start going, “The school should have done something!” you don’t know if they did, I do.  And you can also be assured that if this kid didn’t fight Darius, that would have just made The Boy From Nickel Centre be even more of a douche in time–only he would have went total ninja doucherocket on the deal and done nothing overt.

Now, what did the Cernunnos C Levels do?  Well . . . you’ll find out tomorrow, won’t you?

The Final Days and Nights: Summertime, and the Visits Are Easy

So, writing.  Yes, I did it.  Not as much as the two days before, but some of that was due in part to writing a two thousand word recap a few hours before, and that tends to drain me.  The good news is I only have one more Monday night recap to do and then I can sort of take the summer off.

Though, you know, I’m not sure what that means.  Take a summer off and do nothing?  I don’t know if I can handle that.

So what happens in the next five hundred words?  Plans, that’s what.

 

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

Jairo shook his head. “That would never happen. You guys have been too much fun; we’ve enjoyed hanging with you.”

Kerry ran his finger around the rim of his mug. “We’ve enjoyed hanging with you guys as well.”

Penny pointed a finger at him. “I hope you won’t forget we got a lunch meet up this summer.”

He nodded. “How could I forget?” Penny had approached them both at the Midnight Madness the night of his birthday, with Alex, Jairo, and Kahoku in tow. Not only did they all want to wish Kerry a happy birthday, but Penny wanted to set up a lunch date between Kerry and her, as they were both in the UK and could fly to just about any location in the country. Penny also made it clear that she wanted Annie to know about the invite, and that she knew if Kerry were to ask her about getting together for lunch over the summer, he’d do so with Annie and Jairo present. “Just text me whenever you feel like meeting.”

“Which reminds me—” Alex turned to Annie. “Would you object to getting together over the summer? I’d love a lunch date with someone from school.” She looked around the table. “It was hard to do so last year, and may be difficult for Kaho this year. I thought it might not be a problem for you, though.”

Annie actually felt honored that a friend other than Kerry would asking about meeting over the summer. “I’d love to, Alex. I think it’d be fun.” Annie gave the matter a moment of thought. “Could you fly to Kiev? We could met there.”

Kahoku nervously coughed. “Or are you—?”

“Say that word and die.” Alex rolled her eyes as she glanced at her boyfriend. “Durnyy, bozhevilʹnyy khlopchyk.” She turned back to Annie, a slight grin playing upon her face. “Sure, I can do that. Dubno’s only three hundred kilometers away; I can make that in an hour.”

 

So there you have it:  at least once during the summer Kerry and Alex are going to get together for a lunch date–one where Annie was present when the asking was done, ’cause one girlfriend is respecting the personal space of another–but Annie’s gonna leave the mountains behind for a day and meet up with Alex.  The kids are getting out next summer, and not just to meet with each other–yes, that’s gonna get mentioned later in one of these last two chapters.  Even though they can’t be together all the time, they’re gonna meet for lunch.

Annie picks Kiev because not only is it in the Ukraine where Alex lives, but it’s likely easier for Annie to jaunt over a thousand kilometers than it is for Alex to do the same.  Alex can hop on her broom and jet across the country to get to her destination–

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Whereas Annie needs her mom to jaunt her to the Sofia airport so she can take the jaunt station to the main train station in Kiev.

"Don't worry, Mama:  I'll call when I'm though visiting another country."

“Don’t worry, Mama: I’ll call when I’m though visiting another country.”

And since Pamporovo and Kiev are in the same time zone, there’s no trying to figure out when Annie should get there.  In fact, if she knows Alex is gonna meet her around eleven, she can leave home about fifteen minutes before to ensure she’ll arrive in time–depending on where it is they’re gonna meet.  And I know where they’re gonna meet–I’m just not saying right now.  Same with Penny and Kerry:  locked down their meeting area a few months ago, but you’ll just have to wait on the where.

This portion of the conversation leads into something else that has been asked about already–

 

“Good.” Annie sat back with a smile on her face and her hands folded before her. “You can send a message to my school account: I can access that from my mother’s laptop when I’m home.”

“When you getting your own phone?” Penny scratched behind her right ear. “That way we can just text you.”

Kerry looked across the table and while he kept quiet. They’d discussed this matter more than a few times since returning after Yule, and Annie promised that once she was home and settled in, she’d do everything possible to convinced her parents to let her buy a smart phone. He believed her, too: he was more than aware that when Annie wanted something . . .

Annie’s response was simple and direct. “I’m working on that. You may say it’s my summer project.”

Kerry noticed their four friends exchanging glances between themselves. “Something up?”

Being the closest to him, Alex answered Kerry. “We were wondering if you might like another project for the summer—”

Penny glanced at Annie to her left. “Both of you.”

 

Yes, Annie’s gonna work on getting a phone, and yes, that issue will come up in the next novel.  I know some of you are thinking, “She should have one by now, she’s thirteen!” but you ain’t Annie’s mother:  I guess I am, and I know why they haven’t gotten her a phone yet.  Just chill and wait.  You’ll see.

Now, what is the summer project that is going to be asked of Annie and Kerry?  Well, that’s tonight’s business.

And that means you have to wait until tomorrow to see.